Shadows of Ara
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aw the future of her people in Kalenje's hands, and he must find a way to break the curse and end Ara's cycle of destruction. As the centuries pass, Kalenje travels the world, seeking answers and allies. He encounters other beings, both human and supernatural, who aid him in his quest. Along the way, he learns more about himself and his powers as the beast of Miko, and struggles with the weight of his immortality and the responsibility it brings. But as Kalenje gets closer to finding a solution to end Ara's curse, he realizes that the stakes are higher than he ever imagined. The fate of not just his people, but the entire world, rests on his shoulders. With time running out, Kalenje must make a final stand against Ara and her forces, and risk everything he has ever known for a chance at ending the cycle of destruction. In this epic tale of love, loss, and sacrifice, Kalenje's journey will captivate readers and leave them on the edge of their seats until the very last page. Will he succeed in breaking the curse and saving his people, or will he be doomed to an eternity of fighting a never-ending battle? Only time will tell in "The Beast of Miko."
1200 years ago.
The village of Mubaila sits quietly, surrounded by forests and a stream.
The sound of children running around naked and playing interrupts those flowing waters.
And I live here. I was looking at the people's work from my workstation. I made bows with our village artisan, whose attention was glued to a piece of broken equipment. When we heard the noise of men running towards our village and a band of cattle being chased our way, rising steadily from the trees that surrounded us.
The first thing I hear is the swish of a flying arrow. Fly past my face and my legs act on their own. They pull me away to safety in my mother's hut.
I enter and find her on the ground, crying, "Mama!"
I call, but she does not answer. She lays there still and at peace with an arrow standing on her chest. I run outside to look for my brother and sister, but they are nowhere to be found.
Just then, someone pulls me from behind and covers my mouth. He points in a direction and says to my ears, "Run to Borrankama." Your home stands on a rift, and I stop and turn to see if they are close. I search for my pursuers. There was no one in sight but then run forward, increasing my speed and not stopping until I came to a rift. That divided the earth and separated my people from the hut of the healer, which was given where I was. I was close, and it was the only motivation I needed now. I ran backward measuring the momentum I needed. I ran straight for the rift. My body swings to the other end as I leap into the air with my arms aiming for a hold.
But I fall and roll like an amateur; it is my first time making my way across this large rift.
And as I roll, I hear the sounds of arrows raining down in pursuit as one grabs my thigh.
I don't turn back. I limp continuously, not able to recognize my way as my vision blurs and the white and red tattoos of the Gbali people come into view.
I am seated on the floor, watching my blood trickle and my body grow weaker and weaker as the colors on their bodies fade gradually.
Am I dying?
Is this the end of me?
I try to move my hand forward, but my eyes finally close.
When I opened my eyes, I found myself in her cave; the seer of our village came to save me.
I don't see her clearly, but I call out to her in low groans, "Borrankama?"
Borrankama? to be sure i wasn’t dreaming
"I am here," the voice of a young lady replies,
"Your body is burning up here; take this and don't move," she instructs.
I hold my head up a little and drink from the calabash.
After I drink a little of it, I lie back, and my eyes slowly adjust to the darkness.
I turn to the light. Beside me, I see her eyes, which are green and shining.
like the keku (cats) in the night.
"Your eyes," I say.
"Yes, I know," she replies.
"You are young!" I am shocked.
"Yes, I know," she replied. And then she runs her palm over my face, and I drift into slumber.
I woke up this time, and the cave was empty. I could see the sun shining through the opening in the cave, which was facing east.
I looked around, and my sense of direction was off.
I raise my upper body and roll off the giant flat rock covered with skins.
When my left leg touched the ground, a sharp pain spread through my body.
The pain jolted me back instantly to the reality of my situation.
I carefully stand this time and make my way out of the cave slowly.
You should not be outside when I hear Borankama speak.
I turned and saw her by the side, tending to some plants. She was focused on her work and chose not to glance in my direction. She said your wound is almost healed, and the poison is gone.
I swallow hard as my mind drifts back to what had happened between me and the people who had attacked my village and how I had to flee like a deer in hunting season.
"They are all dead," I say to her.
"I know, but are they real, if you are alive?" I asked, looking at her askance.
"Only I alone can make the people, and even if I do, they are already gone; these would be new.”
"Yes, but you can always find a home with new people.”
"Go back in and rest. You will need all your strength if you want to make a new home,” she tells me.
I stand there and watch her as she works.
She has not turned her back since, and I haven't seen her face once.
I walk to the side, ignoring her warning to rest, and I try to see her face.
But her hair, which is long and dark, covers her face.
I do not relent; I move forward to face her, being careful not to step on her plants, and then I look at her now.
She is not as old as my people's stories about her.
She looks young, and I could swear her eyes are still glowing under the sun. The green gleams under the hair that stopped around her nose through the front.
"What happened to your eyes?" I ask her.
"I was born this way; go back and rest!" she says with authority in her tone.
"You do not tell me what to do." I shot back.
She smiles, and I notice her eyes looking at my injured leg.
I look at my leg and notice it too; my two legs are touching the ground.
My two legs are on the ground, and my posture is straight.
"So what if I tell you what to do, son of Miko?
"What if I chose what you will be doing from now on?
"Will you defy me and risk the anger of my gods?"
I swallow hard and try to act firm, but the pain shoots back continuously.
Until I raise my leg from the ground again.
She stands and walks into the cave, and I follow her slowly.
She enters and begins to make something with the leaves she had cut from the garden.
"Now that you have seen my face, you will have to die. Do you know that?
"But! I protest.
"But what Kalenje!" She replied
"You did not mean to?" She asked following my response.
She turned and I could see the glow in her eyes rise.
There was a grin on her face, and cold sweat filled my body. I could feel the fever come back.
I did not answer because I wanted to, I needed to feed my cur
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