The sacred ritual was conducted to conciliate the heavens for its fortification and peace to our little island.
"A small hamlet in the direction of the sea, deep in the abysmal jungle, just behind the rock of ages."
A murky nightfall with no stars, dim torches to deflect the dark prowling and a trip to nirvana some had slithered in.
The coast water swayed slowly, one guise at the skies and not even an adept would apprehend that a rare storm was coming.
A storm that the divinities understood and piloted. It had been prophesied, so we awaited our fates as we assembled, demonstrating our faith and hope in stillness.
The most esteemed possession of our small island sat beautiful women of celestial beauty.
Our Identities were concealed in an evident veil as we waited for that moment auspiciously, one provided in a humble and silent grace.
The only rule that restricted us..."never show your face, hide behind the veil." I and my sisters prayed, not related by blood but by circumstance of the divination and the burden we carried on our modesty.
Amid all of my sisters, I held the most encumbrances. My body was a profanity to man and myself, sheltered up like a fairytale princess, not knowing a thing about the world I'm occupied in.
My face held an inexpressible, unspeakable and inimitable manner of beauty, body carried seduction and passion, filling every structure of my slim form. Cursed since birth! "Voice so innocent, I mustn't be heard.
It only augments to the cravings of my form and appearance. A child incarnate in the physique of an adult, someone who adored me once said.
An uproar louder than thunder erupted from an unidentified area, the bearing was very well-known and expected. I knew it would come to pass just as it was prophesied.
I had survived for twenty years waiting for this day. The noise burst forth again, so badly that it hurt at a point. I held onto the hands of my sisters who were also predestined in this war. As the leader I tried to placate their fear, "but being the weakest didn't help the situation."
The wail of men followed by the clash of blades against flesh volumed in an agonizing and jovial order. The defenders of the island were on their last legs, we heard the resonances of their defeats but we could only shiver in terror. We were gathered in a room secured by a metal door, dreading our lives as we held our veils against our cheeks. I was searching for hope. It had been portended that they will take over our land, gold, and we ourselves. I swayed my head to every single one of my sisters who were either shedding tears or thinking about what destiny had installed for them.
One of our most valiant defenders, Wind, came in with two other warriors. Blood tainted their faces, but none on their sword.
He observed everyone cautiously but his eyes especially fell on Aya, his affianced and I could see the aching that darkened his watery eyes.
"Keep your faces sealed, he said before turning to leave." Wait! Aya said before running towards him.
Will you c-come back? She stammered.
He didn't reply, tried to walk away but she grabbed him. He looked at her, deeply hurt by the answer he would give, grieved when he saw the flow of transparent tears that fell from her cheeks but he had to tell her the truth.
"I won't come back, he said." Aya's eyes widened when the words came out from his mouth. The clutch on his sleeve agonizingly weakened and she held unto her chest, turning back to the rest of us. She looked particularly at nowhere before she stationed herself back in our midst with her eyes laid on the ground.
"I won't be coming back, he declared loudly." I will lose my life this night.
Take care of yourselves, protect the sisterhood and help each other in every situation as of now. His eyes pierced through mine and I bowed in response to his last word.
"Goodbye." He said. He burst out of the room, the metal door tightly sealed by his accompanies. Shock and fear on all our faces and I immediately held unto Aya who would have landed on the ground without me.
She stretched her hands towards the door, cried silently before closing her eyes and biting the flowing tears. She faced me and held unto my hands.
"He is going Maya, Aya pleaded." We have to do something. She said unhanding me and walking towards the door like it was easy to get him back.
Upon reaching there, another loud thud made sparks with the door and I rushed to drag Aya who was near. The other girls raced behind each other screaming while they all ran for protection. I tried to cover and calm them as much as possible. But who would protect me now.
The loud bang died down and we almost had a relief before the door was hit. It fell and stumbled right in front of us, shadowed by the screams of the girls, and when I raised my head to face what came for us. I wished I never did..
A man as heavily built as trees was standing gothic in front of us. "Ice cold eyes piercing through the surroundings, had the face of forgiving but never forgetting."
His hands were clamped on two heavily looking structured swords which had the blood of the fine people of our island. His eyes wandering around like he was searching for the prettiest of the sisters, he held not a smile, but a devotion of finding something very important. Me. His other men paraded around my sisters, eyeing them with desire as they rubbed the skin of their body making them flinch with continuous screams of disentanglement.
Find me the Sadin! He commanded in a rasp and coercive voice, his eyes still roaming around us in enquiry as he marched towards us. The veils of my sisters were removed one after the other and they waited for him to approve which one of us where his.
I shut my eyes waiting for the activities to take place; weakness flowed in my blood stream. "Never had I fought back or talked back to anyone and even if I wanted to run."
My head thought about it but my leg and heart would never submit. This is it. The cold gust hit my skin and I sensed the veil fall from my head. The man who detached the veil required no one to tell him that I was the one.
He opened his mouth in awe and glowered at the heavily built man. "Not a word able to describe his finding because his eyes had seen it all."
I tried to put my eyes down but I couldn't help it when he marched towards me violently. He dragged me from my sisters' hold and I felt the veil slip, revealing my naked waist to his harsh scrutiny but that wasn't as bad as when I was forced to look into his eyes. Those gray eyes looked at me with anger and reassured me that I would suffer a life worse than a snake. His eyes held arbitrate animosity that I couldn't explain. He hauled my hair in the cold wind with just a hand, dragging me out of the room and instructing his men to do the same with my sisters.
"You see that soft sand tickled my foot and that bright night was everything I wanted to be in."
But now I wish I never did... A solid exterior in the ship's brig shook me till my eyes lit up and certain flashbacks defined the incident once again.
We were in the same corner for the some days now, no view, window or outlet to see outside of the vessel. The cold that ran through my bones was past insufferable.
It was as if my blood had turned to ice with the relentless vibration from my hands and legs. This continuously happened for days now. I would wake up in disarray, cold piercing every pore of my pale skin.
"Everything happened so quickly. I wasn't able to say what was what, but one thing was for sure, the vessel was no wretched asset." The way it stood at the edge of the sea while we were being dragged was monstrous!
The Gaff-rigged sail made from flax canvas had an encryption of a giant flaming dragon drawn on its surface and I trembled as I was dragged to it.
A dark aura grooming around me made me realize that my destiny had started to fulfill its purpose.
That night, we were kept in a slimy, tight, preoccupied brig with livestock. It was cold and disgusting, strange smells and strange noises.
A particular person would come to drop a piece of fungus bread and potato wash water on the same floor.
"At times, I'd want to puke but the base was already so terrible. I couldn't bring myself to do it."
All I hankered for was that very soon; we would reach where we were journeying to. I looked around and the faces of my sisters were what started my tears. I tried to lift my knee up which hung around my chest but it was futile with the opposition of my stiff bones. I started to stretch my legs slowly to maybe stop the vibrations.
Fortunately, my legs started to feel livelier with each stretch, allowing me to crawl and approach each of my sisters who were anxious. The fledgling of the sisters, Sia was very much frightened. I embraced her to my chest, for I had watched her mature from the cradle when I was just a child of ten. She cried more often than the rest of the girls and I couldn't blame her.
"If I were young as she was and saw liberty to hold unto someone and cry."
I'd take it. It's fine. I said, tucked her hair behind her ear, kissed her forehead, wiped the tears from her face and fixed the veil over her face. We were all twelve in number and it was my duty to protect them with all of my weakness.
There became clamor of cheers as we advanced, we had gotten to the destination and all my sisters assembled once more. I observed each of them, hoping this wouldn't be the last time I saw them.
Let's pray. I held my hands in a tight prayer with my eyes closed. I felt their hand pull away from my sleeve; they had started praying as well. The wooden door of the brig swung open, they dragged us out like wads of goods, pulling us out of the tight prison and bending us to the wooden deck where we made contact with real sunlight, and a crowd. The sounds of the men grew louder, hilarity in unison.
"Directed at us, there were cheers enlivened with curses, swears and I knew why." The gigantic man left the ship first, accompanied by his men. He walked towards the people while they all fell kowtowing and celebrating him. Then, he raised his hand to silence them after a while before announcing.
"I have brought back the nine tailed-foxes, he said like he made a devoted promise once before." The ones that fiddled with your husbands, he said reminding the women whose faces held prudish scowls, same ones who tampered with our lands. The gigantic man said turning to me and I immediately detached my face from his before he caught mine.
"And with our kingdom! He finally said, but that wasn't all." He forgot the most important one.
"She, who tampered with his heart." I could swear he said something to himself because his eyes now glinted with reminiscences. "Lead them out, he ordered."
I instantly told my sisters to get up, in order not to give them the opportunity to mishandle us. We all stood, I stayed in front, holding unto Sia while Aya, my subordinate took position beside the other girls.
I took my first step out of the deck and landed with my bare feet on the harsh surface of stones sprayed with glitters of glass. I flinched to it when I felt the sharp pain and so were the other girls.
We were instructed to follow the lane where the men who encircled us trailed with the gigantic man at the front.
The people began to chuck all kinds of spoilt harvests at us, smelling eggs, spoilt beans, fungoid potatoes and vegetables which must have been soaked in the eggs as they all had the same repulsive smell.
We continued walking in front with all the men but now, I feared! As we got close, threatening instruments were thrown, a stone almost landed at Aya beside me but I was ready to shield her with my back.
I wailed at the pain it left and I could see Aya, distraught by my action! Continue moving! The barbaric man beside us shouted. We stopped after a relatively long walk of curses bequeathed upon us and now they instructed us to step into a pavilion with women who stood at the entrance with scowls on their faces. I nodded to my sisters to go in; because I wanted to make sure they were all in before I joined.
"Except you." The built man said, aiming directly at me, his cold grey eyes administered to mine.
"Please don't take my sister, don't take her from us. Sia cried rushing to my aid." The warrior nearby eyed us before staring at the gigantic man, in an instance he slapped Sia's hands off mine and I was shocked by his intrusion.
How dare you! I screamed, devoid of my own words. "And before I could say another word, the man stepped back and drew out his sword aiming at Sia's throat."
My eyes widened and before I could drag her away, I feared if I do, it may really end her young life. She whimpered as the cold steel pressed into her skin. "I'm sorry." I said pleadingly, sinking on my knees. I didn't mean it. I begged, my palms together and tears threshing out from my eyes.
"It isn't me you should seek forgiveness from." The warrior answered with a smirk, he shifted so I could see very well whom he indicated me to beseech from. I stood and walked past him to the man whose eyes were as cold as ice, seated on a horse with his eyes boring into mine. I fell onto my knees once again with my hands in plea.
"Please, forgive my sister." I said cautiously. She is young and has no knowledge about what she did. I am to blame for it.
I didn't give her proper training on how to act, so if you must chastise someone, please do as you wish to me.
He raised his hand, giving signal to the warrior whose sword was now elevated to the sky.
I yelled on top of my lungs as I beheld into his eyes but he still made no instructions. So, I stood, and ran after to shield my sister. Stop! He finally said before it got to Sia. I drew her into my arms, brushing her hair as she sobbed.
This will transpire the next time you do not conform my every command, he said bitterly. His words were worse than the glasses and cold that pierced me. It was scary.
Aya came out, taking Sia from my grasp as she sobbed and reached for me. I looked at Aya once more and reassured her of my safety. My life was important for I had to live to protect the ones under me. I turned back, towards the man on the horse.
"You must get there before me, he advised."
"Get there before him. I thought." I didn't even know where he was going in the first place and he was on a horse. He thrust the horse instantly and started to ride ahead. I ran after him with my bloody feet from the glass that pierced me before. I ran with all my strength as I tried to catch up. I stumbled almost eight times but stopping wasn't an option in this game. I knew he wanted to hurt me because of what she did to him in the past, he wanted vengeance.
It was vengeance of the highest order and what better way than the gods granting him another course of destiny. I couldn't see him nor the horse anymore but, I kept running.
My hair had lost its hold in its braid. It glued to my forehead and eyes because of the sweat that fueled me. Knees ached, I felt the friction and tension in between my legs as I slowed down unintentionally.
My legs couldn't concur anymore movement and I landed on the floor harshly with my cheek scratching the graveled ground, leaving behind an itching sting. I hauled my body up again for my sisters.
I had to conform to him.
Standing again, I continued to run, clutching tightly the thin silk skirt that I was garbed in. "Looking ahead of the road, I knew I was near already."