Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: GATHERING (07/14/16)
- TITLE: Tribes
By Tiffanie Chezum
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Footsteps rustled near the mouth of the cave. Anaias remained still in the darkness, his sword readied in his hand. “Show yourself.”
Shadows danced across the walls as the flickering glow of a torch drew closer.
A familiar face.
“Bjarni, my friend.” Anaias stepped into the halo of torchlight. “It is good to see you.”
“The others will come.” Bjarni smiled. “This is the time. This is what you have worked for.”
“No. It is what we have worked for.” Anaias propped the torch between two boulders.
“And what if they do not trust as I do?” Chryses stepped with the stealth of a cat stalking her prey. “They may report to the Conclave. We might all die.”
“Why have you come if you wish to not help?” Bjarni demanded.
“Bjarni, our tribes have no quarrel.” He extended his hand toward the woman. “All are welcome, Chryses. All tribes shall have a voice.”
Chryses grasped the elder man’s hand. “I support such an alliance.”
Rocks shifted at the mouth of the cave.
The trio grew silent.
Forced whispers echoed at the entrance.
“And if this is a trap?” an angry voice barked.
An older woman responded, “Do you wish to keep living as we are, Obrecht?”
“I do not,” the man said. “But I do wish to live.”
“We have come this far.” said a third voice. “Let us enter.”
Their shadows inched toward the rear of the cave.
“Anaias?” the woman queried.
The older man stepped forward. “I am here.”
“Many in the tribes have distaste for the Conclave, but they are skeptical,” she said.
“Thanh speaks the truth.” Obrecht interrupted. “Many in the tribes have spoken their concerns.”
“As should we all.” Anaias smiled. “Please, Join us. We must speak in total honesty and trust our uncertainties will be heard.”
“We must trust we will not be betrayed,” a voice bellowed from near the entrance.
A massive figure stood beside another traveler. A petite girl peered out from behind their silhouettes.
“All this may be for naught,” the immense man said as he tapped his mace on the floor.
“Yet you have come,” Anaias replied. “Allow this hope to grow within you.”
The young girl stepped away from the men and stood in silence near the wall.
The flickering glow of a torch paused at the mouth of the cave.
“We have another.” Chryses stepped forward. “The tribes are uniting.”
“We have all grown weary of the Conclave.” The cave became silent as the newcomer approached. “To speak of reuniting the tribes is to wish their wrath on you and your family.”
Anaias addressed the group. “It is wonderful to see the nine tribes standing together as one.”
“Who has chosen you as our leader?” Obrecht protested.
“I am not the leader.” Anaias gestured to every member of the group. “We can have no leader among us. We must be equal. We must work together to win our freedom.”
Obrecht furrowed his brows. “What do you gain from your stand against the Conclave?”
“It is our stand. We must be as one.” Anaias shook his head. “I am doing this for my children, and my children’s children so they may know the freedom of our ancestors.”
“With no leader we have no direction,” Thanh objected.
Bjarni stepped forward. “Our common goal is our direction.”
Discontent rumbled amongst the members.
“Why must everything be a quarrel?” The young girl slouched against the wall, her faint voice barely audible. “Why do we not attempt to understand our differences? We are too quick to castigate those whose view is different?”
A hush fell over the crowd.
“The youngest among us has shown the most wisdom.” Anaias helped the young girl to her feet. “Please, tell us all your concerns.”
“Yes, please begin our conference.” Chryses approached the girl. “What is your name?”
“My name is Jagna,” the girl replied.
“Thank you Jagna.” The enormous man crouched down. “I am Madhi. I, too would be honored if you speak.”
“It is only appropriate,” Bjarni said. “The first assemblage of the nine tribes in six generation should begin with its future.”
The group gathered around her.
“Let us begin by holding hands.” Jagna extended her hand to Madhi. He grasped the hand of Chryses who in turn reached for Anaias. Soon the circle was complete.
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