Kithara knew this barren land like the back of her hand, it might seem like one endless desert to anybody else, but she knew every little thing about it; where to hunt for lizards, where to find grubs and underground water, and more importantly, how to tame the wildlife surrounding it.
When you looked closely at Kithara’s land, you’d notice it wasn’t as barren as you’d first think. It was brimming with life and that life fed Kithara’s body, mind and soul.
Kithara was barely fourteen and running through the desert, hopping from rock to rock hunting with her cheetahs, she was very handy with a knife too. She was the talk of her camp.
You see, Kithara didn’t have a village; she came from a nomadic tribe deep within the wastelands of Banouro, they’d travel the entire desert and occasionally would settle just outside big cities and citadels, the stretch they’d travel regularly was at least a thousand miles in diameter, yet nothing was new to Kithara in any place they’d stay.
One particularly afternoon after Kithara had gone fishing in the oasis she noticed a group of men on horseback all clothed in black and dark purple in thick layers from head to toe, some wore head wraps and others wore fur square hats and just one man chose to wear nothing atop his head, he was an unusual man, one of red hair, quite rare, especially in this country, he must have been a foreigner. The other gentlemen he was with were semi-local, settlers from the edge of Banouro on the North to North West side.
She’d noticed that the strange men were lining up her tribes people, picking at them and pointing at them and rearranging them quite aggressively.
Then amongst the crowd, she saw her father, a big lump of a man, with a bald head, and large mouth and nose. He must have been preparing to butcher some meat before the arrivals because he was wearing his leather sleeveless top and it was too clean for him to have been working on something. Then he saw her mother being taken away with some other women and they were made to stand in a circle around three men and a very old woman dressed in purple and jewels that were looking at them.
Kithara didn’t know who these people were, but she could guess. She had heard years before of people just like her tribe, people taken away from the barren lands and made to work, whole families forced apart, never to be seen again, or, until at least, they’d leave the workplace.
Suddenly, there was a commotion over by the female circle, Kithara had noticed her mother screaming, shouting, ranting and raving at the old lady.
The old lady looked at her mother in disgust, then did some motion with her hands and her mother was immediately pulled out of the circle and lined up next to other old people from her tribe, the old people were chained together to a carriage of horses, yet no one seemed to have tied her mother in the same way, instead, the red man was called over to seemingly talk to Kithara’s mother.
Kithara’s mother looked up at him doe eyed and silent, then forthwith he took his sword out of his left sheath and sliced her throat open right before her eyes, her mother fell immediately bleeding to death staining the red man’s felt shoes and soaking them through, replenishing the already red dye.
Find out another time what Kithara will do…
© Tina Cousins 2013