Tossing and turning, the blonde had finally woken up with a start to the night; the moon was fully borne within the deep black sky. Buf'aneah and Fa'aithlia were soundly asleep, that is, as much as one could be with the racket coming out of nostrils.
Sweat beaded on the blonde's brow. It had been so long since she had last experienced that fear, that hatred, that pain. Her mind fluttered with thoughts, nothing totally coming into view until...
Retracing her steps in what had happened earlier in the day, a smile crept across her face. Willow had noticed immediately that her mind was preoccupied, and would not rest from finding out what it was. While concentrating on the night's ritual, Tar'airah kept finding herself being subtly interrogated about what had happened to her. At one point Tar'airah almost mentioned Fa'aith's name, but caught herself, to the redhead's dismay. Her bottom lip dipped out below its sister in indignation. The blonde caught the look and almost laughed.
Sometimes, Willow Rosenberg was just adorable.
But Tar'airah would not, nor could not reveal what had been troubling her mind. If what Fa'aith had assumed was true her whole world, as she knew it, would come crashing down for the last time - painfully. The first had been almost unbearable... no, it was unbearable, and had it not been for Thea's care she surely would have collapsed. So young... so very young, and yet she knew so much pain already.
Her forehead scrunched up in anticipation of the oncoming frown - nothing could get her thoughts away from Fa'aith's words. Could Willow leave her? Would Willow leave her? What does the outside world have to offer but more pain? Would she be stranded with this sunken feeling forever?
To be alone... to be forced to be alone - that is a cruelty she would never suffer again. When her mother had... died... she never felt so lost. She was just a child, barely four years old, completely incompetent, vulnerable, weak, wanting nothing more than to become the strength her mother had lacked. An internal battle had begun as far back as she could remember. To become what her mother had needed so long ago, only... what did it matter now? There was no satisfaction in more pain.
She had learned that only too well long ago after she had broken one girl's arm during a sparing event. Tar'airah was only 13 at the time, and it had never occurred to her that such pain, unnecessary pain, could be brought upon someone that didn't deserve it, by her. So quickly the pain, suffering and anguish that had festered within her spilled out... she sat there, stunned by her own actions as the other girl was carried off crying and cursing Tar'airah's name. Others swarmed around her, awe-inspired by the quiet girl's unnatural fighting capabilities. But this is not what she had wanted... she had wanted to be the one to save - not harm.
She was no better than him.
Tar'airah bowed her head at the reoccurring picture - the same picture that had haunted her dreams as a child, the same that had woken her up: A man looming above her head, beating the woman she called home down... tears clang to her face, and nothingness covered her heart at that moment.
Then he knocked her down as well. Incapable of movement from the lack of air, her childish body only stayed still, and quiet - maybe, just maybe her mother would be alright if she stayed quiet. But she only heard what the rain would not conceal: screams, crying and more feet around her as others came, feet, scrambling on the jungle's ground. And fire. Fire blazed up and everywhere, nothing was left to the dark, a horrific light revealed the brutal scene to her young eyes as she watched her mother fight... and fall.
May 8, 1890
The procession was nothing but solemn. Women gathered, slowly, on either side of the makeshift skin stretcher. The body was brought towards the front of the tribe as each face watching tensed with the oncoming tears that were normally forbidden, scoffed at.
But she was one of them.
Destroyed by the hatred and anguish of the outside world. It was a shame, a shame that her body would be the one set for the eternal burning ceremony. Why should some one so beautiful be left to the mourning of her sisters, and the scum of the earth to roam this precious land if not for a few days longer?
And Ranthia was a beautiful woman.
Her dark hair cascaded around her now pale, chiseled face as she was carried towards the awaiting figure. The ceremony would begin soon; Thea was standing - waiting for the body to be brought to her. Every woman, girl, child, and babe present could feel the sinking feeling as it tugged, and pulled on their hearts, down into their bellies.
But no one.
No one knew the aguish the little creature next to Thea was harvesting. It ate, devouring every sense, every delight, every fond memory - it's hunger never satiated by her slow death inside. To loose your whole world - and KNOW you could have prevented it, that you TRIED to prevent it - is unbearable. Living and yet, not having a reason to live... she was no better than the man that had done this.
He had reduced her to him.
A woman, bloodied and bruised from the previous fight slowly rose. Her body wracked with exhaustion, she jerkily rose to her sore heels.
The flames alerted her to her senses - the sky seemed like it was burning - and yet, they were slowly receding, flashing glimpses as they flickered near the bodies. A man, and a woman. Left for dead, just as she had been.
The howling of the child next to her brought her to reality, as she scooped the little girl into her arms, half falling, half running towards the receding jungle line.
Still Thea had said nothing of hunting the man and everything related to him down.
The stretcher lay before her tiny fingers as she grazed the cheek of her family, her life, her home. Silence escalated as the tribe took in a universal breath. Here was the only remnant of Ranthia, the pride warrior. She was such a beautiful woman. She was the world's beauty. She was everything.
Pain, rage, torment, guilt, anger, anguish, love, hate, passion, and disgust swirled within the small child's body.
Revenge was inevitable.
And Caranthia wanted blood.