Hearts Of Ice And Snow
Full Synopsis and Excerpt of Hearts.
A twelve year old girl is being readied for sacrifice for the good of her people. N’Kiru wants to be like the rest of her friends; play, look after her pet goat, grow up and get married like her sister. She’s been offered as a gift to save her people, a task that everyone says is better than anything, and she will be remembered for generations to come. But her mother weeps at night, her sisters whisper behind her back, and her father gazes at her with longing, his eyes whip away as though he is ashamed.
When N’Kiru realises that the Orisha is more to fear than the sacrifice, she tries to take back her promise, but it can’t be undone by her, only one from her lineage can undo what she has done, what she has unleashed on the world.
Snow and ice, a frost so thick it covers her village and miles around it in and a thick glacier forms. A few from her village have escaped, along with her sister family, because they’d left a few days before on a hunting trip. They see the darkness rise up and cover the village, surrounding it with ice, snow and a whirling white breeze.
Hearts is a story of struggle and hope. A story that reunites generations of one family after ten thousand years.
Then – The Village
“Uncle!” Jalani protested. “This story is strange. It is not like the ones you have told us before.”
“Perhaps, Jalani, you should go home and sit with your mother if my story scares you?” The Storyteller spoke, his brow raised in a knowing look.
All the children turned their heads, some scowling at Jalani for the interruption. They knew that if the storyteller was distracted too many times, they would never hear the story’s end.
Femi sat at his knee, her cheeks deflated from fear.
“Do not fear, Femi,” he stroked her hair, his hand resting for a second amongst the tight sun-bleached curls, comforting. “Let the story unfold, and you will find that both Oya, and Anotchi, do not have an easy time.”
Her eyes only widened more as did the eyes of the other children.
“But, Uncle!” Jalani spoke again.
“Yes.” his tone held a warning that the older child was too dense to pick up on.
“Why is the story not the same?”
He would make a good leader when the time came, thought the old man. Dense and determined were good traits in a leader, but one needed compassion and patience as well. Compassion he had, patience he would have to learn. Starting now!
“The spirit path has opened,” Kemi spoke. His voice altered like wind chased between rocks, his face slack.
“Kemi!” the old man barked. “Come!”
Kemi raised himself from his place and walked towards the old man, the other children moving out of his way, either scrambling back due to the look on his face, or moving slowly, not understanding what was happening.
“Sit next to Femi.” He sat, “And do not speak again until I tell you. Understand?”
Kemi nodded at the old man’s words, his face relaxing. He was standing on the path, the old man could see him, in both worlds. He feared for the child because he could only read what was there, not see far enough into the future to know what the boy would face. Or what the descendant of Femi would face alongside him.
All the children had fallen into silence, even loud-mouthed Jalani. They would listen to the story now, and return and tell their parents, unless he caused them to forget. He was still of a mind to give them the secrets and let them pass them on, but the danger to those who came after was great. The Oya would not rest until freed from her icy prison, until the people who had trapped her, had paid the ultimate price. But her descendants would also pay with death and destruction should she free herself. There was no sympathy to be obtained from a thwarted deity.
He would make them forget once his story was told. They would remember only the story that he had told them during meetings and fireside talks. All of them, except Kemi and Femi. One to guide and one to place those to come on the road they would travel.
He sighed. He was getting too old for this, too old and yet so much yet to do. Would that he be here when the Protector came. He would do anything to see the Protector, to be able to assist. To be able to walk the spirit paths as they were laid in that time.
He scoffed, for even should he be alive, he would be beyond the ability to understand what was occurring. This was the price that the spirit path claimed from its walkers. A life filled with pain, pleasure and ultimate madness. No one could see the past, present and future and not lose some part of themselves, there was always a price to pay. Madness was a small one.
He cleared his throat again, “What was your question, Jalani?”
“Nothing, Uncle. I… I thought only that,” he stammered to a stop.
The old man raised a brow at his fear, “Never show fear to the one who corners you, they will see your weakness, and there is no room in your future for weakness. Understand?”
Jalani gulped, his adolescent Adams apple bobbing up and down in his throat. “Yes, Uncle.”
The old man nodded once. Fixing Jalani with a stare, “Where were we?” he asked, almost as though trying to remember, but he knew exactly where they were, exactly who they had been speaking of. She bellowed in his mind, beseeching, cajoling, threatening. He ignored her. She was harmless. For now.