Chapter 1

Written by: Jasmine Groves

Dilara’s nostrils flared and she gripped Creel tighter to her breast, causing him to squeal.

“Yemon, what can you mean, I saw the village burn, I can still feel the pungent smell of burning flesh in my nostrils. My ancestors haunt my dreams with their unhappiness.” Dilara’s heart raced.“If someone is alive that means I am not alone, I have family…  I can’t be their enemy. I lost everything.”

Yemon reached down and gently took Creel with one arm while lifting his rough palm to Dilara’s cheek. He brushed the tear that was slowly tracking down her cheek. “Dilara, you will always be loved- am I not your family?” His warm brown eyes seemed to understand, radiate how he felt. “My role as Chieftain comes first, if the threat is coming to get you then we will protect you. You are one of us now.”

Restlessness rippled through those sitting around listening, discontent quickly building. Following such a time of peace the people were not looking for war. Sons had left blood drenched battlefields to come home, the tribe was poor from the cost of fighting – the Chieftain’s wife was not one of them.

Whispers spread like wildfire. Movement in the crowd caused Yemon to look away from his wife, a young warrior yet to be tested  pushed his way between the circle of women.

Striking to look at, taller than most around him, with muscular thighs, a large scar ran from under his eye down his neck and onto his collar bone. Red and angry even after the healer's work. He had been slashed from above during a fight.

“I offer my services to the Chieftain and his family in bringing down anyone who would wish to sully the name of our ancestors or to threaten our families.”

Yemon stood, turning his back to Dilara, and with Creel still tucked in his arms he looked up into the eyes of the warrior. He contemplated the young man, unproven, yet with the bravery to speak first and in support of Dilara.

“We thank you for your loyalty.” His voice, strong like thunder, echoed outwards to the tribe. “Your family have a history of being fierce like the bear and fast like the cheetah – you at our side would be welcome.” Turning slowly in a circle he extended his arm, his gaze resting on those who watched. 

“Darian is young and yet he is the first to swear his life to this task. Who else will walk this path? Which of you will defend my wife, our honour, and that of our ancestors?” A hush fell. “I know we have lost many and we are torn by war but until retribution is wiped from this earth none of us will be safe. The spirit of those who have gone before us will never rest.”

Comments

You give the speaker a voice that is believable for the time the story is set. This story stands and falls on how well the scene and characters are described and you have achieved that Jasmine. I liked the way you used Creel's size to show how Yemon and Dilara are in relation to each other.