The Sisters’ War: Part 2 (Chapter 10)

Monica Cellio
5 min readDec 14, 2016

The warlord of Sav set a pot of hot-drink before his mother. Usaygo filled her cup, sipped, and nodded. He sat facing her across the table in his small front room.

“How are your guests settling in? Have they shared anything useful yet?”

Usaygo looked the warlord in the eye. “Patience,” she answered. “It has been only three days. Ala is reluctant, and we need her to be comfortable. Then, I hope, she will open up more. We know that she protected the high priestess’s daughter that night, and that she hid her for a time. That’s why D’ara sent her warlord against her house.” She saw the shock in her son’s eyes. “Yes, that rumor was true. D’ara sent her warlord against her own clan.”

“Something is very wrong in Dal,” the warlord muttered. Usaygo nodded agreement.

“She later helped the girl to escape this isle. She hasn’t been willing to say how, even after I told her that I could protect the girl if we found her. I have a theory, though. Tell me: are any Sav men missing?”

“Sav men?” the warlord asked. “All the men who helped in the search returned, if that’s what you mean.”

“No, that’s not what I mean.” Usaygo paused. “If she left the isle, she did it in a boat. Do you think the daughter of a priestess of Dal knows how to sail?” The warlord shook his head. “So she had help. If D’ara attacked her own priestess then she’d think nothing of attacking any Dal men who had gone missing. But we haven’t heard any rumors of that. And hasn’t the girl been friendly with a boy in Sav?”

“Mother,” the warlord responded, “you are doing my job better than I am right now. I will investigate Eril’s family.”

* * *

The strange clothing itched against Elish’s skin. She wondered what animal produced this — not sheep, that was for sure. And why did the people here wear things that fit so closely to their bodies? How could they run, climb, or swim with these garments wrapped around their arms and legs like this?

Rufi fidgeted in the chair next to her. “So many questions,” he said, “and what I want to know right now is: where are our clothes?”

Elish laughed. “Me too!” She looked at Rufi. “I feel so silly worrying about that. I’m just glad you’re ok — we’re ok. Wherever we are.”

“And whoever we’re with,” Rufi answered. “Can you understand anything they say?”

Elish shook her head. “The big man, the one with the sharp thing that was in our arms — I think his name is doc-tor-rich-ard-son. What a strange name!”

“Too long!” Rufi agreed. “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

The door to their room opened and doc-tor-rich-ard-son entered. He was not carrying bowls of food this time. He stood in front of them and waved his arms.

“What does he want?” Elish asked. Rufi shook his head. The man gestured some more.

“I think he wants us to stand,” Elish said as she stood up. The man nodded. Rufi also stood. The man took Elish’s hand in one of his and Rufi’s in the other and walked toward the door.

Elish smiled at Rufi. “Maybe now we’ll learn something!” She scratched an itch through the strange clothing with her free hand as they walked.

* * *

The small pack of Dal children ran through the square. Koro bounced the ball to another of the boys.

“Where is everybody?” the smallest girl asked. The other boy bounced the ball to the girl. “We hardly have enough to play any more.”

Another girl spoke up. “My mother didn’t want to let me come out. She says times are dangerous now.”

“Dangerous?” a boy responded. “Yeah, my mother said the same thing. I think she’s afraid of what the priestesses will do. What does your mother say, Koro?”

Koro caught the ball as it flew toward him. “She seems worried too. Not all the priestesses are bad!” The other boys nodded. “There’s something wrong with D’ara, my mother says, and she worries about what that means for Dal.”

“Do you mean Dal,” another boy asked, pointing toward the sky, “or Dal”, sweeping his hand past everyone in the group.

“Yes,” Koro answered.

* * *

Rufi and Elish followed the man up a long set of stairs. The railings were of a strange material, cold, hard, and gray. At the top the man opened a door and they walked outside.

“How is this possible?” Elish asked Rufi. “We were underground?”

Rufi was silent as he gazed at the twilight sky. A thin Sav stood in the western sky and a plumper Mel was overhead. “No Dal.” He sounded relieved.

The doctor cleared his throat. Taking their hands again, he walked across the deck to where Captain MacPherson stood. The captain said something to them; Elish recognized the sound as a greeting and nodded in reply.

It was then that they saw the water.

Rufi jumped. “Where are we?” he asked. He and Elish took in their surroundings for the first time. They were on a giant boat, a giant boat not mode out of wood. And where were the sails? In the darkening sky Rufi thought he made out black smoke rising from the other end of the boat. “Nobody’s panicking so I guess it’s not a fire,” he said to Elish, “but what is this? And how does it move?”

Angus MacPherson watched the two, trying in vain to understand them. When they looked his way again he gestured toward the sea and the sky. “Can you tell me where you come from?” he asked.

Rufi followed his gesture, looking across empty sea and then at the moons and stars in the sky. “Where are we?” he asked. The man seemed not to understand.

* * *

The high priestess S’ilu and Usaygo were alone in the council chamber. An orange-red glow passed through the window and fell across the table.

“It is an interesting idea,” S’ilu said, “and solves two problems at once.”

“Yes,” Usaygo answered. “If Sav does not see it as blasphemy, it could help us.”

“After myself, you are the most qualified person to understand Sav,” S’ilu said. “Had this come from anybody else I would not be considering it. To acknowledge a new goddess! Even if it is not real…” She stared out the window.

“It’s not real,” Usaygo said quietly, “but it’s expedient. You can ask Sav for her blessing. Imagine the chaos within Dal if one of their priestesses becomes the high priestess of the newcomer!”

S’ilu nodded. “We just have to get Sav’s blessing, and then get her to agree to do it. I don’t know which of those will be harder.”

“You work on Sav,” Usaygo answered, “and I will work on Ala.”

“And the warlord will work on everybody else,” S’ilu added. Usaygo nodded. The new goddess would need followers, after all.

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Monica Cellio

Community lead on Codidact, building a better platform for online communities: https://www.codidact.com. By the community, for the community. Opinions mine.