Nuttah was immediately summoned to the Chiefs quarters. Bahiti was instructed to stay behind. The Chief did not wish to speak to her. The games would be starting at first light. She, at the prize, was to remain in her living quarters.
Nuttah braced herself for anything. She wasn’t sure what was going to happen. She had tried to speak calmly to her mother, but the stubborn woman wanted to hear none of it. She left turned leaving Nuttah and Bahiti alone and recounted what she had walked in on to Chief Hiamovi.
Nuttah knocked and entered the cabin when Akecheta yanked it open. He scowled at her and stepped aside so that she could step forward. Chief Hiamovi sat in his small more impressive throne. He wore the same scowl that adorned Akecheta’s handsome face. She curtsied deeply and kept her gaze trained on the floor. Chief Hiamovi didn’t speak for several long minutes. Nuttah found herself holding her breath and counting the seconds in her head.
“Explain,” he said after she had managed to count to two hundred and twenty-five. She stared at her feet in thought. What should she say? The truth? That she was in love with Bahiti and Bahiti with her? That they felt the games were wrong because Bahiti had already found her mate?
She knew that would only anger the chief more. So she said nothing. She kept her gaze on her feet and spoke not.
“I am aware that you two have grown close over the years since the tribrid came to live among us.” Nuttah took him calling Bahiti the tribrid as a bad sign. He had always treated her as if she was something truly precious and at times like his daughter. For him to speak to her as if she was nothing more than a beast was odd of him. “You two have always been as sisters,” he said emphasizing the final word. “A… re-la-tion-ship with her is not only forbidden, it is immoral-“
“True love is immoral?” Nuttah asked finding her voice. Her gaze slowly lifted to land on Chief Hiamovo glaring at her. She could feel Akecheta’s hard gaze on her back.
“Bahiti will be mated, hopefully with your future chief. That is the way it will be.”
“Do our people not find the lycan and night walkers immoral?” she asked. “Yet, you are willing to have her mate and birth children that are a mix of both. Would that not make Akecheta’s heirs immoral?”
If Chief Hiamovi had the power to melt a person with a stare and not heal them with a touch, Nuttah would have been nothing but a puddle at his feet that needed to be cleared away. She knew that she had crossed a line. Speaking to the chief in such a manner was never allowed. No one typically spoke to him unless to answer a direct question. Nuttah feared being shunned and sent away on her own. Then she would not be near to protect and watch over Bahiti.
“You will stay away from Bahiti,” Chief Hiamovi’s voice boomed. “If Bahiti remains here, you will stay away from her.” Chief Hiamovi stood and rose to his full height easily towering over her. “Nuttah, do not disobey me. A witch with no power is no longer a witch but a mere mortal. This world is not kind to mortals.” Nuttah’s eyes lowered in defeat.
Chief Hiamovi’s late wife had also birthed a daughter. She was kept hidden away from everyone. The only contact she had was with her father and brother. She had been born with the ability to power grab, completely removing the magic from another witch.
She was considered dangerous.
Chief Hiamovi spoke no more. Nuttah turned and quickly left the cabin with her head bowed. Once outside she raised her head and looked in the direction that sat Bahiti’s cabin. Bahiti stepped outside. Their eyes locked. Nuttah wanted to run to her and fling her arms around her.
“Nuttah!” She turned and stared at her mother who regarded her with uneasy eyes. She ran to her mother, not looking back at Bahiti. The chief and threatened to remove her power if she disobeyed him. Was her power worth losing to be near the person she loved?
She followed her mother through the village until they arrived at the large dome that had been built over the years for the games. She handed her a torch and Nuttah blew on it lightly. A small flame flickered to life. Was her power worth losing?
Nuttah busied herself in the dome and the connecting pathway that lead to the vampire and werewolf living quarters. The games were to be an all day event and they wanted to start early, eager to know who the victor would be. Knowing that the night walkers would not be able to pass in the sun, a large covered dome was built along with pathways connecting to the two new cabins.
Nuttah lit torches and placed them in the pathways to allow light for its occupants.
“That is a nifty treat,” a voice said after she blew on a torch and a flame appeared. She turned to find the vampire chief, Chief Athanasios, standing in the shadows of the pathway leading to his cabin. He moved easily out of the shadow and into the light that framed his face. “Learn that somewhere?” He smiled at her.
“I am the only fire breather of my clan,” she replied. She went back to the task that only she could complete.
“That makes you special,” he said. “Almost as special as the tribrid.”
“I’m sorry,” he said not needing her to repeat herself. “Bahiti.” He took a couple steps closer to her before stopping. “I have a special gift as well. Excellent hearing. You love her. Bahiti.”
Nuttah turned to look at him.
“I could assure that you two stay together, if you were to do something for me.”
She turned back to her work and try to concentrate but he had her interest piqued.
“It would simply involve you using that special power of yours when I ask. Then when Arsenios wins, you will come with us and remain at Bahiti’s side.” Nuttah lit a torch and hung it, she glanced over at him. “Think about it.” Chief Athanasios turned and walked back down the pathways into the dark.
Akecheta stepped out of the way to allow Chief Naiser to enter his fathers cabin. Chief Naiser looked at him before turning to face Chief Hiamovi.
“I was hoping we could speak alone.”
Chief nodded to Akecheta and he stepped from the cabin, closing the door behind him. The witch chief offered the werewolf chief a seat. They sat down and but neither relaxed.
“I have been made aware of a problem with the games,” Chief Naiser said.
“I can assure you there is no problem.”
“The girl who showed us to our cabin, I have been told that she is in love with the tribrid.”
“That problem has been taken care of.” Chief Hiamovi stiffened. He had hoped to keep that information to himself.
“I’m afraid it hasn’t. My son took a stroll through the arena to get a feel of the place. He overheard the vampire chief offer to take her with him when he wins the games.”
“There is no guarantee that he will win.”
“Yes, but he offered if she uses her fire power for him when he asks.” Chief Hiamovi stilled. “I imagine a hot blade could do damage during a sword fight. More danage than we agreed to inflict.”
“We have nothing to worry about. Nuttah would never. She knows the penalty for disobeying me.” Chief Hiamovi’s voice came out rougher than he wanted.
“Love can tempt people to do any manner of things,” Chief Naiser said. “I myself would have done anything to be with my wife. I do not doubt your control over your people,” he said holding his hands up in defense. “I simply think that short of joining the games herself to claim who she believes is her mate, she may take Athanasios up on his offer.”
Chief Hiamovo sat back to think about what was just said. “She can not join the games. I will be sure that she can not assist the night walker in his treachery.”
Chief Naiser nodded and excused himself. Akecheta reentered the cabin.
“Chief?” Akecheta questioned.
“The night walker wishes to use Nuttah against us in the games. I intend to stop him.”
“By removing her power.”
“So, because of the word of a beast, you will remove the power from our sole fire breather. What if Nuttah was unwilling to help? Then we lose her power. Forever.”
“Do you have another suggestion?”
“Yes. Allow her to fight for Bahiti.”
“That is ridiculous!”
“Of course but she will likely end up injured, knowing that the better man won, rather than end up powerless.”
Chief Hiamovi let out a breath. His son was right and he knew that when his time came he would make a fine Chief. Nuttah would be up against three of the strongest men. She would not last the fight. She would, however, still have her power.
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