Once the girls regain their memories, an air of sadness surrounds our small group of females. Tears flow and people hug for comfort. We walk around in the light rain coupled with warm air, it was humid and sweaty, but it didn’t stop us exploring our safe haven and gathering some berries and fruit. Eventually we all retire back at the temple, processing our thoughts.
We were safe at this temple which was surrounded by diamond dust. It coloured the soil and affected the growth of flowers. Anything diamond was lethal to Dark Gems in extreme quantities. It mostly had the affect of dimming the male’s powers and enhancing our own.
One by one memories continue to pop up, especially as I gaze around at the environment.
I could control water, Celeste could control earth, Kaelyn could control fire, Lilo could control air. The rest would all control the elements one way or another, but my closest companion was Celeste. There was something about her, she had an ethereal magical connection to the earth. She couldn’t just harness the green things, but she could cast spells like a witch. It was a rare quality.
Kaelyn was Seraphine’s niece. From past experience, I clashed with her because her tactics to fight were very offensive while mine were highly more cunning.
Which brought my thoughts back to Seraphine. I watch everyone sit around in a daze of their memory-rush. After hours of literally no one speaking, it was about time that we got off our asses and started to live again.
I go to the steps leading up to the rock wall with the engraved word of Seraphine Obsidian and I control my rush of anger and passion. Now was the time for action.
“We’ve wasted enough time,” I say, instantly grabbing Kaelyn’s attention, who had been sitting against the rock wall with her eyes closed but now jumps to her feet, alert, “Grab some sticks and burn them,” I say more quietly to her.
She nods, for once not complaining with an idea I had suggested.
The other girls come forward, while Celeste, who was by a window, reaches down and picks up some twigs while she is near the forest floor. When she approaches she hands the sticks to Kaelyn, who burns them in her hand in a blink of an eye with fire that had yellow and black licks of flame.
“We have to honour Seraphine,” I explain as Kaelyn hands me some charcoal, still hot. I try not to wince as I break some off into my hand, crumbling it down. Without another word, the girls copy me.
I dip my finger in the crushed charcoal and rub the black smears across the top of my right eye, along my brow, and down my cheek. I then start on my left eye, underneath I smear another line, then it continues in a curve up and over my forehead.
This was the mask Seraphine used as her warrior symbol, it was her guise.
Everyone knew what this pattern of charcoal represented.
Her fire was yellow highlighted with black, shadow fire of the Obsidian line. It burned through everything. Metal melted on touch, stone disintegrated. Shadow fire was the most destructive power anyone had ever seen on Kiyr. Seraphine’s blood line, Obsidian, was renown for ridiculously powerful offspring and the fire they harnessed.
Madeira Citrine were the predecessors, even more rare than Obsidian, their five-line linage was very, very old. Drusilla, Isa, Valencia, all Madeira Citrine descendants. Drusilla held a rule of over a thousand years of matriarchal power, she was killed when the males, Dark Gems, took back supreme power. Isa was the leader of the resistance for a hundred years, but committed suicide from failure after failure. Valencia, one of the greatest of the Madeira Citrine linage, won back female power in an incredible historic battle. But she only stood as matriarchal leader for two hundred years before another resistance of the Dark Gems took back over.
Back and forth, one to the other, the males and females competed for dominance.
It was the eternal history, simple yet incredibly complex, of the Gems.
We dominated the planet in a small population compared to that of Earth’s seven billion, yet only the most powerful lived at the Golden Palace. Royal Gems, the most important, were like gods and our power was equal to that of gods.
Hence we considered ourselves as such and we demanded the respect that such creatures deserved.
But respect. Respect was key. It came when you were in charge of all that power, the leader, the matriarchal society or the patriarchal.
The women were known formally as Gems because we held power-connections to certain gemstones that enhanced our powers.
“The Dark Gems,” I say aloud, wanting to remind the Seraphine Rebellion Squadron of exactly who we were and who they were, “Killed our arguably most important leader we’ve ever had. Seraphine. She was smart, strong and capable of leading everyone to peace. It’s tragic she barely lived for twenty-two years when those before her had lived decades if not centuries! We all remember the story. She was ambushed in her attempt to steal some documents she believed were integral to our future destiny on this planet. She never revealed to us what that was but she promised she would reveal it when she had the evidence. Instead, Traegr and the men present with him at the time of her capture, used their black abyss of want to drain not just her magic, but every bit of energy from her. We also contributed to her death, by filling the palace with diamonds – little did we know it would help in her death. The male’s desire grew until they turned into monsters of want, with no mercy and insatiable hunger and thirst for our touch. Only our touch pleases them, our skin, is their path way to power. We need to start making weapons, girls,” I nod at Celeste, the others, and finally look on at Kaelyn who has tears of passion already in her eyes. I reach forward and grab her hand, bringing her to my side as everyone else disperses, “You have to lead us into battle with them, Kaelyn. It’s your birth right. We have no one from the Madeira Citrine line left, no one has been reborn. You are the last female from Obsidian and there are no Ametrine among us who aren’t already with Traegr,” I try not to snarl his name. His Ametrine blood line were always the males that tended to rule, or take back power from the females of our past.
“Seraphine always looked up to you,” Kaelyn admits quietly, “Why did she prefer your advice over mine?”
“My water magic isn’t that powerful,” I shrug, surprised she’d admit to Seraphine preferring me over her, “But she liked that I was Sabir’s play thing, it meant she could use me to get the information she needed,” I look on Kaelyn’s artwork around her eyes, done to perfection just like Seraphine had once done, “You are the big guns, Kaelyn. I’m just the spy, the informant.”
“But you still have everyone’s respect, do you have mine?” Kaelyn asks this, with a tad of nervousness.
From my memory, we had done nothing but clash. She was always too bold, too fierce, too direct. I was the opposite. I reached my objectives with cunning and wit. I knew when to submit. That was Kaelyn’s only issue. She would never back down, ever.
You would think that was a good thing.
But I had memories of her being interrogated, she was told to give up the location of the Hidden Temple. Where we were now. Other girls were hurt for her silence.
Now her question intrigued me.
“I have respect for your authority, your power and your passion,” I say, as truthfully as possible. It didn’t mean I trusted her to lead as well as Seraphine did, but Kaelyn was also young and had to learn in time. I hoped she learned in time.
“Start making your own weapons then,” Kaelyn toughens her tone, “We’re heading back as soon as we can to rescue those other girls. The quicker we are the better. We need to have the surprise advantage. They don’t know that we now have full access to our power, our memories. I will tell the other girls, if any of us are caught or we fail... we pretend to know nothing.”
“Then we have to get rid of this,” I point to my charcoal mask and she smiles slowly.
“Ah yes,” she says, “But we’ll leave it on while we prepare. It’ll bring us together as a unity. Once we strike and get more girls back, we’ll have sufficient amounts to start building this place back up again to how it once was!” Kaelyn bounds off down the steps and starts yelling out orders while I go to find Celeste.
I can’t help but feel butterflies in my stomach as I comprehend what we are about to do.
The butterflies are that of being nervous, excited and anxious.
I find Celeste growing spear long branches with her magic out the sides of trees. She breaks them off and hands them to the girls lining up.
When she is done, she makes one for herself and offers one to me but I shake my head.
“No, thank you,” I say, hopping from foot to foot as I watch everyone prepare.
“I see that look in your eyes, Sapphire,” Celeste warns, she stops admiring her spear and places it against the tree to face me, lowering her voice, “Why don’t you want a weapon?”
“My wits and water are my weapon,” I state, like it is obvious.
“Your desires are your weakness,” she says disapprovingly, “I know what you are feeling, what you are thinking... I know you secretly want to get caught!” she whispers and when I try to glare at her, it doesn’t come across authentic at all.
“I don’t know what you are talking about, I’m happy here,” I say.
“The men aren’t obviously the only ones inflicted with the weakness of want,” Celeste turns from me, muttering to herself as she grabs a sharp rock and starts sharpening her spear.
“I’ll be fine, I know what I’m doing,” I say, sitting down, the rain had stopped but the ground was wet. I didn’t mind, I liked the damp feeling of the moss I sat on top of.
Celeste eventually turns to me and assesses me with judging eyes before sitting down next to me.
“If you get caught, I’m going with you,” she says.
“Ok, you know me too well, I confess I’m planning to get captured,” I admit.
“Damn right you were,” she says, trying not to laugh, “But I know why...”
“It’s not just that I believe I can be a good spy on the inside,” I explain, “It’s something personal, between me and Sabir. I only need to talk to him, exact some revenge, and then I’ll be out in no time.”
“That definitely sounds personal. So when do you think Kaelyn will give the order to leave?” Celeste wonders aloud.
“Probably as soon as she finishes riling everyone up for a fight,” I reply, grinning, “We don’t need a plan, our power will be enough for the surprise attack. Can you feel your magic?”
“The gates of hell are going to burst open when we get back to the palace,” Celeste says, with evil intent. It was rare to hear her speak so deviously and it makes me smirk.
“You’re spot on. Just don’t damage your room or mine, promise?” I give her my pinky, “We may as well do an earth-born promise. We are enhanced with more knowledge than ever before, let’s use it.”
“Pinky-promise accepted,” Celeste laughs and we clasp our little fingers together.
“As the great Drusilla Madeira Citrine once said, if you fall into the cup of defeat, get drunk on pleasure. To pleasure?” I wink, joking and not joking.
“To rebellion. We’ll drink to pleasure only if we fall in that cup, alright?” Celeste jumps to her feet and grabs my hand, dragging me up with her.
Kaelyn was getting everyone lined up for the final pep talk.
We were about to head off...
...back to the Golden Palace!