First there was only an absence of light. The Dark did not know it was dark, it simply was. Then came the devil. A tiny particle of light, but a grain of sand in the ocean of darkness. The light cut through the darkness until it had cut from it, a lion. The first lion and the first life. Ahdan. For six millenia, Ahdan wondered the earth, and everywhere he went, the light followed, continuing to cut life from the darkness. Plants, fish, rivers, oceans and animals, all were cut from the primordial darkness that is true creation.
The Canticle Of Dingan 1:27
Thirty thousand Afru-ikans were gathered in the Temple Of Osiris. The huge dome structure being the biggest building in the kingdom. There was a startling amount of silence for such a huge gathering. On the solid gold platform in the middle, the funeral pyre stood tall and radiated waves of sadness that seem to wash over the crowd and keep their eyes either staring down or blinking away tears. Laying on the top of the pyre was King Ichor Earth-Splitter. King Ichor was the first king of Afru-Ika, he had united the wild tribes of Afru-Ika by winning The Battle Of The Eighteen Princes, he had stood soaked in the blood of eighteen Clan Kings, and he been declared victorious and hailed as the first King Of Afru-Ika. For twenty years he had ruled with unparalleled determination, taking a continent of warring tribes and forging The Kingdom Of Afru-Ika. Though there was a lot resistance in the early years, King Ichor had dealt with all fairly and compassionately in an attempt to unite the land. Where compassion had failed, the spear and shield had been judge, jury and executioner of all who resisted. Before King Ichor, starvation was rife, thanks to King Ichor, no child in Afru-Ika ever went without food. The people loved him, and his death has thrown the Kingdoms future in the dark unknown.
Aeofax, son of Ichor and heir to the throne of his father, closed his eyes. He slowed his breathing and tried to block out the sounds of the crowd watching him. He picked up the flint and as steadily as he could manage, began to strike for fire. After three failed attempts he finally sparked a flame which hungrily consumed the kindling and leaves, roaring to maturity as a great blazing column of fire. The crowd began to hum The Canticle Of Delphi as they watched the body of King Ichor Earth-Splitter, being swallowed by the flames. Aeofax stepped away from The Floating Alter and took his place between his mother, Queen Minerva, and his sister Princess Lihaeri. He felt his mothers hand clasp into his gently. ‘You must make your move as soon as the Canticle is complete.’ she whispered soflty, her eyes still closed and her face completely void of emotion. Aeofax squeezed her hand reassuringly. ‘I will not falter.’
Around them the crowd hummed on and on, each verse getting lower and lower, until eventually after the last line was hummed, a tense silence spread over the crowd. Aeofax released his mother and walked towards the door and out of the temple. He did not stay to trade words with the well wishers and sycophants, he couldn’t afford to waste any time. His mother had uncovered information that his sister, Princess Lihaeri planned to take the throne for herself immediately the funeral proceedings ended. He had ordered fifty of his most loyal men to stand guard outside the throne room and await his arrival. As he approached he saw his men standing at attention, their firm, unwavering discipline keeping them alert at all times.
He turned around and was surprised to see Lihaeri striding towards him, a grim frown on her face and her eyes stained red with sadness.
‘Where are you rushing off to?’ She asked stopping a few meters away from him.
Aeofax folded his arms behind his back and signalled his men to ready themselves for a fight.
‘I merely thought to pay respect to fathers throne,’ he replied smiling at her.
She frowned at him for a few seconds saying nothing.
′ I could use my brother right now,′ she said smiling weakly.
‘I am alway-’
He was cut off by the sound of several men in armour running up from behind Lihaeri.
‘I will not let you tarnish fathers leacy,’ she said softly. ‘I love you brother, but Afru-Ika first.’
She draw her spear and lunged at Aeofax. But Aeofax was no stranger to battle, he anticipated the move and parried easily, he struck her with a backhand and drew pulled his knobkerrie from his back.
‘First cohort!’ He barked. ‘Secure the throne room.’
‘Disable them!’ Lihaeri ordered her men.
Soon the throne room was filled with the sounds of battle as Prince Aeofaxs soldiers engaged Princess Lihaeris.
Lihaeri jumped and brought down her spear in an upward arc aimed to severely dapriest Aeofaxs leg, but Aeofax was quick and far stronger than her, he blocked her blow and smashed his shield into her chest. Lihaeri fell out of the air and hit the ground like a fell tree. Before Aeofax could bring his spear down through her gut, she kicked out with her legs and knocked him to the ground. Aeofax swore and rolled out of her range. From inside the throne room they could hear the sounds of battle getting louder, as if even more soldiers had showed up. Lihaeri worried that her brother might have had extra men waiting in the throne room, she needed to end this fight and quickly. She feigned a stab maneuver and Aeofax instinctively stepped back, but instead of stabbing outwards, she brought her spear over her head and let it go, as it dropped down she kicked it and sent it flying straight into Aeofaxs shoulder. He roared in a pain and anguish and fell to his knees. The spear having gone all the way through his shoulder, the spearhead was sticking out of his back, spilling blood on the polished charcoal floor. Lihaeri didn’t stop to finish him off, she leapt over him and ran into the throne room. The scene was a mess. All of her brothers men were dead, laying on the floor next to all of hers. Standing in front of the throne were fifty soldiers, all wearing full war armour and carrying Ikan-Crossbows.
‘Lower your spear,’ ordered a womans voice from behind them.
‘There is no more need for resistance.’
The throne room doors crashed open and Aeofax fell into the room. Blood spilling freely from his wound.
‘Ah, perfect timing Aeofax,’ said the woman.
′ What is the meaning of this?′ Gasped Aeofax in obvious pain.
‘Your fathers legacy is not yours to tarnish,’ said the voice. ‘It is mine to protect.’
‘I am the heir to King Ichor,’ said Aeofax. ‘His legitimate heir. You have no claim.’
‘Who’s claim is more righteous than mine.’ Replied the woman as the guards shuffled aside to reveal the throne. ‘I stood with my husband throughout his campaign, when he cried in my breasts the night before the Conclave Of Eighteen. I took from him the firm fear of death and bore him children with it. I stood vigil as willing servant and loving wife as he took on the weight of the world and forged us into a kingdom. I alone how knowledge of what your father envisioned for us, and I alone shall lead us there.’
‘The people will never accept this!’ Said Lihaeri. ‘This is not our way. Osiris send for you!’
Aeofax was too weak to form words, his face was the colour of papyrus and sweat made his face appear as though he had been in the rain. He fell to the floor and simply shook his head as though even in death he would not approve his mothers plans.
‘At least you’ve taken care of him,’ said Queen Minerva nodding at Aeofax. ‘Now finish him off and I may yet let you live out your days, far away from here. You need not concern yourself with what the people will or will not accept, I can rule them as your father would have.’
‘You can’t possi-’
‘Do not bore me with talk!’ Snapped Queen Minerva. ‘You will kill him now or you will be executed with him.’
Lihaeri stared at her mother in shock, her knobkerrie shaking in her hand.
‘Guards if she does not kill him by the time I finish eating this cherry, fill them with bolts.’ She plopped the little red berry into her mouth and chewed slowly. The guards snapped to attention and aimed the bolts and Aeofax and Lihaeri. Lihaeri felt her heart pumping fear into her body, her hands were shaking violently. She took a deep breath and acted quickly before fear could paralyse her. She swung her knobkerrie swiftly and brought it down on Aeofaxs face. His blood spraying into her eyes and mouth. She gasped and stumbled backwards, the weapon falling from her trembling fingers.
‘Take her to Za-zah,’ ordered Queen Minerva snapping her fingers at her guards and leaving the throne room.
Lihaeri woke up naked laying on her back on course hard sand. Her first thought:Why can’t I feel my hands or feet? She tried to move her arms and immediately screamed out as a white hot pain spread through her hands. She tried to sit up but her head was wedged between two huge stones. She strained her eyes to see what was going on. It took all of her willpower not to scream and thrash. Her hands had been nailed to stones bigger than the ones holding her head and laid down on either side of her. Her feet were bound tightly and strapped to a thick spike in the ground. To her right kneeling in the sand holding a ceremonial Kr’ia dagger, was the citadel Sangoma, Za-zah WoodTempt
‘Lord Anubis may you have mercy on this traitor,’ muttered Za gently placing the wooden dagger against Lihaeris lips. Lithaeris was too shocked and scared to move, she had heard of Zas powers and couldn’t believe that the woman who had taught her nature hekas, was working with her mother to betray her fathers legacy. Before she could dwell on this too much, she felt thin strands of wood worming their way into her mouth. She tried to resist and chew them to pieces, but she couldn’t move her head and the roots were too solid to be chewed through. She could only lay there in terror as her muffled screams failed to drown out the sounds of the roots growing in her mouth. She felt them wrap around her tongue and tighten like a snake. Tighter and tighter they squeezed until eventually Lihaeris could bare it no more and her eyes rolled back into the darkness.
On the dawn of the seventh millenia when he had walked on every sand and sipped from every river, Ahdan came to rest on the land of his creation; Afru-Ika. Ahdan had never roared, for there was nothing and no one to hear. From this thought, the darkness was finally able to cut from the light, a small hole inside Adhan that could only be filled with an absence of the silence.
The Canticle Of Dingan 1:34