Xitahn-an Warrior Rebellion
As Elias stepped in his home, he caught sight of Te' Lashar punching their second daughter, who instinctively ran toward him seeking favour.
“My Rala, you are home!”
Elias shoved her aside. “Kaajuks! Do not Rala me when you allow your Sisi to hit you so easily. How long before you learn to block and punch back? For Xitahn's sake, we have been over it so many times Sarrus Te' Meetay!”
Sarrus looked down. “Rala, I have no desire to follow the warrior path.” she said quietly.
Te' Lashar threw up her hands. “You see what I'm working with? This is what happens when you insist upon having organic offspring!”
“Our genes were scrutinized for compatibility and defect, none were found. There is nothing wrong with her, aside from the stubbornness she inherited from you.”
“From both of us,” Te' Lashar corrected. “Sarrus, despite your genetic analysis stating you to be void of error, I am inclined to wonder if you are either auditory impaired or a simpleton. We have explained time and time again, you must learn to fight in order to be beaten only by the best of suitors that request your attention for mateship. As for your life path, we are liberated enough to allow you to choose your own. No one is asking you to become a warrior.”
“Mateship? Ha! Unless I intend to mate with one of my male siblings, there are no other Xitahn-ans in existence to request my attention, or maybe you wish for me to one day procreate with my Rala?”
Since the destruction of their planet over a century ago, to date their family were the only Xitahn-ans they knew of. For the reputation their specie had as being barbarous bullies of their star system, making friends was a difficult task. Once responsible for causing others to claim refugee status amongst neighbouring planets, they now tasted the result of karmic repercussion, and it was bitter.
Te' Lashar grabbed her daughter's hair and jerked her head back. “Do you hear the words from her mouth, so defeatist like a fasaporan, yet you insist her genes to be error free? Did you pay the analyst to lie about our compatibility?” Before Elias could spit back a venomous response, his mate let out a squeal. “What is this on your neck?”
“Nothing!” Sarrus squirmed under her Sisi's grip enough to turn around and elbow her in her stomach and stamp on her foot. As Te' Lashar released her hair, she elbowed her Sisi again, this time as an uppercut to the chin. She then shoved her to the ground and was about to stamp on her neck, but was dragged off her feet and suspended in the air by the strong arm of her Rala. Her watching siblings clapped emphatically.
Much of the reason Xitahn-ans were regarded as such a hostile race, was due to their aggressive natures that was based on survival of the fittest. Being a male energy planet, his indigenous specie were predominantly male also. The females were typically taller and stronger than the males as a balanced trade off for their lesser numbers. Their mating rituals were such, that to earn the attention of a female and be granted the honour of her womb, through which a man's lineage and thus 'eternal life' could be secured, a male had to prove that he could keep any offspring she may give him protected from aggressors external to the family unit. Thus, proof of worth was shown by fighting and even killing. Males revered their female counterparts and would readily go on a murderous spree to earn their attention and more importantly, continuance of his legacy. Over time the competition for female attention became ego based and proof of worth was no longer limited to being shown against other Xitahn males, but over other extra-planetary species that became the unwitting prizes for their women. Hence Elias having been off-world at the time of his planet's destruction. He had been away, claiming the head of a neighbouring planet's monarch. The Penshilar were not aggressors, but they far from being a meek race. For such a travesty, war would have surely ensued, but Zauba'ah; a warrior goddess sent to pass judgement on their planet, had exacted her deployment of annihilation before one could be declared.
Adolescent Xitahn-an females had to be able to subdue their male counterparts in defence of her womb, while in turn, males had to be able to fight for the right to gain access to one. As such, adult females were charged with teaching the art of war, by way of introducing them to battle by play fighting with their offspring almost as soon as they could walk. Before then, fathers - or Ralas as was the An-zing (language of the Xithan-ans) term, would prepare their young by playfully tussling with them, however most could never bring themselves to deliberately strike their children. It was seen as cowardice to fight one who was an offspring or equivalent, thus the mothers – Sisi', was commonly the disciplinarian in their culture.
“See, nothing wrong with her genes. She can fight just fine. Thank Xitahn, I was beginning to think we were raising a whore.” Sarrus continued to squirm, her legs kicking in the air as her Rala turned his attention from Te' Lashar to her neck. “This looks like a burn, who did this to you!”
“Let me go! I said it was nothing!” Sarrus kicked and punched at her Rala as hard as she could.
“Sarrus, don't force me to break tradition and beat respect into you. You will tell me how you got that burn or I will request your Sisi to discipline you harshly. After that uppercut you slipped in, I'm sure she would gladly teach you some choice moves by force.” Sarrus, stopped kicking and allowed her body to slump. Sanctioned sparring with her Sisi was one thing, but if Te' Lashar was to beat her for real... ugh, it just wasn't worth having an arm or leg fractured for. Besides, she was still healing from the last punishment that was aimed at her ribs. Elias put her down and stared hard into his daughter's eyes, then shifted his gaze back to her neck. He turned toward his other offspring. “Vacate the room, do not re-enter unless requested to.”
“Ah, but Rala we want to see Sarrus fight again, she's actually very skilled no?” said Nekosa, Sarrus' male twin, thinking he was assisting her plight. He had never understood why his sister had insisted on downplaying her fighting skills. His smile quickly vanished as Elias glared at him and blinked twice slowly. “You heard Rala, vacate!” he yelled protectively at his siblings.
Elias grabbed his daughter by her tunic and lethargically shoved her toward her Sisi.
Te' Lashar began to tremble with worry. Even she had never seen Elias like this; as though he wanted to kill, but was too deflated to even raise a fist. He looked... impotent. She grabbed her daughter and stared at her neck trying to see what caused her mate's countenance to drop so. “What is it that your Rala has seen?”
“Change your eyesight, increase your scent.” Elias said quietly.
Te' Lashar obliged and immediately responded by punching her daughter square in the face. Sarrus slowly began to smile. Her Sisi tried to punch her again, but she caught her fist and twisted it. Elias sat down in a huff and let them fight. He shook his head as he observed just how skilled his daughter was. She was almost as good as her Sisi, in fact, she was better. He could see she was holding back and it infuriated him to the point of him stepping in and giving his daughter a sharp slap. His action shocked Sarrus and Te' Lashar both. The former raised her hand to touch her cheek and fell to her knees screaming.
“Elias, why? I was handling it!”
“No, you weren't. She was handling you. Can't you see she was toying with you? She is highly skilled which means she is a whore! Whomever she mated with, she didn't make them fight for her honour. She just gave it away!” Elias was livid. “Why Sarrus? Are you that loathing of being Xitahn-an? Sleep with as many as you want, I care not, but for the love of Xitahn, make them fight for it! They must fight to earn that privilege Sarrus! Many should die at your hand trying to prove their worth. At your skill level, that 'many' should enter into the hundreds!” Elias doubled over, holding himself up only by resting his hands at his knees. The past rotation had been way too long, he was already tired and irritable, and now his daughter was really testing his patience. He suddenly stood erect and strode over to yank up his daughter from her knees and raised his hand to hit her again. “Who is he?” he demanded.
Te' Lashar dove and caught his arm. “No Elias, please don't hit her again, I beg you please! Sarrus, please let your Rala restore your honour by killing them for you. Please, just don't make him any angrier. Oh my goddess, Sarrus please, see your Rala's eyes, he is slow blinking, you know he isn't just making noise. Oh my goddess, please don't let him kill our offspring.” A combination of the burn of her Rala's slap followed by his slow blinking and her Sisi beside herself with fear, made Sarrus realise that she had taken things too far. Was the Xitahn female honour code that serious? But if she surrendered the name of someone she wanted to protect, wouldn't that be breaking a code too? “Satra!” she heard her Sisi scream for the Clan Mother's intervention. Then a sudden silence.
All of them felt the sting of the loss of their revered Clan Mother. Enough to make Elias release his grip, allowing a trembling Sarrus to fall to the ground. He turned and walked out without another word. Te' Lashar grabbed her daughter and held her close, saddened and disappointed, but relieved.
“Sisi,” Sarrus whispered. “there has only been one. Before that one, I told Satra of my desire. She beat me in the tradition of our people. Said if I wished to give myself away without a fight it was the least she could do to save my honour. I swear I have the scars to prove it Sisi, but last time I gave myself... she was gone. Died. I had no one to fight, I miss her so much Sisi.”
“Foolish girl, you had me Sarrus, you had me! Why did you not speak to me?”
“Because only Satra knew.” Sarrus wiped her eyes. “Only Satra knew, that it wasn't a 'he' or a 'she'. I'm tri-sexual Sisi, my lover is Tanuwran.”
“Oh my goodness, I think I'm going to be sick!” Te' Lashar pushed her daughter off her and followed her mate's example and stormed out of their residence.
Discovering her daughter's sexuality smarted a little, but that she was intimate with a Tanuwran was simply too much to take in. Yes they were pretty to look at, but they were far from being a warrior specie. In fact they were the opposite; they tended to innately lean towards being Amative, though not all of them were. The specie were pale blue skinned, androgynous body-typed hermaphrodites. They typically bore no allegiance to a particular gender, though some characteristically leaned towards one or another. And yes, indeed they were a very attractive specie. Te' Lashar could almost sympathise with the fact that her daughter had fallen for a Tanuwran, but if it wasn't bad enough that they were flirtatious seducers, their specie were genetically incompatible with Xitahn-ans. The burns on Sarrus' neck were caused by coming into contact with Tanuwran bodily fluids. Te' Lashar, paused to grab at the corridor wall to steady herself as she heaved at the thought. Her daughter was not only giving her honour away without a fight, she was torturing herself for the sake of her attraction to this random being who was so lacking in aggression, that to fight one was a dishonour in itself. No wonder Sarrus had kept their affair a secret.
Of course Tanuwrans weren't actually seducers; flirtatious, yes, but not seducers. Granted, it was hard not to see them as such when it was difficult to even look at one without questioning one's own sexuality. They had large navy blue eyes framed with long black lashes, that were like deep pools one could find themselves drowning in. Their movement was graceful and delicate. Their language was primarily a spoken tongue, but about thirty percent of it was conveyed by way of gestures made with their slender, six long-fingered hands. Something about the way they spoke in this manner was hypnotising to those who were not of their specie. Theirs was one of the species for whom universal translator implants were a necessity. It was difficult to accurately speak their language if one belonged to a specie that didn't have as many fingers. If they came across a specie whose language they had not learned or otherwise been exposed to, a decent level of communication was near impossible. However, a fortunate compromise was that they naturally excelled in languages and were probably the most vast polyglots in the multiverses. In fact, it was their specie that were most often sought as interpreters and diplomats. It was they too who programmed legal universal translators to pick up on idioms and colloquialisms that were difficult for even the most fluent polyglots to accurately convey.
Te' Lashar imagined her beloved Sarrus permitting one of those toxic blue creatures to dance their six fingered hands over her offspring's body and heaved again.
Nekosa entered the reception room where his twin sat on the floor clasping her knees to her chest. “It's that one I saw you talking to half a cycle ago isn't it?”
“It's not your business. Rala told you not to come out until requested.”
“As first born and protector of your honour, it is my business. Anyway the walls are thin, I couldn't help overhearing.”
Sarrus glared at her brother. “First born by barely a sub-par degree, and the walls are soundproof you gatenfa! You were snooping! That Rala told you to vacate means that even he respected my privacy on this, it is not your business!” Nekosa stamped his foot and headed for the door. “Where are you going?” Sarrus scrambled up from where she sat.
“To kill that thing you call a lover! It has harmed you and brought shame on our family.”
“No, no! Goddess Zauba'ah please hear me, don't make me choose between them please!” Sarrus was beside herself. She froze as her prayer was answered and a semi-present Zauba'ah manifested beside her. She threw herself onto her knees and prostrated so low that her head touched the ground. “I'm sorry I didn't mean... I mean its an honour, I never thought I'd earn the right to see you in person.”
“Get up my child. You speak of me as though I were some kind of supreme deity. The reason you have not seen me in person is for your own protection.”
Sarrus stood up slowly, but kept her head hung low. “Then why now? I have prayed to you many times before.”
“Like I said, I am not a deity, neither am I an administrator. I have no time to respond every time my name is called as though it were a wellness update in need of a reply. I am called and even summoned by many, over a million times a revolution at least. I hear all of those that utter my name, but I answer only to my Degree or the Etherian. All else depends on either on the level of urgency, my interest and/or mission schedule. Today you happened to catch my interest and I am between missions.”
“My N9ne, if it pleases you to explain, how did I draw your attention?”
“Today you showed character, if you were Qheltarian like myself, this would be the day you would have developed into your creature form. That and the fact that you made the observation that I should have given more consideration to; the lack of other Xitahn-ans to mate with. However it also concerns me that you are self-harming as a act of defiance. You really do hate your specie don't you?”
“That's not true, its just that I'm really drawn to Isimaruf, it is as if...”
“You call my name daily, and yet belittle my person. Save the lies for your Sisi and Rala, I know you better than that.” Zauba'ah tapped the side of her head. “I may not appear every time one of my followers verbally clicks his fingers for my attention, but I see and hear all of you. To deliberately lay with an incompatible specie that you know your parents would kill on your behalf, is self-harming. Or do you think I cannot hear your screams when your skin burns in response to your so called 'intimacy' with them? I know intimacy on more levels than your imagination could conjure and that is not what is happening between you both. You hate being Xitahn-an for the way you are looked upon by others, but know this, your kind have paid the penalty for their atrocities. Embrace who you are and become a proud member of your specie. One to be exemplified as an example of the best of who you once were. Now if it pleases you dear child, stop feeling sorry for yourself. Go beat up your brother, apologise to your parents and request that Nefis direct you onto The Path at 720 degrees sharp.” Zauba'ah's spirit form faded to rejoin her physical body.
Sarrus was left standing with her eyes wide, wondering whether or not she had just been invited to become an Initiate like her parents. She rubbed her neck and winced at the pain, then sighed as she went to go find Nekosa before he found Isimaruf.
This chapter is an excerpt from the forthcoming book, "Chronicles of Zauba'ah" by Tosin Coker aka The Afrofuturologist.