“Father,” Nunka began as he materialized on the cliffside. “The chief is willing to organize a meeting with you. But he said he wants to meet with you when the sun is at its highest peak…” Nunka growled as he glared in the direction of the small human encampment. “We could bleed them dry and make the survivors bow to us. We could easily become their gods.”
“We will do no such thing son,” Cain said, his expression unreadable. “There are more humans like him and if we are to become what is deserving of worship, we must prove to them that we are worthy of worship. We must show them that their lives are dependent on survival. We will create a new world that will reward the strong and punish the weak as is divine order.”
“Their fear will provoke the same results,” Nunka stated stiffly.
“Yes. But for how long? Slaughtering humans for the sake of spilling blood will eventually bring ruin to us,” Cain argued. “We have avoided heavenly onslaughts for this long, let us not tempt the hands that spin the wheel.”
“We are faster, stronger, and more equipped for survival than these weakling humans who are nothing less than food,” Nunka spat. “And yet we are forced to hide in the shadows-“
“Trust me,” Cain continued. “We will not have to hide anymore.” The original turned to face the direction of the human encampment, enamored with the simplicity of their ways of life. They worshipped the moon, setting out offerings underneath the dimming sky and shared stories of how the moon goddess tricked the sun into giving her some of his light. It was all interesting to observe. The human women were beautiful in their wild glory. Hair as wild and free as their spirits as they gathered water from the nearby spring. The scent of their blood caught a ride on the soft breeze and into Cain’s nostrils. He inhaled deeply. Humanity blossomed had beyond the lands of Adam, stretching out beyond the Great Sea and further into unknown territories.
And it would be here that he would build an army, unlike that ever seen, and his name alone would crack the back, the very spine of humanity. And never again would he and his family would have to live in the shadows where they had been cast. Luluwa and Naima would the night goddesses worthy of worship, while Cain stood at the center of the pantheon as the Destroyer of worlds.
“Tell him that we will be there when the sun is at its highest peak,” Cain commanded his son, “And Nunka?”
“You and Naima are not to feed anywhere within the immediate radius of these people. There will come a time when we will no longer have to hunt but until then, we must earn their trust.”
“Yes Father,” Nunka sighed.
Cain waited for his son to disappear before ducking back into the small hut that he built for shelter. Luluwa sat propped against the wall, clutching Selene to her breast. Cain smiled as a thin line of blood dripped from Lulawa’s bosom.
“She is doing well,” he smiled, admiring his infant daughter.
“She is,” Luluwa agreed. “considering everything that has happened, she is a rather calm infant. Have you heard anything of Eliana?”
Cain’s eyes met Luluwa’s heartbroken stare. She looked exhausted from the long nights of feeding Eliana who was growing at an exponential rate. Luluwa needed to feed sooner rather than later and not only from his veins but from Nunka’s and Naima’s. His poor wife. His own black heart had been consumed with rage and strategy, he nearly left her to starve while in the process of caring for Selene. But it was just not her belly that hungered, her heart hungered for the company and love of her children, two of which were taken from her and the other one having disappeared. Nunka and Selene were all she had left.
“I promise you that Tati and Tyre will be avenged and justly,” he gritted with his teeth. “All of the sons of Adam will pay for Aklia’s crimes.”
“I don’t want to lose another one of my children Cain,” she whispered heavily. “The loss of another child is not something I wish to take.”
“You wont have to Luluwa, my love, my precious queen of the deepest sea,” Cain told her. “Your grief is mine. And when all is done, Tati and Tyre’s memories will continue…and somehow, someway, Eliana will find her way home to us.”
“We have heard of you,” the tribal Elder said in his foreign tongue. “You bring nothing but death to whatever lands you reach.”
“I am what I am,” Cain said calmly. “And what I bring is balance. I restore order to a world that would soon rather become chaotic.”
“Our Queen Mother wanted us that you would soon arrive,” the tribal Elder continued, leery as with gaze as he studied Cain. “She warned us that you and your offspring would bring blood and ruin to the land and that rather than bringing balance, you would create more creatures like yourself that bleed the earth realm dry. Our souls would never return to the earth as they would remained trapped in a damned body.”
“This old fool be best to watch his tongue,” Nunka hissed to Naima, who looked on from a few feet behind her husband.
“Hush Nunka,” she fussed from underneath the thick covering of a sheepskin hood. “Let your father work. That human will submit as they all will. Just watch.”
“You have an enemy to the East that has been raiding your lands, do you not?” Cain asked, looking in the direction of the mountainous peaks that stood like proud pillars balancing the weight of the world. “Raiding your lands, stealing your crops and your animals…killing your men and raping your women…Your people live in fear and those who closer to the lands of your enemies are too afraid to even leave their dwellings for a drink of water.”
“That is not of your concern,” the tribal Elder huffed stepping forward. A younger male, of heavier build gently laid his hand on the Elder’s shoulder to calm him. As if understanding the subtle cue, the Elder slightly relaxed. “What exactly do you want from us other than our bodies as food.”
Nunka’s low growl permeated the air. The small group of men ranging in age from mid twenties to upper eighties bristled and took slow steps back away from Cain and his family. Cain raised his hand at Nunka to silence him.
“We can help you. We do not wish to harm those who serve us. Please,” Cain said softly. “Allow us to help you – earn your trust – and you will soon learn that we are not the nightmares that your Queen Mother pictured us to be.”
The Elder looked at his supporters uneasily . Cain’s humbled demonstration was nothing more than a ruse. But to decline and spit in the entity’s face would bring guaranteed death to him and his people. Those who would attempt to defy him would meet a painful end. The Elder knew that those with the hottest of blood would fight against this, but he refused to see any of them ripped apart. The Elder knew more about Cain than Cain may have known, including the names of the children that did not stand with him today.
“The people that terrorize our lands, the numbers are many,” the Elder reluctantly began. “We accept your offer on the strength that you do not desecrate our lands or our people. Our people are not to be sacrificed for your fill. Our blood is not yours.”
Cain smiled, careful not to expose his set of razor sharp fangs. “We understand and we accept.” He turned and quickly nodded at his son. “We will conquer your enemy, bring victory to your name and to your people and then…we will talk about the future.”
The Elder felt the terrified and hateful glares from his supporters behind him, knowing that he made a terrible mistake. And as Cain dematerialized into the ether in front of the group, the Elder silently vowed to find a way to destroy the enemy that was more of a curse upon whatever land he sought, even if it meant giving his final breath.