Chapter 1~ Slaughter Harvest
Swiftly she travels through the woods, too scared to stop and catch her breath. She has been running for what felt like hours. She had been doing all she can to outsmart her captors. She is aware that running back to her village would be a mistake. This is what they wanted; this is what they are hoping she will do.
Nalah is a Makah Nirvatran. Most Nirvatrans maintained a blue complexion, but her people have the ability to change their skin color to various shades of purple and blue, or to replicate another’s skin tone temporarily; however, they rarely used this ability, and maintained a vivid blue complexion like everyone else of their realm. They’re from a dying breed of Nirvatrans, fighting for the survival of their people. Nalah is also the daughter of the most respected spiritual leader of her village and surrounding villages.
She and others from her village were out on a hunt when she narrowly escaped Navah hunters who invaded her hunting camp. She knew these woods very well; however, her enemy was very determined to catch her. She knew what happened to the females that they captured, and she had no intention of becoming one of their victims.
The Navah people are known by the Nirvatrans as the dark hearts. They lived a short distance away from Nirvatra, inhabiting a completely different realm. The atmosphere matched their hearts; cold, dark and unloved. The rulers of that kingdom only cared about ego, wealth, vanity, and privilege. They would gladly kill their own mother if it would grant them whatever their cold dark hearts desired.
The Navah natives hunted Nirvatrans not for any sort of profitable gain or use; it was all in the name of pure hate and to destroy what they could not understand. They hated everything about the Nirvatrans. From The peaceful way they lived their lives; how they interacted with each other to mostly their unique glow…it was that glow that shines forth from their aura. It wasn’t the type of light you could see with the naked eye, it came from their spirit and that enraged the Navah nation. They had to put an end to it…stifle their light, and make them submit to their way of life or just die.
Her heart feeling as if it would burst caused her to stop and find quick shelter behind a large tree. She did her best to catch her breath and remain quite by listening to the woods around her for unfamiliar sounds. Her mind drifted to her brother and cousins who had been with her earlier. They all scattered at the first opportunity they could get. It was an indisputable decision. This was a lesson that was taught long before they were ever allowed to wander out into the woods. They were all well trained by their elders. Should any of them survive, then he or she would be the one to report back to the village once it appeared safe enough to return.
As long as they maintained their emotions and follow their training everything would work out for the best. Nalah said a quick prayer to the Creator and mentally prepared herself to continue on. Just as she was about to make her first move she heard footsteps traveling on fallen leaves coming her way. And they were moving fast. Was it her brother or a cousin? She wanted to look, but feared an enemy would see her. Who could this be? How could she escape? Surly this person was running for his life. It had to be one of her relatives; she could tell by the sureness of their steps that they knew this forest very well. But so did many well-trained Navah hunters, she reminded herself.
Stepping out from behind the tree she faced the on comer. Relieved yet startled, seeing that it was her brother being chased by a very aggressive Navah warrior. Her brother yanked her pulling her from her shock to run in front of him, and ahead of their enemy. Instinctively they began to run in a zigzag formation. Abruptly they came to a sudden stop at the edge of a jagged cliff. Dirt and rocks slipped off the cliff’s edge onto the sharp boulders miles below them.
“We should split, he can’t chase us both!” Nalah suggested, glancing back over her shoulder. He was coming and he appeared to have no intention of stopping. Victory would soon be in his reach.
“You must get back to Papa,” he warned.
“Meet me by the river, on the other side,” Nalah demanded, they both raced off in the opposite direction of each other.
If it was one thing Kahlan hated more than a drawn out chase, is being outwitted by a Nirvatran. He has been chasing one of them for the past hour only to discover another…a female…a very beautiful female. Although he only caught a glimpse of her beauty, an unmistakable seed had planted itself in the depths of his soul causing an unrecognized sensation in the pit of his stomach.
Unfortunately he would have to kill them both. It wasn’t the first time he chooses to follow his orders over his desire. Maybe after killing the male he could play with the female before he killed her too, he thought. But what will the others think of him degrading himself by being with such a low and despicable being. They weren’t worthy of respect or neither life.
They were almost in his grasp until he started realizing there was a change of strategy. Why are they standing there? What are they planning? Quickening his pace, excitement started to grow in his heart knowing that this would soon be over and he could return to his father and receive more respect and recognition for being a highly skilled hunter then just for being the royal prince. Suddenly seeing the cliff edge he began to come to a stop cursing when they split in separate directions. Who should I follow? He thought pausing for a moment.
Her lungs ached, but her body refused to give up. She knew that her brother was a skilled warrior, and this eased her worries. She ran for a while finally realizing she was not the one he chose to chase, once more, panic stricken her. Could her brother make it? Could he out wit their enemy?
She slowed her pace checking over her shoulders to make sure her original suspicion was correct. No one was there; she was alone, and somewhat safe for now, at least. Pain gripped her heart, she now feared for her brother more than before. What if he caught up to him what if…the thought is too much too bear. She found her legs running back; she would not let her brother stand-alone. Nalah had no plan; all she knew is that the hunter would not expect to be hunted.
He was fast and elusive, Kahlan noted. He admired his skill; however, it only made the chase more exciting. If only his body would agree, this would be a lot easier. He was very fit, but today’s hunt was a bigger challenge then what was previously expected. The Nirvatrans are becoming wiser; they are more prepared than the ones in the past.
He cursed again realizing that he had lost track of him once more, coming to a stop he decided to catch his breath, clear his mind and try to think like a Nirvatran. “Where would I hide, what would I do?” He questioned himself.
Quickly he spun around at a noise made behind him, Kahlan searched through the dense woods with his eyes. Was someone lurking there? It was hard to hear over his pounding heart and heavy breathing.
A small animal quickly traveled out of the woods and across the short clearing. He chuckled to himself. “What am I afraid of? I am the hunter,” he boasted to himself. Filled with ego and pride he turned back towards his original direction. Deep down in his heart he just wanted this to be over. The easy thing would be to give up, tell everyone that he killed his hunt and be done with it, but the rules and requirements demand that he show proof of his kill, and the more severed heads the better.
Nalah was grateful for the distraction. She silently scolded herself for making the noise that caused him to turn around. Happy to see that her brother had eluded him she rethought her plan. Maybe I’m overreacting, she thought. Of course the opportunity of catching him off guard was just too much to pass up. She continued her pursuit, determined not to lose her brother to this beast.
An hour passed. She had hoped he would have given up by now, but he was relentless. Nalah admired his dedication although it would be better used on a more meaningful purpose, not taking a life, and especially not her brother’s.
Evening had fallen in Nirvatra. The sky dimmed and a cool breeze gently glided through the woods. Soon everyone at camp will know that something is not right. They all should have returned by now. Nalah worried about her people, what her father may do should he fear the worse for his children.
A sudden crash pulled her from her deep thoughts, demanding her attention. Her brother yelled out in pain, the enemy had found him. Nalah rushes towards them swiftly grabbing a large rock from the ground. She let out a war cry as she leapt up into the air using all of her strength to slam the jagged rock into her enemy’s head.
He yelled out in pain as blood flooded his face, blinding his sight. He swung at his unknown assailant missing her with each swing. Nalah glanced down at her brother noticing an arrow had pierced his shoulder.
“Can you run?!” she questioned him.
“Need to brake off this arrow, or it will get hooked in the woods,” he replied. She struggled trying to break it with her hands, but the wood was too strong. “Go save yourself!” he demanded.
“No, I’m not going home without you!”
“Nalah, please!” he insisted.
The enemy had regained his composure and was now coming towards them. Nalah was thrown aside by her brother as he leapt to his feet. The two men fought aggressively, both skilled and determined to survive. Nalah searched the woods for a large wooden stick or another rock. She found something better, a small orange flower well known to her people as the sleep flower. Just place a drop of the sap on your victim and it will render them useless for hours.
Carefully she picked a flower using a small patch of leather skin from her pouch. Her heartbeat steadied itself as she made her way back to the fight. The enemy was gaining over her brother, his back was turned to her, and she could see the sweat glistening on his skin. This was perfect; the sweat would only help the poison work faster. Quickly she crushed the flower in the leather cloth and attacked the enemy smearing as much of the poison as possible onto his bare skin.
He turned and laughed at what appeared to be a failed attempt to harm him. “I must say you are one determined woman,” he stumbled backwards confused by his sudden weakness. “Wh-what did you do?” he murmured, falling to his knees.
She smiled, throwing down the leather and grabbing a knife that had fallen from her brother. “You will feel how determined I am!” she shouted lounging towards him. She focused on his heart making it her cherished target. As she ran towards him she noticed something that caused her to fall to her knees before him. Her heart pounding loudly in her chest, her brother stared at her bewildered, and so did their enemy.
She stared at the center of his chest speechless by what she was seeing, the knife still in her hand and her mouth agape. “H-how…how could this be?” she murmured. Her mother’s words rang through her spirit. “You will know when you have found the one the Creator has sent for you…his heart will glow a fiery red, intense is his passion for you.”
“Do it!” her brother yelled. “Kill him, or he will kill us!”
Nalah looked at her brother and then back at their enemy, he slumped over to his side passing out from the poison. “We must take him back, we must know all that he knows so that we can defeat all of our enemies,” she lied. However, it was a good lie. The tribe could benefit from any information they could get out of him.
“Is that what you saw?” her brother questioned.
“Y-yes,” she lied again, afraid to tell her brother the truth, ashamed by what she felt inside.
“Tie him up and we will drag him back, you better pray that you are right about this, or his people could find our entire family and kill us all,” her brother warned.
Nalah, couldn’t go through with it, she couldn’t allow her people to be killed because of what she saw. She looked pass the woods out to the cliff edge. If she killed him now, she would spend the rest of her life alone. But if she brought him to her people, she would risk losing everyone she loved.
Release Date 5/15/14