A/N: I had originally planned to make this a one shot except I then realized there’s a lot of history to be covered even if I am skipping parts. Ah well on to the story.
Ten years later
Roho gasped as he woke from the dead. He looked around widely and was relieved to find he was at their camp. He stood up, “Jendayi?” He came upon the older woman sitting twenty feet away from the protection of their circle. She was atop of a dune staring into the black night. Roho kneeled down beside her. “What happened?”
Jendayi shook her head. “Sef. He and his Shadowmen have another Slayer. Another woman that can fight as well as any demon warrior. A woman that no longer has any hope of a husband or child. This one was even younger than my Naiki. But she did not fight as well.”
“Then the woman we saw was gifted like Naiki. But she seemed so wild like a demon.” Roho said slowly.
“She is not gifted, she is cursed to follow those Shadowmen and to have no life of her own. She was wild like Naiki was when I was not around. Do you not remember when you first met my daughter?” Jendayi turned to face Roho. “This curse continues from woman to woman when one dies another takes her place. I have seen twelve Slayers since my Naiki died. Do you not remember the woman by the river she was killed not even before the ending of the sun.”
“Yes I remember. Did this one kill me as well? I do not remember admist all the other demons claws and fangs.” Roho wondered.
“Then did she kill you as well?”
“No she did not.” Jendayi gave a small smile, “She looked at me and a look of peace overcame her for a moment. She smiled at me as if she knew me. Then she fought even harder.” Jendayi looked away. “We managed to kill all of the demons but then the Shadowmen came. They took her like you would a wild animal. Sef was there as well. That man nearly had a fit when he saw me. He likely thought I had been dead for many seasons. But there was nothing I could do to save this Slayer. It was all I could do to drag you back to our camp.”
“We should go back to our circle. It is not safe out here.” Roho tried to gently pull Jendayi to her feet.
However the older woman resisted, “Maybe I do not wish to be safe. I lived to be an old woman even before my first death. I have outlived my child by many seasons. And even worse I have lived to see men continually force a demon spirit into women in the name of saving our way of life.”
“You have lived to see your daughter grow up. You have lived to see her overcome unimaginable odds. You have saved many people from the demons that still walk the desert,” Roho nudged her in the shoulder, “including one very handsome young man. And you will live many seasons more if I have my say.”
Jendayi laid her head on his shoulder, “A wise women once told me that the Gods do not smile on those who walk the desert alone. I am glad they have blessed me with you.”
Forty years later (Somewhere in now a day Libya)
“If I must weave one more stitch of clothing I will go mad.” Roho declared as he dropped the pieces of clothe he was attempting to weave together.
Jendayi placed the clothes she was working on the ground and picked up the staff of wood that was lying beside her. “Then perhaps you would prefer an exercise more suited to a man.” Jendayi stood gracefully and tapped Roho on the arm with her staff. “Let us fight.”
Roho grinned and quickly grabbed his own staff. The two began to spar avidly. They did not hold back their hits. And Roho did not go easy on Jendayi even though not only was she a woman but one he consider a second mother. In fact very soon Jendayi was becoming more and more the victor of the sparring match. She managed to knock Roho off his feet as well as disarm him of his staff and she placed her staff above his heart.
Jendayi was about to put out her hand to help Roho back to his feet when a large rock came whizzing by her head. She was barely able to move in time. Roho quickly jumped to his feet and grabbed his staff.
“Get away from the demon we will hold her off.” A man of about 18 years threw another rock at Jendayi. There were two men beside him the same age who were also picking up rocks as well.
Roho used his staff to hit the rock away from her. “She is no demon.” He stood defensively in front of Jendayi.
“Of course she is. Look at the color of skin. She must be a demon or cursed by one.” One of the men shouted.
“I am no demon. I was born with this skin. No curse or taint on my soul caused this.” Jendayi stepped beside Roho. “I fight those of demon blood.”
“You a woman? Fight demons? How? You are much too old.” The tallest man said.
“Maybe she is one of the chosen one?” One of the men whispered.
“No she is much too old.” The other man argued.
Just then three demons came up from behind the three men. The demons were not vampires but were red skinned with horns and flames for eyes. They were fire demons and the only way to kill them was to put out the fire in their eyes. The only problem was that you first had to break their eyelids and then get close enough to blow out the flame.
“Look behind you.” Roho screamed.
The men turned to look behind them and gave varying degrees of yelps and screams. Jendayi had already grabbed her spear and several stakes as well as a hide skin filled with water. “Quickly Roho!” Roho followed her past the three men with gaping expressions and began to fight the demons. Jendayi managed to douse two of the demons with water. Almost immediately those two demons faltered and fought slower. “Stop standing around like a couple of rocks and get water. It weakens the demons.”
It was actually the smallest man who moved first. He grabbed the waterskin of the tallest man and threw it onto the demon closest to him. He then picked a stick off the ground and swung it hard into the demon’s face. The demon screamed in rage and picked up the man and threw him into the others. Jendayi managed to kill her demon first. Then Roho managed to kill his with a little help from her. They barely got there in time to stop the last demon from bashing the smallest man’s head against the rock.
The smallest man breathed a sigh of relief, “You are not of demon blood. You, both of you, are of warrior’s blood. And you both have my thanks.”
The tallest man looked closely at one of the demons. “These are the damned demons that have been terrorizing our village for the past three moons.”
“Then you have my thanks twice. You shall come with us to our tribe’s land. It is not far.” The smallest man smiled. “I am Tarek, these are my friends Farid and Halim.”
“I am Roho and this is my mother Jendayi.” Roho said.
“We cannot come with you to your territory. We were preparing to leave before you came.” Jendayi nodded her head toward their camp.
“Then you can leave to come to our camp. No man, or woman, should be without a tribe. You will be welcome in my tribe I will make sure of it.” Tarek held out his hand.
“It would be nice to settle for a couple moons at least.” Roho looked at Jendayi with a slight smirk.
Jendayi grasped Tarek’s hand with her own. “Very well. For a few moons at least.”
Three years later (Tarek’s Camp)
“I do not understand it mother.” Roho sat down beside Jendayi inside of her tent. “Kissa has been my wife for two seasons.”
“Yes you are well matched.” Jendayi smiled at him. Then she frowned as she realized what Roho was thinking of. “Yet you have no children.”
“We have prayed to the Gods, made sacrifices, and said all the proper prays. I do not understand how Kissa is not with child. Am I cursed? Have I done something to displease the Gods? My wife’s face becomes sadder as time passes and still we have no child of our own.” Roho said.
Jendayi touched Roho’s shoulder lightly. “This does not make you a bad husband Roho.”
“No it just does not make me a father.”
Fifteen years later
Jendayi and Roho were on the edge of Tarek’s tribe’s boundaries. They were currently each fighting a vampire that had ventured into the camp and attempted to kill the shaman’s son and wife.
“I look young enough to be her son. If we had had any children they would seem to be my siblings rather than my own flesh.” Roho said before viciously kicking the vampire in the side.
“Yet she still loves you.” Jendayi ducked as her vampire clawed at her.
“I love her as well. But I have heard the other men speaking of me. They think it unwise to keep a man who does not grow old around to tempt the young women since I am married and not able to continue my own tribe. These talks are being led by Tarek’s oldest son Ubani because his chosen woman keeps looking at me. Not that I look back. I love Kissa.” Roho grunted as the vampire punched him in the stomach.
“As I told you, you are a good husband.” Jendayi finally managed to spear her vampire through the heart. She let out a breath and leaned on her spear as she watched Roho continue to fight. “And you are not the only one the tribe talks about. The women speak of me as well. Tarek’s wife does not trust me and now neither do they. They have gone back to thinking I am demon.”
The vampire managed to knock Roho to the ground. He turned and snarled at Jendayi. “I will make you both suffer before I kill you. As you have made suffer with your never ending chatter.”
Jendayi laughed, “I think not.”
The vampire had a shocked look on his face and spear sticking out of his chest. He turned to look at Roho. He smiled at him from the ground. “Allow me to end your suffering.” Then he yanked the spear out and the vampire exploded in a cloud of dust.
“I had forgotten how well you two fight.” Jendayi and Roho turned to see Tarek leaning heavily against a walking stick. “You are like a fire, unpredictable, destructible, yet somehow beautiful in motion.”
“Tarek, old friend, you should not be out of your tent. Did you walk all the way here?” Jendayi hurried over to where Tarek was standing.
Tarek laughed, “Yes Jendayi I walked here. I wished to see my two demon hunting friends.”
Roho got off the ground and made his way over as well. “You should have waited for us to come back to the village. You do not look well Tarek.”
“You do Roho,” Tarek poked the other man in the chest. “perhaps then you will help me back home.”
Roho smirked, “I will do you a grander favor my friend. I will carry you back home.” He knelt down onto one knee. “Climb on Tarek.”
Tarek climbed onto the younger man’s back. Jendayi picked up both the Tarek’s walking stick and Roho’s spear. The three walked in silence only a few moments before Tarek began to speak. “I heard what you were discussing.” He shushed them when they both tried to speak at the same time. “I brought you to my tribe when my father was the ruler of this land. I showed him your value in protecting our camp. I gave you a wife and you the proper respect you deserved. When my father died and neither of you had aged I insisted you two were sent by the Gods to protect our land from the demons. I still believe this however many of our tribesmen and women do not. I would fear for your safety when the Gods take me.”
“You think we should leave.” Jendayi said.
“Yes I do.” Tarek smiled sadly.
“I think we should as well but I did not wish to burden you with asking to leave.” Jendayi agreed. She looked at Roho. “But what of Kissa?”
“It is her choice.” Roho said quietly. “Though I believe she will choose to stay here where she was born. She is getting too old to travel unlike some old women who do not know when they are too old to travel.” He gave a slight laugh at the end. Jendayi rolled her eyes.
They spent the rest of the walk talking aimlessly about times past when Tarek looked to be a much younger man. Roho let Tarek slide down onto his feet once they reached the tribe’s leader’s tent. Jendayi handed him his walking staff. “I will walk Tarek back to his bed. You should go talk to Kissa. I will meet you outside of your tent. Then we will go.”
Roho nodded in Jendayi’s direction. He hugged Tarek. “Good bye Tarek. Live well for as long as you can.”
“Travel well Roho.” Tarek turned from the other man and put a hand on Jendayi’s shoulder, “You do not have to leave tonight my friend.”
Jendayi waited for Roho to start walking towards his and Kissa’s tent. “I have been ready to leave for some time Tarek. I know Roho has been as well. Every time he looks at Kissa his heart breaks a little more. We were merely waiting for you to give us your blessing in leaving. We would have stayed here to your death if you had wished it.”
“I know.” Jendayi made sure that Tarek was comfortable in his own bed. “Good bye Jendayi.” He placed a chaste kiss on her lips.
“Good bye Tarek. Sleep well.” Jendayi left the tent and went to her own. She gathered up her belongs that she had packed for the past two years. Then she went to wait outside of Roho’s tent where she could just barely make out the couple’s conversation though she tried not to listen to it.
“I know I was not the perfect wife. I did not gift you with children.”
“I do not blame you. You were the perfect wife. I do not wish to leave you my love. But you have heard the tribe’s talk they do not want me here or my mother.”
“I want you here.”
“Then come with me.”
“I can not travel. I have never left my father’s land and I do not want to. But I do not want you to go.”
“I cannot stay.”
“I know. I will always love you Roho.”
“And I you Kissa.”
There was a pause and Roho came out of the tent. He kept walking without even glancing at Jendayi or Kissa who followed him out of the tent. Kissa turned to her and hugged her. “Goodbye mother. Watch for my husband.”
“I will Kissa. You look after your brother for me as well.” Jendayi said as she let go of the women who only looked five years younger than her.
Kissa smiled though tears fell down her face. “I will make sure Tarek stays in good health for as long as I can.”
Jendayi walked away from the crying woman to catch up with Roho. They walked past the many tents on the tribe’s land, past the children they watched grow up, and the men and women they watched grow old. They walked into the night out of the tribe’s protected borders. They walked until they could only just make out the tents from the stars’ light. And only then did Roho turn back to look at the place he had been settled for the past two decades and the wife he was leaving behind.
“I am sorry Roho.”
“I wish we did not have to leave either but we would have not been safe if we had stayed past Tarek’s passing on to the Gods.”
There was a pause as Jendayi wiped a tear from Roho’s cheek. “You are strong of mind and heart. You will be alright.”
“I hope so mother.”