Maiara: Princess of Onia
It was a cool mid-summer morning with a light fog lingering on the ground. The rain from the night before set an earthy fragrance in the air of grass and pine. The sun had just come up over the sycamore trees causing the grass to glisten.
I arrived at Zula creek before the sun made its debut. The creek went on for miles and gave relief to animals passing by as well as fish. It was the perfect time of the day for me to be alone and watch a herd of deer stop to get some water. I watched as they took the time to make sure that everyone in their herd had enough for the next journey. It made me think about my next journey, tomorrow will be the ceremony for me to officially become Maiara, Princess of Onia. I will rule beside my father until I can rule on my own.
I was so engrossed in my thoughts that I didn’t hear my name being called. It was Chogan. Chogan was my father’s advisor and one day he will be my husband. It’s not official until my father says so but I had a feeling he was going to announce it soon. The union was arranged by my parents so Chogan and I have been spending time getting to know each other. I had hoped that when I did meet my husband that I would be in love. That’s not the case with Chogan but I feel safe and happy around him, so that’s a start.
“I thought I would find you out here,” he said with a smile. He really was handsome and had a charm about him, with his long black hair flowing behind him.
“I thought I would get some time to myself before I had to make more preparations for tomorrow’s ceremony,” I tucked my long black hair behind my ear. “I can’t believe tomorrow will be the day.”
“Are you nervous?” he asked.
“No. I just hope that I will keep my people safe.”
“Don’t worry, with me by your side you will follow in your father’s footsteps and keep everyone safe,” he said smiling.
I hoped that he was right.
“I should probably head home before everyone wakes up,” I said.
He helped me up and held my hand. It was the first time that he had done so and it felt nice. Of course he couldn’t do that in front of everyone so holding my hand is as far as we have gone. Unless you were already married, it was frowned upon for arranged couples to show affection in front of the whole village.
Chogan had his horse tied to a nearby tree and helped me up on it even though I was capable of doing it myself.
“Are you going to get on as well? There is plenty of room,” I said.
“Only if you want me to,” he said smiling.
“Yes I do,” I said feeling my face get flushed.
As we rode to Naro, which is the main village of Onia, I thought about how our life would be. If we would have mornings like this, only longer. How would we rule together? I was getting ahead of myself so I just blocked those thoughts out of my head.
There are several cabins on a plateau that overlooks all of Naro. My home as well as the council members’ homes reside on top of the plateau. Since Naro was the main village it housed most of the people of Onia. Some lived in Pio, which is our berry village, or Seco, which is our farm village.
When we arrived at my cabin I could see from atop of the plateau that everyone was busy with preparations. The center of Naro consisted of several small cabins that held everything that we could possibly need. One cabin had clothing, another made jewelry, and another baked breads.
Chogan helped me off the horse quietly and walked me to the front of my cabin. He kissed the back of my hand and got back on his horse.
“I will see you at midday by the Leal River,” he tried to whisper to me.
“Shhhh!” I giggled at his attempt to be quiet.
When I walked in my mother was coming from the flower garden she tends to behind our home. She had angelic features and her long brown hair was adorned with a stone arrow that wrapped around her forehead and wore a blue tunic that floated behind her as she walked. I hoped that I would one day look as graceful as she does.
“Where were you this early in the morning?” she asked looking out the window. “I see. Trying to steal some precious moments with your husband to be.”
“No. I was at Zula Creek when Chogan found me there,” I responded smiling.
My mother held my face in her hands. “Are you ready for tomorrow?”
“Of course she is ready,” my father said coming out of their bedroom in blue cotton pants and a beaded breastplate. His features were sharp and his long black hair was tied in a low ponytail. In Onia, every couple dressed in the same colors. It showed unity and love.
My father kissed me on the forehead and held my hands.
“Thank you father. Is there anything else we should go over before tomorrow?” I asked
Before my father could answer one of the guards came in out of breath.
“Chief Akule, you have to come to the Leal River quickly…it’s Chief Etu,” he said.
My father called his horse and quickly rode towards the Leal River. I called my horse as well.
“Maiara, let your father handle Chief Etu alone,” she said.
“Mother, I don’t know why Chief Etu hates us so much. I need to know what is going on,” I got on my horse and rode away hoping to catch up with my father.
When I arrived, Chief Etu, with 3 of his men behind him, was yelling as usual. It seemed that he could never speak calmly about anything with my father. His bald head and bulging vein in his forehead solidified his anger. Every word that he says sounds like a snake whispering in your ear trying to manipulate you. He stopped yelling when he saw me.
“So you decided to bring your daughter to help you with negotiations,” he sniped.
“My father doesn’t need me to help him with anything. As the future ruler of Onia I have every right to be here. Now what do you want,” I said firmly.
“This is a conversation for leaders,” he said with his eyes glaring at me.
“Don’t you dare speak to my daughter that way!” my father yelled.
“Then tell your daughter she should only speak when spoken to,” he yelled back.
My father stepped closer to Chief Etu and I knew he was getting ready to strike him. Luckily Chogan came running when he saw the commotion and stood between them trying to separate them.
“What do you want Chief Etu?” Chogan asked.
“A fire was set to our cornfields and I know that you sent someone to do it,” he said looking at my father.
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