Chains Of Freedom: Excerpt

Here’s the opening approx 1k of book 2, Chains Of Freedom, enjoy.

 

Kaihaitu Huatare lay on her back in the long grass, staring up at the star filled sky. It would not be long until dawn and another day but she had not slept yet. She had so much to think about that even when she closed her eyes her brain carried on as if she was wide awake.

Eventually Kaihaitu stood up. She could not sleep now. Her village would arise soon and as their leader she could not let them see her troubled.

“Hehu, Matiu,” she called into the surroundings. Two small rustles in the grass came towards her and then two capuchin monkeys bounded out and chattered excitedly at her as they clambered up onto her shoulders. She straightened her clothes where their hands and feet had pulled them about in their scurry to their current positions.

Kai dressed simply, in clothes made from animal pelts. The brown leather complemented the creamy colour of her skin and was all that she wore except for a belt with a knife and small pouch.

Standing for a moment, she looked towards the brightening sky to the east, reluctant to head back to the village and her responsibilities. With a sigh she picked up the bow and arrows on the ground near where she had been laying. Hehu and Matiu chattered indignantly at this as they had to hang onto her shoulders tightly so they did not fall off. She ignored them, knowing they were perfectly fine and started the trek back home from her refuge.

The sun had just started to show her face when she arrived back to the huts of mud, stone and grass that made up the tribes home. Several of the people were already up and fetched her some fruit from a basket sitting out in the open.

After saying thank you to the older woman and asking her how she was, Kai handed both monkeys one of the small fruits. They stopped their excited speech to eat breakfast. The silence was a relief to her and she thoughtfully munched on some more of the fruits as she walked through the rest of the village.

No one else talked to her until she reached a small wooden outpost, built overlooking the east side of the village and the valley stretching to the nearest beach. She relieved the night sentry of duty and climbed the rope to the wooden platform.

For a few minutes the young male that she had replaced stayed with her. He filled her in on the happenings of his watch. He was new to this as was almost the entire tribe.

They had only needed to place people on guard duty since they had fought with the redcoats. Before then their village had been peaceful.

The male villager due to take his watch after her, Henare, disturbed her from her thoughts. She frowned when she saw him. He was early, he was also annoying.

To be fair to Henare, Kai did like him and he was a very respected member of her tribe but he kept following her around and fussing over her. Now she was the leader of the tribe she was considered to be ready for marriage by the majority of the village. Although she had several winters more than the fifteen that they normally expected, she did not agree.

He, however, seemed to think that not only was she ready to be married but that he was the perfect match for her. If she wanted a man who could build her a sturdy house with good furniture and keep her well fed, she would have been pleased. She wished for someone different entirely, even if she did not know who she wanted yet, he was definitely not it.

Henare was everything her mother thought a good husband should be, strong, yet protective and caring to Kai, and although what he lacked in intelligence he made up for by working hard. He also had a certain rugged appeal to his looks. There was something missing she could not define, however.

She pretended she had not noticed him until his head appeared above the level of the wooden platform she stood on.

“Good morning Kai, your mother said you had only had some fruit for breakfast this morning so I thought I would bring you some food and drink and keep you company until my watch,” he told her.

“Thank you Henare,” she replied as Hehu and Matiu scampered off her shoulders and up into the tree nearby. They did not seem to like Henare and always ran off when he turned up. This alone would be enough to stop her from entertaining the thought of having him as her husband. Hehu and Matiu were always with her and were much more important to her than having a partner was.

“You look tired, you did not sleep again last night?” Henare asked.

“No, I was busy.”

“Busy doing what?”

“Just busy… I had some things to think about,” she replied, not wanting to explain.

“Anything I can help with?”

“Not really… Actually there is something you could do for me,” Kai smiled, thinking of a way to get him to go away, “my mother needed help with her roof, it’s leaking in one corner.”

“Oh that, I fixed it already,” he said, looking very pleased with himself.

“Thank you.”

“You are welcome. I am sure it was not that which kept you awake all night, however.”

“No it was not.”

Kai lifted her hand up, stopping him from replying. She had heard something in the distance, away from the village and listened and looked intently up ahead. He knew better than to say anything.

For a few minutes they only sound that could be heard was the rustling in the nearby tree as Hehu and Matiu moved about. She then saw two redcoat men slowly creeping through the undergrowth. They had not noticed Kai and Henare watching them as they were obviously hunting something.

Suddenly one of them raised his gun and fired, narrowly missing Hehu. Kai instantly yelled out. Hehu and Matiu both ran down the tree towards her as she climbed down from the look-out post.

Another shot rang out and Hehu squealed and then stopped moving. She called out again as the two redcoats started to jog over. She picked up the motionless monkey as Matiu ran up onto her shoulder and tried to burrow into her neck, scared.

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