After an eventful day at the Creator’s village, the tribe headed home.
Manika sent Kalaya to bed since it was very late.
“But mom, I want to stay up!”, Kalaya spoke up.
“No!”, Manika told her off. She was getting a bit impatient about her daughters rebellious ways. She tried to make Kalaya see reason. “You want to be a good creator heiress don’t you? You need your sleep to stay strong. You can play tomorrow.”
“Yes, mom”, Kalaya grumbled and went off to bed.
The slaves were exhausted after working all day and went directly to bed while Manika, Nieva and Tahia settled down at the table. But they had barely sat down when they heared a soft knock on the door. Manika looked at the other women confused. Maybe Arku had come after them because they had forgotten something?
Manika got up to answer the door but it was not Arku she found, but a young woman. Manika had never seen anyone like her, her skin was dark but her hair was light blonde! She looked very exotic.
“How can I help you?”, Manika asked and wrinkeled her forehead. The woman looked like she was carefully thinking of what to say. To Manika, she seemed very nervous. What could she possibly want? It was very unusual for guests to be coming at this hour.
“My Name is Yennefer…of Tribe Bloomer”, she began hesitantly, “I am looking for the Creator of Tribe Arayeo.”
Manika nodded. “I’m the Creator you seek. Come in”, she gestured Yennefer to take a seat the table. Tahia and Nieva eyed the guest with curiosity but said nothing. This was the Creator’s conversation. The woman was notably uncomfortable but she tried her best to hide it.
“Where does Tribe Bloomer live?”, Manika asked in a sceptical tone, “I have never heared of them before. What business do you have with tribe Arayeo?”
The woman shifted in her seat trying to find the right words to say.
“The Bloomers live far away from here, I had to travel a while. I am looking for someone. A…slave”, she explained. She tried to sound confident but Manika could here the doubt in her voice. A slave? How would she possibly know one of her slaves if she came from so far away. Kahio had never left the compound. So there was only one possibility…
“Is it Baato you are looking for?”, Manika asked the woman. The flash of surprise her face told Manika that she was right. But what did she want from him?
“Yes! I mean, yes, the slave I am looking for is named Baato”, the blonde woman said trying to hide her excitement, “Is there any way I could speak to him?”
Manika was curious but also wary. She still wasn’t sure of the blondes intentions.
“How do you know Baato?”, Manika wanted to know. This time the woman wasn’t nervous as if she had prepared this answer beforehand.
“He visted my tribe a long time ago. He befriended our creator and now I’m here to bring him some good news”, Yenn answered. It must have been during his exile…Manika thought.
“Why did he visit your tribe?”, Manika asked confused, “he was supposed to stay at the slave market.”
“He did not tell us”, Yenn told her truthfully. She had no idea why Baato had left the slave market he had been banished to. Yenn was annoyed by all the talk they were doing and decided to speed things up.
“Would you mind if I talked to him?”, she asked Manika. The Creator eyed her carefully. The other woman was still mysterious to her but she sensed no falseness or bad intentions in her.
“Yes, I will go get him. But you have to talk to him here.”
Yenn frowned. “I’d rather speak to him alone”, she said. Manika was not pleased.
“How can I know we can trust you? Your true purpose might be another than you told us”, she asked.
“I mean no harm”, Yennefer reassured her, “I want to bring some news to him but it’s a private business with my tribe.”
Manika looked at Yennefer curiously. She had a suspicion what this “news” were about but she decided to keep to herself. It really could be she has the same hair… She would have to talk to Baato about why he left the slave market in his exile but if Yennefer really was his daughter she didn’t want to deny her to see him.
“Follow me”, she said. The was a flash of relief on Yennefer’s face as she got up to follow Manika outside.
Their short trip ended in front of the slave quarters. As Manika knocked on the door, Yenn’s heart was pounding in her chest. She would finally meet her biological father! The one who didn’t want to give her up like her late mother had.
“Wait here”, Manika commanded her as she opened the door and went inside.
Yenn tried to stay calm and not freak out.
The seconds didn’t seem to pass at all but finally Manika came out of the hut again with a man following her.
Yenn recognized the man immediately from the picture she had had since she was a child. He didn’t seem to have aged at all. She couldn’t believe she finally found him – and also while he was still alive.
“I’ll be inside”, Manika smiled and left. Baato looked at the visitor confused. He had never seen this woman before. She had claimed to know him from his exile? He wondered. He had met many people during his exile but he couldn’t remember her. Although she looked a lot like… oh my god. The truth dawned on him suddenly and there was a blank look on his face as he stared at her. She is so beautiful, like her mother …
For a few moments the two just stared at each other both of them knowing what was going on but none of them knowing what to do. Yenn cleared her throat.
“Hello”, she started nervously, “You probably don’t know me, my name is Yennefer. I assume you knew my mother-“
“Cassiel!”, Baato cut in. Yenn just now noticed that he was staring at her wide eyed.
“Yes”, Yenn choked out. The moment was emotionally overwhelming her and this was a feeling she was not used to. She just stood there and probably would have continued to do so if Baato hadn’t stepped forward and hugged her. She stiffened at first but then she eased into the hug and tears streamed down her face but at the same time she smiled.
“I’m so glad I finally found you”, she sobbed. Baato let her go and touched her shoulder softly.
“And I am too. You are so beautiful like your mother. I can’t believe you are here. I would have never let you go and it was hard for me to forgive your mother for giving you away…”, his voice trailed off and he looked sad. “All the years I have missed…”
Yenn didn’t quite now what to say. For a moment she thought about telling him about her mother’s death but she couldn’t bring herself to do it.
“I was cared for well”, she told him truthfully. Baato smiled.
“I’m glad to hear. I wish I could have been there for you, Yennefer.”
“Don’t be sorry. It wasn’t your fault. I have … someone to care for me now. You don’t have to worry.”
Yenn was surprised at her own ability to comfort Baato if only to an extent. She was not used to the emotional side of herself; she didn’t even know she had one.
“I can’t stay”, Yenn told him as to not get his hopes up, “I don’t belong in this culture. The world I live in is very different. I just wanted to meet you if only just once.”
Baato nodded but there was a look of sorrow on his face. “I understand. It’s a privilege for me to even meet you. Normally slaves never see their children ever again. You really made me happy today, Yennefer. It’s more than I could have ever asked for.”
They hugged again and as they let go of each other, Manika came out of the women’s house and came towards them.
“It’s time to leave”, Yennefer said to Baato and they smiled at each other.
“You have no idea what gift you gave me today, Yennefer”, Baato smiled, “I really wish that you live a happy life even if I can’t be there.”
Yenn nodded. “I wish that for you, too.”
Manika came up next to them.
“It’s time for the tribe to go to sleep”, she said and smiled as she sensed the happiness in the air, “I could offer you a night’s stay, Yennefer.”
Yennefer really wished to stay and find out more about her father but she knew that Ethan and her siblings were waiting for her. So she shook her head even though it hurt.
“That is very generous of you, but I have to leave. It was so nice to meet you, Creator”, she said and turned towards Baato.
“Goodbye”, she whispered and Baato only nodded. Before she could change her mind, Yenn turned around and left Tribe Arayeo with bittersweet memories.
Note: This chapter is a collaboration chapter with ThePlumbob’s Bloomer legacy. Baato stayed with the Bloomers during his exile. Go check it out, it’s seriously awesome.