After Yennefer had left, Baato went back into the slave quarters, overwhelmed with emotions. Feeling high on happiness he felt the need to talk to someone. Fortunately, Kahio was still awake after being woken up by Manika and was curious to know about the mysterious stranger.
“Who was it?”, he wanted to know. Baato was beaming with excitement as he told Kahio all about Yenn.
“I thought I’d never see her again. It’s incredible that she found me here”, he smiled. Kahio was genuinely happy for Baato. The older slave deserved some happiness in his life, he thought. On the other hand Kahio felt jealous. Baato had a family, Kahio had no one.
“Aren’t you afraid what the Creator will say?”, he asked a bit harsher than he had intended. But Baato was so caught up in thinking about his daughter, that he didn’t even notice Kahio’s tone.
“The Creator allowed Yennefer to see me so I suppose she is not angry with me”, Baato mused but in truth he was not so sure about that.
The next morning, the tribe was having breakfast in the kitchen.
“Can you grow me some pretty flowers?”, Kalaya was just asking Nieva. “I would like some pretty flowers in my room. I could draw them too.”
Next to chess, the little Creator heiress had developed a passion for art. She constantly bugged her mother about getting her a drawing table.
“I will draw pictures as pretty as Tahia does”, she had explained. But Manika was still thinking about it. Kalaya was already so self-assured and partly arrogant, she wanted to get her back on the right track instead of spoiling her.
Nieva just wanted to agree to grow some ‘pretty flowers’ for Kalaya as she noticed that Baato had sat down at the table. Kalaya’s mood turned immediately as she had heared about Baato’s daughter and had some strong views about it.
“Get away!”, she yelled at him, “You didn’t obey my mother’s orders, I know it. Mother told me. You should be punished and not have breakfast with us!”
Baato was shocked and didn’t know what to say. He looked at Manika helplessly.
“Kalaya! I will not have this respectless tone at the table”, she scolded her child, “You might be the heiress but you are not the Creator yet and I forbid you to presume anything about how I deal with our slaves!”
“You are weak! You let everyone do what they want because you fell in love with a dumb slave and now you love them all!”, Kalaya retorted.
“That’s enough! Go to your room and you are not getting this art table anytime soon!”, Manika called out angrily. Inside, she felt hurt at Kalaya’s words because they made her remember Taam. If Kalaya ever found love, she would understand, Manika thought.
Later Manika sat down at the table and called in Baato. She felt angry and helpless about what she was about to do especially after Kalaya’s outburst earlier. It might give Kalaya the wrong impression. But she had to do it.
“Baato, I wanted to talk to you.”
Baato was nervous. What could the Creator want from him?
“As much as it pains me to say it, Kalaya was at least partly right. You have disobeyed my orders by leaving the slave market. I was happy for you and your daughter that you could meet, but there have to be consequences.”
“Creator, let me explain. The slave market sent me away, it was not my choice!”, Baato exclaimed in an attempt to defend himself.
“I believe you, Baato. But even so you were never allowed to join another tribe. Even if you were innocent in the end, this is still a grievious disobeyance. You will suffer the house of punishment. The only mercy I can show is that you will only stay for one day. But it has to happen.”
Baato nodded defiantly and went to the house of punishment.
He understood that he had disobeyed the Creator by joining Cassiel’s tribe. At the time he had not thought about it but now his past had come to hunt him down. He really hoped that Manika would not banish him in the end.
Nevertheless, he would always do it again. He had a beautiful daughter who lived a wonderful life in another world. He thought about Cassiel sometimes. He had forgiven her for giving their daughter away, the moment he had met Yennefer. She had led such a good life with caring parents and he was glad. He just couldn’t hold a grudge anymore against the woman he had once loved.
But where she was and whether she was well was something he would probably never know.
Note: omg, look how much Baato looks like Yenn in the first picture.
Next: Chapter 38 – The Big Day