Home of Sword and Soul
Kadira and Omari followed the Kashites into the new forests. She expected Sebe to clear a path for them as he did before but he made no move to do so. Luckily, this forests was not as dense as the other, with plenty of room to maneuver horse and man. She surmised that Sebe has spend considerable power bringing down the hill beast and a closer inspection of his face confirmed her suspicions. He looked as if he had aged decades within a few minutes. How long that would last was uncertain. The pieces of the Creator's Ax contained immense power. It was possible it could rejuvenate Sebe, but Kadira was ignorant of such things. She depended on her skill and what little nyama she could afford. Everything else was in the Creator's hands.
"We're going to be rich beyond our wildest dreams!" Omari whispered. "We started with one hundred, now there is only you and I. I can buy an island. Cleave, I can buy Kiswala!"
"How do you know Sebe will be true to his word," Kadira asked.
"He has been so far," Omari replied. "If you have doubts then why are you still here?"
"Because I am bound to see this through," Kadira said. "And I don't think I can fight my way through those antelope men alone, despite this wonderful horse."
"Any animal that fight likes that deserves a name," Omari commented.
Kadira patted the horse on its neck and it snorted in response.
"If we survive this I'll name him then give Nguvu a long night of my appreciation."
"You shouldn't talk that way around me," Omari pouted. "It's been a while."
The rest of the day was uneventful. They traveled until night then made camp along a thin creek. Omari caught a pair of exotic colored fish that tasted as good as they looked and did not make them sick. The Kashites kept to themselves, eating whatever rations they brought then whispering intensely to each other. The acolytes seemed to be in some sort of disagreement with Sebe, leaning toward them with stern faces as they argued in their intelligible tongue. Sebe said little, responding with either a gesture or a word. He finally ended the conversation with a swipe of his hand. The acolytes went to their cots and slept, but Sebe paced between them. He was still pacing when Kadira awoke. He marched directly to her.
"Today we will reach our destination," he said. "You will have to be very diligent. I had hoped to have more protection at this point, but I did not anticipate such a resistance to our intrusion so soon. I hope you and your friend are as skilled as you say you are."
"You should know by now," Kadira replied.
Sebe frowned. "Then I will pray that you find more skills between here and our destination."
They ate a quick meal then set out once again. At midday the forest ended abruptly, replace by a barren expanse. Something rose over the dirt and gravel. She strained her eyes to see.
"It is our destination," Sebe said. "Our journey is almost at an end."
They galloped across the wasteland until they reached the object. It was a temple, a small simple structure consisting of a flat stone on which five thick columns supported a stone conical roof. Kadira could see a pedestal inside. Though the building was sparse, the power it possessed was overwhelming. Kadira felt as if an invisible shield pushed against her as she tried to get closer.
"You two will stay here," Sebe ordered. "Kill anyone who tries to enter."
Kadira and Omari dismounted then took out their bows. Sebe and the acolytes continued to the temple.
"So this is it," Omari said. "This is how we get paid."
"I guess so," Kadira replied. "Looks like this will be the easiest part of the journey."
They had barely positioned themselves when Sebe returned. He head an object in hand, the bust of a man's head similar to those she had seen in Oyo but with one significant difference. Instead of iron, this bust was made of material from the Creator's Ax.
"It's incredible!" Omari said.
"It's impossible," Kadira replied. It was also foreboding. Such a concentration of the Creator's Ax was killing them as they spoke. That much she knew. It was also a quantity that could make it's possessor insanely powerful, and it was in the hands of a Kashite. Suddenly the stacks of gold meant nothing. What use was it to be wealthy in a world that was soon to end? Kadira's shoulders slumped. Nguvu's words were true. This would be her last journey.