CHAPTER TWO – Akamu
Akamu paced back and forth in his room. Tadewi should have returned by now. He glanced out of their window, the bars obscuring his view. The winds were still strong, shrubs fighting to remain in the ground and the Seton Guards in the square below were bracing themselves against it. She must still be performing her duties for Than but the intensity of the gales reminded him she was close.
He went to sit on the rough floor next to his bed. A wooden frame with a lumpy mattress and assorted blankets. Closing his eyes he slowed his breath and calmed his nerves. Tadewi would be back soon and he could relax. He would always fret when she was gone. The Seton Guards rarely took him from their tower on the coast, he was a threat – taller than most and formidably build with his wide shoulders and foreign black skin – they were wary of him and his ability.
He concentrated on focusing his mind, to distract him from his thoughts and find inner peace. To do so he visualised their rooms, etched into his brain from their long imprisonment there. He imagined the hearth with two carved chairs either side, misshapen pillows on each with the kitchen opposite consisting of a cool box and two ring stove where they would make tea or soup. It hadn’t been used for proper meals in some time, as now Than had the Seton Guards bring them their meals.
He moved on, passed the small table, through the low doorway into the bedroom where he now sat, legs crossed, hands carefully rested on his knees. He was leaning on his bed frame, the wood pressing into his shoulder blades. He felt the pressure of it and hovered there for a while, noticing the contact between him and the beam. Then he cast his mind out, through the curtain that separated the room and saw Tadewi’s bed on the opposite side.
Their life was so minimal, had changed so much since their childhood. But his sister needed simplicity, required only a few hefty pieces of furniture that remained in their place. Her blindness was now so complete she could see nothing, not even the shapes and blurs that she had once been able to make out. Akamu sighed, how had he let his sister fall into the hands of Than plagued him.
Abruptly the door flew open and Tadewi stumbled in.
Akamu was immediately on his feet, gathering her into his arms and kissing her forehead affectionately. She pushed him away.
“For goodness sake Akamu, I’m blind not a child.”
Akamu smiled at her scolding, despite her diminutive size, pale skin and bright blonde hair, Tadewi had always been the fiery one. As much as the twins looked so different, their personalities were just as dissimilar.
Despite his earlier concern they immediately slipped into the mundane task of busying themselves in the small apartment they were confined within.
“Tea?” asked Akamu, now completely relaxed given Tadewi’s safe return.
“No, we need to talk Akamu, I have discovered something most distressing.”
Akamu turned back to look at his sister. She stood with her arms folded and chin up. He immediately knew this meant trouble.
“What is it?”
Tadewi moved across to the chairs in front of the fireplace and took her place with ease. Her lack of sight had never prevented her from doing anything and she had grown so familiar with their home Akamu sometimes forgot that she was now totally sightless.
She waited until Akamu was sat opposite her, his chair making a groan as his form lowered into it. He sat back, Tadewi sat forward.
“You have to go, Akamu, without me. You need to escape and…”
“No,” Akamu banged his fist on the chair arm without letting her finish. “I’ve told you a thousand times I will not leave you here. If we go, we go together.”
To his surprise Tadewi laughed. “Don’t be sill brother,” she said, “if we stepped outside right now I would not know where we were, where to go or what obstacles stood in my way. I would be a burden, and you can not afford to have me slow you down. Now listen.
Akamu scowled, but let her continue. She could not make him go if he did not want to.
“I say this not because I am weak and you are strong and deserve the life we both should have led. We’ve had this conversation many times over and I have not yet convinced you to leave me behind yet. Valiant brother of mine.” She smiled as she said this, reaching out across the space between them. Akamu sat forward so that she could cup his face in her hand.
“No,” she continued, “there is a lot more at stake today.” Her hand dropped and she took a deep breath.
“I have learnt there are more twins, like us, being manipulated. Youngsters.”
She let the information hang in the air between them. It had the desired effect; Akamu was shocked. He thought back to their own capture, twenty years ago when they were but fifteen. Their parents slaughtered and Tadewi taken by the Seton Guards whilst he was in the woods playing with his power, watching the trees grow, the flowers open and becoming fascinated by the miracle a touch of his hand could bring.
“They are still with their parents, thanks the stars. But more and more Than threatens them to make them do his bidding. He is trying to train them, but they resist. You need to find them Akamu, help them escape, teach them to master their power and use it wisely lest they end up like us.”
Akamu sat back again, letting her words wash over him. He could not leave his sister at the mercy of Than, but then he could equally not condemn two young twins to the same fate as his own.