"Mama! This is soooo boring!" The little one tredged after her mother, arms perpendicular to her chest as hands gripped a woven basket filled with too much water. It pressed against her back, weighed her down and made the already lanky child seem even more uncoordinated. "Why must we do this! You can bring water to the fields, can't you?" A grumble of assortments, all naughty words in Portugese for sure.
"Leorah, I swear, child. You complain of everything! And no I can not move waters from the river to here, I am not that gifted." A look was given to her mini reflection, a soft smile surely spreading alongst her lips. It always amazed her how beautiful her rivulet became with each passing year.
"I bet I can, oh I know I can. I can pull the tide even without the full moon!" The school aged child jumped and splashed water that landed perfectly back in the woven basket, a much too large confident grin plastered across her face. "I'll show you, mama! I'll show you and we won't have to do this anymore. Uuggghh my back hurts!"
For a moment Juliana was too busy laughing from her daughter's multiple complaints and sudden boast of confidence, but the minute her words registered she dropped her own woven basket and fled before Leorah on bended knees. "Rivy, you mustn't speak of your gifts. You mustn't boast about talents we know not of. It's not safe in the open to say so and the towns people won't like it. Do you hear me?"
The child had been shocked, her mother had never spoken to her this way nor held her so fiercely. A look was given to the clamping hands on her shoulders and wide hues of multiple blues locked onto her mother's browns. "I-I'm sorry, mama. I didn't mean to make you mad. But it's true, I've been practicing."
A soft sigh Juliana gave, how could she tell her daughter the truth without instilling fear into her heart. A hand gently caressed her cheek as she lifted and moved back to her basket. Thank god she could manipulate water or it'd be everywhere but in her basket. "Just don't show anyone but me, okay Rivy? We'll practice together. I'll take you to the sea and to Mayara."
From scared to completely disgusted, Rivy was infamous for her chameleon facial expressions. "Uh! Mama, I do not want to see that old witch woman. All she says is bad things and to always be careful." Shoulders hunched upwards to her ears as she shimmied her shoulders and continued on toward the crop fields. "Ooh but I love the sea. I could swim in it forever."
"I'm sure you could, Leorah. But we're going to see her. She has kept us safe since you were born. You're much more than the rest of us and one day we'll show them when we know it's safe." Juliana shook her head and hoisted her own basket against her back, eyes downcast and her mind lost to several thoughts. "But for now, only Mayara and I will know, is that clear?"
A hand waved as she nodded her head to dismiss the conversation, anything to stop talking about that old witch. Rivy was quite ignorant and cared not for matters she found no interest. But she knew her mother spoke the truth, it was pure denial that kept her from believing it. But she felt the way people looked at both of them. Outcasts, curses, a burden if they didn't possess talents that gave crops life and brought healing to their people. They were always under watch and never let out of sight except for watering the field and trips to the sea. Her people believed the sea rejuvenated them so it was tolerated as long as they continued to bring their gifts back.
It was odd the way her mother would act. Why was I able to use my gifts to water the field or heal but not to play? All I wanted to do was bask in the sea, become water itself and stay that way forever. Why would something like that be unsafe? Surely my people would understand. They encouraged me all the time to show off my talents, even brought me hunting because they said I had a sensitive nose. And it was true! Oh I could smell dinner miles away and my eyesight was better than a hawk's. The people knew this but my mother forbade me to go with them on every hunting trip. She always said it was too dangerous, but I was never scared of anyone or anything!
One time mother didn't know, but I snuck out at night because I smelt deer. We hadn't had deer in forever and I had such a big craving that I couldn't resist. I was only eight years old and I found the deer all by myself, even hunted it down. My mother made me burn it when she found me that night. She said the village people would suspect something of me because I never used any weapons to hunt. She said power was intoxicating to them and I presented it too much. Of course I listened to my mother, the look in her eyes was enough. But I always wondered, why? I have to admit that seeing the witch cleared some of my questions but never once did they tell me anything about my father. That topic was always ignored and I've heard rumors of my mother's disappearance but then suddenly she was back and everything was okay. Nothing more than that.
There was never anything more than that until we went to see Mayara. Each time was always the same. "Be careful, mind your manners, and do not show more than what they've already seen." But this time it was different. This time it was a warning mixed with a threat and it would be the beginning to our steady downfall.