The Tenth Year

Chase made the door shut loudly behind him. "Yeah, I got it, okay?" he called behind him.

"Good," came from back in the room.

Muttering, the nineteen year old continued down the hall. "If I hear anyone mention the stupid Kabari again, I’m gonna go crazy!"

"What about th’ Kabari?"

"THAT’S IT! I’VE OFFICIALLY LOST MY NUT!" He glared at his youngest brother grumpily.

"This be about th’ sacrifice thing?"

"Of course it is. Everything has been lately. It’s all they…" He jabbed a finger in the direction of their parents quarters. "…ever talk about. All year, it’s been ‘look out behind you Chase, the Kabari will get you’! ‘Watch your back, they’ve got a curse to carry out’! I’m damn sick of it! I’ve never even seen a Kabari, I doubt they even exist."

"I dinna think mama and papa and all would lie about somethin’ like tha’…" Marshall’s accent was a lot stronger than Chase’s, as he spent more time at home. "Why would they?"

"I don’t know, but even if there were any blinkin’ Kabari, they wouldn’t get far past this." And he patted the saber clipped at his side. Marshall was doubtful.

"Aren’t they supposed to be as good as us with th’ sword?"

"What are you doing with those flowers anyway? Lemme guess, Iliana?" He rolled his eyes as Marshall blushed. "C’mon, gimmie a break. You’re 15, she’s, what? 23?"

"That don’t mean she don’t like flowers."

"You’re dreaming if you think you’ll ever get her."

"Oh, I will."

Chase shrugged at the quiet determination. "Don’t think it’ll be worth it, but whatever works for you, baby bro. Tell mama and papa to break out the bubbly, cause tonight I’m bringing home the bacon. Been planning this heist for weeks."

Well, Marshall resigned himself as Chase brushed past him. He is about as good as he makes out. Why worry?

Unfortunately, Chase didn’t come back that night, nor any night that week. He did show up in the middle of the next week; cold, stiff and drained of blood outside the Brotherhood Headquarters with a criss-cross pattern marked out on his face by a knife.

"It be a little like a game sometimes, Marshall lad." Abira was pacing, trying to explain the situation to his little wide-eyed child. "They make their move, then it’s our turn. We were winning a few hundred years ago, now they’re winning for awhile, soon we’ll start again."

"But what’s the point?"

He stopped. "If we kill them, then we make sure that they never again try ta take control of the Brotherhood. And them… they just like to kill. Something o’ a tradition now. And you know about the 10 Year tradition."

"Yes, papa. They sacrifice one of us to their gods then."

"So ye see that they’re dangerous? That ya don’t want ta take them lightly?"

"Aye, papa."

Marshall wiped a tear from his eye. When he met the Kabari who’d taken Chase… well, he had his own tradition to uphold.

Story Copyright Rachel Baker ’99, all characters also Copyright Rachel Baker ’99.