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The Initiation of Toki

Looking into the aged and penetrating eyes of his master, Toki took the blade that was offered him. The hilt was warm, heated by the withered hands of his teacher, a sharp contrast to the chill that was in the night air. He caught a glimpse of the bright, red moon's reflection off of the sharply honed blade. He placed his left hand on the altar before him, letting his index finger lie on the raised block while the other fingers of his hand rested in the indentations surrounding it. He closed his eyes, trying to calm himself. He then opened them and brought the knife to his finger, the edge of the blade resting above the first joint. He breathed deep and, with a swift motion, severed the tip of his finger.

Immediately, his master grabbed the tip and capped the open end with a silver mount. As she did so, she closed her eyes and the severed member emitted a bright red glow. She opened her eyes and looked at Toki. He was still standing there, his hand on the block, blood pooling on the altar's surface. A look of serenity was on his face. She took the knife from her pupil and touched the open wound with the point of the blade. Both his finger and the knife were enveloped by a soft, white aura and the bleeding stopped. She then placed a gold cap on the end of his finger.

The master took the severed finger - the kutun - and placed it around Toki's neck. ``Toki,'' she said, ``you are now one of us, a warrior of the Hendaya clan. In two days, you will join us on your first war party. But, tonight, take pride in your new status. And relax. There will be plenty of work soon enough.''

``Yes, Master Goratze'' replied Toki.

``Now go, Toki.'' Goratze winked. ``Go to Maite. I understand she is waiting for you.''

``Yes, Master!'' exclaimed Toki as he hugged his master and ran off to Maite's house. Goratze smiled.

Toki ran through the village, thinking about Maite. He had known Maite forever, it seemed. They had grown up together in the community barracks where the children of the village are raised. Rearing children was a village responsibility, not that of just the parents. When a child was born, they were given to elders of the village who took care of them until they were old enough to get around on their own. At that time, each child was sent to the village etxea, where they would spend the next ten years of their lives, learning what they needed to know. They never knew who their parents were and often, their parents didn't realize which were their children. When they came of age, as Toki just had, each child joined the guild of their choice. Toki had joined the warrior guild.

Maite had come of age a couple of months ago. She had decided to join the guild of hunters. Because she was female, a house was built for her when she came of age. The house was the domain of the woman. A house was built for each woman and it was the reponsibility of every male to find a woman that would take him in and keep him for the night. Fortunately, Toki had already found such a woman in Maite. But he knew that a fight or a change of emotions could mean that he might wind up looking for a new bed at any time. Such was the way of his people.

Toki neared Maite's hut and slowed down to a walk as he caught his breath. As he neared, he found the door open. The interior was lit up by the glow of a nice, warm fire. Maite was lying in bed, smiling at him. As he entered and closed the door, Maite got out of bed, wrapping herself in a blanket. She walked towards Toki and, as she did, she let the blanket fall, revealing her young body. Toki was amazed at the way her figure had changed throughout the years. It seemed like only yesterday that she was a young child, when they used to play at war or the hunt and she seemed little different than him. Now, she was a beautiful woman. His woman.

They embraced, their arms carassing the other as their lips met. Toki lifted Maite into his arms and carried her to the bed.

***

Toki lay there, looking at the stars through the smoke hole in the roof of the hut. He held Maite in his arms, her head on his chest as she lay sleeping. He looked down at her, running his hands through her hair. She stirred and then looked up at him, their eyes locking for what seemed an eternity. They both smiled. Maite shifted over as Toki sat up. He took off his kutun and placed it around Maite's neck.

``Here, Mai. I want you to have this.''

She looked at the finger that nestled itself between her breasts. She took it into her hands.

``Oh!'' She exclaimed. ``It's still warm, like it's still alive.''

``It is alive, and it always will be, as long as I am healthy. The kutun is still a part of me. If I am well, it will be too. If I become sick or hurt, it will wither. And, if I die, it will die with me.''

``Oh.'' Maite looked at the kutun and then at Toki. She smiled as she neared and kissed him.

They both settled back into the bed as they prepared to sleep. Maite again laid her head on Toki's chest.

``I love you, Toki.''

``I love you too, Maite.''

Toki smiled as he looked at the stars. He didn't know what the future held for him. Soon he would be out, making his guild proud as a great warrior. But, that was for tomorrow. Tonight, he was with Maite, and he was happy.

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Last updated: Sun, 13 Mar 2005 - 21:33:14

 

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