Everything about the leader of the Anjo Tribe was big. His arms we big, his legs were big, his head was big (and so was his ego). He had a big, furry moustache, and a big, gleaming blade on the end on his spear. He rode a big sled, pulled by big dogs, and was the leader of a big tribe. Even his very presence was big.
So, when he agreed to visit the neighbouring Maikoh Tribe for their seasonal Kapoch Festival (celebration of the talents of the tribe), it was a big deal...
Snowflakes danced around the rush and rampage of scrabbling people, twisting in and out of each other's way. The centre of the Maikoh Tribe's village was bustling and bright, filled with hurried feet and excited shouts swept away by the wind. From the village hall, the singing of Maikohenian youth could be heard. Smoke rose from a roaring bonfire, on which a large elk was being roasted.
There was enough to feed the whole tribe!
Close to the twisted woods that curved around the village, a young girl of about 13 tended to a variety of plants and vegetation growing behind an old cabin. Her dark brown hair, which was braided around the most beautiful of flowers, fell in front of her face as she bent down. Quietly, she began to sing under her breath. As she did so, she raised her hand, and incredibly a small sapling grew from up out of the snow.
The girl smiled, her blue eyes sparkling. It was her magic: she could make anything grow anywhere just using her mind, plus, she could communicate with animals.
"Your singing voice is pretty, Cal."
A sudden voice made Cal jump. Cheeks burning, she leapt up and spun around. Leaning on the wooden frame of the cabin behind her was another girl, slightly younger than herself, wearing deer-furred trousers and a mischievous smile. The girl, whose name was Rio, shook the snowflakes out of her light brown (almost blonde) ponytail and grinned.
"W-what singing? I wasn't s-singing." said Cal in a small voice. Rio said nothing, just raised an eyebrow. "You must've imagined it." Cal twisted her hands behind her back shyly. On her left hand, was a strange shaped birthmark, that looked like a bear. Even stranger, Rio had the exact same birthmark on her left hand as well.
Rio did not mention the singing again, for she knew Cal was shy and would not say anything else on the matter. Instead she turned to leave. "Your plants are looking awesome. You almost ready for the festival?" Rio asked. Cal nodded and smiled. Just as Rio was walking away, Cal called out "Good luck with the haadnelsof match, Rio! You're gonna be great!"
At the mention of the haadnelsof match, Rio's stormy blue eyes sparked. Haadnelsof was the number one sport in the Maikoh tribe - and all the surrounding area, for that matter. It was a sport similar to modern day ice hockey, except with less fighting and less protection.
"Oh yeah, I forgot about that!" exclaimed Rio. "Gods, I'm worse than Elder Apisi, and yesterday he forgot that he hadn't changed out of his night clothes when he went fishing with my Da!" She heard Cal laugh as she raced off, faster than the wolves sprinting in the forest.
Her legs pounded the snow in time with the drumming of her heart against her ribs. Swiftly, she weaved in and out of people in the village centre. People gasped as she ran past: Rio never failed to amaze the elders with her unrivalled speed. Like Cal, Rio had magic too - she was incredibly fast, never ran out of energy, and could wield lightning at her fingertips.
Kicking up snow, Rio raced past the crackling bonfire, by the ice sculptures and continued on her way to meet and joke around with her best friend Bucky at the haadnelsöf ice rink.
By the bonfire, stood another short girl of around the same age, with dark skin and short brown curls. Unlike the other tribesfolk, whom were wearing thick, furred cloaks and multiple layers, this girl was wearing nothing but a cream jumper with the sleeves rolled up and a rusty orange skirt. Why? She never felt cold! Even during blizzards, the girl (whom was called Aster) often complained that she was too hot.
Bangle bracelets clattered together on her arms as she slowly turned the elk on the stick. Amazingly, on Aster's hand, (along with many blisters) was the exact same bear-shaped birthmark that both Cal and Rio had. Also, she too bore magic powers: Aster could manipulate and manifest fire. In fact, it was she whom had started the bonfire in the first place.
As Rio dashed by, Aster had to do a double take, just to make sure it was definitely Rio and she hadn't just imagined someone from the corner of her eye. "Hey Rio!" she shouted, but Rio had already gone.
"Oh yeah, she'll DEFINITELY be able to hear you from all the way other there." said a sarcastic voice from her shoulder. Well, no, very high above her shoulder. At her side stood Saphira, half-hiding behind her long, black hair, and long, black cloak. Her artic blue eyes seemed to pierce straight through Aster like a needle through thread.
On her hand also, was, you guessed it, the same bear-shaped birthmark that Cal, Rio and Aster bore. Once again, yes, Saphira had magical abilities too: she could manipulate and manifest water.
Aster groaned inwardly. Ugh, she thought. Not Saphira. We do NOT get along.
"Shouldn't you be at the ice sculptures or whatever?" Aster said. "We're already done, pipsqueak." replied Saphira. Struggling to disguise her anger, Aster grimaced. "Don't call me pipsqueak." she barked through gritted teeth. "I'm not that small." "You are to me, pipsqueak." Saphira argued, which was true - Saphira was VERY tall.
A quiet, low growling noise crawled from Aster's throat. "Get lost, Saph." Saphira shrugged. "I can't. Elder Nanook sent me here to make sure you don't burn anything." Saphira said coolly. Fury boiled through Aster's veins. She knew her short temper would be the death of her, but she had reined it in for far too long. Without warning, Aster charged at Saphira...
...Then was suddenly blown backwards! What? thought Aster. I know I'm clumsy, but that's not how physics work. Unless...
"Cynthia!" Aster cried. She looked up to see a whirl of swirling snow with another girl amongst it. She had brown (almost chestnut) hair with a puffy fringe, and grey eyes, like the sky on a cloudy day. Her many layered dress swirled about her as she came in for a landing.
Like the others, Cynthia also had the same bear-shaped birthmark on her left hand, and she also had powers: the ability to make herself and others float, and the ability to manipulate and manifest wind. Out of all the tribesfolk in the village, the five girls were the only people to have magical abilities.
Aster went to give her friend a warm hug - but is was maybe a little to warm, as Cynthia recoiled in pain and rubbed a burn on her shoulder. "Ouch!" she cried, and Aster apologised. "You're burning hot, Aster, literally. You need to chill out." Aster always got scolding hot when she was angry. In the corner, Saphira folded her arms with a smug smile, knowing she had won again.
"At least you're can always count on me for a 'warm' welcome!" joked Aster with the worlds cheesiest smile. Cynthia and Saphira groaned: Aster was FULL of lame jokes.
All of a sudden, a horn sounded, and everyone in the village froze. From the entrance of the village, Elder Harou cried out:
"Let us all welcome Elder Vilkas, leader of the Anjo Tribe!"
To be continued...