(from Part Three)
A rustle of fabric alerted Rhuna of a presence behind her, and she turned to look at the open doorway where an attendant ushered in the prominent guest.
Rhuna watched in awe as a tall woman with intensely dark skin strode elegantly towards them, her bare arms boasting gold bracelets and other glittering jewels. She remembered Shandi’s words, black woman, and let her gaze quickly take in the impressive stature and colourful textiles.
“I greet you,” she said, startling Rhuna with her deep and resonating voice. “I am Uxbana of Zambalu, The Queen of the Land of Ubanti and of the Ubanti People,” she said proudly.
Rhuna stepped forward to greet her in the traditional Atlan way, and a black hand with long, slender fingers reached to firmly grasp Rhuna’s hand. The tall woman’s arm jewellery jingled briefly, and Rhuna sensed both the woman’s outer and inner strength of character.
“You? You are the one they call The Star Child?” Uxbana said with arched eyebrows. “You are so…small.”
“The people of the Land of Ubanti are among the tallest I have encountered,” stated The Reigning One in his usual monotone, and then quickly motioned for Uxbana to be seated opposite Rhuna in a richly decorated chair. Rhuna remembered what she was told about chairs at her arrival in Safu, and still found it amusing that The Reigning One’s forefathers liked to sit higher off the ground than others in order to emphasize their status and superiority over others sitting on the floor.
“Physical attributes are superficial,” Uxbana said as she slowly lowered herself onto one of The Reigning One’s chairs, and Rhuna noticed that she still towered over her even in a seated position.
The Reigning One lifted a finger, and two attendants appeared at once to offer a large platter of food and a choice of beverages. Rhuna watched as Uxbana chose a sample of each food group, and then requested a large drinking vessel of the popular brewed and fermented barley beverage.
“My emissaries have reported to me about the grand stone buildings in this land,” Uxbana said with a mouthful of sweet honey cake. “It is always astute, is it not, to cultivate good relations with one’s neighbours, especially when there is much to be learned and gained, such as the Knowledge of Safu that is becoming famous in the entire world,” she said, and then took several large gulps of her beverage.
“However, our attempts to learn more about Safu have been strangely undermined in various ways,” she added as she took another mouthful of food.
Rhuna felt her skin prickle as she realized that Uxbana was referring to the acts of the Dark Ones.
“Several of my emissaries fell violently ill before reaching Safu, and several others, travelling together on a barge down the Great River, were attacked by both crocodiles and hippopotamuses,” Uxbana continued.
“How extraordinary,” The Reigning One interjected in a slightly elevated pitch, telling Rhuna that the rigid, disciplined man was in fact very surprised.
“Perhaps the lack of rain in recent lunar cycles has made the river animals agitated,” Uxbana suggested, but Rhuna saw from the hint of a frown on The Reigning One’s brow that he dismissed this idea.
“My emissaries have reported to me about curses,” Uxbana continued in a loud and firm tone, looking directly at Rhuna. “But let us not argue about the verity of curses,” Uxbana added with a quick dismissive wave of her hand.
“I have come to acquire the knowledge and ability to make our land of Ubanti like Safu, namely to build pyramids, stone roads, stone block houses, irrigation walls and metal tools,” she stated.
“These things were made with the power only Atlans possess,” explained Rhuna, and the black woman’s eyebrows arched questioningly.
“Transforming sand into stone blocks, or water in the case of the First Atlans in Safu, are exclusively the works of very skilled Atlan Masters,” Rhuna explained.
“My emissaries have reported to me of your grand deeds on behalf of the people of Benshu,” Uxbana said. “You made a city for the common people, all by yourself…”
“I transformed sand and dirt into stone building blocks so that the people could make better homes for themselves,” Rhuna confirmed.
“What else can you do?” she asked sharply, her obsidian eyes gleaming.
“I can transform metals for tools, plating on doors or walls, make glass from sand, soften stone so it can be shaped or cut…and I can also break down big rocks, or cause cracks in walls,” Rhuna said, remembering the unintentional damage she caused during her first lunar cycle in Safu.
“Why should only Atlans have this power?” shot Uxbana with an angry frown and flaring nostrils. “You are not even a pure Atlan!” she spat, as her gleaming black eyes bore into Rhuna. “I have heard about your great feats on behalf of the Benshi people, but you are not how I imagined you,” she challenged.
Rhuna, The Star Child
This thrilling sequel to Rhuna: Crossroads is set in mystical Ancient Egypt where Black Magic was developed by the followers of the legendary villain, The Dark Master. As strange and frightening curses plague the population, Rhuna discovers the underground organization that performs this uncanny new magic, but she can only combat it with the help of her long-lost father. Having learned from her father amazing new skills to empower her on the Astral Plane, Rhuna once again strives to preserve peace and harmony in the idyllic Atlan civilization.
Far more challenging than fighting powerful Dark Forces, however, is Rhuna’s personal anguish when her daughter becomes involved with the leader of the Black Magic movement, and the once-perfect Atlan society based on utopian principles begins to crumble all around her. Shocking events escalate Rhuna’s world to a breathless climax as she and her family undergo a momentous upheaval, and she is forced to make great personal sacrifices for her loved ones.
Excerpt from Rhuna, The Star Child.
More about Rhuna, The Star Child
The sequel to "Rhuna: Crossroads" is also set in Ancient Egypt, and continues a few short years later, when Rhuna has had a second daughter who is now a toddler - but one with special abilities as well!
New and exciting themes are introduced in this book, namely Astral Projection and Black Magic as practiced in Ancient Egypt. There is also the element of future visions and insights; the gift given to Rhuna's small daughter, Shandi.
When Lozira arrives, now a grown woman, Rhuna's problems and worries escalate due to the man her daughter falls in love with. At the same time, critical diplomatic talks with the dark-skinned people of the land now known as Ethiopia begin to falter. Historical evidence shows that leaders of Ancient Egypt where not only Arabian and Caucasian, but also African, and this idea is proposed in "Rhuna, The Star Child" when the Ubanti invade and drive out the people they view as their enemy.
Rhuna is confronted with critical and life-changing decisions, and on the eve of a new and happy future, her small daughter utters two words that will also make the reader's mind boggle - until the next book!