Story for the day: Sethena
The newly born Haanta Mivaari began to roar with the cries of hunger and discomfort. He had been swathed in warm pelts to keep him quiet and calm but when he felt his first bout of insatiable and inbred hunger strike him, Sethena screamed for appeasement. His cradle was approached by Khantara and the healer and as it was thought unwise to have the child drink from his mother in her current condition, the Ankhimari prepared Mhevhta, a formula given to all the young Mivaari of the islands for added wellbeing and nourishment.
The giant lifted his progeny from his soft encasement and cradled him in the crook of his gargantuan arm. He was exceedingly small for a Mivaari, nearly as small as Jhiaanta had been at the time of his birth. Khantara hummed at him to add to his comfort, rocked him to simulate his time in the womb, and examined him as his sense of curious peace was renewed.
It was customary for the Mivaari to take on a skin tone similar to the male Ambesari, but Sethena's had not followed tradition. His skin was a mauve-grey, wholly unlike that of Khantara's, but he retained something of the Den Amhadhri's unshakeable countenance. Khantara's black sclera had been passed on but his yellow irises were exchanged for a vivid violet. Small flecks of thick, white hair sprouted from the child's head and although the characteristics of his nose were indiscernible at such an early age, Sethena's downturned mouth was defined and significant. He seemed to be ever scowling, but Khantara attributed this to his need for nourishment and smiled at his little frown.
The Ankhimari gave Khantara the prepared Mhevhta to feed to the grimacing child and the instant Sethena smelled his meal near, he had begun to cry. He was quickly silenced, however, when he was fed and Khantara laughed at how easily his small and brooding Mivaari was sated. There was more of the formula that was prepared than necessary to be saved for a later feeding, but Sethena had not stopped once during his first feast. He drank the mixture in its entirety and when he was finished, he immediately resumed his task of scowling.
Khantara smiled warmly at the little dissatisfied creature in his arm. "You are hungry, Mivaari Leraa. I am greatly pleased," he said softly to the child. "This means you will grow quickly and though you may not be of my height or strength, you will grow to be healthy." He marveled at the subtle movements Sethena made. A twitch of the nose, a contraction of the leg, each new movement gave Sethena cause to be confused with his body. Khantara placed his finger out for the child to hold and Sethena attacked it with both of his minuscule hands. "Your grip is tight," Khantara breathed with ease. "My Haasta has done well. Regard your Ambesari." The giant pointed to Anelta being taken from the infirmary. "She cares for you more than I would be able to suggest. She is unwell and cannot attend you now. Your Ambesari's Salhiika is trapped and I must find a way to return is to her Khopra so that she may be with us once more."
Sethena scowled with conviction.
"She is being taken to Mharvholan but you will remain here so the Ankhimari may care for you and the Themari may nurture you." Khantara lifted his child and pressed his lips against his diminutive forehead. "There is something I must do, Mivaari Leraa," he whispered, placing Sethena into his cradle. "There is a legend that Jhiadhi, He who was First, was given the gift of eternal life by the gods who had enslaved us as penance for their transgressions against our people. Jhiadhi then gave this gift to his Traala, the first mate named for our people, and extended his goodwill to all of our ancestors who remained with him. It is believed that Ghaan Khosselin, Bringer of the Haanta, was sent by Jhiadhi to release us from our affliction and teach us the ways of the Haanta. If this is so, He who came First still lives and I will ask him to grant me the gift of eternal life so that I may give it to your Ambesari."
Sethena blinked and made a few sounds of disapprobation.
"I am aware I would have to leave the islands and journey to the east across the sea," Khantara purred, grazing Sethena's cheeks with the back of his finger. "I may be gone from the islands for some time, but I am certain you will grow to be strong and mindful in my absence. Our people do not look after their own Mivaari . . . " Khantara paused and gazed at Sethena's softening expression. "However, I will ask my Amhadhri to look after you and make certain that if I do not return you will grow to be the most legendary and accomplished Haanta who has lived."
Sethena was silent and still. He eyed his Ambesari with the suspicion of a turned head and a sideways glance. His tiny fingers seemed to point at the gentle colossus and his brow rose involuntarily to make his observant countenance complete.
Khantara thrummed in contentment at the child's display of early vigilance. "Do not lose your manner, Mivaari," he said, kissing his child farewell. "You will be a champion for our people and you will be an example for your brothers and sisters. When I return successful in my mission, I expect to hear your name glorified among our people. Tagmhaanas, Iimon Sethena Leraa."
Sethena sneezed and grimaced.
Khantara laughed with the happiness of a full heart for his Mivaari and went to the dock to accompany Anelta to her chamber in the temple of Mharvholan. Before boarding the vessel that was to convey him, he sent a request with an informant stating the reason for his quest, the estimated time he would be missing from his post as Den Amhadhri of Mharvholan, and the orders of who would be delegating his orders during his nonattendance. As the ship was about to leave the wharf of Sanhedhran, he received a reply from the Hakriyaa. His quest had been sanctioned and Khantara was to leave the Haanta in search of a cure as soon as possible.