It has only been a few months since Nathen and Authia won their battle and became the new Lord and Mistress of the Jelani Tribe. With Tammy and Hansen at their side, they have made Africa their new home. However, their life of peace and tranquility is about to be threatened. Greed, hatred, and revenge are at their doorstep, and Nathen will have to call upon an unlikely ally if he is to have any chance of winning this battle.
Congo Region, Africa 1992
Zane’s breathing was rapid. Fear enveloped him as he pressed his back tight against the slimy wall of the narrow walkway hidden behind the waterfall. His clothing hung on him, drenched from the spray of the falls. The roar of the falling water reverberated inside his head. His eardrums felt as though they were going to explode. However, he would much rather suffer the deafening sound of the falls than to step one foot inside the Valley of the Lion People. Sensay, one of the elders of his village, had sent him with a message for the Lord of the Lion People—a message that was to be delivered in person. Zane knew the importance of delivering the message, but he also knew he was unfamiliar to the Lion People. And the Lion People didn’t like strangers. If only Sam or Tomas were available to deliver the message. The Lion People knew them and considered them friends. But unfortunately, they had been given a mission of their own. They were miles away from the village and couldn’t be of any help to Zane.
Zane knew that Sensay would be very angry with him if he didn’t deliver her message. So he took a deep breath and nervously entered the valley. Once inside, Zane was overwhelmed by the beauty that lay before him. The jungle floor beneath his feet was lush and green. The plant life and the trees grew taller and were richer in color than the ones in his valley. He was lost in the beauty of his surroundings until he heard a noise—the sound of a bow being pulled back. Slowly he turned until he was face to face with four Lion People. Three bows were aimed at his chest. These men all stood at least six feet tall. They had shocking red hair that fell in waves to their shoulders. Their faces were slightly elongated and covered with a fine layer of red hair. Their cheekbones were quite high, the bridge of their noses was unusually wide, and there was a slight cleft in their upper lip. The hands that held the bows had long fingernails, curved and pointed. Zane recognized these features, for he had seen them once before in his village.
* * * *
Tuval, the leader of the group, approached the man who dared to enter into their territory. He held his bow downward, at his side. But still, it was pulled back, ready to fire. He looked at the man who stood before him, drenched in his own clothing. He was short, standing a good six inches shorter than himself. His hair was quite dark and disheveled. He wore jeans cut off at the knee and a buttoned shirt with the sleeves cut off. He appeared to be from the village on the other side of the falls. Tuval stood in front of the man, towering over him. “Who are you?”
He bit at his lower lip. “I’m Zane. I come from the village that protects you. I have a message for your Lord.”
Tuval was amused that Zane thought that his little village could protect the Valley of the Lion People. “And tell me Zane…how do you protect us?”
“We guard the entrance to your valley. We make sure it remains hidden.”
“That’s very noble of you. Providing that you’re being truthful.”
“What’s the message?”
“Sensay tells me that I must deliver the message in person.”
Tuval could tell that Zane was frightened. Beads of sweat ran down his face, and his entire body was trembling in fear.
“Well…Zane…you don’t appear to be a threat. I’ll take you to our village. You’ll speak with my Mistress. She’ll decide if you are truthful or not. But be forewarned. The punishment for entering our valley without permission is death.”
Zane looked as though he was going to faint. He had no way of knowing that since the rule of the new Lord, the punishment of death had been abolished. It was only an empty threat.
Tuval turned to his men. “Stay here. Watch the entrance in case anyone else decides to pay us a visit.” His men disappeared into the jungle, while Tuval escorted Zane to his village.