Here’s the prologue for FIJI: A NOVEL – for your reading pleasure!

Posted: January 12, 2017 in Fiji: A Novel
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By the mid-1800’s, Fiji has become a melting pot of cannibals, warring native tribes, sailors, traders, prostitutes, escaped convicts and all manner of foreign undesirables. It’s in this hostile environment an innocent young Englishwoman and a worldly American adventurer find themselves in FIJI: A NOVEL (The World Duology, #2).

 

Fiji: A Novel (The World Duology Book 2)

 

Prologue

A Fijian maiden stooped to pick up a shell as she walked along a white sand beach at Momi Bay, on the western side of Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu. Sina had a natural island beauty. Lithe and graceful, her dark skin glistened in the tropical sun. She wore a traditional grass skirt and shawl made from tapa, or bark cloth.

The beach was bordered by a grove of coconut trees and the turquoise waters of the bay. Tropical birds filled the sky—among them Kingfishers that dived into the sea, competing for fish.

At one end of the beach, a distinctive headland protruded out into the Pacific. It accommodated a village whose entrance was marked by defensive fortifications in the form of bamboo palisades. The village was home to the Qopa, the region’s predominant mataqali, or clan.

Out in the bay, Qopa fishermen speared fish and cast nets from their canoes. Beyond them, foaming surf marked the reef that ringed much of Viti Levu. The constant sound of waves crashing against the reef was like the boom of distant thunder.

Several miles beyond the reef, a ship sailed by, her sails billowing as she was pushed along ahead of a light southerly. Sina and the other villagers paid scant attention to the vessel: they’d become used to the comings and goings of the white man’s ships.

The maiden noticed the shadows were lengthening. It was time to think about returning to the village. She smiled as squealing village children playing at the water’s edge splashed one another, white teeth sparkling against their black skin. Like all Fijian children, they seemed to wear permanent smiles.

Sina stopped to pick up another shell, dropping it into a woven flax bag hanging from her shoulder. Humming a traditional lullaby to herself, she was unaware a tall, muscular warrior was watching her impassively from the shadows of the coconut grove. Standing motionless, the sinister warrior held a musket in one hand. Only his coal-black eyes moved—his heavily tattooed, battle-scarred face adding to his air of silent menace.

This was Rambuka, also known as the Outcast, the charismatic leader of a tribe of cannibals feared by villagers up and down the coast. Rambuka’s eyes subconsciously widened as he studied Sina. He liked what he saw. Finally, he moved, gliding soundlessly among the palm trees like a spirit as he stalked his prey.

Still singing, Sina bent down to study an unusual shell. A sudden movement to her left caught her eye and she looked up to see Rambuka rushing toward her, musket in hand. She recognized him immediately. Screaming, she turned to flee, but had barely taken a step before her assailant was onto her, dragging her back to the trees. Startled by her screams, the children ran toward the village, shouting.

Terrified, Sina lashed out and twisted around, trying to bite her attacker. Rambuka slapped her hard, momentarily stunning her. Everything started spinning and Sina felt as if she might faint. Effortlessly hoisting her over his shoulder, the Outcast began running inland.

Behind them, Qopa warriors came running from the nearby village, alerted by the children’s screams. Most carried clubs or spears, while some had tomahawks they’d acquired from white traders. Nearly all were tattooed about the arms, legs and torso. The warriors were led by Joeli, son of the village ratu, or chief.

A big, powerful man, Joeli’s proud bearing and intelligent eyes were clues to his royal bloodlines. Bone earrings hung from his ears and a huge, intricately-carved, whale bone club dangled from a cord around his waist, a dozen human teeth inlaid around its head testament to how many men he’d killed in battle. Most striking, however, was his massive hairstyle. Nearly two feet high and even wider across, it was dyed blue with yellow stripes through it. Earlier treatment with burnt lime juice would ensure it remained stiffened in place for a few more days at least.

Some of Joeli’s warriors wore equally flamboyant hairstyles—many dyed a bright color and some even multi-colored; several sported hairstyles of a geometric shape while the orange-dyed hair atop one proud warrior was all of six feet in circumference. Such weird and wonderful styles could be seen on men throughout Fiji and were worn as a symbol of masculinity and social standing.

The frightened children all talked at once and pointed down the beach. Joeli led his warriors to the spot the children had indicated and there two sets of tracks were immediately visible in the sand. He turned, grim-faced, to his warriors. “It could only be the Outcast,” he decreed.

A fine-looking young warrior with a distinctive birthmark on his forehead and a zany, geometric hairstyle asked, “Who has he taken?” This was Waisale, a close friend of Joeli’s.

Joeli looked down, avoiding his friend’s eyes. He suspected that Rambuka had abducted Sina, but didn’t want to say as much until it was confirmed. It was common knowledge Waisale and Sina were lovers.

A sense of foreboding suddenly came over Waisale as he studied the footprints that Rambuka and his captive had left behind. “Sina!” he murmured. Without another word, Waisale sprinted into the coconut grove, following the tracks into the dense rainforest beyond. The others ran hard on his heels.

#

Dusk was approaching and Sina was near exhaustion when the Outcast finally stopped running, allowing her to briefly rest and drink from a shallow stream. Their flight had taken them into the forest-covered hills above Momi Bay.

Scratches and bruises covered Sina’s face and body, and she winced as she splashed water over her face. Aware of Rambuka’s reputation and knowing what fate awaited her, she looked frantically around, her mind racing, desperate to find a way out of her predicament.

Rambuka grabbed her by the arm. Sina shrank back, expecting to be raped. Instead, she was dragged into the water. Her heart sank as the Outcast began pulling her along upstream, leaving no tracks for anyone to follow. The realization was setting in that Rambuka wasn’t merely intending to rape her—he was abducting her. Her skin crawled at the thought.

A quarter of a mile behind, Joeli and his warriors followed their quarries’ tracks. With night approaching, they knew they were running out of time. Waisale led the chase, desperate to save Sina. However, as Rambuka had intended, the tracks ended at the stream. In the fading light, Waisale ran up and down the bank, frustrated at the dearth of signs to follow.

Joeli shook his head. “The Outcast is taking her to the Land of Red Rain,” he said simply. His tone suggested the dye was cast; there was no saving Sina now. Joeli and the others reluctantly turned and began retracing their steps back to the village.

Waisale stayed behind, looking east toward the highlands of the interior. He knew the land Joeli had referred to lay beyond those same highlands. Exactly where the outcasts were hiding wasn’t known. They moved around constantly, using various hideouts. Many a raiding party had set out from Momi Bay to try to find their enemies in the past, but the land was rugged and the outcasts hid their tracks well.

Pain and anger rose up like bile in Waisale’s throat. He vowed he’d go to the Land of Red Rain and rescue Sina.

 

Product Details

 

FIJI: A NOVEL (The World Duology, #2)  is exclusive to Amazon and is available as a paperback and Kindle ebook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0057YCZM0/

 

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