Chapter Nine- Wanepi’s Real Parents

We finally made it through the maze of corridors back to our rooms and Joeté went into his. Wanepi and I went into mine and sat down on two of the different chairs. 

“So how are you really? Not Antepi the warrior, but Antepi the person.” 

I smiled. “I’m alright, actually. Coping with Hannah has been hard.” I laughed a little. “ There’s only been a few massive blow outs- some on my part- one extremely heated speech on how we are conducting our church services, and one engaged couple argument. The contents of the last one are unknown to me. I was only the cause.” I pretended to think of something. “Oh, and a jealous glare when I was getting ready to come here!  Only the usual rivalry between fiance and ex- fiance.” We both laughed. “But it is nice being back. I was hoping to be able to have a very very small birthday celebration- only Catania and my brothers- when I returned, but currently, I am not sure Catania will even talk to me after I return.”

“Wait, birthday? You never told me about this.” I looked at her dubiously. “Of course I knew you had a birthday, we have just never had the time to talk about it. Whenever you, Cat, Sophi and I were together it was always ‘who is the new best warrior’ or ‘who can throw knives further’. Or the occasional gushing about your brother on Sophi’s part, usually followed by an exclamation of disgust from you.” She laughed. “When is your birthday?”

“My birthday is on September Third, next Saturday.” I smiled. Wanepi looked at me strangely.

“Wait, mine is September Third. How is that possible? No one ever said anything about both of us being born in the village.” She thought for a moment. “I know that Emma knew who my real parents where, but she never told me. I think she meant to tell me when I got married, but died before that happened, obviously.” She got up and went to a drawer in the wardrobe. “Oh, just so you know, I keep all of Emma’s old things in here. Not her clothes, but things that she liked.” She moved some things around. “She left me her journal. I wonder if that has anything in it.” She pulled a large book out and started flipping through it. “September third, september third. Here it is.” She started reading it aloud. 

“September Third 1786

Today has been a long and tedious day. First, one of the warriors was hurt and I had to sew up his arm. He was very sweet and young. It is strange that I have never seen him before. He said that he would be back in a few days to get his stitches taken out. His name was Jago.” She looked up at me and started laughing. “Wait- Jago? The second in command leader of the Antioch army?” We both started laughing. 

“He is the leader  of the Antioch army. Well, he is second in command, lower than only Chief Carsho and General Operone, who is part of the other crazy thing that happened today. He was so nice and if things work out for me, I could see myself starting a life with him. I know anyone reading this would think me silly, but I can dream, can’t I? 

The second part came tonight. I was doing some sewing when I heard footsteps running outside. I knew that Anyama, Operone’s wife, was having a baby soon, but she had requested to have it by herself without my help. Suddenly someone knocked on my door. I was confused, but I opened it. Operone was standing there, holding a baby. She was so beautiful. He told me that Anyama’s old mother was superstitious and had taken Wanepi, the baby, away as soon as she was born, because she was the second child. Anyama had had twins, and Wanepi was the second child. Anyama’s mother, Ashka, told her that the baby had died immediately and told Operone to find a new home for the baby. But Ashka was old and dying, and died just a few hours later. Operone didn’t want to give up his child, so he decided to give her to me, and when Anyama was stronger tell her the truth, and bring her back. He made me promise never to tell anyone what had happened. At least not until he told Anyama. I promised him, and now, sweet Wanepi Teviana Perivia Antioch rests in a cradle in my back room.

“That’s the end of that.” She looked up at me, her eyes glistening with tears. I am sure that mine mirrored hers. 

“Then why did we never find out? Why did we never  know?”

“I don’t know.. Let me turn to the next year.” She turned to September third of the next year. 

“September third 1787

It has been a year since I took little Wanepi in, and she looks almost exactly like her sister, Antepi. It’s interesting, because Wanepi and Antepi were twin goddesses, fictional of course, before the Antioch knew of a Savior. Then, they were twin warrior princesses, each leader of a different tribe. Antepi was leader of Antioch, the tribe of my people, and Wanepi the leader of Toshish, one of “forgotten” tribes. Yet no one has figured out that two girls who look quite alike and have names that are connected to each other throughout our history, are twin sisters. Operone came and told me today that he plans to tell the girls the truth when one of them gets married, and I promised to wait until then. Anyama is strong, but Operone is afraid that a shock to the system such as this would hurt her badly.  But it is late and I am tired.

“That’s the end. So they were going to wait and tell us when one of us married.” She started flipping through the pages to the last entry.

“Are you sure that you want to look at that?” I asked her gently. She nodded. 

“I need to know what her final thoughts were.

August 5  1801

I am dying. There is nothing else to say about it. I am dying, and no one can stop it. I have only seen this type of disease once and the girl, much younger and stronger than I, did not survive. I have raised Wanepi as my own child all these years hoping beyond all hope that when she found out she wouldn’t hate me, but now, she will be hating a dead woman if she does.” Wanepi started tearing up, her voice becoming hoarse and quiet, and she stopped frequently between words or sentences. “I can only hope that Operone will tell the girls, as well as Anyama, soon. My heart is breaking that I am leaving my darling baby so soon and I only hope that God can forgive me for lying to her for so long. As I have looked through this journal today, remembering all that my life has been full of, I am filled with happiness, and also sadness because I can not continue it. I am not afraid to die, I rather welcome it, but I am afraid for Wanepi. She is passionate and strong, but in the midst of death, her heart will break. And it will hurt her. She will take it out on others, others that she will say could have saved me. I hope that when you are reading this later, Wanepi, you realize that no one could have saved me. If I could not save me then none could. And I want you to know that I love you with all my heart. All my old, aching heart. I have watched you blossom into the beautiful young lady you are today and I have tried to teach you all I know. But until now, I have held one thing back. That is that no matter where you are, no matter where you run with your heartache- for I know that you will run Wanepi- Antioch will always be your home, and no matter how much you hurt them, the Antioch will always be your people, and they will always protect you. You are so strong, my desha*. So strong. But I am tired now. I only have two more things to say: the first, trust God with all your heart. Second, you are your father’s daughter. And you are an Antioch. It is in your blood, it runs through your veins, and no matter what, it makes you what and who you are. Don’t you ever, ever, ever forget that. I love you, Wanepi.”  Wanepi covered her mouth, tears streaming down her face, and started sobbing. I walked over and she stood up, setting the book on the chair. I hugged her as tight as I could, never wanting to let go. “She knew. She knew I would reject everyone and run away. But she didn’t know that the attack would happen, and she didn’t know that Pasha wouldn’t survive.” My heart surged at her calling him Pasha. “I miss her so much Antepi. So, so much. She made me who I am, and I wouldn’t be marrying Philippe without her. I only came here as a healer, because of the joy of helping that she instilled in me.” I pulled back and held her at arm’s length. 

“And you should always be grateful. But you also have to know that she wouldn’t want you to be sad. She would want you to be happy, sisera*.” She smiled and hugged me again, this time happily. Suddenly a thought dawned on me, making me even happier.

 “I just thought of something.” She raised an eyebrow. “If Respato is guilty… that means Renaglo is not. He can come out of the caves.” I started laughing and crying all at the same time. “He can see Senepha. He can be a father again.” Wanepi started laughing as well. Then she let go abruptly and walked to the door. 

 “Good night Antepi. Sleep well.” She smiled warmly and went out, closing the door behind her. 

I didn’t blame her for leaving so quickly- it was a lot to process, especially for someone who had always wondered who their parents were. 

“Good night Wanepi. Come to my room in the morning and we can talk.”

New Blog Post Coming Later Tonight!!