The black clouds swirled overhead with the relentless thunder and lightning raining down just as hard as the rain, the grand bonfire was still burning, as though the unfailing winds had no effect.
The twelve tribesmen sat, legs crossed, in a large circle, each holding their own wooden staff in their right hand, hair shaved off, white paint contrasting so cleanly with their dark chocolate faces. The chanting rose into the sky, suppressing the roar of violent thunder and the fire dimming the lightning's flash.
The white-haired Mambo stepped forward, her own staff in her left hand, she walked proudly towards the fire. Her hair was free to float both powerfully and gracefully in the binding winds surrounding her, her blue eyes surrounded by her flawless whites. With no ceremonial make-up, no traditional jewellery and no constrictions binding her near naked body, she stopped walking, only inches from the blaze. She raised her staff and slammed the end back into the soft, sandy ground. The men sitting began to tap their staffs to the ground insistently as they began to chant the song of the ritual, all in a beautiful, confusing and unrecognisable African language. Then, she began to chant herself.
"Loa Legba, I, Mambo Ororo, call upon your divine intervention," she spoke in a powerful African accent combined with perfect English "I require the power the has blessed me since my birth and which has protected me from time until time passed."
She raised her staff and held it there for a long moment and the storm seemed to intensify further, the thunder louder, lightning brighter, wind stronger, rain harder. The powers of the storm were growing with every second this ritual continued.
"Now, Loa Bade, Guardian of the 4 divine winds, Loa Sobo, great warrior of thunder and Loa Agwé, he who I needed before to contain Agau and bearer of the heaven blessed rain, I speak to you," Mambo Ororo called into the fire and into the sky "I require your grand intercession, your help and blessing!"
The winds whipped up violently around her, but only tossed her hair past her shoulders. She closed her eyes and continued to call to the Loa, the painted men surrounding the fire merely continued to stamp their staffs and chant in their unrecognisable language.
"I am the Mambo Ororo de Shantae, she who commands the Sky and she who carries the Spirit!" she called "by the covenant of the sisters, I request this: take my power of now and burn my body, let my spirit carry my power throughout the place and throughout the time that binds me! I need your power to protect the sisters and to protect the heart!"
The wind seemed to become much less violent, but it only became more focused. With her hair whiter than snow and eyes so blue they shamed both the sea and the sky, she began to fly, leaving the ground beneath her and rising high above the grand bonfire. Her hair flew straight up towards the sky with wild abandon, her arms flung up as well, eyes shining like stars in the storm-clouded sky and an aura that invisibly ruptured the air surrounding the ritual.
Mambo Ororo closed her shining eyes and began to chant something different, first in the same language as the men and then again in English:
I am the Soul.
I am what no man can control.
I bide my spirit into the light,
For none shall challenge the Sky's great might.
My body burnt, my mind lost,
My soul free, if that the cost.
I freeze my heart and thus my time,
For nature shall not pay my crime.
I pass my power unto another
And so protect said child's mother,
With love, with hate,
Through friends and mate.
My time has come, but not yet worn,
And so pass and wait for the power of Storm!
To the Trinity I surrender all that I bound
Until time and place for me is found.
By the words of the Sisters, the promise made,
I grant the power of Loa Agwé, Sobo and Bade!
The lightning flashed again as the thunder roared, the rain hammered down, but now the wind was tying it all together, slowly centring it closer and closer to Mambo Ororo, pinning it tight into the fire. The forces all slowly reached Ororo at the epicentre. Then, a final flash of now blue lighting slashed across the sky, firing down in a straight line to Ororo. The lighting hit her flesh and she screamed! She screamed in pain, fear, agony, but then she was silent. The thunder no longer roared, the wind did not howl, the lighting left the sky unblemished and the rain quickly began to die. Ororo's body remained suspended quietly over the fire, still blazing, still surrounded by the thirteen unfazed men, her eyes closed, but her hair slowly falling back down upon her shoulders. She did not move from her place in the sky, she did not appear alive or dead, as though her body were simply frozen in place.
A moment later, another sound was finally heard across the land. The quiet moans of spirits passed long ago. Nothing was seen, but the atmosphere, tense with the pure strength of Ororo's spirit, then, without any such warning, something tore through the sky and the air and, as though it broke the very bonds that tied Ororo to this world, she fell directly into the centre of the fire. Her body burnt quickly, as though she was paper not woman. Her slim form was lit ablaze without any resistance, her hair, before so white it could darken snow, became red and orange as fury and then black as death before it became the nothingness of air that surrounded her. As the final strand of crystalline hair was torched, the fire was extinguished by another invisible entity that killed the fire as quick as the fire killed Ororo. And just like that, the grand bonfire that had stood and blazed with such brilliance was no more than a memory.
The men had finished their chant and they each individually rose to their feet and simply walked away without so much as an idea of hesitance in their mind. No mourning took place, the ritual was done and so were they.
However, etched into the centre of the black ash of the dead flames was a tiny symbol, so white it could've been the hair of Ororo. It was not.
But the lines were assembled perfectly, without a line out of place; it marked the symbol that tied the Sisters together. The thing that bound their promise.