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The Fire Goddess

Part 3 From Out Of The Darkness

By TANIKA SMITH WHEATLEYPublished 7 months ago 8 min read
1
A Legend

Readers, it is best to first read the following two stories

‘From Out of the Darkness’

and

Part 2 'Mahuika’s Revenge’

And now enjoy Part 3

“I was told, that you were old…?”

“I am – I’ve been around since…Tanemahuta…” her voice broke, “changed our world…”

“But…that would make you…”

“Yes. Old!”

“Yet…you don’t look much older than me…?”

“In the underworld caverns of Papatuanuku,” she hesitated, “things aren’t always as they appear to be…”

“You know why I am here…?”

“Yes, you need me to give you some fire. You don’t have your Moko tattoo of an adult yet, so…” she laughed mockingly, “he sent a boy, to do a man’s job?”

“Tamatao sent me; because I fear no-one, not even a woman who makes volcanic fire…”

“Did he tell you what you must do to get it?”

Maui removed his cloak and let it fall to the ground, “Yes…”

She gulped; he was a perfect male specimen. “Not so fast,” she turned her back on him, “a lady likes a little…romancing, first…”

He grinned. “I didn’t bring flowers…”

She smiled to herself at his confidence. “I don’t need things,” she looked back at him over her shoulder, “I need…to feel…loved.”

“Loved?” Maui frowned, “but I don’t even know you…”

She faced him, and sat. “I’m Mahuika, daughter of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, sister of the great Tanemahuta…”

He cleared his throat. “Hello Mahuika, I’m…”

“Oh; I know who you are,” she interrupted him, “you are known as Maui, the Half-God.” Her eyebrows raised curiously. “From the stars?”

He smiled and nodded, but before he could say anything else, she continued, “arrogant, proud, and a spoiled brat…”

“Now hang on,” he interrupted, “I’ve heard a few things about you, too…”

“Let me guess – witch? Evil? Cursed?”

He grinned. “Nah…”

“Nah?”

“Nah – just…scary…”

She laughed.

He laughed.

“That’s better,” she sighed and patted the ground beside her, “now come here…”

The Fire Goddess

“Maui – wake up, Maui…” Kapua shook his friend, “I’ve been looking for you everywhere!”

Maui shook his head, then looked up at his friend. “Sorry Kapua, it’s not like me to oversleep…”

“No, you’re usually the first to arise – and what are you doing way out here?”

Maui sat up and looked around himself. They were near the base of the great mountain. He looked out over the grey dunes of the surrounding countryside turning golden in the rising morning sun and shook his head. It was just a dream, he told himself, but answered his friend, “Tamatao wanted some fire…”

Kapua gasped. “Tamatao your teacher? The man who bought you up? Why? He knows how to light a fire…”

“No, he wanted the fire that slowly burns all night long Kapua, fire from lava rocks found only in volcanic places…”

“Why? It’s summertime…”

Maui blinked uncertainly. Tamatao often sent him on ‘learning projects’.

“You must have been dreaming, Maui,” Kapua sat next to his friend, “dreaming…”

Maui nodded his head uncertainly. “I don’t know, it seemed so real, Kapua – and she – she – seemed so real…”

“Who?”

“Mahuika…”

Kapua sat next to his friend. “Mahuika – the old volcano fire hag?”

“She’s no hag, Kapua…she’s…” he sighed, “Beautiful…”

Kapua laughed. “Good dream, mate…did Tamatao give you some potent Kawa drink before sending you to the mountain?”

Maui didn’t laugh. “Yea,” he whispered to himself, wistfully.

“Well, come on,” Kapua stood, ‘let’s go…”

Kapua was teaching Maui how to fish, and the best time of the morning for fishing was almost over. Maui stood, and picked up his feather cloak, which he’d been lying on. A piece of dark Lava rock about the size of his fist dropped out of it. As it hit the ground, it broke to reveal the glistening flint in the sunshine. They both looked at the flint in awe, and then at each other…

****** ****** ******

Kapua knocked his head. “Ouch!”

“Shush!” Maui growled, but too late, the Firefly lights turned off.

“Oh, no…”

“Shhhh!” Maui growled his friend again, “just wait a moment, they’ll come back on…”

They did.

The caverns were sometimes so small that they almost had to crawl along on their bellies, then suddenly so large that they’d think that they’d exited the caves and were outside again, except for the cool darkness, for they knew that it was morning, and a bright warm sunny summer day, outside. Sometimes they were dark, because Kapua couldn’t keep his mouth shut, and sometimes quite bright, from the fireflies. Sometimes it felt fresh and breezy, as if someone had just opened a window, and sometimes it felt humid, and sticky.

“You seem to know your way around, Maui,” Kapua whispered, but the fireflies even heard that, and the young men found themselves in darkness again.

Maui ignored him, and kept going.

“Can your blue sky-eyes see in this darkness Maui?”

Everyone always teased him about his unusual eye coloring, he’d inherited from his father that everyone believed to be a God from the stars. He was used to being teased and ignored the reference. “It’s not that dark, Kapua…can’t you see the glint reflecting on the walls, shadows and…”

“Ouch!” Kapua banged his head in the dark again, “obviously, not as well as you can…”

A light appeared in the distance and Maui moved on eagerly. Kapua had to almost run, to keep up with his friend’s stride.

“We’re there, Kapua…”

“There? Where?”

They stepped out of the darkness and into a large glowing cavern filled with varying shapes and sizes of rock formations illuminated by a lake that almost filled the circular cavern.

“Wow!” exclaimed Kapua, then covered his mouth, but this time, the lights did not go out.

“It’s the water,” Maui explained, “the water provides the light in here, not the insects…”

“And this is…”

“Yes Kapua, this is where Mahuika was…”

Kapua looked around at all the dark crevices surrounding the cavern. “Should you call her?”

Maui went to the area that he thought that they’d spent the night together, wrapped in each other’s arms. “Hmmm…I don’t think she’s here, Kapua, it really must have been a drug induced dream – I must have stumbled in, picked up the flintstone, left, slept outside, and…” he swallowed, “dreamed about her…”

“Yes,” agreed Kapua, “and…and anyway, if she were still alive, she’d be really old, Maui…older than our grandparents, maybe even older than their grandparents…”

Maui nodded, and looked disappointed.

“You really thought she’d be here, didn’t you?”

Maui sighed, but didn’t answer…

“Maui,” Kapua tried to console his friend, “she may never even have existed. A legend. Just a story. Think about it…a woman, living down here alone in an old volcano? Giving flint in exchange for…” he couldn’t finish what he was saying, because it sounded so absurd, even to his own ears. He grinned. His perfect teeth shone in the light of the lake.

Maui grinned also, then sank down on the floor, where he’d imagined he’d had an amazing encounter with a lovely Goddess. But his grin vanished. There, where he had dreamed he had spent the night with Mahuika, was a feather from her beautiful white cloak. He picked it up, and showed it to his friend…

They searched awhile longer, calling as they went, Firefly lights blinking on and off, but all they heard in return was their own eerie echoes…

“Well if she was here Maui, she’s not now…”

“These caverns seem to go on forever,” Maui, gulped, “maybe she doesn’t want to be found…”

“Maybe she sleeps during the daytime…”

Maui wondered if she would know when it was day or night down here, but he nodded in agreement with his friend.

“And maybe a white bird has been in here,” continued Kapua.

“Yea, maybe,” Maui agreed, but they both knew it was improbable to believe a Goddess, or a bird, lived there. “We’d better leave, before we get lost down here…”

Kapua looked around, realized he had no idea which way to go, and hid his relief when Maui took off, apparently in the right direction. But when they went through and left the large circular cavern with the lake, they did not see the old scrawny, bony hand that grabbed a rock on the lake’s edge – they did not see the wrinkled old woman pull herself up and out of the water – they did not hear the drips of water fall on the ground from her – but most of all, they did not see her younger daughter expertly swim to, and help the old woman climb out of the lake…

****** ****** ******

“Just as well they didn’t stumble across the skeletons, as they were searching the caverns,” the older woman croaked.

“Yea,” the younger agreed, “my grandmother and great grandmother…”

“That half-God is magnificent,” the older woman continued, “I’m glad I told Tamatao to send him to you…”

The younger woman smiled as she thought of the night before. “Me too, mama, me too…”

“Let’s hope it worked…”

“Well, the time is perfectly right, as we calculated, so I’m sure that we already have the next Mahuika, the next Fire Goddess, growing in my belly…”

THE END

Fantasy
1

About the Creator

TANIKA SMITH WHEATLEY

When I was a child, I would wake up in the night because of nightmares. As time went on, I realized that I was looking forward to my dreams. Now, I write them, among other stories as well.....

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