Song of inspiration: Lyla by CocoRosie (Love that group, but their music isn't really for anyone under the age of 13)
Disclaimer: I own nothing, except for my OC.
Mmkay, so whilst playing Tak and the Power of Juju, this little idea popped into my head. It's based off of the game, not the show. I've watched a couple of episodes, and it kinda ruined the game, in my opinion. It's only my opinion. Please, if you would take the time to review at the end and let me know what you think, that would be great. :) But no flames. Just constructive criticism. There is a difference. :) Quick warning, this is kinda depressing, but it gets better. I apologize for any spelling/grammar mistakes that you may encounter. And it's pretty self-explanatory, but any time that something is italicized, it's a flashback. Well, here we go:
Lyla sat on the edge of a cliff next to a waterfall, overlooking the small village of the Pupanunu people, silent tear dripping down off of her cheek. She felt abandoned, forgotten, and depressed. She had no one for nearly ten years, shunned by everyone except for one, but even he seemed to have forgotten about her since his rise to fame. All she had left were those precious memories of their time together. She didn't like to remember them, but at the time, she couldn't help it.
"You're dressed funny," the small, five-year-old boy said.
"I'm dressed the same as you," the little girl replied.
"But you're a girl. You're supposed to dress like one, not like me," he told her. "You can't dress like me."
She crossed her arms, throwing her short auburn hair over her shoulder. "Whatcha gonna do about it?"
"Well, if you dress like a boy, you should be able to play like one!"
With that said, she turned to run, the boy close to her back. She let out a chuckle.
"Can't catch me," she teased. "Aren't guys supposed to be faster than girls?"
To her surprise, she felt him tackle her to the ground, landing in a pile of mud. At least, she hoped it was mud.
"Now what?" the boy asked. "Gonna cry?"
The fiery girl simply smirked, a mischievous glint in her sapphire eyes. "Nope."
She reached down, pulling up a fist-full of mud, flinging it at the boy. Instead of getting mad, like she thought he would, he laughed.
"I like you," he stated. "What's your name?"
"I'm Lyla," she responded. "And yours?"
The boy cringed upon hearing the loud call.
"I gotta go," he said. "That's Jibolba. I'm his apprentice. I'm going to be in trouble if I don't hurry."
Lyla frowned. "You'd better come and play later."
"I will," the boy said with a smile before running off.
Jibolba had an odd habit of calling Tak right when they were having the most fun. She missed the fun they used to have, but now, he was always busy with something else, sometimes training, but most of the time, he spent it with Jibolba. Jibolba was just some old man that had trained Tak. Whoop-de-do. What was so special about him to Tak? Her dislike for the elder man wasn't concealed at all.
"Tak, come on!" she shouted. "Betcha can't catch me!"
The small boy chased after her, determination on his face mixed with laughter. Lyla giggled as she dodged some loose chickens. Tak was gaining ground, but she didn't care. He finally caught her and tackled her to the ground, and they stayed there, both crippled by their laughter.
"You know that big waterfall up near the edge of the village? I bet you could see everything up there," Tak said.
"Let's go check it out!" Lyla exclaimed.
"Sure! Why not?"
After a rather long and arduous climb, but the two finally reached the top. They took in the view, amazed by what they saw.
"Wow, you can see forever up here," Tak commented.
Lyla looked down over the side of the cliff. "I dare you to jump."
"Wh-what? Why would I do that?"
"What's the matter? Chicken? Bock-booock!"
"N-No, I just-"
"Tak!" the old shaman, shouted. "Tak, where are you?"
"I gotta go," he said. "Jibolba will be really mad if I don't."
Lyla frowned at the boy. "What's he gonna do? Make you clean up after the sheep? He already does that."
"He's training me to be a shaman," he stated. "Not that I do much training, but I can do some basic spells."
"But I dared you to…!"
The young boy was already beginning his descent before she could finish her sentence.
"Just don't get all boring and old and stuff once you become a shaman, okay!" she demanded. "And once you become one, you can jump, right?"
"'Course!" he shouted back.
As the two grew older, it seemed as though that the old man was trying to tear them apart and keep them from coming into contact with one another. His dislike for her wasn't hidden very well, and Tak kept coming outside less and less as he was receiving more and more tasks to complete. They were mostly mundane tasks, such as cleaning up after the chickens and sheep, fetching the water, and cleaning the outhouses.
"Jibolba is away for the weekend," Tak stated. "You want to come over and help me finish the chores so I can have the rest of the weekend free?"
"Sure, but why is he gone? Is something wrong?"
"No. He's just gone to train Lok in some caves or something. Special hero training only."
"Well, what do you have to do?"
"He left a list. It's sitting on the table back in his hut," he stated.
The list contained more chores than usual, but that was expected. In addition to the usual cleaning up of the sheep and chicken coops and general cleaning of the hut, there Tak was to clean all of the dirty loin cloths, wash the walls and floor of the hut, and gather new bedding and ingredients for Jibolba.
"I'll get started on cleaning if you want to start gathering," Lyla said. "I'd gather, but I have no idea what any of these plants are."
And so the chores commenced. Lyla was surprised by how dirty the place really was. All of Jibolba's pots were covered in a thick goopy matter, and the walls were covered in dirt and grease. You'd think that a shaman would do better than to let things get that bad.
Tak came back, his arms full of plants that Lyla would have never been able to identify, covered in cuts and bruises.
"What happened?" she asked.
He set the plants on the table before replying, "Magical Nubu plants happened. Those darned things attack if you get near them, and you have to pry the plant from its mouth. It's not that fun of a task."
She glanced at the flower that he held up. Its beauty caught her eye, but she shook her head to clear her thoughts.
"I'm not exactly a shaman, but I know a basic healing spell," she offered.
He looked at her hesitantly. "When did you learn magic?"
She bit her lip. "Well, my mom was our shaman before we came here."
"A woman shaman?"
"Got a problem with it?" she snapped.
"N-no, I've just never heard of one before."
"Well, the people in the village that we lived in did. They suddenly revolted, as though something possessed them."
"Come to think of it, I've never met your family."
"They're all dead. They died in the revolt. Only I escaped," she stated, her voice betraying no emotion. "But let's forget about that. Do you want me to heal you or not?"
She hadn't ever really thought about her family. She tried not to. Not that it was too painful, but she didn't like to dwell in the past. Sometimes, like that day, she couldn't help it. Sometimes, she felt as though memories needed to be remembered, like they would leave her forever if she didn't.
After her parents died, she had fled her village, and ended up in the village of the Pupanunu people. She was nearing five at the time, and she had some basic knowledge of healing spells, but that was it. She taught herself how to fish in the river, and she took care of herself. She slept under the side of the cliff, but when she was older, she managed to make a small hut for herself. The only person that didn't seem to shun or look down on her was Tak. He was the only one that she let in, too. She had started see him less and less, thanks to Jibolba. He was too busy with Lok and Tobar to bother with training Tak, or even cleaning his own hut.
Her hand hovered an inch from the door. She had heard her name, causing her to stop.
"I just don't think you should be spending so much time with that girl," Jibolba said. "You have more important tasks to undertake, like preparing for when the villagers start to turn to sheep, and I'm not entirely sure she is a girl-"
"She is most definitely female," Tak defended. "She's just different from the rest. She's not afraid to get down in the dirt, or in the sheep… never mind. She's just not afraid of getting dirty and she plays rough. Besides, all I ever dois clean up after you, Tobar, and Lok. I'm not even training anymore. I want to get out of here, just for a bit, before I go mentally insane."
"Tak, I understand how you must feel, but-"
"No, no you don't," Tak said. "Have you ever been stuck? Not able to go somewhere else? Bored out of your mind? Please, Jibolba, I understand that I'm your apprentice, and you're in charge, and I need to train, but it's been three days since I have left this hut. I am begging you."
There was a moment of silence, and Lyla debated on forgetting the whole thing and going back to her own hut.
"Very well," she heard Jibolba say. "But only for half an hour!"
The boy exited the building, and Lyla backed away.
"How long were you standing there?" he questioned.
"Not too long," she replied. "Anyway, what do you want to do today?"
"You remember that monkey down by the other side of the village?" he asked, his mood immediately lightening. "Well, I was thinking that we got a little revenge on it. I found a small blowgun, and I thought that maybe we could use some nuts or something and-"
"Say no more," she interrupted with a mischievous grin, taking the blowgun from his hand.
She spotted the monkey off in the distance, relaxing in a tree. She carefully aimed the blowgun, loaded with an acorn that she had picked up off of the ground. She inhaled deeply, careful not to inhale the nut. With a sharp exhale, the nut went flying through the air, hitting the unaware money. It immediately jumped, looking for the culprit that interrupted its nap. It picked a melon off of the tree that it stood in and glanced around once more. It spotted the two kids, and they could see the anger in its eyes. They took off, avoiding the melons that were being flung rapidly in their direction.
"I didn't think it would get so mad!" Tak shouted.
"Neither did I!"
When they finally reached a safe spot away from the monkey, they collapsed, out of breath from the run.
"I-I can't believe that we outran it," Tak stated.
Lyla nodded in agreement, and as if on cue, they could hear Jibolba's shouts.
"This was surprising… fun," Lyla said with a small, somewhat disappointed smile.
"Maybe I can convince Jibolba to let me out for your birthday next week."
"Maybe," she replied. "But promise me that you won't forget about me when you become a big famous shaman, 'kay?"
There was another call before the two said their goodbyes and Tak ran off, just as usual.
But Tak was unable to see her for her birthday. Jibolba was actually making him work on spells, for once. After that, it wasn't long until Lok fell asleep whist guarding the village that Tlaloc made his move, turning the villagers all into sheep. She didn't remember much after that. It was as if she was asleep, but after she woke up, she heard people talking about how Tak had been the one to save the village, not Lok. That bit had surprised her, but only the fact that it wasn't Lok. She had no doubt in her mind that Tak was able to do it.
When she tried to go and see him, Jibolba would shut her out, saying that Tak had much studying to do. She thought it odd that only once Tak was the hero, Jibolba paid much more attention to the boy. It was as though he had completely forgotten about her, or he made no attempt to come and see her. She understood that he was busy, but he had promised. You can't break promises; it makes people dislike you, and it makes you look bad and lose respect.
The last time she had spoken to him was on the day that he made the promise. If she had known that it was going to be their last day together, she would have made it more memorable for him. She would have made sure that they had more fun than just shooting a monkey.
It had been a lonely two years before news had went around that Tak was off on another adventure. Where to or why he had gone, she hadn't any idea. She had only heard that he left with Jibolba and Lok. Whatever it was, the journey had to have been important. It was at least two months until he had returned. It was announced that he had taken down Tlaloc yet again, and he became even more popular, if that had been possible, and even busier. Lyla hadn't made an attempt to try to talk to the boy, or even try to see him. She occasionally saw him leave for more training with Jibolba.
A piece of paper suddenly flew by, and she caught it. Curiously, she glanced over it. It was pretty beat up, but she frowned when she saw what it had said:
Come see the Great Juju Challenge! The Pupanunu people will be competing in the Great Juju Challenge, held only once every 60 years! The winner of the challenge will be granted the favor of the Moon Juju until the next challenge! Come support our heroes, Tak and Lok, as they compete against other tribes to win the favor!
She couldn't bear to read any more. She crumpled it off any threw it as hard as she could off of the side of the cliff. Why hadn't Tak told her that he was going to be competing? It was kind of a big deal. She felt more tears roll off of her cheeks as she thought about the fact that Tak had forgotten all about her. Well, that made one person that wouldn't be watching and supporting their representatives.
She was abruptly torn from her thoughts the moment she heard footsteps on the grass behind her. Quickly, she wiped her eyes on the backs of her hands and turned to see who it was. To her utter surprise, it was Tak.
"Thought I might find you up here," she heard him whisper.
She frowned and crossed her arms, ignoring him as she turned back around to overlook the village.
"May I sit?" he asked, his voice much deeper than she remembered it.
"No," she rudely replied.
"I just came to talk to you," he said.
"What made you think that I wanted to talk?" she snapped.
"It's just… It's been a while, and I've missed you."
"It's not like I've been anywhere or done anything exciting. Why now? Why after two years have you just decided to come and talk to me?"
"I'm sorry, I've just been really busy, and-"
"Busy? Busy with what? More training?"
"Yes," he replied patiently. "I came to talk to you. Please let me speak."
She bit her lip hesitantly before saying, "Fine."
"I'm going to be competing in the Great Juju Challenge," he stated.
"So I've heard."
She could feel his frown without having to see it.
"Sorry, I wanted to be the one to tell you."
"Too late for that," she said before standing up.
She had had enough of his excuses. It was too late for him. She spent two years alone without him. She didn't need him. Sure, she missed him, but that was it. She turned to leave, but grabbed his arm.
"Look, I'm sorry," he said. "Whatever I did, I'm sorry."
She pulled away angrily.
"Sorry? You left me with no one- absolutely no one- and all you can say is sorry? You know that no one likes me. You know that I am an outcast. You KNOW that I have no one! And you expect me, after two years of loneliness, to just forgive you for abandoning me?" she shouted, letting her rage get the best of her. "I've got news for you, then. I'm fine being left alone now, and that's what I want to be! Go… Go fall in a ditch somewhere or jump off a cliff or get lost or something! Just leave me alone!"
He frowned, his face downcast. He reached into his satchel and pulled something out. He shoved it into her hand before walking over to the waterfall.
"Lyla, do you remember when we were little, I made a promise, up on this very cliff?" he asked in a soft. "I promised that when I became a shaman, I would jump. Now, I may not be a shaman yet, but I'm getting there, and I will fulfill that promise. I know that I broke the other one that I made, about not forgetting about you. I have no excuse for that, and I was wrong, but I can still keep this one. I'm sorry. I know that nothing can change what happened, but I can try to make up for it. Happy late birthday."
"T-Tak, wait-!" she shouted, but it was too late.
She glanced over the edge. Her old friend's body disappeared into the mist, and the object he had thrust into her hand became increasingly present. She opened her hand to reveal a small yellow flower, that of the Magical Nubu plant. She… she couldn't believe that he had remembered, and that she had been so rude to him. He threw himself off of a cliff for her, all because she had told him to.
She tucked the small, beautiful flower safely away before steeling herself for what she was about to do. Her body felt weightless as she fell from the cliff, adrenaline racing through her veins. She felt cool water rush over her skin, making her shiver from the shock. She felt someone grasp her arm and pull her up, and she was met face-to-face with Tak as she was pulled out of the water.
"I… I'm sorry," Lyla said. "I shouldn't have snapped."
"I forgive you," he replied.
"And thank you for the flower. I can't believe that you remembered about them, and the dare, as well."
"How could I forget?"
She smiled for the first time in two years at those words.
"Look, I've talked Jibolba into letting me take the afternoon off before Lok and I go to collect a phoenix feather for the Great Juju Challenge. Is there anything that you want to do today?"
Lyla thought for a moment before saying, "I just want this day to be the most memorable one that I've- we've- ever had."
"Well, we'd better get started," he replied. "I've had a lot of memorable days, like when I turned Tl- You know what? Never mind. Let's go."
She let out a small chuckle before leaving the waterfall behind.
Oh, and I probably should have said this earlier, but Lyla's name is pronounced, "Lee-la," like in the song of inspiration, not, "Lie-la."
So, what did you think? I know it's kinda unrealistic to have a five-year-old living on her own and shunned by everyone with no parents, but too bad. It's a fan fiction. I can do whatever the heck I want.
By the way, I'd love it if you dropped a review and let me know what you thought of it. I love constructive criticism, too. And if you liked the story, I have a poll on my profile page, so if you could go and vote, that would be awesome. Or if you don't want to, you could leave a 1, 2, or 3 in your review. Just pick one at random or whichever number you like best. It would be greatly appreciated.