She's the second youngest and the most troublesome. Not because she causes mischief but rather because she does not pay attention to the point of almost being ditzy.
It was almost surreal and frightening to her parents. She was good at Archers, shockingly accurate but bored easily. She moved through the ranks earning enough money, and social credit to get by. But her attitude could never go unnoticed by her mother. This created a clash between the pair, massive fights, her forced into a seat and being made to read.
She could read and comprehend efficiently what she was supposed to. She just didn't want to.
The battle never ended, day after day, them working together. It got to the point where it angered her siblings. She was quickly becoming the black sheep of the family.
They worked her hard, pressing to keep up to their family was a synonym for succeeding.
She was acting out, it never made sense but there was no questioning it. Her mother fought tooth and nail, trying to control her.
Year after year both parents forced her to do her tests, making her do them again until suddenly they stopped. She was fifteen years old, the cut off age. On her lap was a pile of money, a pen and a point on the map.
She could do anything, anywhere.
For a month she did, traveling to different trees, meeting new Ndlovu-Sana, enjoying her time building relationships. It meant nothing, she was nothing. A scholar in the God Tree had value, but it meant so much it was an absurdity, books couldn't be everything.
She stumbled upon a painter, a Khetshe Yetsimbi, who could work hair and painted bodies. It was delightful. He wasn't alone in his art, there were many. She was acquainted with the art forms via books, but not with actual art. The closest to colour she'd embraced was nature or food. It was something new, literally bringing a tear to her eye.
She'd found something and by Nature, she'd make something of it. She returned, buying up land and collected cash, using favors and engaged intelligent betting politics that made even her mother smile, she bought land within North Sibini and two parts of the Linanye Level. She didn't even imagine what she was making would make as people from within the Jongiwe tree come together.
She's the bearer of Sedibeing pride, at first a few dark pieces, then the number grew, expanding exponentially as each artwork grew in value and the gallery expanded.
By the time she had her first child, she was star. Earning money like a few of their family could. She was able to put her children into the arts determined to create, not just a legacy for the Ndlovu-Sana, but all of Sedibeng.
The family network sending a great many messages were constantly active. And she is one of the most active within it. But she has a second network that extends outside of all of Sedibeng where she collects information of inter-territory art and history but was smart enough to remember that context often mattered most so she has scores of people working with her, many talented readers who feed her information and help ensure that the network is running to her will while she makes sure the family’s best face is upfront.
Her face is one of the true beauties, a point of pride cultivated and shown off to those outside of Sedibeng, even in Nomlanga, the enemy state. It was rarely on purpose but information about the enemy trickled in, sporadic at first but just gushed.
It never crossed her mind that people would hate her for her good fortune, there'd always been competitors. But they were different, competitors wanted to rise above, these people simply wanted to destroy.
These getting paid didn’t want their streams cut off and over the years they became creative and parts of her network shifted underground, methods of storing paintings, pottery, statues even rare materials. It grew to the point that her family network came back into the equation.
348 – The War
The whole Ndlovu-Sana family was immediately called in, the last thing she could have wanted to see, but had, through her network, had expected.
It didn’t help that she had a baby to deal with along with her two children, one of whom was going through their child trade policy.
It was highly stressful, but she put on her uniform and family banner and took part in the war.
Her mother had never taught a weakling nor a fool. Her and her retainers, commanded by Zwolunga, a woman her age but the future of the family.
And she did her parts, engaging in multiple tours over the months.
The network was strained but proved useful in the battle and ended up being invited to the discussions that led to the completion of Zwolunga’s big mission.
The war had taken a terrible turn but had managed to at least strike back against them destroying the dam, the reason they were there in the first place.
It would take years to repair. By then a second offensive could be prepared. But that would not be her problem. She had a separate empire to build. And the war had proved tough but was still alive. Not only that she was going to rise from there.
Thato had always been a weird kid, she never cried when she was supposed to, it wasn’t that she cried, she just saved them for the most important of moments. She was grammy’s girl and eventually on enemy with her mother too with a mind on its own mission. One no one understood or appreciated, Fakazi knew she’d had her problems, hers being attitude. Thato’s was making up her own things to learn but was it useful? No. She had no idea what to do with her own sister. There was love there. If there was one thing her sister could do was love. It was aggressive and overbearing. It was as though she were making up for multiple lifetimes. It became air for Fakazi who was still old enough to still be at home, luckily there were their nieces and nephews Nongamaso, Nomnikelo, Nokhanyo and Thatani, all got Thato’s extreme affection, gifts and they were some of the strongest things that matched each and every one of her ever changing fancies Fakazi still has them in a room of their own, the strongest being the skulls. Hers humans, isichiwe, Raiders, isiKali all between the family around the different ages around her. She was strange but family and who wasn’t intoxicated by it? It was impossible not to. Which was why it was stunning when her loving found a target. A commoner from the flatlanders of all places. Her baby sisters had fallen for ‘some kid’ at first it was impossible to believe. Thato loved the boy. And then the entire family had no choice but to pay attention to what was supposed to be a fling, she had to come home from her travels to support her sister, as she, singlehandedly declared a blood-soaked war with the entire merchants guild for a merchant boy bullying a commoner… from the flatlands of all places.
There was something about her weirdo sister losing her mind. It was surreal to be in a family trial for a child, but Thato was her sister, she had to for once be a big sister and be able to protect her baby sister.
After the War
Thato had changed, her love had gone to grief and hate for the family as she blamed everyone who was a part of her husband’s death, including her just for being involved, Zwolunga who was the future of the family being the target of that rage.
In a strange way, Fakazi knew that this was a situation she was a part of even if she didn’t fully understand, her ground mother had, going as far as moving in with Thato for Thato would not leave the home she’d created, one which was too humble for a former Prime.
The Culling – 350That was when the world as they knew it exploded. There was chaos created by the choices made by their masters, the Ndlovu House.
They lost a great many sons amongst the nobility and to a house where children were everything it was hell they would all struggle with.
Baby sister’s Power
It was heart-breaking as one of her big sister’s grief brought her to insanity and hatred between the family, there wasn’t much that leaned on her except Zwolunga and Thato and the hate that grew life as the humble quiet sister had somehow turned the Grounds Keepers, all of the young to turn against the future of the Ndlovu-Sana, listening only to the Prime along with Gatsha, but burgeoningly. It was a nightmare as she was a big supporter and financial aid to both women.
But she was not allowed to pass easily. Battle lines drawn she knows that it is up to her to ease the bad blood between the family, using her young daughter as a means to sooth her baby sister who could hate as easily as she could love.
Master Grounds Keeper
The position of Master Grounds Keeper is one of the highest positions within all of Sedibeng, a position that could be reached by anyone, but really just those with the backing of the voters, consisting of other Master Grounds Keepers. And the contributions required to be a Grounds Keeper required some of the greatest marks of intelligence.
All Ndlovu-Sana were Grounds Keepers, they had to be. So to discover the extent of Grounds Keeper support she had without standing out was astonishing.
But… not without their advantages. Yes, Thato had won quiet support, but she still needed the support of Master Grounds Keepers, many of whom were Primes. As the closest friend in the family to Zwolungu, she had a reason to make Thato listen.
But little did she know that battle lines were being drawn elsewhere between her and her family. Combined with an impending war and looking after her art empire, life became one of family, honour and duty.