On Wimbo, the people of Zihluka island are forgetting the songs of their ancestors and so they are losing their magic. Some believe the inexorable erosion of memory is the will of the gods and a sign that humans no longer deserve their magic, but Azwi doesn’t believe this.
Azwi takes solace in their ability to commune with the spirits. Unlike the others who only feel the ghostly presence of the ancestors at the solstice, Azwi sees and feels them all the time. Azwi used to hear them too, but the ancestors’ voices are fading, their wisdom shearing into tatters and their songs becoming quiet murmurs when once they were anthems.
After the devastating death of Azwi’s grandmother (Uviwe), Azwi feels the loss of magic even more keenly. Determined to preserve their heritage and culture, Azwi resorts to an act so sacrilegious that were any to discover their plan, Azwi would be banished from Zihluka, their descendants denied all claim to their island birth right.
While the rest of their family enters a time of silent mourning, Azwi works in secret at Zihluka’s most sacred site, scrounging what little magic they can to summon the ancestors through song. Their connection is tenuous, but as the solstice draws near, Azwi’s ability to call the spirits strengthens and so does their resolve.
Azwi plans to trap an ancestor’s spirit in their hand-carved ekwe in a desperate attempt at preserving memory, song, and magic. But Azwi’s secret is discovered when their lover, Nameya, follows them to the sacred site and witnesses their sacrilege. Astounded and appalled, Nameya informs the remaining elders of the village of what she witnessed.
On the eve of the solstice, the villagers come for Azwi determined to stop them, but the ancestors have other plans.
(Still unsure of exactly how this will end)
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