Mari tells Kuasa that she doesn’t want the Totem, and she’ll hand it over if Kuasa tells her where it came from. However, Mari discovers that she can’t remove it. Macalester realizes that the Totem has bound itself to Mari, and Kuasa says that she’ll remove it from Maris’ corpse. Her thugs charge forward, but Mari calls upon a chameleon’s power and fades away. She goes out the window and runs along the ledge, and leaps off to a rooftop across the street... and one of the thugs shoots her in the shoulder.
Later, Mari wakes up in an old building, her shoulder bandaged. Kuasa is sitting nearby. The girl says that she’s glad to give up the Totem and there’s no need for violence. Kuasa realizes that Mari was telling the truth about wanting to know her origins, and tells Mari that they’re sister. She opens the door and welcomes Mari home, and Mari realizes that they’re in Africa.
Outside is an abandoned village of Zambesi, and Kuasa tells Mari that she’s giving her everything that she asked for. The Totem belongs there and Mari was born there as well. She says that their people asked the Trickster god Anansi to protect them. In exchange for the villagers’ worship, Anansi gave them a Totem to channel his power. It was to be passed from generation to generation, and Kuasa was 4 when she was chosen. However, a local warlord sent his men to raid the village. Their father was executed trying to protect the village, and the soldiers burned Zambesi. Mari and Kuasa’s mother fled with the Totem and the infant Mari.
Mari apologizes, saying that she had no idea, and Kuasa tells her that she was the Totem’s guardian. It is still her obligation to protect the dead of Zambesi,. Without the Totem she made bargains with those who wanted the Totem’s power. The Totem sensed Kuasa and came to life, but bonded with Mari. She goes to her thugs and says that there’s only one way to remove the Totem.
Mari runs and the thugs capture her. Kuasa takes a poisonous spider from an urn and explains that it is Anansi’s true form. When it bites Mari, the bond will be broken. As the spider bites her, Mari summons the strength of a rhinoceros and breaks free, and then runs off. Kuasa tells her men to wait because Mari won’t get fall.
As night falls, Mari collapses from the venom’s effects. Kuasa finds her and takes the Totem.
Written by Gadfly on Aug 20, 2016