Old Ankhe is another character I’ve planned for my story Luyinda and the Steeltooth, though he doesn’t appear until the second act (that is, the one after the excerpt I’ve shared online). His people, the Batwa, are the aboriginal inhabitants of the Yombi rainforest, and have a shorter (“pygmy”) stature and lighter skin than Bayombi like Luyinda. Whereas the Bayombi cultivate crops, forge metal, and have established permanent villages and cities throughout the Yombi region, the Batwa still keep to their old hunter-gatherer lifestyle. On the other hand, the Batwa have a unique piece of technology in the form of simple crossbows such as the one Ankhe’s showing off here, which can exceed the Bayombi’s traditional bows in power (these are based off real crossbows invented by Central African “pygmy” foragers, going back who knows how far).
This is an illustration of the scene where Luyinda meets Ankhe for the first time. He’s taken her to his campfire for recuperation, and he narrates that he recently met her younger brother Mayele whom she’s searching for. He tells her the truth she feared she’d find out, but not in the form she thinks. From that point on, Ankhe will be a supporting character who helps Luyinda find something her brother was looking for in that part of the jungle.