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Hannibal's Elephant Girl
In 218 BCE, Hannibal took his army, along with 27 elephants, over the Alps to attack the Romans. Eleven years before this historic event, on the banks of a river near Carthage, in North Africa, one of his elephants pulled a drowning girl from the turbulent waters. Thus began Liada’s epic journey with the elephant known as Obolus.
Excerpt from Chapter Two
Yzebel wore a patchwork dress of faded yellow and brown, with a ragged apron tied around her narrow waist. She had her long, dark hair bound up in an intricate twist of braids around the crown of her head. She wasn’t old, not yet even to the middle of her life, but what I found most remarkable was her unwrinkled face; the color of creamy cinnamon, her features were soft, like moonlight on silk.
I glanced down at my body and saw the many cuts and bruises. Only then did I realize what a terrible ordeal I’d been through. I hurt all over, especially the back of my head. I remembered being sick and hot, so very hot, before they threw me into the river. But beyond that, little of my memory remained. Weakness swept over me, and I felt brittle, like a broken limb in a cold wind. I shook my head in response to Yzebel’s question.
“You’re so thin.” Yzebel gently pulled the cape closed and put her arms around me.
If anyone had ever embraced me before, I couldn’t remember. I let go of my rock and hoped she didn’t hear it hit the ground.