Your Online Cup of Tea
I wrote and posted this elsewhere a good few years back. A retelling of Abraham’s life in Genesis.
Firuhza didn’t enjoy living life predictably. He and his wife were one of the wealthiest people in Caravel, the thriving city in the heart of a desert. There they enjoyed a comfortable life style. They owned a big brick house in the middle of the city. Their lives consisted mostly of long days spent relaxing by the private springs and large feasts at night. It was mostly the same year in year out. Caravel was in situated in the heart of an ancient civilization at it’s best, around that time. The city benefited a great deal from the many foreigners who would pass by it on the journeys from around the globe. If one wanted to buy something found on the other side of the planet without having to go there to get it, then Caravel was the place to be. It had everything. Being a successful self-made merchant, Firuhza was a very learned man. He knew much about the different cultures and beliefs of the world. They called him “The Rooted Traveller” because he never left the city of Caravel. Yet at the same time his knowledge of the world would suggest he’s been all over. Being 75 he didn’t work much anymore. Each day he would simply over see his servants, walking from stall to stall, ensuring that business went smoothly. And today was no exception.
Around midday the sand covered stone streets were crowded with people bartering and buying goods. Everything was foreign yet common, as Caravel was a major place to trade. To his left Firuhza could hear the music of stringed instruments.
‘These must be from the far south,’ he said to his personal scribe. Joalez the Scriber would follow Firuhza just about everywhere, recording any important pieces of information his master needed to remember.
‘Remind me to come back later, when the sun has taken a good descent, so I can hire these men to play for me,’ he added.
‘Will it be for the feast tonight?’ asked Joalez.
‘Yes,’ replied Firuhza, ‘A bit of change in music for once would be good. I would like something different for a change.’
‘You have been wanting things to be done different a lot lately. Is everything well with you my sir?’
Firuhza answered with but a deep sigh. He hasn’t been feeling himself lately. Ever since about a month ago when he’s had that bizarre dream. In it he is walking towards a river. Once he reaches it, the water turns to sand and he’s left frustrated. Then it happens. He hears a voice. It whispers his name. Firuhza.
Every night since then he’s had the same recurring dream. And it seems that the voice grows louder and louder as well. At first it was just a whisper, now after a month, each time the water turns to sand, he hears a clear voice. Firuhza,at this point in the dream he would wake up. His wife has suggested that it was simply due to working too hard. That wasn’t why. Firuhza’s only work consisted of check-ups and sealing important letters with his signature. But nothing, it would seem, had been causing the dreams. And nothing could stop them either.
‘I am better Joalez,’ he said, lying, ‘my physician has recommended that I drink more palm oil mix before I rest.’
‘I shall put a reminder to buy some more then sir,’ said the scribe, Joalez. Firuhza gave a forced smile. He couldn’t stand the taste palm oil mix. Especially not every night of the week. It was funny that they would bring this medicine into the conversation, as they were just passing by the physician’s house. Some how Firuhza had managed to convince Joalez that it wasn’t necessary to go and buy the mix straight away. As they strolled down the busy streets of Caravel, he would greet people quite often. Many of them were simply trying to get invited to his feast tonight. It was a well-known fact that Firuhza had close ties with some of the biggest traders in the city. And so, had a fine secret collection of the most delicious wines from around the country. Everyone wanted a taste.
As the sun would be at it’s hottest around this time. Firuhza would cover himself in his light blue long sleeved robe, to protect his arms and legs. His head covering, which could be both a hood and a scarf at once, would be worn to protect his head from burning. He had a lot of hair for his age, barely any of them were grey. It was a common joke that if ever he needed protection from the heat he could shelter underneath it. He didn’t even look 75. In fact he was much stronger than most young men in Caravel. Yet what he hated the most, was the the way people would treat him. Not that they were blatantly disrespectful. It was more the subtle thinking that because he was old, he couldn’t do anything for himself. This was even true of his wife. Irsa herself, was the one who had hired Joalez the Scriber, so Firuhza wouldn’t have to remember too much. But to him all these things weren’t helpful gestures. No. It was as if everyone had given up on his life before it was even over. And he didn’t like it one bit.
‘No, No, No!’ exclaimed Irsa, ‘the pots are all wrong.’ Immediately she proceeded to rearrange the little clay pots around the stone shelves of the main feast room. Each of them was to fill with wine for later. They were to be place all over the house and constantly refilled for the feast. This was to avoid the guests having to line up. That would have been a real shame in their culture. Lining up represented not having enough wine to go around. Very socially unacceptable for the wealthy. And Irsa, who loved to be known for hosting the most extravagant celebrations, would not ever dare think of enduring such shame. So everything had to be perfect. From the wall designs getting touched up, the pond being cleared of every leaf, the garden being kept nicely, the roof being swept and the floors being dusted, nothing was to be out of place.
Irsa would sway back and forth, from top to bottom, inside and out, all over the house, trying to do everything. She wasn’t usually this frantic at all. Most of the time she could be seen relaxing in the garden, enjoying the sun while playing the Sfaro (an eight-stringed instrument), while resting her feet in the pool. The only thing that could seem to turn this serene lady into a manic mad woman was a feast. Especially if she was the host. Even though she had many servants to help her, when it came to the feasts, she had one assumption; everything they did was never going to be exactly how she asked.
Firuhza knew well to stay clear of his wife when she was in this state of mind. The slightest thing could set her off. One time a fly had flown into the house and landed in a cooking bowl. Irsa having witnessed this ordered that not only should that bowl be washed, but all sixty that were laid out on the dining area!
It wasn’t a good day for the servants that had to wash the bowls a second time. Nor was it a good day for the one that protested.
‘I do not here music! Where are the instrumentalists? They should be here practicing!’ yelled Irsa. Fayea the head servant was the only one that Irsa could really tolerate when she was in this kind of mood. She quickly pulled out a small cloth, with words written on them and handed it over to Irsa.
“I almost forgot to let you know,’ she said, ‘Firuhza is going to hire new instrumentalists to play tonight.’
‘No one brought this by me! What was wrong with the ones we had?’
‘Nothing, my madam. He simply wished to try something different.’
‘Try something different? What is his obsession with change lately?’ asked Irsa. Fayea simply stood in front of Irsa, looking away towards the ground, knowing better than to comment on her master’s marital affairs.
Anyone of importance in the city would be making an appearance at the feast.
Nothing was going to ruin it for her. Never in her 30 years of hosting, did it ever turn out into a disaster. And she wasn’t about to let this one be the first. Still, Irsa began to get tired after two hours of constant moving about. She finally decided that it was time to take a break by the pool. Maybe a bit of fresh air and cold water would do her some good. Sitting with her feet paddling in and out of the water, Irsa couldn’t get her mind off her husband and his odd behavior.
He’s constantly wanted to try new things and give the odd “seize the day” statement. She knew that he’s been having bad dreams lately, but he refuses to talk about it or what he dreamt about. Irsa suspects that Firuhza has been enjoying the company of another woman, only giving her more mood swings than expected.
Shymhal stood in front of the Crown in the Royal Council. Two of the Royal Guardians of the Throne stood by him, not letting him to approach any nearer than he already had. They wouldn’t allow him to come closer to the Crown. The light that radiated from the Crown was dazzling, it was so powerful that it radiated even past the walls of the room. Yet at the same it was possible to see where one was and what one was doing. The four living statues kept silent as they watched the council now in session. The Crown sat on “the Seat of Authority”. Around him were many other beings, all who were of the Council. Some of the thrones, not many, but still some were empty. These had been cast out for their behavior. Shymhal took a seat at his place, the seat that had originally belonged to Ekan, the first Akion. Shymhal turned his head slightly as to avoid directly looking into the Crown’s light.
‘The Council is now open,’ declared the King. The Royal Scribes and Royal Illustrators positioned themselves, recording everything with extreme speed and accuracy.
‘State you’re case,’ said the King.
‘I shall,’ stated Shymhal. He rose from where he stood and knelt on one knee before the Crown, bowing his head.
‘What have you been up to’ asked the Crown.
‘Oh just to and from around Erriah, roaming around.
‘And what is your report?’
‘As you well know. I’ve been ruling the race of Akions and their world for sometime now. Due to your restrictions most of it has been behind the scene and they don’t know me except in stories but still… I’ve done plenty.’
‘And what do you think you’ve accomplished?’ asked the Crown. Shymhal smirked. He was waiting for the right moment to boast.
‘Well as you, they’ve changed since their separation from you. I mean death? Wow, what a curse. They’re also born crooked now, naturally doing what is wrong. It’s really been a help to me. It makes enticing them to do my bidding easier. I’ve since brought them to hate each other, fight each other and thanks to the curse, kill.’ All around in the council, sounds of disapproval could be heard. What bothered them greatly was the absolute shamelessness Shymhal had when he would say these things.
‘Is that all you’ve done?’ enquired the Crown.
‘No no no. There’s plenty more. In fact I’ve removed all traces of you from their history. They don’t really know who you are. All the Akionons have are tales and myths. Each of them only has an idea of who you are. And some don’t even acknowledge that you exist! I would prefer that all of them were like that but you built into them a sense and longing for more than what they can see and touch. You even gave them an inner voice that pricks them when they do wrong. I’ve worked so hard to try and paralyze it. But each of them is born with one.’
‘Is that all you’ve come to say?’
‘No no no,’ said Shymhal, ‘ I have an accusation.’ Once again sighs and sounds of disapproval could be heard around the council. They knew well what Shymhal was going to say. It was the same thing he always did.
‘O just and royal Judge,’ said Shymhal, ‘ I see that you have yet to destroy the Akionons. They’re under judgment, yet you haven’t destroyed them. You’ve even gone so far as to continue doing good to them. Giving them air and rain and harvests, families and whatnot. Altough you’ve threatened me and my follower with doom, all the while you’ve promised to offer them deliverance. How is that? If you punish us for one crime, you can’t spare them for the same.’
‘Don’t you remember,’ said the Crown, ‘How I’ve promised to send them someone who will deal with you?’ Anger could be seen welling in Shymhal’s eyes. For so long the Crown has promised to send a challenger to crush him. Shymhal was ready to fight. He had been persistent in is efforts to resist the Crown’s authority.
‘You do realize,’ replied Shymhal, ‘It was an Akion that lost the title deed to the Universe. It was an Akion that brought all this mess upon themselves. So only one the Akionon can save them. And none of them are strong enough to defeat me. It’s impossible. Not only that but getting rid of me wouldn’t solve the main problem. They have to be punished for their treason. It wouldn’t be right for you to spare them.’
‘I have spoken, it will come to pass,’ answered the Crown.
‘Oh I see. Is he in Caravel? I’ve noticed that you’ve been interfering there recently.’
‘I know what I’m doing.’
‘And I will have to keep an eye out,’ replied Shymhal. With that he bowed his head and left the council.
‘How long will you tolerate his slander and how long will you tolerate his evil works?’ asked one the living statues.
‘Soon,’ said the Prince, ‘very soon and everything will be done.’
‘I’ll make sure that my men play good music for you,’ laughed the man, sitting bedside Firuhza on the large cushion. The man wore a large purple robe with golden spirals designed on he had long flowing black hair and was obviously very wealthy. Him and Firuhza shared a cup of wine as they discussed the up coming feast. They were in the large public “Dwelling Tent.” This was usually where people would come to escape the heat of the sun. Water, fruits, wine and bread were usually served here as music played for them. Firuhza came here often, usually to discuss business with different traders. But today he wasn’t really up for it. He couldn’t help but shake off the feeling of being watched.
It was probably due to the dream he’d been having. Firuhza hasn’t told anyone what exactly he’d been dreaming about. The last thing he wanted was to be seen as a crazy old man who was hearing things.
‘Would you like some water?’ asked the servant girl to a man sitting himself down across from Firuhza. He wore a white robe and had a white cloak, covering most of his face. Firuhza and just about everyone in the tent noticed him. The man’s clothes were too clean and too white. For something so white, it didn’t appear as if someone who’d just been walking through a desert street wore it.
“Yes please, water would be nice,’ he answered. Chills went down Firuhza’s back. The servant girl proceeded to pour water into a small bowl and give it to him. Firuhza was slightly taken back. He’s heard that exact same voice before.
‘Thank you very much for the water,’ said the stranger.
‘You’re welcome,’ smiled the servant girl. Now Firuhza knew he heard it before. After some thought it became clear to him where. But it’s not possible is it? It couldn’t be. The voice was perfectly similar to the voice in his dreams. But it couldn’t be. Could it?
‘One would never be satisfied drinking sand, thinking its water,’ said the stranger to him. No one paid attention to it. But Firuhza did. The imagery the stranger gave about drinking sand was similar to Firuhza’s dreams. And the voice was the similar to the voice in his dreams. ‘If anything, ‘thought Firuhza, ‘He knows about my dream!’ Firuhza got up from his cushion leaving his company and slowly made his way towards the stranger.
‘I’m sorry to disturb you,’ said Firuhza, feeling very awkward.’
‘Is it about your dream?’ asked the stranger, still with his head down. Firuhza’s eyes widened. And immediately he sat down in front of him, leaning forwards.
How did he know? As soon as Firuhza sat, the stranger got up and made his way out of the tent.
‘Wait!’ exclaimed Firuhza, still sitting; reaching out trying to get the man before he left. The stranger didn’t even turn around. He just walked away. Firuhza got up and chased after him almost knocking down everyone in his way.
‘Where are you going?’ asked the longhaired man that sat with him. But Firuhza ignored his call. He had to catch up to the stranger.
The crowds gathered around the market place didn’t make finding the stranger any easier. Anytime Firuhza would catch a glimpse of the man, he’d vanish.
No one, it would appear, noticed him either.
‘Wearing clean white clothes? Who would do these dirty streets on hot day like today?’ said a stall keeper to Firuhza’s question. After searching for at least an hour, Firuhza decided to give up. So far all he had managed to do was tire him out. The heat of the sun was too much to bear. It seemed to be exceptionally hot today. There wasn’t a cloud in sight and the glow of the sand had begun to take its affect on Firuhza. Wiping his head repeatedly with his robe, he decided to look for some shelter from the heat. The town center was to far away from his home for him to walk in his current state. He saw ahead of him a small dark alleyway. Two flat roofed buildings built side by side formed it. On the roofs there were carpets extending from one building to the other, the whole length of the alley, drying in the sunshine. Most likely these were houses, thought Firuhza.
First seeing if there was anyone watching him, he quietly went into the alley and found himself somewhere to sit in the shade. Keeping very quiet as not to alert the people living there and being confused for a thief.
Sitting with his back to the wall, with his eyes closed and head leaning backwards, Firuhza thought to himself ‘What am I doing?’ Running around town, looking for a man, all because of a dream? Maybe he was becoming a mad old man like everyone was saying. Running around a town, looking for stranger, all because of a dream? Firuhza’s life had been quite monotonous till lately. Maybe he just wanted some excitement for once.
‘Firuhza,’ said a man at the end of the alley. It was the stranger. He could recognize the voice anywhere. Immediately he opened his eyes and stood up.
The same man that he spent an hour chasing was standing there looking right at him. Firuhza didn’t know what to do. Was this really a good idea? He didn’t know whether to run or find out what was going on.
‘Don’t be afraid,’ said the stranger in a friendly tone, ‘I’ve come to give you a message.’
‘Who are you?’ asked Firuhza, ‘How did you know about my dream?’
‘My name is Kaleowan. I’m an Abhalaos, sent by The Crown, the one and only, to give you a message.’ As soon as Firuhza heard this, he became afraid.
‘You’re… a being of light?’
‘I’ve come directly from the Above and I’m here to tell you that the Crown himself wants to see you.’
‘What? Why me? Did I do something? I’m sorry whatever it is! Just please don’t hurt me.’
‘Firuhza, I didn’t come to do you harm. I’m here for your good. Tonight by the two palm trees that stand on the hill close to your house, The Crown will see you.’
‘What time should I be there?’ asked Firuhza, still unsure if this was really happening. But before he even finished speaking, the Kaleowan had vanished.
Firuhza didn’t even see him go. There was no way he could have walked past him that quickly. In fact come to think of it, there was no way he should’ve even appeared there without Firuhza being aware of him before he spoke. For the next few minutes Firuhza didn’t really move at all, still in shock and disbelief.
‘Did this really happen?’ he said to himself, ‘I must be really tired and this heat. The heat must’ve caused me to imagine all of this. Yes, it was the heat.’ Firuhza didn’t want to think that he’d actually get the see the Crown. Since he was a child he’s been told that there were many Crowns ruling the universe. Now he here’s there’s only one and they want to see him? With a whole world full of people, what did they want with him? Kaleowan did say that it was good thing. All of this worried him. But still, a part of him wanted what he heard to be true.
Kaleowan sat on the roof of high building. Observing the going on in the busy town square below. He’s just recently completed his mission. Firuhza had been given the message. Starting with a dream to get his attention and finally speaking to him in person, Kaleowan was now off duty. For some reason though, he was ordered to remain in Caravel. Other than that, Kaleowan had never been sent to the planet. This was his first ever time in the Solid Worlds. It amazed him how different things were here. The people who lived here were so limited. The idea of sleeping was what he found the most bizarre. Getting tired was an Akionon thing. Kaleowan didn’t know why the King postponed his full judgment from befalling the Akionons. But at the same time he wasn’t ready to start accusing Him of injustice.
‘It will all make sense one day,’ said Kaleowan to himself.
‘Oh yes! Keep telling yourself that,’ replied a deep demented voice. Right there in the middle of the air something began to materialize. There in front of him appeared a being with the form of a person. Yet it was completely dark. And it’s eyes, one crimson the other violet. It appeared to have much strength in its arms and legs. Had it been a normal Akionon, you would think it did nothing but train itself to become strong. It threw an evil smile at Kaleowan and attempted to knock him away with its long black claws. Kaleowan quickly anticipated this assault and moved out of the way, taking out his sword and quickly striking the rebel down by the head.
‘Darson!’ exclaimed Kaleowan, ‘stay away from me. I have no business with you.’ Kaleowan held his ground firmly and held his sword. Ready to deliver another blow if needed.
‘You’re invading on our territory!’ yelled Darson, putting himself back up. He simply stared at Kaleowan, giving a malicious smile. As if trying to intimidate him.
‘The Planet is the King’s and everything in it. This world and everyone on it.’
‘Last time I checked,’ said Darson, ‘An Akionon forfeited everything to Shymhal a long time ago. We have the right to it.’
‘You’re right gives you very little. Ultimately this still belongs to the King. And don’t you think he won’t reclaim it.’
‘Oh? And has he sent you to do that for him?’ Immediately Darson made another attempt at striking Kaleowan. And once again he missed him and was struck on the head.
‘Quit trying to bother me!’ said Kaleowan, ‘I could’ve revealed my message to the Akionon I’ve been sent to much sooner if it wasn’t for your meddling. If I didn’t have to avoid you ruining everything, I wouldn’t have had to speak using a dream. Even today you almost ruined it. I had to lose you and in so doing, cause my assignment to run searching for me!’
‘It’s my good pleasure to stop the King’s mission.’
‘His mission cannot be stopped. You only bring more trouble on yourself for resisting. May the Crown deal with you!’ said Kaleowan. And with that he soared straight into the sky, leaving Darson behind.
‘I will destroy you Kaleowan,’ he said, shaking his fist at the sky. And as he was still speaking, he too disappeared.
At night, the house was filled with people. Music, singing and laughter could be heard in every room. The massive rectangular shaped inner courtyard was lit up with torches all around the walls. Food was placed on tables all around. Wine vessels were everywhere and the effects of it could be easily seen.
‘Praise the great crown Gubai!’ shouted a man, drunk and falling on the flowerbed. Gubai was the crown of festivities that the people of Caravel would dedicate their parties to. Many people were swimming in the pool, fully clothed. Most of them not even aware of it, falling in, laughing and singing. In Caravel you knew how successful your party was by how much of it your guests couldn’t remember.
Irsa only ever drank a little. Her satisfaction came more from hosting an event than from enjoying it. She was careful not to have anything spill on her long purple garment. It was short sleeved and came down to her waist, then spread went out towards the ground. She also put a long golden wrap around her waist. It reached down to the ground. Covering the rest of her garment on one side. Her long black hair, with not even a hint of grey, was done up in fancy braids. She was also very beautiful. If not the most beautiful in Caravel. Even at the age of 60, she looked thirty years younger. And had the energy of a young woman. Not a single wrinkle rested on her face. Irsa took such very good care of herself; if you saw her you would assume that she some sort of royalty.
‘Are you enjoying yourself?’ asked a woman, dancing and laughing. She was Irsa’s younger sister who always attended these events.
‘Of course I am! I’ve having the most fun.’
‘I really hope that isn’t true. You’ve hardly even danced or eaten anything.’
‘I’m making sure that everyone is having a good time. I’m making this what it is, Sora.’
‘You’re worse than mother. Even she would have a drink,’ said Sora, holding a cup in the air, accidently spilling most of it.
‘And it seems you’ve had too much,’ laughed Irsa. For the next few minutes Irsa could be seen shaking hands with numerous amounts of people, smiling and greeting everyone in her path. There could have easily been over eight hundred people all around the house. Most of them would probably end up sleeping were ever they would fall. Not waking up till late the next day. But this was all normal to Irsa. This was the culture she grew up in. Everything was done to the excess. “He who delights in moderation, misses all life’s great sensations” was the common saying in the land. The fact that Firuhza only had one wife, was strange to most people’s ears. Irsa wouldn’t complain though. She loved Firuhza and only wanted to make him proud to have her as his wife. The only man who understood her so well. The only man that could really make her laugh. The only one who won her over. Even though many have and still do try to. But she’s only ever wanted one person: Firuhza. In fact it’s only come to her attention that she hasn’t seen him at the party. Ever since he came home that evening, looking worried, pacing around the courtyard. When she tried to ask him what was wrong he simply walked out of the house saying “I’ve got to think.” And since then, no-ones seen or heard from him.
Firuhza sat by the two palm trees alone, staring at the moonlit sky and the countless stars that filled it. The sand beneath him was cold and the air was crisp. All around the desert surrounded him. As he sat there curled up inside his coat, alone with his thoughts. The music and celebration from the feast could be heard in the distance behind him. But none of this concerned him at the moment. He was waiting for the Crown to show up. He didn’t know what the Crown would look like. Or how they would appear. Staring at the sky above he half expected that someone would come down from it and speak to him. Another thought bothered him. What if this was all a big trick? For all he knew this could’ve all been planned by people wanted to trap him in an attempt to get his wealth.
Either way he was beginning to grow more and more afraid.
Far ahead in front of him, Firuhza could see a light shining. It appeared out of nowhere on ground level and seemed to stay in one place. After a few moments the light could be seen moving. Coming ever closer towards him. Firuhza didn’t no whether to run or stay and see what it was. Running didn’t seem the best option. Whatever it was, the light could probably catch up to him. Maybe this was the Crown appearing to him. Both excitement and fear filled him. As the light got nearer, a shape was beginning to form. After while it became clear that it was in fact a person walking towards him. Less than a hundred feet away from him, Firuhza could see what looked like a waving with their right arm. They wore a white robe with a golden belt and tassel around their waste. The light around shining towards Firuhza was so dazzling he had to look away. The sight was so overwhelming the he could do nothing but put his head to the ground as if trying to hide.
‘Firuhza,’ said the man. There was so much power in how he spoke that Firuhza felt as if a great wind was blowing at him. The light began to dim down and the man sat beside Firuhza, who at this point was still shaking with his face in the sand.
‘Don’t be afraid,’ said the man, ‘I’ve come here for your good.’ Firuhza looked up at the stranger and felt what he could only describe as calmness come over him.
He could now manage to sit down and face him as well. After a few moments of silence, Firuhza finally mustered up the courage to speak.
‘Are you… the Crown?’ Firuhza asked. He almost felt ridiculous asking it. Standing beside this man just gave off a feeling that told you that this was no ordinary person.
‘That is the truth,’ the man answered smiling. For a split second, fear filled Firuhza. Then looking at the Prince led to a flow of calmness came over him once again. Expelling all his fear.
“I was worried about seeing you,’ said Firuhza, ‘I’m not sure what exactly you want from me.’ The Prince smiled and placed his right hand on Firuhza’s shoulder.
‘I’ve chosen you,’ said the Prince, ‘I want you to leave here. Leave Caravel. Where you grew up and have lived all your life. And go to the place that I will show you.’
Firuhza didn’t know how to react. He had no idea what the Prince chose for but still. He was chosen? Chosen for what? It didn’t matter. He had already been told that it was going to be good. That the Crown, the Ruler would bother with him at all.
Before Firuhza could ask anything else he noticed that the Prince was gone. For a moment he became startled, realizing that he was alone. Yet he didn’t feel alone. The warmth he felt while the Prince sat beside him didn’t leave. For a moment Firuhza thought that perhaps he just imagined everything. But the footsteps and imprints the Prince left behind could be clearly seen.
‘Firuhza! There you are! The party started a long time ago and I haven’t seen you there,’ exclaimed Irsa. She’s been wandering around searching for him. When she saw him look back at her she gasped and stepped back a few steps, tripping over her garment.
‘What’s wrong?’ asked Firuhza who at this point ran over to Irsa. He knelt down to her and could see her staring at him mysteriously. Irsa carefully reached forward and put the back of her hand to his face.
‘What happened to you?’ she asked.
‘I don’t understand what you mean?’
‘Your face… it’s glowing. What did you do?’
It’s been eleven years since Firuhza spoke to the Crown. ‘I want you to leave here. Leave Caravel. Where you grew up and have lived all your life. And go to the place that I will show you.’
That’s what he was told. Still, Firuhza hadn’t left. He couldn’t bare the thought of leaving his father behind. And now that his father had died, what was stopping him? There was no way he’d convince Irsa to leave everything behind? Could he?
Her whole life was here. Why on earth would she give it up? Usually he wouldn’t think much about these things. Simply attributing his encounter to some weird imaginations. He didn’t even have any strange dreams anymore. In fact, he hasn’t dreamt at all since that strange night. Still, every so often, Firuhza felt a slight unease. He couldn’t verbalize it. Something wouldn’t stop bothering him.
‘What are you thinking about?’ Irsa looked at her husband who seemed to be lost in his own world, looking out the window. This is where he came to whenever there was a lot on his mind. He could be up here for hours at a time. Just looking out. Gazing. Pondering.
‘I think,’ he started, ‘That maybe we should move to somewhere.’
‘What?’ asked Irsa. She had a look of confusion as she tried to read him and understand. It didn’t take very long before she realized what he meant. He only ever mentioned this once before.
‘Do not tell me that this is about that dream’ she stated, mockingly.
‘You saw the footprints! It was not a dream.’
‘They could have been left there by someone.’
‘They appeared out of nowhere and once they got to me, they did not lead to anywhere. He just vanished.’
‘The wind must have covered them.’
‘There was no breeze that night. You yourself saw the glow on my face. Remember?’
She couldn’t deny it. She did remember the glow. That night she told Firuhza to cover himself as he entered the house, so he wouldn’t frighten the guests. He assured her that all the guests would have been drunk. They wouldn’t have remembered it. Still Irsa wouldn’t risk it. Even that night when she went to the sleep chamber, Firuhza’s face glowed just a bright as it had outside when she had first seen him. He didn’t sleep. He claimed to feel as though he’d slept all week.
‘I have avoided it for too long. Maybe I should just do as he says and move.’
‘I do not know, Irsa. He did not tell me.’
‘So someone you can not see, appeared to you in a way you can not explain and is telling you to go to a place you do not know?’ Firuhza couldn’t deny what she was saying. It didn’t sound like the best of plans. Yet what could he do? At the same time, there was no way to deny what happened to him.
‘Please, think about this.’
‘I have, I feel like I need to move.’ Irsa leaned closer to Firuhza. She put her hands around his waist and rested her head on his chest. He reciprocated her affection and put his head chin on her head as slowly ran his fingers through her long black hair. They simply stood there in each other’s company, letting the moments pass. For just a little while, there were no problems. No issues. Just them. Irsa let out a long breath of air.
‘You’re my husband,’ she said in calm voice, ‘where ever you go I’ll follow.’
Firuhza smiled at this. Even if he was simply living out his insanity, at least he had her support.
‘Thank you,’ he replied. Firuhza gave his wife a long passionate kiss. He once again remembered why he first began so love with this woman.
The sun would rise soon. Everywhere was silent. Kaleowan surveyed the area around him. All before him was desert. Nothing but desert. Behind was Caravel. He’d been told to stand guard here and watch for any disturbing activity. He and seventy other Abhalaos were gathered by Mount Hervan, waiting. For what? They didn’t know. Any Akionon who walked past this place wouldn’t have noticed anything out of the ordinary. Their eyes were not able to see them. Neither were their ears capable of hearing them. But they were there. All sitting on what could only be described as “fiery white horses”. It looked as if golden flames covered them. It enveloped both horse and rider. And each Abhalaos had bows and arrows on one side of their horse, while they kept swords or spears on the other. They wore golden helmets, which covered everything bar their mouths and eyes. Not even the backs of their necks were left exposed. They had a sort of bronze coloured armour around their chest. Each with unique patterns of engravings, suited to match the personalities of each bearer. Their arms where covered in what seemed like smooth silver coloured silk. They each had long rectangular silver looking shields attached to their left arm. And their legs were covered with a sort of gold plated metal, which protected even the soles of their feet.
These were ready to fight if necessary. For Kaleowan it wasn’t a matter of if there would be a battle. There was going to be one. This he could just sense in his inner most being. He was never sent to war before. It was his first time to set foot on this planet. Still. The Crown had told him that he was ready to lead. That gave him all the confidence he needed. Yet one thing was certain. Whatever the outcome of this battle, it would affect Akion-kind forever.
It would be dawn soon. The first hour was near. Firuhza’s household was already awake. Everything was ready. Many camels and carts, full of items were waiting outside his dwelling. All the servants were packing the last of their belongings.
None of them knew what was going on. And to some extent, neither did Firuhza.
Irsa was the one who took it the hardest. She stood in between her arched doorway and stared back on what had been her home. Empty. The building before her was but an empty shell of her past glory, as well as completely foreign to Irsa. Servants couldn’t be heard walking about, cleaning everything in sight. The smell of chicken of being cooked over a fire was also absent. No gardener picking out fruit for breakfast. No more fresh milk being brought over. The sounds of countless lamps being blown out also wouldn’t be heard anymore. All the little things that she would’ve easily overlooked, had it been any other time.
Ever since Firuhza announced that they were moving, she began to notice everything in her home. From the size of each room down to the cracks on any wall. The little traits that made her dwelling unique. She would never have imagined that one day she would be asked to leave it all behind. She only had three short weeks to get used to the idea. Firuhza had tried to call on the Crown and find out when he should leave. But no answer came. He insisted that they move as soon as possible. Irsa on the other hand wasn’t so eager. She loved Caravel. But she loved her husband more. Still. It wasn’t much help in saying goodbye to what she knew all her life. The thought of this was beginning to get unbearable. Tears began to form on her eyes. This wasn’t going to be easy. As she started crying slightly, Firuhza came up behind her, hugging her, comforting her. That’s what she loved about him. He was there for her. And she was there for him. Even if he was going insane.
‘I hope you were not going to leave without me?’ said a voice jokingly. Firuhza and Irsa turned around. There leading another long line of camels was a man of at least forty years age. He was wearing a long grey robe with a brown belt-cloth around it. On top of that he wore a long desert red coloured coat which swept the sand beneath him as he walked towards them.
‘And of course Rol, you aren’t wearing any sandals,’ added Firuhza.
‘Who doesn’t enjoy the feeling of sand beneath their feet?’
‘The sun will rise soon, I would much enjoy seeing go barefoot at midday.’
‘I may like the sand, Firuhza. But I am no fool,’ he said while laughing.
‘Where are your wife and daughters?’ asked Irsa.
‘They are a few caravans down from me. They haven’t accepted this new idea as much as I have.’ Irsa knew the feeling. The mood suddenly became less ecstatic. The reality of it all was beginning to sink in. Rol thought it best to change the subject.
‘You have all your livestock with you?’ asked Rol.
‘But of course! I have brought everything with me. I even have 50 of my trained servants ready to fight any thieves that may be tempted to try something,’ answered Firuhza. He noticed that at the mention of the of the word thieves, Irsa’s face changed from sad, to scared. She gave him a look, which seemed to say ‘I did not even think of that until you mentioned it.’ Firuhza, in an attempt to calm Irsa, quickly added the phrase “But this time of the year, they are very rare.” It didn’t help.
The first hour had arrived and the sun was just beginning its course. They had to start journey now if they wanted to travel any significant distance before the midday heat. Many people from the town had been waiting to say their goodbyes to Firuhza and his household. They were crowded on both sides of the streets. Some were even sitting outside of windows to get a good view. This was as much about saying goodbye to such a well like couple as it was about seeing such a strange sight. Hardly anyone who lived here for so long ever left. Especially a person as rich as Firuhza. Virtually no one other than a few family members knew the reason behind it. The stories that circulated around the city were numerous.
‘I heard he got into an argument with many important tradesmen….
‘Someone told me that it was a dream of his to travel….
‘It is because of voices in his head that keep telling him to move….
‘He is trying to run away from the fact that his father died. I feel sorry for him….
‘I heard that his old age has turned him into a lunatic….
Occasionally Firuhza could hear the rumours that people were saying. He just ignored them. There was no way he would let anything get to him now. It was too late change his mind.
‘Joalez,’ said Firuhza to his scribe, ‘ you don not need to record things now. You off duty now! I do not suppose that there will be much for you to write about in the desert.
‘You are sure?’
‘Yes, I am. Enjoy the journey,’ he added, smiling. Oddly enough, Firuhza seemed at peace about moving. The plan was to move and he was doing just that. Although, a strange thought suddenly came to mind. What direction am I supposed to be going in?