Monday, November 11, 2013

Story Time: Hall of the Mountain Lord pt 4

Continuing from Part 3, here is the fourth part of the ongoing story: enjoy!
The Desert
***
With nothing more to do or say there, Adara and Hamim quickly finished their bread and tea, and made their way back out into daylight. The wind had finally died down a bit, and the gold of the sun and the azure sky could now be seen in their glory.

Adara mounted on the camel with Hamim walking alongside, they were still within visual distance of Lacan's home when they noticed a lone figure running after them.

Adara stopped the camel mid-trot with a well placed mark of her riding-stick, while she and Hamim awaited this vision to catch up with them. It was clear from his speed, as well as his reddish cloak, that the runner was the boy Zorab well before the sight of his face made this point completely obvious.

After a minute or two the racing figure of Zorab finally met up with the two travelers. Panting for breath in the desert heat, he said: "Whew! Thank you for stopping. You two move quickly!"

"How can we help you, Master Zorab?" asked Hamim.

"Ah!" said Zorab "You speak! But you ask the wrong question. It is I who have come to offer my help to you."

"Help?" asked Hamim "What help might you give us?"

"Hamim" rebuked Adara, gently. "Please, Master Zorab. Please do explain yourself."

"My Master is wise" noted Zorab, "..but wisdom is not all in this world. I think that together we can save your brother,"

"How?" inquired Adara, her breast now refilled with an abandoned hope.

"What?" asked Hamim: "Who are you now? We just spoke to your teacher and master, and he told us the very opposite! Who are you to fill our ears with such promises?"

"Mister Hamim" said Zorab gravely, looking the serious boy now straight in the eye:

"Please do not underestimate me due to my manner. I have seen such things the likes that mortal men pass off as mere legend. I have dispensed with such horrors that your very nightmares dare not even generate. I assure you that this sort of thing- exactly this sort of thing, actually- is the very territory by which I live, the very air that I breathe. And I should ask you not to question me in such matters."

Something about the boy's gaze made Hamim shudder, and now fall silent.

"But" interjected Adara "Your Master said that it is impossible..."

"And as I said just now- he is very wise" confirmed Zorab, "As is your Imam. But wisdom is not all in this world. Wisdom is simply the knowledge of the past, applied to the present. To see the world in wisdom is to see with the eye that sees itself. But one cannot see the whole world, with only this one eye."

He continued "To find your brother, we must follow his path. You will need me to find this path, I think. And I will need you to take me to him, as you two are associated. The link that refuses to let him go is the link that shall redeem him."

"Well..." he said, now sounding a tad less confident - "In theory. But we should definitely give it a go! So.....how about it?"

"We place ourselves in your hands, Master Zorab" said Adara "I can trust that we can trust you?"

"Of course!" said Zorab, enthusiastic. "It shall be a grand adventure! I am sure that we will do well. We should not dawdle- meet tomorrow morning? I suggest that you pack for four-days journey, just in case."

"Wait," said Hamim, awoken from his spell "Milady, we are really going to trust this....boy?"

"Yes, we are. And I do" she confirmed. "Zorab, I am putting my faith in you. Where and when shall we meet again?"

"By the town well, at first light tomorrow" stated Zorab "We will go to the place of Shamal's summoning, which I assume that you know. We should go on foot, so carry only that which you truly need; I will make sure to do the same."

"First light then" she affirmed. And with that, Zorab headed back to his Master's house, and Adara with Hamim to the house of her father.

----------------------------------------------------------


The moon stood high in the sky, bathing the valley in the hue of it's pale fire.

Then, ever so slowly the light of Eos - the sun's first rays- rose in the east, staining the eastern sky in it's royal crimson and gold. It was in this new light that Adara and Hamim, accompanied by their one camel, found themselves at the well. Hamim drew from it's waters, mostly operating by touch and memory in the semi-darkness. 

And so they waited, as the light continued to rise triumphant in the sky, banishing the moon into obscurity for another day. Soon would be dawn's Call to Prayer, which would stir the entire village to waking.

"Where is he?" wondered Hamim aloud. "Has he forgotten us? We stole away from home in silence- a shameful thing - and he does not have the decency to come?"

"He will be along shortly" said Adara. But her voice ended in a note of uncertainty now.

Then, finally, a small figure appeared on the horizon, moving not particularly quick in their direction. The figure became clearer and clearer as he moved ever more close; first the red of his cloak, then his blondish head, then his brown and handsome face, then his heavy lidded eyes. 

Seeing Hamim and Adara waiting, he waved, yawned, and smiled at them weakly - saying: "Good morrow to you."

"Good morrow" replied Adara.

"You are late", scolded Hamim. 

"Ah! Yes. Sorry!" apologized the boy, looking bashful in his tiredness. "I was up all night thinking what all I needed to bring. I got started out a bit late, I am afraid. But I am sure that I have everything."

"What all do you have?" asked Adara, curious. 

"I packed much of it half-asleep, so I am not 100% certain about all of it. Hmmm..." he said, rustling through his pack. "Many scrolls. Bread- important! Tea leaves; water. And....ummm...ah? What's this?" he asked aloud. He reached in with his hand, then pulled it out carrying a brass bell of foreign-make.

"Oh, that's pretty!" noted Adara.

"Why would you bring such a thing?" asked Hamim "You told us to pack light."

"It is a brass bell of Qinyan make" explained Zorab. "And I can't recall why I brought it now. It made sense last night...."

"If you cannot recall, how do you know that you need it?" asked Hamim, somewhat exasperated. 

"Oh, I do my best thinking half-asleep. That's when my Dreaming Eye is most alert. I am sure there is good reason to have it."

Then, "Speaking of which- why is there a camel? I recall saying that we should travel on foot."

"It is half a day's journey" said Hamim. "I would not let her ladyship travel on foot that long! Should she blister her feet, like some nomad?"

"Ah, no. I see your point there...I suppose we will simply have to look after the camel as well, somehow." He seemed to think on this a moment, then said "We will make do. So....shall we get going?"

"Yes, please" said Adara. And so they began their way to the hills of Shamal's last sighting, Adara on the camel's back now, with Hamim and Zorab walking alongside; the town soon tiny in the distance. 

Adara knew that it was now time for the Call to Prayer, but however strong the lungs of the cryer, no matter how she strained to listen she was unable to hear the voice.

"I have not missed the Call since I was very young, or very sick", noted Adara with regret. 

"The Goddess is forgiving", noted Zorab. "We shall meet her again, when her disc is at it's zenith in the sky."

And so they made their way along, deeper into the wilderness, as the little town disappeared completely behind a dune.

--------------------------------------------------
End Part 4