Friday, May 25, 2007

Okin of the Twilight Kingdom (Part 3)

when darkness thunders
seek the lightning
behind the clouds

Na el harikansintum

(The language of anh used here is a very potent language where one syllable speaks many things. This paragraph can only be translated into our language as follows: Obayamaashi, the great king that came through the needle of an eye that performed feats of gods, built for us the dam, irrigated our lands and introduced farming to our kingdom; who heals the sick and poor; who stands for justice and peace; who raised an army of soldiers from the dead and defeated the evil and hated Inirath; and thus brought peace to our land.)

Bow thy head on bended knee
Offer up thy prayer
of thanks and Love

Guide Him
With thy Life

'You are a very perceptive man, Elder Ti,' said Memnoch before he broke into a smile as he carefully rolled the scroll up, 'to wring so much from so little.'
'My Lord is generous. But this is not true at all. I have memorized the poem and recited it both by mind and mouth thousands of times, before young and old, fair and hideous. In fairness, it was completely obvious as it should have been.' Memnoch's smile widened. He started to feel at ease and comfortable in the village especially in Elder Ti's company. He was meticulously humble and modest. Always ready to deflect or politely decline even a flicker of praise. Elder Ti was the sort of man who felt that if he accepted the praise, he would have the duty and obligation to live up to it and so assiduously declined all praise.
'I trust my Lord's quarters are agreeable?'
'Yes, these humble surroundings are a welcome change from the luxury that I have unfortunately grown accustomed to.' His smile broke into a contemplative mood.
'I humbly apologize for the spartan accommodation for one such as yourself, my Lord.'
'Think nothing of it, Elder Ti. And please, call me Memnoch. I am no king here.'
'Ah, It would please me as nothing else would. But knowing what I know, it would not be possible. My Lord.'
'You claim me as your king yet you disobey my command?'
Elder Ti stood motionless.
'Well, you are at liberty to anyway,' said Memnoch with a smile just touching the edges of his mouth. 'Tell me, what is it like here in Jula, or Haleon, if you can.'
'It has not been good. My Lord's last presence here was so long ago that most of our lands have forgotten you. It pains me to tell my Lord that this village is the last surviving village that believes in your prophecy. And even then, many amongst them have discarded their traditions. Fairytales they call our sacred texts that have come down through countless generations. I just may be the last person that truly knows and would be able to preserve our literature. My only student is still too young and lacking in experience and learning. I just hope that he learns enough before I die. What is more, many have left for the many large cities far away. Some used to take the trouble to come home. But now, it's a rare event. So life here is quiet and far away from everything and everyone else. I should think some of them might think us very primitive, living the way we do.'
'Ah. Not at all. It is honest here, there are no trappings of excess. So there is little contact with the outside world here?'
'None whatsoever.'
'How many are there in the village?'
'Almost a hundred, divided into only a handful of households. As Elder of the village, I have the largest household with twenty three. Thankfully, one of my assistants attends to the routine matters.'
'I see.' Memnoch went quiet and seemed to be pondering over something. A cool gentle breeze whispered through the room. 'Tell me, Elder Ti, Was Magick used here by the previous Obayamaashi?'
'Magick? Well, I have suspected something like that. The texts are not explicit about it, but it is strongly implicit. It would explain many things.'
'That is interesting and comforting to know.'
'But do people in your lands practise Magick?'
'No. The Magick that we know of here are only those tricks of sleight of hand.'
Before Memnoch could continue, a huge black crow flapped itself down noisily on to the window frame. The crow blocked out most of the sunlight that before came unhindered into the room. Its silhouette threw itself across the room and loomed largely on the wall opposite the window. It's huge glassy black eyes turned to Elder Ti for a moment and then to Memnoch. It then paced the window sill back and forth whilst eyeing them warily. Elder Ti seemed calm but there was a tight tenseness to his face when the bird was in the room. He stood rooted watching the bird and furtively murmuring something under his breath.
Memnoch studied the big jet black crow that didn't walk but strode from end to end, as if impatient for something to happen. Its feathers were so perfectly black that they all looked like one smooth slick mass of black. Its beak was a steely determined grey. Its eyes seemed to be searching the room, its pupils darting around the edges.
Memnoch was jarred out of his study by a loud thud. It was the old man striking the floor with his stick three times. The crow emitted a loud ear splitting screech and in a scratchy though malicious sounding screeched, 'Welcome back, Obayamaashi. I have awaited your return for a long, long time. You shall not escape this time!' And with that the huge crow alighted into the sky, gradually fading away into a clear blue sky. Elder Ti's and Memnoch's eyes followed it into the distance, as if keeping the crow under close scrutiny would deter it from returning.
Elder Ti turned to Memnoch and in a grave voice said,
'My Lord, we have to leave.'
'Yes,' replied Memnoch.

No comments: