Sun Quest

Part 1

Southbound

by

Ruwen Rouhs

Chapter 10

 

When the night broke Aegir and Buri kindled a small campfire in the shallow cave under a rock overhang. They roasted some of the meat left over for their evening meal and afterwards crawled under the cover of sheep-skin on a bed of last year's dry leaves. While Aegir huddled up against Buri and relaxed, the dark-skinned boy watched the sky darken and with a deep sigh continued the report of his father's adventures.

"Then one day at the end of the growing season the merchant's youngest son came running home. Out of breath and bursting with excitement he called on his father, Sir! Sir! They , they ha..., they have arrived, they, the nomads with the ore of our cousins, the black men from the dark mountains! They are waiting for admittance at the city gate! Hurry Father, we have to be the first to welcome the caravan!"

"This was the information my father has been waiting for impatiently for five months now. Hurriedly he slipped out of the estate's gate because he wanted to be the first to welcome the men from across the desert. Looking up to the dark night time sky he prayed, "I have a favour to ask you, mighty Wuitan! Mighty God let me become friends with these men so that they take me to the place where the moon-stone is excavated! Wuitan! Do me the favour, because that's the third object of my journey!"

Outside the city-gate my father nearly tripped over man-sized bundles resting outside the gate. In the last light of the day he could make out about a dozen of men in wide grey cloaks crowded around a pile of big bags. Mastering his fear my fathers tried to welcome the dangerous looking strangers, but before he could open his mouth one of the grey shadows rose to his feet and pushed him back without a word.

Meanwhile Menkaure and his sons had arrived and saluted the desert-wanderers. He and his sons were also met without a word, however this time the strangers answered the salutes by deep bows and one after the other embraced Menkaure. Then, picking up the heavy bags, the grey men followed the merchant to his estate like shadows."

"Later the evening my father learned that the visitors from the dark hills were neither grey nor mute. In the middle of the night he was aroused by loud noises and by flickering lights painting the walls his hut. In front of the main building a roaring fire was illuminating the courtyard. The strangers and the male members of the merchant's family had gathered around the fire. Bowls of beer were circulating while sheep on spits were roasting in the fire. When the meat was hardly done the strangers began to wolf it down like famished animals, consuming pitcher after pitcher of beer at the same time. The scrawny wanderers were starved by the rough journey through the hot desert and their body dried out, but they needed only a meal to renew their vigour and soon they began a dance around the fire." Leaning back, Buri continued, "However this was just the opening of the nightly feast. As soon as all of the food was wolfed down and the men were in a jolly mood from the beverage and the dance was in full swing, a small door besides the gate of the estate opened and young women in translucent dresses slipped into the court-yard. Executing dance steps the girls joined the black men in their ecstatic dance around the dying fire. As soon as the fire was low one dark man after the other picked up a dancing girl and carried her away to his lodging."

Acting na´ve Aegir asked, "Why? For what reason? Didn't the dancing girls scream their heads off?"

Buri scratched his crotch and chuckled sheepishly, "Hey, Hey! Can't you guess my blue-eyed friend?"

Aegir was already excited by picturing what may have taken place between the girls and the men in the dark. He turned to Buri, buried his nose deep in his friend's armpit and deeply inhaled the scent of his friend. Excited by Buri`s odour he began to kiss his way to his friend's neck, purring between the kisses, "You smell so good! I can't help it Curlyhead! You are turning me on! You turn me on the way the girls turned on the men from the desert. Can I bite you the way a tom-cat bites his queen!"

Buri was excited also and Aegir's play made him even hotter. He began to tickle Aegir till his friend gave up all his resistance and began to laugh uncontrollably. This was what Buri had hoped for. Buri rolled the helpless redhead onto his back, held him down with both hands and got on top of him. Aegir wasn't taking this lying down and struggled back. The playful fight changed into heavy grinding and hot kisses.

Out of breath and with burning cheeks both relaxed exhausted. Slightly recovered Aegir began to tease Buri, "The colour of your skin is from your mother, but the way you made love to me sure is a hand down from your father."

Buri having a quick tongue replied slyly, "Who told you that, my blue-eyed boy? It's a god-given talent, you know!"

"Let me take revenge for your attack!" Aegir demanded and began to tickle his friend. When Buri surrendered, giggling, Aegir started kissing him, till both were out of breath.

Breathing hard, Buri stated "You are a natural born kisser too. Does this talent run in your blood or did your playmates teach you!"

"My playmates? You are kidding! It's you who taught it to me!" and Aegir smiled happily.

~.~.~

 

Next morning a late winter-storm was roaring. Buri woke up freezing. Gusts of wind were blowing snowflakes into the cave. A thin layer of snow already covered the blanket of sheep-skin. Aegir`s red hair was dotted with snowflakes, the tip of his nose white, but he slept on untroubled. Buri took the skin and pulled it over his and Aegir's head. He snuggled closer to his friend trying to warm the tip of Aegir`s nose with his breath. This startled Aegir out of his dreams. He pushed Buri away and tried to crawl out from under the warming cover, grumbling, "Are you trying to choke me? I thought you loved me Curlyhead!"

Buri however didn't let go the cover, "Stay under the cover, please! Don't you hear the roaring of the wind? Don't you feel the snow flakes in your face?" sliding closer he asked, "Shall I continue with the report of my fathers quest?"

Not waiting for Aegir's assent he began with hoarse voice. "The situation must have been about the same when my parents woke up far away from RÔ-Kedet in the wide desert. However there the air was not chilly and wet, on the contrary it was hot and dry. There were no snowflakes in the air, but sand, an innumerable of number of tiny grains! My father and my mother were hiding under a blanket in the lee of rocks. The desert storm was transporting hot sand from the south. The grains penetrated the woven fabric and covered their skin with a thin grey coat. The grains were clogging their noses and their wind-pipes making breathing hard, despite the scarves, they had covered their heads with. They kept their eyes closed in pain, because their tears had stopped flowing!"

"How come your father was in the desert? Who was the girl he was with? Was it your mother?" Aegir asked.

"Yeah, she was the beautiful nightly visitor. The mysterious nightly visitor had finally accepted his urgent pleas and now her belly was heavy, heavy with a child, a boy-child. Her womb was heavy with me!"

"And why did they leave the merchant's estate, the safe house? Why did they dare to move ahead into the desert?" Aegir asked bewildered.

"Remember Aegir, my father's third issue was to visit the black men to the dark mountains beyond the desert, in the land called Ta-Seti. There he wanted to learn how to get the moon-stone ore! He had asked the leader of the group on several occasions to take him along. However the nomad declined. His answer always was, "That tour is not for a pale-skinned White-boy! By day the merciless sun will boil your brain inside your skull and in the dark only shrewd men will be able to escape the dangerous monsters lurking in the dessert."

"My father however was determined to travel to the pits with the moon-stone ore in the dark mountains beyond. The only way he could think getting there was to follow the caravan of the nomads in secret. When the group left for the dangerous tour back home my father slipped out of Menkaure's estate and followed the group at a safe distance. However he was not alone. The mysterious girl had begged frantically for him to take her along. Her arguments were serious, "I am dark-skinned like the men from across the desert, much darker than the people in RÔ-Kedet. I was born in Ta-Seti, land of the bow. The land where the moon-stone is wrenched from the earth is my country. The proud people there are my people. Look at this charm, the crescent of moon-stone. It was handed down to me from my mother and everyone in Ta-Seti is bound to help me!"

But my father was worried and didn't feel reassured, "Remember my beautiful girl you are expecting a child, our child! Look, you and me are responsible for that child! Please stay here and wait for my return!"

Teje however insisted, "No my dear husband, you are a part of me since I have chosen you! Remember it wasn't you who chose me! I chose you! I am a princess and I will present my people with their future king!" My father was stunned. He was unable to argue against her. He agreed and took her along."

"Now in the middle of nowhere, covered with grey dust from head to toes, the pores in the skin clogged by tiny sand grains, not knowing if it was day or night, my father regretted bitterly having taken along his wonderful Teje, his dearest wife. But now it was too late and all they could do was to focus on surviving. After a seemingly endless time the sand storm died and they crept out from under their blanket heavy from sand. It was dark, dark as midnight, but it had to be around noon, as the sun high in the sky was visible as red ball in the sand-filled air."

"The appearance of valley had changed completely. The pointed rocks were hidden by the grey sand. The trail was buried and invisible. All the tracks of the black men's caravan were missing. Watching the sun my parents knew the direction they had to follow. Take the southward direction they were sure to pick up the track of the nomads again."

My mother spotted the track much sooner than expected. "Look at the vultures circling in the dark sky. Look at the angels of death! This spells trouble! Something bad has happened in front of us! Let's hurry, somebody needs help!"

"No help was possible anymore when they arrived at the scene. My parents stopped dead in their tracks. The awful sight made their blood curdling. Big white-backed birds were digging with their bald heads in the corpses of slain men. They counted a dozen corpses, corpses of people they knew from their stay at RÔ-Kedet. Their bodies were naked and the bald-headed scavengers did not have to fight their way through the heavy coats of the desert-wanderers to get to soft body parts. My father burst out shocked, "These birds didn't kill the men, neither the lions nor the spirits of the desert. They were murdered by men, savage men! Neither a bird, nor a lion, nor an evil spirit would leave the corpses naked. Savage men have murdered our friends, robbers! They took away all their goods. They robbed them even of their clothes. They mutilated their bodies."

Aegir shook in horror. Since his childhood he was used to tales about the looting of villages, the killing of enemies and even of the mistreating of captives. But in not of one of those accounts his clansmen had reported such inhumanities. "That's outrageous! That was an outrageous crime!" Aegir sobbed, "What did your parents do? Turn and run away, ran back to the big city of RÔ-Kedet and ask the king to revenge his friends?"

"Yes!" Buri nodded, "Yes, they turned around and fled in fear!" But then Buri hesitated, "However before they even reached the next bend in the valley they were attacked by a group of hooded men. Men in grey robes and black turbans suddenly emerged from nowhere and attempted to knock down my parents. My father fought back vigorously, but he couldn't overcome the three robbers attacking him. My mother, disguised as a man, tried her best and fought back like a wild cat, but in vain. The two young men attacking her gained the upper hand in no time and threw her to the ground. One of the attackers held her down, while the other began to rip open her wide coat. But suddenly he stopped his attack abruptly and shouted in surprise, "It's a woman, a black woman!" The captain of the attackers, one of the men struggling with my father, turned "Let me have a look at that prey!" he ordered."

"The raider's chieftain yanked off my mother's coat and scarf. Then suddenly he went silent. Stepping back and helping her to rise he ordered, "Stop! Everybody stops! Now! She is not our enemy! She is our ally. She's wearing the crescent of our confederates. She is wearing the emblem of our friends from Ta-Seti! She is off-limits! She has to be treated a friend!" then he pointed at my father, "He is off-limits, too. We take them to our village! The clan patriarch will decide about their fate!"

~.~.~

 

 

I would like to express my special thanks to my friend Anthony for improving my writing.

Comments, reviews, questions and complaints are welcomed. Please send them to ruwenrouhs@hotmail.de

 

Last not least I would like to add thanks for reading.