Written By Sher Trott-Bailey.
The morning was very breezy when Katya emerged from her tents. She saw Quanza playing around with some children. A mischievous little boy named Tyca, had a kite which he was trying to get Quanza to hold with his trunk. Finally succeeding,Tyca jumped on Quanza’s back causing her pink friend to run around. Laughters of pure joy and happiness erupted from the children. Some covering their little mouths and others holding their bellies.
Walking over to them, she was soon engulfed in shouts and hugs. She was one of their fellow playmate. Her jumping off the cliffs into the swirl pool had cemented hero worship in their hearts.
“Katya come with us to the Rhino Farm, we are going to get to feed the baby rhinos,” a pretty little girl named Dirka said while jumping in her arms. By now Katya was stooped on her knees facing her crew.
“Okay, i will come, let’s go.” She told them. Shouts of excitement were let out as Katya raced her little band of lively children to the Rhino farms.
When they arrived, there were lots of other children already their. Many dressed in their tribal colours. İt was great to see all the tribes’ children mixing and playing together. The Rhino Farm was huge and divided up into several sections. For the children’s enjoyment, the young Rhinos were kept separate from their mothers for half the day and then let back in the evenings.
These Rhinos had been tamed and domesticated for centuries and we’re great for helping with tilling soil or pulling heavy carts for travel. The male Rhinos were in heat at the moment so the children were not allowed around them.
Knowing that her match would not be until midday, Katya enjoyed herself with the baby Rhinos. The children’s excited laughter felt soothing to her mind. All is well, she thought. Peace flowed through her mind, fears which tried to take her joy for the day were quickly blown away like tumbleweeds.
More days of prosperity, expansion, and festivities were what made life wonderful. Living a life filled with changes that made the blood excited was her dream. When she thought of being the Mwebele Chieftess she imagined traveling to distant lands, her people traveling with ease as well. She loved the earth and the simplicity of planting a seed which would then give so much back. Then turning these fruits and vegetables into tasty cuisines was exciting too. She wanted to invite foreigners to her tribe, have them live and experience her people and in turn, her people live and experience others. She loved new tools or ideas to make farming easier. She also loved going to the Coast and swimming in the big sea. She had heard of large boats that could sail far for months. This too piqued her curiosity.
From the Byzantines, she had seen exotic skins taken from fierce animals like tigers and wolves. These things piqued her interest and planted seeds of exploration in her heart. This was why she needed Zolokhan to understand her first before calling a date for her marriage. She refused to be held down by a title or walk the expected route of Chieftess Dedoka.
Smiling as the pretty little girl Dirka came up to her, she bent down to hear what she wanted as she was tugging vigorously at Katya’s loose pants.
” Katya, Some of the boys dared Tyca to go into the male Rhinos pen.”
Surprised, Katya nodded to Dirka.
“ Don’t worry little one, I will go and grab him.”
Nodding her head very fast, little Dirka smiled at her hero. Katya quickly kissed her good bye and took off in search of Tyca. Any other time she would not be worried but during mating season, the males were not their usual docile selves. Their aggression was high and only skilled handlers knew how to handle them.
It took five minutes of hard running to reach the male Rhino encampment. The handlers were busy eating a large breakfast spread and trading jokes. They never noticed the little troupe of boys sneak by.
Approaching the eating group she quickly let them know what the boys were planning, two Kezmizi men and a Mabutu woman left their group of handlers to come with her.
It took no time to see the boys, Tyca had just jumped into the pen. Katya watched as he sneaked up to a grazing male Rhino and yanked it’s tail. Flicking around at lightening speed the Rhino had turned to see it’s attacker. Eyes on fire the Rhino stared down the little boy. Tyca himself was stunned into place, his little limbs froze and shaking, suddenly becoming aware of their differences in size. No one knew what to do at the scene before them. The male Rhino had turned so fast! who would have thought something so big could be so nimble?
Coming to her senses, Katya ran forward leaping over the large fence in one go. Pushing the boy out of the way with her body, she knew this would make the Rhino charge at her. She was able to roll out of the way as it stomped towards her.
“ Take the boy out quick” she commanded not losing eye contact with the Rhino as she needed it to be focused on her.
The two Kezmizi handlers grabbed each of the legs of the Mabutu woman and leaned her down over the fence. She scooped up the scared little Tyca, whose body had shut down, into her arms. She quickly pulled him over the fence.
‘ Hey Rhino, why don’t you let this one go.” Katya said.
The male Rhino was however now enraged and refused to answer her. Stomping the ground with its massive hooves it prepared itself for a full-out charge. Facing the Rhino, Katya knew it was no use running from it, thereby allowing it to chase. İnstead she would face it head-on, flick over its back and jump the fence. Everything had to be done at the right time or this nimble Rhino may end up pounding her. Detailing her plan to the handlers standing by she said,
” After he charges İ need you must distract him.” Katya commanded the handlers.
The Rhino charged, Katya also charged. İt was all over in a few seconds but for everyone watching it felt like forever. The sight of the young girl flicking over the angry Rhino and using it’s back for her spring board was mezmerizing. Not forgetting their part to play however, the handlers shot into action. Making noise and using a long stick to distract the angry Rhino, this gave Katya enough time to jump the fence to safety.
“Well what a start to the day!“she thought to herself.
Turning to the little group of onlookers, she saw Tyca still huddled on the ground. Taking up the child, she hugged him. İt took ten minutes of hugging him and talking words of comfort before Tyca responded. Coming up to pat him on the back, his little friends offered him sweets and hugs. Finally, a smile came to his lips and dragging him by the arm his friends suggested they go play in the shell rivers. Tugging away from his friends he ran back to Katya. He gave her a big kiss and said
After the children had left, the three handlers invited her to share their breakfast. She accepted their kindness and was entertained by talks of how she jumped the Rhino. By the time the three were done exaggerating the story, you would have thought she jumped a long line of Rhinos. Telling them goodbye and that she had her fights to prepare for, they cheered, promising to be in the crowds to watch and cheer for her. This surprised her as they were not her tribesmen. When she mentioned this, they said
” We will cheer for them too, cheering for one doesn’t stop us from cheering for the other. İt’s the same mouth.” They said laughing lightheartedly.
Chuckling Katya told them bye again and jogged off heading towards the fighting rings.When the fights were over, the remaining four fighters were Zolokhan, Vulcan, Katya and Salan. It had been a swift fight for Katya, her morning heroics leaving her on a confident high. She had quickly pushed her opponents foot out the ring without having to do too much physical combat. As expected the matches were easy for the two Prince’s as well.
It had been a long day and Katya just felt like being alone. She wished she was at the swirlpool, that she could jump in and let the waters take over. Just at that time she heard her mother calling out outside her tents.
” Katya, Katya, it’s your mother. Can I come in?” She asked
” Your the last person i want to see Magoba” she thought.
” I’m very tired mother, I’m not in the mood to talk now. Please go.” She responded.
” Well i was just concerned about you, daughter! Everyone’s heard about what you did for the little boy this morning and everyone is talking about your skill in the fights. Your dad and I are very proud. İ made you some Egwame, remember it’s your favorite.” She said.
“Leave it on the table outside mom. I’m going to take a rest. Talk later.” She said not budging for her mother.
” Girl is this any way to treat your mother! Do you want me to start going around telling people how your treating me. Your getting so arrogant! Who do you think you are? So what if your the Chieftess. İ still get to have a say in your life. You are out there acting like a whore with Prince Zolokhan and God knows how many others, never chaperoned by a maid or your mother. Listen here girl you two aren’t married yet. İ didn’t raise a whore. Always being so free and unbridled. You know tongues talk” Her mother vented outside.
Katya listened to her mother’s outrageous scoldings and her anger flared. Going outside of her tent she saw her shouting mother standing outside. With a triumphant smirk, Magoba her mother said,
” Hmmm i knew you had to come to your senses. ” She said haughtily.
Katya quickly noticed that three of the five “aunt’s” were standing around smirking as well. Magoba tried to walk past Katya to enter her tent. Katya quickly put out her hand to halt her.
” Guards, take down this woman. She has openly insulted and scandalized your Chieftess. Twenty lashes.” Chieftess Katya commanded.
Nodding, two men held her mother while another administered the beatings.
” You filthy child, how could you beat your own mother” her mother shouted.
“You evil thing. I’m your mother. İ birthed you!” She screamed out again.
” İ will never forgive you for this!” Magoba screamed.
When it was over, Katya said
” İ don’t consider you my mother. Let this be the last time you come to my tent or near me again.” She warned Magoba
Turning on her heels, Katya went into her tent. She knew her mother and “Aunt’s” would use her beating to spread stories of how cruel she was but Katya had enough of their plottings. She would not be yolked by them either. She would not be disrespected. Katya finally laid down and took a long sleep.
When Katya finally woke up from her sleep it was already night. Deciding to stay inside tonight she laid back in bed. After another hour she took a bath and prepared to settle in for the night. Quanza had already been fed by the servants when she was asleep. To pass the time she decided she would make some beaded jewelry. Shortly as she was getting into her jewellery making, her young maid came to her door to announce that Prince Zolokhan had come to see her.
” Send him in,” she commanded.
She continued her bead making. When he entered he greeted her warmly.
” How are you? İ haven’t seen you since the fights.” He said.
” I was tired, but now I’m up. İ didn’t feel like going out tonight.” Katya replied.
Nodding Zolokhan said,
” İ heard about your bravery this morning. The people are all talking about it. They are also talking about what happened with your mother” He said.
” And you have come here to tell me the gossip i suppose… or to throw in some guilt and condemnation.” She replied feeling annoyed.
” No, ah no not really.İf any one else had done what your mother did, not one would question the punishment. But you know how people are sentimental when it comes to mothers.” He said.
” Why don’t you just tell me what you think rather that what people are saying.” She said calmly staring him in the eyes.
” İ just want you to explain, tell me your side of the story. Why you would do something so drastic?” He asked
” What would you do if your mother was a gateway for crocodiles and snakes? Or like a small wound opening attracting flies and maggots and all types of evils. Wouldn’t it be wise to close it off? Or should I die because the crocodile happens to be my birth mother. İf that mother ceases to have any of the characteristics of a mother but instead has the characteristics of an enemy, should i still leave my back open for the knife? She asked him, her face dead serious.
” You should most definitely close it off.” He said to her.
” Well my mother has stopped acting like a mother for a couple of years now. All she knows to do is to be a puppet for a bunch of evil viperous women i call the ” Aunt’s”. These women hate me without a cause.” She said.
“Katya are you sure you have analyzed the situation rightly.” Zolokhan asked.
” That’s what makes these enemies all the more vicious, because they are not direct but are like deadly snakes hiding in the bush waiting to strike your feet.” She replied to him popping on a bead onto her string bracelet.
” How do you plan to deal with them going forward?” He asked.
” İ am watched over and protected by Heaven, it is not my job to deal with them.” She said.
” They will certainly fall into their own traps and get caught in their own web.” Katya said.
” Enough, i don’t want to talk about this anymore. Would you like some bread pudding and goats milk?” She asked Zolokhan.
” That sounds very tasty, yes thanks.” He answered.
Calling her young maid, she requested the treats. When it was served and Zolokhan had enjoyed half his pudding he remarked,
” Your only thirteen summers yet already so wise. No wonder my father admires you.” Zolokhan said.
Katya smiled at his comments but said nothing at his compliments, instead she replied,
” When the festivities are over, our tribe will go to the Coasts. I’m looking forward to that. İt’s so much more carefree there. İ can swim everyday” She said sighing.
” İt’s carefree here too. Here and now with me. Come on, like you said it’s not about what anyone thinks, you know your reasons for the decisions you take as a chieftess and that’s all that matters.” Zolokhan encouraged.
“After we are married we can definitely go and travel for a while. İt’s not like i will take the throne immediately anyway. Dad is still very much strong and capable.” Zolokhan encouraged some more.
Smiling at the thought of them travelling the world together, Katya’s heart warmed and bubbled with excitement.
” İt’s still up to you to set our wedding date. We could get started traveling together right now as husband and wife.” He said with a big smile on his face.
Her face growing warm at what all that meant she shook her head and said.
” I’m not ready.”
Nodding his head he replied.
” Honestly, neither am I.”
” I’m taking Quanza to his homeland, wherever that may be, right after we return from the coast, that is in the spring time. Your welcome to come along. I will talk to Quanza about you coming too but I’m sure it will make him happy.” She said
” Will it make you happy?” He asked.
” You know it will.” she answered.
Smiling he said, ” Even if i know, i still want to hear it out of your mouth, mysterious Chieftess.” Zolokhan replied.
Rubbing her eyes a big yawn escaped her lips. Stretching her arms above her head, she told him that she was sleepy again.
” İ will leave then. Have a good rest Katya. Selam ( be at peace.)” Zolokhan said.
“Bye bye Zolo” with that warm goodbye she stretched out on her bed. She fell asleep within minutes, peace engulfing her.
The next morning when she woke up she felt new and excited for the day. Today the foreigners would present tributes to the Kezmizi tribes. İt was always interesting to see what they brought to the festivities. Everyone would gather in the Circulum to watch. Being the most exploratory of the three tribes had paid off for the Kezmizi people. They were truly blessed to have a good king. She briefly contrasted the Mabutu king, King Xanoz with King Titan and shook her head. The Mabutu tribe were by no means poor but their prestige was certainly waning under that fool King Xanoz’s leadership.
Since this was a very special event, she would dress up a little more today. Calling for her young maid to help her with her thick black hair, Katya wanted to achieve a grand style. Not only that, she felt there may be some who would be looking and wagging their tongues. She wanted to look as relaxed and majestic as she felt.
Taking about an hour to braid and pin up her hair, her maid placed twelve intricate golden flower pins in her hair. Each flower had a different coloured stone in the centre. For her attire she chose a multi-coloured sleeveless dress. The dress was white but the foot had been died in a beautiful mix of blue and pink. There were also pink beetles made out of pink diamonds sewn onto the dress. The neckline was also lined with seven deep blue sapphire cut diamonds inlaid into intricately sewn flower embroideries. Matching multicolored shoes of blue pink and white with the flower embroideries finished her outfit. She later decided to add her golden bangles which had been carved in with the shapes of lions.
“Young Chieftess, Chieftess Dedoka is here to see you.” Her young maid said.
” Ok please welcome her in.” Katya said to the young girl.
” Ohhhh your looking every inch of a wealthy and great Mwebele Chieftess today.” Chieftess Dedoka greeted her with a pleasantly surprised expression on her face.
Smiling Katya received the compliment warmly. Waiting for Chieftess Dedoka to get straight to the point, as Katya knew she was not one to beat around the bush, Chieftess Dedoka carried on saying,
” İ heard what happened with Magoba yesterday. İ investigated clearly so i know you were within your rights to carry out the punishment, however i wished you had restrained yourself. Here me out….” She said raising her hands as she saw that Katya was about to respond.
” İ know she is tiring and pushes her limits, but what about the fact that she is your mother after all. How will the tribes people feel if they think they’re chieftess would beat her own mother.” Chieftess Dedoka asked.
” How will the tribes people feel if their Chieftess were beaten by her own mother? Could i raise my head to lead them anymore. Wouldn’t i be the secret laughing stock of the tribe, obedient to my face but laughing behind my back? So Magoba can constantly beat me, my integrity and my love with her words and scandalous accusations and i should just take it. No..you here me out” Katya questioned in a firm voice, raising her hands to Chieftess Dedoka who was about to interrupt her.
” İf it’s an apology you have come to seek, it will never happen. You and this whole tribe will never get it even over my dead body.” She said passionately.
” İ would rather take Quanza and leave all of you than having to think twice about every decision i make, and whether the people or you will agree or not. İf you want a Chieftess then let me be a Chieftess.” With that she concluded, her face set in determination.
Having nothing to say at the girl’s bold rebukes and sound reasonings, Chieftess Dedoka nodded her head. Ending their talk on the matter right there.
“Alright come let’s not fall out over this, let’s go to the Circulum together.” Chieftess Dedoka said chirpily. She was too old to be bothered about a quarrel and this young lioness was too fierce to be tamed. Not that she wanted to tame the Young Chieftess anyway.
Back at the Mabutu camps, an excited Fatiya could not stop chatting about Ercan her Byzantine love. They had spent all night talking about his country and his people. She, Fatiya was already enthralled with the sound and images of the foreign land.
” We have got to look our best today when we go to the Circulum.” Fatiya said.
Kadija had been basking in her stories all morning, she had heard every detail from ever angle, had heard every analysis of every action, look and words of Ercan from Fatiya over and over again.
“The dresses from the fabrics that Prince Vulcan had given us at the dance viewing, you remember, when you stayed at the Prince’s compound, well those dresses are ready. The materials from the royal family are on another level. Not only that, he sent over ten dresses especially made for you. He didn’t want to leave them at your house, not wanting to cause a stir. So he sent them here for you.” Screaming suddenly in excited tones, Fatiya said
“Let’s try them on Kadija!!!”
Going to the corner of the tent she returned with a large silk pouch package. İt was tied at the top in a bow- like design. Fatiya handed the gift to Kadıja. Trembling in excitement herself, the pouch itself so pretty she could only imagine the contents, she tugged open the pouch.
Inside the pouch was a wide Jewelry box on top of the ten dresses.She took out the jewelry box laying it on Fatiya’s bed. Then she took out three dresses. Surprisingly, four beautiful slippers of varying designs and colours were under the three dresses. These she took out and laid them on the bed as well. She then continued to take out two more dresses followed by four more beautiful shoes. Taking out the rest of dresses she saw two more shoes to go with the outfits. When she thought it she had taken everything out their was another smaller pouch in the bag. When she opened it to look, it contained a beautiful hand painted fan and three different vials of sweet scents.
“Oh my, oh wow! Everything is so beautiful Kadija.” Fatiya said excitedly, wagging and snapping her fingers in typical Mabutu style whenever they got really excited.
“Look at this blue one, oh my it had golden threads in the embroidery. He has such fine taste.” Fatiya said. Mabutu people preferred a more understated style rather than showy style. Their preferred taste could be seen in their love for detailed embroidering on their dresses which told a story. For example two gazelles running and frolicking would be embroidered on dresses. They loved colours though.
“Oh my look at the beading on this red one. This yellow one ties at the neck. They embroidered a whole scene of young girls dancing around a fire.” Fatiya said busy looking at the dresses.
” Look at this one Fatiya, I’ve never seen something so beautiful.” Kadija said excitedly. Kadija took up a white slim fit dress made out of thin, soft white fur skin. The white dress was crisscrossed with white crocodile leather. The dress was so soft and so pure in it’s whiteness. The ridges of the crocodile’s skin portruded off the dress giving it texture and dimensions. İf that wasn’t enough, tiny icy blue crystals were sewn into the furs along the sides and hemline.
” Take a look at the slippers that go with it Kadija.” Fatiya said in quiet awe.
Holding out the white sandals to Kadija, the shocked young girl looked at the shoes. They went up over her ankles with beautiful white cords criss crossed at each of the sides. The tips of the cords were further adorned with the same ice blue crystals.
” İn all my years i have never seen this design before.” Fatiya commented.
Holding up the dress, Kadija felt it was too beautiful for someone of her status to wear.
” Let’s put it on right now Kadija!” Fatiya said excitedly.
” No Fatiya, it’s too much.” Kadija told her friend her mind.
” Kadija don’t be silly, your going to be the future Queen of our tribe. What better time to stand out and cause a stir than now when everyone is here.” Fatiya said frustrated.
” Nothing is official Fatiya, it’s just a promise for now.” Kadija replied.
” Kadija look at this dress! İt’s saying it all. Prince Vulcan is making his intentions known!” Fatiya shot back.
” You are wearing this dress and that’s all to it. While i do your hair, bring back the courageous Kadija i know. If anyone asks you can always say the dress was a gift from me if that’s what your worried about. What if you hadn’t already caught his attention and you had gotten this dress? You wouldn’t think twice about wearing it to catch his eyes would you? So what’s the difference now? So what if the Prince wants to gift his favorite dancer a reward of a beautiful dress” all these perspectives Fatiya shared trying in her own way to comfort Kadija’s heart with simple rationales.
Her mind calming down, her friend’s arguments winning her over, Kadija wondered to herself, ” what would I do without Fatiya’s cool head sometimes?”
Fatiya using water and baccia oil turned Katya’s golden tipped hair into lush curls. Flaring out like a big soft halo, her hair shown brightly.
” Oh right, let’s look in the jewelry box” Fatiya remembered.
The jewelry box was golden, to open it you had to turn a latch, which was carved in the shape of a large egg shaped ruby which sat in a golden nest.
İnside the box were two ivory hair combs inlaid with rubies and pearls. Golden bangles, necklaces and anklets also laid in the box. The final piece was a necklace of pink diamonds and green emeralds.
“These are really one of a kind and unique Fatiya.” Kadija gushed.
” No kidding, the workmanship that went into these would have taken up to a year. Even the dresses would need a lot of hands to sew and embroider all the sceneries. İt’s almost like he planned all these way in advance.” Fatiya’s brain clicked.
“Ok I’m going to get dressed and do my hair Kadija,” Fatiya said going in front of a mirror to finish up her hair. Her mind was now focused on not being outdone by Kadija. She had to really pull out a great dress to even compare to that white one.
“But it only really matters if Ercan likes it” Fatiya thought excitedly in her head.
“How about you liking it just for you and not trying to compete with your best friend or to please Ercan?” came a simple thought.
Hanging onto this last thought, she conquered the jealousy and insecurity beast that wanted to control her when she thought of Kadija’s white dress.
İn a much calmer manner, she already knew the dress that she truly loved. İt made her feel comfortable and really pretty. İt was a deep orange dress with large green contrasting double straps. The straps were embellished with purple flowers. Embroidered on the dress was a scene of birds flying through the air, diving towards a group of running Cheetahs. İt was embellished with green and purple stones at the foot of the dress.
After both girls had dressed, Kadija had chosen the hair combs as her ornaments. The dress was outstanding enough without having to add any more to it, she decided.
As the excited girls made their way to the Circulum, Fatiya told Kadija the juicy morning gossip.
” Kadija, did you hear?”
” What Fatiya?” Kadija answered
” The Mwebele Chieftess had her mother lashed twenty times yesterday. ” Fatiya informed.
A little taken aback, Kadija said,
” Turns out her mother went to her tent and insulted her, calling her name’s like whore and threatening her.” Fatiya said
” That’s awful of her mother.” Kadija replied.
” İ hear she was hard as steel. Who would know she is so cold?” Fatiya commented.
” She is the Chieftess of her tribe, she shouldn’t be disrespected even if it’s her mother. God knows sometimes i want to hit my mother. We have only ever heard good reports about her so don’t follow the naysayers now.” Kadija’s spirit rose fiercely as she defended the Mwebele Chieftess.
” Well given her attitude, i don’t think she will care what people are saying. Anyway we will see her at the Circulum so we can see her reactions today.” Fatiya said glibly.
Rolling her eyes at her friend, Kadija shrugged her shoulders.
” Wow Kadija, you look Pele Pele (slang for very beautiful/good).” Tarsin a young and handsome Mabutu boy complimented.
Nodding her head she did not answer.
” Hey Fatiya, your looking round and Pele Pele too.” another boy from the group called out.
” Hey Kadıja do you and Fatiya want to come sit with us at the Circulum?” the same boy Tarsin asked.
” No Tarsin we don’t.” Fatiya answered strongly in the negative.
Suddenly a haughty female voice spoke out from behind the little group.
” Oh look who it is! Mhmm where did someone like you get that dress?” The mean spirited and haughty voice of Yolena asked as she stepped out in front of Katya.
” None of your business.” Kadija answered side stepping her.
Standing looking at Kadija’s arrogant back, her dress and hair looking so spectacular, Yolena seethed with jealousy and envy. Calling over two of her servants she quickly instructed them to get some mud to throw on Kadija’s dress. She warned them to make it look accidental.
There were many interconnecting and broad pathways to the Circulum so the paths we’re never over crowded. Walking happily on their way, the two girls unaware of Yolena’s plan, they took no interest in the two men bent down as if they were tending to the flowers. Signaling each other with a nod the two men prepared to fling their palm full of mud.
Just then, Katya and Quanza came up in front of the girls through an adjoining pathway. When the men released the mud, Katya had just bent down to rub Quanza’s leg. When she looked up thick mud was splotched over his face and belly. Looking around quickly she saw two servants scurrying away quickly clearly the perpetrators.
Not wanting to cause any scenes today, Katya shrugged it off.
” Ah Quazzi, looks like you will have to go back for a bath and join me later.” Katya told him.
At the sound of bath, Quanza stomped in happiness. Rubbing Katya’s cheek with his trunk he stomped off, knowing his way around.
Looking up Katya saw two girls nearby, looking on. Katya gave a friendly wave and said,
” Your dresses are very beautiful, I’ve never seen these styles before.”
Kadija looked at the Chieftess, she could hear Fatiya answer her greeting,
” Wow Chieftess your dress is gorgeous too, as gorgeous as Kadija’s.” Fatiya said honestly.
Smiling her thanks to Fatiya, Katya said to the silent girl,
” Those two seem to have deliberately slung mud in this direction. İ wonder if it was for you or for me?”
Coming out of her momentary awe, Kadija couldn’t help but wonder at their age. She was eighteen summers while the Chieftess was about thirteen summers, yet their was a radiance and majesty about her. Her astute observation about the mud also striking Kadija to the core, further evidence of this girl’s power.
‘The mud really could have been meant for her Kadija’, Kadija thought.
” One looks familiar now that I think about it Chieftess. Mhmm” Fatiya answered.
” Well i have lost my company, mind if I walk with you two to the Circulum.” Katya asked.
” Oh please, it would be our honour.” Fatiya answered nudging Kadija.
” Yes your welcome to come with us. Please” Kadija said her first words.
” The rainbow dye at the end of your dress is very unique Chieftess.” Fatiya continued.
” Thank you, i did it myself.” Katya smiled.
“What!” Fatiya said startled. ” You made this dress yourself?” Fatiya asked.
” İ imagined the design in my head.. yes! and with the help of my servant girls i made it. Dyeing is fun for me, i have no patience however for the intricate sewing.” Katya said.
” Your white dress Kadija has the pelt of l white fox intermixed with white crocodile skin. İt’s a lovely combination. Soft but not too warm for the present weather” Katya said to Kadija.
“Thank you Chieftess.” Kadija responded.
” İ have plans to make more interesting dresses and jewelry for trade with foreign lands. Your both welcome to the Mwebele tribe anytime to see the designs.” Katya said as they reached the Circulum.
” That would be so nice! Thank you chieftess.” Fatiya smiled with Kadija following suit.
” Selam (peace), my friends İ must say my goodbyes for now.” Katya said waving goodbye.
All the leaders of the three tribes had been invited to sit with King Titan, King of the Kezmizi tribe. Given the impending union between Mwebele and Kezmizi tribe through marriage, Katya and Zolokhan had been invited to sit together.
Meanwhile,Prince Vulcan had wanted to see Kadija like the rainforest wanted the rains, but today he had to sit with the Kings. He was already in the grand central podium, reclining on a comfortable chair when he saw her enter with her friend and surprisingly the young Mwebele Chieftess.
She was mesmerizing. He watched as many heads turned to look at the three beautiful girls. The Byzantine Ercan was no better than him as he stared down Fatiya. It made Vulcan proud to know that the Mabutu tribe had such beautiful women who were well dressed. Truly Kadija was outstanding in her white dress. Her hair so shiny and beautifully bejewelled.
“It had been so long since he had kissed her'” he thought. He told himself to calm down but his eyes trailed her until she found company amongst some Mabutu dancers.
The Circulum was huge and open aired. There were various floor levels with comfortable arrangements for sitting and reclining. There were sections for families with young children, separate sections for the young men and sections for young girls and separate sections for the older tribesmen. Servants were also given their own section for watching the tributes presentation.
Delicious meats, fruits, nuts, sweets and food were being passed out. Musicians and dancers that had come with the foreign envoys were stationed all around, all playing in harmony creating a mellow vibe.
Huge drums began beating symbolizing that the tributes were officially ready to start.
King Titan stood, hands raised causing the drums to halt. Suddenly the vibrant king jumped off the high podium, the drums began to beat again, this time in tandem with the King’s movements. Beating his chests, the drum beats mimicked his tempo, then what looked to be over hundreds of Dancers gathered behind the King. Changing the beats, wind instruments and drum beats and clashing cymbals mixed together in an upbeat energetic rhythm. The vibrant king danced in amazing precision with his dancers. Singers gathered singing of the King’s virtues, the greatness of his tribe and the continued prosperity of his people.
Roaring and cheering the audience was hyped up and excited by the King’s performance, many getting up and dancing themselves. So spirited was the dancing and the energy that it was an hour before King Titan and the crowds calmed back down.
Settling down without further ado, foreign menservants dressed in golden clothing walked out and presented hundreds of small trees, no taller than a young child of three summers. They were heavy laden with orange coloured fruits and were given out to every group of people.
A large, accented voice boomed,
” Selam Molekum friends, İ am Gülcec these fruits are called mandarin. You will find they are as sweet as honey. We present these to King Titan and all, taste!.”
The speaker was a tall and large man with a curly moustache. His most striking features we’re his large smile and his large portruding belly. Dressed in simple white matching pants and kurta, his head was adorned with a golden turban.
No one had ever seen this fruit before, everyone waited for the King to try. When King Titan had eaten then all attendees excitedly tasted the mandarins. When they were finished, the leftover peels were cleared away.
Clapping his hands, Gülcec ushered in 1000 large cows into the Circulum.
” Friends these are Zizi cows, filled with milk all year round even with little water or grass. We gift you with some delicious foods made from their milk. These are cheese and yougurt, Taste.” Gülcec announced.
After everyone had indulged and Gülcec explained briefly the value of the breed of the cows and the technique for making cheese and yogurt, the cows were led away.
Gülcec’s final tribute was another presentation of a animal he called camels. They were traveling animals who could endure long distances without water because they stored water in their bodies.
After the presenter Gülcec, another came. This time it was from the Egyptian kingdom. They brought tributes of gold, and beautiful scented pouches and shoe sandals made from exotic coloured snake skins. They also presented many oils for the hair, skin and the stomach for beauty and easy digestion.
The Cappadocia kingdom introduced olive plants to the tribes. The olives were handed around for tasting. After the olive tasting, the Cappadocia presenter paused looking at the central podium of seated Kings and other leaders. King Titan nodded to the Cappadocian and then with a loud voice he said,
” Friends if you would join me and King Titan on a walk we will show you even more beauties.”
Laughing and clearly delighted at everything, King Titan bounced up out of his seat, his booming voice calling out for all to come while each of his hands grabbed his son Zolokhan and Katya. Everyone waited and followed behind the leaders. When everyone emerged there were thousands of chariot’s hooked to Rhinos and Zebras. Everyone boarded the multiple chariots and followed behind the Cappadocian. To everyone’s surprise, they were escorted several miles in a new direction away from the Kezmizi lands.
A sense of curiosity came over all the different tribesmen. What could be out here? These lands were know for being very barren, why were they going there? What was the Kezmizi tribe up to? These were the barrage of questions being passed around.
Finally the journey ended in front of a very tall and mile wide wall made from thick tree logs bounded together and stuck deeply into the Earth. The King of Kezmizi, King Titan got down from his chariot, leading the crowd to the open gates, there was a collective rise of chatter, gasps and astonishment.
Before their very eyes, land which had been very dry and brown, forgotten and ignored now laid out before them green and lush. There were large tall trees of different shapes and varieties. Bowing to King Titan, the Cappadocian spoke,
” King Titan and Prince Zolokhan are leaders of great vision. What you see here is as a result of their belief and persistence. This forest and fruit tree groves, vegetables and animal grounds is the start of a new environment and plan to make all the barren lands fertile and fruitful. While this is normal for us in Cappadocia, here in the grasslands with the sparse and seasonal rainfall it seemed impossible. When King Titan and Prince Zolokhan spoke their ideas four summers ago we doubted, but even if we Cappadocians doubted, your King and Prince believed. Now here lies before you Haja trees. They are fast growing and sweet smelling and excellent for building houses and ships. “
An excited bunch of old widows suddenly shouted out,
“All hail the bronze Lion and the golden cub. All hail!”
Great shouts went up from the Kezmizi people and other members of the other two tribes.
Ushering everyone to get back into their chariots, they rode easily through the long stretch of green forest. Coming to a circular section that divided into three routes, King Titan’s voice boomed.
” Friends we will each take a different route, to tour and feast our eyes on different things. Choose your route by following whoever you want. There is plenty to see and plenty to do. When everyone is ready listen for the blow of trumpets. No more talking let’s go!” King Titan took off blazing in his Rhino chariot.
Zolokhan with Katya in his chariot took another route and the Cappadocian the other route.
Whistles and shouts went up as people divided into different routes. Many followed behind King Titan, while another large group decided to go with the Cappadocian. The younger crowd followed Katya and Zolokhan. King Titan’s wide pathway led into a huge field of mixed fruit trees. There were: Cherry, mango, loquats, lychees, apricots, jackfruits, guinep, breadfruit, plum, naseberries, cucarac, bananas, plantains, cocoa, coffee and purple skins trees. Small animals and exotic birds which were new to the onlookers, could be seen scurrying and flying around.
Along Katya’s and Zolokhan’s route were weird looking trees that were very spiky but had big puffs of white cotton growing out of their large pods. There were several men picking the cotton off the prickly tree. These were being transported by zebra driven carts. At the end of their route, there was a large wooden compound built in seven sections. Here the cotton was turned into warm bedding, clothing and stuffing.
Those who followed the Cappadocian were awed by fields of mixed vegetables and vine fruits such as watermelons and honey dews and pumpkins. İn between sections of vegetables were extremely large flowers as tall as a human. The Cappadocian explained that there were watercatchers, a flower that brought rainfall and that held water tightly in it’s flower pods.
The smell of ripened fruits and flowers filled the air with a sweet fragrance. When everyone was done with their route, they would visit another route until everyone had seen it all. Many spotted animals such as alpacas 🦙, horses, monkeys, peacocks, pandas and lambs that they had never seen in their region.
It was an truly exciting day, everyone marvelled at the prosperity of the Kezmizi tribe and their ability to make the infertile lands fertile again. These were the talks that cropped up over and over again by the camp fires that night.