Katya & Zolokhan Chapter 12.Trott Bailey Family
What a fun day it had been! Everyone had enjoyed the goat catching at Katya’s birthday party. Two thousand goats were released and everyone had to lasso and tie their goats in teams of two. Katya had made it deliberately difficult by making the grounds muddy and slippery. The participants were constantly being sprayed with water by Quanza and Kymba. The servants too would throw water at the squabbling kids. Every goat collected was for the children to keep and grow.
When it was done everyone had to be washed and fresh changes of clothes brought. The kids had been so excited about their clothes. By then everyone had been hungry. They were ushered onto her south facing pavillioñ where servants were waiting with food upon food, beautifully displayed on wooden tables. Sweet treats and cakes overflowed the tables and each child had enough to take home. They had sang and danced and watched a live story depicted by the tribes best story tellers. Poor Quanza had been ridden over a hundred times. King Zolokhan was no better as the little girls were awestruck by how handsome the King was.
When it was over Katya had sent the little kids home by chariots as they had played themselves to exhaustion and had fallen asleep. Some older brothers chose to accompany their siblings while others decided to walk home in groups not wanting to end the enjoyment of the night. Chariots were laden with cakes, goats and beautiful packages containing clothes, balls, slingshots, coloured dyes, spin tops, playing marbles, painted paper lanterns and chocolate sweets.
Katya had decided to give all the servants involved in preparing the birthday feast, the month off to rest. Several of her servants now had crops ready to reap. They had wanted to oversee their fields, workers and harvest. She would call for the servants from her other compound to take over their duties.
Meanwhile her chief servant Zihana also knew the plan to use old Elder to combat Queen Nebuli. She would leave Zihana in charge of attending to Queen Nebuli’s needs. Queen Nebuli had arrived mid celebrations. Although she could hear the fun, she was not invited over to greet the Chieftess. Instead Zihana had promptly settled her into a far out but very opulent compound.
Zihana had reported how Queen Ñebuli had constantly asked for the whereabouts of the Kezmizi King.
“The woman couldn’t even hide her true motives for long” Katya thought.
Zihana had set up a tour of the Kingdom for the Queen with the Old Elder as the guide. All this Zihana had reported in front of Katya and Zolokhan.
Before they parted that night, Zolokhan said to her intimately,
” Katya i wish we were going to the same room, that we didn’t have to part. Please marry me.” His golden eyes were sincere and straightforward. In that moment she remembered how they met at the swirl pool. How she had dived and surfaced to see his stunned face. They had been so young then.
Nodding her head and saying yes, she decided she would no longer be bullheaded. Knowing that he had come for her birthday, that he had built their home and that he was determined to not leave Mwebele without her, all these taken together had melted an already soft heart.
In a sudden move Zolokhan hoisted her and threw her up in the air three times and kissed her lips, her face, her hands softly. Embracing her and whispering into her ear he said,
” I have already taken care of everything. All the required Elders have been notified. We will get married in your tribe in a small and intimate surroundings like you always wanted. My cousin Kitabı will also be here. Then when we feel like it we will hold a marriage celebration inviting both our whole tribes and all foreign officials.” Zolokhan said excitedly.
Giving him a stare, Katya chuckled and teased,
” Such a confident husband. You knew I would accept the date?” Katya asked.
” Even if I were to face rejection, i would not have regretted calling the Elders.” Zolokhan answered.
” It is well. Our people are also longing for us to set the date.” Katya said contentedly.
Saying their good night’s, Zolokhan went to his quarters. He felt so relaxed. Nothing could dampen his mood. He had really enjoyed himself. That’s what he loved about Katya, she was just so natural and energetic. Her enthusiasm when catching the goats had been so catching, everyone at the party had lost any reservations or shyness around her. As he lay down to sleep he was excited for tommorow. Who knows what they would do tomorrow again for her birthday celebrations.
Meanwhile at Queen Nebuli quarters:
“My Queen, the Mwebele tribe is really wealthy, look at the curtains.” Feriha, Queen Nebuli’s chief servant commented in awe.
Queen Ñebuli could see the thick tall white curtains interweaved with gold threads and embroidered in blue and pink diamonds.
“Judging by the intricateness of the work it would have taken weeks and a lot of skilled people to make the curtains, ” Queen Nebuli said with a jealous sneer on her face.
Not only her curtains but her bedding was made of the softest material she had ever felt. The carpets were unique and plush, the material she had never seen before either. The room was opulent and tasteful. Intricate carvings done on the wooden timber walls, beautifully painted sceneries in the smooth stone roof. The candle holders were made of some green coloured stones and embedded with rubies. When she had gotten Feriha to discreetly enquire about the candle sticks she had learnt that it was called jade. Not only were her surroundings lush but even the Mwebele servants were adorned in expensive fabrics and jewellery. She had so many servants all attentively attending to her. Queen Nebuli felt jealous, envious and upset about it all. Her compound was vast-if this was the size for an honoured guest she could only imagine what it was like for the Mwebele Chieftess.
” The Mwebele tribe has really prospered greatly since the birth of that little bitch!” Queen Ñebuli screamed in her mind.
Calling Feriha closer, Queen Nebuli whispered, ” has my cousin Acidah sent word to us yet?”
” My Queen, she will be here to visit you at your compound tomorrow.” Feriha replied
“Good, Good. It’s a good thing I brought my absolutely best and newest dresses. When will I see the Chieftess? Have you found out where Zolokhan is staying.” Queen Ñebuli asked Feriha anxiously.
“My Queen, the Chieftess is currently celebrating her birth month. She has not sent for us. We cannot be demanding since we did appear with short notice. But her servant Zihana has set up tour of their territories for us with a high official as our guide. As for our King, i only know that he is here but I don’t know where he is staying.” Feriha reported.
” Mhmm that’s not hard to guess, knowing him he is staying in the Chieftess’ compound like some lovesick peacock.” The jealous Queen said.
” Feriha keep your eyes and ears open. That Zihana is not an easy one to get around, i couldn’t even find any fault with her.” Queen Ñebuli said poutingly.
” When Acidah comes tomorrow I will feel more at ease. We can set my plans into motion. I’m sure Zolokhan is here to marry that bitch soon. Even if she marries into our tribe it doesn’t mean we have to make it easy for her!” Queen Ñebuli said bitterly.
“Yes My Queen”.
Back to Katya:
As Katya rested late into the morning, she enjoyed the silence of not having so many servants busily preparing for her birthday. Beforehand, she had planned to spend today alone, but now that Zolokhan was here she would invite him along. Afterall, they had always talked of him learning to dive into the swirl pool of the Wengua River. What better day than today when that was exactly what she wanted to do.
Getting up and enjoying a light meal, Katya sent a message to Zolokhan about her plans and invited him to come along. They agreed they would meet outside in the gardens and set off on their journey alone.
When Zolokhan recieved her message, he was excited. This was something the two of them were supposed to do a long time ago. He quickly got ready and set off to meet her.
When they met, each had a satchel with food. Laughing Zolokhan said,
” I know you have a large appetite young Chieftess, so I made extra preparations.”
Making a face at him, Katya replied
” Then what are you going to eat?”
Zolokhan jokingly replied,
” I will eat whatever you can spare from your belly”
Katya replied, ” alright alright let it not be said that I starved my husband.”
Back to Queen Nebuli:
“Feriha, where am I to meet the official for the tour?” Queen Nebulu asked her servant.
” My Queen, the Chief servant Zihana will be here to guide us there. Also My Queen your cousin will be here in the evening” Feriha said.
Hearing a knock at the door the two women turned in unison, nodding to Feriha, the servant quickly went to open the door, revealing the stylish and alert Zihana.
” Greetings, Queen Nebuli, if your Majesty is ready the Elder is waiting for you in our Welcome hall. You can address him as Elder Tacan. He is very delighted to show you around.” Zihana informed them.
Rising gracefully her head held haughtily the Queen did not reply to Zihana, Feriha her servant replied.
” Thank you Chief servant Zihana,please lead the way.”
Queen Nebuli walked along the beautiful corridors and pathway to the welcome hall taking in the exotic flowers and fruits planted along the way. Everything was clean and well manicured.
When she arrived at the welcome hall she saw a tall figure dressed in rich deep blue coloured caftan and heavily adorned in gold chains. There was a large ruby hanging from one ear. His face was rugged and manly with a strong cleft chin. Though he was addressed as Elder he was beaming with energy. The man certainly made a startling sight. On her arrival the old man made a bow and said,
” Queen Nebuli, I Elder Tacan welcome you to the Mwebele tribe.” Suddenly out of nowhere little monkey heads appeared out of the man’s clothes, behind his shoulders, on his legs and around his feet. Before Queen Nebuli could compose herself the Elder had taken out a flute, that too Nebuli wondered where or how he had hid.
At the playing of the flute the monkeys started dancing in obedient unison, spinning in the same direction and then the other at the turn of the flute’s tune. They flicked and jumped together, then flicked and jumped on after the other. To her even more surprise the little monkeys took out little hats and placed them on their heads and danced in a congo line. One monkey then broke from the line and jumped onto her leg, causing her to jump back in surprise. It then climbed on to her head and put on his little cap on her head. She swatted at the stinky thing which perched on her shoulders. It leaped from her shoulder back to the ground and went right back to dancing. The old Elder was happily engrossed in his performance and paid no mind to Queen Nebuli’s reaction.
” My Queen, bear with it. That servant Zihana kept mentioning how prestigious this Elder was in the tribe. It’s a great honor to have him as your guide.” Feriha her chief servant maid whispered to console her.
When the monkey performance was finally done, the smiling and excited Elder Tacan ushered her towards the outside of the welcome hall to a waiting chariot. Queen Nebuli praised herself for having dressed in light linen because today was very hot. Thank heavens the chariot was spacious with seats and covering from the sun. There was a strange circular object at the far sides of the chariots. Her curiousity piqued, she questioned the Elder Tacan about it.
” These are fans to keep you cool. They are connected to the spinning of the wheels. When we move they spin and give breeze.’ he explained.
” Where are we going first?” She asked.
” Well Beautiful Queen you are clearly a stylish woman, so let’s go take a look at where some of our Chieftess’ most stylish clothing creations are made.” Elder Tacan answered with a charming smile.
Loving any compliments about her appearance, Queen Nebuli smiled and sat in the chariot. Sure enough as they took off at a nice canter, the fans began to spin and cooled their bodies.
Queen Nebuli passed fields upon fields of flowers, fruits and animals. Children ran behind the chariots in excited play, while Mwebele tribesmen looked on curiously. Feriha could hardly contain her excitement and kept pointing out things to her Queen. Scolding her to compose herself, Queen Nebuli flicked her on her nose when the Elder wasn’t looking.
Along the journey the Elder explained their harvesting and fermenting system. He showed fields of cotton grown on a spiky tree, to which he said the people nicknamed the monkey puzzle tree. He talked of the rearing of silkworms to make the fabric silk and mentioned the various dyeing techniques used on sheep wool to obtain rich colors.
When they finally arrived at the clothing creation area, she saw men around large looms pressing cotton, women were seated on large verandahs cutting patterns from fabric. While others were measuring people bodies, both men and women. When she asked about it, the Elder replied,
” Our Chieftess expressly believes in treating our own people the best. Hence any tribesmen can come here and have their garments tailor made to their preferences or choose a pattern of design for free. Everyone can also come up with new designs. The foreigners that you also see are treated the same except they have to pay for their finished clothes.”
” I see more foreigners than tribesmen, it’s almost twice the amount.” Queen Nebuli said in awe
Laughing at all the joyous bustle around him, he told her that this was just one of the many clothing sections. To keep it from becoming too overcrowded, the clothing creation areas had been spaced out all over the Tribe. This helped to keep the flow of eager foreigners and traders organized.
” Food is always abundant in our land and is free. However with the influx of travellers many of our tribes people have set up food stalls with their own unique foods for which they charge small pieces of gold or silver. They measure the gold or silver using finger joints on the middle finger. For example the finger tip size of gold can purchase a whole days worth of food including meat, breads, sweet cakes, juices, wines and fruits. Because this system has gotten so popular people now cast their gold or silver into little finger joint sizes. Still no one can go hungry even if they have no gold. The tribe is always cooking or feasting everyday anyway and is very hospitable to strangers.”
Bringing her around to a stall, Queen Nebulu was surprised to see a slanted eye foreigner managing a food stall. She wondered to herself how he was able to see? It was not the first time she had see pale skins but never one with those shaped eyes. Elder Tacan started to speak in an unknown tongue to the slant eyed man while he answered back in their common language. Queen Nebuli could understand and heard him say,
” I think these fried dumplings with peking sweet duck will be delicious for her.”
Nodding with each other, Elder Tacan took out a small piece of gold and paid him. Turning to Nebuli he ushered her, to her surprise, behind the food stall was a alleyway to a beautiful porch with comfortable benches and tables. Sweet smelling flowers and little mandarin trees were planted all around. When they sat, two more slanted eyes, this time two women came quickly to their table smiling. They quickly placed plates of shredded vegetables, bowls of mixed fruits and cups on their tables. Elder Tacan asked for Mulberry wine and Mango wine.
” Try the Mango wine, it’s especially delicious and aromatic without being too heavy .” The Elder said.
When the food arrived, Queen Nebuli, Feriha and the Elder were treated to a large platter of delicious and crispy duck meat. The dumplings were so delicious to Queen Nebuli that she almost forgot herself and ate the whole basket of dumplings. She kept having to order Feriha to note the taste and learn how to make the dumplings. When she tasted the crispy and succulent duck she wanted to steal the little slant eye cook for herself.
” Where are these people from? what are their tribes called?”
” They call themselves Ming people” Elder Tacan answered her, eyeing the last dumpling. Calling one of the women he said
“Mi Yue, bring more dumplings please”
Nodding her head repeatedly, Mi Yue scurried away and quickly returned with another set of hot dumplings. By the time everyone had eaten they were well satisfied. What could not be eaten was packed in clay basins and tied in cloth. An excited Feriha took the packed food, nodding and bowing to Mi Yue to mimick the woman’s actions.
“Your surprised that even though your full, your not sleepy or feeling heavy aren’t you Queen Nebuli?” Elder Tacan asked.
“Yes Elder, how did you know?” Queen Nebuli looked up at the tall man and asked.
“İt’s one of the wonders of the Mings’ cooking techniques. They use a combination of vinegar and ginger in their sauces to ease bloatedness. The Mango wine you drank also smoothes digestion. Their dumplings are also light and airy not dense or heavy. And of course they always start you off with warm broth to waken the stomach.” The Elder explained.
” İ suggest we finish off the afternoon with you and Feriha getting some clothing made. You can pick your styles, materials and embroidery and much more. Since you are royalty you of course have access to our most precious materials. This is the Chieftess’ gift to you.” Elder Tacan said smoothly.
” Your certainly a wonderful host Elder Tacan, i would love that, İ thank the Mwebele Chieftess.” Queen Nebulu replied.
Following the Elder down bustling streets of fabrics and people trying on clothing, others pouring over patterns and drawings, the Elder brought her to a lavish looking Pavillion with a magnificent looking building. When they went inside she was greeted by two women beautifully dressed in yellow silk. The sleeves of their dress was particularly appealing as it was a contrasting green colour with images printed on the shoulders. İt was then adorned with yellow flowers made out of puffy fabric and brightened with shiny clear crystals. Queen Nebuli tried her best to contain her surprise at the two women. ” How could they be so beautifully dressed?” There outfits were almost comparable to hers not to mention she had never seen sleeves like that before, she thought in her head.
İt dawned on her again just how extravagant this kingdom was, how varied and wealthy it’s people. She made up her mind to not leave out of there without a completely new wardrobe with all the latest designs. After Elder Tacan had made the introductions and explanations he left the women to get at it. Excusing himself he went to greet old friends. Knowing a lot about most women, he gave the ladies as much time as possible and didn’t return till the late evening.
He returned to see a smiling and bossy Queen Nebuli insisting on wanting this and that fabric, mixed with this style. Clearing his throat, he greeted the women and promised that they would return tomorrow to see more. Feriha also quickly reminded Queen Nebuli that she was to have dinner with her cousin.
By the time Queen Nebuli had returned to her guest compound and refreshed herself for the evening, her cousin Acidah had arrived.
Remembering the business at hand, Nebuli quickly greeted her cousin.
” Acidah, you never told me about the clothing system and styles over here! “
” What? The great Queen of the family is impressed by Mwebele’s clothing?” Acidah scorned
Rolling her eyes, Nebuli replied,
” Don’t remind me why we can’t get along for more than a few minutes Acidah, with that tongue of yours i wonder how you even got a husband?”
Hitting at Acidah’s weak point, as she was not as beautiful as Nebuli and had not been the first choice of wife for her husband, Acidah acidly responded
” The same techniques i used to get my husband are the same techniques you have come breaking you neck to use to get King Zolokhan.”
” Hush! How can you just say things so glibly? What if anyone is listening?” Nebuli harshly whispered.
” You started it Nebuli, besides Feriha is guarding the door.” Acidah said
” Even so let’s still keep it quiet!” Nebuli said and leaned forward in her chair. Putting down her tea cup, Acidah leaned forward and said
” Remember I’m taking a big risk for you Nebuli, the crime of witchcraft is to have your hands and tongue cut off and be exiled from the tribe. Much less any witchcraft directed against the Chieftess would mean instant extinction of my whole family.” Acidah whispered fiercely.
” When haven’t i ever paid you off for your risks, if anything happens your family can flee to Kezmizi, plus i have paid large sums of treasures and gifts to you all in the name of family love.” Nebuli whispered back.
” İ have already befriended that bitch’s mother Magoba for you and incited her against the chieftess, i’ve given you the aphrodisiac to give to the young king but still you want more!” Acidah shot back.
” İ still need to give Katya a bad reputation, which is why I want you and your friends to spread infertility leaves in their water. When no more children are being born then everyone will start to question their chieftess.” Queen Nebuli explained her plan
” Are you mad! That’s the same crime the Mabutu tribe committed against Mwebele almost a hundred years ago which led to the great fights between tribes.” Acidah hissed.
” Exactly, it was so long ago and so bold that no one would suspect it would happen again.” Queen Nebuli argued.
” You are mad!” Acidah said leaning back in her seat, shooting Nebuli nervous looks of discontent.
” Why the hesitation Acidah, you hate her too. You hate every Queen don’t you?” Nebuli mocked.
Looking at her bitterly, Acidah replied
” Your right Nebuli, i hate all of you favored bitches. İ hate your beauty, i hate your respect, i hate your adoration, oh but i remember now, it’s not like your adored in Kezmizi. That adoration was for the sweet Queen Lovela wasn’t it. King Titan really adored Lovela.” Acidah laughed, the two women so used to spitting venom at each other that they knew each other’s weak points.
” However you want to see it Acidah, only i know your secrets and you know mine. We are in this together even if we hate each other. At least we are honest where that is concerned.” Queen Nebuli sneered.
” For something this big it’s going to cost you Nebuli. I’m talking relocation out of this tribe and it has to be enough to convince my husband too.” Acidah said.
” You should know best that Petrah loves the coast, as long as I give you a lavish home and enough means to live out you lives there, I’m sure your darling fool of a husband will be happy.” Queen Nebuli said.
” Don’t call his name out of your mouth.” Acidah replied.
” Darling Acidah, I’m sure if I just called his name out of my mouth in front of him, that would be more than enough to convince my old flame.” Queen Nebuli said smugly.
” Don’t try me Nebuli.” Acidah responded.
” Don’t try me Acidah, i know you love Petrah, I’m sure you wouldn’t want him to know just how wicked you really are. Right Acidah?” There remained a charged silence between the two women.
” Anyway, let old bones rest. Everytime we meet we say the same things. Just get your women together to be ready to spread gossip and rumours when the time is right. İ never thought the Mwebele Chieftess would be so bold as to discipline and cut off her own mother. I’m sure that mother is bitter. Perhaps we can still use her in the future.” Queen Nebuli said.
Nodding at her instructions, Acidah replied
” She is fully under our control, whatever we tell her she believes…the fool. We even brought her in on the witchcraft. Let me see if the Chieftess can sentence her own mother to death for witchcraft.” Acidah said
Laughing at her cousin’s craftiness,
” My, my Acidah you have already found your scapegoat should anything go amiss. That’s the cousin i know, always a few steps ahead.” Queen Nebuli said slyly giving her cousin a wink. The two broke out laughing, their evil laughter filling the room, their true face revealed to each other.
What a fun day it had been! Everyone had enjoyed the goat catching at Katya’s birthday party. Two thousand goats were released and everyone had to lasso and tie their goats in teams of two. Katya had made it deliberately difficult by making the grounds muddy and slippery. The participants were constantly being sprayed with…Read MoreRead More