Katya & Zolokhan Chapter 13.Trott Bailey Family
“Katya, i think I’m having cold feet” Zolokhan confided.
” The best way to conquer your fear Zolokhan is to face it, come on trust me, just let the water take you. You won’t have to do anything else. Hold my hand, we will jump together.” Katya said encouragingly.
Without warning, Katya pulled him over the edge into the Wengua River’s swirl pool. Fear gripped his heart but then he closed his eyes and held on tightly to Katya’s hands. He felt water engulf and twist him as they plunged into its swirling force. Holding his breath, Zolokhan felt Katya squeezing his hands. He braved up and dared to open his eyes. He saw her looking back at him. Surprisingly, the twisting of the water was not as fierce as he expected, the water felt warm and they were being flushed rapidly through a large cave. Next, they were being flushed out through the opening into a small waterfall.
When they were spilled into the steady river below the waterfall, Katya indicated with her hands that they should swim upward. They were finally able to take their breaths and both emerged smiling.
“Whoo, whoo, hah!hah!” Zolokhan shouted, his body filled with adrenaline. The exhilaration from conquering something that had looked so fierce and intimidating surged through his body.
“ Let’s do it again!” Zolokhan shouted. Laughing in response to his enthusiasm, Katya shouted in agreement. They jumped and jumped again till they were tired. The two then set up camp and lit a fire. They had brought enough food for their three-day journey. After they had eaten, they laid together in their tent. Their fire kept the brisk coolness of the night at bay.
” I’m enjoying this so much Katya.” Zolokhan told her.
” Me too Zolo.” She said feeling very upbeat.
“The last time we camped like this was when we took the boat out to the little island off the coast. That time we had skipped out on Kitabi, my cousin. He was so upset that we had to take him along with us the next trip.” Zolokhan recollected.
” Those days were so much fun, so simple.” Katya said
“Everything changed when father died.” Zolokhan said.
“ Your no longer sad, are you?” Katya asked as she turned her head to look up at his face.
“ No I am not sad, he is in a better place. Instead I’m burning with conviction Katya, That my father was murdered. That it was someone very close to us.” Zolokhan said.
” İ still remember your dream. İ have thought about this matter since we split up after leaving Quanza’s Elephant Clan.“
” İ can’t get it out of my mind Katya. His death was no accident. Even if it looked like one.” Zolokhan said
“ What do you know Zolokhan. Have you learnt anything new?” Katya asked.
“ Do you remember that time in the maze, when there was a clear chord tied in front of our horses? And the arrow that was tipped with poison? The Zebra that was shot with that arrow died one day later after the maze races. ” Zolokhan asked her.
Nodding her head, Zolokhan continued.
“ That type of poison is only known to come from one place. My father wasn’t the only one they wanted to kill, they wanted to kill me and possibly you as well.” Zolokhan said
” Where is the poison from?” Katya asked
” Cappadocia, not only is it from Cappadocia, but it’s very rare. İf I hadn’t saved the tip of the arrow from that day, i would have never been able to trace it.” Zolokhan said.
Pausing Katya digested all that Zolokhan had just told her. Cappadocia? Why Cappadocia? She thought.
” That conversation between your uncle and the Cappadocian that you told me about, does that have something to do with this?” Katya asked staring at his face. She watched as his face hardened, his eyes becoming the fierce emeralds she had become used to these past few years.
” Yes, I think the two lions that the Cappadocian spoke of meant my father and I. Which means my uncle Simeon was involved in my Father’s death.” Zolokhan said.
Her hand covering her mouth, Katya could not contain her shock. Her mind raced at the thought as she struggled to remain calm.
“ Why? What could your uncle have against your father? What would he gain by killing you both?” Katya spoke aloud her thoughts.
” He wanted the throne?” Katya answered her own thoughts.” Did he love your mother? He hated your father because he got your mother?” Katya kept going as understanding dawned on her.
” Not only that, though he needs no more motives, Uncle has been hiding an opium addiction which is being supplied by the Cappadocian. What kind of deal he struck with the Cappadocian and what their benefits would be from both our deaths i still do not clearly see. We have always been at peace with Cappadocia.” Zolokhan explained to Katya.
“ İn your dream that night of your father, you said he was bloody and badly injured as men with dark faces surrounded him. You said he turned to look at you straight in the eye.” Katya recited.
Nodding his head, Zolokhan interrupted softly,
“ He looked at me his eyes a mix of anger and sadness, father said, ‘ they have murdered me, my son, they have colluded and murdered me.’ İ kept having the same dream for a whole year after his death. Katya… it kindled a fire in my bones, i will find and bring his killers to justice.” Zolokhan said his voice broke in a sob.
” İ will help you Zolo. There is much more to this. To be so bold as to kill a powerful king means that the Cappadocians have more plans.” Katya deduced.
” Fortunately, they weren’t able to kill me. But my uncle is a snake lying in my home. Biding it’s time, waiting to strike.” Zolokhan said, his heart hardened. He no longer felt the pain of his Uncle Simeon’s betrayal. He was simply waiting, in time his uncle would make a mistake.
” Zolo, you know of my abilities with the animals and insects. İ can investigate your uncle if you want me to help. He will never know.” Katya suggested to Zolokhan.
“ Katya, i really would need your help in this kind of way. While in front of my tribe i cannot use your ability to talk to insects and animals as proof against my uncle, yet still we will be able to get important and private information if you were to ask them to spy. Then we can lay a trap for the killers” Zolokhan agreed, clasping her hands.
“ İ’m with you Zolokhan. Whenever your ready we can start the plan.” Said Katya
” After we are married we will invite the foreign officials from many nations. We will invite the Cappadocians. Then we can start spying using the animals and insects.” Zolokhan discussed with her.
” Yes, we will also have to choose animals with good memory and intelligence. We can place the Kaluga bird in the Cappadocian and your uncle’s quarters. İt has a strong memory. When the marriage celebrations are over it will still be able to remember everything that was said.” Katya informed him.
” That’s sounds very good, my love. What about for daily updates?” Zolokhan questioned.
” The beetle clan would be the best help. Beetles are seen as a sign of good luck. İf it’s spotted in your uncle’s or anyone’s tent it will not be easily killed as a pest. Plus they are also tough minded, it will complete the task given no matter what.” Katya said.
Nodding his head, Zolokhan suggested
” Maybe all their conversation won’t be in the tent. Let’s have some animals listening out for any words, some that can trail my Uncle”
“ For trailing, meerkats are definitely the best.” Katya said confidently.
” Could Queen Nebuli be involved as well?” Katya asked Zolokhan.
” İ can’t be sure, let’s spy on her too.” Zolokhan answered.
” Zolo, it means a lot to me that i can help you with this.” Katya said softly.
Taking her hand in his, placing his forehead against hers, he replied.
” İ will never hide anything from you again, nor do I want to be away from you anymore Katya.” Zolokhan said solemnly.
Taking a break from all of their cares and plans. The two fell asleep together, cuddled up under warm sheepskin blankets. Both slept contentedly through the night. Every now and again Zolokhan’s contented snores rung through the night. His big arms clung to Katya’s sleeping body. Both felt so contented by each other’s body touching.
When the bright morning sun began to brighten and heat up the morning, the sleeping couple began to stretch and yawn. They revived their fire and prepared to make some refreshing mint tea. While Katya quickly went about making the tea and warming up some leftover meats, Zolokhan trained his body.
When she was done preparing their light meal, Katya called out to him to come and eat.
“ I have to go Katya, I will be back in a little bit. ” Zolokhan said while grabbing his butt. The funny expression on his face indicated that it was a fast one and he needed to find a suitable bush away from camp real fast. Chuckling softly she watched him dart through the bushes and disappear. Not waiting for him, she ate her meal. By the time she had finished eating and had cleaned up their bedding, Zolokhan returned looking relieved.
” Ah, nothing like a good shit in the morning.” He said.
“ I’m very happy for you and your belly Zolo” Katya replied.
” What about you Katya? You have no fertilizer for the ground as yet?” Zolokhan asked cheekily
Rolling her eyes, thinking he had not changed in that area of loving to tease her about farting and shitting. Patting her belly she sarcastically replied,
“No Zolo, the earth will just have to wait a few more hours until I grace it with my shit.”
“I’m so hungry now.” Zolokhan’s belly rumbled at the same time.
“ Ok hungry gut, come eat your morning meal.” Katya quickly offered him the salted meats along with fried dumplings. Cutting some papayas for smooth digestion she offered him them on a small platter. She watched him eating, his appetite healthy, his skin glowing with good health. He had certainly gotten even more masculine and handsome over the years. His hair had gotten even longer. She was looking forward to being the one to braid his hair.
” Who does your hair Zolokhan?” Katya couldn’t help but asking, the thought of some young kezmizi tribe women doing his hair causing a flare of jealousy in her heart.
“ Such a seemingly simple question,” Zolokhan responded. Looking at her directly, he smiled knowingly.
“ There are a couple of servant girls that do my hair from time to time.” He replied mischievously watching her to see her reaction.
“ Oh” was all Katya said. Turning away she busied herself around the camp. When she couldn’t find anything to do she began stretching and practicing her fight moves. Zolokhan could no longer stand her silence, he quickly finished his meal and went to her.
” My mother was the one who would do my hair, when she died I learned how to do my own hair. I have never let any woman do my hair since her. I’m looking forward to you doing my hair Katya.” He said while embracing her from behind.
Turning her head to look back at him, she slapped his arm and said,
” Why must you always tease me like that?” She exclaimed.
” Me being able to tease you shows you that I understand you a great deal” Zolokhan replied squeezing her in a tight hug.
Turning her around, he faced her and said,
” No matter what you have heard about Kezmizi men having a tradition of many wives and concubines, it is not so for you and me and it will never be so. Not just because of the agreement between our tribes but more so because that is not my heart’s desire. Ever since growing up, I have only ever wanted to love one woman and have her love me in return. I don’t think like the other men in my tribe. Also, my love, if this is a weakness or a doubt in your mind, women in my tribe, evil women like Nebuli will try to use this against you to make you jealous and suspicious.” Zolokhan calmly advised her.
Nodding her head, she swallowed his advice. Her heart warmed by his sincerity. She clearly knew the type of man he was and that she trusted him. There and then she decided that even if there was a mountain of evidence against him, she would trust him to tell his side of the story.
“Let’s go back to your tribe and perform our marriage ceremony Katya.” Zolokhan said his tone now serious.
Smiling, she said
“Yes Zolo, let’s go.”
The marriage ceremony of Katya and Zolokhan took place three days later as the tribes were caught by surprise. Excitement flowed through the Mwebele tribe, the old Chieftess Dedoka and other Elders officiated the ceremony. There were also noble elders from the Kezmizi tribe who Zolokhan had previously made his intentions known to and had trusted to keep it private.
They had waited until Queen Nebuli had returned to Kezmizi before announcing the set date to the Mwebele tribe. All hands were on deck to prepare the first wedding dress of a Mwebele Chieftess. The ceremony was intimate, with only the Mwebele tribes people, Zolokhan’s cousin and the elders from each tribe in attendance. Zolokhan and Katya spent a few more days after their wedding discussing matters with the Elders.
It was then that they told them of their decision to create a new territory to combine the Mwebele and Kezmizi tribe governance. The couple also decided to be the sole decision makers for their new territory. They would continue to have the Elders advise and elect young leaders to run their existing territories. However for everything that was created or done as husband and wife they only needed their agreement to do as they wished. All military power would also be shifted to Katya and Zolokhan’s new territory, thereby reducing his Uncle Simeon’s influence over the Kezmizi army.
When talks were over, Zolokhan took his wife Katya miles into their extensive territories of fertile land. They spent months touring the land and she was able to see just how much he had gotten done in the past two years. The fact that he had accomplished so much while keeping it a secret impressed Katya very much. She couldn’t help questioning him.
” Well my wise wife I learned a lot from you, plus I wouldn’t have been able to get it all done without some secret help from the craftsmen in your tribe. They swore to secrecy and worked hard to please their Chieftess.”
“How did you get the roads built so far in?” Katya questioned.
“ Rhinos…Do you remember all those rhinos from the festivities? They were great at cutting the roads and carrying the loads.” Zolokhan explained.
“ How did you get the white tiger cubs?“Katya asked him
” I had to go to the far east, the white colour tiger is very rare. I got them from the slant-eyed people.” Zolokhan answered.
“ They will make excellent guard animals. They are so big already. I’m excited about training them. It’s good to build friendship with them from this age.” Katya chirped.
” Zolo I have never seen those purple-skinned fruits before, what are they?” Katya asked looking across to some nearby trees filled with round purple fruit.
” In the east, they call them purple bulb or star apples in other parts. The inside is white and fleshy. It’s sweet. You must remove the centre stem before eating it.” He told her.
“ Oh ok. Let’s taste them.” She said.
” They will be fit in another month, my love. Let’s go pick some lychees and figs for today. We have been camping all over our territory for months, it’s time for you to see our home.” Zolokhan said
Stopping their chariot to pick their fruits, the happy couple basked in their happiness. Katya had been asking hundreds of questions about the house for weeks. Zolokhan had barely given anything away as they toured their lands.
When they had gone fishing, she asked. When he showed her the waterfalls and the hot springs on the land, she had asked. Now when they took the time to tour the fruit groves and see all their exotic animals, she asked for details about their home. Still Zolokhan was as dodgy as an aged turtle.
Zolokhan watched Katya eat the delicious lychees and whispered in her ears. Her eyes
widened out at his brazen suggestions. Who would have thought her husband had a thing for eating sweet fruit juice off of her body. She never knew she would get such a kick out of him dancing for her either.
In their nights with each other, they would create songs with their drums. Zolokhan’s voice was truly beautiful. She remembered the first time she heard him sing, it was at the last festivities. He could sing in many styles, his favorite style of music being that of the passionate arabians who would sing of their beautiful love. He had really travelled in the past four years and experienced many things. All these he told her about each night.
She remembered last night he told her of his travelling to the slant eyes and being given board by an old man called Chu in exchange for helping him deep dive to fish for oysters and clams. He spoke of their vast diet of sea creatures from spiky sea urchins, octopus, eels, sharks, sea snakes, mantarays and blowfishes. He described their love of eating seaweed for health benefits.
He told her of his travels to the rowdy Byzantines. ‘Very brave and hot-tempered set of people’ was Zolokhan’s description of them.
“They build their armour out of a metal called bronze. It’s similar to iron that I saw when I was in the east.” He told her.
Katya waş roused out of her musings by his caressing tone,
” Come on my love, let’s leave out before it gets too dark.”
With that they hopped into the chariot and made their way back to their camp. Tomorrow they would set out for their palace. Refreshing themselves after returning to their camp, their servants keeping a discreet distance from the newly married couple, they drank some delicious lychee fruit wine. Katya’s chief servant Zihana had arranged for tender ginger pork to be served coupled with a spicy sweet dipping sauce. Katya smiled at the young girl’s efforts at learning the cuisine of the slant eyes Ming people. A big serving of fried rice with eggs and vegetables was also given to the hungry couple.
Looking up at his wife, Zolokhan wiggled his eyebrows at Katya,
” Don’t let me stop you sweety, I know you have a healthy appetite, no man can outdo you.”
Rolling her eyes at his teasing,
“ It takes healthy eating to maintain this voluptuous figure.” She responded nonchalantly.
“ Mhmm any other woman would have swollen to the size of Quanza if they had your appetite, but not my Katya.”
” That’s because I believe food can do me nothing but good.” Katya responded confidently.
” And the women who swell like pumpkins the more they eat?”
“ They eat and then fret about it. I on the other hand know that it goes in one end and must come out the other.” Katya replied.
Smiling and shaking his head at her reasoning, he said,
” Ok that’s the attitude I love to hear from my wife.”
“ You really love calling me your wife don’t you.” Katya asked curiously as it dawned on her.
” Yes, I do. Makes me feel proud that your mine.”
” Ok husband, your mine too.” Katya replied softly. Smiling at her Zolokhan said
” The pork is delicious, so is the rice but I still love when you cook for me. I never forgot the Grumba nut porridge you made me when I stayed at your tribe to heal from the rock accident. Can you make me some when we go to the new house?” Zolokhan asked, his green eyes turning to those of a cute puppy.
“ I would love to.” Katya said enthusiasticly.
Throwing out more lychee wine in her cup, Zolokhan made his way around to Katya’s side of their low table. Clapping his hands, servants quickly appeared to clear their table. He instructed them to take the rest of the night off and to not disturb them for the rest of the night.
Laying his head down in her lap, he stayed silent for a while as she smoothed her hands across his face and chest.
“ You like what you see?” Zolokhan asked wiggling his eyebrows at her.
” I was wondering where you got such good looks from.” Katya quipped
” My father was a very handsome man in his own rugged kind of way” Zolokhan said in mock offense, grabbing his hand to his heart. This caused Katya to laugh.
“ yes of course he was but your something else!.” Katya replied.
” Your right, all of my so-called handsomeness comes from my mother Queen Lovela.” Zolokhan said
” And your muscular build? Most Kezmizi men are not as big as you.” Katya asked.
” My body is from God, I always wanted to be big and muscular even as a child. My father took me to the land of the Byzantines when I was six summers. I remember seeing a mighty warrior in battle that time, I never stopped asking heaven to make me even a hundred times stronger than that warrior.” Zolokhan shared.
” Will you and I go to Byzantium together?”
“ Yes my love, let’s go. I have a suggestion on how we should travel though.” Zolokhan said
“ Oh, how should we travel” Katya asked.
” If you were like any other woman I wouldn’t ask but since your my shining star Katya, I will tell you. I think we should dress up as traders and tour the land a different way than if you and I were to go as rulers.” Zolokhan said enthusiastically. He smiled his most charming smile for extra persuasion.
“ I think it’s a great idea. A married couple plying their trade won’t stir up too much notice. We could befriend many people this way and learn a lot.” Katya replied excitedly.
” That’s my wife.” Zolokhan kissed her.
“How long will we travel for Zolo?” Katya asked him
” Let’s travel for another year or so until we feel like coming home.” Zolokhan replied
” What about the matter with your Uncle, aren’t you eager to bring them down.?” Katya asked him.
” Katya I’m eager to spend time with you and have children, laugh, and live. Revenge will take its course, I don’t have to force it.” Zolokhan kissed her on the cheeks and neck over and over again for a long time. He squeezed her soft but firm body close to his chest. The two feelings warm chemistry flowing between them.
” You want to play Coconut Drop with me?” Zolokhan asked her excitedly. Coconut Drop was a game where coconuts husks were filled with all manner of things like stones, sand, dirt, dried bush, coal, gold pebbles, etc. It was a deceptive game as many times a coconut could be filled with sand at the bottom but have dried trash at the top. These were then placed in front of the two opponents.
Each opponent was allowed to observe and choose ten coconuts each out of a large selection of coconuts. The ten coconuts chosen by one player was given to the other player. The opponents were not allowed to touch or hold the coconuts.
Each opponent was given a neutral helper who would place the ten coconuts in a line. Once both players had selected their ten coconuts for the opponent, each coconut would then be cast into clear water to see which would sink the faster. The faster of the two coconuts to sink was the winner.
This would be done ten times and whoever won more times was declared the overall winner. Hence each player when it came their time to choose, wanted to choose the lightest coconuts to give to their opponents. The lighter the coconut the harder it was for it to sink.
“ How are we going to play that game? You sent everyone away remember?” Katya reminded him.
Clapping his hands three servants appeared with filled coconuts and began placing them in the middle of their grassy camp. Then what seemed like hundred of torches were lit, brightening up the camp ten fold. The servants then brought two wide clear drums cut from crystal. The crystal drums were then filled with water. When the set up was done, excited faces of servants came to watch the couple compete.
Taking it all in, Katya marvelled at her husband who was always full of surprises. Suddenly what seemed like it would have ended in a quiet night, turned into heated bets and shouts of encouragement for Katya to take Zolokhan down. Calls for quiet, and shouts of
” Let them think”, one said
” Shhhh” , another said
” they’ve played the game before”
were uttered by onlooking servants as each began selecting coconuts for the other.
“Katya, i think I’m having cold feet” Zolokhan confided. ” The best way to conquer your fear Zolokhan is to face it, come on trust me, just let the water take you. You won’t have to do anything else. Hold my hand, we will jump together.” Katya said encouragingly. Without warning, Katya pulled him over…Read MoreRead More