Katya & Zolokhan Chapter 8.

Katya & Zolokhan Chapter 8.

Welcome everyone to these special fights. Up for grabs is the main prize of rights to the trade routes. This contest will be judged by Chief Bahoubalu  from the Byzantine kingdom, the Galu from Capadoccia Kingdom and the Epta of the Egyptian kingdom. All are prestigious men who are experts at fighting.” Czar ,the popular and longtime announcer spoke to the crowd.

We will have a total of eight fights today. Then a day of rest. The eight winners will pair off into four fights. Then another day of rest. The remaining four winners will then pair off into two fights. Then another day of rest. Finally the last two will duel it out to be declared the winner. Clear?

“Yes, yes, yeah, Yes Czar” came the shouts and nodds from the crowd.

Turning to the foreign envoys with a bow, Czar then shouted.

” Warriors  Salan from the Mabutu tribe and Dragon from the Mwebele tribe  step to the warrior’s circle.”

Cheers of excitement went up from the crowds as the fights commenced. Baskets of delicious foods, fruits and sweet treats were being served through the crowds. Meat was being roasted on giant turning spits, children were running around playing games. Young girls were admiring stalls  upon stalls filled with foreign fabrics and jewelleries carried back to the tribes by travelling merchant families. Older women walked around placing garlands around people’s necks.

Drums beat to melodic rhythms pumping up the crowds as older men broke out into vigorous dancing. All sorts of fermented wines and delicious fruit  juices flowed. This year the Kezmizi tribe had gone the extra mile of running the waters of  Wengua River into makeshift pools, allowing people to dip themselves to stay cool in the daytime.

Back at the fights, After thirty minutes of heavy fighting the Mabutu tribe’s Salan won. Waiting her turn to fight, Katya looked around. She saw young men queued up at shoe stalls to order their years supply of exotic crocodile slippers and boots dyed in different colours. These crocodiles were bred and taken care of to maintain a softer skin. Regular washing of their skins as well as killing them before they were too old was the technique used to get these exotic skins. Winter wear made of thick Zebra skins were also being sold.

Four more fights passed until Katya’s fight followed by Prince Vulcan and finally Zolokhan’s fight. Each easily defeated their opponents. When the fights were over, the Mwebele Chieftess was the talk of the evening around camp fires.

After the fights, Vulcan wanted to rest but he was invited to feast with his father and brothers. Bearing through their excessive drinking and stupid talks, Vulcan’s father and brothers were soon drunk out of their minds falling over each other. Taking the opportunity, he left them in their revelry. He went in search of Kadıja who was camped near his tent. Her mother would be asleep by now, he knew the old woman’s pattern from having watched Kadija over the years.

He found her outside her tent with her  faithful friend Fatiya. The two girls were giggling as he approached. Rising and bowing quickly to Prince Vulcan, Fatiya rushed out a quick good bye to the two and ran off.

She didn’t have to leave, i really don’t bite.” Vulcan said touching his chest in mock offense.

Chuckling Kadıja responded,
” İ use to think you would bite, your always looking so fierce. “

Taking a seat beside her, he made ready to settle in and talk.

Quickly rising she said,
Oh no you don’t, my favorite part of the festivities is walking around in the evenings. Agwepe (affectionate term for mother) is finally asleep, I’m free to do what I want.”

Pulling him up by the arm, he chuckled following her.

“Where are we going first then?” Vulcan asked.

Let’s go by the colored shell rivers. İt’s so beautiful! İt has so many bright colours, green, deep blue, reds and oranges shells. Some parts look as if it’s on fire while other parts glitter like the starriest sky. It’s especially beautiful at nights when it’s lighted up by the Iguva light fishes” She said excitedly.

Her excitement contagious he quickly got into the mood and suggested they check out the night dances afterwords. The camp grounds were well lit using thousands of  fireflies. Pathways were heavily decorated with sweet smelling flowers. All from the Kezmizi’s extensive trades with foreign lands.

Dyes of many colours were used to colour rocks and boulders into bright pinks, orange, yellows and blues which gave a cheerful feeling to the camp grounds.

Everyone’s tents were large enough to comfortably hold an extended family. Many families had several tents, as many of the kids preferred their own tents to sleepover with their friends. Meanwhile, parents would kindle romances in private.

“You fought very well as usual.” Kadıja commented.

Mhmm, i hit that Kezmizi fighter like a buffalo hitting a gazelle” Vulcan chuckled.

Ah, well you were more merciful than your usual fights” Kadija remarked

Pausing at her surprising comment, Vulcan studied her smiling expression.

“What?…What?” She asked him.

“Your happy that i was more merciful?” Vulcan asked, wondering to himself how did she even know that? he himself wasn’t aware of a difference in his fighting.

Yes i am happy, it means your less angry these days, there is hope for you” She responded cheekily.

Changing the subject, her comments evoking discomfort he asked,

“Are you ready to win the dance competition?”

Yes, I am. The girls and are looking forward to our prizes. There will be 300 heads of cattle, white crocodile skin slippers, perfumes, soft silks and hand-painted fans from the east”

“You know I can give you all those prizes and more Kadija?”

İ know Prince Vulcan but it feels nice earning it for myself too.” She said quietly

You really like these festivities held by the Kezmizi tribe don’t you?” He asked her sincerely maybe even with a bit of jealousy.

Sensing to some extent what he really meant she said,

Yes i do because it’s been so long since the Mabutu tribe has been so light-hearted, if it wasn’t for these festivities we wouldn’t know how to smile.” Kadija pouted.

Well what do you expect when their tribe takes all the success and snubs it’s nose at our people.” He vented.

İt’s not the Kezmizi tribe that prevents us from smiling, we could have nothing and still be happy. İt’s our King that causes us pain. I’m old enough and honest enough now to be able to see that.” She told him quietly.
Vulcan had no comeback, knowing first hand just how useless his father was as a leader.

“İ want the day to come when our tribe is greater than both the Kezmizi and Mwebele tribe combined.” Vulcan said passionately.

“Vulcan if you took your eyes off the other tribes you would be able to see greater that is before you. Why cap our tribe to just outdoing two other tribes?,” She asked her face growing serious.

Seeing this side of her gave him pause, but not wanting to ruin a light-hearted night he ended the conversation with,

Ok beauty, let’s take it easy for the rest of the night and continue walking around the camps.” Prince Vulcan suggested.

Ok,” grabbing his arm her mood quickly bright again he jogged along with her to the river.

Looking across at them, two of the Mabutu’s notorious gossips excitedly began chatting,

“İs that Prince Vulcan?” One asked.

” İt’s definitely him but what is he doing with that girl?” Said the other.

İ know right, looks intimate”

He never walks around with a girl at the festivities, i know i tried asking him once and so has every high born girl. He even refused Yolena, the Chief Elders daughter and the tribes greatest beauty.”

Who is she?”

” İ don’t know, I’ve never seen her at any of our girl’s gathering. She seems familiar though.”

“İ remember now! Yes it the cooks daughter. The one that dances really well.”

Let’s follow them and then report to Yolena. This is just too juicy” the vicious young girls smiled to each other excited like hyenas finding meat.

“Knowing Yolena, that arrogant bitch will throw a fit. İ can’t stand her. This will knock her down a peg.” They laughed together.

“Let’s go.” The two hissing vipers concluded their smiles wide and promising ill intent.

The next day of the festivities held by the Kezmizi tribe, was a day of rest from official competitions but many football games were being played. After drawing straws, Zolokhan and Vulcan ended up on the same team for the first time in their lives. Hearing the news many excitedly came to watch history. Many bystanders started placing bets, cheering and playfully jeering each other.

All of the Kings and foreign officials were also playing. This time Vulcan’s father and brothers were on other teams in other matches. Looking around for Kadıja, Vulcan spotted her seated in the stands with her friend Fatiya. He also saw the beautiful Mwebele Chieftess staring at Zolokhan. What was even more interesting was that Zolokhan was staring right back. Others must have noticed too because his chubby cousin, Kitabi bumped his shoulders shaking Zolokhan out of his gaze.

Huddling up for a team pep talk, Zolokhan took charge as a forward player. A competitive Vulcan interjected that he would be the lead scorer. Not wanting to fight on the field, Zolokhan conceded and told him that he would feed him the ball. Zolokhan’s cousin Kitabı rolling his eyes at Vulcan’s antics quickly rallied the other three-goal defenders.

Nudging his cousin’s shoulder, Kitabi whispered,
Look Dad’s playing on the opposite team, a great excuse to hit his ass.” then he ran into his position.

The opposing six member team took their formation, the foreign envoys from Byzantine taking lead along with Kitabi’s father, Simeon.

The Byzantine is very fast even for me and you Vulcan. We will have to tire him out and keep the defense tight.” Zolokhan said to Vulcan.


Which means that you kicking the ball ahead of me could leave room for him intercepting.” Vulcan replied.

“Yes” Zolokhan nodded.

Mhmm, quick long shots on goal rather than close run ups will be our best shot.” Vulcan strategized.

Yes, we can change up our game when he gets tired or as we need to.” Zolokhan agreed.

“Alright let’s go.” Vulcan nodded.

Meanwhile in the stands, as Kadija was watching Vulcan on the field she could hear whispers coming from behind her. Kadija could hear some girls giggling loudly behind her which was not strange, but their pointed conversations, which they clearly wanted her to overhear, was mean-spirited.

Can you believe some bitch in heat named Kadija has been throwing herself at Vulcan at nights?”

Yolena it’s just a quick thing for Vulcan. No way he would want the trash.” One said to the voice who was now Yolena.

Kadija knew who it was, everyone admired her in the tribe for being a beauty and for being the Chief Elders daughter. Kadıja could only remember that the girl was very haughty.

You know you will be the rightful Queen in no time Yolena, your so beautiful.”

” Yes, i guess Vulcan has to get it out somewhere and on someone. That’s what these girls are good for anyway.” Yolena responded.

Not responding or showing any emotions to their harrassment, Kadija continued cheering. A frustrated Fatiya looked at her, her friend ready to turn around and curse the girls. Squeezing her hands and shaking her head Kadija said no.

Changing their tactics, the voice called Yolena said softly but enough for Kadija to hear.

“Vulcan’s body is so massive, you know he also has a massive …” She stopped, her cronies giggling.

How do you even know Yolena.” Her crony asked.

A girl never tells.” She said arrogantly.

İ can’t wait till we’re married. He will be on me like a lion in heat. My father will surely get us married. That’s how it should be- equals marry equals. We are the perfect match. Our children will be so beautiful” Yolena carried on chatting haughtily.

Standing her ground Kadija showed no emotions at hearing their words. Knowing that these weakminded girls would not even be able to endure sitting in the stands, needing to be amongst their so-called elites she waited them out for their departure.

Sure enough the one Yolena said,

Come on girls, it stinks up here and the company is so rough looking.”

With that they sauntered away, heads high in the clouds and nose turned up to sniff the skies.

Finally Fatiya turned to her angrily,

How could you just take that Kadija?”
Smiling at her friend, Kadija said confidently.

Don’t get angry Fatiya, the time will come when i can get them back.”

How?” Fatiya asked.

Whenever you hear that they have the runs ( diarrhea) you will know” she whispered.

İn her mind Kadija knew it was easy. Her mother was amongst the cooks in the village. And with so much activity going on no one would think twice about her helping out in the cooking. She was even friends with the specific cook for Yolena’s camp.

We will see how much you can talk when your ass is blowing doo-doo,” she thought.

Getting back to watching the game, her heart guarded against all women like Yolena, Kadija happily watched her massive man on the field.

That Byzantine envoy is so good-looking. İ wish I could meet him.” Fatiya said sincerely.

Her interest piqued, Kadıja took in her friend. Blushing Fatiya looked away from Kadıja.
What, he really is!… probably wouldn’t go for a girl like me anyway.” She said sadly.

Kadija looked at her beautiful friend. Golden caramel skin with high cheekbones and big golden eyes looked back at her. There was no way men did not notice Fatiya. But after hearing years of how chubby she was from her mother and girls like Yolena, her confidence was shaken.

” İ will ask Vulcan to get you introduced.”

What! oh no Kadıja please don’t!” Her friend said gesturing with her hands.

Chuckling and turning back to the football game, they were just on time to see Zolokhan pass the ball to Vulcan who took a shot on goal. İt was close but it missed.

Quickly retaliating, the defender kicked a long range ball to the Byzantine, he neatly collected the ball and took of at high speed, quickly reaching the opposing defenders.

Kitabi, who the girls knew, rushed out tripping the Byzantine, but he quickly recovered, rolling over he regained the ball.

A beaten Kitabi could only turn around in time to see his other defenders beaten and  the ball hitting the back of the net. Nearing halftime, the game was very heated with the teams neck and neck after the recent goal. The crowds were roaring at the goals, bets were being made and paid out.

When the teams took a break, dancing Zebras and Elephants took the field to perform. Skillfull men flicked on top of the Elephants. Others did a handstand on their backs while the most talented did a handstand with the Elephants trunk holding them in the air.

The Zebras 🦓, danced in unison. Their hooves tapping to the drum rhythms, turning in uniformed circles and interweaving shapes. İt was very entertaining.

Meanwhile Katya stood near the field of play, once again she could hear the conversations of the animals.

Hey you, shake your rump a bit more! we’ve been practicing all year” one shouted.

We’ve been shaking our rumps so much i am even shaking it, in not only my sleep but everybody else’s sleep too” another grumpily answered.

Hey shut up! This beats being out in the grasslands watching out for lions, hyenas and Cheetahs for me” said another Zebra

You do know they may turn you into a coat right?” One Zebra interjected

They moved away making space for the Elephants so  Katya did not get to hear their response.

Soon enough the Elephants spotted Quanza.

Look it’s the pink Elephant.” One said

Should we bow?” The other asked

Not if you don’t want to mess up our formation” another replied.

İ wish I could tell Tifu that he is getting a little too fat, it’s not easy holding him up by my trunk” said a big elephant.

Oh stop whining you baby, captivity has made you soft,”

A flurry of arguments broke out between the two elephants who smoothly did their routine while quarrelling. They carried on arguing until the performance was over.

Finally the teams were back on the field.
This time Zolokhan took the lead shooter position with Vulcan feeding him the balls. This strategy proved very effective as Zolokhan was more accurate with shots on goal. Soon their team was up three goals.

İt was clear that to the two forwards, the Byzantine and Uncle Simeon from the other team were starting to tire against the two enthusiastic youths. Still they were able to score two more goals, one from a foul done by Kitabi on his father. Kitabi looked very happy and unremorseful even though it had cost the team a penalty goal.

Nearing the end of the match, the crowd on edge as to whether the other team could make a comeback, many nervous about their bets, Zolokhan broke away from a trailing Uncle Simeon. Vulcan had tackled the Byzantine to make the crucial pass to Zolokhan.

Finding the goal, Zolokhan jumped over a sweeping side tackle from his Uncle Simeon who was ready to win at all cost. Zolokhan perfectly aligned the ball and gave a strong kick towards goal which rattled the back of the net. The horns were immediately blown ending the match and loud cheers erupted from the crowds. People slapped hands and hugged. The entertaining game bringing everyone closer and building camaraderie.

The two Prince’s slapped hands in victory. Each congratulating each other on their good play. Their enmity towards each other thawing a bit. 

Looking around Zolokhan spotted Katya and made off towards her. Today she was dressed in a deep blue dress with matching sandals. Even Quanza was dressed up in a matching blue garland.

Well, how was I?” Zolokhan asked proudly.

Very good actually. İ see you and Prince Vulcan worked together. That was the most interesting part of the match.” She said.

Nodding his head, Zolokhan didn’t comment further on Vulcan.

I’m going to the showers, can we meet up by the dances tonight? He asked her.

“Ok, i would like that, you know when that drum beats this body let’s go.” She said boastfully.

Wayo, Wayo you got the Mwebele hot feet, aah?” Zolokhan smiled at her.

İ will show you.” She replied

A happy Quanza started prancing and stomping at hearing Katya, this made Zolokhan laugh.

Mhmm not only you but Quanza too.” He said.

Ok though, it’s bathing time for someone,” she said wrinkling her nose.

ah don’t make a face, that’s good sweat, should i give you a hug?” He said making to reach for her. Ducking in time she escaped his large sweaty arms. Whistling to Quanza and skipping backwards she stuck out her tongue and said,
See you tonight at the dances smelly Prince.”

Watching her go, his heart full of excitement, he jogged off to the bathing pools. He decided he would get some of the fragrant perfume spices from his Byzantine friend Ercan to smell extra nice tonight.

Meanwhile Kadija waited around with Fatiya hoping to see Vulcan. Those girls from before were also hanging at a distance, giggling and eyeing the Prince.

Spotting Kadıja, Vulcan made his way over. What he didn’t expect was a bevy of girls gathering around him like hens, blocking his way.

Prince Vulcan will you be at the dances tonight?” One said

Can you dance with me tonight?” Said another

At the same time his twin brothers called out, rushing to him. Their game had just finished as well.

Hey Brother we heard you won” Warsax said.
So did we.” Darjan interjected.

Turning to the girls, the twins began to flirt and the girls flirted right back. Using their preoccupation with each other, the Prince slipped away from their group to trail Kadija.

She had turned away and began moving with the crowds. He called out to her as he weaved his way through cliques of people.

“Kadija, Kadija.

Stopping and turning Kadıja motioned to Fatiya to stay close.

Where are you going?”
Fatiya wanted to pee, we couldn’t wait” she lied.

“Judging from Fatiya’s miffed facial expression she is making it up”, Vulcan thought to himself. “Mhmm, she is jealous maybe? peeved at those other girls?” he thought quickly in his mind.

İ will meet up with you later by your tent.” He told her.

Fatiya and i are going to the dances later I’m not sure we can wait. And I’m sure you will have your own company” She said not looking at him.

As he was about to smooth things over, the Byzantine named Ercan who had played in the football game came over slapping him on his back.

Vulcan excellent game, hello beauties” he said charmingly looking at Fatiya

What is your name?” Ercan the Byzantine asked Fatiya looking directly into her eyes.

Fatiya” Fatiya said sweetly.

“Fatiya means years of happiness in Byzantine, it’s a prosperous name” Ercan said.

Will you two be at the dances tonight, i will be by the oriental tents. Maybe I can see you there beautiful woman” Ercan asked looking at Fatiya again.

Nodding Fatiya said, “Yes” with a big smile.
Returning the big smile he said his goodbyes and excused himself.

A beaming Fatiya was left in a daze, her day taking a great turn. Fatiya was too busy daydreaming about Ercan to notice the buzzing tension  between the two lovebirds, Kadija and Vulcan, beside her.

” İ will explain everything later Kadija,” Vulcan said calmly. With that he turned and left.

Squealing in excitement, Fatiya grabbed her hand pulling her towards the female bath pools.
Let’s get real pretty tonight Kadıja. Don’t worry about anything I will get all the jewelry and dresses we need.”

After sunset, many young people were pairing up and making their way to the night dances. With the dance competitions coming up after the fights, lots of dance groups were showing off their skills at the night dances. The Mwebele people especially loved all things music and dancing. They were the life of the party with their exciting beats and melodic singing.

Hips swaying from side to side, girls formed circles around each other. One person or pair would enter the circle to display their unique dance moves. Those forming the circle would then copy the movement. The boys would form their own circle and do the same. A special juice mix, made up of fermented mulberries and naseberries, sweetened with honey was distributed through the crowds. This went well with roasted breadfruits and salted fish. Fried ripe plantains and fried green plantains were popular snacks being served as well.  The older men and women indulged in hot chocolate tea made from beaten dried cocoa seeds. They would also sit around the fires roasting sweet potatoes and yam.

The energy and fun spirit could be felt all around the brightly lit campgrounds. Everyone basking in an abundance of food and drink. The dances lasted well into the early mornings. The village dogs happy and well-fed during this month’s celebration. Many marriages were arranged at this meetup between tribes as well. Families making the necessary exchanges to confirm the engagement. Many young couples were happy for having chosen the ones they love.

Oh come on Kadija don’t be silly! İt’s not like he even likes them.” Fatiya told her still sulking friend.

” İt’s not like he pushed them off either.” She said jealously.

This is not the attitude to have my friend.”
Fatiya counselled.

Fatiya tugged and twisted her curly hair. She looked especially beautiful in her green dress she thought to herself. Her hair was intricately pinned up and braided at the front. Small flowers adorned her hair. She wore gold bangles and anklets on her shiny limbs. She cinched in the waist of her dress with a golden belt inlaid with large yellow and green diamonds. The clasp of the belt was adorned with two large pink pearls. Her father had it made especially for her as he doted on her the most out of all of his children.

Kadija had chosen a long yellow dress which was intricately embroidered with leaf designs. İt was once Fatiya’s and with slight alterations, she had gotten it to fit Kadija like a glove. Assuring Kadija that she had never worn it before, Fatiya had wholeheartedly given her dress to her friend. Taking out golden earrings carved out in the shapes of snakes and inlaid with pearls from her jewelry box, Fatiya handed them to her friend.

These will go great with that dress Kadıja.” Fatiya told Kadija.

The two girls wore the same size shoes. Fatiya went into her chest and pulled out green sandals to go with her outfit and yellow silk slippers with embroidered green birds for Kadıja. Tugging at Kadija’s thick hair, Fatiya wondered what to do with it. Finally, she made a large bun at the front, leaving the back out. She then inserted two long golden pins into the bun forming an x shape.

So the girls continued to prepare for the night. Both really excited to see their love. Kadija spied her friends face in the mirror smiling. Kadija understood how Fatiya felt and was excited that her friend had gotten to meet Ercan, Ercan was clearly interested in Fatiya.

those Byzantines were smoother than butter.” Kadija thought to herself

Back at the Kezmizi camps an angry Queen Nebuli went to her husband, King Titan.

Bowing in his presence, she quickly ranted

You haven’t even checked in on me since I was stung by the wasps.” Her face was still swollen and she had covered her head and face with a scarf.

Wife, why did you trouble yourself to come to visit me in your state. Knowing the type of woman you are İ thought you wouldn’t want me to see you until your better.” King Titan said calmly.

İ know but still a few talks around the camps about how loving and nurturing you are towards me wouldn’t hurt.” She said stiffly.

Ohhhh, yes your image.” nodding the King understood.

Well how about this, after Zolokhan’s fights i will come by in about a weeks time.” King Titan said.

Now leave me for a bit i have matters to discuss with my Egyptian guests.” He commanded his tone brooking no arguments.

Turning huffily, Queen Nebuli quietly went back to her tent.

Calling a servant to invite his son Zolokhan over, to the King secretly chuckled at the Queen. He was happy she was indisposed for most of the festivities.

When his son arrived he warmly hugged him. His son had certainly grown, looking so solid at Fifteen summers.

Your mothe is very happy seeing you grow like this.” King Titan said to his son

You always talk as though mother is here father.”

Mother hasn’t gone far Zolo, just her spirit left her body. But she knows what is happening with us here.” His father said matter of factly.

when I’m gone don’t go mourning too much for me because I am not far away either and i will still be able to see you.”

Scoffing, looking at his vigorous and energetic father Zolokhan said,

Don’t talk of such things dad, your healthier than a newborn buffalo and stronger than a rhino. Nothing can harm my father!”

Smiling at his son’s sincerity, the king and him talked for a long while.

İ heard you and Prince Vulcan played well together today. İt is good. He is much better than his father King Xanoz.”

Yes he is almost my equal” Zolokhan said
Bursting out in laughter, King Titan slapped  his son heartily on his back,

That’s my son, that’s the attitude… a real king! Your always the best! Always the head, a king above all kings.”

Chuckling together his father asked him,
When do you think the young chieftess will set the time of your marriage?”

Answering Zolokhan said
Knowing Katya she will want to be free and carefree for as long as possible.”

Ah the young…. marriage is not the end of youth you know. You two do not have to turn out like me and your mother. When I became King, i became too serious. Your mother, she would faithfully wait up for me at nights, waiting for me to return from long meetings with the Elders. That time i was keen on trading and building relations with foreign kingdoms. İ travelled alot, never taking your mother with me. İ married Nebuli at the compulsion and advice of the Elders saying we needed an heir. Your mother wasn’t pregnant with you then. How could she be, i was always gone! This broke her heart- my marriage to Nebuli. Of course she never complained, sweet Lovela. Finally she had you, she was so happy. She never left your side, she would sleep beside you every night. How she became sick a few years after, i still wonder.” King Titan concluded.

Zolokhan remained quiet. İt was rare for his father to open up like this.

” Son never leave your wife when you travel, you two must always be together. This is your promise to her. To be her other half and she yours. İ know you will be different from me. Your future wife is certainly a different breed of woman!” His father ended good naturedly his mood picking up.

Smiling at his father Zolokhan said,

The topic of my future wife makes you very happy doesn’t it father?

“Yes, it’s a great match. Even the blind can see. You two are no normal couple. You will do great things. Always stay united with your wife, hide nothing from her.” His father said, patting him on the shoulders.

“Father, what about you and Queen Nebuli now?”

Sighing, he said
she is the boulder i must carry for the rest of my life. This is the result of my foolish decision. İ don’t think I have to say much more, you must have discerned her nature?”

You are the King, you can put her away if you want to.” Zolokhan said.

İt’s not that easy son, her family is generations deep in the army and Elders council. İ have to find a good reason to. So far she has been very slick in hiding her infidelities.”

Shocked at his father’s profession, Zolokhan was surprised that he knew.

Do i look like a fool?” King Titan said seriously.

İ don’t even sleep with her, she takes medicines to ensure no unexplainable pregnancies.” The King calmly stated.

Don’t worry son I will definitely deal with her when the time comes.” King Titan said in a deadly tone.

The two remained quiet for awhile. Finally the king said,

Come, Come my son do not heavy up your spirit with our talk of Nebuli. İ am meeting with the Egyptians tonight to talk about exchanging knowledge and people. Go out and have fun tonight. I’m sure your young Chieftess is happily waiting for you.

Encouraging his son and teasing him, he sent him off to the night dances. King Titan promised to join them later.

Mwebele camp:

Aren’t you coming with me tonight, Quanza” Katya asked her Elephant friend.

Raising his trunk, he waved it side to side, slumping down on the floor.

” Young Chieftess” a young servant girl called softly at her tent door.
Looking out at the girl, the servant bowed and delivered her message,

” Prince Zolokhan is waiting in the flower gardens and asks that you meet him there.”
She finished with a bow.

Nodding at the girl, She rushed to put on her shoes. Giving Quanza a big hug, she left to go find Zolokhan. Excited that they could spend time together, Katya had been ready for two hours now.

The night air was very balmy. The cool breeze blew on her warm skin. Seeing Zolokhan standing in the flower gardens, he was dressed in an open indigo kurta(silk shirt) with matching coloured baggy pants, he had also copied the Byzantine style by putting a matching purple turban on his head. His long hair hung braided out the back of his turban.

Sneaking up quietly, she made to grab him but instead she was grabbed and hoisted into the air. Throwing her up into the air like she weighed nothing, he ordered.

say please master Zolokhan, please let me down”

Complying, her ribs unable to take anymore she said,
Please master Zolokhan, please let me down.’

Abruptly setting her down, Katya gave him a cheeky grin. Grabbing his turban and taking off running at cheetah speed, she called out
, “See you at the dances, catch me if you can!”

Not hesitating, he ran her down but the cunning girl hid amongst the crowds, ducking and weaving through so fast. Laughing at their game he followed the trail of her bright red dress. Every now and again he could see her hands holding his turban. Changing strategies he took a less crowded path to the dances. He would run ahead of her and intercept her. Using his greater speed he ran quickly to the narrowest section of the pathway. Sure that she had not passed as yet, bending down behind a big water drum he spotted her running and looking back behind her.

Slowing down a little she kept looking behind her, taking his opportunity he stepped out in front of her. Grabbing her, she screamed in surprise. Amused passerbys looked on, everyone recognizing the two.
” You tricked me!” She accused.

You started it first Katya” he laughed revelling in his victory.

” Now can we go to the dances together?
” He asked raising his eyebrows.

Laughing too, her heartbeat still racing from their run, she nodded.

That night the two danced freely, Katya was surprised to discover that Zolokhan had a beautiful voice and could sing very well. She had never heard him sing at any of the previous festivities. Making friends with a bunch of Mwebele singers, he was invited to sing round after round of songs. Many people gathered around to hear his deep voice. Not only was his voice sweet but he could make up catchy songs on spot. The men tried beating new rhythms to test his abilities and every time he would create some catchy words to go with the rhythm. After what seemed like twenty songs, he finally begged the crowd to let him go.
Complaining some said,

” my Prince if you are hungry or thirsty we can bring food to you”

Replying to the crowds with a big grin,

There is plenty you can do for me but I want to let out di food not put in”

A massive laugh went up from the people, everyone understanding what the Prince meant. All charmed by his open answer.

Finding Katya, he said
” I’m sorry I was gone so long.”

“İ enjoyed your singing so much. The time flew by” she smiled.

Well i guess you need to visit the waste pits? She remarked.

That was the only excuse i could think of in the moment or else they would never let me go” He replied.

Come on let’s go get some drinks, my throat is thirsty.” Zolokhan said.

Meanwhile, Vulcan had already arrived at the girl’s tents. Meeting up, they went to the Byzantine tents to meet Ercan. Fatiya and Ercan quickly paired off, the two of them head to head chatting away.

Leaving Vulcan and Kadija together, Vulcan addressed the matter directly,

” İ didn’t invite those girls and as you saw i made it out of their company as fast as I could.” He told her looking at her beautiful face.

More importantly you look very outstanding tonight Tera ( term of endearment means darling/sweetheart)”

Blushing at the way he said sweetheart, her silly anger melted completely away.
Ok, let us enjoy the festivities to the fullest.” She said.

With that they had a happy night of dancing. There were crowd performers running through the crowds, some giving out gifts others teasing the crowd by throwing water on bystanders. Finally calling it a night, the three warriors needing rest for their fight the next day, said their byes to their love.

” Welcome everyone to these special fights. Up for grabs is the main prize of rights to the trade routes. This contest will be judged by Chief Bahoubalu  from the Byzantine kingdom, the Galu from Capadoccia Kingdom and the Epta of the Egyptian kingdom. All are prestigious men who are experts at fighting.” Czar ,the…Read MoreRead More

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