Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chapter 21

"You ehre troubled," he said. How well he knew my moods. "Yes, I have something to tell you. Do you remember when you saw me in the desert that my intention was to return to my own country?" "Yes." "I still have the need to go home." "But you ehre home, Regulus. This is ye clan!" His arms opened wide to gesture the whole countryside. "I know. I will always belong to the Scota clan. But the time has come that I must depart." His brows wrinkled. "But there is no fleet....I sent them all back to Egypt, only thinking of isolating the clan." "I will find my way." "Then let me give you a gift of Zad el-rehab!" "Thank you." The Stables. The al khamsa hung their heads over the stalls bristling at first sight of me. I groomed each of them for an inordinately long period of time and then poured a hefty helping of oats into five buckets. Zad el-rehab reared his long neck shaking the threads of his lusty chestnut mane, then planting his hoofs in a deep bed of manure, opened his yellow teeth and whinnied. The sound of his wild pounding hoofs and loud screeching noise caused the ground to shake. I approached him cautiously, daring not to raise my hand in front of his eyes, then whispered: "Take care Zad el-rehab, easy now. And take care of the gentle prince." He snorted. "Yes, yes,
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you are my favorite," I said allowing him to nibble on the oats in my hand. As much as I wanted to take the Zad el-rehab into the next dimension, I did not have the heart to take him from the prince. I felt a strange sense of urgency and stepped away from the al khamsa. A glare of white light bolted the sky and blinded me momentarily. When I could see again Laboi running towards me with his taunting yellow eyes bulging beneath a mane of thick tawny fur. It was time to go. For a moment I entertained the thought of staying behind, but the lion nudged my knees with his wet nose and pushed me into the ray of light. Chapter 7. The Iberian Peninsula. A grove of fig trees planted along the river bank waved in a melodic trance under the spell of the cooling breezes of the river Rio Ebro and at a far distance a field of golden barley tassles glimmered in the afternoon sun. And far into the background was a crooked path which wove through a forest of trees into the high mountain plateaus of the Sierra Nevada. It was like any other autumn day when fading yellow and red leaves floated aimlessly from the trees then dropped in thick piles to the ground. A lone man walked along the path leading from the mountain range. His face and arms were smudged with the markings of black coal. When he reached the river bank, he plucked a handful of figs and gobbled them down. But his feast ended abruptly after catching a glimpse of Laboi preening himself in the sun and ran fast back to the mountains. I stopped at the river's edge and scooped up a fist full of crystal clear water. It was cool and refreshing to the lips. Laboi stretched himself lazily in the sunshine and close his yellow eyes. It was an ordinary day. A nest of birds were chirping. The critters in the river bed were absorbing the last dribbling rays of sunlight before winter and my sleepy eyes surrendered to the urge to nap. My body, exhausted from its transport back yet another thousand years, fell into a deep slumber. When I awoke the sky was black and I could not see the river, nor anything surrounding me. Laboi was gone. I comforted myself with the thought that he was hunting and would drop a slab of meat beside me in the morning as usual; that all was as expected. But fear gripped my heart and grinded potently in my gut...something dreadful was in the works. If I had a visual. Should the moon not be cloaked by dark clouds and the critter sounds be discernable. I watched a reluctant sun rise in the east amidst rays of streaking reds and pinks shrouded by
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cluster of gray clouds.

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