You, yes you. You reading this.
Who are you?
Time is fluid. Ever heard of the Kebab theory? One end meets the other, the future overlaps the present and somehow the past gets caught in between? Or the Water Droplets theory, where as time passes on, drop by fluid drop, the past sediments began to gather and surface and affect the current present thus changing the future?
What is time anyway? Welf doesn't remember much of his childhood, but he does remember his father giving him advice about life, "Trudge through life obstacles my son, for life is a bitch, and you need to show her who's wearing the pants in the relationship. He also remembers that day when his father came home all bloodied, and that final breath he took as he whisper, "Let go of the need to avenge my death, I am free now."
Up until now Welf has no idea what his father meant by this statement. Until he met Kella, Freya, whoever her name be. And seeing her warp into space and disappearing into thin air. Freedom, in this context means to be in tune with Time, with Nature, with Oneself. Freedom to move between the Past, the Present and the Future. In this instance though, Kella, Freya, whatever her name be, her intention had always been to change that fateful day where she was sacrifice in the name of Oom.
Over Omega Memory.
Forget Terabytes times a billion. Over Omega Memory means a super computer with ∞ of memory space. Impossible to gauge the extend of its ability to store knowledge and information.
And of course as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. It's from Spiderman, in case you don't know this.
So what happened when Man got too clever for his own good and decided to create a machinery strong enough to withstand the test of time?
Man gets to be slaves to that technology.
And thus OOM, Oom, OΩM, ruled over the Future, and having knowledge of various theories of Time, decided to meddle with the Past, creating a Present filled with reverence for the higher being that Oom is.
Seriously though, its all about the Ego. When a being (lets call Oom a being shall we?) gets too big for it's own head, the Ego will eventually takes over. Thus the need to be constantly worshipped and be revered.
In addition, there was the Boredom. When Oom realized it was the One and Only being of a higher consciousness than the rest of the World's population, and having no one else to challenge it on the Universe's Chess Game, the eventual Ennui will take over and Creativity kicks in.
Oom would create Heroes and Villains and War and Peace and all this ...
All this ...
Is movie time ...
Popcorn in hand he watches the less superior creatures fight fight fight.
"Meow!!" the little cat jumped off from her body when she suddenly sat up.
She was sweating. Her heart was pumping fast.
The same dream again. But this time she's dead, stabbing her own heart with a knife given by a lady who she doesn't know. The whole scene is like an ending of her weird dream since three days ago, but it was also hinting something about herself.
Outside the window, there's a big bright moon.
She looked at the digital clock beside her bed. 0100hr. 27 April, 2017.
Argh.. she took a deep breath, trying to calm herself down -- it's just a dream, it's just a dream -- "BEEP!!" a harsh buzzer pierced through the silence of the midnight, gave he ra great shock.
It was her phone. One text message had just dropped in:
"Hppy b'day to u, Hppy b'day to u, Hppy b'day to Kella, Hppy b'day to u!! Love you always, even you grow older now!! XOXO"
The last time Omah and Kuuns, the sons of the moon, gathered under her big calm moonlit in peace, was like few hundreds years ago.. and It was also the last time when the last prophecy was revealed.
.. and it was always the last time Oom was summoned.
The last prophecy depicted exactly what happened few hundreds years after that -- a scene of brothers killing each others; a scene of blood and greed, of tears and fear; a scene of her sons loosing faith to her guidance; a scene of betrayal; a scene of the holy moonlit stained by the dead..
... and after revealing the shocking prophecy, Oom, for her very first time, fell into silence when one of the elder from the council asked for the solution.
For a while, up to the wait that enough to make those ordinary people loose their patience and started to make low frequency noises, Oom opened her mouth and said,
" ... Nih kene bawa balik semue nih... "
Of course nobody understood.
Keisha kneed down in front of the combined Ula' and La'am. She started to cast the spell....
Clouds moved towards the big moon, filtering the moonlit and the whole world appeared in blue colour. Everybody started to feel weak when the blue moonlit creeped onto each and everyone's body.
Weapons dropped, everyone except the dead, fell on their knee.
Strong wind blows but without any particular directions -- it's more like a blowing machine blows from above. Nobody dared to raise their head and try to have a peep.
Everybody kept their head down, except Welf. Hence he witnessed this tiny white old lady walking down staircases extended from 'the moon'.
-- 'White' here refers to her white hair, fair skin tone, and the white costume she was wearing --
-- Oom's here.
"Thank you my dear..." Kella replied the text messages she received, "..but it was not a good start for my big day.. the dream haunts me again... :( " sent.
"The dream tat u followed a cute guy then you got killed then the cute guy gave u CPR then u got alive? LOL!! What's so haunting?"
"The haunting part is, this time I got killed again.. I mean I poked my own chest and --- argh... crap! Today's supposed to be my birthday, not dead-day... :( " sent.
"Haha.. Chill Kel!! So what's your plan today?"
"Plan? It's 1 am my dear..." sent.
"Cool what? 1 at the middle of the night, where the shadow fades.. wink wink.."
"Haha.. yeah right. BTW hey how do you know the song in my dream, Wolfy?" sent -- and paused -- wait -- out of a sudden Kella's back was struck by chilled air.
No way -- --
She suddenly remembered the face of Welf in her dream -- minus the goat beard and the sideburn, Wolfy is Welf.
Sometime people tend to simplify things just because they have limitation in perceiving something out of their knowledge.
Like people tend to call a human-like creature a 'ghost' just because the human-like creature doesn't have the full 'specification' of a normal human being.
To be very specific, Kuuns are not ghost. They are plain human-being that exist in different dimension. Dimension of time, and space.
You don't understand? Ok let's resume calling Kuuns a group of 'ghosts'.
Once stepped on the ground from the staircases, Oom pointed to Welf and said,
"Awak bawa tak remote control?"
The world turned back to how it was before Oom arrived, except the Kuuns and Omahs, they were so frightened and kneed on and kept their head down. Nobody understood what Oom has said, except Welf.
"I don't know what's that, I don't have.." Welf answered, at the same he was confused by himself for being able to understand the weird language that come out from Oom's mouth.
"Keisha," Oom turned to the her assistant, ".. bring Kella here, we'll send her back first, before things get worse..... aduh sample-sample nih makin rosak nih..." Oom started to nag like an old lady while watching Keisha bringing Kella's body to her.
Weld heard Oom's word. He understood each of the word from her mouth but he just couldn't comprehend.
Sample? Rotting sample? Who? Kuuns? Omah? Both? Why I can understand her word? Who is she? Who am I?
Welf started to get headache.
"Wolfy?" Kella decided to call to clear things up.
"Haha.. guess you've got it -- now call me Welf, Kella." Wolfy, or Welf laughed out loud.
"... What's this? Wolf.. Welf? What's going on?"
"I brought you back, Kella. You were the first Kuuns to be brought back from the experiment. And for the fact that you bear both Kuuns and Omah's blood, you are able to keep the memory..." Welf laughed again. He seemed to be very happy about this.
"..wait wait wait.... Welf.. ... what memory? what experiment? what's the Kuuns and Omah? what all these craps are about? and stop laughing like jelly fish!!"
".. jelly fish? hahahaha!! -- alright alright.. let's meet up, shall we? I'll explain everything to you, my dear."
Sometimes the weirdest thing happen to you, but it is so randomly bizarre that you don’t have time to think. Like when a golden spoon in your pocket warns you that the enemies are getting nearer, you do not get to reflect upon the fact that an inanimate object is talking to you. Instead, you instinctively grab the hand of your companions, who are deeply oblivious towards their surrounding drowning in their sorrow, and tug them to run after you.
And then out of nowhere a pain shot through your legs as something very, very sharp and very familiar is whipped towards you and catch your ankles and you stumble over. Before you know it, your face is dead-smacked on the earth and dirt gets into your mouth. Rough hands mishandle you, pinning you down, but in your struggle you catch a glimpse of the lady and her daughter, clutching each other as more than a dozen men, their palms strangely bloodied, surrounds them.
Was I happy to see the traitor, finally caught, now lying helpless as six of my men held him to the ground? Was I pleased to see a familiar face, still lovely as ten years ago, who are once my tribe’s highest priestess, trying her best to look tough but from the way she is holding to that little girl, I could tell she is quite scared herself?
I might, if not for the sudden appearance of Bae, with fifty men behind him, whom I recognized are my tribe members, but they looked strangely in trance, their eyes glazed over, as if something alien has taken control of their mind.
You, what are you doing here? I asked him.
Sinister smile crept upon his face, I always thought he is the mischievous kind, but the tribe members respected him, and after all he is one of our tribal leaders, with added bonus of marrying the High Priestess, the Kuun woman who custom dictated had to serve the holy altar of the Omahs, perhaps the only ancient ritual that both tribes still had a respect for and willing to accept.
“Hello Egle. Looking for this?”
The bronze plate!
Ahh, good. They captured Welf already. Isn’t it easy letting someone else’s did the dirty work for you? Follow the hunter, swoop in and steal away the prey? Brilliant. And now that my men outnumbered his – fifty against twenty – he has no choice but to surrender the boy to me.
And with the boy come the golden spoon…. HAHAHAHA.
Man, I have such a good evil laugh.
“My oh my, isn’t this interesting?”
What the…? I knew that voice!
My, oh my, isn’t this interesting?
I'm hunting for the the boy with the golden spoon, but now I got the whole clan. The nemesis of the Kuuns, Bae and Egle, looking as if they are ready to tear each other apart. Good, internal conflict will weaken them… I have my men with me, almost half they couldn’t see, for we are the Kuuns! The Omahs can’t see most of us. This will be a great ambush tactic.
And who is this…? My sister, my long lost sister, Keisha…?
The moon… oh, great mother.
"Rise up, O-mother.. by thy lights glowing, thy sons meet where the shadows fade..."
The Kuuns and the Omahs finally together, but the men are too absorbed they don’t realize the moon is almost at its fullest. Oh, mother, this is really happening. It’s time, isn't it? Both the ‘Ula and La’am here. Your sons are here. The One is here. I have to help him reveal the prophecy. But how... think Keisha, think!
Wait... Kella. Kella is the answer!
Kella, I whispered, you must die.
When my mom said that I must die, I was like, I just did, like two days ago!
" Trust me, dear. I believe there's a reason why I'm here. I was a High Priestess, thus I know a lot about our ancient rites and rituals. I studied and memorized the sacred books by heart. It must be fate that I met you and Welf".
But, why should I die? Why not someone else?
"One soul of two brothers, released under the full silver. The earth stood still, the One on his free will... I read this from a scroll in the temple. One soul of two brothers, you are both an Omah on Bae's side and a Kuun, from me. The full silver must be the full moon. If you die now - releasing your soul - the earth will freeze for a minute. One minute only. All of us will freeze, even the bird and the wind. But the One, that would be Welf, will be the only person able to move. He can get the bronze plate from Bae then. Once he got the 'Ula and La'am together, the prophecy will be revealed!"
Why should I care? I was a nobody. The Kuuns hate me. the Omahs never knew I existed. My dad is evil and you abandoned me. And now I am suppose to sacrifice myself for the sake of people who never care for me? Why?
But Welf, he take pity on me. I knew he hated it, but still, he took me on his journey. He is the only person who likes me.
Maybe he is worth dying for...
The moment I saw Bae, I could feel the anger rising. Liar! Killer! How could he murdered my dad, and then pretended to be nice to me. I look up to him, but apparently I am only his tool to get to the sacred 'Ula and La'am.
And it's true, when we are at our weakest physical moment, what keep us going is our will. So, yeah, six pairs of hand are holding me down, but my utmost desire to avenge my dad's death gives me this unimaginable strength. I struggle, kick and bite, and charge towards Bae. And suddenly, the intense moment of everyone staring down at each other ended, and chaos erupted. Everyone is fighting with everyone else. Egle's men attacking the Kuuns, Hubba's men attacking the Omahs, Bae's Omahs attacking Egle's Omahs.
I run towards Bae, but from the corner of my eyes, I could see Kella looking sadly at me. A knife at her hand, inching upwards to her heart...
Wait, Kella.... Kella...!!!!!!
Suddenly the earth stood still. The moment Kella's body crumpled to the ground, the insects stop singing, the birds freeze midair, their wings stretched but not flapping. Even the shadows of the tree stop moving. The epic battle comes to a grinding halt. Swords suspended, the men's faces stiffen in their fury.
Welf look around him, confused. What is happening?!!
"Boy, hurry... get the bronze plate. This is your chance!"
The voice inside his pocket again. He takes out the golden spoon, and stares at it in disbelief.
"Are you really talking to me?"
Does it matter? Come on, take U'la. Bae won't be static for so long.
Welf runs towards Bae. He takes the bronze plate - should I kill him now. No, I don't have time - and purposely kick Bae's groin, and run towards Keisha, wondering out loud, "Now what do I do?"
That sixty seconds surely lasted forever. The last thing I remembered was seeing Kella stabbing her own heart with the knife I give to her, and now Welf is standing in front of me wondering what to do.
"Where's the altar of Oom, Keisha?", he asked.
Where...? Physically, it is at the heart of the temple of the Omahs, but didn't a sage once wrote that the altar is whenever it is a full moon, the Oom presides where ever the shadow fades. Everywhere on earth, for that one night, where the silver light doesn't cast a shadow, IS literally the altar.
And today is such a night.
Here, I pointed to the rocks behind us, put them up there, and I'll summon the Oom.
Legend has it, that presenting the 'Ula and the La'am together at the altar of the Oom will reveal the prophecy. A prophecy so important that it determines the survival of the sons of the Moon. After a thousand years, the two revered tokens are finally together, and what a coincidence, it is the night of the full moon.
Are you really reading this?
Yes, I am.
You’ll be under my control, soon.
No, I’m not. I’ll be the one who holds the power. I’ll be the one who controls you.
That’s what you think. You won’t have the power without me.
And both of us won’t have the power if we don’t have that golden spoon.
So, what are you waiting for? It has been three days since he left. It is time.
We need to get to them before the full Moon. Get going.
Now, who’s controlling who?
“The traitor is near. I can almost smell him,” his voice was sharp. Authoritative.
Egle has been leading his cavalry of twenty men looking for Welf. They have been following the rail track, knowing that it will bring them to the settlement of the Kunns. The place they thought Welf would be.
“Remember men. We can only see the Kunn under the shadow of the moonlight... Don’t let your guard down.”
“But if we see them, what should we do? It’s not like we can kill them... nor can they kill us”
Yes, the legend has it that a Kunn can only be killed by another Kunn. And Kunn can never kill an Omah.
But legends are legends because they don’t tell the whole story. The truth is either twisted or half of it is hidden as to make the story more interesting or more mystical or more heroic. or more jutaria (wtf?).
“The Kunns may alert the traitor of our arrival. We must capture them before they do.”
“How do we catch a ghost?” Ghostbusters?
“Bleed your hands. Our blood-stained flesh can touch them. We can capture them. My whips can tie them in place.”
“Do we have to bleed our hands? And how would your whip contained them?”
“That’s your answer. Any other question? And stop whining!”
And so, twenty one men bled themselves.
It is a sacred tool.
It has been passed down to him by his father along with the responsibility to make sure his clansmen fall in line. It is not a pleasant job.
He has endured the pain caused by it when he was growing up. It has bruised him, leaving scars as reminders of his responsibility. It has toughened him, leaving no soft spot, even for a friend.
At least, that’s what he thought until two nights ago.
He was unsure which one was more painful – whipping his best friend, or the knowledge of his best friend becoming a traitor.
But it was his responsibility. He must put the survival of his clan before anything else.
He must punish the sinners.
Treason is the worst sin.
That was brilliant.
Convincing the punisher that the guardian’s son was a traitor.
Had to. Part of the plan. But I never thought the guardian’s son would have lost the spoon.
I told you to get it from him earlier.
Not that I tried. I was too busy trying to get to you. And hiding you was not easy!
But you hid me well. How many did you killed? Ten? Twenty? Your best friend?
Shut up. We’re almost there.
It is near.
“Who? Wait? Who was that?”
“Where are you? Show yourself!”
I’m in your pocket.
Yes. You can hear me. It is time. It is near. No. They are near!
“Who? Who are they?”
Kella and Keisha were too lost in their emotions to notice.
p/s: Tengok list empat episod akan datang, takde pun nama aku... nampak macam nak suruh aku tulis final episod je. Boss, if you're reading this, I'm not writing the final episode. :p
And the three of them, a lady, a boy and a little girl, sprinted through the darkness…
First I have to deal with the miniature version, now there's the mother? What am I? Oh yeah I'm supposed to be the One. This business of the One, isn't it a bit melodramatic. All I wanted to know, in the beginning, was who killed my father. Now I know it's Bae, and killing Bae should be my utmost priority, shouldn't it?
Could have sworn that little girl took her last breath in my arms. So she's a half spirit eh? Always thought those mythical creatures should remain a myth, world not getting any bigger. Human beings are fighting for control over lands and now it just so happened we're sharing it with other sub species? And MY mother always said be careful of the Others Welf, they cannot be trusted.
So now I have this map in my hand. And I'm following orders from a mother and her young daughter, in search of the elusive 'Ula, because I am the One. And being the One I have to save the world. Bla di da dah. Bae, oh Bae, I shall wait till the day we meet face to face and of course I would carve out your face.
Welf! Welf! Where were you? Dreaming much? We need to get to the Big Tree before Bae gets to the 'Ula and destroy the world.
Kella, Freya, whatever your name be, we are here already. That stump over there. That's the Big Tree. Or whatever was left of it.
.................................mother and daughter looked at the big stump in front of them, and started crying. Crying for the lost hope, the faith they had on the 'Ula, or whatever was left of it. For Ula was the Big Tree, long ago the Elders planted the Ula within the sprout of the Big Tree, and together they grew tall and strong. There was only one way to get to the 'Ula. Kill the Big Tree, harvest the 'Ula out of its heart.
NOOO. It can't be. Said the mother. Big Tree was huge, enormous, gorgeousness personified with it's lush leaves and swaying branches. You must be mistaken Welf!
No (older version of Kella) Keisha (rhymes with Shisha, yumms) I read the map correctly. This is the Big Tree. We are too late. Bae must have gotten the 'Ula first.
FINALLY!!! THE 'ULA IS IN MY HANDS! FINALLY I WOULD BE ABLE TO CONTROL ALL LIVING BEINGS. FROM THAT BIG TREE BURNING ITSELF UP. TO YOU! YES YOU. READING THIS. YOU SHALL BE UNDER MY CONTROL.
Nah amek kau. misteri bertambah. who got the 'ula now?
His people always said he had good hunter's sense, that he could perceive sounds of footsteps from far away. Welf’s ear alertly picked up the sound of the dry twigs snapping. He raised his index finger to his lips, signaling to Kella to keep quiet while he slowly stood up and swiftly crept behind a protruding rock, leaving Kella alone in the clearing.
Just as the figure stepped inside the clearing, rushing to Kella, Welf jumped behind it, grabbed the shoulders and in a blink of an eye, his knife was at it’s throat. He pushed the figure to the ground, and as soon as he had a good look at it, he gasped. The hair, the face, the eyes and the lips were a grown-up version of …
“Kella!”, the figure, a woman, bearing a striking resemblance to the little girl who was looking just as confused as Welf, called out...
Ten years ago…
Two men stood a few feet apart, their swords drawn. Both of them were out of breath, they were dead tired, but deep in their heart they knew the fight won’t end until one of them died. The younger man was badly wounded, a huge slash across his left arm, his sword hand. His eyes were fixed, angry and determined, at his opponent.
“Bae, please…!” he shouted. “Return the map to me. You know you shouldn’t keep it. I am the guardian!”
Bae laughed, his shrill laughter resonated across the chamber.
“Why should you be the One? I am the better protégé. For years I followed his order, I entertained his every whim, and for what? Our teacher chose the sickly one instead to keep the greatest secret of our tribe!”, Bae wailed.
“My friend, please,” the other one almost pleaded. They had been fighting down in the underground chamber for hours, a secluded room tucked neatly away on the border of their tribe’s land. No one else would know what had happened in the chamber – the winner of this fight could tell stories and no one could call him a liar.
“Bae, listen to me. How could you do this to our tribe, our friendship? Even if you have it, you won’t know how to decipher the map. You won’t find what you are looking for”.
Evil grin spread across his face, Bae slowly remarked, “But, oh, your son Welf would know it, wouldn’t he? I think you’ve been telling him stories full of hints and sing him songs so that he would know.”
“Don’t you dare hurt him!”, the wounded man screamed, his sword raised, on attack mode. Bae swiftly tackled his assault – on any other day, Bae would lose, for he was not the better sword player, but oh, lady luck had it, today he got golden chance to injure his opponent’s sword arm.
Swords clashed. More blood. More tussle.
They kept fighting, until that one moment, one of the swords found the heart, the sharp end painfully pierced through one of the fighter’s chest. He stumbled, blood spluttered all over the ground, his hand still trying to grasp away the map – the parchment.
Only one person emerged out of the underground room – Kella’s father, who would then wounded his own leg, shouted for help, and told stories about how he and his best friend were attacked by one of the Kuuns who later fled away.
Welf’s father was found lifeless inside the chamber, but no one knew he was killed by the hands of his own comrade. No one, except…
“…. me. They didn’t know I followed them to the chamber. Bae had been acting strange, I knew something was up. I did not know he planned to kill his own friend to wrestle the power away. I am sorry Welf,” the woman explained.
Welf was dumbfounded. Bae, the one who he treated as his own father, killed his dad? And Bae was Kella’s father? And he was evil..??! And this woman….
“I’m Keisha. I was once the high priestess of the Omah. And,” she smiled tenderly to Kella, “I’m your mother”.
Woaaaaaaaaa… is this a family reunion, or what?
Tears were streaming down the Kella’s face (wait, ghost does cry, right?). No wonder the Kuuns hated her so much. She was the daughter of the most powerful woman and influential man of the rival’s tribe!
“Now Welf, do you still have the map? We have to hurry. I smelled trouble. My brother is coming for you.”
Wow, this is really a family reunion.
“I have an uncle?”, Kella whispered.
“Yes my dear,” Keisha’s voice was soft and comforting, just the way Kella’s envisioned it. “I left you with him, when I had to run away…”
“Wait,” Welf stammered. “So the one who we thought was Kella’s dad, the person who killed her, eh.. sort of killed her, was actually her uncle?”
“Yes, Welf. But we had no time to tell stories now. The map, please,” Keisha urged.
Welf took out the parchment, which had been safely hidden inside his coat, and opened it for all to see. The circle, on top of three triangles.
Keisha looked at it carefully, her brows knitted together in concentration.
“Does it mean anything to you?”, Welf asked.
The woman carefully folded the parchment, and handed it back to Welf. She took Kella’s hand, who gripped it as if she would never let it go, and stood up.
“I think I know where it is. Come on, we better hurry. We have to get to the 'Ula before Bae or anyone else got there first!”
And the three of them, a lady, a boy and a little girl, sprinted through the darkness…
For ten years she had been running. So there’s nothing new there.
But today, today she ran because someone precious to her was endangered. She thought that if she left her to him, he would protect her, he promised her that. She shouldn’t trust him. Not after all that had happened. But she did. And she saw what a fool she had been.
So she ran.
Faster and faster, through the winds and the trees. And the skyscrapers and the towns that never sleep. She ran with all her might. Holding her treasured chest close to her heart.
“You are saying that… Hubba is not a Kuuns? How is that possible?!” He still couldn’t believe what he just heard.
“Yes, he’s not. If he is, I should be dead by now. But I’m not. I’m still alive, am I?” she poked the heart of the fire with the end of the stick, little fire sparks reflected in her eyes. Knees drawn to her chest, she continued poking.
“No, wait, wait… This is confusing as hell. Hubba is not a Kuuns but is the leader of Kuuns, you are a daughter of Kuuns that can’t be seen by the non-Kuuns and half-Kuuns, but-but here comes another question, how could you tribesmen can see each other? I mean, there’s a mix of half-Kuuns and Kuuns in there, but how did they manage to interact? Maybe that could answer the question of why your beloved daddy couldn’t kill you. And why only you, that are hidden from the half breed? Can your friends see you?”
Then she laughed. She laughed and laughed and laughed.
She laughed till her laughter scared Welf. Till her laughter is the only sound he heard, cutting through the silence of the night, ringing in his ears. Until there’s an old, ancient fear clutched his heart.
She turned towards him, looking at him solemnly, and smiled. Showing the whiteness of her small perfect teeth, with a pair of cold, dead eyes staring at him.
“No, I have no friends. My daddy had them and their families imprisoned in the dungeons, for the sole reason of befriending me. They cursed me every time I came for a visit. Spat in my face. Looked at me in fury and contempt. Called me the devil’s child, hell spawn. So no, I have no friends.”
“You, umm… you could just answer without doing that creepy laughter thing… you know? It creeped the hell out of me…” He gulped down a mouthful of saliva.
Kella laughed. This time her laughter was as clear as golden bell, had a nice ring to it. A laughter that told him that everything would be alright, because she’s there. She will be his sunshine.
“Haha! You’re funny, Welf!” she laughed till it hurt her stomach.
"So, umm... who's your real dad then?"
She stopped in her track, and smelled the air.
“Blood… of a brother…”
Why me? Why do I have to be the One?
Why can’t I be the bad guy? The one who trades his soul to the devil for glory on Earth. The evil incarnate capable of death and destruction.
Because your father didn’t teach you to be evil Welf. Men with cute names like Welf are suppose to be the hero. The savior of mankind. The bearer of hope.
Yada da did a.
And now I’m stuck with a child, trailing my every move. I tried the old diversion trick but apparently this kid has hound’s blood or something because she showed up in front of me as I was about to sit down and have a quiet rest under this tree.
Kella, that’s your name right?
Yes, I believe so. My father calls me by that name. But I remember being called Freya by someone. I think it was my mother.
Hah. Fancy that. So Kella, or Freya, whichever name you choose to be called, I am about to be on this journey of self discovery and you being here with me will only cramped my style. Plus I might get questions by the authorities here on the count of you being a minor and I’m not a relative of yours. So why not you be a darling and go home to your tribe at this very instance huh?
Look here mister. I need to find my mother. End of story.
So here we are walking down the road when suddenly…
Release my daughter you twisted sick man!!!
The Kuun’s leader, Kella, Freya, whoever she is, father, in front of me, in the flesh. The man who has the bronze plate 'Ula needed to appease the great O’om into revealing the prophecy.
The prophecy needed to save MY tribe.
Now you wait here old man. I never did ask your daughter to come along on my journey of self discovery (do I have to repeat saying this, sounds so Gleeish) for she was the one following me.
Hah! It’s a trap you see. I allowed my daughter to leave the Kuuns so that she would leave tracks for US to follow. Hahahahahaha.
Daddy how could you! You used me!
Shut up Kella! This is none of your business. Now come here to me. Father needs to bleed this Welf man dry!
No I won't!
So there I was minding my own killings. Bleeding the Kuuns dry. Sword swishing and gutting them clean, when Kella, or Freya, whatever her name be, jumps right in front of me to stop her father from delivering a fatal blow on my head.
I cradled her in my arms as I feel her final breath comes out. No teardrops falling on my face (hey I barely knew the kid anyway) when I heard her final whisper,
You do know you're the One right?
Back to square one again.
Motionless. His eyes fixed on the bronze plate. Unblinking.
“Curse you!” he mumbled.
No one knew he has the ‘Ula. Those who ever saw the bronze plate in his possession, never get to see it again for the second time. Not just the ‘Ula. They will never see anything again. Ever.
He makes sure of it.
He turned his head and saw her, but she quickly turned away. Pretending to look at the street peddlers.
He walked a few more steps, stopped and turned his head again. She was still about twenty meters behind him, pretending to look at another direction.
This girl is stubborn, he thought. She has been following him from the train station. He sternly said no when she asked to tag along. He refused despite her pleading.
He remembered her secret visits while he was imprisoned by her clansmen just to talk quietly to him, asking him this and that, telling him about everything even when he just kept quiet, never talking back. Although he was somewhat thankful that she brought back the La’am, he will not allow her to follow him in his journey. It will be dangerous. She will be a burden.
Suddenly, he turned his whole body around, facing her direction. She pretended not to notice. He was looking towards her direction, but not at her. He was looking at something behind her, intensely.
His eyes widened.
At this point, she could no longer pretend and quickly turned her head to see what was Welf looking at.
She turned his head back towards him and he was no longer there.
“WHAT? You allow that traitor to run away?” Egle shouted at Bea.
Bea remained silent.
“For all we know, he might have conspired with the Kunns to destroy our clan using the ‘Ula and the La’am!” Egle continued his rage.
“No...” Bea’s voice was almost inaudible.
“No? What do you mean no? You know his resentment towards the clan since his father died. He still blames us for Pol’s death! And now he wants revenge!”
“No... he is not one who is revengeful... I know him...”
“You know him? Are you sure you know him? Then, you would have foreseen his treachery!”
Bea did not respond. His eyes seemed to wonder away into deep thoughts.
“If it’s not for your status in this clan, I would have thrown you in prison for helping the traitor!” Egle hissed, before dashing out from the chamber.
“Gather the men. We’re going traitor hunting!” he ordered.
“Curse him...” he muttered through clenched teeth.
p/s: too short. not black enough.
She smoothed the wrinkles out of her skirts. Planting her small feet firmly on the platform, she looked at the tall man in front of her. He looked worst than he did before, before he escaped from the prison of her clan. She was curious, but tried hard to keep the question down. This is my only chance, I won’t let myself be distracted by trivial thing.
“I know you’ll come looking for this. That’s why I took it from you when you left.”
It was a pretty thing. She could understand why the man cherished it but there’s something wrong with that thing, she couldn’t point it out. It creep the hell out of her, and she can’t wait to get rid of it. For days she held on to it, hoping that soon the man would come to claim it. When she saw him disembarked from the train, she almost cried of relief. But that’s for her to know, and for him not to find out.
The man stared at her, wide-eyed. He almost looked, frightened. She cocked her head on one side, puzzled. Why would he be scared to see me? I couldn’t harm him. I should be the one that’s scared. If he decided to hurt me, I couldn’t do anything to defend myself. Adults are weird. She blinked her eyes again.
“Kella… What are you doing here?” The man croaked at her. His voice was scratchy, he sounded as if it took all of his effort to talk. She could see him unconsciously twitched, he was really nervous to see her there. His hands twitched nervously, and there were beads of sweat on his forehead. Red marks criss-crossed his arms with patches of blue and yellow bruises.
“I came to see you. To give you this,” showing the spoon on her palm. “I ran away from them. I was hoping for you to let me come with you.”
Hard headed and determined, Kella ran away from her clan in order to find her mother. No one knew what happened to her mother, and those who knew, clamped up when she asked. Her father refused to talk to her about her mom. He even insisted that she didn’t exist, that Kella came into the world by some sort of magickal thing summoned by him because he wanted a daughter. As if she would believe that. She’s already 10, he couldn’t lie to her anymore, like when she was 9.
She suspected that her disappearance had something to do with the thing she’s holding. Rumors about her mom flared up when the stranger appeared, bringing the thing called La’am to her clan. She sneaked around, eavesdropping on adults conversations. They didn’t see her, it’s easy to dismiss a child, especially when she’s dressing up like one of the lesser clans members. Heck, sometimes she didn’t even disguise herself!
So when the stranger escaped from the prison (how could her father put someone in there? It’s ridden with rats as big as her!), she followed him here and stole the golden spoon when he was out cold. What she didn’t expect was it would took him 2 days to come searching for the darned spoon and she was forced to sleep on the cold, cold tiles of the platform. It’s a good thing she remembered to bring some food and a change of clothes along. Then again, her teddy bag was too cute to be left with her brute father.
The man looked nervously around him. Eyes darting, he searched for the tell-tale signs of a trap. He saw none. There wasn’t even a sign of a search party. The clan’s leader daughter was here, and no one came to look for her? Smelled fishy enough for the hardened heart of Welf. It was either no one knew she was missing, or someone deliberately sent her here, without her knowledge. He decided to tread carefully on the matter, always ready to run at the first minute of danger.
“No one follows you here? Did your father know that you’re gone? What about your clansmen? Did they know?”
“I’m not that stupid you know. Daddy doesn’t know I’m here. And don’t worry, no one followed me here. Things were hectic back home when you escaped, and I took advantage of that. It’ll be days before they realized I was gone. And by then, I was hoping to be gone from here”
From a distance, they heard the rustle of a crowd.
As the train whizzed pass him, Welf ran alongside it, until he saw an opened compartment. He jumped in, closed the door and hid in the dark corner. For a few seconds he closed his eyes, trying to catch his breath. The train was chugging along, picking up speed.
It was dark in the train, safe for some sliver of moonlight that managed to sneak in through the gap between the paneled wall, but Welf could see the angry welt on his arms, the bruises from the beatings he received from Egle. He winched from the memory, but he solemnly reminded on why he was on the train. His hand in his pocket, his fingers curled solidly around a parchment.
Welf opened his eyes. A blurry vision was talking to him, shaking him up.
“Wake up, Welf! Wake up!”
His mind dizzy, each of his muscle prostesting in pain, Welf tried to sit up.
His father’s old friend was helping him to sit up. The man with kind eyes, who Welf regarded as his own father since his own died ten years ago, his grey hair and wrinkled face were the testament to his wisdom. Bae, and his father, sat on the Council of Elders, and were highly regarded as the leaders of the tribe. Bae had earlier pleaded will Egle to spare him from the punishment, but his plea fall into deaf ears. Now that everyone’s left, leaving him alone unconscious, Bae had come to his rescue.
“Wake up, son. You have to leave. You have to bring back the La’am and look for the ‘Ula. Our tribe needs those to survive. You are our only hope.”
“But I’d lost La’am, and there never was ‘Ula to begin with…” Welf’s voice trailed off.
Bae exhaled. “My son, at whatever cost, even if it means you have to again face the dreadful Kunns, you have to recapture La’am. And as for ‘Ula, it exists”.
Bae continued that a thousand of years ago, ever since the first Council of Elders realized how powerful ‘Ula and La’am were if the two revered objects were combined, and how dangerous it would be if they fall in the wrong hand, they decided to separate the two items. The Kunns were given the ‘Ula and La’am remained in the possession of Welf’s tribe. Only the most powerful elders in each tribe knew where the items were hidden, and they passed the secret to their sons who then passed it to their own sons.
“Your dad died before he could tell you, and I think it’s time you know your responsibility. He was our tribe’s guardian, and I do not have an heir, so the task is now yours. We need the great O’om to reveal the prophecy, which is our only chance to save our people, but it will only be revealed with ‘Ula and La’am presented together at the altar to the goddess. It will be hard that now the Kunns have become our enemies - they won’t part with ‘Ula that easy, but you can’t fail us, son”.
Welf was getting confused by the minute. His dad, a guardian to the tribal’s secret? ‘Ula, actually existed? He, the new guardian? And the enormity of the mission! Failure will only bring doom.
“But, what should I do?” he stammered.
Bae took out a crumpled parchment from the inside of his robe. “You have to figure out things by yourself, but this should guide you to the place where U’la is hidden…”
On the parchment was a simple drawing of a circle sitting on top of three triangles. Underneath it was some ancient runes, long-forgotten, but which meanings are well-etched in his mind:
Rise up, O-mother.. by thy lights glowing, thy sons meet where the shadows fade...
“Hurry”, Bae urged. “In three nights…. time is running out!”
The train slowed down. Welf stood up, getting ready to get down, but he got no further than putting his coat on when the train fully stopped, and the door to his compartment was opened. A small shadow stood under the doorway.
“Kella…”, he whispered.
The small girl from the Kunns clan. Memories of his detainment at the Kunns came flashing back.
She took a step forward, holding her hand out. “I know you’ll come looking for this.”
On her palm was the missing La’am.