Knome: The Forbidden Zone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 21 (v.1) - Chapter Twenty

Submitted: August 18, 2018

Reads: 40

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Submitted: August 18, 2018

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Udin (Knome)
 
 
Teric, Jasen, Kore and William had been led through a number of hallways and caverns of various sizes. They were also ushered through and number of secret passageways that were small and cramped.  It seemed like they had been walking for hours.  The deeper they penetrated into the native’s underground world, the hallways became wider and were now more decorative, they passed through grand rooms with pillars and columns which became populated by more and more natives and not just warriors, but men, females and even children.  Teric and his companions were objects of curiosity of all they passed by, especially the children.
 
Soon they were led to a cavern that was heavily guarded with more native warriors than they had seen before.  The cavern was expansive and circular with high walls and a domed ceiling.  Near the top of the dome were torches that illuminated the chamber room.  The torches were not burning with a fire, instead they consisted of long staffs tilted downward with a large stone like objects fastened to the end of each staff.  These stones glowed so brightly that it was difficult to look up at them for any length of time. The Dome had a reflective surface that refracted the light throughout the whole chamber.  The wall and surface appeared to be decorated with some type of marble that reflected the light so brilliantly that it induced a feeling of being suspended in the air, had it not been for the chairs and tables lining the walls the effect would have been debilitating.  Across from the entrance at a point free of tables and chairs, was a massive lone chair elevated on a high surface with three steps that led up to the chair. There were also a dozen chairs near the throne at the floor level, half on each side of the throne. Behind the throne on the walls were murals depicting what looked to be battles.  Various gold objects decorated the whole throne area which were brilliantly illuminated by smaller stones strategically placed so as not to be seen. No one sat on the chair, but guards stood on each side of the chair on each step, these were heavily armed with various weapons clearly seen all around their person.
 
Teric, Jasen, Kore and Wilhelm were brought before the throne as natives dressed in elaborate garb began to enter and sit at the chairs and tables around the room. The whole spectacle was so engaging that Teric and his companions had not noticed that a man came from behind the throne and stood right before them.
 
“All rise.” The man yelled as his voice echoed throughout the hall.  Those seated rose to their feet as the large entry doors were closed. “His excellency. Lord and Master of the Albians. Servant and protector of the mother. Son of the sons. May wisdom guide him. Lord Hoshushanna. Acknowledge him.” All those standing bowed low.  Teric and his companions followed suit.
 
A bright light illuminated the throne area as doors opened behind it.  Appearing on the right of the throne accompanied by a dozen or more aides, was the Lord and leader of the Albians, Hoshushanna.  He was dressed as the native warriors were but with more of a flair, nor was his attire as worn, as those of his soldiers.  He came around the throne, ascended the steps and sat on the throne as his aides occupied chairs on each side of the throne.
After a moment of silence, the aide sitting closest on his right, stood and gestured to the native warrior who had led the foreigners to the chamber.
 
“Master Doleg, what have you brought us today?” the aide asked as he began to pace in front of Teric and his companions.
 
“Icon Opotoo, counselors, Lord Hoshushanna, in the course of our usual watches, we came upon a battle on the western plains.  Flyers, in more numbers than we have ever seen before were locked in battle with these men.  We observed from the edges of the forest for some time. These men were outnumbered but we witnessed the near defeat of all of those flyers by the hands of one man.”
 
There was a low rumble of voices among the attendees as Doleg walked over and gestured toward Teric.
 
“Master Doleg,” Opotoo spoke loudly over the rumble of voices in the hall.  “This one man you say, defeated a host of heavily armed soldiers? What kind of numbers are you talking about?”
 
“I would say more than one hundred armed men.”
 
The room broke out in various reactions, some doubted, some laughed and some were curiously shocked.  Opotoo himself began to laugh as he turned toward Hoshushanna.
 
"My Lord, I have never seen such a display in my life.  He defeated them with the sword he carries on his back," Doleg confessed.
 
“My Lord, I believe your son-in-law has quite the imagination.”
 
“You forget Opotoo,” Hoshushanna spoke up as he rose from his seat.  “Doleg does not have an Imagination.”  He descended the steps as everyone in the hall began to laugh.
 
Hoshushanna, was a big man, he seemed to tower above everyone else as he paced back and forth among those standing before him.  His bushy hair and beard covered most of his face and he could have looked intimidating, but there was something about him, something in his eyes that seemed to put Teric at ease.  Hoshushanna stopped in front of Doleg, giving him a massive hug, which Doleg returned.
 
"You say he defeated a hundred armed men with nothing but the sword on his back? Hoshushanna asked low enough for only Doleg could here.
 
"Yes, my lord." Doleg replied.
 
"Tell me, why does he still have it," Hoshushanna asked.
 
"I do not believe they are a threat to us," Doleg answered.
 
"You don't," Hoshushanna step closer to his son-in-law.
 
"By the wisdom of the mother, I do not." Doleg resolutely replied.
 
"Very well," Hoshushanna stepped away from Doleg and stood in front of Teric.
 
“What do people call you?” 
 
“I am Teric, Teric Highlord.”
 
“Oh, Highlord, “Hoshushanna exaggerated with expansive gestures eliciting laughter from the attendees.
 
“No, no,” Teric called out, seeing the mistake. “It’s not a title, it’s my name.”
 
“I am honored to meet you, Highlord Teric,” Hoshushanna replied as he bowed in jest and began to burst with laughter.
 
Teric felt uncomfortable not knowing how to react.  Jason began to smile trying not to laugh himself.  Kore and Wilhelm had no response as they glanced at each other, still concerned about their safety.
 
Finally controlling himself, Hoshushanna again stood before Teric.
 
“What shall we call your companions, Highlord Teric,” he asked.
 
Teric ignored the incorrect format of his name, not wanting to spoil the fun Hoshushanna was having at his expense.
 
“This is Jasen,” Teric answered, pointing him out.  “This is Pri, um, this is Wilhelm and Koreleon.”  Wilhelm’s quick shaking of his head halted Teric’s use of his title and probably for the better. 
 
“Where do you come from?” Hoshushanna asked, looking over the four, waiting for someone to answer.
 
“We are from the United Kingdom of Akadia,” Jason spoke up.
 
Hoshushanna rubbed his beard in thought.  He turned toward his counselors as if to ask them for clarification, none of them made a move or gesture. Hoshushanna turned back toward Jasen.
 
“Akadia. Akadia. A-Ka-di-a, where is this Akadia?”
 
Teric and his companions glanced at each other, hoping someone would speak up.”
 
“It is a system of planets far from here,” Wilhelm answered.
 
There was a moment of silence and then the whole room burst out in laughter.
 
“Of course, we know where Akadia is, do you think we are backward.  Hoshushanna added still laughing.
 
Above the laughter one voice stood out, to which Hoshushanna rolled his eyes in front of Teric and the others.
 
“Sire, there is one thing that you must consider.” Opotoo interjected as he turned toward the counselors.  “It is obvious that the flyers wanted these men, bringing them here is a cause for great concern.”
 
“What would you have me do Opotoo, send them back.” Hoshushanna asked irritated. Then a sly grin came to his face.  “Would you like us to take you back?”  He asked Teric.
 
“No,” Wilhelm yelled.
 
“My lord, of course we would not take them back, however we must give thought as to what to do with these men and we must plan for any contingency as a consequence of our interfering in an incident not of our making.  We have never been the target of those off-worlders, until now.”
 
Hoshushana’s face seemed to change as he began to seriously consider his counselor's advice.
 
“You are right, Opotoo, you are right.” Hoshushanna slowly walked towards and stood in front of Doleg. 
 
“What can you tell me Doleg?”
 
“Opotoo is correct my lord, as we speak, the forest is being infiltrated with hundreds of soldiers, they are searching for entry.”
 
“We must reinforce our forces at every entry point,” Opotoo added.
 
“Yes, make that happen Doleg.  We must talk strategy over dinner, Yes? Hoshushanna seemed to ask himself. “Yes, over dinner.  First, we must tend to our guest and their wounds.”
 
With a gesture from Hoshushanna a dozen women entered the room carrying buckets and towels from an unnoticed side entrance. They marched up to Teric, Jasen, Kore and Wilhelm and began to grabbed them by the arms.
 
“Papa,” came a voice from behind the throne.  Hoshushanna turned around to face the voice and the figure it came from standing behind the throne.  Everyone stopped as Hoshushanna walked over to his daughter and brought her from behind the throne.  With her he stood before Teric and his companions.
 
“I want you to meet my daughter, Shushan. Teric, Jasen, Kore and Wilhelm bowed as did everyone else in the hall.
 
“Papa, I want to help.” Shushan asked.
 
“You may, my daughter." Hoshushanna replied, surprised by the boldness in his daughter.
 
Shushan, walked over to the group of women and one of their number gave Shushan her bucket and towel.  Shushan then walked over to Teric, took him by the arm and began to lead him away as the others began to follow.
 
Doleg watched as Shushan grabbed onto Teric, he immediately approached Hoshushanna who, with a hand, prevented Doleg from speaking.  After the women left the hall with their patients, Hoshushanna turned toward Doleg.
 
“You have orders to attend to, see that they are completed in time for the feast.”
 
“Yes sir.” Doleg replied, turned, and left the hall followed by a dozen of his warriors.
 
As Doleg left several men and women entered and stood before Hoshushanna.
 
“Prepare the communal Hall," Hoshushanna commanded the new arrivals.
 
----
 
Nervously, Shushan walked down the hallway leading the group of women and their patients.  From behind her father's throne she had been watching, curious about the strangers.  But as she watched, something happened to her that would forever change her.  The contentment she had always felt in her life was draining away from her, like water through a hole that she could not stop. Something inside of her was compelling her as if she no longer had a choice. A longing was developing insider of her and she had to remain there, behind the throne, she could not leave, even if she wanted to, and she didn’t want to leave.  It was a strange feeling, she felt irresistibly drawn to this stranger and yet in her mind it felt absurd. She didn’t know him; besides, he was a foreigner, he may even be an enemy.  But when he spoke, her mind was convinced.  Her whole consciousness was now involved and in agreement with her racing heart.  She wanted to turn away, to leave, because if she remained there, if she continued to stare at him, she would be forced by her own heart, by her will, to make a decision, a decision that she sensed would not end well. Somehow, she knew that it would end in complete joy or utter sadness, she felt it, as sure as the pounding she felt resonating inside of her.
 
 
She watched as the women entered the hall and when one of their number stood by Teric, she was compelled to make a decision.  “Papa.”  She didn’t even realize that she spoke out until her father turned towards her.  And so, the die was cast, the decision was made, she took a step, a step embarking toward an unknow horizon.
 
When Shushan took his arm, Teric sensed something about her, something as sure as the fragrance she gave off, a fragrance as pleasing to him, as she was, to him.  He watched her as they walked down the hallway.
 
Normally Teric would not allow himself to feel anything for a woman.  It was a part of his life that he kept well-guarded, he had to.  Still there had been occasions, situations fewer than he could count on one hand where he had indulged, momentarily in the idea of love.  But only once in his life had he come close to expressing his feelings to a female.  It was during his time with the Khannakhans.  He was just a boy then, he couldn’t even remember his age since, for the most part he had tried to forget those years.  However, as Shushan led him, her hand in his, his thoughts were racing, trying to calculate the situation, looking for a resolution to the feelings growing inside of him.  He didn’t even remember the girl’s name, only that he liked her, and that she liked him, and, how pleasant those feelings were. He had held her hand once, and then, never again.  What Shushan was doing, felt like that, except, it felt many times more potent.  His hands began to perspire, or were those her hands, he wondered.  He felt he needed to do something but, he did not know what to do.
 
Shushan stopped at an entrance and gestured for Teric to enter.  He was relived because she finally let go of his hand.  He wiped his hands on his clothing as a burst of that fragrance enveloped him.  As Jasen, Kore and Wilhelm entered the room along with the women, they were all helped on to benches that were orderly placed in the room.  The women began to ask them to remove their clothing which elicited a few blank stares.  They were all reluctant as they looked at one another trying to ascertain what to do.
 
Shushan stood before Teric, but she had not asked him to remove his clothing.  She examined his arm, noticing the armor that seemed fused to his skin.  She looked at him, bewildered, and then she took the towel from the bucket and began to wipe his arm.  She carefully wiped every part of his arm, letting the healing liquid settle into every part. 
 
Kore was still fighting the women who were trying to undress him.  Jasen was cooperating as was Wilhelm.  Once Wilhelm’s shirt was removed many of the women gasped and several of them left Kore to assist with Wilhelm.  They lowered him on to the bench and began to tenderly wipe him down.
 
Teric’s session was slow, without a word Shushan wiped down his other arm, looking into his eyes often.  The situation was becoming too much for Teric to bear.  As she walked around him or stood in front of him, he could think of nothing else except grabbing her by her waist.  He became more nervous and uncomfortable the longer this torture went on.  As Shushan began to remove his clothing a woman entered the room and express shocked at seeing Shushan.
 
“Shushan!” the woman yelled.
 
Startled, Shushan handed Teric the towel, and quickly walked over to her friend.  Teric watched the two women as they seemed to be discussing him.  The friend called to one of the nursing women and the woman walked over to Teric and began to care for him.  Shushan and her friend left the room still in animated conversation.
 
Teric felt a measure of relief and regret as Shushan left the room.  He laid down as the nurse continued to care for him. As the tension he felt gradually began to drain from his body, he began to drift off into a deep sleep.


© Copyright 2019 James Washington. All rights reserved.

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