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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
The story of Yangin.

Submitted: November 19, 2016

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Submitted: November 19, 2016




O.O. Guvenc

It was cold, and she was shivering. She rested her chest against the head of the horse she was riding. It felt warmer. But her back was still cold. "Maybe the sand is warmer than the air in a desert?" she wondered. She wanted to get off her horse and touch the sand beneath her horse's shoes. But she knew she could not do that right now, or would be in trouble.

She heard about deserts before. But she never thought that a desert could actually be cold. "So, what kind of a desert is this?" she murmured to herself. People used to call her home a "desert", too. But his father told her that their homeland was not a "desert".  "No, we do not live in a desert,  Yangin!" he used to say. "It is a boz-kher. Bozkhers are full of life and spirits. Deserts are dead, and devoid of life." Thinking about her father made her sad for a moment. Teardrops started to form on her eyes, and she wiped them off before they could come down.

She could not see a lot in the middle of the night, but she did not feel as if this desert was devoid of life. She constantly heard things in the dark. Not just the sound of the horses and the camels in the caravan she was travelling in. But other things in the distant. Sounds of animals that did not resemble any other animals in the bozkher. Back at home, all the sounds in the night felt so bold and assertive. Here, in the desert, there was a constant and steady hiss, and then other sounds that hid behind the hissing. It was as if there were cowardly creatures hiding behind faded silhouettes of sand dunes, and they would execute their sinister intentions as soon as she falls asleep on her horse.

Suddenly, the caravan scout riding several horses ahead of her came to a sudden stop and quietly yelled something in his language to the rest of the travelers. Everyone stopped and started staring at the man. He had raised his hand and was gazing away from the caravan into something in the darkness. His horse was dancing left and right as he maintained his focus into the darkness for several long more seconds. As the sounds of the moving caravan ceased, it occurred to Yangin that the hissing sound was even more piercing now. It felt as if the dark entity that the scout is staring at became the source of all the hissing.

A whisper came from right behind her into her ears: "Don't be afraid, honey" her mother said. She put her arms around her daughter, and held her in a tight embrace around her chest. "It is probably nothing. Come on, close your eyes." Touch of her mother made her back finally feel warm. And she did close her eyes, and focused on this sensation instead. "It is probably nothing..." she repeated. 

But her escape into her own darkness was interrupted with the sound of a horn coming from far away. It was a low pitched and very loud sound that lasted for a very long time. Yangin wondered how someone could blow into a horn for that long. But at that moment another horn sound came from a camel right behind her horse. This one was very loud and disturbing, but it did not last that long. "Where are we, mom?" she asked. "I think this is the place," she answered. "This is where they were taking us. And now we are here." Seeing that an expression of terror formed on her daughter's face, she immediately added "It will be alright. Maybe your father is already here! And we can finally see him..."

Yangin really wanted to believe this. However, she did have a gift of sensing it quickly when adults lied to her. And adults did lie to her so often, usually with the intention of protecting her from harsh news. She was tired of this, and did not have any more patience for doubt. Her mother's voice sounded so full of hope, it was hard to tell if she was lying. No, she wasn't. She just did not know, for sure, either.

The caravan started to move forward once more, this time a little faster. A small gathering of lights appeared far ahead of them, as they took a turn around another sand dune. The lights got larger and larger as they approached, and finally revealed an entire encampment with large tents, campfires, and many many armored soldiers. The travelers behind her, who have been so quiet for the past couple of hours started whispering to each other all of a sudden. The soldiers in armors that were riding their horses with the caravan were still not talking, though. Yangin was trying to avoid looking at them. They made her think about her father, and his fate. 

The last time he had seen her father, he was fighting one of those soldiers. Then he was on the ground, with two of the same soldiers holding him down and tying his hands. That was the last image of her father she could remember. Her mother had grasped her before she could start running towards him. Then they had tied them, too. They were placed in wagons and taken away from their lands. This caravan contained only a portion of the people from her clan. She was wondering what had happened to the others. Her mother said that they were just being taken somewhere as workers. And that they would unite with the people of their tribe once they got there.., and with her father, too.

Her father was the strongest man she had ever known. He was the head of their tribe and a great leader. His name was Boomen, and he was one of the most respected Turkish clan leaders in the bozkher. When the rumors were heard that armored soldiers came to the bozkher, his father and his men got on their horses and joined the Khan to fight them. They were gone for days, and a fear surrounded the remaining women and children in their summer encampment. Finally, they were brought back in chains, walking. And that was not all of the men. But his father was back. 

The armored men gathered everyone in the camp center, and asked an interpreter to translate for him. "Courageous nomads of the bozkher" the man translated, "You were asked to accept the rule of Alexander the Great, the emperor of all the lands, and show your allegiance. But your tribe has chosen to fight a war that you cannot win, and paid this with the loss of many good men." The man in the armor got off his horse and faced the crowd that was full of chained men, scared women, and children. He continued as the interpreter translated for him: "Do not rebel any more! Your dignity will not be touched. You will not be harmed. His excellency is asking for your service and is honoring your unique skills. Follow us without any further unrest, and we will take you to your new home". 

As soon as he heard the word "new home" his father freed his hands from his chains and jumped on the armored man that was speaking. He started punching him fiercely on the ground. Then, other soldiers took him down, and tied him. And here they were, finally. She found herself whispering a silent prayer to the Sky God, the lord of all the Turks, for the well being of his father. Tears appeared on her eyes, and this time they came down before she could start wiping them off. Her mother tightened her embrace, leaned her chin on Yangin's shoulder. Yangin felt the touch of her mother's tears on her cheek, and heard her whisper "It will be alright, honey" she said, "it will be alright..." And their horse moved into the camp.

© Copyright 2019 O.O. Guvenc. All rights reserved.

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