The Quest 1

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Made to seek the source of a disaster a group of forest dwellers confront life in the open savana and make a choice that changed a tribes history for ever

Submitted: November 12, 2008

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Submitted: November 12, 2008

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T
he grass spreads across the horizon, rising vertically into the noon sky as far as a keen eye could follow. Though we are tired, our sights have not failed us to the extent of dimming the view before us to make us miss the beauty of the unfolding scene, even though short of breath from our hard uphill race, we still managed to gasp at the magnitude of it all.
Across the great river-that had lived long in our fables, whose source it is our quest to find-the land spreads, the gorge it had eternally carved into the red brown earth added eerily to this virgin beauty.
I turned to my mate, who was the first to promise me companionship on what would have being a lonely trail, she, a beauty in her own right, only managed to smile back, probably too winded to speak.
We stood there, me, my mate Aduni, Ado and Adin two of the chief’s youngest sons who have being my friends from early childhood and Kari, commander of the royal guards, a trustworthy friend in times of play and war. Two others, Qwemi and Ola, mates of Kari and Ado, are at the water hole setting up camp. We had stopped to rest, as was routine, two phases of the sun, prepare and eat our midday meal and stretch our weary feet. We had no idea that our long journey has already ended. That at the other side of the steep slope ahead of us was the land we sought.
Kari jokingly suggested we test our strength on the steep slope with the first helping of the fleshly killed wild boar as prize for the winner. We ran, each person at his top speed trying our very best to trip the person in front, which, I think was probably why Aduni got to the top first, for no one wants to trip a given maiden in the presence of her beau. She stood there, her back to us, staring at something ahead of her. Something about her posture lent speed to our legs, and soon, we too crested the ridge; saw and were captivated.
Though we have seen more game than we thought was possible to find at a given place since we crossed deadmans’ bog-the farthest any of our tribe had gone before, we were unprepared for the spectacle before us. Even I know that it would be hard to get people to believe what our eyes were seeing now, I find it had to believe even though it is right before my eyes. All across the grassy plain, in clusters of hundred and thousands, were animals of diverse species, some we know by sight others from descriptions in songs of fables like the long necked giraffes, zebra, antelopes and wildebeests, even those ones we know looks larger and longer limbed than the varieties of our forest home. Still there are stranger sights awaiting us for many are so strange that we could only guess at their kind by using their general appearance to classify them. If it looks like an antelope then we say it is a sort of antelope, if it looks like a boar then it is a type of boar. Aduni as usual started a game of first to see new species.
We most have stood on that ridge for a long time before Qwemi’s call drew us back to the camp. Excitement played havoc on our appetites. The food itself was gobbled down with greater haste than we used when we were still teenagers competing for one and all things, only this time no one bothered to note who eat more or faster.
Hastily, we packed camp and rushed across the silent hill as the sun played its last symphony upon her crest. Our heart lifted by much more than the food we had just eaten, expressions lay like a pleasant mask on our faces, all our suffering forgotten.
Time flew faster than it had for days and to our disappointment, darkness pervaded the land. Heeding Kari’s cautious advice we decide to sleep on the hill among the tall grasses, hidden from view but able to see far and around enough to get advance warning on any kind of danger.
It was my express desire to see our first sunrise in this virgin land, so I elected to take the much-hated last watch. It was Adin who woke me up from my pleasant slumber at what I expected would have been the second cockcrow if we had had cocks to crow in this wilderness. Rousing Aduni for company, I made my way toward the east face of our encampment. I spread my deerskin mat on the flattened grass and with Aduni’s sweet scent wafting up from my broad chest where she is nestled I began my vigil.
The first sign of dawn appeared a hundred thoughts later as a faint burgundy speck on a group of darkly wooded hills a day walk away, a promise of coming events that belied the actual coming of the sun. I shook Aduni awake as burgundy changed to a deep tan with red fringes that almost immediately gave way to the bluish yellow that fan across the hills before rising in apparent triumph to encompass the whole valley.
Their was tears in my eyes when I looked down on Aduni’s smiling face. I knew we have found the home we had sorth for long, I knew too that their will be no going back. Just last night, amongst the tall grasses, she had told me a great tale, the little one we have prayed to the lord of the clouds for so long now stirs within her.
Our mission was to find the source of the great river that carried away our ancestral homeland. We were not told to find a new home, but as I look at the faces of my companions, I see my determination etched like a carved oracle; none has the heart to go back to the deep forest and constant warring.
It is the tenth day of our arrival, Kari is getting set to return home with the news of our collective decision, and we hope he can convince more of our pairs to take the long trek to paradise. For us…the story just began


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