The Chief Pt. 02 Ch. 08byamicus©
When Sahjeed awoke, it was to the smell of cooking and the occasional voice of his mother and the girl. They stilled as he ate and bid him, ‘take care’, as he left.
Duulaat was waiting, “The rains we spoke of several suns ago did not arrive.”
Sahjeed looked at his First Guard, “No they did not, we were both wrong. You never speak of small things, First Guard; something troubles you?”
Duulaat frowned, “There has been no word from the men sent to the fat Chief’s village, I gave them instructions to send a runner back with news. They have not. I sent a runner and a scout last sun to find them. I have had a bad feeling about this from the beginning.”
“I have had no thoughts of this my friend, my mother…. You are right to be concerned; enough suns have passed that they should have returned. What could have happened.”
“I do not know, my Chief, I hope the runner returns quickly with news. Ah, did something happen at your lodge? Rahseeta was in a mood such as I have never seen. She threw things!”
Sahjeed explained what had happened with the girl.
“But why would that make her so angry? She spends most of each sun at the Trader’s lodge; she has little time to care for your mother. I do not understand women at all!”
Sahjeed Deeda turned away and did not smile, “All the ladies of the Guards had expected to care for my mother. She asked for the girl, I did as she asked.”
“I am sorry I spoke of a personal matter, my Chief. Do we walk the usual way?”
“You have never asked that before, either, Duulaat, is there something more you would say?”
Duulaat looked chagrined, “Since the meeting of the Chiefs, more people come each sun. We make hide houses for them and try to provide, but what we have may not be enough. We organize hunters and those who gather food. I would see to my men, my Chief.”
“We will go together, First Guard.”
Duulaat beamed with pride as they came upon a well-organized camp of cooking fires and shelters and people busy at many different tasks. Guards came up to him and reported and hurried away. Sahjeed Deeda stood back and watched.
When the reports were done and no more came toward them, he laid a hand on Duulaat’s shoulder, “It seems they do well without you looking over their shoulders as you do when I am not pointing my finger. They are well trained, First Guard, you have done your job well.”
“It is a strange feeling, my Chief. My orders set this in motion, but they no longer need me. What am I to do next?” Duulaat looked truly lost as he spoke.
Sahjeed Deeda laughed, “It is not the last time you will have this feeling, my friend. Come let us find some more problems to trouble your worthy Guards.”
The new trouble waited until the next day about mid morning when the runner and the scout returned from Chief Suulamaag’s village. Duulaat sought out Sahjeed during the mid-day meal at the Chief’s lodge.
Sahjeed insisted that Duulaat slow his thoughts and his heart, sit and share the table with him. The First Guard clenched his teeth, then sighed and sat down. The girl brought him a drink and a platter, smiled and went away. Duulaat smiled and thanked her.
“What is her name, what do you call her?”
Sahjeed frowned, “She hears only if you speak very close to her ear, I have not been able to find the right time to ask her. Perhaps my mother has learned, I will ask. Now, you have news?”
“The fat Chief’s village is fenced and guarded, he was not helpful, even hostile; the scout said he was not permitted to talk to the people. They did find out that our men had been there and the direction they were sent.
“The scout followed tracks for half the early sun into low hills and then into higher ground. They found tracks of many men on both sides of the group we sent. They went higher, into rocky ground and could follow the tracks no longer. Nothing was found; no one was seen.
“If the tracks were not of men from the fat Chief’s village, then there are new People from the high ground. I do not know about our men. I fear for them.”
“New People, from the high ground? In the legend of Ahjeed there was such a discovery! There is much here to think about, Duulaat, much. We must inform First Chief Beedawat. I would also speak with Chief Galawaand; some of his men went along. Would you send a runner to his village, ask him if he would join me here?”
“Yes, my Chief, ah, will we send Guards to the fat Chief’s village to look for our men?”
Sahjeed Deeda nodded at Duulaat’s foresight, “I think we must, First Guard, I think we must.”
The First Chief sent word that Sahjeed Deeda was to do what he thought best. Chief Galawaand, First Guard Duulaat and young Alahbaand heard the report from the runner on Sahjeed’s deck.
“He insisted he would begin repaying his debt to you by volunteering,” said Galawaand in answer to Sahjeed’s question.
“Too young,” smiled Sahjeed, “Too young, too little training and a new mate that would tear my arm off if I let you go. However, I am greatly impressed by your honor and your desire to serve.”
Alahbaand’s face fell as Sahjeed spoke, “But, my Chief, I have trained hard and learned fast. I fight the training fights as well as any; I am at home in the forest. I would serve you well.”
Chief Galawaand nodded, “It is as he says, Sahjeed Deeda, he is among the best because he tries so hard. He is not the youngest of my Guards. I told him I would speak for him. I have spoken.”
“I will think on this because you speak, Galawaand,” he turned to the young boy, “What does Laawaleeah say of this?”
“She has two minds on my leaving, my Chief. She will honor my choice,” said Alahbaand.”
Sahjeed was silent for a moment; “I would put out a call for volunteers from all the villages. How many should there be?”
Duulaat deferred to Chief Galawaand, “I have to agree that we must send men. I have not thought of the numbers. Sahjeed, you must have noticed that I have made an enemy of Chief Brohdaak. I do not trust the man.” Galawaand studied the floor, “I could offer many reasons, but I can not join with you.
“I will give as many Guards as I can and bring supplies, but I will not leave my People. I regret that I must say this.”
Sahjeed nodded, “I know you have good reason Chief Galawaand. I have another situation here,” he nodded to Duulaat, ”One of us must stay.”
The First Guard stiffened and leaned forward, “I would lead the Guards if there may be a battle, my Chief. It is what I have trained for; it must be I who goes.”
“That is what troubles me, Duulaat, It is I who must lead and you who must fight. The lack of an heir becomes apparent again. I see no solution at the moment. We will both think of this matter.
“I do not wish to hurry into this. Let us choose the Guards and volunteers and work with them. We will need more boats and the Healer should provide medicines for us to take with us.”