The Chief Pt. 02 Ch. 04byamicus©
“Those are high ground flowers, my mother, they are very pretty, but you should not walk so far,” Sahjeed saw the table decoration and embraced her.
She smiled and patted his back, “I walked nowhere, my son. The young girl brought them and other things for this evening. I think she keeps a watch on me, or perhaps you?”
“I did not see her this sun,” Sahjeed stretched his arms and groaned lightly, “I will rest for a while and then get ready for this evening, please wake me if I sleep.”
He did not sleep but rested his eyes and let his thoughts wander. In his mind’s eye he was looking over a huge village crossed and re-crossed by many paths. He saw a large river and a snow covered mountain in the rising sun. He saw himself, old, gray and hobbled by pain. Sahjeed opened his eyes wide, gasping for air; he looked around the room, his heart thumping.
Bathed and dressed in a fringed and decorated tunic, Sahjeed moved the table and looked down the path hoping to see Duulaat and his mate. He saw them a little later following the winding path that led through the trees. He watched as the woman walked slightly behind, her full skirt swaying from side to side.
Duulaat took her hand as they came up the steps to the covered deck. “My Chief, we are honored to be here.” The First Guard turned to greet Sahjeed’s mother as she came out of the lodge. Rahseeta raised her chin and looked into the Chief’s eyes.
Sahjeed Deeda caught his breath and held it. The awkward tall girl of his youth was now a beautiful woman in the prime of life. Her blouse exposed the tops of her full breasts, the belted waist surged to ample hips, her long hair swept over both shoulders and down the front. The Chief was stunned to silence by what he saw in her eyes.
She lowered her gaze and curtsied slightly, smiling. Her voice was soft and warm, “It is good to look upon you again, Sahjeed Deeda.” Her eyes twinkled and an impish grin teased her lips. “It is said you spend part of each day at the Trader’s lodge trying to learn which daughter is which.”
Sahjeed Deeda breathed again and chuckled, “You look wonderful, ‘seeta, it has been too long, far too long. The daughters of Domohaas seem inseparable, one would have to mate both to have either.”
Rahseeta laughed lightly and sweetly, “I would doubt that you could handle even one, my Chief, they are very spirited and independent.”
Sahjeed’s mother kissed Duulaat’s cheeks lightly and embraced Rahseeta, “Please be seated, Sahjeed has placed the table to view the setting sun, it looks to be a beautiful evening.”
Duulaat and Rahseeta sat together facing west; Sahjeed sat at the side, next to the First Guard. As food was placed on the table, Sahjeed reached out and took a hand with each in his, “It gives me a wonderful feeling in my heart to have you here. Let us use our names only and think of the times when we ran through these woods as the best of friends. I yearn for the endless days when I was just a boy.”
They laughed and joked and shared remembrances as they ate, the mood was light and happy and they were all pleased.
“Duulaat tells me all that happens that is not secret, Sahjeed. He thinks you are changing more than ever before. Is this true?”
Sahjeed smiled at Rahseeta’s words, the look in her eyes had mellowed to warmth and interest, “Before you arrived, I laid down and closed my eyes to rest. I did not sleep, I think I did not sleep, but I saw something that frightened me. I was old, very old, and there was another village with many more people than here. Duulaat is right, I am different, I feel different; I see things in other ways than I have before. I do not understand myself anymore. I am uneasy with it all.”
Duulaat leaned back in his chair, “We are still young men, Sahjeed. I spoke to the Elder of my family. He listened to me and smiled. He said that we have spent our lives so far just learning what we have been taught.
“He says now is the time in our lives, both you and I, where we must begin to think for ourselves. He said that is a very frightening thing for some, that some see and never look again.
“I am First Guard of the People; it was known that I would be that. I have lived and done my duty as I was expected to do. Because I did not think on my own, I almost cost you your life. Suddenly, it was not just my duty, but also my life. I give oath that I will never place you in danger again.”
Sahjeed reached out for Duulaat’s arm, “I understand, my friend. We have spoken of this before. Each of us must become more of what we are supposed to be. I am grateful that we have another chance to do better.
“I have wanted to call a meeting of the People. I wanted to speak of the corruption of the commune, of the deaths that came of my ignorance. But it has come and gone and the People do not speak of it. That troubles me. I want to speak to the People of the Land Manager and how he cheated the People and the Seers who failed to serve, but I have held back. I must speak, but I do not yet know all that I should say.”
Rahseeta crossed her arms over her chest, “Your words cause me to feel cold inside, Sahjeed. I have always known that you and Duulaat have given your lives to the People. I never doubted that the things you did were right and were best for the People. I still do not doubt that now, but I feel uneasy, fearful of what is yet to come.”
Sahjeed smiled at Duulaat, “You did not speak to me of how well your mate understands and can say her thoughts. I think we should have talked long before now.” The Chief excused himself and returned a moment later with writing materials supplied by Domohaas. He spread them out on the table.
He smiled at Rahseeta, “I do not visit the Trader only to see his daughters. I have not spoken of this to anyone; I have feared I cannot explain so that it can be understood. Your words, ‘seeta, give me hope that you will see and help me talk.”
Sahjeed explained and demonstrated the marks that represented the fingers and the hands of numbers the People had always used. Rahseeta saw it quickly, Duulaat took longer, but the sudden realization showed on his face like the light of the rising sun.
“That changes everything!” Exclaimed the First Guard, “Now I can say the number of Guards I have without showing the hands, I can plan ahead for how many more are needed.”
“That is only the beginning of what Domohaas knows,” said Sahjeed. He then outlined the marks for keeping records and the patterns observed of the sun and moon and the lights in the sky.
“I shivered in my skin again, my Chief,” said Rahseeta as the soft beauty of her face hardened. "I would learn these things to be of service to the People.” She bowed her head and spoke quietly, “When I learned I could have no sons to carry on, I cried. I have cried for many seasons that I cannot be a woman.
“I would learn and teach if you would permit, my Chief, if Domohaas would consent,” she turned slowly to Duulaat, “…and if my mate would agree.”
The First Guard’s eyes filled, “’seeta, my love, if it would make you happy again….”
“Yes, oh yes, Ahjeed, please?”
“Domohaas teaches his daughters, I will ask him.”
“Soon?” gushed Rahseeta, “When you next see him? Oh, please.”
Sahjeed smiled and reached for her hand, “Now you seem like the old ‘seeta, yes, I will ask him at mid-day next sun.”
Rahseeta couldn’t bear to wait until Sahjeed returned with the news. She followed him, keeping out of sight as he entered Domohaas’s lodge. She waited outside, pacing back and forth until the Chief came down the steps. She could not find her voice as he came close.
“The Trader will be impressed that you are so anxious. He will see you now, if you wish.”
“Now?” Gasped Rahseeta.
Sahjeed Deeda smiled widely, “I expected to see you here.”
She glared at him, “You mock me!”
He caught the fire in her eyes, “No, ‘seeta, I do not. I only remember you as a young girl. That Rahseeta would have been waiting to hear the news. I think I am happy she is still with us.”
She slowly raised her face and Sahjeed felt the look in her eyes. “I am in your debt, Sahjeed, more than you know.”