A Full Moon

Chapter 15|4 mins read

Two figures slipped out of the Royal Palace against the backdrop of a full moon. The silver light shimmered on the dark grey shawls that concealed the two faces. One of them strode ahead with measured steps, unconcerned about catching the attention of a wandering eye. The other took slow, thoughtful steps wary of even the slightest sound that the night produced.

“King Cyrus,” one of the figures whispered, “Should we be stealing out of the palace in the middle of the night? After all, we are guests of the King Piruz. What will be his impression if we were to get caught?”

“Ginger,” The other figure replied in his deep voice, “We are not prisoners who are trying to escape. Why should anyone catch us?”

Ginger glanced around from the thin slit in the shawl, “As you say, my king. But where are we going?”

“To see the real Behrouz,” Came the assured reply, “I wish to know the land that can produce the dish I had at the feast.”

“May be the light of a new day would have been a better time to know the land…”

“No Ginger,” Cyrus gently pushed the tall iron gate of the Royal Palace, “The night reveals the true spirit of the people who inhabit the kingdom.”

“Who goes there!”

King Cyrus and Ginger paused their stride.

“No one leaves the palace at this late hour. Reveal yourselves,” A stout guard approached the two figures with a bright flame torch.

The King of Kings peeled the shawl from his face.

The guard stopped abruptly in his stride and knelt on his knee with his head bowed.

The warm yellow light reflected off the silken shawls as Cyrus and Ginger walked past the guard and turned to their right.

What the two men did not see was a sole illuminated window of the palace. The golden square stood out in contrast to the rest. The king and his trusted aide had not escaped the sight of a pair of watchful eyes who peered from the glass façade.

General Hateem had a wry smile etched on his visage, “It looks like our dear visitor is off to explore Behrouz ….I wonder why…,” He mused. The general, however, was not worried. If the visitors caused any trouble, his men were in place across the kingdom to tackle any eventuality.

Hateem returned to a wooden table placed next to the window on which sat brown sheets of paper, a feathered tip, and a bottle of black ink. The top sheet had been handwritten with a cursive text, detailing the events of the feast. The general had a habit of recording the day-to-day activities of the kingdom, which he would then turn to later for analysing the progress that Behrouz was making. Next to the table sat an open glass cupboard filled with tomes of bound paper. There were ten tomes: each indicated the written records of a year. No one else was privy to the written record; neither the king, nor the queen.

Hateem took his seat and removed a large roll of paper from a slender shelf below the table. His thick fingers carefully placed it on the table and then unrolled it. The map of Behrouz laid out in front of the general. His eyes glanced across the red dots that marked the map. His fingers moved from one dot to another, as the general made a mental note of them. The red markings were etched throughout the map, indicating the number of men Hateem had placed around the kingdom, amongst the general citizens. The general’s expression relaxed with a satisfied smile after he had perused the map.

A loud knock sounded on the door, “General Hateem,” A voice inquired from outside the room.

The general rolled the large piece of paper and slid it carefully back into the slender shelf, “Who can it be at this late hour?” He wondered.

Hateem stood up from his chair and made his way across the spacious chamber. He pulled the door slightly ajar: King Danush was standing outside. The general pushed the door wider, which revealed a group of soldiers behind the king.

“We are ready, General Hateem,” Danush said with certainty.

“Ready…for what?” Hateem was puzzled.

“To capture that disrespectful King Cyrus and his aide.”

To be continued...

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