The Fire Of Nowruz
Chapter 16|3 mins read
The silhouettes of Cyrus and Ginger stood against a bright yellow flame that rose from the street to the deep blue sky, sending embers towards the twinkling stars.
The two men had walked along the broad streets of Behrouz, passing by rows of brown brick houses that sparkled with bright lamps and clusters of people engaged in song and dance. A gentle breeze, rich with the night’s scent, carried the echoes of celebration from one alley to another. It followed the two men as they waked towards an open street that was circular in nature. Right in the middle stood the tall pyramid of yellow flames that swirled from upright planks of dry wood.
The fire mirrored on Cyrus’ eyes as he watched men, women, and children leap through the flames with laughter and joy. The King of Kings had never witnessed such an act, where people passed through the fire without any fear or doubt.
“Are these people unafraid or simply crazy?” Cyrus floated the question towards his trusted aide, who was spellbound with what he witnessed.
“I do not know, my king. From where I stand, they look to be enjoying this punishment as if it were a reward of some kind,” Ginger replied.
A child jumped through the fire and landed near Cyrus. The king knelt down and patted her shoulder, “You are a brave one, but are you not afraid?”
“What is there to be afraid of,” She said with a grin revealing a missing front tooth, “As long as we have our Queen who takes care of us, no fire can harm us.”
Cyrus smiled, “You are brave and intelligent too, young one. But answer me, why leap through the flames?”
The child’s smile faded to a serious expression, “You mean to tell me that you do not know why we pass through the fire of Nowruz…?” She stared at the King of Kings.
Cyrus could only nod in reply.
Are you not of Behrouz?
The child almost whispered.
Cyrus nodded again.
“That is why,” The child grinned, “Well, the fire is supposed to cleanse us of our impure thoughts and sins that we have accumulated over the past year. On the holy occasion of Nowruz, we cleanse our body and mind, and begin a new journey,” The child cast a glance at the fire, “At least that is what the elders say. I leap across the flames because it is fun. You must come with me and purify yourself…come, come…!” She tugged at Cyrus’s hand.
The King of Kings stood up, “You run along, young one. I will follow you soon.”
The child looked up, staring at Cyrus, “My mother tells me that it is not a good habit to lie.”
Cyrus stared at the young girl for a moment, then he laughed.
Ginger, who had been observing the interaction, was surprised by the king’s reaction. He had never known the fearsome warrior to possess a light spirit.
“You are one of the wisest I have met tonight, young one,” Cyrus said between his laughs, “And you should be rewarded for the same,” The king slipped out a ruby-encrusted gold ring from one of fingers and handed it to the girl, “Now, run along,” Cyrus patted her head.
The child grinned, then turned away from the two men and ran towards the towering yellow flame.
“Ginger,” Cyrus said, returning his gaze to the yellow blaze, “Do you now realize why we slipped out of the Royal Palace and explored the street?”
Ginger thought about Cyrus’ words and then replied, “I cannot claim to have your wisdom, my king. Did we step out to meet interesting people of the kingdom, like the child who is now the owner of your precious ring?”
“No,” came the reply, “Did you hear what the young one said,” Cyrus shifted his gaze to Ginger, “She said that Behrouz is taken care of by the queen,” The king paused his words.
“By the queen and not King Piruz.”
“Can we trust the words of a child?” Ginger spoke aloud his doubt.
“Do you think the girl would lie?” came the immediate reply from Cyrus.
Ginger was silent.
As the bright yellow flame cast sharp shadows on the street, a pair of eyes watched the king and his aide closely.
To be continued...