Part 1: FOUR FINGERS AND A THUMB
Who can speak the name Samegusha without shuddering? The wicked tyrant Samegusha who rolled the globe in blood. Samegusha of the black claw clan. His name is a terrible red stain upon the scrolls of our history! No one has ever ruled over an empire as vast as his; from the snowy mountains of Samurya that prick the foundations of heaven with their peaks to the Ocean of Lakymun that spills over the edge of our world. No one has ever amassed such high mountains of wealth as did Samegusha nor have they left such high mountains of corpses in their wake. Samegusha the terrible, who darkened all under the sun, none has ever posessed his power; so many millions were crushed beneath his signet ring; so many villages and towns were burned by his word and yet, despite all of his power and wealth, there was one thing that Samegusha could never possess.
The wicked tyrant Samegusha had no heir. He had four beautiful young wives; princesses abducted from the palaces of conquered kingdoms, but none could give him a suitable heir. His first wife, Mimeo was as beautiful as the Springtime but the infant she gave him was deaf. His second wife, Amilka was as beautiful as the summer but her baby was blind. His third wife Namira was as beautiful as the autumn but her child was born with deformed,shrivelled legs. His fourth wife Kanzi was as beautiful as the winter but her child was a girl and, in those days, no girl could legally inherit her fathers wealth or property. The seed of Samegusha, it is said, was cursed by the souls of all those he had robbed and butchered and so he was denied a healthy son and heir.
As punishment, he had his four wives locked in a dark windowless dungeon,beneath the fortress of his brother Vangakang, so that they spent their lives in total darkness and, because he loathed his children, he had them seized by force from the arms of their weeping, wailing mothers and ordered that they be locked in a big trunk bearing the imperial seal and buried alive in the middle of the dark forest of Semazen and the four children of Samegusha might have died that day had their mothers not called out to the great mother of heaven, Zwa and had the celestial mother not taken pity upon them.
It was the thief and beggar, Hiriki whom the great mother spoke to and said, “Hiriki! The emperors men are burying some treasure in the forest. Go quickly and you will be able to dig it up and have it for yourself”.
Hiriki was not a religious man and was shocked to hear the voice calling to him
but he would never pass up any chance to get his hands on treasure and so he grabbed
a pick and shovel and ran as fast as he could to the forest where he saw the soldiers of Samegusha burying a large trunk bearing the imperial seal and, waiting until the soldiers had left, he dug up the large trunk and forced it open with his pick.
To his surprise and disappointment, however, instead of the gold and jewels he had pictured in his head, all he saw within the opened box were four screaming infants.
“What are those?!”, he asked the celestial mother angrilly, “Where is the treasure that you promised me?”.
“Each of these infants is worth a kingdom!”, answered the goddess, “For each is an heir to the imperial throne. Watch over them now and later you shall know the gratitude of kings”.
“But”, argued Hiriki, “How can they be heirs to the throne if the Emperor himself has disowned them and how can a girl be an heir to the throne when such a position is forbidden to women by law”.
“They are heirs by divine right.”, proclaimed the great mother, “For they have love and kindness and wisdom and fairness in their hearts and those who possess such qualities have my consent to rule over others. Samegushas laws are edicts of evil; cruel and unjust laws written with blade and blood and no evil law, though it may be enforced by mighty legions, can have the consent of heaven”.
“But”, asked Hiriki, “How can I look after four babies? I do not know how?”
“Then you must take them to the brothel of lady Senyatsulin in the city of Nonakdow”, commanded the goddess, “There they will take care of them”
“To a brothel?”, asked Hiriki, confused, “That is a peculiar place to raise children?”.
“Long ago the evil Samegusha outlawed the worship of me; he looted and burned my temples; he massacred my devotees and decreed that any who uttered my name in reverence or prayer would have their tongue removed but the tongue of god can never be removed and my devotees have continued to worship in secret temples. Beneath the Brothel of Lady Senyatsulin is a hidden temple where the nuns who are my devotees still carry out their holy duties. Lady Senyatsulin herself was a respected high priestess once. Go to her and she will help you”.