Part 8: HIRIKI COMES HOME
With one step Hiriki came home and once he heard the familiar birdsong and tasted the familiar air of his native land, he rejoiced. “Home again! Whole again!”, he said, “How far I have been stretched, across seas and mountains, the roots of my heart sorely tugged upon but now I am home again under bluer native skies and warmer
Waiting for him, upon his arrival, was the old nun Senyatsulin. “I had a dream of your return”, she said, “I dreamed that I was standing by the banks of the old Wara and beneath the shade of the vitram trees there landed a bird and when I looked closer the bird had your face and so I knew that you would return by the banks of the old Warra beneath the vitram trees and I and my nuns have kept a vigil here ever since”.
Hiriki looked around him and saw the waters of the old Warra flowing behind him and saw the branches of the vitram tree curving over his head and exclaimed, “The Goddess truly is amazing”.
“I cannot wait to see the joy upon the children’s faces when I take you back to Nonakdow”, she said, “They have come to see you not just as their savior but as a kind of imaginary father figure and you have been away so many long years”.
“Years?”, asked Hiriki, startled, “I have been away no more than 4 days. I swear it”.
“No more than 14 years”, said the old nun, “The children are all 14 years old and I have double my share of silver hairs and wrinkles”.
“Oh. The Goddess can do nothing but the impossible”, said Hiriki laughing, “She can fit fourteen years in four days or an elephant in an acorn” but then his face became more severe, "What about their real father? Where is he?".
"He is in Quintoko. Extending his bloody empire as always. His empire is so vast now that it distracts him from events at home. He has become like a juggler for whom his four children are four balls too many, yet ever since he discovered that his children had been rescued from their grave, he has had spies and soldiers searching for them. My "brothel" has been turned upside down a dozen times but, with the good will of our divine mother, the children are still hidden, safe and well. There are rumours though, that he is planning to issue an edict calling for the mass extermination of all disabled children under 15 in the name of 'social cleansing'. That is why it is such good fortune that you have returned now".
When Hiriki arrived at the hidden temple, he passed three boys and a girl sitting in the street dressed in dirty beggars rags and thought that they were only beggars but Senyatsulin said, “Those are the princess and the three princes, Hiriki, the children you saved. They dress as beggars because there are so many crippled child beggars on our streets and the spies and soldiers of the tyrant Samegusha take no notice of beggars but one day, Goddess willing, they will wear royal robes and sit on thrones”.
Then Senyatsulin called to the children, “Look who has come home, my darlings. It is Hiriki and he has brought you all amazing gifts” and the faces of the children all glowed like the most sparkling treasure that Hiriki had ever seen and Senyatsulin introduced Hiriki to each of the children, “Here is Aurokora, which means ‘the answer to a prayer’”, she said, embracing the child who was deaf. “Here is Nukitana, which means ‘Of bright vision’”, she said, embracing the child who was blind. “Here is Mazjimata, which means ‘Legion Of God’”, she said, embracing the child who had been born with shrivelled legs, "and this last one is Junika, which means ‘The Triumphant Flower’”, she said, embracing the girl.
Then Hiriki embraced all the children like a father and, lifting Mazjimata into his arms, they went into the hidden temple where Hiriki gave, to all of them, one of the wonderous weapons he had quested for. To Aurokora, he gave the flying fire which rained fire upon all the enemies of its bearer. To Nukitana, he gave the Crescent
Moon blade which was unbreakable and cut through stone or steel like a fin through water. To Mazjimata he gave the magical flying falcon bow that allowed its owner to fly like a falcon and whose arrows could never miss a target. Finally, to Junika, he gave the magic spear of Ramizu that gave its bearer the might of an army and the swiftness of a herd and whose spear tip could not only wound and kill but heal and restore life. “With these weapons”, he told them, “you will lead your people to their freedom”.