The Story Of URZENNA – Part 7
“It will be a long way going home”, said the priest Elohan, “And without your moving mountain Kalem, a much slower journey”.
“Not with the belt which Urzenna wears”, the Angel informed them, “It will allow he and all whom he touches to fly like the whirling wind through the air. You need only join hands with him and you will all rise up and fly home”.
And so, Urzenna and his compatriots joined their hands tightly together and formed a solid circle of friendship and then, with gasps of wonder, all felt themselves rise up into the air and, as the circle rose, it started to whirl round and round like a peculiar dance and then, back over the desert they flew, travelling faster than any in that circle could ever have imagined over the petrified forest of Viprak and over the misty swamplands of Aghash until they saw, far below them, the familiar sights of their own beautiful homeland.
And then the circle slowed its spinning like a great wheel coming to rest and they landed as gently as a feather in a dying breeze beside glittering lake Elama where they found the old priest Hakhan, father of Kenrya, waiting for them.
And, when Kenrya saw her father she raced into his arms and he embraced her with a happy heart, “Ah, the joy of the world has come home to me at last”, he said, smiling through his long white beard.
“Oh father. It was the most awe-inspiring, amazing, astounding of all adventures”, she said, gleefuly, “And I am so wonderously happy that I went with them but I’m equally happy to be home again where my heart lives and is content”.
“My heart too, which sank in so much sadness to see you leave, soars in a blue sky of bliss now that you are home and I know very well of your adventures for the goddess herself told me of your coming in a dream and in that dream I also saw a dense fog filled swamp; a strange golden flying bow; an odd, talking tortoise made of stone; a terrifying she-monster and a vast desert through which a giant camel trod”, said the old priest.
“We are all glad that you came out to meet us Hakhan”, said Urzenna, “But the ones whom I am most eager to greet are my father and that creature of accursed darkness he has made his heir
for I now have power enough to vanquish both of them”.
“Tomorrow we and all the faithful shall march with swords and banners against your fathers tyranny but tonight let us give a little time to joy and celebration; a banquet for the brave with good wine, fine fare and merry music. Let us savour all the pleasures of this earth for, tomorrow, we may only know the hospitality of heaven”, said Hakhan,jovially.
However, when Urzenna had returned to his chambers in the secret temple deep under Lake Elama the spirit of Urzenna’s brother returned to him once more, shimmering like burnished silver and there was a grave look upon his face.
“Do not trust Hakhan, my brother, his smile is only a hiding place for treason”, he told Urzenna solemnly, “For, while you wandered and risked your life nobly upon your quest, a slithering lizard like Hakhan met secretly with your father and pledged his allegiance to him”.
“Hakhan? I cannot believe that he who seems so much a Sage would be a traitor, that he would betray even his own beloved daughter”, said Urzenna.
“It is because of his beloved daughter that he has betrayed you, for he is afraid that you will lead her into shame and he is a very protective father but, not only has he sworn his allegiance to the evil king, he has also agreed with him that he will put poison in the wine which he serves at the banquet tonight. All the golden goblets except his and his daughters are to be filled with poison. That is why you must not touch the wine which Hakhan pours for you and you must warn the others of his treachery”, said his brother.
But then Urzenna revealed to the spirit of his brother a secret and unfortunate longing that was in his heart; “I cannot harm Hakhan”, he said,”For my heart itself has betrayed me, you see. I have, I think, fallen in love with Kenrya and all that harms Hakhan will surely harm his daughter”.
It was a prickly problem indeed but,suddenly, his brother Kalimed’s face brightened for he had thought of a better and more cunning solution to their problem, “No my brother. You cannot harm Hakhan.”, he said, “But there is a way, I believe to make Hakhan confess his own treachery and, in that way, allow you to openly forgive him”.
And so, that night, in the feasting hall of the underwater temple, a banquet was held and Hakhan poured wine for all so that they might drink a toast to those who would fight beside Urzenna against his father.
But, just as all were about to drink that toast, Urzenna stood up and, raising his goblet high, said “Wait! I have something else which I would like to toast. If Kenrya is willing then I would like to make her my wife and my queen, once I become King because, having known her, I know now that I can love no other except her”.
Hakhan was aghast when he heard this, “What?!”, he spluttered.
And then, to compound his difficulties, his daughter stood up and, raising her goblet, replied “Yes, Urzenna. If I have my father’s consent then I would be so happy and honoured to marry you; not for the crown that I would wear but because I too feel that I am in love with you and that the lines of our destiny are tied together”.
All this was too much for Hakhan who then, looking into his beloved daughter’s eyes, broke down into weeping and confessed the sin of his treachery.
“Throw away your wine, all you honest, noble men for it is filled with poison just as my smiles and my friendly greeting have concealed the deadly poison of my treachery only, unlike the poison in the wine, treachery is a kind of poison which spares no one, not even the poisoner”, said Hakhan.
And then the old priest sank to his knees and begged Urzenna to lend him some poisoned wine to sip so that he may be properly punished for his treason and Kenrya wept into her goblet when she saw her father in such a wretched state.
But Urzenna did not show any anger towards Hakhan, “Our faith; the faith which I have sworn to uphold, teaches us that forgiveness is the way towards healing and I certainly do not intend to make an orphan of my future bride, not when my future father in law can atone for his sins more sensibly by standing bravely beside me tomorrow and helping me to bring our true enemy to his knees”, said the prince.
And then he told Hakhan to stand up and start to reclaim his honour, “Be a good man, a good father and a good priest. Give your consent to your daughters and my great happiness and let us be married by you, tonight, in this very temple”.
And so Kenrya was wedded to Urzenna with her father conducting the ceremony by the shores of lake Elama as a lover’s moon shone brightly upon the waters and Urzenna planted a kiss upon his wifes head, “Tonight it is only a kiss but tomorrow, I promise”, he told her, “It shall be a crown of silver and gold”.
However, while Kenrya and Urzenna stared into each others eyes with their hearts full of love and their hands fasted together another pair of eyes was watching them from a nearby tree; a large, black rook that had been sitting on a branch and listening, but there was only hate in its dark heart for Urzenna and his bride and, as they kissed, it spread its large black wings, soaring and gliding towards the palace of King Haminid then, swooping in through an open window in the kings chamber transformed itself back into its genuine shape, that of the dark prince; the undead creature which Haminid had made from the flesh and bones of his son Kalimed.
“The priest Hakhan has failed to poison Urzenna, my king”, said the wraith, “Urzenna tricked him by marrying his daughter”.
“I should have expected no better of that imbecile Hakhan”, growled Haminid, “He and his accursed daughter! Love only makes fools of men; that is why I have made it an outcast from my own heart and now Urzenna thinks that I will let the common daughter of a village priest sit upon my wife’s throne. Well, I’ll stick their dim-witted heads upon two poles side by side and feed their vile innards to the crows and vultures before I let that happen”.
“Tomorrow is when they have chosen to attack, at first light ”, said the dark prince.
“ It is as good a time to die as any”, laughed the evil king, “At first light, then, they shall see their last”.