Sea People

by Ruwen Rouhs

Chapter 3

"KIIING! In the name of the KIIIING! KIIIIING! The Kiiiing of Luka" The hellish noise of the waves nearly drowned out the shrill calls of the guard keepers manning big boats. The piercing voices penetrated Tsemo's dazed mind, his eyes flew open and he looked around. Rough waves still churned and rocked the boat, but they were shorter now and the white spray was gone. The dugout was riding the wave crests of the fast current through the Gorge of Bogaz separating the kingdoms of the Luka and the one of the Ekwesh. A northerly wind chased dark clouds overhead concealing the sickle of the waning moon on the midnight sky. Two or three boats had left the King's Harbour in Anadoly and were chasing after the big dugout of our four travelers.

"Take the paddle Tsemo! Row! Row!" Laong hissed!

"What's up?" Tsemo asked with blank eyes.

"You were away for hours! You were crouching on crossed legs dead still. Your body was cold like ice. You didn't move!"

"What's up? I was….."

"Take your paddle! Get moving! Stop talking! The watchdogs of the Lukian King are chasing us!" Aegir called from the rear of the boat. "They are after us! Just like Theyris told! They are after us! The Sea People are after us! These merciless brigands, these robbers, these slavers chase after us! They claim toll from passing boats! They want our life!"

Tsemo's body was ice-cold despite the fur coat Laong had spread over his friend's shoulders. He shed the coat, took to paddle with numb hands and began to row in time with the others. They soon gained distance, but suddenly a fourth boat emerged out of the dark in the west and tried to cut their way. It was much faster than the three boats tailing the dugout. "These should be the Ekwesh toll-keepers! This boat comes from the stronghold in the west, from Rummeli. They try to steal us away from the Lukians. Hurry up! More speed!" Aegir rooted his crew.

Soon the slim boat chasing the heavy dugout was just a stone's throw away. Anticipating the approaching danger Laong took his bow, rose to his feet and shot an arrow at the boat and followed by a second one. Obviously one of the projectiles hit the helmsman and the boat of the pursuers veered and immediately lost speed. Aegir, Buri, Tsemo and Laong doubled their efforts gaining distance to their pursuers. The good fortune seemed to be with them because a moment later a thick cloud covered the moon and curtains of rain obscured the sight. Drenched in sweat and soaked with rain and salty sea water the four friends didn't stop rowing till the sun rose in the east and the receding shorelines announced the Sea of Marmora.

Someone was watching him! Buri startled out of his death-like sleep. Subconsciously he was aware of a strange being. "Somebody is watching me!" his mind told him, "A strange being is watching me and my friends! With closed eyes Buri listened. Somebody was babbling incoherent syllables: Whs? Whs? tt tis?"

Buri couldn't make sense of the babble, this volley of unintelligible words. It wasn't a toddler. The voice belonged to a man his mind told him. It was voice of a young man whose voice was just breaking. He opened his left eye with caution. Somebody strange was perching over him and sizing him up. His gut told the Curlyhead to jump up and defend his friends against a looming attack but his mind told him to keep cool and feign to be asleep.

Buri stayed motionless. He didn't move under the cover of fur, he didn't even turn his head to get a better view of the stranger studying him closely. He opened his other eye to asses the situation. Just in this moment the strange being left him and moved over to Aegir sleeping about a dozen feet away in the shade of a big rock. Buri rose as noiseless as possible while the unknown visitor was bending down to his friend. The chubby stranger was examining Aegir carefully. With a crooked cane he was touching Aegir's red-hair. Was the stranger about to hurt his friend? Buri had seen enough and didn't hesitate a moment more. Shouting a war cry he rose to attack the stranger. However, before Buri was over him youngster turned a quick as a lightning and took off along the waterfront. The stranger seemed to possess a second sense warning him against danger.

The fleeing youngster was extremely fast for someone nearly as shorter as broad. Waddling like a duck he gained an edge while Buri cared for Aegir and looked for Tsemo and Laong, who had made their bed behind the head-high boulder. After being sure that his friends were unharmed Buri took up after the stranger emitting a war cries. Next moment the others were up too and joined into the chase. Like a pack of wolves they zeroed in on the stranger. Together they got hold of him in no time and threw the chubby being to the ground. He fought back but merciless he was pinioned by the four Sun Seekers.

Only now Buri was able to study the stranger more closely. At the time he had seen him to examine Aegir so closely he wasn't able to figure out if the chubby stranger was woman or a man because the visitor was extremely fat. He had short column-like legs, his ass was that of a well-fed woman and on his small shoulders he carried a small pointed head. Even now Buri wasn't exactly sure about the sex of the strange being because of the protruding belly and the big flappy boobs. However, as soon he lifted the youngster's loincloth, it became clear that it was a big boy according to the small dick.

"OooooH! No! Don't! Don't hit! No! No!" the captive cried with heart-melting voice.

"Who are you? What did you want? Why do you spy on us?" The questions showered on the boy who had succumbed to the four.

Protecting his head with his arms he begged with tearful voice, "Don't! Don't, don't hit Kirketin! No hit Kirketin! Kirketin good boy! Not punish Kirketin! No! No! Kirketin good boy! Do all you want! I love you!!!!"

Tsemo felt sympathy with the strange, clumsy-looking youngster. He brushed away the boy's tears, patted his cheeks and as this didn't help he wrapped an arm around his shoulders. "Good Boy Kirketin! Good Kirketin!" he patted the boy's back and stroked his hair "I love you too! Don't be afraid! We all love you! Buri loves you! Aegir loves you and Laong also! Do not cry anymore!"

Suddenly Kirketin smiled. The small almond shaped eyes in the soft face beamed like the sun after the rain and as soon as Buri led him free he flung his arms around Tsemo's neck nuzzling him, "Good Boy Kirketin!" he repeated on and on, "Me good Boy!" smiling to everybody around, "You good boys! Good Friends!"

Early this morning just when the sun rose above the horizon the four Sun Seekers had arrived at the sandy beach of an island slightly off the east coast of the Marmora Sea. They were dead tired and decided to take time out immediately. Feeling safe at the small beach sheltered by a steep cliff they fell asleep without even thinking about taking a bite.

The evening before heavy rain and the strong current propelling the surplus water of the Black Sea into the Sea of Marmora had helped them to make a hairsbreadth escape from their pursuers. The royal toll-keepers had either lost their track or decided that a long pursue in the stormy night and a heavy fight was not worthwhile the prize and gave up the chase. Nonetheless the four voyagers had kept rowing till the small island emerged out of the morning fog. The rocky island seemed deserted and therefore a good place for a day of rest. Dragging the boat ashore and falling asleep on the sandy beach was the work of a moment. And now to their big surprise they were not the sole residents of the island. There was that youngster, the "Good Boy", the Boy calling himself Kirketin.

Kirketin sure wasn't a boy like Laong or Tsemo were or Aegir or Buri had been. No! He seemed to be freaky. He looked like a freak; he behaved like a freak. However, he seemed to be a lovable freak. Tsemo couldn't help to like him, nor could the others. Kirketin! Who was he? What was he doing on a small, obviously uninhabited island? Was he alone?

Buri's stomach was rumbling! "I am hungry! Who else is? I could eat half a deer without belching only once!" looking around questioning, he asked, "Whose turn is it today to prepare the meal?" he asked.

"Your task today! You know it!" was the unison answer of the other three. "But we will help you!" Tsemo added, "Laong, come on, lets fetch some dry wood at the foot of the cliff. Aegir is better at cooking than Buri!"

When they left, Kirketin waddled alongside Tsemo without asking, humming happily and moving like a dancing bear. Once in a while he was trying to hold hands with Tsemo or Laong, slowing down their search for firewood. Meanwhile Buri and Aegir got the food and the water bags from the storage containers in the dugout and dug a fire pit in the lee of the big rock on the beach.

A shower of stones hit the place around the fire pit when the last chunk of meat of their traveling fare was nearly done over the fire. The pebbles were well-aimed not to hurt anyone. Their purpose seemed to be to intimidate Sun Seekers. Surprised they looked around for the source of the hail of stones when a commanding voice demanded, "We want Kirketin! Hand him over to us immediately! He is ours! We are the Kahin's keepers! We are the keepers of the voice of the Almighty Trinity, of Adad, the ruler of rain, storm and thunder, of Atar'ata his spouse, the goddess of fertility and of Simios their son, the guardian of fountains and rivers! Don't dare to lay a finger on him! If you harm only a single hair on his head the Holy Trinity will punish you! They will kill you!"

While Aegir, Buri and Tsemo were still looked staggered up to the gesticulating man on top of the cliff Laong had the presence of mind and took cover behind Kirketin. Picking up his bow he aimed an arrow towards the man, missing him just by a hand's widths. "Get him if you can!" Laong shouted. "Try to get Kirketin! The Good Boy is our friend! We will defend his freedom! He is not your property!"

The man took cover behind a tree on the cliff while another shower of stones rained down on the Sun Seekers. This time the impact of the pebbles was closer, some even hit the fire and sparks few upwards. Laong's counterattack had given his companions enough time to take shelter behind the head-high rock. Only Kirketin remained at the fire looking blank-eyed to the man at the cliff muttering incomprehensible words.

Next a half-grown boy showed up climbing down the cliff at a trail partly concealed by shrubbery. "My brother is coming down to get Kirketin! Don't prevent him from doing so!" the man yelled from behind his cover and his warning was accompanied by another shower of pebbles.

In the meantime Aegir and Buri had retrieved their bows from the boat. Set for the battle Aegir shouted back. "Kirketin came to us voluntarily! If he wants to stay he is invited to! You can't force him to go to you! You can't force a handicapped boy to return into slavery!"

"He is not a slave! No!" the man's voice sounded surprised, "Don't you know Kirketin the Kahin! Don't you know the oracle of Ecinli! The voice of the Holy Trinity!" the man hesitated; "Kirketin is not a creep! Maybe he is looking to you like a backward boy, but he is the Voice of the Eternal Beings! They have entrusted Kirketin with the gift of prophecy. He can foretell the future and explain the unknown to pious people! He was entrusted to us by the representative of the Holy Trinity, by the High Priest! The task of us common people is to feed him, to care for his well-being day and night and guaranty for his life!"

"We are from far away! We have heard of the Trinity's Oracle! Yes! But we didn't expect it to be a boy! We didn't expect it to be a freak. We didn't expect to meet the Oracle on this island. And we didn't expect God's herald has decided to honour us with his visit!"

"Yes, Aegir is right!" Buri called to the man on the cliff! "Kirketin came to us on his own free will! You have to ask him, if he wants to return to you or if he wants to stay with us! He is superior to us mortals and therefore free to do what he decides! If he wants to stay with us he is welcome! Come down and ask Kirketin himself!"

A short time later nine young men were sitting around the fire, actually only eight, because a half-grown boy had jumped into Kirketin's lap as soon he arrived at the fire. Both, Kirketin, the big, clumsy-looking Kahin and the slender dark-haired boy were cuddling, as if they had not seen each other for days. But Kirketin didn't neglect Tsemo and Laong either. He had obviously taken a shine to both of them and once in a while leaned in to caress Tsemo sitting to his right and then to Laong to his left.

As soon the initial distrust had turned into mutual trust and all had gathered at the fire pit the head of Kirketin's keepers introduced himself and his companions to the Sun Seekers.

"My name is name is Dincer, the son of Dincmen, my strong father and the headman of the Troyhs-clan. These strong lads are my brothers, the twins Kadir and Kadem." And then grinning, "The cuddly type over there is called Hami. He is our youngest brother and a special friend of Kirketin. You just can't believe how he was upset when Kirketin vanished two days ago. He pushed us to look all over the island for him from morning to night. When we finally detected him in your company my poor brother nearly went crazy of fear you wanted to hurt his friend. However. I thought you are spies of the Ekwesh, our enemies and eager to take a good chance to abduct the Holy Trinity's Voice. Since ever villains are looking for a chance to abduct him and make Kirketin their oracle."

"No! Never!" Aegir emphasized, "No, we are neither kidnappers nor killers, we just are peaceful travelers on our long way to a land far in the South, the home of the sun." He went over to Dincer and embraced him. "Let's make peace. Let's become friends and celebrate our friendship with a banquet! I am starved like a wolf. Neither I nor my friends have had a bite since two days!"

A tasty meal sealed the peace. The travelers contributed the joint of a small lamb to the festivity and what was left of the roasted hazelnuts, while Dincer and his brothers put in fresh onions and dark olives of last years harvesting, a jug of sheep milk and soft, white patties wrapped up in green leaves. The Sun Seekers were familiar with onions and milk but they never had tasted olives or the white patties before.

Soon the scent of the broiled meat was tickling their noses and palates. Buri as the host yanked his blunt stone knife from the belt to cut the joint in mouthful pieces. Despite the meat was well done he had troubles to cut it into small pieces small enough to offer an equal share to everyone around the fire. Dincer observing Buri's troubles smiled and as an attentive guest he offered his own knife to the host.

The dark boy's eyes fell nearly from his head. That was the knife he was looking for, a bright shining blade looking sharp and light as the wing feather of a gray heron. He gasped for air. A knife of precious metal he had dreamed of since he had gotten the silvery crescent from his father. Was he allowed to take it, was he allowed to use it for cutting. Unbelieving he looked at Dincer. But the young man from the Troyhs-clan smiled, "Be careful! Its sharp, don't cut your hand!"

The other Sun-Seeker witnessing the moment became excited also. Tsemo giving a loud whistle was the first to regain his composure, "What a marvel! What a piece of art, a masterpiece!" He exclaimed. "Buri was pestering me as long I know him! I have to get a knife made of moonstone! I have to learn how to get the moonstone, how to process moonstone, how to make blades and axes and fishhooks from moonstone! he told us again and again! Believe me Dincer, you did him a great favor to let him use it!"

Dincer and his brothers looked puzzled, because knives made of bronze nothing spectacular. Kadim, Dincer's younger brother smiled and yanked his own blade out of a leather sheath, "We all got blades like this. But we don't know how to make them. Our father had bought these from pedlars. The blades are expensive! These merchants sell all kinds of blades and other weapon made by Hittite blacksmiths."

The meat nearly went cold before the Sun-Seeker's surprise subsided. Buri cut the roasted lamb in mouthfuls and allotted Dincer the biggest portion. This however, didn't please Kirketin. "Tsee, Tsee has to get the most. He is so loovely, he is so small! I loove 'im!" When everybody laughed about the sudden infatuation of the Kahin, he bend to Tsemo and whispered "You eat! You eat much! I want your miiilk!" But the son of the moon didn't comprehend the meaning of Kirketin's words. Therefore he just smiled and took the Kahin into his arms.

Kirketin however was still unhappy. He wanted to spoil Tsemo. Therefore he fished out one of the white patties from a basket and offered it to his "Tsee". Tsemo however didn't like milk, he even despised it. Therefore he was skeptical when his new friend offered him the milkwhite patty. He took a bite, "What are these? They are looking like spoiled milk?" Tsemo asked pulling a wry face.

"Sure! These are made of clogged milk." Kadir explained, "We are using the milk from our best ewes only! You needn't be afraid. We do not try to poison you! The patties are cheese!" Watching Tsemo's skeptical face Kadir laughed out amused, "You do not like milk, White-hair? I thought white-haired boys like white stuff, even milk! You will like it. The patty will melt in your mouth and you will never ever want to miss their taste!" Kadem grinned, "Kirketin likes milk, cream, cheese, but he likes other white stuff, too! Am I right, Kirketin?" Winking at him and digging him lightly in the ribs, "Look at him Tsemo, he would sell his mother for a bite of sheep cheese!" Kirketin grinned happily and asked with full mouth, "Who will feed me with cream tonight?" smiling at his new friend Tsemo, "I want you to do me tonight!"

Surprised Tsemo became aware that the Kahin didn't speak with a stammer this time. However, before he could express his amazement, Aegir turned to Dincer, "Kirketin the Kahin makes me wonder. He is short, but has the frame of sixteen-year-old, is strong like a ram, is quick like lightning, but likes to linger around. His voice is already breaking, but the way he is talking is like a four-year old."

Dincer grinned wickedly. "You got it. Often Kirketin is behaving like a four-year-old. He likes to cuddle and to romp like a small boy, but at other times he is horny like a ram and can't keep his hand from Hami and now he seems to have cast an eye at that white-haired boy!"

Tsemo took it as a compliment but contemplated a more important question, "What amazes me even more is that you call Kirketin a Kahin, a diviner, somebody that can foretell the future and explain the past. You call him the Voice of the Trinity." He shook his head in wonder. "This does not fit together. No! Not at all!" Turning to Buri, "Can you comprehend this Curlyhead, you the reincarnation of Geb?" turning to Dincer and the twins, "I was taught the wisdom of the druids, I have learned about the visible and invisible, but this is beyond my scope."

"No, No Dincer is right!" Kadir and Kadem were cutting in simultaneously, "He is a Kahin. People all around call Kirketin the Kehanet of Ecinli, the Oracle; the voice of the Trinity! The Kahin is the interpreter of dreams and knows the future and past! Come and see! In just ten days the high priest, the mowedem mowbed, will arrive at our island. He will arrive with his priestly helpers and with him legions of pilgrims in search of divination and advice! Come with us the Fountain of Wisdom! Come with us and Kirketin will foretell you the future!"

"It's not on me to invite you to the Fountain of Wisdom! It's on me to ask Kirketin the Kahin for permission to give his consent!" Dincer added and turning to the oracle he asked, "Are the Sun Seekers welcome at the Fountain?"

All the time Kirketin had been either stuffing himself or caressing Tsemo or Hami, therefore everyone was surprised when he said out of the blue with affirmative voice, "You friends! You good friends! My friends! You come to the Fountain! I love you!"

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead