Read episode 28 here learn about Katana’s playground here.
Little was known about Cimdi and her daughters until she met her end. While Ayaan’s men built his new quarters, I heard them whisper that Cimdi had visited all the provinces in Keepia and she had met her husband in The Province of Silk. A renowned warrior who was part of the Great Rulers guard.
“Tales to scare children,” Hani had spat.
“Cimdi was a common widow to a blacksmith,” Uncle Ayaan added.
It had sounded to me as if they were dreading the alternative story and in doing so reinforcing that Cimdi might not have met her end because of old age or the fatigue of birthing twins and that the alternative rumors were true.
Hani’s remarks quieted the whispers and the men went back to digging, cutting, and hammering as the foundation of Ayaan’s new house began to take shape.
“This will be a much more formidable fortress,” Uncle Ayaan said to me while handing me his kibuyu of wine. Which he was making everyone he spoke to take a swig from. “An unshakable palace fit for a king,” he continued as I pretended to drink from his kibuyu. “Men around Keepia will come bearing gifts to marvel at it and yours will be right beside it, eh?” he paused and I nodded. “Smaller of course,” he said. “But formidable too,” he added quickly, taking the Kibuyu from my hands and moving to the next man.
His cups might have been blurring his wits, but all the same, his words said that he had no intention of ever letting me leave his side and at this point, he was wearing me down and I was resigning to Dol Dol’s lifestyle. Food, drink, and the new development of safety seemed to be in plenty, there was only the hiccup of Beatrice’s illness and I was starting to consider the healer Hani had suggested. Besides, what other province would we go to where we were royalty?
As the day aged into night and we retired to our sleeping quarters these thoughts kept creeping up. Even though they were prominent, other thoughts told me Dol Dol was not where I belonged but I could feel I was becoming too lazy to make them a reality. I clutched at my gun and glanced at Beatrice and Bobobo who were first asleep. This was the life for us, I decided while drifting to slumber with Ayaan’s snores in the adjacent tent as my background music.
When I awoke my gun was not by my side. There was no one else in the tent besides Beatrice and her soft breaths and Bobobo’s heavy groans as I had startled him awake. I placed a finger on my lips and he calmed down. I got up slowly and got out of the tent. Three of Ayaan’s men were sprawled on the sand unmoving. Was it the alcohol, did one of them sneak into our tent and take my gun as a jape?
I could hear Uncle Ayaan’s snores thundering in his tent. I entered it to find a fourth man on the ground. Hani was ever alert and she would get up with the slightest sound but now she lay next to Ayaan unmoving. I got close and realized white froth was coming from her mouth. I placed two fingers on her neck and she was as cold as the night’s wind.
I went back to our tent to find Beatrice and Bobobo missing. I could hear camels grunting and thumping in the distance and I could tell that whoever had invaded us, had not gone far. I untied a camel from my uncle’s fleece and began chasing after them, not knowing that my time at Dol Dol with Uncle Ayaan had come to an end.