THE ATTAINER

1. A CONFLICTED HEART

born and from then till now, she has been one of the most important persons in his life. He tried to bring up a new topic.

”I heard we don bury our dead. What could be the reason? ” Her not-too-sad eyes fell on him, signalling the arousal of a better mood as she took the question. His trick was seemingly working.

”It has to do with our historical background. According to the patriarch, each time bodies were put into the ground, their spirits were believed to arise and roam the village leading to the fright, misfortune and mysterious deaths of the locals. As a result, our ancestors were impelled to devise a countermeasure in order to put an end to the calamity. ” She paused to observe Lores whose arms were crossed unmoveably like a statuette. His eyes were firmly fixed on her with interest. He was giving her the slightest attention as he had always done.

”What was the countermeasure? ” He asked eagerly. Apparently, her story resonated his alacrity. He had heard quite a few talks about magic and spirits from Idrissa who was ever reluctant to give details. The few he heard from the mage was because he cajoled him to do so.

”Dismembering the corpse, taking the pieces faraway from the village and incriminating them. ” He bobbed in cognizance at her enlightenment. Vatmos was a small village situated in the elusive backwoods of Liz. It was surrounded by hair-raising woodlands, so the idea of it being impacted by unspeakable entities seemed plausible.

Just then, an elderly woman clothed in a long gown and a wimpled hair neared them.

”Its time for dinner. ” She announced with a bright face.

”Okay. Well be there in a short while. ” Joanne replied, requiting her gesture with a friendly smile. Lores felt a shred of guilt build up inside him. Joanne had kept him company for hours. Despite the fact that she didn do much, he felt she deserved to rest. He gave her a half smile.

”Go back with Caro. Ill come after returning the oxen to the stable. ” With a simple nod, she returned to a close by wattle and daub house with the woman. He upheaved his sight to find the shaft of the setting sun glowing back at him. It just occurred to him that he was hungry.

That night they had pea cottage for dinner. It was a meal made by cooking peas, onions and herbs slowly over a fire. Lores noticed that apart from him and his mum, Joanne and Caro were the only ones present for dinner. Empty chairs were waiting to be occupied. It was unusual because everyone had always been available for dinner.

”Where are the rest? ” He asked as his eyes swayed at them successively. Vatmos night watch was done by shifts, and if his memory wasn playing tricks on him, no man from his household was supposed to be on duty tonight. Joanne frowned slightly.

”Youve forgotten again. The fire show ceremony will hold tomorrow night. Normally, my dad will join other vigilantes to do the night watch with the men. Vicksen joined him. ” His eyebrows slightly inclined upward in remembrance.

”He has finally joined them. He was never on my side. ” He mumbled inwardly as he dug into his meal. This was the first time Vicksen did the conventional night watch before the ceremony.

As per the tradition of Vatmos, whenever the fire show ceremony was to be held, the men would do the night watch as an entreaty to their deity called night immortal. They believed that their deity was a woman who would prefer more, the devotion of men to that of women. Lores didn care less about this so called night immortal. To him, it wasn a big deal that he kept forgetting about the ceremony. He believed that his destiny was in his hands.

”Stop rushing your food. ” Marianas voice interrupted him with a motherly smile on her face. But he was very hungry that he could eat up the bowl, all the same he managed to squeeze a smile.

”Yes mother. ”

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