The Legend Of Dayo…
THE LEGEND OF DAYO
Temi scowled darkly at Lord Railnaem.
“And what, if I may ask, would be the right price for you? I carry no money or gold,” he said calmly.
“Useless bargaining chips here, money and gold,” the Lord of the Passageways said. “For the sword at your waist, I’ll give you the Dead Olive.”
Temidayo did not bat an eye as he looked coldly at the treacherous man.
“What will be the use of the Dead Olive to me if I can’t get back to my land, you vile thing?” he asked coldly. “You forget that the door out of here can only be opened by the Royal DayoSword? And, in case you didn’t know, no king of Dayo will be able to retain control over the empire without this sword!”
“Does that mean you are not willing to part with it?” the man asked, and now his white eyes had changed to a sickly green glare.
“I refuse to say anything further about the sword,” Temi said. “You will point me to The Desolates.”
Now the green eyes changed to a vindictive yellow glare.
“Ah, don’t get angry, my prince, because trade has been an honourable vocation across worlds for ages!” he said with ice in his rumbling voice. “Perhaps, if the sword will not change hands, you will consider exchanging the Dead Olive with the maiden?”
Rose gasped suddenly with dejection!
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That would mean the end of the journey before it even started! Temi could just hand her over, take the olive, and return home immediately and save Dayo.
Rose bowed her head suddenly as tears stung her eyes. This should not even be a hassle, because Temi hated her, and moreover, she would not be able to go back anyway because she was not royal.
She sighed heavily and looked up at Temi with love on her face.
“I’m glad to have been of help, my love,” she said softly with a brave smile even as a single tear rolled down her cheek. “I don’t know the future I face here, but do take the olive and head back. I’ll take my chances with this vile thing to ensure Dayo is saved.”
Temi looked at her for a long time, his face emotionless, and then he looked at the hovering figure and shook his head.
“Show us the path, Lord of the Passageways,” he said curtly. “I will do no bargaining with you!”
“No, Temi, please!” Rose said and rounded him, looking desperately at him. “Take the offer, Temi, please! I’m doomed here anyway…I can’t ever leave this place. Please, I beg of you, take the Dead Olive and go. I’m glad you shall know no further troubles, and witness no more deaths.”
“No,” Temi said, looking up at Lord Railnaem. “She’s not for barter. Now, for the final time, show me the way to the Desolates.”
The man’s three eyes glared fiercely at him from behind the hood across his head, and then he stretched out his right hand sideways, dropping five round objects into the lake.
There was a booming sound, and the five objects changed into five canoes. Standing at the foot of each canoe was a very short man, a midget of sorts, holding a long rowing pole. Each man was dressed in huge, bulbous black clothes with hoods that covered their faces.
At the head of each canoe was a white flag with dark letters on it.
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The flag on the first canoe had the word EVIL, the second had HOPE, the third WICKED, the fourth FAITH and the last DEATH.
“May your wish be granted, Dayan King!” Lord Railnaem said, his voice now evil and cold. “You will choose one of the canoes to cross the lake because The Desolates lies yonder over the other side of the lake. You have a minute to choose your vessel.”
“Oh, Faith and Hope, which one do we choose?” Rose asked as she moved forward.
“Thirty seconds more to choose, Prince of Dayo!” the Lord growled.
Temi turned away from the hovering man and approached the canoe with the EVIL mast.
“Come, Rose,” he said as he climbed into the canoe.
“Temi!” Rose shouted, aghast.
She hesitated for a moment as a low, derisive growl of a laugh came from behind the white hood of Lord Railnaem.
“Ah, indeed a most stupid choice, Dayan prince!” he said. “That canoe indeed leads to death! Perhaps, I will give you another chance to correct your folly!”
Temi did not even look at him, but his eyes bored intently into Rose.
“Are you coming or not?” he asked coldly.
With a deep breath and a sense of doom, Rose clambered into the canoe. Temi looked at the black dwarf.
“Sir, kindly send us across,” he said.
The little man dug the long pole into the sand and pushed, and the canoe moved away slowly. Lord Railnaem suddenly bellowed fiercely, causing the lake to boil and roil fiercely where the other four canoes were, and as Rose watched with sudden horror, horrible steam rose from that portion of the lake, and the four canoes erupted into flames!
Lord Railnaem vanished, and the four burning canoes slowly sank under the hot water.
The dwarf in their canoe kept on rowing gently.
Rose gazed at the lake with deep terror on her face.
It appeared to be two lakes now; the part where the four other canoes had occupied was boiling furiously, casting wild jets of hot steam into the air, but the part they were was very cool and peaceful. As she stared, she knew that they would have been dead if it had not been for Temi.
He was standing at the head of the canoe, gazing out at the far end. Rose moved slowly and stood behind him.
“How did you know?” she asked softly, awed by him.
“The reflection in the water,” he said without turning.
“Reflection in the water?” Rose asked, confused. “The reflection of what?”
He turned his head then and looked at her.
“The name of that monster, Lord Railnaem, which was embossed on that horrible robe he was wearing, reflected on the lake as he was standing. On his chest, it said Railnaem but reflected and seen from the surface of the lake it spelt backwards as meanliar, as in mean liar, you know,” Temi said. “I knew he was nothing but a liar.”
“Goodness me!” Rose said, struck with shock. “And the name of this canoe, EVIL, reflected on the water and read backwards is…LIVE?”
“Live, yes,” Temi said. “The water was speaking the truth.”
She looked at him, and slowly a most distraught expression crossed her face, and her lips trembled with great pain.
“So, when you refused to barter me for the Dead Olive, you knew the man was lying, didn’t you?” she asked in a very pained voice. “You knew he was a mean liar who wasn’t telling the truth. If indeed, he had told you the truth, you would gladly have exchanged me for the olive, wouldn’t you?”
He looked at her coldly.
“You offered yourself, remember?”
“And I meant it!” she cried, sounding distraught. “I thought you really wouldn’t exchange me, that you meant it. But it was only because you thought the man would turn on his words, and that was why you refused. Isn’t that the truth?”
Again he looked at her coldly.
“You don’t know me, Roselyn Amaefule,” he said, and then he turned his back on her.
Temi kept glancing at the sky.
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It seemed the White Lands kept a different timeline because the skies were as it had been ever since they entered. They had come in when it was very dark at Dayo, but here it was still clear, although the sky was not blue, but tinged with a peculiar amber shade that made it look sickly and jaundiced. He noticed that the amber deepened gradually as they moved on, and by the time they got to the other side of the lake, it was palpably more yellowish.
The other side of the lake was rocky and led to two huge and tall metallic gates in front of them. One gate was a shiny silver metal, and the other was a golden metal.
Another white-clad tall figure with three eyes and holding a white staff was standing in front of the gates at exactly the mid-point of the two gates.
Temi turned sharply when he heard a shriek from Rose.
“What ails you?” he asked sharply, but she did not have to answer. He saw what had scared her himself.
The midget and the canoe that had brought them across were changing!
The canoe had merged with the midget as if they had been one all the time!
The rest of the canoe changed rapidly and became a scaly, black, shiny, snake-like creature! The black hood of the midget fell away, and Rose screamed. Even Temi was quite taken aback by what he saw!
The midget had three heads!
And they were not human heads!
They were the heads of deadly snakes! They hissed at them as the change became complete! It was a huge, fiendish three-headed black snake, close to an anaconda!
Its six eyes glared balefully at the two of them, and then it slithered with a furious movement into the lake, and they saw it moving at great speed across the surface of the lake!
They watched, fascinated, and soon it leapt into the air with a hideous shriek, and this time a pair of powerful black wings appeared on its sides! It flapped its wings, and kept moving into the horizon, a very creepy-looking flying anaconda!
“Goodness me!” Rose said as he put a hand across her chest. “What did we ride in?”
Temi was already striding across the rocky banks of the pool, headed for the two gates and their keeper. Rose shook herself out of the shock, and then she raced after Temi. When she got to his side, she linked her hand through his, quite unable to stop herself.
Rose expected him to draw his hand away at least, or push her with his usual coldness and berate her.
But he did neither.
His fingers crept around hers, and he held her hand as they moved toward the strange figure waiting for them. Rose looked up expectantly at Temi’s face, but he stared straight ahead as if he had not felt her scrutiny.
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She smiled to herself and walked beside him, revelling in the sweetness of the moment. When they got to the white-shrouded man he pointed his staff with the globe end at Temidayo.
“Watch where you tread, Prince of Dayo,” he said, his voice sounding refreshingly human-like for a change. “Where headed you?”
“The Desolates,” Temi said levelly.
“Indeed, I can perceive,” the strange thing said. “Two gates, silver and golden. You choose where your destiny lies.”
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