Previously on Lorius Midel: The Knife

 

Birth of a Marksman

Lorius Midel

(Ep 2 in the series)

©Samuel Mogbolu

 

I thought on what she said for a long time and knew not when I dosed off. When I woke up, the house was quiet, rather too quiet so I came out of my room to see if anyone was home.

It appeared I was alone for even the servants were nowhere to be found. I figured Traore had gone to hunt with the hunters.

It was usual of him to accompany them, as he enjoyed any opportunity to use a weapon and at the same time, show-off his prowess. He was allowed to do this because he was the second born.

Let me digress a little. In Kalahash, the first child of a man took after his father’s profession and was taught all the secrets of the trade.

Our culture labelled any behaviour to the contrary as imprudent; if I presumed to display nearly as much interest in hunting like Traore, the hunter would find me suspicious.

He may even go further to think that my father had put me up to it with the intention of stealing his secrets. Each man was jealous of his trade because this was what stratified our society.

All this was making a mountain out of a molehill in my opinion. But even if our culture was not so caste inclined, I was still bound by etiqutte becayse I was somewhat of a prince

See we had an overall King whose word was law and he was the brother of the emperor. But concerning the province of Kalahash, there was a ruling council answerable to the King of course.

The council consisted of twenty members, ten princes, five hunters, four merchants and a physician.

My father was the physician at that time and because he was the only physician on the council, had the power of five votes.

Every year, the King allowed the council to submit a bill and because of the power my father possessed, whenever members of the council wanted to pass a new law, they tried their best to get my father on their side, as this would help swing the votes in their favour.

This usually happened when non-royal members of the council had a clash of opinions with the members of the royal family; that is the ten princes.

The princes would then try to curry my father’s favour, likewise the non-royals. Then the triumphant faction would pass the bill to the King.

Due to the power of my father’s votes, he was called the Saif; a position envied by other members of the council. He wore a golden bracelet on his right hand to signify his status.

A physician did not always hold this position.

In fact the people’s vote determined the bearer of this rank and once someone was voted as Saif, say a physician for example, all other physicians became automatically disqualified to run for council, as the Saif must be the only representative of his profession on the council; this was the law.

The position was for life. So I was more or less, a prince as my father was the second most powerful man in the province and was fond of moving around with an entourage of black clad guard (Elites).

Perhaps as a by-product of his position, he was immensely affluent. The only person of equal rank with my father was the Quadi (Judge).

But prince or no prince, I was home alone and it was almost nightfall. I walked outside and looked towards the slave quarters; a gathering of small huts, joined by a thin corridor.

I could see some children sitting on the veranda. I felt the cool breeze waft around the premises and watched the grass sway in the field as a cow swished its tail; it was paradise.

This old memory of myself appraising my father’s compound that night sometimes appears to me and I wonder why it made such an impression on my tender mind then.

 I went and sat on a chair in the parlour watching how the firelight merged with the moonlight.

The soft cool breeze flowed through the slightly open windows and I would have dozed off, when I remembered my knife.

A strong urge came upon me to learn how to use it, and to become adept at this use, like my brother Traore was good with the bow.

But what use shall I create for it- shall I carve wood with it? No, it was not made for carving.

I impetuously picked up a plank lying in the quadrangle of the front house. And with pieces of red and white chalks, went on create a target.

I placed the target on a pole in the courtyard, moved six steps away from it and started to take aims with my knife.

The first try was horrible and my knife flew so wide, no one would believe the target was what I was trying to hit in the first place.

The second, third and twentieth tries were not much better than the first and when I finally hit the target, the force was not enough to pierce the plank; making the knife to fall rather mockingly to the floor.

I spent about two hours there and made very little progress. But the thing about activities like this is that, one always has the feeling that he’s almost there- just one more try and I would make it. And it could go on and on and on.

Then, I heard the unmistakable footsteps of Traore as he entered the compound, for the entire compound was paved except for the fields. So it was possible to hear footsteps.

1/2

About

I’m just Samuel, bony faced, laidback, absentminded Samuel. I don’t like to say much, I try to stay out of trouble. Some might say otherwise but that's some for you. Point is we don’t care, let’s just be chill and have fun. So come by whenever and ask me whatever.  It’s our party now and it won't start until your arrival.