The Plagued Oasis: Part Twelve

Nick Martins, Staff Writer

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The night was full of screams. The horrors of consistent warfare was traumatizing to the Aczen soldiers guarding the walls. Men on the opposing forces grew a bad moral every hour spent attempting to climb the wall. Countless soldiers opposing Aczen were attempting to barge their way through the front gates of Kade. The Oasis was still burning away at ease putting everyone’s mind in an everlasting state of fear. Their grudge they have with one another misplaced their judgement of current events. Dead bodies were tossed away in the lake and as a result the water started becoming undrinkable.

At the palace, Kha’em and Akela were packing their things. Their gold coins took up several bags. Food and water came second to their essential list of things. Tabia and Ozier had a short wedding ceremony in the royal worship room. After, they met Kha’em and Akela in the bowels of the palace. They stood in front of an old stone doorway.

“Alright, this is the path to the ruins outside the city.” Kha’em said.

“There we’ll meet a priest, I have contacted him to prepare several camels for us,” Akela explained, “then we’ll make our way to east to Egypt. Which shouldn’t take long at all.”

“And son. I know have some explaining to do on the way to the ruins. So if you have any questions, ask away.” Kha’em said.

They began walking. The tunnel became smaller and harder to breathe in. Ozier asked many questions as to why he was to be orphaned away. Kha’em responded with complex political explanations. Tabia and Akela walked together silently. Then Akela grabbed her in closer and began to whisper.

“Listen, when we get to the end of the tunnel we draw arms. There is an ambush waiting for Kha’em. Ozier must not know of this, can’t have any loose ends,” she murmured.

Tabia nodded and they both continued to walk down the tunnel with everyone else. Suddenly there was a torch light toward the end of the tunnel. Kha’em pointed in excitement. He ran toward the light like an innocent child. There he disappeared from the sight of everyone else. Ozier chuckled at the thought of his father running. Then screams of terror.

“Father?!” Ozier wailed.

Ozier, Tabia, and Akela ran to the torch light at the end of the tunnel. They emerge from the tunnel and onto the surface. There stood three of the emperors of the oasis and below them laid Kha’em, the fourth. His stomach had a stab wound. As he squirms on the ground Akela approaches the emperors.

“Just as planned gentlemen. Great work,” she said walking forward greeting the emperors.

“Thank you,” Eopeii said lunging at Akela stabbing her, “Sorry, it’s just business.”

“Run Ozier!! Follow the sunrise!! Go beyond the ruins!!” she screamed.

Tabia drew arms and escorted Ozier to the edge of the ruins. Eopeii’s, Ngozi’s, and Aufaa’s men chased after them. There was a man with four camels at the end of the ruins. Beyond him a sea of sand. The man seemed very confused, drawing his a sword from a holster hidden underneath his robe as they came closer.

“Where is Akela? What’s happening?” He stood in a defensive stance, ready to strike.

“Akela has been stabbed, her last words were to meet you here.” Ozier said in quick succession.

“Damn, looks like the deal went sour. Well take the camels and head toward the sunrise, I’ll stay behind and take care of your approaching problem,” the man said whilst soldiers sprinted with relentlessly speed, “Divines take me now!”

The man ran into the fray. Tabia and Ozier got onto a camel and traveled toward the rising sun. Its light overcame the shadows the dunes. The soldiers gave up several minutes into the chase before turning back to the ruins. Hours pass like seconds. They both reflect to themselves as to what happened, attempting to put the pieces together. An awkward atmosphere sunk in, the temperature rose, and the sun’s oppressive light made the trip unbearable.

Ozier reached into one of the satchels for water. Not finding any bota bag he searched the next satchel. Then began a frantic search for a bota bag. Satchel after empty satchel. A sudden realization became apparent; a seemingly endless journey in an infinite desert. Tabia asked Ozier what was wrong.

“We ran out of water!” Ozier was freaking out, “How are we going to make this journey?!”

“Well. Maybe we weren’t supposed to make it, ever thought about that,” Tabia said.

“Are you? Intoxicated? Great.” Ozier questioned pessimistically.

“You need to relax. I didn’t drink anything. I’m as thirsty as you are Ozier,” she said.

“Then why were you yapping about us deserving this?” He asked.

“Perhaps there is a divine being watching above us,” she said, “and perhaps it has decided we are to join it.”

“You’ve gone mad…” He said, “By my royal blood, you have desert madness.”

Ozier got off and ran pass the camel tripping, rolling, and screaming his way east. Tabia chased on camel after him, yelling at him about the divine being.

Then a human figure rose from the sand in front of Ozier. He stopped running and stood scared. It wore a cloak, wielded a long spear, which was pointed at Ozier, and a mask made out of some sort of wood. Suddenly more human figures rose. As the gains sand fell off their bodies it became clear to Ozier that this was no mere mirage. Tabia, on her camel, stopped twenty feet behind Ozier.

“Ozier, come back to me,” She said cautiously.

He backs up slowly. The other cloak wearing, spear wielding people expressed curiosity through their masks by quilting their heads slightly. Silence was as loud as thunder. The wind occasionally broke that silence. What scared everyone was an outburst from one of the mask people.

“Hold it!” she yelled, “I know that man… My boy! He has returned!”

Tabia’s jaw dropped. Ozier.