The first leg of the journey was peaceful and quite hearty for the pack. There was much conversation between them and laughter. This was the first time in over a thousand years that they were leaving the Jingo Forest, they were all truly excited just to be able to see new environments. And although it would take a day just to get to the southern tip of the Jingo if they continued on their present pace, to know that they were on their way out of the forest brought much elation. Elu kept the pace pretty brisk making the pack walk quickly which was no problem, even more so now with the packs recently inherited enhanced power. At lunch Elu set out with Lamangra and they brought back a small feast. After lunch they all washed up by the creek and Elu insisted they all take a short nap. Upon waking the pack pushed on and by late afternoon they were deep in the southern portion of the Jingo. The sun was starting to set when they were nearing the edge of the forest. Be’loi walked up beside Ongaro who had stayed up with Elu the entire time, even holding conversation many times along the way which none of the others understood. Be’loi felt a bit like an outsider as did the others save for Eyah who had no thoughts about it either way. Be’loi was their leader, Ta’Ru had put him in charge of this pack, it was up to him to make sense of what was going on. 

“Brother a moment…” Be’loi said to Ongaro who slowed down upon hearing Be’loi’s request. 

“Yes?” Ongaro asked knowing full well what Be’loi was going to ask. 

“How is it that you have come to speak fluently the ancient language? Never have you spoken it before. And it has only been since the Bushman has come.” Be’loi made sure to speak in lower tones. Elu never paid it any mind, he kept walking pushing through the bush making his way. 

“I never knew the ancient language, this morning when I was out in the forest alone Elu came to me and gifted me with his native tongue.” 

Be’loi raised a brow curiously. 

“He gifted you?” Be’loi commented suspiciously. 

“Yes, gifted me brother Be’loi. When he came to me this morning he spoke and I did not understand a word that he said! Then with the wave of his hand I could hear and make out his words. It is magic indeed!” Ongaro said excitedly, Be’loi rubbed his chin trying to understand it.

“Did he say why he did this, yet he did not gift the rest of us with the ancient language?” Be’loi asked.

“No he did not, I’m still trying to make sense of it myself.” Ongaro replied. 

“Maybe you can ask Elu why, it would be most helpful.” Be’loi said. Elu stopped just at the edge of the forest looking out at the clearing of green pastures, he raised one hand alerting the pack to stop. He lowered down hunching, the pack followed suit. It was now night, the stars poked through the tree tops where they stood high above, the full moon glowed across the blades of grass, they were now at the Lions Ground. The hunting place of many lions, and it was now the time that all of them hunted; but they all knew that this was not why Elu was being cautious, there was something more out there waiting for them.

“Once we leave the cover of the Jingo the hunt begins. When you are all discovered you will run for the Chanu Canyons.” Elu said, Ongaro slid up beside him staring out onto the grasslands. 

“Who will be upon us?” Ongaro asked. 

“The Dipur’ah for one. They are many making up the brunt of the dark army. But I also sense a greater power!” Elu said. The others did not know what was being said between Elu and Ongaro, but they knew that it was something serious. Be’loi inched up behind the two men feeling a little humbled, he did not like being in the back while they talked; he was supposed to be the leader not the Bushman, or the youngling.   

“What is it?” Be’loi whispered. 

“Elu says that once we make our way out into the Lions Ground we will be tracked by the dark army.” Ongaro said.

“Good! It is time to get revenge for our fallen brothers! At last we will fight!” Be’loi commented. Ongaro looked back at him sharply as if to scold.

“No! Elu said we must make a run for the Chanu Canyons when we are discovered!” 

“Look! I am in charge here!” Be’loi said feeling insulted, Elu kept his gaze out into the grasslands but extended his hand back at Be’loi putting his hand right in front of his face followed by a hushing sound. Eyah scooted up placing a gentle hand on Be’loi’s shoulder letting him know that now was not the time. 

“When they attack I will give the signal to run. When I do, run and do not stop to fight, only strike them down as you make your way to the canyons. If you stop you will be overrun and killed by sheer numbers as your fallen brethren before you have been slain. There is also a general among them. I will stay back and hold him back and as many of the Dipur’ah that I can to help your escape. Tell the others what I have said.” Elu said to Ongaro, but the entire time that he spoke his eyes remained on the opening. Ongaro explained the plan to the others, it felt foolish to have to run from battle but they decided to listen for the good of the mission. Once Elu knew that all understood he stood up and walked out into the clearing, the others got up and walked out with him. Elu scanned across the grasslands searching for any sign, he saw none. “One of the dark army generals is trying to seek me out, but the concealment spell that surrounds me keeps me from him. He will soon find you and the others though, for no such spell surrounds you. Let us go, and quickly!” Elu took off jogging, the others followed suit. They jogged at a casual pace making sure to stay close to the Trinity River that went south toward the Chanu Canyons. It made sense why Elu wanted the pack to head there. The canyons were full of underground caves and caverns that would be excellent for cover, but the Chanu Canyons were over three hundred miles away. Even with enhanced abilities this was going to be tiring. 

“This is odd, we are running from a battle.” Lamangra said under his breath. Elu started talking again and Ongaro translated as they jogged along. 

“We will have to make it until morning, the demons can not be out in sunlight.” Ongaro said. 

“Why did we leave the cover of the forest?” Be’loi asked sarcastically. 

“Because we were already being hunted. A large group of Dipur’ah picked up our scent back at our camp in the Jingo Forest, they plan on flanking us. They have already covered much ground once nightfall came. That was why Elu kept us at such a steady pace. But now we have to go faster, the Dipur’ah need no sleep or rest, soon they will be upon us!” Ongaro replied. The others shared glances of readiness, battle was what they longed for. Sitting and waiting for over a thousand years made them excited to go to war. But now instead of war Elu who was no warrior commanded the pack to run. Things were indeed confusing and very frustrating for the pack. For Be’loi he was starting to dislike this entire arrangement more and more. 
************************************

King Muab Raies walked with his bodyguards up the stairs of the temple of Eyahvah where he was greeted by two priests who nodded hello. On holy ground they were not required to bow to a king, it was holy law and the king had to abide by it. Large bond fires that were stationed in front of the temple kept the area well lit at night.

“Hello and good evening King Raies.” Priest Kufu said kindly. King Raies forced a smile but in his heart he greatly resented that the two priests did not bow to him. The high priest Pu’sotep was never required to bow even when he was not on holy ground due to the ancient holy laws that the land and people still respected that. He told himself that in time this law would change for all should bow before a king even priests. The king put his arms behind his back interlocking his fingers to show he would not greet the priests, he smiled sourly not trying to hide his distaste, even his voice was in a tone of disrespect toward them.

“I am here to see the high priest.” King Raies said coldly. Priest Dahman and Priest Kufu smiled.

“High Priest Pu’sotep is in prayer with the Most High in the temple, we can have High Priest Pu’sotep come to you for your convenience once he is done?” Said Priest Dahman. The king could not contain his anger.

“King Raies waits for no one! Now move aside!” The King said his face irritated now.  

“There is no need, I am here to speak with you King Raies.” Pu’sotep said, he was standing at the entrance of the temple behind the two priests, the light of the flames flickered off of his white robe. King Raies composed himself, smiled then cleared his throat.   

“Ah Pu’sotep, good! As I said this morning I would come to you this evening so that we may speak about the ceremony of the unveiling of the statue of Luma.” King Raies said while walking up to the high priest. The king motioned for his guard to wait. “May we speak more on this matter?” He added. Pu’sotep walked up to King Raies placing an arm gently around him.

“Yes please, for after much prayer I feel strongly in my heart that I can not be part of the ceremony. It would go against my own faith. The Holy Text says in the book of laws. first chapter verse one: I am Eyahvah the creator of all things! No other gods have set forth to do so, nor will there ever be, for there is only one true God! To worship false gods who do not exist is to slap my face and spit upon me! To make images and bow to false gods of wood, gold, silver, or by any creation of your hands is to stain the blessings that I have given. Your devotion belongs to Me, and Me only, for I am the God Eternal!” Pu’sotep exclaimed. King Raies sighed taking a deep breath and shaking his head.

“To be honest, I do not read the Holy Text I do not believe in superstitious things, so I am not motivated by it. Are you sure there is no way that I can change your mind? Please tell me that your mind can not be wavered on this matter high priest. This is truly important to me.” The king said looking discouraged. Pu’sotep smiled. 

“I’m sorry King Raies, my mind can not be changed. The false gods Re and Luma, I can not taint my own faith by endorsing it.” King Raies took his arm around Pu’sotep’s waist walking into the temple. Pu’sotep stopped trying to kindly keep the king from stepping any further, for no one but the holy class were allowed to set foot into the temple of Eyahvah at night. “King Raies please stop!” Pu’sotep protested, the other priests also protested. The guards stepped up behind the two priests striking them down with swords. The priests painful cries were heard by Pu’sotep who then turned to see them being hacked by the guards swords. 

“No! What have you done! Innocent blood has been spilled on holy ground!” Pu’sotep said loudly, his voice echoing through the front area of the temple. King Raies grabbed Pu’sotep by the throat with one hand then stepped behind Pu’sotep’s leg with his own causing the high priest to trip and fall backwards. The king slammed Pu’sotep’s head to the ground following the high priest’s body to the ground with his own kneeling beside the dazed high priest, King Raies kept his hand tight around Pu’sotep’s throat and brought his mouth close to the high priest’s ear as Pu’sotep gasped for air.

“I will let you sit in the dungeon for the next few days priest to let you rethink your decision! The day before the unveiling you better utter the words that I wish to hear!” King Raies yelled into Pu’sotep’s ear before standing. The king looked down on the high priest with great loathing watching Pu’sotep gasps as he tried to fill his lungs with air. “My advisors say that no man, not even the king may enter the temple of Eyahvah at night for death will find them!” He looked around mockingly staring at the walls. “But I stand inside the holy walls of the temple and only you are harmed, not I! This is because Eyahvah knows that I too am a god! Fear the god that can do harm to you priest!” King Raies said arrogantly. Several guards walked into the hallway standing behind the king. “You have three days! For in the third day I will visit your cell and you will be in agreement with me or the final ten priests and all of their families; including your own wife and newborn son shall die.” King Raies said. He then turned walking out of the temple without even looking back. King Raies smiled feeling redeemed. 

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