The elders sat around the morning fire eating and enjoying one another’s company, it was still dark. No words were needed this early in the morning, just the moment. Once the sun rose there would be time to converse with one another. The previous months had been good for the Na’Chirii. Hunting food was in abundance, shelter readily available, and no one in the village was ill. The life of a nomadic tribe was a hard one but at times like this when everything was good, early morning meetings with the elders started off silent so that everyone could reflect on all the positive things that was happening. It was believed that when the elders did this, the positive energy would stay with them for a time keep bad things away.

 Changa the oldest and wisest of the elders sat with his legs crossed smoking a tiny wooden pipe chewing at the tip for the flavor that came from the smoke that billowed in small puffs. Many were lounging on the ground looking up at the morning stars while others were seated like Changa in meditation. The sun started to rise giving way to faint light in the sky to the east, Changa’s eyes fixed on the figure of a man who was walking in the distance toward him, it almost seemed an illusion of the dessert. Even from such a distance the mans brightly colored robe could easily be seen flowing gently on the morning breeze. Changa could not see who the man was but instinctively he knew in his heart who. The others did not seem to notice. Changa’s eyes lowered blowing smoke through his nostrils and holding the pipe with one hand, he continued to chew but began chewing at a faster pace out of anticipation not even realizing it.

“Ta’Ru…” Changa said, no one seemed to hear his uttered words that he spoke under his breath. 

“Yes, you remember me. Good. Do you remember your promise to Eyahvah?” The voice said like a hushed echo. 

“Of course, but my son will not be happy. When the promise was made he was but a boy. Now he is a man with a wife and child.” The other elders continued to relax staring at the sky as the sun chased the stars away, they did not seem to hear the conversation that was taking place between Ta’Ru and Changa. Changa kept his eyes on the distant robed man that never seemed to get any closer, he maintained constant distance from the elders yet he walked going nowhere one leg walking in front of the other toward the elders. 

“Do you question Devine Way? Are you having a change of heart?” Ta’Ru asked, his voice was soft and distant. Changa closed his thin lips around the pipe inhaling deeply, when he exhaled the smoke came out of both the mouth and nostrils. He fought down any odd emotions.

“No, I knew this day would come. It is for the betterment of mankind, and for the glory of The Most High. No matter what I might feel I know that Eyahvah guides my footsteps even if my heart betrays me.” 

“You are a good man Changa, you and your seed will be blessed. Your son had been chosen and has now been called. I will arrive in three days to collect him.” Ta’Ru’s voice faded, Changa kept his eyes fixed on the distant robed figure and like a mirage it vanished. Changa chewed softly on the pipe, the herb in his pipe had been finished, and the robed figure had vanished yet he kept his pipe in his mouth and continued to stare off into the distance. His son Elu was thirty cycles old now. He had married a beautiful woman, Tiri was a devoted wife and Elu loved her with all his being. Tiri bore Elu a daughter, Ykoi was six cycles old now, Elu was close to her always taking her out on hunts and showing her how to seek out prey and how to find remedies in plants or animals. It was not the tribal way to allow women on hunting excursions let alone a little girl, but Elu used his pull as son of the head elder to allow Ykoi to come along. Ta’Ru’s visit would be difficult for Elu, very difficult. After all he never knew that he was chosen back when he was a little boy. The Grand Mage Ta’Ru came to Changa so long ago saying that his son was chosen by Eyahvah to be touched by magic on his thirtieth cycle. Elu was now thirty cycles. Changa knew that this day would come, and he discouraged Elu from finding a wife yet Tiri found Elu. She was not originally from the Na’Chirii, she had come from an extinct tribe that was devoured by demons to the north of the Chanu Canyons along the Trinity River before it veers west to the Tears of Oshi. It was a river settlement called Ori Village. The women of the Na’Chirii had heard from the hunters of the gloom and death that they had come across when they discovered the empty village of Ori. There was only one survivor, a young woman named Tiri. Although the elders welcomed Tiri she was not treated as one of the Na’Chirii by most including the women. It was not hard for Changa to dissuade his son from marrying because there was no woman Elu found appealing in the tribe until he met Tiri,  ut Tiri was not of the Na’Chirii. 

They were inseparable once they met, an instant bond between the two that even Changa could see. He could not stop their love from blooming and upon their marriage Tiri was finally welcomed by all. Changa told himself to forget about Ta’Ru’s visit, maybe in time all of that would fade away and his son would not be needed. Changa would almost forget Elu’s destiny but he would not fully let go, he would wait until the his sons thirtieth cycle to pass, then he would forget. Ah but the visit of Ta’Ru shattered any hopes of normality for his son. In three days time Elu would be touched by magic and live as an immortal guardian. His life would forever be changed after that. Changa took the pipe from his mouth tapping the edge on his hand letting the residue fall out of it. He stood, the others stood with him. 

“Continue the commune without me. There are matters that I must attend.” He said earnestly. The other elders wanted to question this matter but none ever came forth to ask. Changa walked off with a heavy mind leaving the elders to question in silence.     

Elu jogged casually, Ykoi sat upon his shoulders he spotted a solitary skinny tree that sprouted up from the dessert sand, Elu slowed carefully taking Ykoi off of his shoulders. 

“This is the mgo tree. It has many thorns around it. One prick from the thorn of the mgo tree will cause paralysis that lasts for hours, the tree’s thorns are toxic. This can only mean that the tree protects something.” Elu pulled his small dagger from its sheath while sliding up along the tree, he smiled as Ykoi looked on intently.

“Be careful father!” She called out with concern. 

“Always little one, always.” Elu stabbed the ground near the tree and started to dig. “You must dig close to the mgo where it’s roots are thickest, it is there the most water is contained in its root.” He continued to dig until a thick dark root was revealed. He dug around the root then began cutting the root itself. “You must cut quickly or you will lose the water inside of it.” Elu pulled the cut root up and placed it in his mouth and sucked on it. Then handed it to Ykoi who placed it in her mouth and sucked on it while smiling, she always enjoyed these excursions. “The root combats dehydration, but also can reverse the effects of the paralysis caused by the thorns. Another remedy that comes from just chewing on the mgo root is that it can cure an upset stomach.” Elu watched his daughter as she chewed the root and smiled. Kneeling down beside her he was overcome with pride. “My beautiful daughter.” He said fondly. Ykoi looked over Elu’s shoulder and pointed.

“Grandfather!” She said with a smile she ran past Elu who turned around seeing his father walk toward them. Ykoi sprinted to him tossing the root to the ground, Changa smiled then reached down scooping her up. Laughter filled the air from the both of them. Elu was suspicious, his father should be at the elders meeting why was he here? Elu stood up and causally walked over to where Changa and Ykoi were embraced. 

“Should you not be at the elders meeting?” Elu asked curiously, his eyes stayed on Changa’s face studying his expressions. Changa could not hide his emotion, he was usually good at doing that but not today. He lowered his granddaughter gently patting her on the head. He looked down at Ykoi with a smile.

“Run along child, your father and I must talk.” Changa said. It was then Elu knew there was something serious. Ykoi protested that she wanted to stay, Changa looked at Elu with contemplation that made him feel uneasy.

“Ykoi!” Elu said rigidly while staring at his father “Go back to the camp now!” Ykoi knew that her when father used such a voice it was best not to test him. The smiled wiped from her face. She turned and ran back to the village crying, Elu watched her run away it broke his heart to see his little girl so upset knowing he was the cause. Now he was upset with his father for causing the disturbance to begin with.

“What was so important that I had to break my little Ykoi’s heart?” Elu said agitated. Changa’s facial expression was an odd one to Elu because he had never seen such distraction and it scared him. 

“Many cycles ago a mage by the name of Ta’Ru came to our camp, you were just a little boy. He asked for a private audience with me so that we might talk about the future of this world.” 

“Please father, just be quick with what you have to say!” Elu said irritated. Changa nodded his headed slowly in agreement. 

“The mage said you were chosen by Eyahvah to be touched by magic.” 

Elu laughed. “Well I can tell you that it never happened. There is not a magic bone in my body! Had there been I would have used my magic to prevent the famine we experienced last cycle!” Although Elu found what Changa said humorous, Changa was not laughing. 

“Ta’Ru said that he would return on your thirtieth cycle to give you the magic. And thereafter you would have to leave with him and go to the Felesi Mountains for training.” 

“Felesi Mountains? The weather would be too much for the tribe, it would be harsh for Ykoi! This is a foolish thing!” Elu was full of emotion and he let the negative emotions run wild. 

“The journey is not meant for Ykoi, your wife, or the tribe. The mage means to collect you only.” Changa said in a strong voice. Elu began pacing back and forth nervously not understanding.

“But why? None of this makes any sense to me!” 

“Ta’Ru said that he would tell you and only you why once he came.” 

“In three days time!” Elu protested mockingly. “I will not leave my family, my answer will not change in three days!” Elu said before storming off. Changa watched his son run off back to the tribes camp, his heart was heavy with grief. His son was chosen by Eyahvah, and for what ever purpose there was good in it. He could only wonder what negative effects would come from this.