Chapter 42 is a warning 

Deep within the desert is a large and luscious oasis. The city around the oasis has in recent years grown large and wealthy with the travel of traders through the desert. 

The scouts returned to the oasis by mid afternoon having not met any lost travellers or foreign troops. 

“Open the gates!” shouted one of the guards as the scouts came from beyond the dunes. The heavy iron gates opened just as they came galloping in. One of the stable hands ran up to the leader of the scouts. 

“I can take my horse to the stable myself,” said the leader. Their face and body were covered in thin white robes to protect them from the sand and Sun. Only their eyes which glared at the stable hand were not covered. 

“The chief wants to see you. He said it was urgent.” The leader of the scouts unhappily got down from their horse. 

“He needs water, at least two buckets,” instructed the leader of the scouts. The stable hand nodded. “And you need to brush him and cover him in a blanket.” The stable hand continued to nod. “He also needs-” 

“Yes, yes, I know. You need to go quickly the cheif does not like to be kept waiting.” 

The leader of the scouts took their bags off the horse and stormed off towards the direction of the cheif’s tent. Throwing open the fabric door of the tent the leader of the scouts walked up to the cheif of the settlement who was smoking cardamom flavoured smoke. 

The cheif exhaled a puff of smoke and chuckled to himself,”Ah- Helen you look as unpleasant as always.”

“I am in no mood to put up with your frivolous errands. The suppliers were supposed to arrive yesterday and are still no where in sight. The local bandits have become more idiotic and bolder and even attacked one of my men. If they intercepted the traders we will be in trouble and we will soon run low of flour and dried-” 

“Yes, yes, I know Helen. I am worried too but all we can do now is be patient and wait.” 

Helen was tired and in no mood to entertain the cheif. “Then why did you summon me sir?” She was fumming at the ears and spitting venom. 

“You received a letter from your father.” The cheif picked up the folded piece of paper for Helen to take. She did not take a step or lift a finger. 

“What does it say?” asked Helen impatiently. 

“Well it is a private letter.” 

Helen laughed sarcastically, “Ha- like privacy ever stops you, stop kidding I know you’ve already read it. What does it say?” 

The cheif was silent for a moment. It was not news he wanted to convey to Helen himself. 

“Your brother died last week.”

“Which brother?” 

“The second prince Castor.”

“Well my father must be happy,” replied Helen. Her voice was softer and choking as she was trying to hold back tears. 

“It may be best for you to return home for th time being.” 

“Now is not the time!” shouted Helen, more angry than usual, “I’ll wait until everything is settled here and the traders arrive with the supplies.” 

“Alright.” replied the cheif knowing she must be very upset. 

“I need to send a reply to my father and brother Pollux. I will bring the letters this evening please ensure it gets sent quickly.”

“Yes, of course.” 

Helen left the tent as tears began to fall like an unstoppable river. The cheif resumed smoking as he read over the letter. 

He exhaled a puff of flavoured smoke and said to himself, ” a time of turmoil is upon us.” 


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