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The Ylimaf and the Sacred Key
By J L Smith
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 J L Smith
All rights reserved.
Is There Someone Out There?
* * *
The sky is bright orange and red like a fire, with many dark, bold stripes of intense yellow and creamy gray. The golden sun lowers to the west. Relyt and Nivram run through perfumed knee-high wildflowers. The soft, cottony petals of red, pink, blue, purple, and yellow brush them as they swiftly pass. Relyt stops abruptly and stares forward. Nivram, still running hard, slams into Relyt, knocking them both down. They slowly rise to their feet, dusting off.
"What is the matter with you, Nivram? Why did you run into me?" Relyt shakes his head to remove the leaves.
"I didn't see you stop. Why'd you stop so fast?" Nivram, equally irritated, dusts off his shoulder.
"I just saw the most unusual bird," Relyt replies. "It was a huge black bird with a white chest, white feet, and some white on its tail. It must have been four feet tall. It was just staring at me." He keeps looking all around for another glimpse of the big bird.
"Four feet tall? You're crazy; there is no such bird," Nivram says, tilting his head and rolling his eyes. "You probably saw something else."
"Are you calling me a liar, Nivram? I saw it standing there, staring at me. Until you knocked me down. What's your problem?" Relyt pushes Nivram. "Why don't you watch where you're going?" He punches Nivram on the arm.
A manly voice from far away interrupts them. "Boys, boys, where are you? It's time for dinner. Come home right now!"
"I'll race you, Relyt. Are you ready?" Nivram says, grateful his dad called them home so his brother would leave him alone. He bends his right leg and extends his left leg behind him, curling his arms to his sides, ready to race.
"I'm ready to race," Relyt yells. "One, two ... you started too early!" He begins running with all his might. "Nivram, you're cheating! I'll catch you."
The boys run to a quaint little cottage made of wood, mud, and the most marvelous stones with colors of rust, tan, gray, and a bluish black. The roof is made of straw, sticks, and more mud. They walk in through the large arched wooden door. The floor is made of wood, and hangings of lovely, soft, brown tattered cloth decorate the windows. In the fireplace is a large, black pot with a roaring fire underneath.
"Hi, Dad, we're home," both boys say as they run in through the front door and slam it behind them. Relyt rests both hands on his bent knees and takes deep breaths. Nivram stands proud, smiling and breathing heavily, with his hands on his hips.
"Boys, where have you been?" says their father, Nairb, with a scowl. "I have been calling you for over ten minutes. You know the rules: when the sun starts to go down behind Nosirp Mountain, you must be home. Now, where have you been?" He begins placing dinner plates on the table.
"Dad, Relyt saw something beyond the force field," Nivram says, sitting down at the table. "It was a huge four-foot bird. Relyt, tell him what you saw."
Relyt starts describing the new animal while helping his father set dinner on the table. Toward the end of his story, there comes a knock at the door.
"Hold on a second, Relyt," Nairb says, getting up and answering the door. When the door swings open, there stands Town Elder Enaud. He is a tall, thin man with short dark hair, olive skin, and slightly slanted eyes behind round spectacles framed in copper. He looks angry.
"Hi, Enaud, we were just sitting down to dinner. Would you like to join us?"
"Good evening, everyone. Sorry to bother you, but Nairb, may I speak to you outside?" Enaud asks vaguely, with a conspiratorial toss of the head.
"Sure, Enaud. Boys, I will be right back." Nairb follows Enaud outside and swiftly shuts the door behind them.
Nairb motions for both men to walk to the side of the cottage so their conversation will be more private.
"Is there something I can help you with, Enaud?"
"Nairb, there are stories of your boys playing near the force field again. You know the town rules. I realize you've had a hard time raising the boys by yourself, but you need to enforce the town regulations." He pounds one hand on the palm of the other like a gavel. "Please, Nairb, for the sake of our people."
"I understand, Enaud; I will speak with them this evening. I appreciate your visit," Nairb says, walking back toward the front of the cottage.
Enaud walks away with a quick wave good-bye. Nairb goes back in the cottage, frustrated, shaking his head. He looks over to the table where the boys have already started eating dinner. They look like a pack of dogs as they fight over the last biscuit.
He sighs, smiles up to the heavens, and looks down at the boys again, fists on hips. "Boys, you have caused a lot of commotion today. I need you to stay in town and away from the outskirts by the force field. You know the rules. You must follow them, or I will have to punish you. Do you both understand?"
"Yes sir, we understand," they say in unison.
"Now clean your dishes, and head straight to bed," Nairb says, pointing to the bedroom at the back of the house.
Both boys quickly do as they are told.
Adventure in the Village
* * *
The next morning, when the boys awake, Dad has already left the cottage to have a meeting with two of the town elders, Enaud and Onyaw. He has left a note on the wooden table next to the kitchen telling the boys that he will return later. He told them to go to Ydnil's for breakfast and pick up some bread to go with dinner. He reminded them to stay out of trouble and away from the force field today, or else they will be in big trouble.
"Relyt, are you ready to go?" Nivram says impatiently. "Come on; you're taking forever. I want to pick up Nnylyks on the way to the bakery. Relyt, come on!" he says, waving his arms for emphasis.
"I'm ready. Stop yelling, Nivram." Relyt is bent over, fumbling for something under the bed. "Let me get my shoes on, and we'll go." He puts on tattered light brown suede shoes with no laces and a hard sole. Both Nivram and Relyt grab their jackets made of the same material as their shoes and beautiful blue scarfs of a very fine silk that smells somewhat of the wildflowers on the outside of town near the force field. They leave the cottage and start walking over to Nnylyks's house.
"Relyt, are you going to tell Nnylyks about that big bird you saw yesterday?" asks Nivram, skipping next to Relyt.
"No, probably not," Relyt replies hastily.
"Why not, Relyt? That was so weird. You have to tell her," Nivram begs.
"You know how her mom will feel about us being near the force field," Relyt says, kicking the rocks while he walks.
"Yeah, I guess you're right. But Nnylyks would love to hear about it."
"I know she would. Be quiet; we are almost there," Relyt says, pressing a finger to his lips.
Relyt and Nivram come up to a much larger cottage than their own. It is also made of the same wood, mud, and the most marvelous stones with colors of rust, tan, gray, and a bluish black. But her home is larger than everyone else's and has two chimneys, while everyone else has only one. She also has a front porch with a lovely swing made of long tan and dark green tree vines. The seat of the swing is a thick piece of dark brown bark. She has hand-woven wooden baskets all over her porch with enormous, brilliant yellow flowers spewing from them. Her windows have skillfully tailored pieces of red cloth. The front door is an arched, marvelously carved wooden door.
Nivram walks up to the door and knocks. Nnylyks answers. She is a beautiful young girl with long, silky blond hair. She is petite with small feet. Her eyes are as blue as the deepest blue in the ocean, and her eyelashes are so long they look like appendages. She has a birthmark on the top of her left hand in the shape of a heart. She has a sweet and innocent aura.
"Hi boys how are you?" she says with a smile, thrilled to see them. "What are you guys up to?"
"We're good, Nnylyks," Nivram says cheerfully. "Do you want to go to Ydnil's with us to pick up breakfast and some bread for dinner?"
"Sure, I can go. Let me just tell my mom," Nnylyks says quickly and runs back inside.
The boys hear her talking to her mother. Then she says, "Thank you, I will." Nnylyks puts on a striking vivid blue hand-knitted shawl and walks outside, closing the door behind her. "I'm ready," she says with an animated wave of her hand. "Let's go."
The three kids start down the rocky pathway, which is surrounded by overgrown, shapeless trees of green and gray. Some of the trees have large clusters of pink and white flowers in them. Some trees have grapefruit in them. The trees smell of citrus and lavender. Little orange and black bugs scurry about gathering tree leaves and fallen fruit.
"Hey, Relyt, tell Nnylyks about the big bird you saw yesterday," Nivram says, stopping to jump up and try to grab a grapefruit.
"Shut up," Relyt says furiously. He darts his narrowed eyes at Nivram.
"What big bird, Relyt? I want to know. Share it with me please," Nnylyks said, clearly intrigued. "Please, please."
"I don't want to tell you, Nnylyks, because of your mom, Queen Atsugua" said Relyt as he kicks a rock. The rock hits an orange and black bug, knocking it onto its back where it can't get up. The bug's legs kick the air as the three kids walk past, unnoticing.
"Well, you're not telling the story to my mom, are you?" Nnylyks snaps.
"No, I guess not." Relyt pauses. "Nivram and I were playing yesterday. I was looking past the force field and I saw a four-foot-tall bird. It was black with white markings. It was so weird—I've never seen anything like that before," Relyt says with a baffled gesture.
"Wow, I have never heard of such a bird. Can we try and go see it today?" Nnylyks asks eagerly. She starts walking backward so she can face Relyt while she's talking to him.
"Our dad said we can't go back over there anymore," Nivram chimes in.
Relyt nods in agreement. Nnylyks turns around and walks in the correct direction, disappointed in their response. They continue their walk to Ydnil's in uncomfortable silence.
The kids walk up to a quaint little shop made of the same stone as the cottages. The square front door has been cut in half. The top half is open and latched to the side of the wall. The kids knock on the lower half, and Ydnil comes to the door.
She is about as old as the elders but slightly taller and more heavyset. Her sandy blond hair is short and wavy. Above a lively smile, her eyes are stunning behind oval spectacles with a red metal frame. She is wearing a beautiful red and brown apron that covers her trunk and hangs halfway down her body.
"Hi, kids. What can I do for you today?" Ydnil asks merrily as she stands behind the little half door.
"Hi, Ydnil," Relyt says, returning her smile. "Our dad told us to come have breakfast today and to pick up some bread for dinner."
"Okay, kids, come in and sit down, and I will make you some cakes with eggs," Ydnil says as she opens the little half door and lets the children in. "I will also start making the bread. You may have to wait a while. Have a seat."
The kids sit at the small round wooden table with half-circle benches for seats. In the middle of the table are large wooden bowls with butter and a small wooden cup with sticky maple-colored syrup. In a tall burgundy ceramic vase are many wooden utensils which resemble a spoon combined with a fork. The shop smells of sweet cinnamon and warm vanilla. There are beautiful paintings on the walls of castles, cottages, people, and creatures the kids have never seen in their lifetime.
A few minutes later Ydnil has finished the cakes and eggs. "Here, kids, here you go. Eat up now. I want it all gone," she says, handing a plate to each child.
"It smells so good. Ydnil," says Nnylyks, with a slight bow of her head. "Thank you very much."
"You are very welcome," Ydnil says graciously as she walks away from the table. "Now eat up, and tell your mom I fed you well."
The kids eat so fast, it is as though the food simply disappears. They all gather their utensils and dishes and place them in the washing bucket. They grab an old tattered small cloth, wet it and wash down their table.
"Wow, kids, you were so fast. Your bread for dinner is not quite done, I'm sorry," Ydnil apologizes as she wipes off her hands. "Why don't you run and play and come back in about an hour? I will have your bread ready to go home."
"Okay, thank you. We will be back soon," says Relyt.
The three of them leave Ydnil's bakery and start walking.
"Where do you two want to go?" Nnylyks asks excitedly, staring at the two boys. "Do you want to go the old abandoned water wheel mill?"
"I don't know, Nnylyks; our dad has been very stern lately and wants us to stay out of trouble," Relyt responds cautiously and keeps walking.
"Oh, Relyt, you are such a goody two-shoes," Nnylyks says, laughing. "Come on, Nivram, let's go."
Nnylyks and Nivram both take off heading north. They start running through a large field of soaring wheat grass that slightly itches as they brush up against it. They head toward the rickety old wooden bridge across the lower part of the sparkling clear babbling brook that runs through Noitacav.
Relyt is not far behind, running after them. "Wait up. I am coming. Slow down!" he yells, almost tripping over a small rock half buried in the ground. "You guys, come on, stop and wait for me!"
Relyt soon catches up, and the three of them continue toward the old abandoned water wheel mill. It only takes them a few minutes to get there. The mill is made of similar stone as the cottages and shops, but the wall contains many large black shiny stones in no specific pattern. The roof is made of round logs, some of them still oozing sap. There is a huge paddle wheel on one side of the building. The wheel appears to be stuck, and a green fuzzy substance is growing on the underside of each paddle. The paddle wheel hangs over the babbling brook, suggesting it was once a raging river.
Two huge worn wooden doors with huge black metal handles block the entrance. Nivram opens one of the doors, and all three kids walk in onto a dirt floor. A musky, dirty smell fills the air. Large black metal tubes and spindles once helped run the water wheel mill. At one end is a tall wooden loft, now filled with large holes. A wooden ladder leading to the loft is missing some steps. On the loft is a table that is now splintering; broken ceramic cups and plates sit on top of it. In the corner is a small bed, big enough for one person only. The kids start running around and playing tag.
* * *
Nairb goes to the center of town to talk to Town Elders Enaud and Onyaw. Meeting up with them, he shares the story his son told him about the large black bird on the outside of the force field.
Onyaw suddenly looks extremely worried and suggests they share this story with the town foreseer, Eibbed. They walk together down a rocky path lined in colorful fallen leaves. Soon they come to an exceptionally large tree with huge leaves and long stringy lime colored vines. In the tree are small birdlike creatures, reddish-orange in color, with very small heads and no beaks. Their legs startlingly resemble human legs. They are eating leaves from the tree and swinging on the vines.
Carved in the tree are three holes that function as two small round windows and a larger round door. The window coverings are made of leaves sewn together. The door seems to have been made of tree bark and mud.
Nairb knocks on the door, and Eibbed, wearing a long flowing tan and green skirt, opens it and gestures at the three men to come into her home. Each one carefully ducks to walk through the round doorway. Eibbed is the same age as the elders but appears much younger. She's shorter with a medium build and very tan, with dark green eyes. She's very mysterious and has an eerie smile but is still gorgeous all the same.
She tilts her head and squints one eye. "Hi, Nairb, Enaud, and Onyaw. How can I help you?"
"Good morning, Eibbed. It's always a pleasure to see you," Onyaw says, bowing with a forced smile.
"Now come on, Onyaw, you only visit when you need my help," Eibbed says, smiling and shaking her head. "Come, have a seat."
They each sit on a large boulder covered with a lovely blue silk square. The smell of mint, sandalwood and rose fills her home. There are several small cages hanging from the ceiling, but only one of them holds a small yellow and blue bird. Many cups of various herbs and spices are arrayed on wooden shelves. A large black kettle with long thick roots sticking out the top hangs over a small fire.
Excerpted from The Ylimaf and the Sacred Key by J L Smith. Copyright © 2013 J L Smith. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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