24. 3. 2009

Jars of Victory - the Forgotten Legend

Arabian legends of the great war of nomads. Successful entry to Jars of Clay competition.

There have been treasures to hunt in every age of the history. Some of them became unbelievable stories of desire and courage. The others remained hidden and have been forgotten.
Many years ago in the old Arabia there was a legend. It said about an ancient culture worshipping snakes. They were nomadic hermits, traveling across the desert and spreading fear and death in the villages under their flags of snakes.
Every day villagers worried that they would come to their villages, stealing food, jewels and lives. No man was brave enough to face them, no guards returned from journeys of explorations. Wealthy village chiefs tried to get on well with the nomads by valuable gifts and sacrifices. But this just brought nomads more power and more fear to spread. Nomad chiefs used to call themselves lords and lived in wealth.
Most villagers turned hopeless and decided to have nothing rather than to worry about what they have. They accepted nomad lords to rule their lives. Many of them became slaves, lost everything or both at once. The others ran away to rocks to hide. It was a great move.
Rijad and Kahud were just small boys, when their family left the village. They walked for three days and three nights to the shelter of rocks. The next day their village was burnt down.
The two boys had father who taught them everything. When other children went to play, they ran down to the river and learned how to catch fish. When little boys began to look after sheep, Rijad was training with the bow and Kahud hunted rabbits with a pike. Their father made warriors of them, because of days that were just coming.
One evening Rijad went with the father. “Remember this! See them, but don’t let them see you!” told father to Rijad. He went to the rocks and wanted Rijad to find him. But Rijad never saw his father anymore.
The days went worse and worse. Many men disappeared without a trace. The two brothers had no one to learn from, so they learned from each other. They fought with sticks and went hunting together. They ran up and down in the rocks and grew stronger.
And the world outside the rock shelters changed. Villages joined to three fellowships. Each fellowship built a fort that was big enough for all the villagers to live in and strong enough to keep their fears away.
Nomadic attacks stopped during the days and merchants traveled in peace. But during the night roads were never safe. Nobody could see them. People just kept dying, one by one. Every night nomads sneaked into the forts and continued frightening people by silent murders and nasty thefts. To stop them, the fellowships began to build armies.
Kahud put out the guard fire and hided behind a rock. He heard the noise of horses coming. When they came closer, Kahud reached for his knife. He had been seeing this day in his nightmares for years. He jumped from behind the rock with no sound and threw his knife.
Then he opened his mouth in a scream of fear. His own father fell to the ground with the knife in his chest.
“I hoped it will be you.” father sighed and closed his eyes forever. Later the other horsemen told Kahud the news. They went to talk to Rijad and decide what to do. Kahud wanted their whole family to move to the fort, but Rijad refused. “The roads are not safe now. If it is like they say, we won’t have better chance to survive within the walls of a fort.” he said. Now the two brothers led the family and had to take decisions for all of them. Before they divided, they put their hand together. “For father.” So Kahud went with the horsemen, Rijad stayed in the rocks with the family.
Every fellowship built its own army. Kahud joined the Easter army. By his abilities and power he was put into first line to lead warriors into the great battle. Three armies from the forts met on the plain of nomads, where nomads lived and hoped to be never found.
Nomads never agreed to surrender. They raised their flags with snakes and went against the great army of three fellowships. Many warriors were killed during the long days of fight, but nomads still resisted. Their warriors were quick, powerful and had no mercy. They fought for long years not to end during a few days.
The three armies together turned the nomads to run. They all turned and ran towards the rocks, where Kahud’s family had their hidden village.
Kahud took the fastest horsemen and rushed to stop nomads from entering the rock shelters. Once nomads forced his people to hide, now it all turned against them. People of forts liked it, but Kahud did not. The nomads ran for their lives and neither the fast horses nor the sharp swords were enough to stop them. Kahud fell trying to stop running nomads with a few horsemen and his brother, Rijad, was killed defending his hidden village.
Later, all the nomads were caught and punished. The menace of snakes was over. Forever, people hoped and believed.
As a sign of victory, there were three jars of clay and a snake in each of them. The Northern fellowship buried the snake in silver, for the moon guarding the horizon every night. The Western fellowship buried it in gold, for the sun bringing new days of freedom and the Eastern fellowship buried its snake in amber, for the wind bringing rain to the villagers of three forts.
The legend says that one of the snakes survived and is still waiting for the new nomad lord. But the jars lie deep under the three forts, which became great Arabian cities - Tehran, Baghdad and Shiraz.