25 July 2010

Doom's Wing: The Legend of Tellam by Temitayo Ilori

Tellam raised his head when he noticed the movement. He moved to the bedside and the horror he had worn on his face for a few days melted away as a smile burst through the same face. The lady on the bed blinked continuously as the muscles in her eyes were trying to readjust because she had laid in coma for some days now. Her eyes were trying to contain the intensity of the light from the rising sun. Tellam moved closer to her and touched her hands, they looked into each other’s eyes and tears broke through the tired eyes of the two of them. Though crying, but his face remained smiling. The beautiful figure on the bed smiled back but words were still locked up in her mouth. Not all tears are a result of pain; some tears are only the extreme expression of joy. She only smiled but did not utter any word. Tellam embraced her on the sickbed and poured into her breath of love through his kiss. They mesmerized in this moment and smiles from the heart of the two collided.

“Though you are in pains and agony, I still love you. You are my angel and my life. Nothing will tear our souls apart. You’ll live to see each dawn break in my heart.” Tellam held her hand tightly. His eyes were very weak from the night watch he had kept. He continued, “You’ll live and be cured because you are in the hands of the best physician in Mead.”

She did not respond to him with voice but ripples of smile waved on her beautiful face telling how lucky she was to have known a man like him.

Tellam looked into her eyes, took hold of her hands and wondered how much he had come to love Gestry even in pains. Millions of thoughts flashed through his mind, but he never knew which one to recount. Is it their moments of mild and severe pain, because life had tortured them together, or the moment of love and joy that they always wished would remain forever? Tellam could not deny the expression of these thoughts, therefore, he smiled a little and tears trickled down his cheek. Gestry reached out with her other hand and wiped his face.

“You are all I have. You are what I need. You are my godsend. You are my key to immortality and eternal bliss. You are my life; in both rain and sun you have stood with me, in both pains and good health you have never neglected me. Even in my pains, you have even been more loving and you are never tired of the commitment of love. You’re indeed my love.“

Tellam teased, “was I your angel in your deep sleep?“

She smiled and replied with a nod of approval. Gestry smiled again and her face became immaculate in beauty as if she just ascended from death to glory of life. The morning had broken further and the chirping and squeaking of birds could be heard in the room. It seems the people of Mead woke late this morning as voices were not dispersed in the town.

“Hey Tellam, you complete me.”

“Without you, no us.” Tellam concluded to her.

“...what would life have paid me with, if not for you? May be death by now?” Gestry said.

“We’ll make it through together.”

They smiled again and never took their eyes off each other. Gestry broke the silence.

“What did you say the name of the physician is?”

“They say Harieti. The man with three healing powers. We can count on him for the restoration of your life. He is the best physician in Mead.”

“Did you say Mead?” Gestry questioned.

“Forgive me. Yeah I said Mead.” The questioning look on Gestry did not expire, therefore Tellam continued. “...when we were about to enter this town a few days ago, you slipped into coma. It was a horrific evening; I thought I’d lost you. In tears and fright I took you into this town and caring people of Mead directed me to this hospital...” he paused when he found that Gestry was lost in her gaze. “Hey what is it now?” Tellam asked with shakes in his voice.

The voice shook her out of her deep thought. She looked up to him and said, “Nothing really, just remembering what horrors have gutted our lives together over the years.”

“Lady, a sweet dream cancels a million years of nightmares. You never can tell what tomorrow will look like. We never thought you would be free from the bondage of death in the hands of coma this morning, and here you are. So we never can tell-”

He had not finished with this statement when a finely dressed man entered the room with all the corners of his face rooming smiles. Harieti entered the room with extravagant charisma coated with humility.

Harieti had been the physician in this hospital since he finished learning his art of medicine many years ago. He had been the man of cure for many diseases for both poor and rich; there is no element of disparity in him at all. Harieti was a man with a heart so healthy to induce anybody that was ill with good health and a hand of life that exchanges death in the spirit of the sick with life. Harieti, the man mostly known for his words of understanding and wisdom as well; they say you cannot go to him and come back the same; if his healing heart does not induce you with good health, his life-loving hand will touch you and heal you and if the two misses out, the words from his mouth would ever bath you with good health and life. And if he should combine the three to heal you, then you are lucky.

He intimated himself with the bed and Tellam took a step backward to allow him do his work after they had exchanged gestures.

“...you are so wonderful Tellam. For days now, you have been a guiding angel to this lovely and priceless gem of yours. Do not worry in your heart, she shall be cured.”

All Tellam could do was smile. Then Harieti turned to Gestry. “What sweet dreams kept you asleep in coma all these days; you have suffered your love his sleep both in the day and at night?” Silence filled the room when he paused, then he continued. “Whatever dream enticed you into coma; it’s not worth keeping your Tellam awake for more than a moment. It’s not worth tearing the loving heart of Tellam with fear. Do you understand?” His words gave them assurance. “You have a friend in Tellam, he is your godsend.”

Gestry looked into Tellam’s eyes again and they both dished out warm smiles. Harieti walked away with Tellam. Gestry followed them with her eyes. It amused her the way the two men chuckled and laughed in whispers as they walked toward the entrance of the room.

“Tellam, rest your heart, she will be cured. Her blood has been ravaged by some aliens of poor health. They have destroyed her blood. We will try to save her and give her into your hands better than you brought her into this town.” Harieti said. But those were just words of hope. There was more to it than that.

Tellam appreciated him. “You are a wonderful man Harieti, I have heard about you. They called you the ‘man with the triple power’.”

Harieti mumbled some laughter.

“The best thing you can give to people is a sense of love and belonging. If you learn to do this, you would have an amazing effect on them, that is when you can attend to their problems, and when you have learnt to be a man of honour. This was what I learnt when I was young and that has made me the man of my dreams today. Tellam let me tell you something, there are some things you cannot buy with money. You cannot buy amazing effect with money, you have to earn it by showing to the people that they have a place also in life. This you cannot deny.” Harieti said.

A moment of silence passed and Tellam kept nodding his head in affirmation.

Tellam broke the silence. “I paid the token you required to your medicine maid-”

Harieti interrupted him, “how fast you were in getting the money, but I thought you said you didn’t have money when you brought her?”

“Nature works out the impossible.”

Harieti continued, “Tellam, where do you go from here? I mean when Gestry is cured, to what town or city are you headed?”

“I was born a wanderer with no roof over my head. We don’t know where we will go. But I know I will get there one day with stories in my mouth. But I have come to find a lost treasure in Mead. A story.” Tellam replied him.

“What stories and what treasure are you talking about?” Harieti asked.

“Hmm...” Tellam giggled. “The stories of my life will be told to my mother whom I have never seen in my life. There’s a man in Mead who has a clue as to how to find my mother.”

The look in Harieti’s eyes showed deep concern for Tellam.

Harieti excused himself to attend to other duties. Tellam returned to the bedside to have a view of the person he had come to love in his life. Less than two minutes later, Harieti appeared on the scene again distressed. Sweat and fear was all over him. He trembled as he spoke with the royal guards at the entrance of the room housing sick Gestry. Terror filled the whole place. Both Tellam and Gestry watched the event as it began to unfold. Then Gestry whispered, “What has he done, what is happening?”

Tellam replied in whisper, “I don’t know what he has done.” But he began to fidget.

Intermittently, the eyes of Tellam and the other party which constituted, Harieti and the royal guards interlocked. They kept dragging words for a few more minutes before they finally resolved to take the accused away. Harieti would not stand in the way of Paton by preventing the arrest of Tellam. He finally pointed him after minutes of futile defence. It was a total shock when the guards pounced on Tellam and tore him from the bed. The event turned around. Gestry, in distress, reached out for Tellam’s hand to drag him back, but it was a legion of strengths against a dead strength. Gestry exhausted her strength in whispering shouts and wails. She needed somebody to explain the situation to her but none she could find before coma enticed her with dreams again and she would not but oblige. The wet and shaky hands of Dr. Harieti tried to do magic, but it was late.

The death of Paton’s son shrouded the morning of Mead with mourning. Everybody in the town, even the inanimate things and the animals remained in gloom when the news was disseminated.

“They said he was murdered in cold blood in his cart on his horse in the rise of the moon.” The news was on everybody’s lips. Though the detailed account of his death remained unsaid, different rumours flew around the town. The Meadian mourned the death of their heir as the town remained excessively calm. The market only stood in empty stalls as nobody traded anything whatsoever. Gallows remained thirsty for fresh blood each waking morning. “…soonest, soonest, soonest, you shall be fed…” the gallows thirstily cried and waited for the neck of those that would be hanged.

The house of merry on the hill, the royal house of Paton crumbled under the influence of gloom that took over the town. Ashes were thrown around and it shrouded the whole courtyard. The well carved mighty gothic pillars of the royal courtyard could not support it as the whole house crumbled under the weight of this horror.

The blood-stained cart in which the cold blood murder took place was parked in the garden, mounted by two guards. But would these guards be able to wade off flies from licking the blood? Where were they when Dankre the only prince of Mead was murdered last night? Dankre before his death was the best read like his father and the only possible heir to the throne of Mead. He was taught and raised in manners and thoughts of a king. Very humble and kind but Dankre is not without subtle dint of arrogance in his attitude. His mother would not trade her time and care for her son for anything else and Paton would not allow anything to trouble his son’s mind before he addresses it. Such love was invested in a son that was killed in a night.

“Justice or judgment without fairness, whoever is part of this will go down the drain,” Paton threatened in his torn-apart state of mind.

The whole citadel of Paton became flooded by the silent tears that stemmed from the hearts of those who felt for the death of honourable Dankre.

It was 8a.m when Tellam was dragged into the royal court of Mead. Paton was missing in the session because the grief was too much for him to bear. But his absence wields as much power as his presence. The honourable elders sat still; words were scarce in their mouths. Their eyes were weak and their visages were sad. The shreds Tellam was wearing before he was arrested that morning had been totally torn from him before he was put into the dock. He stood there half naked.

Hamit sat real quiet in his chair. He reflected in his heart, “Years ago, I was in this same court, as a little boy defending myself, but now I stand to judge people.”

When the hall settled down and the ruffleness in the air had faded, Hamit stood up from his magnificent seat with a rod of justice in his hand and walked to the dock. His eyes revealed locked away mixed feelings which were subtle and ambiguous. He observed the accused with keen eyes. Tellam’s body had peeled from the slashes of whip. Blood laced all the pores in his body.

“Do you know why you are brought before this honourable house of the elders of Mead?” The majestic and manly voice of Hamit decreased the intensity of the silence in the hall.

Tellam’s ill look and his unshaven face only told of a mere wretched man that would do anything to get better. Locked up behind in his heart was a far away look of dangerousness. Who knows? Hamit moved closer to him for one last time and said, “if you don’t know, you have been charged for the murder of Dankre the son of the governor of Mead. Does it suit you to know that the gallows are always thirsty for the blood of murderers and their brother acts in this town?”

“…ask him where he came from; I heard the tramp entered the town a few days ago… “

Tellam only looked estranged. He was in shock throughout the session. When the elders found they were not getting anywhere, they declared in consensus that Tellam be confined to the dark rooms of the cave just a few feet from the royal courts to be judged later when the shock has left him. Tellam remained locked-jaw. He could not be condemned because his own mouth had not condemned him. He had not spoken a word.

“-Take him away until he is ready to speak. Take him into the pit of the dark cave.” Hamit commanded.

The grief of the murder did not allow anybody the best opportunity of anger this day. They were all calm in gloom.

While the guards were taking Tellam out of the hall, he came face to face with Solom and quickly, he turned his face away. Solom could not disengage his eyes from him.

“…there is something about him…” Solom thought. By then Hamit had joined him on his desk. But Solom was lost in his thought that he did not know that Hamit stood with him. He repeated his thought, “…something, yes, there is something about him…”

“What is it about him?” Hamit’s voice disengaged him. Solom looked up into Hamit’s eyes and they both looked in the direction of the guards, dragging Tellam away. Simultaneously, another guard dropped a note for Hamit. It was from Paton. Hamit and Solom knew what the content of such well penned letter would be: a message of crucifixion and death.

There were two calibres of men you would find in the pits of the dark cave of Monort in Mead, they are the: the criminals, who one day would be condemned at gallows and the guards who maintain law and order amidst these criminals. The cave of Monort was a place where darkness tortures the soul of men. Only those who have not been condemned by the law are given the opportunity to see the light. In the dark cave of Monort, a streak of light is like the visit of God.

The darkness of Monort is greater in intensity than that of the moonless and starless midnight.

“…take him to the pit by the side. Think he should enjoy the last light of his life before he is condemned and die in agony…”

“…move on you…move on.” The guards shouted as they each led a criminal, either condemned or about to be condemned, to their pits. Metals clattered and voices scattered in noises. These are the two things that keep the place alive when the men of the pits are carrying out their daily chores. The eyes of the men confined to live in Monort are tormented by darkness. Some only opened their eyes wide, but could not see again. The light of the day does not break at all in the cave.

That evening at about the moonrise, Tellam rose from where he had rolled in sob of tears and went following the direction of the thin streak of light that entered his pit. The straw that carpeted the place was all over him. He tried to free himself from the dirt all over him as he moved in the direction of the light. The source of the thin streak became a shaft of light when he moved the stone covering the window. It was a full moon parading the sky of night. He became entranced by the beauty when he looked out. More tears fell from his eyes. His look was no better than the mad in the cave. The memories of the past days lingered in his thought. Facing him was a night owl hooting on a bare tree not quite a distance from him. The thought of Gestry filled his heart. Their love had suffered much pain and yet had not crumbled. He looked the moon in the eye and the message of light was embraced by his heart. The memories of his life flooded his heart; a life of mysteries.

At the same time Tellam was distressed in the cave of Monort, pondering over his entire life, Hamit and Solom wore quietness as they pondered in their hearts in Hamit’s study. Before them was the letter of Paton, indicating the condemnation of Tellam, either found guilty or not. And that should not take more than five days before the decision is reached. The ultimatum was that close. Justice must prevail.

“Hamit, you can’t condemn him…” the words stuck on his tongue. Then he continued again, “there is something to that boy called Tellam. You cannot condemn him.”

“What is to that tramp that makes him above the law?” Hamit asked, convinced that Tellam could not escape being hanged.

Solom combed is all-greyed hair with his hands, “son, you cannot condemn that Tellam.”

“Solom…” Hamit charged forward in desperation, “but you know for which crime he was charged and who he has offended. You taught me this art, you have been my mentor all my life, you know better than I do and you are convinced beyond doubts that he would be hanged to death.. Why then do you tempt my senses?”

Solom stood from his stool and went towards the open window. He stared at the full moon ascending the steep of the heavens in beauty, and he whispered some few words.

Hamit asked, “Show me the words on a straight line why I should not condemn this Tellam if his own act condemns him already? Solom, you know it is difficult to stand against the wish of Paton.”

Paton is a very gentle and meek breed of humankind. But he is as hard as a rod when he decides.

Solom smiled and he said some words of riddles, “The moon of the night, the moon of the night, what a beauty you are in the dark of the night. You, who reveal the truth of light in the gloom of darkness of the night.”

“Solom, it is not a night for riddles of words. What do you see?” he joined Solom by the window side and they watched the moon together. “Solom, we only have five days to make our decisions. What do you say?”

“Wait son, you will see the reason you can’t hang him.” Solom said.

“Solom,” Hamit stressed his name.

“Trust me, you will see.”

They both took a break from the discussion and concentrated on the moon. White clouds flew the night sky in great speed.

Hamit broke the silence, “the moon is quite exquisite tonight. It is a bit different from every other night. Do you think it has a message for us?”

“The moon has brought the time for the truth.”

Hamit’s eyes widened and it interlocked with Solom’s.

“The truth about what?”

“About his life. His life is made of stories.” Grey-haired Solom replied him.

“Stories? Does that mean he should not be condemned if found guilty?”

“Hamit, the answer to your question is found in the dark cave. If ever you seek an answer, you will deny your nobility tonight and we will enter the dark shadows to seek the answer you desire.” Solom charged him.

Hamit was shocked greatly to hear this from the mouth of Solom. No noble has ever dishonoured his nobility by entering into the shadows of Monort, it is forbidden. The shadows are only meant for the condemned. The law of Mead disrobes any noble who touches the stone gate of Monort, let alone enter into the shadows to seek answers from the mouth of an accused that Paton has condemned already.

“I will never walk in the shadows of Monort to seek any answer. Never! I will never risk my nobility because of an answer that will do no good. Let him be as Paton has declared.” Hamit quickly retorted.

“What is the essence of nobility when we are afraid to go and get the truth that can bring beauty to our future, the truth which lies in the darkness of Monort. The truth that preserves law. Isn’t that the legacy you once preached? That the law is not to kill alone but to preserve life.” Solom dismissed Hamit’s fear.

Hamit’s eyes widened.

“The answer in the dark cave could be the meaning of your life...” Solom added as he reached for Hamit’s drawer and brought out a pouch, (the only valuable property the guards found and seized from Tellam) and poured out its contents. “And these could be a great lead to solve all these mysteries.”

“Two necklaces, a lead to solve these mysteries? Solom don’t be crazy please. Paton…”

“Shush.“ Solom silenced Hamit.

“But Dubanon…how do we pass through such giant, a loyal servant to nobody but Paton…” Hamit voiced his fears.

“Dubanon… hmm. “ Solom sighed.

That night they entered Monort which is just some hundred feet from the court of Paton, disguised. They dressed in tattered apparels and covered their heads with veils like those who bring food for the inhabitants of the dark rooms. Solom knocked the stone gate with his stick and they waited for a few more minutes before Dubanon, a dreadful looking giant looked out through a hole to them.

“What do you seek in darkness?” Dubanon asked them the coded question.

“To feed those who live in shadows with bread.” Solom answered him while Hamit stood in silence and watched in fear behind him. He watched the two men speak codes to each other. They waited another minute before the stone was rolled away and Dubanon the giant allowed them in and a step into the dark cave, he stretched his hand forward and asked them for a note of confirmation. Hamit and Solom looked into each other’s eyes, and then Solom brought out a note that bears the seal of Paton. “Paton asked that the accused brought in today be fed generously till he meets his death.” Solom spoke as he handed to him the sealed note.

Dubanon tore it and read through the lines. After he was sure of the confirmation, he gave a nod of approval. At this point, Hamit had turned ice. He now saw that even the strong can be weak when he goes beyond his jurisdiction.

While Solom and Hamit were in Monort, heading towards the cave of Tellam, led by a guard, Tellam had escaped through the window of his mind and rode away on the horse of memories. Different stories made his life and he would tell the stories to the world...

Doom's Wing: The Legend of Tellam was written by Temitayo Ilori and is an excerpt from Doom's Wing: The Legend of Tellam (Value-Books 2010).

Copyright © Temitayo Ilori 2010.

Temitayo IloriTemitayo Ilori is a young and passionate Nigerian. An environmental biology graduate of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology. He is an author and an entrepreneur. He is also a social reformation and enlightening teacher and speaker.

Now he is focusing solely on making his debut fantasy novel Doom's Wing: Legend of Tellam, which was published by Tylor Business Home, a huge success. This book, unlike other novels, is a value book; a social re-construct project to re-emphasize, re-educate and re-educate on values that are now lacking in the social system.

You can meet him on Facebook, he will be delighted to receive you.


Fredrick Chiagozie Nwonwu said...

Thank you Temitayo for lighting the path many are sure to follow.

onlyonezee said...

Nice work! Enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

Pls where can I get the book?

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