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The Journey Inward
The Journey Series
Copyright Bob James 2017
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the eventual publisher of this book.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales entirely coincidental.
This is Chapter 3 of my book. If you have not read Chapter 1, may I suggest that you read that chapter first. CHAPTER 1 If you haven’t read Chapter 2, you will want to read CHAPTER 2 before this chapter.
Termes was highly honored in the Qu’evahn community. They marveled at the way he led in the Qu’ruship assembly. Most knew of his obvious pain. Few knew his history nor how lowly he held himself for the failure with his son. Were it not for Cyret, his amazing wife, he might not have been able to maintain the calm demeanor to lead that he displayed. If Termes had sought political leadership amongst the Qu’evah he could have easily been elected to any office he sought. In spite of all he had done, he felt unworthy as a leader and so served as he could in the Qu’ruship assembly.
Today Termes felt like his failure was being rubbed in his face. Cyret was having great difficulty helping Termes contain his anger. The holo-visioner had talked about the gruesome murder behind the Kroll Rader Bar and Grill and the pictures in the background showed Seppe and Aiden working in the background. “It’s no wonder he never has time for us,” he fumed. “He’s trying to be some big shot police detective! He could help his people by being honest, but he thinks he has to hide who he is. I should disown him! No son of mine should be ashamed of the Qu’evah! If it weren’t for the fact that….”
Cyret interrupted him, something no other among the Qu’evah would do, “If it weren’t for the fact that you love him so much, you would probably disown him… yes dear, I understand.” She stared at him with her hazel eyes mocking him. Her quivering tendrils revealed the depth of her passion for him.
Termes looked at her with eyes blazing, “Woman! Do you know what your problem is? Your problem is that you know me too well!” He laughed a bit as he finished. He couldn’t stay angry long when Cyret shared her wisdom. Termes often told his friends that he would be in great trouble without his wife. Few realized that he was not just trying to be humble. Tears welled up as he resumed speaking, “What shall we do about Seppe? How shall we draw him back into the family? Or even the tribe?”
Cyret looked at her husband firmly. She wondered often about this well respected man. Very few realized that she was a major source of his strength. “If you believe that all things are in the Maker’s hands can you not accept that He might have some plan that you don’t know about? Do you not remember the story of Ertrey?”
Termes looked at her in a dumbfounded way. Of course he remembered that story. Ertrey had wandered from the tribe just before they became lost in the desert. The Maker had come to him, wooing him back to the tribe just in time to lead them from the brink of starvation into the land the Qu’evah now lived in. He had saved them from starvation in the desert and helped them settle in this land they now shared with the Wesdanian and other tribes. Termes had never thought to associate that story with Seppe. He wondered if Seppe might be leading them out of the bitterness of past and into a new era. Someone had to help the old folks like him understand this new technology! He narrowed his eyes and looked at Cyret with even more respect than normal. “You,” he said, wagging his finger, “you are a wise woman! If only people believed me when I tell them that you are more than my inspiration; that you are the brains of the team. They would compel you to be Grand Angana.”
“Oh hush,” she laughed. “It’s a good thing that none in the assembly know what a foolish man you are! You’d lose your place of honor and they wouldn’t serve you dessert at the common meals.” She knew when to be silly herself and often broke the tension when Termes was taking things too seriously; especially when it concerned Seppe.
“You are so right, my little honey bee. It is a good thing that you don’t sting,” Termes said with a smile.
“Oh, but I can if I need to!” Cyret said. Her face reminded him of the times that she had stung.
“How well I know,” Termes said. He gulped, the laughed a little as he repeated “How well I know.” Then he looked at her sadly, “And how do we help the Maker to persuade Seppe to return to the family? How do we help Seppe to see the light? How do we get him to return for even one assembly?”
“We don’t my love,” she said with a bit of sternness. “We lay our desires for Seppe to return before the Maker and offer our sacrifices and invocations. Then we trust Him.”
“I guess there is nothing better we can do,” Termes said. He sighed with resignation. He shuffled over to the household shrine and bowed before it three times before putting on his prayer shawl. Cyret followed him and followed the same ritual. Together they took a small spoonful of the prayer scent powder and placed it on the prayer candle. They lit the prayer candle together and offered their invocations while the scent powder burned. The prayer candle flared up as it reached the end of the scent powder and then burned itself out. Cyret took her prayer shawl off and bowed three times as she backed away from the altar; Termes did the same.
When they moved back to the table where they sat finishing their bitter morning drink, Termes looked at Cyret and smiled sheepishly. “I must confess. I asked the Maker to give me a sign that He would answer our prayer.”
Cyret smiled back, “I am not surprised, old fool. Remember, trust and never doubt. The Maker will never fail you. Even if His answer is to not answer your invocation, He is looking out for the good of His people. Even old fools like you and me.”
Termes bowed as he looked at his wife, “You are, of course, right my dear. I shall to remember that.” He turned and walked towards his woodshop to finish the book case he was making for the Grand Angana. When he thought he was out of earshot he muttered, “But I still would like to see a sign!”
Seppe rolled over in the bed and tried to get back to sleep. It wouldn’t happen. His eyes were wide open and too many thoughts were running through his mind. He had vivid dreams last night and they all pointed to one thing: he was going to have to contact his patron. He had no doubt that someone had used the ritual torture of the Qu’epic to kill Grenoj. When he discovered one at the crime scene he knew that he would have to search among the Qu’evah for a suspect. The fact that this troubled him, troubled him. He owed no allegiance to the Qu’evah. While he had been raised among them and his patron was a leader in the assembly, he, Seppe, had freed himself of all allegiance to the Qu’evah. So why did it bother him that a Qu’evah was a possible killer? Why did it bother him that Aiden thought all Qu’evahn women were immoral?
Seppe got up and meandered towards the cleansing station. He stepped in and the sonic waves disintegrated the dirt and sweat that had built up since yesterday. He felt invigorated. By the time he was finished he almost felt alive and ready to face the dreadful task ahead of him. He absent-mindedly turned on the holo-visioner and caught the end of a news story about last night’s murder. He winced when he heard his name mentioned as one of the detectives. He didn’t like anyone seeing him or hearing about him on the holo-visioner. He was afraid other members of the tribe who knew him in his previous life would try to contact him and reveal his Qu’evah roots. He didn’t know what would happen if Aiden found out, let alone the police department. That would be very dangerous now, especially since they were trying to downsize given the absence of criminal activity until last night.
He snarled and turned away from the holo-visioner as he moved towards his kitchen, really a kitchenette. He pulled a couple of granck eggs from the refrigerator and laid them down while he pulled out his fry pan. He preferred the granck eggs because they had a slight nutty flavor that warconk eggs didn’t have. While the eggs were frying he kept wrestling with the thought of how to communicate with his patron. He knew that patron would try to pull him back into the workings of the tribe. Seppe wondered why his patron couldn’t just let him live his own life. “Oh well,” he sighed to himself, “I’m going to have to put up with his attempts so I can solve this case.” He ate his eggs silently and put the dishes on the counter. He was going to need to clean some dishes tonight in the sonic sanitizer he realized when he saw that he was running out of clean dishes. “OK,” he thought. “I might as well get this over with and contact patron to see if we can get together.”
He walked reluctantly to the communicator, put it on voice mode and told the communicator to establish contact with patron. The connection was made and Seppe heard his patron’s voice: “Hello? Who is this?”
Termes stopped walking to the woodshop as his communicator beeped. He looked at Cyret and joked, “I told you I wanted a sign!”
Cyret swatted at him as he walked by and sighed. “What am I going to do with you, you old coot? It’s probably Myung from the assembly. She’ll want to confer with you about the next assembly.”
Termes pushed the two-way communication button and said, “Hello? Who is this?”
Seppe laughed. His patron, gracious as he was normally, still had problems showing that graciousness on a communicator. He answered, “Patron, it is I, Seppe. I need to find a time to meet with you.”
Termes did a double take, and then pushed the speaker button on his communicator. “I’m sorry, that was a bit garbled. Who did you say you are?”
Seppe knew what was happening and all he could do was laugh to himself quietly. Patron was putting the call on speaker so that Matron would be able to listen to their conversation. “I said, ‘Patron, it is I, Seppe. I need to find a time to meet with you.’”
Termes smiled smugly at Cyret. She looked at him and shook her head. Sometimes she wished that the Maker also had a wife who would keep Him from doing things like this. She smiled wryly and held her arms up in surrender. She understood that Termes was sure that this was a sign.
“Seppe, my son!” he exclaimed, “You’re always welcome here. All you need to do is say the word and we’ll welcome you with our arms opened wide.”
“Thank you, patron,” Seppe said stiffly. He was not enjoying this call. “When would be good for you?”
“Two more sunrises and it shall be the day of assembly, my son,” Termes said. “If you come for assembly, then we can talk after.”
Seppe sighed. He knew that his patron would make that suggestion. “That would be acceptable patron. I will see you in two more sunrises.”
If Termes had noted the extreme lack of enthusiasm in Seppe’s response, he was smart enough not to point it out. “I’m grateful my son. Any visit from you is like a drink of cold water on a hot day.”
“Thank you, patron,” Seppe responded. “I will see you in two sunrises.” He clicked off the communicator before Termes could respond and shook his head. He sighed. He really didn’t want to have to see his patron, but…. He pulled the Qu’epic from his pocket and stared at it through the evidence baglet. “If only you could talk, Qu’epic. You could tell me stories and I wouldn’t need to see patron. He sighed again, more audibly, and then started getting dressed. He and Aiden had a long day ahead of them that included a trip to the Ca’suisse zone. He wasn’t worried about the trip, though. He had already taken care of the most unpleasant task of the day.
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