Hashim Khail and Keeper of the Gates

In an attempt to please his father, Hashim Khail, a young prince finds himself in a dilemma after a great tragedy struck him. He wakes up in a foreign land, enslaved and at the mercy of a new king.

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6. Chapter Six: The Foe within the Four Walls.

King Yuri assembled his soldiers and they left for Tzuria at dawn. By sunset they had entered the land and made a camp not far from the capital city of Karan. On their arrival, Hashim disguised himself and prepared to go into the city but Nabil stopped him. As the morning sun shone upon the battlefield, King Yuri’s two thousand army stood behind in full battle formation.
“You must remain calm when the representatives from the other side come forth for negotiations.” Nabil said. “Keep you armet on no matter what!”
“I can barely breathe,” said Hashim as he pulled down the visor of his helmet. “I don’t usually fight with such thick armour, I can barely see with this thing.”
“I’ll need you to trust me on this, okay?” She said.
“Okay.” He answered, “But as soon as it gets rusty out there, I’ll take it off!”
“Not a problem, just don’t take it off before the battle starts no matter what. Do you understand?”
“Do whatever she says,” King Yuri said. “Nabil always knows best, trust me!” He smiled at her with such profound respect. She smiled back.
“I understand!” Hashim nodded.
“I hope you really do!” King Yuri added.
Hashim agreed to heed to her advice.
They mounted their horses; King Yuri, Hashim, Nabil and her sisters rode off. As they approached the centre of the battlefield, so did five representatives from the Tzurian side who galloped to meet them; four soldiers on black horses and their leader wearing a full plate armour along with his white horse.
Hashim and his team had reached the meeting point, they halted their horse in wait for the others. Nabil turned to Hashim and uttered no word, he gasped and placed his hand on his sword.
“Hands off sword!” She said.
Hashim did as told.
“Act natural.” King Yuri added.
“Not on a battlefield!” Said Hashim, “And not when the one who murdered my family is proudly riding on my beloved brother’s favourite horse.”
Nabil and King Yuri looked at each other.
“When the scouts told me of an army riding against my city I thought it was a joke.” Said the one in the full plate armour, “Don’t be threatened by the armour, I haven’t worn it before so I felt today is such a good day to let the beautiful sun shine on this silver, King Yuri.” He laughed, “You’ve got my generals and commanders worried but I reminded them that our new-borns alone outnumbered your army. Funny but a true fact, huh?”  
King Yuri smiled.
“So if I may ask out of respect, from one king to another,” he added, “What gift have you brought that’s so special you had to bring it yourself, Yuri?”
“It’s not much,” King Yuri said, “But it sure going to be amazing.”
“Escorted by a handful of boys dressed as soldiers?” He mocked, “Come on!”
“I’ve come not to fight, that is sure, oh great ruler of Tzuria.” King Yuri said, “Gifts? I do bear them but it’s in my tent back there, you know, we had to camp for the night. I told my men we were coming to see a man who believed that the precious life of his family and the ones who loved him stood between him and pleasures of this world, so why not rid himself these eyesores so he’d rule the kingdom and glide on the wings of greed.”
The four men from the Tzurian side pulled their swords.
“Easy! Easy, men!” Said their leader. “We are Tzurians, we don’t cringe when a hog oinks!”
The men returned their swords to the sheaths as their leader took off his helmet. Lo and behold! At that very instant Jamil’s face was revealed.
“Remain calm!” Nabil whispered to Hashim.
Hashim’s legs began to shake and so his hands. He agitated on his horse, he found it hard to believe his eyes. His heart pounded uncontrollably.
“Well,” Jamil responded, “When I was a kid, my friends and I would say things we don’t really mean, you know, boys always do that. Even if it leads to a fight, we always laugh and at the end of the day, we’d let the friendship flourish…but you see,” he sighed, “This thing you just said  Yuri is…very-very-hurting, my friend.”
“That’s the whole idea.” King Yuri said.
“Now, I am a merciful king!” Jamil added, “I have already forgiven you but, you see, my men have heard these silly or should I say foolish thing you’ve let slip off that tongue you used to kiss that whore you call a queen, so I shall let this pass on one condition; that you come down your horse and kneel before me.”
King Yuri laughed so hard tears rolled down his eyes.
“I have behind me, three thousand men on foot and on horsebacks.” Jamil bragged, “a thousand and one archers, and if you look up and around you, you’d notice about three thousand or more assembling themselves right now as we speak. They are gift from a friend.”
King Yuri turned and realised that the entire place has been surrounded by soldiers in black uniform. He and his men were besieged and confused at the sight of the sheer number of men that surrounded them, they lost their morale.
“I am not my father’s weakness, Yuri.” Jamil added. “I am not that weakling. We had a deal, yes, if you have come to collect your share of the bargain then we can go into my castle like the men of royal that we are, and I’ll have your gold delivered to you so you’d go and settle your pathetic excuse for an army the debt you owe. But um…I’d hope you have preserved his dead body or at least his head.”
“I require nothing in return for almost…helping you kill your own brother, Jamil.”  King Yuri said.
“I am that man none of you sons of whores should dare dream of raising your tongues against let alone your swords!” Jamil yelled, “Bow before me or I’ll kill you right here, right now, and make that stupid whore of a queen of yours feed on hay for the rest of her miserable life.”
“It’s obvious you didn’t hear the word ‘almost’ in the last thing he said!” Hashim yelled.
“Who is this leper?” Jamil asked as he giggled, his men laughed along.
Jamil gave a signal, and one of the men beside him raised a flag and wove it. More than a thousand men that surrounded the battlefield began marching downwards. The Therakanians were terrified.
“The Gruxians!” King Yuri yelled, “You coward!” He appeared frightened by their number and size.
The Gruxians charged towards the centre of the battlefield.
“You see, my friend.” Jamil said, “I am not as stupid as you think. I am in the business of making friends, making friends with the right people that is, and I offered you that chance which you turned down. Not only have you come before me with an army to insult me, but defiled our soil with your foul presence.”
Nabil rode her horse gently and stood between the two sides as the Gruxians approach them.
“Coward of a king you are,” Jamil added “You should throw them in the room where meals are prepared not fields where battles are fought!”
“Vina!” Nabil called.
Vina came down from her horse and walked to her sister. Nabil turned to her and smiled. Vina then removed her shoes and sank her feet into the soil, she lifted her two hands and chanted; tiny roots sprouted from where she stood.
Jamil, his men and their horses drew back.
The roots grew larger in size and many more sprouted from the ground and made their way to the Gruxians’ position, the roots ferociously pieced the grounds as it approached them. The spikes impaled them; many where flung into the sky by the roots and landed on bare ground, some on the sharp edges of the roots that appeared to come to live. The Gruxian army began to flee but the roots were faster than their dreaded heartbeats. Jamil watched as the might of his ally was put to shame in a matter of minutes.
The entire Gruxian army were wiped. Fear gripped Jamil’s heart as two of his men ran away back to where the Tzurian army stood.
Vina slipped her feet into her shoes and quietly went back, she climbed her horse.
“Shurriah!” Nabil called again.
“No, Nabil!” Hashim said as he got off his horse. He pulled his sword from its sheath and threw it on the ground, then walked right up to Jamil, the two men beside him quickly drew their swords. Hashim took off his helmet and flung it away.
“Brother?” Jamil said as he trembled.
Hashim stared at the two men, they pulled back their horses.
“You fool!” Jamil yelled as he turned and stared at King Yuri. “We had a deal! You betrayed me?”
“Betrayal?” Hashim remarked, “You? Speak of betrayal?”
“Brother, it’s not what you think!” He said.
“Sure, I know!” Hashim responded, “You ophidian! Who was the one wearing the Barbute?”
Jamil was bewildered, he turned to his men and then swiftly pulled his sword, “Someone loyal to the course!”  He yelled as he delivered a strike; Hashim dodged and dragged the horse down to the ground along with Jamil.
Shurriah evoked a powerful vortex that flung the other men off their horses. Hashim then seized the sword from Jamil and placed it around his neck. “Let’s hear what the king’s men have to say about this.” He said as he dragged Jamil towards the city.
“Hashim wait.” King Yuri yelled.
“You all stay here!” He yelled back. “I’ll go settle this alone with my people. Stay-here!”
“I told you this was a bad idea!” King Yuri said to Nabil.
“Stubborn man!” Nabil whispered as she got off her horse and ran after them, “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Just go back, Nabil!” He answered, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this!”
“Hashim,” she said. “What if…”
“Nothing will happen!” He interjected. “Go back!”
“I can’t!” She said. “I am coming with you.”
“Oh, brother, this one smells like she is in love with you!” Jamil mocked, “I can see it in her eyes too, and she is wearing your favourite colour!” He laughed then turned to Nabil, “Did he get this dress for you? It looks great on you!”
Hashim continued to drag Jamil along to where the Tzurian army were stationed.
“Brother, you don’t have to do this!” Jamil pled, “Hey you!” referring to Nabil, “Talk to your lover here for me okay? I was going to come look for you. I swear on mother’s grave.”
“You shut up!” He yelled, “You killed father and planned to have me killed?”
“I can explain everything,” he added.
“No! No! No!!! Jamil, No!” Hashim yelled.
The entire soldiers pulled their swords, and the archers drew their arrows as Hashim brought Jamil to their position.
“Don’t shoot!” Jamil yelled, “You imbeciles!”
“Where are the elders?” Hashim yelled. “Where are the generals?”
The soldiers made way for them to pass. Hashim pulled him to the middle of the Tzurian army.
“It’s Hashim!” Some of the soldiers mumbled.
“They said he was killed!” Others grumbled. They whispered his name.
“You call this man your king?” He yelled, “You rested your loyalty on the knees of this traitor and murderer of our beloved king?”
All the soldiers remained mute.
Some elders made their way through.
“Hashim?” Said one of the elders who made his way through the soldiers. “We were told you died in an ambush the day your father was found dead in his chambers.”
“How did my father die?” He asked.
“Heart attack!” Said the elder.
“Lies!” Hashim said, “He murdered father and almost had me killed, King Yuri will testify to his ugly act.” He kicked Jamil to the ground, “And for what? So you’d…”
“Why must it be always about you?” Jamil interjected. “You’re as weak as was father! Weak! Arrest him!”
The entire soldiers stood still. Their silence deadened his command.
“I said arrest this man! Now!” Jamil yelled once more.
 “Stand-down!” Said one of the Generals, “This matter shall be treated in accordance to the laws of this kingdom.”
“I am the law!” Jamil yelled, “I say take this man away! Seize them all at once!”
“Prince Hashim,” said the General. “Please, relinquish your sword. You know it deep within you that your father’s soul aches as he watches these happenings.”
Hashim turned to Nabil, she nodded.
While everyone’s attention was on Hashim, Jamil drew a dagger from his right shoe and with great speed quickly stood up to attack Hashim, Nabil blocked him and the dagger got buried in her stomach. Hashim turned and punched Jamil to the ground.
“No!” Hashim cried, “Nabil, please no!”
Vina and Shurriah let a powerful cry out as they rushed toward them, they found Nabil coughing out blood with the dagger in her stomach. They began to chant as they raised their hands up; a thick dark thunderous storm formed a wild tornado over them. A dark cloud blanketed them, and the grounds began to shake.
“Vina! Shurriah! No!” Nabil said, “No! It’s okay!”
The sisters calmed down and so did the storm, the ground stopped shaking as they along with King Yuri ran and knelt next to Hashim.
Nabil managed to stretch her left hand towards Hashim’s face, “I told you about the broken bridge.” She said as she buried her head in his chest, and gave up the ghost.
Hashim, and her two sisters sobbed inconsolably.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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