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.


2. Chapter Two: Imperial slave.

  The next morning, Hashim was brought before King Yuri of Therakania. He was in shackles, as he was dragged before the king, he noticed that the one seated on the throne was a young man about his age, and there was a young beautiful lady who stood on the left side of the throne in a full length vibrant-red silk hooded cape. She looked like a princess but the hood over her magma-red hair made her appear more like a sorceress and not from it.
Things are not as they appear, try to remain calm said a soft female’s voice that sounded in Hashim’s head. He looked up and wondered if the lady in red was the one that spoke. She only crossed her arms across her chest, her visionary eyes anchored at him.
The king, a tall stalwart young man stood up and walked down to meet them, his cloak bore his royal emblem. The soldiers bowed before him.
“Hashim Khail, I presume.” Said the king, “I’ve longed to meet you. I never expected it to be this soon, and in this manner.” He stood with arms akimbo, “Pardon my men, their heart only reveres one throne.”
Hashim stood 6-feet tall with his broad shoulders and bare muscular chest before the king.
“You’re much taller than I expected,” the king added as he looked up at Hashim. “You look more of a warrior than a prince, my friend!”
“You had my brother killed, “Hashim said, with a burning lethal stare. “I swear on my mother’s grave, I’ll make you pay!”
Hashim sighted a dagger around the waist of one of the soldiers, he rushed for it but received a punch in the stomach, he went down on his knees, and they took turn in kicking him.
“That’s enough!” Said the king. He turned and looked at the lady in the red dress. She ignored him and quietly walked out of the throne room, her elegant personality caught Hashim’s attention once more.    
The king bent with his hands on his knees and gazed into Hashim’s vengeful eyes. “For the sake of your mother, I hope you’d keep your lips sealed about who you are while you are here,” said the king, “I don’t have much to say for now.” He turned to the soldiers, “Rid my sight of him.”
The soldiers dragged him out of the throne room and locked him down in a dungeon.
For the days that followed, Hashim tilled the soil in the fields under the scorching sun just like any other slave and was fed twice a day. Every time they returned from the field, they’d be frisked by the guards before being allowed to enter their cells. Hashim found out that Yuri has succeeded his father, King Zaffariah, who had passed away.
One day while at the field, he sighted two slaves in a brawl and made an attempt to separate them but someone stopped him.
“Don’t!” Said one of the slaves, a sinewy athletic looking man. “The guards will beat you up and tie you for days if you try to stop any fight on the field. They love it, it entertains them. Trust me, you don’t want to be tagged a killjoy by these men.”
Hashim ignored the man that spoke to him and ran towards the fighters. Before he got there, another slave who tried to stop the fight was caught, whipped and dealt with by the guards. They caught him, tied him up, and left him bare under the sun as the rest of the slaves were ordered to keep working. The fighters were ordered to continue their brawl moments later.  
Hashim went back to the slave that warned him earlier.
“Thank you,” He said.
“You’re welcome, brother.” The man answered.
“What’s your name?” Hashim asked.
“Brutus Boriah.” He said as he continued working. Hashim felt the man didn’t want to be bothered, so he too went along ploughing.
The next morning, while at the field, one of the slaves began to jerk up and down as though possessed. He drooled and began to run after the other slaves, his facial structure changed, and he hissed like a snake and spoke in foreign tongues they’ve never heard. He grabbed a fellow slave and like a catapult, flung him away. It shocked and amazed all the slaves, some of the guards laughed while others got scared. The guards ignored the madman until he ran towards them and began punching the ones he laid his hands on; he’d catch two and throw them off, the possessed slave ran out of control and blasphemed.
On seeing what was unfolding, the commander ordered Brutus be brought forth. And as soon as he arrived the scene, he knelt down and whispered some words then stood up and commanded the spirits that took the man’s body hostage. The madman went down on his knees, and unto the ground. Some of the slaves came forth and took him away to a nearby tree, where he was allowed to rest. After that, the slaves began chanting Brutus’ name, they hailed him. He lowered his head and begged them to stop.
“Are you some kind of wizard?” Hashim asked him.
“No,” he replied, “I only prayed, and cast out the evil spirit that possessed him.”
“Prayed? Cast out the evil spirit?” Hashim responded, “Hmm! Where are you from?”
“I hail from Damarus.” He said.
“Uh,” he remarked, “Damarus, land of the free.”
“Land of the free indeed,” Brutus said. “Where are you from and how did you end up here? Because you don’t look like them.”
“I am Hashim.” He replied, “I am from a kingdom north of this place,” he paused. “And the day my father finds out where I am, not a damn goat will be left alive in this land.”
“You’re royal?” Brutus asked.
“I’ve never felt so.” He responded.
As Hashim and Brutus acquainted themselves, three young beautiful women arrived on a chariot, they went and had a chat with the one in charge of the slaves. Hashim recognised one of them; she was the one he saw the day he was brought before King Yuri.
“That woman…the tall pretty one.” Hashim said, “Who is she?”
“Oh, the fairest of them all?” Said Brutus, “That’s Nabil Tahil, King Yuri’s seer and protector.”
“Nabil? Seer and protector?” He whispered.
“That’s what I said.” Brutus responded.
“Is she the late king’s daughter?” Hashim asked.
“Well, in a way yes!” Brutus added, “She’s a sorceress of some sort; King Yuri’s ears are slaves to her lips, I heard.”
“The other two?” He asked again.
“They are her sisters.” Brutus answered, “Known as the gates!”
The ladies left the man in charge of the slaves and got unto their chariot then rode through the field to where Hashim and Brutus stood. The chariot halted right in front of Hashim.
“The dust from your horses’ feet would degrade thy beauty, my lady.” Hashim said as he coughed, “Where I come from…”
“Please-don’t-say-another-word.” Brutus interjected, “I beg of you.”
Nabil, who was driving the chariot stared at Hashim for a while. Her two sisters where beside her, she lashed the horses and rode off.
He was ensnared by her looks.
“When a man’s eyes are set on such beauty…” Hashim said. “…Even his soul shall become slave to her command uncoerced…not only his heart.” He sighed, “and the queen is never…jealous?”
“Jealous? No!” Brutus said, “As a matter of fact, Nabil advised King Yuri to take Haloui as his queen. Queen Haloui is not of noble birth.”
“Who are they?” Hashim asked.
“The girls are triplets,” said Brutus, “The one in red, Nabil, is the oldest, she’s the one that controls the powers of the other two.”
“Powers?” Hashim remarked, “I don’t understand.”
“Well, it is what I heard.” Brutus added, “It’s said that their mother was once a slave in this kingdom, around the time they were conceived; she died of childbirth, and Yuri’s father, the late king, took them in when the matter was reported to him. It’ll take six years before the girls would be discovered to possess certain powers. To his demise, the king treated them as though they were his own.”
“Hmm!”  Hashim remarked, “So, for how long have you been here?”
“Seven months.”  He said as he ploughed the field, “I was running away from persecution, decided to sleep in the valleys one night and by the time I woke up, I was surrounded by some armed men; slave traders. They chained me up and sold me to someone else who also sold me to another,” he paused, “On our way to an unknown destination, the Therakanians captured us and brought us all here.”
“Including the slave master?”  Hashim asked.
“All of us,” he said. “But the old rich fellow died three months ago. He couldn’t stand the heat.”
“You said something about persecution?” Hashim said.
“Well, yes.” Brutus replied.
“Someone wasn’t happy with the colour of your skin?” Said Hashim.
“No. No!” He answered, “Anyway, certain men came to our city years back and preached about this man, whom they said could heal the sick and even raise the dead. And after some of us watched them make manifest the very thing they preached,” He smiled, “We gave our life to the one they spoke of, the saviour.”
“You gave your life to someone called the saviour?” Hashim said, “I do not understand!”
“It’s a form of uh…acceptance, commitment after an agreement to have a personal relationship with the one we worship.” He said as he laid his hoe aside and sat on the ground. “So those of us who believe, wilfully embraced the way.”
“You can’t be serious.” Hashim responded, “Your ancestors, didn’t they have like a god or some deities they worshipped before you were born?”
“They do; my father and mother both worshipped different gods,” he said, “However, when they decided to marry, my mother adopted my father’s god.”
“But you abandoned the gods of your parents?” Hashim asked, “I mean the gods your parents worshipped for another one?”
“Yes!” He answered, “No one would experience His presence, peace and mercy, and not turn away from the world.”
“Well, why would the king of your land persecute you?” said Hashim, “If what you practice is good, and if the one you serve is as good as you speak of or did you people rise against your ruler?”
“No!” He said, “When we embraced the way, our number began to grow and some gentiles weren’t comfortable with it. We were accused of creating a movement that was seen as a threat to the kingdom, its laws and way of life of the people. So they arrested us, imprisoned some of us and even killed those who resisted.”
“Why?” He said, “But you practice your way in peace, right?”
“If you ask me” Brutus replied, “Maybe the light of the way threatens the existence of darkness in these kingdoms here on earth even though they are of two different worlds.”
“Hmm! The way?” Hashim said, “Is that what the movement is called?”
“It’s not a movement,” Brutus responded, “It’s a way of life; we tend to follow the pattern of life of the author and finisher of our faith. At least that’s how it’s supposed to be.”
“I see,” said Hashim. “To cast out demons, heal the sick and…?”
“Share the good news,” Brutus interjected, “Love your neighbour as yourself and…”
“Raise the dead?” Hashim interposed.
“When the need arises, yes?” He said. “With little faith in whom I serve, you have no idea what can be achieved or made manifest.”
“You mean to tell me you watched the dead brought back to life?” Hashim asked, “This is interesting! And I thought I’ve seen all the crazy things in the world.” He snorted. “So, do you have plans of going back to your place?”
“Not anymore,” Brutus said, “The Romans invaded our lands and well, made an outpost out of it.”
“The Romans,” he said, “I heard their story. Great army.”
“You’ve got that right,” Brutus responded. “Crushes anything that stands on their path.”
“Back to work!” A guard yelled.
“Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Brutus.” Hashim said as he continued weeding.
“Please to meet you too, Hashim.”












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