I did not know how long I had slept, but I was thankful no one woke me. When I finally opened my eyes, I sat up and looked through the vertical bars of the window adjoining my bed, at the view outside. It was a marvelous view of the market and since our house was on the higher floor of the building; I had a superb view of the village beyond. Since our village was small, I could faintly see the border and the barren land beyond it extending all the way to the next village. As I turn my attention towards the market area, I noticed that it had become crowded once again, as the villagers found it safe to come out again and resume their business.
I also notice that the crowd was more than usual, which would have indicated that it was early evening. I confirm this by looking at the sun with had turned from a bright orange to pale pink. Looking back into the house and I noticed a huddled figure under the blankets in the bed next to me. By the tiny figure I quickly realized that it was my sister and looking around the house I did not find my mother. Although I just had a good sleep I still felt a little tired and did not want to get out of bed. I had nothing else planned today and did not want to leave the house today. Just as I contemplated to wake my sister to pass the time, I heard footsteps from the corridor and a second later the door swung open and my mom walked in carrying a paper bag in her crossed arms.
“You have been asleep for at least three hours.” she informed, and I was kind of glad she did inform me. “Yeah today’s battle was quite exhausting.” I said as my mom walked through the small corridor towards the other compact room, the kitchen.
“You seem a little tired” she said from the kitchen and she must have noticed my tired face as she walked into the house. “Yes..” I yawned. “I don’t think I got enough rest.” I said thinking how much more rest my body needed to become its active self again. “I think I should sleep for at least another hour or two.” I said thinking the only good thing to do now is to sleep again seeing that I had nothing better to do. “Sleeping? Sure?” she asked coming from the kitchen, wiping her hands with a cloth as she looked at me.
I was confused with her question. “Why ma? Is there something I should do?” I asked now, thinking if I had promised her something earlier and had forgotten about it now. “No, no nothing my loutche,” she said a shed of anxiety in her eyes. “Just… just the event…..you are not going, right?” and then I understood why she had from the kitchen just to have this conversation with me face to face.
I had completely forgotten about the Zelia event and almost totally forgotten that it was tonight, mostly because I was too preoccupied by the raid that happened in the morning. I was unsure about my decision yet and so honestly told my mom. “Haven’t decided yet ma.” I said. She responded by saying. “Well deciding fast may be better for you my loutche, because as far as I know the event should be starting in fifteen to twenty minutes.” she said and with that she walked back into the kitchen resuming her work of unloading everything from her bag and organizing in the kitchen. I now sat at the edge of my seat my feet touching the ground and I now gave the event a good thought, because if I wanted to see the event, now was my immediate chance mostly because these events occurred only when there were major disputes, which in of itself were kind of rare.
After a few minutes of through thinking I had made up my mind and so, I spoke from my bed to my mom who was still in the kitchen. “Ma, I have decided to go….” I said giving a brief pause making sure my mother hadn’t changed her mind and would restrict me from going. But hearing her ‘hmm’ in response, I continued. “But I am going today only to see how the event really is….if it is really violent like most of the villagers say, then I will quit going.….I too cannot bear so much violence especially if it's with someone as untrained as Muite.” and I did not just say this to satisfy my mother and actually meant it too there was a limit to the amount of violence I could handle. “Yes, I understand” said my mom like she really understood me and so with that I got dressed as fast as possible wearing a light purple shirt and a small, thick jacket, long pale brown pants and a pair of boots as the nights in our village tended to be rather cold.
Just as I readied myself and was about to exit the door, my mom stopped me and offered me a glass of Eyden juice that she had prepared from the seeds me and my sister had brought for her earlier.
“This must make you feel more energetic within a few minutes.” she said smiling, and I appreciated her efforts to help me feel more active. I gladly drank the juice and although I never liked its taste, I did find it refreshing at times.
“Ok ma, got to get going, and I promise I want to see this only for the hype everyone has created nothing else.” I said, and she replied. “Aiden I do trust you, now go, and also pray for poor Muite”
I promised that I would and now walked down the corridor which was lit with dull candles, dangling from the ceiling, I walked to the hall and it was a similar sight there. The occupants of that place were lighting candles at various places and although it was an everyday occurrence, for me burning these candles made me feel nice like a warm, fuzzy feeling. A feeling of home.
I exited the Chawk and walked down the market street where most of the villagers were following the trail towards the east side of the village, down the less frequently visited part of our village. I too joined them and yet again was struck by the warm fuzzy feeling as I looked at the candle-lit streetlights and shops of the marketplace.
It was strikingly beautiful with the distinct shades of color of the candles burnt. Some violet, others light blue while a few in sombre tones of red and I could not help but notice how peaceful the marketplace seemed apart from the constant mumbles of villagers around me. I suddenly felt guilty and almost turned around thinking I shouldn’t enjoy such peace when another of my same village had to face death. But curiosity swept over me along with the other curious villagers who were all now heading towards the east end of the village, towards the arena.