Chapter 1 Mystery Palace
“Cross the river and climb the stairs this time and give these vegetable to the high Ileirai” Roberts mother instructed him.
“To the palace on the hill? ” Robert excitedly ask.
“The medicine women? ” Robert asked again before the mother could answer the first one.
He stops bundling some twigs and wood and approached his mother.
“Yes yes” said the mother who tried to fix his hair and dust off some dirt on her boy.
“Don’t touch anything” shouts the mother as the boy took the basket and hurriedly ran off to the hill.
He stops for a while to view the fields. The fields , where his father and men of the village laboriously work all day. He looks up and felt the warm sun on his face. The sun was perfect, the wind slowly breezing and causing the crops to sway a little. He close his eyes, inhaled and exhaled as if savoring the last day he is going to see it.
He runs along inside the deep forest. He stop and marbled several times at the huge trees. He looked and observed intently some strange creatures. Admired some flowers in the forest and thought of getting some for his mother when he return. Cold wind blew as if whispering something to him. This made him shudder a little bit and he hurried along with his basket of goodies for the high Ileirai.
While whistling to entertain himself on a long walk inside the forest he heard some twigs snapped .He looks around to see if anyone was around.
“Hello?” and he looks around again but he saw nothing.
He continued whistling and moved along the forest. Nearing the river he heard a cry for help. An old man was trap in a carriage whose wheel had collapsed. He ran to the old man. Circled the carriage to observe the damage then finally helped the old man.
“Sir let me help you” he lift the carriage with all his might and the old man crawled and was free.
He help the old man repair his wheel. The old man narrates how he was trying repair it before it collapse and trapped him.
“ You did an amazing job little man” the old man praised young Robert .
“My father sometimes takes me along to help him in the farm. He said it will be good for me to watch and learn” Robert told the old man.
“Your father did a great job teaching you. Excellent job young man” the old man praises Robert for a job well done.
“Not really, I think he just wants me to lift things for him since he is old and have a bad back” he replied .
“Hahaha” they laugh and shared stories over some refreshment the old man prepared.
“This taste so good , what is it?” as Robert takes another sip of the green luminous beverage.
“It’s a special one, to make you big and strong. I made it myself. Never travels without it” boasted the old man.
For no reason at all Robert suddenly felt rejuvenated. He felt the liquid enters his body . The liquid slowly reaching his muscles. He thinks he felt his muscles move. He felt the liquid slowly moving and reach his eyes. Suddenly his eyesight reach the far side of the forest. He close his eyes and shook his head. The old man observing him. Robert stood up and he felt stronger than ever.
“Thank you little man” as the old man shook his hand.
“Goodbye, see you again” as Robert took the basket and then off he goes to do his errand for the day.
He felt different after the drink he shared with the old man. He hears and see clearly every movement happening in the forest. He could hear and see the movement of the tiniest creature in the forest. He enjoyed the forest more with every stride he makes. He reached the end of the forest and saw the river. He felt excitement hearing the sounds of the water and seeing the fish clearly swimming. He look beyond to see any stairs. But he could not see any.
He closed his eyes again “stairs … stairs”.
He opened his eyes and to his amazement there it is slowly appearing in front of him.
“Wow “ he said.
“ There it is. I can see it! I can see it” as he jumps and dance for joy.
He then crossed the river carefully not to get his basket wet. He place one hand to his forehead and looked up to see the extent of this magical stairs that leads to the top of the hill.
“Bloody awesome!” was all he could say.
Some people say it was carved by hand by the members of medicine women hundreds of years ago when they arrive in the planet. This stairs mysteriously appears only to a chosen few who are given permission to enter their palace. While climbing the stairs he occasionally stops to observe how far he had gone up.
“What are they hiding?” as he catches his breathe upon reaching the top.
He lay down for awhile to rest. Atop the hill Robert look back and saw beyond the forest and to his small village.
“Wow!” he wondered for a while at the beautiful view on top.
He then tried to recognize the villagers from afar. He saw his naughty twin neighbors and shouted their names and waved. He stretched out his arms as if painting a picture of his tiny village from afar. He took a photo on his mind of this magnificent scenery. He took a deep sigh and realizes he was far from the village.
“I’ve never been this far “ he realizes he never went this far from home before.
He never have to go up these stairs before. Some women and high Ileirai always met him by the river every time his mother sends him to deliver some vegetables.
“What’s so special about this day that I got to go up “ he wonders as he turns around in full circle.
Robert took a deep sigh, turn around and headed to the palace. On his way he saw some women dress in white carrying small basket. They would carefully pick some herbs and berries and place them neatly in their basket.
“Lovely day ladies ” he took off his hat and vowed to the medicine women .
The medicine women look for a second and went back picking herbs.
He continued walking.
“Wow!!” he acclaimed as he was nearing the palace.
He stops for a while and just stared at the Palace. He has never seen anything like it. He has no words for this humongous structure in front of him. He has no knowledge of architecture but he knew it was majestic and bet none of his villagers have seen anything like this.
With excitement he hurriedly walks to the palace and reached the door. He observed the carvings before pushing the door open.
Robert saw magnificent statue 3 times bigger than his father. He walked around it closely observing it.
“Important people I presumed” as he look at each statue intently.
As young Robert walk pass the hall of the palace he can’t help but be fascinated with the paintings on the wall. He looks at it as if reading a story. Paintings of beautiful men and women with hair as white as snow and majestic white wings.
“ They got wings!”.
“ Real wings!”.
”Bloody hell! ”. And he wondered about how it would feel like to have wings.
He pretended to have wings and fly around like the birds he saw in the forest .
“Wooo! Hahaha!” the little boy played around the hall.
Then he came across the paintings of men who are big and strong. He flexed his arm and pretend to be fighting. He punch and punch and punch. He smash and smash and smash. He slipped a bit and his face falls to a painting on the wall that made him scream of fear. A monsters with horns.
“Having fun my boy?” he heard a voice in the hall.
“Good morning high Ileirai” startled Robert vowed to the head of medicine woman.
He place the basket to the woman’s feet . He then look around touching the back of the dress of the high Ileirai.
“What on earth are you doing young man?” ask the old lady.
“Do you have wings?” he asked.
“Follow me. Bring the basket” was the stern reply of the old woman.
“Do you have horns at night and sharp long teeth?” Robert continued as he looks at the paintings of such creature on the wall.
“and.. and your fingers stretch long, and nails sharp as a knife?” he bombarded the old lady with questions.
“Only on full moon” the old lady replied.
“Ahhh’ gasp the boy in horror .
“Silly boy ” giggles the high Ileirai.
“Only stories made by old people to scare little boys like you” the old lady told the boy.
“But they say they are hiding in their planet until they regain strength. And they will come here to devour our people’ said Robert.
“Who said that?” inquired the old lady.
“ Old Harry. Always telling stories about it when drunk” said the boy to the high Ileirai.
“And when he is not?” the old lady ask.
“oh he just stares at you” replied the young boy.
He remembered a story his grandmother use to tell about the Ileira. They have fallen from heaven and live among us. Some of them were believed to have big beautiful white wings and the men where strong and could carry heavy rocks. He hasn’t seen any man lately. Most of the times the medicine women are the one who comes down to help cure the people of his village with their herbs. It was only one occasion he saw those strong men in his village and he was so little to remember what occasion. He remembered one lifting him up in the air.
They entered a spacious room with lots of books, scrolls and papers. He then turns his attention to the collection of books.
While looking at the books “Do you have books about the ….” the boy hesitated.
The high Ileirai took a book and gave it to Robert .
”Book one. The wings, the muscle, and the horn” as he reads the title and saw the painting of three different individuals in the cover.
“Thank you” he said to the high Ileirai.
“You can come here and read it any day you want” smiled the high Ileirai.
“ Every day? ” Robert excitedly asked.
“Yes you can come every day from now on” said the old lady.
“I can read all these books?” he pointed to the book around the room.
“yes , we will start your training now” the old lady added.
“Training? Picking herbs?” Robert was confused.
“Am I gonna be a medicine woman? Man?” he asked the old lady.
“No , silly boy. We will teach you how to use your strength to protect yourself and the people you love “ explained the old lady.
“Ohh” the boy took the heavy book to the table and started reading.
He didn’t understand the old lady and didn’t bother to ask more question. His mind was on the book the high Ileirai handed to him. He was excited to read about the three beings he has seen in the painting in the hall of the palace.
The high Ileirai took a small book and the basket and left the boy alone to read.
The High Ileirai went to a door in the next room where he left the boy. Inside an old man awaits her.
“How is the boy?“ask the high Ileirai.
“Growing stronger everyday” replied the old man.
“The princess?’ ask the old man.
“Growing smarter everyday” replied the high Ileira.
The high Ileirai place the small book in the shelf and small portion of the wall opened leading to a dark stairway. She whispered some words of magic and the candles were lit and they started their descend. Down there they were met by other medicine woman and the old man were joined by other men of same features. They proceeded to a small exit. Outside stood an altar in the middle of a small pool . The High Ileirai joined by two young girls dress as mini medicine woman walk through the small bridge to the altar. The high Ileira said some prayers then the magic of the moonlight strike the pool and lit the altar. Slowly the wings of high Ileirai emerge and flapped. She turned around to face them.