Chapter 9 - The Day After
The men slowly gathered themselves together and moved off the front line to settle down at their encampment. They washed up in the river and fell asleep as dead men. It was the next morning when orders came forward for them to begin the grisly task of battle reclamation. Nothing would go to waste.
A grand tent of meeting was set up by the Elamites. Talmido and Si-tatious were requested to attend that evening. Shutruk-Nahhunte, the king of Elam, wanted to meet those men who would defy all logic, reason, and rule. He wanted to size them up, to determine if he had anything to worry about. He had personally attended the battle out of curiosity. It had been a long time since he had been to a fight, and he wanted his men to see him again as he once was: a mighty warrior king—a sovereign to be reckoned.
Once noon arrived, Talmido and Si-tatious entered the tent of meeting and stood there, waiting for their patron king, Shutruk-Nahhunte. They were entirely indebted to that sovereign and needed to let him know of their gratitude and their serious attention to the agreements as laid out and generously given.
They stood just within the shade of the tent, patiently waiting for this enigma of a man, wondering what would be in store for them. Trumpets and drums began to blare and beat out a sound for everyone to hear. The king came into view with his retinue of bodyguards, viziers, courtiers, and scribes in tow. He approached the tent and smiled with a broad, open face of respect for the men attending. They were men after his own heart, willing to take the fight to the enemy and willing to sacrifice it all for liberty. It was what his ancestors had done generations ago for his own people.
The king regarded them with an eye of respect and careful attention to dignity, but also with a depth of inquisition. He wanted to know the souls of these men. Would they honor the agreements and support the Elamites in their endeavors? Alternatively, would they beg off once they had acquired or accomplished what they wanted?
Shutruk-Nahhunte gestured for all to sit as he sat upon his throne. He looked over the meeting with a sense of completeness. It was to be a moment in history that his descendants would write about, so he thought carefully and chose his words with wisdom, aware the scribes there were writing down his every word.
“We finally meet face to face—no emissaries or messengers to get in between us, Talmido, Si-tatious,” he said as he nodded toward them, acknowledging their existences. “What you men accomplished will be sung about for generations to come and written down for posterity. It is a great day not only for Elam, but also for you two and your people. It is a day for rejoicing and a day that will live on in the greatness of history. What do you have to say for yourselves? Come, let’s talk like men and not as titles.”
Si-tatious looked at Talmido as he looked at Si-tatious. Talmido nodded his head and stepped forward. “My lord, your graciousness, generosity, trustworthiness, reasonableness, and justice are indisputable. It is you and your men who have saved us from certain death. We are in your debt. We are loyal servants to the might and will of Elam. We received your royal decrees and agreements. We will, the gods willing, honor all those decrees and agreements. We are friends of the Elamite people. We were small in number and are perhaps smaller now, but we are big in heart and ambition. We thank you as individuals and now thank you as a free people within your scope of command.”
“Yes, it has been a fascinating situation, hasn’t it? Scribes, write that from today forward, the Elamite people are to honor and respect the agreements between us now and forever. The people of the fleeing Assyrian group are freemen and entitled to all the rights associated with such freedom. No one is to encroach upon these rights—either written, spoken, or in action. Now that we have all the formalities out of the way, Talmido, Si-tatious, let us retire to a more private setting and discuss the future of our nations.” He winked and grinned with a devious smile of humor upon his lips.
The private meeting lasted well into the night, with dancing and wine provided in copious amounts. Plans materialized with so much enthusiasm and laughter that the guards thought the king was in mortal danger only to find, upon entering his tent, the three of them bowled over laughing to the point of tears and fits of coughing.
The king had a sense of humor not known to reside in such a regal stature and entertained his guests with tales of his exploits and the adventures of his forbearers, much to the delight of Talmido and Si-tatious. It was this perception, the king pointed out, that helped him to take all matters in stride—not to take them too seriously. It also helped him keep his balance as a man and a monarch. This balance ensured the stability of his reign and the success of the Elamite kingdom. Talmido and Si-tatious listened carefully to this wisdom, acknowledging its practicality and reasonableness. They took all his sayings into their hearts and minds.
The next day, the Elamite army and the king moved out to return to the city of Susa. Twenty thousand Elamite soldiers were left behind to build a fortress and to assist Talmido’s men.
They took their time in gathering up the spoils of war once all the dead were gathered and buried. Once again, everything was cataloged and stored for shipment to the land by the Sea above Akkad where a new city of hope and freedom would stand.