Chapter 3 - A Traveler's Time
The time for settlement had enveloped the weary traveler in a stupor of calm and peaceful existence. Working his talent within the leather guild, he established for himself a reputation of renowned workmanship. The king of the land was requisitioning leather armor, saddles, tents, and other supplies for his army as warfare was soon to be upon them.
The man focused his energy on the tasks at hand and worked out his demons of the past, present, and future possibilities through the sweat of his brow and the swing of his hammer. He had finished the oxen yokes and bridles for the young woman’s father and had delivered them personally. However, she was not at her father’s location; hence, he did not have the chance to see her. That put consternation in his heart, driving him to work harder to quell the desires of his mind and body.
After a hard day’s work, the man usually wound up at one of the town’s five taverns for a meal and a flagon of beer to wash away the day’s grime and refresh his battered soul. While washing down leeks, bread, and mutton, the man’s eyes strayed from the fire burning in the fireplace to the opening of the tavern’s door. His heart leaped with a desire so intense he had to stifle a cry of welcome and control his emotions with a raised eyebrow toward the beauty smiling at him from the door’s entryway.
She gracefully swept across the floor toward the man, silk flowing out from across her body and waves of effervescent spice and gleaming oil upon her skin. With the warm embrace of a smile, she sat herself down at his table and folded her hands in her lap, waiting for him to greet her. He stood and bowed to her with a flourish and smiled with sincerity, thankful for the intrusion upon his monotonous daily ritual.
“My lady, what brings you here to this establishment of work’s grind and the anvil’s wishes?” exclaimed the man.
“My father wishes to thank you for the yokes and to let you know of their fine quality. Also, he would like to invite you to his establishment for dinner to come to know you better and to offer you a business proposal,” she answered.
“Ah, so it was not my fine acquaintance you arrived for, but a message of dinner and business?” he blurted out, regretting the statement immediately and wishing to grab hold of the words and shove them back down his throat.
She blushed with a nervous twitch of her lips and looked down at the floor for perhaps escape or comfort. “Yes and yes. It has been quite some time since we met, and I look forward to meeting you in a more refined and formal way. However, if I may say so, it is important for my father to know whom he is requesting for company. Your name would be appreciated and perhaps a little less formal,” she quipped.
“My name is Talmido. I am of Chaldean ancestry from the Tigris River of the Fertile Crescent,” Talmido said.
“Oh, a man of the Orient. What interesting tales you must have. Well, better left for the dinner three days hence. Thank you, Talmido, for your time and acceptance. We will see each other then,” she whispered as she turned to leave with all eyes on her femininity and graceful beauty.
Talmido stood and bowed to her as she retreated to the door and left the establishment, silently asking her for her name because he was unable to utter the words.
It has begun, he mused. Three days from now, he would know the real purpose of the invitation and the direction life would be taking him. He had only expected to stay in this hamlet for one or two seasons; however, it seemed that time and circumstances were catching up with him, to his pleasant surprise.
Three days later, Talmido found himself riding along toward his destiny with thoughts of anxious nervousness at embarking on a journey of perhaps heartbreak or wonder. It was not his first time; however, it seemed as if it was. The centuries had left their indelible stain of loss and confusion, adding to Talmido’s quest for answers and purpose.
It seemed that life was not meant to provide answers—only questions and wonder. Talmido had wandered the ancient landscape of the Fertile Crescent, the Egyptian Nile Delta, and the northern forests across the vast sea.
He had been witness to awe-inspiring wonders of geography, animals, and humans. It had left an imprint upon his mind, and a sense that something of greater importance was being played out on a much grander theater of life—something not of this world.
Talmido, by this time, had been witness to over six hundred years of human history. He had seen the rise and fall of the Assyrian Empire, the rise of the Babylonian Empire, the fall of the Egyptian Empire, and the rise of the Persian Empire with Darius and Xerxes, his son, as the rulers of a vast power of antiquity beyond the scope of real understanding of many historians.
He was now in the southeastern part of the Greek city-state known as Troy. The wind and sand had blown him west toward this city by circumstance and curiosity. The hamlet he was in was outside the city walls, approximately fifteen leagues from the city proper. Trade with Troy had been brisk and lucrative, and war between the city-states there was brewing and would shortly break out onto the shores, providing for historical consequence and future possibilities. Talmido shook his head as he contemplated his experiences and the wonders he had witnessed.
Centuries of adventure, the interaction with complex societies of numerous men and women, mysteries too hard to fathom, and a world full of wonder waiting to be explored had filled him with a deep sense of awe. Mixed into his life were the ever present loss and suffering that confused and dulled his mind. The loss of loved ones and the ongoing suffering for generation after generation of all people. Yet, here he was – over six hundred years later, as young as he was at the age of twenty five, never sick, age-less in a world of withering and death. Too many times to count he should have died, but somehow he always eluded that master. Why? What had caused the gods to take such a course of action toward him and what did they have in store for his future?
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