The Temple of the Holy Way, Wi’shaw Temple, Petru Village, Sovereign Tribal Lands of Am’maah
Nasai, White Moon 3303 – September
“I am the bright shield in the darkness. I am the white light when no light can be found. I am the Protector and the Guardian; the refuge for the helpless and the high tower for the oppressed. I am the Waliyun.”
Mikal’s bare chest, lean and muscular despite his fifty-five moons, rose and fell evenly as he silently chanted the sacred code. He sat with his legs folded beneath him and his eyes closed; his long, single black braid streaked with silver and hanging past the middle of his back. He lifted his hands from where they rested palms up, upon his knees, and pressed them together in front of his chest. His jaw was covered by a silky, black and silver beard that rounded neatly about his chin.
“I am the Listener in the night. I am the whisper of warning to the meek. I am the friend to the friendless. I am the Waliyun.”
He saw a vision of the cipher key again: gold and shining brightly. This time it was suspended before him in the air, encircled within a ring of fire, although the fire did not consume it. Then he saw his sister Rebecca, weeping and disheveled. He saw Sekel, grim-faced and determined.
“I am Your Servant. I am Your sword. I am Your wrath against injustice and Your revenge upon the guilty. I am the Waliyun,” he recited.
He saw Maryam, young and smiling, her soft, brown eyes teasing as she ran from him through waves of waist high grass. He saw a girl-woman with large blue eyes, sleepwalking with her eyes wide open; she wrestled with the wind and he knew that it was Time.
There was a soft knock upon the door behind him and he lowered his hands and opened his eyes; they were the color of the crisp, dark green leaves of winter trees. He retrieved his tunic from where he had laid it upon the wooden floor beside him, slipped his arms into the sleeves, buttoned the small black buttons up to its white collar, stood, and crossed the glossy floor on bare feet to the entrance doors and slid them open from the center. Umara stood meekly before him with her eyes lowered, her cheeks pink from the cold, and bundled within the thick folds of her cloak. Snow fell silently and bright against the night sky behind her.
“Forgive me for disturbing your prayers, Rabbi,” Umara stated softly. “But Captain El Amra is on the voicecomm and has requested to speak with you. He says that it is urgent.”
Mikal nodded and replied, “Thank you, Umara. Please inform him that I will be with him shortly.”
“Yes, Teacher,” she said and turned to cross the Temple’s veranda and descend the steps to the snow covered path below where a weapons cart idled on the side of the dirt roadway.
Rabbi Mikal El Amra watched her climb into the driver’s seat and retreat down the hill under the light of the roadside hanging lanterns before walking back into the temple and circling the room to extinguish the candles mounted upon the walls. He left the incense to burn itself to ash and strode across the room to the foot shelf where he had deposited his socks and boots; he pulled them on, removed his cloak from where it hung upon the wall, and shrugged into it. His cousin’s call was unexpected, but in perfect timing. Mikal slid the temple doors closed behind him and jogged down the hill, back to the Doja. It was beginning.