Jakuta woke up the next morning with light hammering against his eye lids. Almost every part of his body ached, he first sat up on the bed, prancing his fingers back and forth to ease the headache, before he finally rose to his feet, stretching every stretchable part of his body which helped prickle his nerve endings to life. Daylight poured in brightly through the window close to his bed and together it came with the memories of the dream he had again, the same theme but it was a little tweaked this time around.
He had dreamt of seeing his mother, his late mother on a mountain in the same forest, Lahkiritah. His mother was in the midst of seven priest that were all claded in white and red robes, she held on to a small pot that looked to contain some stones, she held onto it while all the priests surrounding her were chanting some incantations, this they the did for a long time when suddenly the pot in his mother’s hand exploded and that was when he woke up.
Immediately after he finished reminiscing the dream, he wore his robe, and rushed to the throne room, met his father on the throne.
“The time is now, father.” He said
“Are you sure you are ready for this ?”
“Go and come back safely.” His father waved his staff and watched him walk out of the throne room.
Fear of the Unknown befell the Emperor as soon as Jakuta had walked out. He couldn’t guarantee that he would make it out of the forest as no one in the kingdom has made it out of the forest, save for he, the emperor himself. For a moment, he thought about sending his guards to call him back and stop him from embarking on a trip to the forbidden forest, buh he shrugged off the thoughts almost immediately it popped in to his mind. He has to let the boy fulfil his destiny, he could only pray for the gods to protect and guide him.
Jakuta hurried out of the palace and embarked on the trip, at the exit of the palace, he met with Rolah, his brother’s betrothed and her maids. They exchanged greetings before he proceeded but not without passing a smile across to the maid, while she smiled back too, beautifully. The smile brought back memories of the previous day, after the match, the maid had been walking past his room when he saw her through the window. He rushed out to block her and had asked for her name, “My name is Obah.” She had replied in her voice of gold, they both smiled at each other and she walked away. Hard as Jakuta might want to deny it, he was in love with Obah, the maid.
After walking for a while, he had gotten to the entrance of the infamous Lahkiritah Forest, for a moment, fear had made him want to turn back in his steps but curiosity of what lies ahead had gotten the best of him, with a rush of adrenaline in his body, he had crossed the boundary into the forest, there was no going back again now. He proceeded slowly, looking around, trying to figure out which way to go, he realised the forest was a valley surrounded by hills and mountains, but it was rather too late as he had already taken a wrong uncalculated step and what proceeded afterwards was a loud thrust and he rolled down the hills uncontrollably, continuously for almost a minute, finally, his continuous rolling was stopped abruptly by a tree in the center of the forest, and then his blade that he had lost grip of fell right beside him, and then he passed out.
The Emperor kept on prancing back and forth in the throne room, Jakuta had left the palace in the early hours of the morning and it was almost dusk, still no sign of him anywhere. The Emperor had sent for his son’s most trusted friends, Thimi and Bonka. He was about to call on another guard to go and hasten their arrival when he heard the guard he sent announce their arrival.
“Send them in.” The emperor ordered as he went back to sit on his throne.
“Greetings, my emperor.” Thimi and Bonka greeted immediately they got to the front of Horanmiyan, who in turn waved his staff at them in blessing.
“Your friend, Jakuta, has he ever told you two about his continuous dreams about the Lahkiritah forest ?”
Both of them looked at each and shook their heads respectively, “Only that couple of times, he had contemplated on going into the forbidden forest, but we have always talked him out of it.” Bonka added.
“I guess he couldn’t be talked out of it anymore, early this morning, he had embarked on a trip in the forbidden forest.”
“Huhuh.” They both exclaimed.
“Yes, and as you can see, dusk as almost fallen upon us and there is still no sign of his return. I beseech you both to go into the Lahkiritah forest to see what might have happened to him.”
“With all honor.” They chorused and immediately made to leave the throne room.
“One more thing,” the emperor’s voice called them back, this is a top secret, no one should know about this trip, regardless of whatever the outcome is.”
“Yes, Emperor.” They chorused again, left the palace and then went different directions, after they had agreed to go and dress up and pick up their amours and weapons as they didn’t know what to expect from the forest that was said to be forbidden.
After few minutes, they both arrived at the place they agreed to converge, and without much contemplation, they crossed the border in to the forbidden forest of Lahkiritah.