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Fiction Fantasy Drama

Zygos was a kingdom on planet tellus (earth’s twin 800 years behind and evolving) and was ruled by King Phoz. Phoz was aged and had no successor. That day he summoned his Chief Minister (CM) – an elderly man - to discuss the matter.

Phoz said “I’ve just received reports that the queen of neighbouring Circa – our enemy - is planning to seize Zygos after I am gone. She has a stronger army than ours. Unless there is someone to rule Zygos after me.....” Phoz fell silent.

CM said “I’ve also been thinking about a successor to you Sire. I feel we should consult the oracle Zygosma.”

Phoz laughed and said “She is said to be only 16 but is credited with great wisdom. Can we trust her prophecy?”

“Sire, many say she is quite accurate in prediction. It is said she has been ordained by divine power to answer queries. She is said to be often right though her answers are at times vague and difficult to comprehend. It’s my suggestion that she is consulted.”

The king was thoughtful for a while. Then he said “I’ve heard about her ability and how she is able to communicate with the spirit they say dwells at the bottom of the well in her house to get answers.”

“Sire, they say a nymph lives in the well and answers Zygosma.”

“CM let us consult her.”

“We’ve to go to her house on date specified by her. She doesn’t seek anything for her service.”

“Arrange it.”

On the specified day the king and CM were at Zygosma’s residence. She came out wearing the customary dress - a cloth waist down, and saluted Phoz. She asked “What is the question?”

Phoz said “Who will succeed me?”

She went to the well, threw off her dress and descended totally nude, into the steps leading to the water. The CM said “Sire, I was told that if she has an answer she will pick up a leaf from that pile beside the well, cover her femininity and answer. I hope she answers.”

Zygosma entered the water in the shallow well and was back in a few moments water dripping from her body. CM watched anxiously as she chose a leaf to cover herself strategically and said “Jeez.” She then withdrew into her home.

The king and CM went back. Phoz said “I suppose a Jeez will succeed me. That is an unusual name.”

“True sire. But it is the forecast.”

Phoz said “Let me think it over.”

Phoz sat thinking: It wasn’t as if he didn’t have a son to succeed him. He did have Imphoz. He was very skilled at using arms like the knife, the lance and the javelin and was a good archer as well. He would often go to hunt wild animals in forests. On one of his expeditions he went into a dense forest with his team in Circa. There he went alone stalking a tiger he had wounded. He didn’t return and it was reported by his team that he was missing. It was assumed that he was perhaps mauled to death by the wild beast. Phoz had then been in great depression for several months though he was performing his kingly duties.

Phoz thought long and hard and sent out his men to locate a Jeez. Simultaneously he summoned Zel, his chief of espionage, and ordered him to go to Circa and enquire about the death of Imphoz.

Zel said “This has happened many years ago and  ......”

“It’s about 17 years or so. Do as I’ve ordered.”

Zel went into the forest in Circa where Imphoz had gone missing. He contacted many huntsmen and rangers seeking information on Imphoz but none could remember. Finally he found one old man who had been a mahout who said he had known Imphoz. The man said “I remember the huntsman. He was taken prisoner by forest brigand Blaze. But Blaze is dead.”

Zel then started making enquiries about Blaze but the man had been forgotten. When he was about to give up the search, he met an old gardener who said “I knew Blaze. He was a terror. I know he had a daughter Zima.”

“Where can I locate Zima?”

“I don’t know. I’ve heard that she moved to the port city of Vinom. May be if you go there you could find her.”

Zel travelled to Vinom and put up at an inn. He was able to befriend the owner in a couple of days. Talking to the man one morning he asked “I was told that in this city there is a Zima, daughter of the forest brigand Blaze. Is that right?”

“Yes.” He said pointing “See that red building? That is a tavern the biggest hereabout. It is owned and run by Zima. Do you know her story?” Zel shook his head.

The innkeeper continued “After Blaze was captured he was executed, Zima was exiled. But she was pardoned as she had a young son. She has settled here. Her business is doing well.”

That evening Zel was seated on a stool at Zima’s tavern drinking their popular brew. The tavern was not very crowded. He saw Zima was about middle age but looked attractive. Zel was wondering about how to approach her to talk about her father. Suddenly there were shouts in a corner of the tavern and Zel saw two ruffians exchanging words. Violence now followed and Zima shouted “Jeez, where are you?”

A handsome young man came running and violently threw the warring duo out.

Zel said “Madam, I’m a stranger in these parts. I was told you are the daughter of Blaze. I don’t mean any disrespect, only curious.”

She laughed and said “I’m Blaze’s daughter and this is my son Jeez. He helps me when needed as you just saw.”

Next evening Zel was again at the tavern. Zima proved friendly and he sat talking to her. He asked “Where is Jeez’s father?”

She said “He is gone. The plague which took many lives claimed his too. My dad with his gang had captured him. And he wasn’t set free since Dad chose him to be his successor. He had said his name was Imphoz but to us all he was Jeez as my dad had nicknamed him. We fell in love and I married him.”

Zel said “I’ve to leave for my place but I’ll be back very soon.”

Zel sailed from Vinom and was back in Zygos. What happened afterwards can be easily imagined. King Jeez succeeded Phoz. The oracle had predicted correctly. It was a miracle.

END

June 27, 2022 16:05

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