By Amah’s Heart.
Dembe kept his distance from the dance hall and hanged around other slaves who were waiting for their owners .
Phatsy was allowed to go in but not so close to the dance floor.
She was meant to keep an eye on Lady Aprin just in case she needs her attention.
While other slaves talks none stop on the outside shelter, Dembe remain quiet. One of the slave girl tries to get Dembe to join in their conversation as they talks about their different masters and mistresses and how bad they are. Dembe refused to join in.
He thought of what Phatsy had said to him on their way and how much trouble he can get into if things escalate. He remembered Lydia, the only young maiden that got his heart.
Dembe breathed deeply before standing up.
He stood and walked out of the slave shelter to a lone tree, where he sat all by himself with his worries.
Lydia has said after serving her remaining seven years as a slave she will be free to marry and have a family of her own. she has assured him they will spend forever together all she needed was to complete her slave years.
Dembe hopes and wish that Lydia will keep to her word and not disappoint when her freedom finally comes.
Dembe thought of his home in Gwali, he was a vibrant young man. The maidens loves and flocks around him. His father was a chief of the Gwali’s and they were already planning to get him a wife because he was the first son of his father.
If he was still in Gwali, he will be married by now and maybe with a child. He remember sitting out late with his bosom friend Zuzi. Cultivating their father’s farm land. Portions of land was given to every Gwali son of the soil and they take their time to cultivate and plant.
Everything was going all smooth and fine, no one foresee the great danger except for the missionaries.
They Prophesied “…hard time will strike, but be good cheer because Christ has overcome the world. In our celebration also remember that there will be sad days, however it comes trust and believe in the one true God who can give life and takes it”
Dembe threw spit to the ground angrily. “Maybe this unseen God does not truly exist or doesn’t care. Which God will abandon his people and allow them to suffer drought, war and slavery and he folds his hand and watch them without doing anything. Even Lydia has doubt sometimes but she tries not to show it. Why will God even take me to serve in a priestess household? I became her abattoir boy who slaughters different animal just to appease her gods and goddesses. I do unlawful things to their pleasure and yet I’m bond to them for the rest of my life and they can do with me as they pleases. My people worships Zulu the god of land, water and air. We were very dedicated. My father was a chief and everything was going all well until the missionary came to convince us that Zulu was a handmade god. They say the only true God was in heaven and he is ever loving, ever faithful and never changes. A lot of beautiful things was said about this unseen God which made me and my friend to decide in knowing him more but the outcome was war. The Kish warrior brought war to us, they wanted to have our beautiful land and make our people slaves. Our warriors fight, we all fought so hard during the war. My best friend died and I was captured and sold off like a pieces of meat. My people has died while fighting. Here I am after four years. I lost everything that I holds dearly to me except my name which is usele…
He was interrupted from his thoughts.
“Dembe…here you are. Lady Aprin is asking of you. what are you sitting here and doing all alone when the other slaves are in a shelter. I heard you muttering something…were you talking to yourself? I hope you are not going crazy? Lady Aprin is standing outside the dance hall. She asked to see you.
Dembe nodded to Phatsy, he left to meet Aprin.
“My lady you seek for me?
Dembe said after taking a bow at Aprin who stood like a confused child.
“Yes Dembe. The whole royal dance thing is boring me. I need you to take me home. Bash and Sheila can come later.
Dembe swallowed hard before saying.
“but my Lady, Lord Bash should be in the right position to take you home after the dance….i..i..
One of Aprin’s friend appeared with a cup of wine. She was dressed in a royal attire and has different beads crowding her neck and hand. she was filled with smile as she walks up to Aprin.
“Ooh Aprin…I see you got a handsome slave here. Is a pity that he is better looking than your husband to be. Oh how sad that he is a mere servant. Your sister and Bash are having so much fun in there. The royal dance is an evening party…why are you out here? Bash is looking all around for you…why not go and join in the party. You look bored in there. Free your mind and enjoy the dance because I know that aside being the next priestess of Kebra….i also know that you are a good dancer.
“Thanks for the compliments Loly, I bet you are having a great fun, well…I just remembered I have a night offering in the temple with mother and I have to go. Dembe here is also needed in the temple because an animal sacrifice maybe required. Mother assigned a whole abattoir duty to him and I will be going with him. Bash and Sheila are free to stay and have some more fun but without wasting further time I will needs to leave now. The dance was great and I enjoyed myself…
Lady Aprin left with Dembe after informing Bash and Sheila that she was leaving and asked them not to bother coming with her. they will have to meet her in the house.
She left with a hired carriage while Dembe and Phatsy rode on the same one the came with.
Instead of going home like she said she face towards the market. When she got closer she came down and began to walk.
She ordered Phatsy to stay behind and asked Dembe to follow her that she just want to take a little walk round the market.
Dembe obeyed and walked behind her as she leads the way.
People greeted her with so much respect the moment they noticed who she was. she carried herself gracefully and wore an attractive smile as she tour round the market in that late evening.
“Have you ever loved someone before?
She startled Dembe with her question. Dembe looked round to be sure he was the one Aprin was referring to.
He couldn’t answer the question. Adrin repeated it loud enough to his hearing.
“My Lady…I lack words to say…
“I see. well..you really do not have to be afraid whenever you are with me. I’m neither like mother or Sheila. Even though I will be getting married to Bash soon but my heart belong to another. I don’t know the trick the gods are playing with my mind but I really want my happiness more than what everyone want. everybody already know that I’m next in line of the priestess after mother. I want to do everything to please mother and to be a great priestess after her who will care more about the people’s need than what I have to gain….
Dembe cleared his throat before asking.
“My Lady, pardon my inquisition but why are you telling me all this? I…I can’t help you with whatever troubles you, I’m only a servant…
“You are actually helping without knowing. Walking with me alone is enough help. I felt like I can trust you and feel safe with your presence far more than I feel with Bash…
“My Lady I’m not worthy to be compared to Lord Bash who also is going to be your husband. I think we should head back now. The night is fast approaching the night cold will soon settle…
Aprin looked at him and nodded, she turned and started going back. Dembe fell in line behind her.
they move among the traders and hawkers who were also on their way home.
Lydia who had come to the buy things for her mistress saw Dembe and Aprin without him seeing her. she stood watching them as they walk pass the shop she was standing.
Aprin went back to her carriage and continued on her way home.
By the time she got home Bash and Sheila was already home and wondering where she might be because she was supposed to be home before them.
When they came in, Bash looked at Dembe suspiciously and with an angry voice he barked at him to disappear from their presence.
Dembe took a bow and left.
Bash was angry and did not listen even as Aprin asked him to calm down because Dembe has not done anything wrong.
Sheila was also in support of Bash. She threw insults at Dembe as he walks away.