Jord was on a high. His mind was absolutely reeling under the impact of his discovery that he could see. Suddenly the things he had imagined his entire life, his mother Lena, Marick, Arutha, Old Rab and the others were real, visible and all yelling excitedly. Even Old Rab was up of his bench and mumbling vigorously along with the rest.
Jord was not disappointed at the world he saw. Sure it was different from his imagination. The smooth rock was white and the sun glared off it and made his eyes smart. The sun was another thing – squinting he peered up at it and felt the familiar warmth on his face only this time he could see it.
Suddenly his concentration was brought back to the people around him as someone was fingering his jacket.
He looked to see Old Rab standing close to him and peering up at him with rheumy eyes. He opened his mouth to speak and Jord could see the rotten teeth and holes where teeth used to be. A foul odour came out as he talked but Jord was used to that.
“Where did you get this?” Old Rab asked.
Jord cast his mind back to the experience in the sacred stone. “From inside the stone” he replied. “There was a thing in there it talked to me and gave me this and said something.”
Old Rab was joined by Arutha.
“What did he say boy?”
“Um I can’t quite remember. Something about becoming and bringing peace. Oh yes he said “Go now and bring peace to your people.” ”
“What does that mean Arutha?” And what are you doing?”
Jord’s voice rose up into a shriek for suddenly the tribes people had fallen silent as Arutha and Old Rab fell to their knees before him and placed their heads on the ground at Jord’s feet. Suddenly the whole tribe was doing the same.
Jord was frightened by this sudden turn of events and called out, “Please stand up. Someone tell em why you are doing this?” Arutha lifted his torso up straight but remained on his knees. “You Boy are whom the prophets of old spake. You are the Great Leader.”
“The Great Leader? You mean the one in the stories? But how can that be?”
Arutha answered him with a quote that Jord had heard many times before.
The dreamer will arise
The blind shall lead the tribe
The places of power will be restored
The people be multiplied
The coat of grand design
Will be worn with pride
Oppression will be lifted
By his sacrifice
By the time he had reached the second line his voice had been joined by 20 others as the whole tribe spoke in unison the words that each person knew by heart. Jord had learned them as a small boy also.
Jord’s eyes could not stay still. They darted around the place as his mind frantically tried to take in the import of what Arutha was saying.
A movement from the main plaza caught his attention. Whitefaces were coming into the meeting area. There were several of them, dressed alike. They were large and as they came through the entrance way they fanned out in a menacing manner.
Jord cried out “Whitefaces!” As one the people turned and saw the Whitefaces, and suddenly confusion reigned. The ranks of kneeling people suddenly turned into a swarm of activity as they rushed hither and thither, gathering belongings and seeking hiding places.
Arutha grabbed Jord and hustled the boy off behind the sacred stone. “Sit here and keep still” he commanded. Then he stalked haughtily around to the front of the stone and called out to the Whitefaces.
“What do you want with my people?” he called out in their language
The leader of the Whitefaces approached. “Nothing to fear old man” he called back. “What were you doing before we arrived though?”
“None of your business” grunted Arutha. “Tribe business. Speak your piece and be gone then.”
The leader of the Whitefaces said, “We were worried. There were reports of a bright light and an explosion coming from here. We have been sent to check it out.”
“Nothing to see here” Arutha replied indicating with a sweep of his hand the nearly deserted corner of the plaza. The patches of green grass interspersed with small hedges, benches and a couple of water fountains were surrounded by several tall trees and a few clumps of smaller ones. A few tribes folk lingered in small groups talking animatedly together.
“Nothing to see,” he repeated.
“We will need to see some of your people and ask them some questions” the leader continued.
Jord could hear the respect in his voice. After the big fight, Arutha was treated much more carefully by the Whitefaces. Apparently he had won a battle of words at the Whitefaces council and now they were required to direct all contact with the tribe through Arutha.
“They will say the same as I” Arutha responded, “Nothing to see here.”
“Nevertheless,” the leader replied, “we must.”
Arutha dismissed him with a wave of his hand and turned his back on him and walked over to the sacred stone. He called over his shoulder “Do what you must, but no-one goes with you without you first talking to me.”
The leader nodded to his men and they began going from group of people to group of people asking them if they had seen the light or heard the explosion. Everywhere the tribesmen just looked down at the ground and shuffled their feet and shook their heads. If they spoke it was a simple “No.”
Jord was not approached hidden out of sight as he was by the sacred stone.