The Seed of All Hope
A’Kontay: the House of Seti-Kahn – The three hundred women of Seti-Kahn – The offspring
of Seti-Kahn – A son is born – Keeping secret the child’s identity – Areta names
her son God (Noble One) – Areta finds a hidden room – Filling the room with love
and wonder – Areta teaches her son – A woman attempts to escape the compound – Impaled
upon the stake – A crying son – “If I die, shall I yet live again beside you?”
1 Now the House of Seti-Kahn was great and mighty; for of all those which ruled
in the Empire of Drakonia was Seti-Kahn made third highest in the land; having over
him none other save the Emperor and his son.
2 For the lands and gardens which did surround the houses and palaces of his power
were vast and filled with the privileges of all his might, being lush and fertile
with orchards and crops of every kind; having also many lakes and ponds which were
filled with fish.
3 And around the sum of all his lands was there built a wall of iron and stone,
having upon its summit a great many guns and turrets which would keep a frightful
watch over all his house.
4 Having under his command some five hundred Praetorians which did guard, most zealously,
all things within the walls.
5 And unto the lands and palaces of Seti-Kahn was there given the name A’Kontay;
being known throughout the regions round about as the place of blood.
6 For the stones of the walls and the stones of the great palace were fashioned,
most strongly, of red granite; being heavily cut and firmly laid, causing that things
should appear as covered in blood in the light of day.
7 And there roamed within the borders of the great wall, mighty dogs of war; weighing
each, of themselves, some three hundred and fifty pounds; being bred for size and
ferocity; having about their necks a collar of iron; being fed upon human flesh only.
8 Now in the fortress of A’Kontay was there made a large and separate house, surrounded
by an iron fence; and within this house did there live in fearful dread, the three
hundred women of Seti-Kahn.
9 Being compelled in constant labors day and night; for in the day did even all
the women go forth into the gardens and orchards of the master; having to watch over
them a great many guards which carried in their hands both whip and prod by which
they would drive the women in all their labors.
10 Likewise also, were the women of Seti-Kahn compelled to labor in the night, working
in the kitchens and the halls; preparing such foods as the master would serve to
all his guests, being each themselves men of power and privilege.
11 While yet other women did serve, midst jeers and mocking, the tables of the master;
being made subject to the wanton desires of those which ate; being constantly pinched
and slapped upon the breasts by men of cruel and lustful visage.
12 Thus did the women of Seti-Kahn labor midst cruel and hurtful slavery; and not
this only, but in the night were certain women compelled to lay with the master whereby
he might pleasure himself upon them.
13 While still others of the master’s women were given unto his guests whereby they
might amuse themselves in the night; raping and plundering with lustful zeal, such
women as were made to serve them upon the bed.
14 Now there lived in the house of women, some forty-two children which were born
unto the master; being counted under the law, the offspring of Seti-Kahn; and of
these children were even every one of them under seven years of age.
15 For according to the law were all boys at the age of seven made to leave the
mothers which bore them; and by force were the sons taken to live in military barracks
whereby they might learn the ways of war and men; being made from their youth to
manhood, the instruments of war and death.
16 Yet under the law were even all the girl children taken away from their mothers,
and carried in chains unto the House of Blood and Fire, and there most cruelly circumcised.
17 And when this was completed, then were some of the girl children sent back to
the House of Seti-Kahn; and there made most forcibly to serve the lustful imaginings
of their master midst tears and bitter weeping.
18 And still were others sold to the pleasure houses of the land, whereby they might
become the sex slaves to even the lowest of men; having the youth of their body stripped
away through endless rapes and plunderings; becoming through the years themselves,
women of cruelty and hurtful spite.
19 Now in the palace of A’Kontay did Areta conceive, and in the season appointed,
she drew forth from her womb, a son made fair and delightful.
20 And in her joy did Areta sing unto her child, wooing through soft words and tender
touches, the life of her son whereby she might seal his heart unto her own while
in this life.
21 Now it was the law of the land, that women should not feed their infant sons
upon their breast, for fear that the boy take upon himself the weakness of women.
22 But Areta would not bend to the law, neither would she yield to such customs
as would compel her to prove distant and uncaring of the child which was born unto
23 For it was believed by all that Areta had given birth to a girl child and not
a boy; for in the day of her laboring did she draw herself away to be alone.
24 And giving birth in a solitary place, she delivered herself of a son; and when
it was completed, even she did wrap the child in a small cloth; and when others saw
her feeding the child upon her breasts, even they did assume that the child was a
girl and nothing more.
25 By such subtle means did Areta keep her son most constantly beside her; and wheresoever
she went in the performing of all her labors, even there would she take the son to
be with her.
26 For Areta dared not let any other attend unto him, lest he be discovered and
betrayed; but in all things did Areta alone attend;
27 Feeding and bathing the child by her own hand; causing the child to be most constantly
beside her, whereby she might nurture him with soft words and gentle touches.
28 Causing, even in the night, that the child should sleep beside her; suckling
him upon the tit, or resting his head upon the womb; singing to him in the silent
watches of the night, songs of love and life, filled with wonder and delight.
29 And as the child grew, Areta refused to place in the drink of the boy, or in
the food he ate, the blood and flesh of men; but gave instead a portion of the food
which she herself ate; suckling the son upon her breasts for five years.
30 Such was the love and devotion of Areta unto her son; and unto the son did she
give a small and tender name; calling him God, midst smiles and gentle laughter;
which in the language of Areta means: Noble One.
31 Now in the fourth year of Areta’s sojourn, there came captive unto the House
of Seti-Kahn, some fifty new women which were given by the Emperor unto him.
32 And there came unto Areta, the chief steward and he appointed her charge over
all of them; naming her the Seventh Woman of the House of Seti-Kahn.
33 And unto Areta and the fifty women was there given charge in the care and upkeep
of the house of women and all its compound; being responsible for all maintenance
and tending, which appointment was thought choice above all others.
34 By such appointment was there given unto Areta extra rations of food and drink;
and there was also permitted her the right to establish her own private chamber,
if it so be that she could find one.
35 So Areta went searching throughout the whole house, for it was large and spacious,
having many rooms and chambers; but Areta could find no room which was empty and
36 But on a certain day, Areta found a secret passage which did lead her up into
the attic of the whole house; and there did she find a room made empty and spare,
being airy and filled with light, for it had many windows.
37 Thus did Areta find that hidden place where she and her son might dwell unafraid
and in joy together; and when the child was just three years old, Areta did move
him into the chambers of the uppermost room of the house.
38 And in the lateness of the night did Areta and the child work midst singing and
laughter, playing together in all their labors; cleaning here, brightening there,
the room in which they lived.
39 Yet did Areta seek still further means to make joyous and happy, the place where
her child might grow; placing in the room throughout, all manner of plants and vines
40 Hanging from the walls and ceiling, all kinds of brightly colored cloth; making
with her own hands, paper stars and moons and planets which she did hang against
a field of blue for the pleasure of her son, whereby she might fill his mind with
41 And Areta laid down a large pallet upon the floor, filled with softness and warmth,
and there would the son sleep most peacefully beside her, to dream in safety upon
42 Thus did Areta make most delightful the private chambers of her dwelling; being
separate and apart from the cruelties of men, and the bitter jealousies and hateful
glances of all the other women.
43 For Areta was most resolved to teach unto the seed of all her hope, a fullness
of love and wisdom; speaking into the ears of her son, stories of strength and goodness.
44 Teaching, through her observations, about the hardness and cruelties of all mankind;
revealing through most thoughtful speech, the oppressions and sufferings of every
woman upon the earth.
45 Building through careful wording, the beginnings of that firm resolve which would
compel the boy in manhood to defend the weak and fallen; and by the cunning of all
his wisdom, set free the hearts of every woman; to deliver them from all their fear
46 That women, being made free and equal through the workings of her son, might
set forth the gentle hand to redeem the whole of all mankind, lest man perish forever
from the face of the earth.
47 Thus did Areta, in the years of their togetherness, teach unto her son the ways
of women; that he might know with certainty how to hold and how to touch, how to
speak and how to hear, how to kiss and how to please, the woman which he would love.
48 Now on a certain day there escaped from the House of Seti-Kahn, a certain woman
filled with fear; and there arose because of it a great and dreadful commotion.
49 But after many days the woman was seized hold of and brought in chains unto the
house of women, having her head shaved; and there was seen upon her back a great
many stripes and bruises.
50 Yet, after there had passed many days, the selfsame woman did flee again away;
and after there was a great search, she was brought again unto the house in chains,
being beaten and bruised, and sorely afflicted.
51 For the chief steward had placed about her neck a yoke of wood and iron; and
unto this were her hands fastened most securely; and for many days was she compelled
to move and sleep in the heat of day, or the cold of night; being restrained from
all which saw her, from entering the house.
52 And when there had passed several months, the woman had removed from off her
neck the yoke and chains which bound her; and she was permitted again to dwell in
the house of women.
53 But in the night did she steal herself away again, to run with eager heart into
the mountains far beyond, seeking for herself some hidden place where she might dwell
54 Yet, after many days was she brought captive unto the house; and the chief steward
caused that she should be impaled upon the stake; and night and day did she scream
in agony and madness.
55 And on the third day of her agony did the chief steward call forth as witnesses,
even all the women of the house and their children also, that they might see for
themselves the harshness of the law which held them captive.
56 And there was released upon the woman, three fearsome dogs of war; and they
did tear her body from off the stake; and midst screams of terror and fear, they
did devour her before the eyes of all which saw, to lick her blood from off the ground.
57 But in the night, when the terrors of the day were ended, there arose the sound
of weeping; and Areta, being awakened, heard the sobbing of her son, for he was just
four years of age.
58 And Areta spoke softly into the ear of the child, saying: “Weep not my son, and
do not fear; for your mother is here beside you; and there shall come upon you no
59 But the boy, rising from his place, laid himself down upon his mother’s breasts;
and he spoke unto her, saying: “Mother, Mother, if I die, shall I yet live again
60 And Areta did press her son most gently against her; and in the darkness of the
night whispered: “I know not, my son; I know not.” And together did the mother and
the son weep, causing that their tears should fall and mingle together upon the bed.