Ara-non The Merchant
MEETS ARA-NON THE MERCHANT
8 Ara-non visited a woman who lived in the tent city of Slavath. She was the wife of camel herder named, Ha-lam. 2 Ara-non had seduced the woman, Za-Elle with flattering words, and she had secretly invited him for more than words.
3 At night she opened the door of her tent, wearing only thin veils, and greeted him with warm embraces of her own. 4 Ha-lam was not home, and their bed lay empty and cold. Za-Elle seduced the man who was not her husbandman with the dancing-flattery that only a woman can do. 5 These became touches and more upon her bed covers where she led him. Soon they knew one another, even though they did not belong to each other. Their passions found new discoveries. 6 After sometime, Za-Elle i rose up, saying to him, “Lie here till I return, my love. I must attend my daughter before she awakes in the next room.”
7 Moments later the naked woman came and lay with him as before, enjoying the company of one another’s burning lust. Near dawn Ara-non dressed and returned to his life in the city of Lindol, down the road from Slavath. 8 Three day later, Za-Elle sent word, an invitation for another night, as before. Seven such did they share, forgetting the world about them. Instead of an eighth, Za-Elle sent word, “Never again.”
9 Eight years passed without news, not even a random meeting of her. 2 Ara-non, the seller of wares continued as before. He would leave his home near Lindol’s northern wall and pushing his cart down the cobbled streets. 3 He ventured to the Adjoining Gate, which separated Lindol from the city of Mithar. Two hours before noon, and two hours after noon everyday were the gates left opened for the people to freely travel as they chose. 4 For at Mithar’s southern arched gateway a great market sprang up, drawing the people from everywhere to gather news and barter their goods.
10 One day as Ara-non set out his jewelry cart of silver rings, woven bracelets, beaded earrings, shell necklaces, and images of the gods and goddesses; a strange chain of events changed his life forever.
2 While selling idols in the market square of Lindol a young girl came to Ara-non. She said nothing but only watched him with others. Turning to her, the merchant asked, “Would you care to trade for the image of Ulmo, god of the sea?”
3 The girl gave no answer.
4 Again, Ara-non asked her, “Ah, perhaps a lamp to recall the blessed light of the goddess Yevonna?”
5 The girl of fifteen years smiled, but gave no sign of interest in his wares. Finally, she spoke, “I am Eana-lyn of Kathos.”
6 Ara-non stood still.
7 Eana-lyn broke his silence, seeing his smiling eyes recognized her name, “Yes, my mother was Za- Elle of Slavath.”
8 A wondering look came upon his face.
9 The girl continued, “I remember seeing you love my mother three different times in the night. They were secret meetings, which my mother swore me to tell no one. I never did.
10 “I remember seeing you on occasion in the temple as well; offering incense and prayers to Eru. One time you even picked me up as a child, while my mother gave coins to the Mitharian Priests at their gate.
11 “There were many times I caught my mother stealing glances in search of you, but you never saw us watching you from afar.” Eana-lyn smile at the remembrance.
12 “How -,” Ara-non began to ask.
13 “How is she,” Eana-lyn asked in place of him.
14 “Yes,” He confirmed. “How is she and your father?”
15 “My father – Ha-lam – is not well…”
16 “I am sorry to –” Ara-non began, but the girl continued with, “My father has not been well ever since -.” 17 She removed a bracelet and handed it over to the jewelry merchant to inspect. He knew very well the knotted, yellow and red beaded wristlet, for its distinctive woven-pattern was his own. 18 The man’s heart sank as his eyes welled up with tears.
19 “My mother always told me that if anything ever – “
20 “I know. When? How,” He cried, listening to her answer?
21 “My mother always bought fresh fish, caught at the port of Kathos. I am still unsure what she enjoyed more, the dress stalls or riding her horse southward to get there.
22 “Seven weeks ago… a snake crossed the path, throwing her from her horse. Hours later other travelers found her on the road where she had fallen.”
23 The man’s face suddenly showed his age. He was consumed with grief, “Eana-lyn, my deepest sorrow could never tell you how sorry I am.” 24 The loss was a crushing blow to old man.
25 A few moments later, the young girl smiled again, asking, “I myself am to be a bride unto Joel, a fishmonger in Kathos, in three months times. 26 Joel looks at me the same way my mother did you from afar. So, tell me truthfully Ara-non, had Za-Elle not belonged to my father, would you - ?”
27 He interrupted her with, “Six-teen winters ago I felt the very sorrow your father does now, sweet one. For the next ten thousand years shall I morn your mother’s passing.” 28 His was a broken smile.
29 Before she turned to leave, Eana-lyn said, “I always had great affection for you Ara-non, for the love I saw you had for my mother. She cared deeply for you, in her own way these many years.” As she turned and left, the merchant noticed something strange happen.11 Several....