the makhoul

at twilight a horde of twenty or so riders bearing tall black standards and riding restless black stallions gather on the eastern shores. they have sat through a nightly vigil. a slight oncoming breeze from the sea is rattling their banners and their flowing black robes and turbans. all of them have invariably striking features, high cheeckbones and tanned complexion. their kohl-lined eyes stand out ever so boldly against the often-scarred, sharp features of the faces. the kohl-lined eyes have a gloomy look about them. two of the riders push a wooden raft into the water and come out of the shallows. the raft is covered in black clothes and carries the body of the deceased young leader of the makhoul (mak-hool – مکحول). the wavelets gently drag the raft away from the eastern shores. besides the prostrate body covered in black, a scimitar has been driven into the raft at an angle and is swaying gently with the raft. when the craft and its solemn cargo has reached a certain distance from the shore, one of the makhoul gives a signal and two fiery arrows are shot, with black smoke trailing behind the arrows in a curving trajectory, until they land on the receding ferry. the oncoming seaward breeze brings with itself a unique fragrance from the flaming raft. the riders form a line on the shore, undo their turbans and let their black hairs flow in the oncoming eastern breeze just as the manes of their horses. once the last flickrs of the flame has died and the ashes of the raft and its load are forever buried in the bellies of the aaftaaba sea, the makhoul form a semi-circle opening to the sea, and deliberate about the successor. the sun is high in the sky when a successor is chosen. at 23, she is the youngest among them. her name: saa’iqa (lightning – صاعقه).

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~ by safrang on June 16, 2008.

One Response to “the makhoul”

  1. Beautiful.

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