Story for the Day: A Legacy Left Pt.3
Khantara and Leraa swiftly went to the shore, where Kai Linaa was engaged with feeding the small mice a few jhanbhel seeds from the nearby flowers. They had refreshed and cleaned themselves, making one another presentable for a most esteemed meeting, and though they were too timid to eat, especially the smallest one, they would d so if only to appease Kai Linaa's innocent kindness.
Janir bowed low when the two giants returned and gave his due honourables to Leraa with a graceful Lucentian inclination, one hand behind his back and one foot behind the other.
"Khodhanaas, Ghaandhari," Leraa said with a hearty smile. He pointed to the mice. "Did you bring the hastaa hastaa zaratsaa?"
Janir assumed Leraa’s meaning and said, "I did," with a look at Khantara, who nodded to confirm his suspicions.
Leraa fawned over the mice, his amber eyes twinkling with joy, and bowed to them in welcome.
The mice, having ate their seeds as tolerably as they could, hopped to the edge of Kai Linaa’s fingers to present themselves in front of Leraa and began twitching their noses as though they were communicating something.
"What are they saying?" asked Kai Linaa.
Leraa concentrated for a moment. "They want to be Ghiosa, Mizoahi. They said they heard from their Anonnaa in Frewyn a long time ago that the Haanta offer enlightenment to all those who wish to find it."
In the midst of her rapturous deliberations, Kai Linaa was made to think of her own small mouse she had left with Sheamas upon coming to the islands and began to wonder whether these mice were a distant relation.
"They say they did not like their home in the desert," said Leraa in a sorrowful tone. "They said they could not find water or food. They asked about Frewyn, and their Anonnaa in Frewyn said that he had an Anonnaa who became a Ghiosa. He could not come with her because he was not allowed on the ship. They say they are grateful to the Ghaandhari here for letting them come."
The mice sniffed at Janir and then looked back at Leraa.
"Do not worry," Leraa smiled. "I will take you to the Themari and you will be Ghiosa." He gathered them into his hand and began walking back to the temple when Kai Linaa, running in front of him with tears in her eyes, burst out with:
"Leraa, I think I know those mice."
Leraa looked down at the mice, who seemed just as astonished as he was himself. "You do, Mizoahi?"
"I think-" Kai Linaa began, but she chocked a tightening throat and the heavy commencement of tears. "I think those mice are related to Mr Sniffles."
Janir raised a brow at Khantara and he received a warm smile in answer.
In a fever of desperation, Kai Linaa pressed her nose to Leraa's hand and said, "Was your Anonnaa a very small brown mouse with big brown eyes and a fluffy tuft of fur under his chin?"
The mice wiggled their fingers and sat up on their hind legs.
"They say yes, Mizoahi," Leraa beamed.
"Oh! Mr Sniffles!" Kai Linaa wailed, and threw herself on Khantara's arm to sob out her woes of her poor, dear departed little friend.
"Haa, Mizoahi," said Khantara laughingly, taking Kai Linaa into the bend of his arm, "Your name was well chosen."
Kai Linaa cried until they reached the temple where the tinkling laughter of the children in the garden soon tranquilized her. "Can-" She sipped on her remaining tears. "Can we attend their conversion ceremony?"
The answer was a resounding yes, and Kai Linaa tossed her arms around Khantara's neck to sob in renewed and overjoyed triumph. She had felt that her poor, dear little friend should always have come with her, and though she had left him to Sheamas' great care, she had ever lamented that they had never made the journey together. Here, however, was all her reconciliation: word of her journey had reached his relatives, and because of her desire and her endeavors to reach the islands, this small family of mice had been given hope. Her conversion had saved them from a life of desolation, starvation and misery, and though she could not regain her one true friend, his remembrance was now on the islands, together with her where it always should have been.
They saw the family of mice safely into the temple, where they were assessed and determined for their Mivaala. As they prepared for their Ghiosa Bhidhaas, which was given without delay due to the necessity of the case, everyone in their circle was invited to be witness to the conversion and assist in the celebration thereof: Bhaaldhena, Jhiaanta, Mhardhosa and their respective mates were applied to for attendance; Rhodhira, in all her pregnant state, arrived and took her place beside Leraa; Otenohi and Ashta Hira came from the shore, bringing Anelta along with them; and Unghaahi, having heard of the ceremony from Otenohi, in foresight hurried home from the shore to retrieve some cloths for his mate’s weeping eyes before making the party complete. They all convened in the inner sanctum, and with Leraa’s powers of translation in assistance, the Themari anointed each mouse’s head with a droplet of water from their sanctified pool and said the necessary blessings to grant them their conversion. The mice said all that was honourable, promised to fulfill the means of their Mivaala, and said their thanks for being made members of the Haanta collective with such expedience and alacrity as they had never thought they should receive. Flower petals were granted for each of them and everyone applauded their new brothers and sister, excepting Kai Linaa who wailed in happy distress throughout the entire ceremony, muting her sobs of joy in the bend of Unghaahi’s arm, using the cloths he had brought her to dry her eyes whilst using the folds of his kansa to dry her nose.
Everyone joined them for their first meal and all went to the garden where Anelta brought the Abharaas for the party to share. As the mice were prevailed upon to dole the first portion, they each brought the lentils and vegetables to their guests piece by piece.
Everyone was disposed to coo and think their efforts endearing, but Bhaaldhena could not be so adoring. Each grain of his most prized and beloved meal was a torment to him; the Abharaas was there at the end of the table and yet he must wait to eat it, being forced to gain so little of the enjoyment it afforded by consuming it in such minuscule quantities. It was an anguish he could not endure, and he writhed in his seat, spying the mounds of fresh lentils, inhaling their sauces, biting his lower lip to keep himself from crying out. He closed his eyes and turned to his mate. “Jaina,” he said in an grief-stricken voice, “help me.”
“But your disquiet is so attractive, my dear,” said the Duchess. “A few moments more and they shall have done.”
A few moments, however, was a lifetime to Bhaaldhena, and the instant the table was commanded to eat, he inhaled his portion, inhaled his mate’s, and instantly began to reach for Kai Linaa’s, as she could not want anything in her state. His satisfaction after three portions of Abharaas had cooled his agitation, and he could sit in tolerable peace and be happy again for the remainder of the meal.
Soon it was announced that the mice were given the Mivaala of grain-sifter, where they could delight in the exertion of sifting through all the grain in the fields and granaries, choosing the good ones to be ground at the mill and eating those that were slightly misshapen. The mice thanked their patrons for all the assistance they rendered in furthering their joyous survival, but a special thanks was given to Kai Linaa, for if she had never befriended their dear southern cousin, they would never have known that life could be more felicitous and abundant than had ever hitherto conceived.
When the meal was at last over and the remnants of the celebration swept away, Janir was walked to the docks by the party, joined by the four newest and smallest additions. He felt a glowing warmth in his heart for the merit he had shown that day; it had boasted his good character and good principles, and the mice would remind him of it until his boarding his vessel and leaving the pier with a smile and a wave of his hand. To see four beings so well installed in their new home, knowing they would suffer every comfort of life, was a reminder to himself of how a bending of regulations and good intentions had its just rewards. He took the helm of his ship once more with Ghodhina beside him and looked back at the shore to remark the party rapt in elation over their latest additions.