He kept talking and when he realized she was neither moving nor responding to him, he felt her body and realized that her skin was cold.
His heart skipped and he began tapping and calling her.
“My lady…my lady….?
She suddenly stretched, Dembe heaved a sigh of relief before saying.
“You sca red me my lady….
She giggled quietly before saying.
“I was listening to you and trying to imagine all the scenes in my mind. You thought I was dead? hahahahaha! You hardly get scared of anything Dembe…
“Aside my faith, I’m still an ordinary man. I don’t want to lose you my lady….i want you to stay with me and let us raise our son together in the ways of the Lord. I can’t do it alone that is why I need you. I think we should return back to the chamber, is getting cold out here…
Dembe made an attempt to carry Aprin and she stopped him.
“I feel so energized, I feel the presence of God while you were telling the story. I will walk back to the chamber…you don’t need to carry me. I feel far better than I have ever felt in weeks…
They walked back to the chamber together. Dembe covered Aprin up as she lay on the bed.
He checked on their son who was sound asleep.
“Balaam couldn’t see the angels but his donkey saw him? Can you tell me the second story about the talking donkey and the angel?
Aprin asked as she wondered deeply on the story Dembe told her.
“Yes my lady. Balaam was a sorcerer…he believes in magic powers. When Balak the king consulted him because he felt threatened by the Israelite, the king asked him to go and curse the children of God, Balaam was not certain if he wants to do it or not but with the huge money the king offered to him which was like a bribe …it convinced him. Balaam set out to go and pronounce curses upon God’s own people and that was how an angel appeared on the way to stop and warn him of his pending doom. Balaam was not able to see the angel standing in the middle of the road but the donkey that he was riding on saw the angel and fell to the ground. Balaam thought the animal was just being lazy and began to hit her to get up. The donkey did this three times and God made the donkey to speak to Balaam. Balaam spiritual eyes was open and he was able to see the angel. After the encounter with the angel he proceed with his journey and as he got to where he will curse the children of God he began to bless them. So instead of the curse that Balak the king paid him to do, Balaam pronounced blessing upon on the Israelite…
Aprin smiled. She wanted to hear more stories but her eyes began to close gradually.
She fell asleep. Dembe yawned and also slept off.
With the way they bonded and kept growing together both in faith and in unity the priestess left them alone.
Instead she focused on besieging the gods to intervene because her words and threat were not doing anything again.
The priestess saw that Aprin was hungry to know more about her husband’s faith and he was willing to feed her.
The priestess thought within herself that one day they will come to realize their mistakes and ask the gods for pardon.
The seat of a priest and priestess remain empty because it belongs to Aprin and Dembe.
Their son clocked a year old, no sacrifice was made.
Sheila pleaded to the mother to make her and Bash the next priest and priestess of Kebra but her request was turned down.
The priestess assured Sheila that Aprin will realize her mistakes and will come around, so also is Dembe. No matter how old their son maybe, he still belong to the gods.
“A day will come and his blood will be poured on that altar as a peace offering. No one battles with the gods or say no to their request. The gods chose Aprin as the priestess of Kebra. She can only run for now but she can’t run forever. Sheila, if it was meant for you…you wouldn’t need to plead to me or make many promises. I would have assigned you and Bash as the rightful couple. But despite you are my daughter your heart is not pure. Aprin’s heart is golden and she is called to intercede for the people of Kebra after me…
Sheila was angry as usual. Her mother kept turning her request down and making Aprin who is obviously not interested as the only heir to the seat of the priestess.
Even as another year came, followed by another the priestess still insisted that the next priestess will be Aprin.
Dembe hardly leave the house, because he was not allowed. He missed the fellowship of believers. He missed the singing, clapping and dancing to the Lord.
He does that with his wife and son but some time he crave for that chorused singing and to listen to Jon and Lydia talk about God.
He smiled as he remembered the little baby girl that he placed in the arm of the tent maker and his wife to care for.
“She must be growing so well, both spiritually and physically….
Dembe said aloud mainly to himself.
Aprin has regrets, ever since she became a believer she has thought of her first baby. She hopes God forgives her because she was truly sorry. She smiled within herself as she thought of her baby who died for a sin she never commit is in heaven, in the right hand of God.
Dembe had told her that if she confess her sins and condemn them that God is merciful enough to Forgive. She has done that severally but sometimes she feel so guilty for her past deeds.
After giving birth to her son, she has been unable to conceive another child.
She was afraid of going through such a long painful journey again. The first and second pregnancy almost claimed her life and she still feel the impact of the whole thing. The midwives were kind enough to listen to her when she told them that she doesn’t want another pregnancy.
She may not have fully recovered from all the trauma but she was glad to be doing well. Having a husband who truly loves and cares for her and a son who was growing in strength.
The priestess summoned Dembe one day.
“The gods never forget, they are very patient with you and your wife. You are having what belongs to them and no matter how long you run or hide… Just at the right time they will fish you out and drag you down to your knee. You can never hide from the gods. The seat is still empty. The sacrifice is yet to be made. You and my daughter will bear the heavy consequences of your actions. For my sake the gods decided to give you and Aprin more time to come willingly. The years are going and you are making things difficult for yourselves. The little baby that was not supposed to feel any pain as the sacrificed is offered has turned three years even going to four. He will feel the pain of the knife and will die a devastating death because of his parents’ foolishness. His bones are getting stronger and his blood thicker and he still belongs to the gods. Make haste while the sun shine. Stop bringing trouble down to yourselves….because I can’t help you when the wrath of the gods bears down on you and your family.
The priestess spoke with Dembe and he responded.
“Great mother, you are wise and kind. Aprin’s adores you and I respect you greatly but you should try and give up on anything concerning us because the gods may grow real old while waiting. My wife, my son and I belongs to the true living God. If the gods are wise enough then they should have seen that we will never serve them…they should have seen that our body, soul and spirit is not for them. As for me and my entire house…we will serve the Lord and only him deserve our worship. Maybe you should also taste and see that the Lord is truly good. No harm will come to us except if God allows it. The Lord is a strong tower that the righteous runs into and are safe.
As Dembe walked away, the priestess began to think about his strong belief.
She has heard a lot of stories from Dembe and also heard them pray. She wondered on her own how mighty is this God that does so many wonders.
Sometimes she really wanted to call Dembe to explain clearly to her but she was a priestess and such was forbidden.
She had several night mares where this
strange shining being kept appearing and pulling her out of a ditch that was trying to swallow her.
She has wanted to call Dembe and tell him about her dream and also ask him to explain to her what it all means but she was the mouth piece of the deity and such was an abomination to the gods.
She kept it all to herself. She still goes out to the fountain some nights, hide in the dark just to listen to some of the stories that Dembe has to tell. Even if he has told it before, it still sound new.
She has listen to them pray quietly and talk about their God with so much joy. Aprin has questions and Dembe seems to have the answers.
She has tried to stop them but they cannot be stopped.
The priestess was happy that Aprin was truly loved by the man she choose. Bash wouldn’t have made her so happy and high spirited like Dembe was doing.
It was a good thing that Aprin turned down her betrothal and chose a common slave instead. Aprin’s choice of a man may not go well with many but Dembe was the right man for her. It has become so obvious.
The priestess stood in her high chamber staring out to the busy street. She was still wondering about what will happen to the seat of the priest and priestess.
It belongs to Aprin and not to Sheila who was desperate for it.
She was hoping someday Aprin will take her position as the priestess of Kebra alongside her husband but she has fear of the unknown God that Dembe boldly speaks off.
Sometimes she feels so cold whenever Dembe start talking or praying by the fountain. It was as if another strong and invisible being came to join them.
Maybe there is more to this God that Dembe and Aprin worships.
She was determined to find out but waiting for the right time.
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