Chronicle 6: Lifestyles of the Black and Wealthy

Dreams are as tangible as the weight of an individual’s faith, so for a Celestial, the sights behind closed eyes can be as serious as life or death. Between the shadow which steadily feasted upon his benevolence and the trampling toll of rapid changes in time, Lycan’s hold on reality had already begun to slip. In the blink of an eye, he’d gone from battling the Romans beside the Kandake Queen, Amanirenas, to tumbling across the surface of a field of doughy clouds. The sky had somehow become an expanse of chlorophyll and sandy air. The contents of Earth and sky had flipped across a blurred horizon.

“Lycan,” with bursts of mist swooshing beneath each of their steps, two sweetly familiar voices graced the entrances to Lycan’s ears. His eyes trailed the full scope of the horizon to the sight of two women racing in his direction. To his delight, the women were none other than Tania and Mixie.

A glorious fan of shimmering light sparkled around each of their figures as they made strides over the clouds. The rapid splashes of bubbly mist beneath their steps rose like waves, ushering them into Lycan’s vicinity. His eyes settled over them both as he relished in their likeness to Ignita’s features.

“I found you.” Lycan beamed as a blanket of imaginary blue flames filled his gaze. Although Mixie and Tania stood before him, the only sights he could see were Ignita’s glorious flames.

With a sorrowful gaze, Ignita responded, “I’m sorry, Lycan but this journey is just beginning.”

“I’ll gladly endure any journey with you by my side.” Lycan’s smile nearly cracked the boundaries of his face.

“Not quite yet. You must find the Golden King.” said Ignita.

“What?” Lycan’s joy was hampered with confusion.

“Find the Golden King.” Like rippling waters, her words repeatedly flowed throughout his mind.

Then like the flooded surface of tired eyes, Lycan’s fantasy suddenly washed away. The colors of the sandy, green air smudged over the outlines of the fluffy, white clouds. The colors continued to merge like melting paint until there was nothing left but the lonely black space behind pulled eye lids. Unfortunately, his vision was nothing more than a dream. Lycan was so hurt and furious that the only action he could manage was to shout out a world trembling cry.

Before long, Lycan’s shouting wasn’t the only sound moving the Earth. A series of trumpets blasted. Rhythmic hands tap-danced across all sorts of percussions. A chorus of passionate voices belted wild notes into the air. Lycan slowly crawled to the edge of a descending hill where he laid eyes on a deep valley, which was flooded with celebrations.

Marching men and women were all covered from head to toe in jewels, satin, and pure gold. Some of them rode on the backs of giant elephants, giraffes, camels and horses. The others danced in between the animal’s ranks. Their silk and Cashmere kaftans reflected the movements of stars and moonlight across their intricately sewn designs.

A band of fools skipped haughtily atop eight-foot-tall stilts, illuminating the evening with their humorous antics. Their shoulders and waists were adorned with colorful straw, which served to exaggerate their swift dancing movements. Their faces were concealed behind totem-styled masks, which were carved to represent mythical chimeras. They threw dazzling fire into the sand causing the Earth to disappear behind swarms of vibrant smoke.

Mesmerizingly beautiful women stepped forward from the smoke. Each of them carried tall baskets over the crowns of their heads. Their hips wriggled in a snake-like fashion while their heads remained surprisingly steady. Sequined veils blew from their backs like the wings of tropical birds.

“Aah, now these humans know how to party. Their energy is exhilarating.” Lycan’s wide eyes magnified the reflections of the wild parade.

The sour smell of fresh cocoa beans unleashed an enchanting aroma into the air. The allure of the natural candy and soothing incense pulled Lycan’s focus deeper into the valley. He was instantly compelled to take a closer look.

A venomous sensation then struck his mind, locking him in place as dark thoughts sounded. The voice of the shadow spoke, “I agree. There is so much Inspirit within them. It's like an endless buffet.”

“This isn’t your usual vibe, shadow. There’s no destruction, chaos or Aberrations in sight.” observed Lycan.

“This stop’s not on me, YesterFate. I have no idea what adventure lies here. I’m just as curious as you are.”

As convincing as the shadow’s supposed ignorance may have been, Lycan wasn’t too keen on buying into it. He was eager to explore the mounting celebrations in the valley, but he’d have to be careful to protect the people from the tricks of his shadow.

“I’ll keep them safe and maintain a watchful eye. No worries, shadow. You’ll pose no threats in the form of a fly.” Lycan whimsically chanted before opening his hands wide. His fingers and palms grew bright with crimson energy. Then like a sculptor with a handful of clay, he reshaped himself into the size and form of the soaring insect.

Amid the valley, the celebrations moved forward. Every soul was fully enthralled by the festivities, except for a group of studious observers. These observers all wore extended cone shaped wraps over their heads. Their clothes were fashioned from raw animal hide, causing them to stand out from the wealthily dressed patrons of the parade.

One observer who was a lean, elderly man walked with the help of a beaded staff. It was obvious by the way the others looked to him that he was a leader among the observers. The old man slowly parted his lips to speak, “The legend of the Golden King will be renowned for eternity.”

Lycan, whose faint buzzing could be heard as he maneuvered through the crowds of people stopped at the sound of the old man’s voice. His antennae perked as he recalled Ignita’s words.

You must find the Golden King. Lycan thought with intrigue.

Lycan zoomed towards the wandering observers and listened intently as they each spoke. From their conversations, he learned each of their names. The old man was Riku. He was indeed their leader. Then there was Hasan and Bibi. They were both middle aged men. There was a fourth observer who was far younger than the others. She couldn’t have been any older than 14 years of age. Her eyes were both massive and curious. They called her Naina.

“Naina, listen girl. The Legend of the Golden King will be your assignment.” said Riku.

“Yes,” Naina exclaimed. “I’ll spread the tale both far and wide. The world will know the name of Mansa Musa.”

“Hold your camels, young one. There is an art to storytelling that every Mande Jali must master.” said Hasan.

Through the full view of the fly’s expansive sight, Lycan’s view was filled with the full scope of the parade, but he found the Mande Jali to be the most interesting. Mande Jali were responsible for preserving the genealogies, historical narratives and oral traditions of their people. This was a task which they often accomplished using poetry or songs.

“I’ll teach the child. After all, I am Riku’s smartest student. Isn’t that right, Riku?” bragged Bibi.

“The role of the Mande Jali is to spread truth, brother. Right now, all you speak are lies.” joked Hasan.

“Silence. The both of you will teach the girl. Show her the way.” demanded Riku.

“It will be my pleasure.” Bibi winked.