Dakrri stirred in his woolen cocoon. The early morning mist still covered the valley of their camp and the day was barely a whisper in the east. He knew his day would be well started before the sun kissed the mountain tops. Much depended on the choices made in the first few hours of this first full day on their journey.
Crawling out from his warm bed, he stood to begin the process of stowing his bed roll and finding the morning’s small portions and feed his two yaks. Soon, in the pre-dawn light, they would start the fire they had laid the night before and prepare their early breakfast. When ready to travel, lots would be drawn to determine which path each of the seven seekers would take.
Dakrri was not on this mountain top to seek the wisdom of the ancients. To him all paths led back to his village as quickly as he could manage. It was tradition that the second son of the bese’ commit to the life of a seeker while his elder brother was trained to become the next leader. Dakrri’s brother, however, was no leader. To protect his village he felt he must return before tragedy struck. To make matters worse, the young girl that had captured his heart had been given to his brother to avoid a possible conflict in leadership. A year had passed and there was no sign of an heir. No longer able to put off this journey, Dakrri had become one of the seven. Returning from the mountain safe and sane could be a sign to the village that he was the rightful leader. As he thought on these things and his plans for the day he was startled by a shout from a copse of stunted pines at the edge of the clearing.
“She is gone! She, her animals and all her supplies, they are gone!”
Dolma, the only woman in the group, had sought privacy from the rest by taking her bedroll and yaks into the pines. Tired from the day’s journey, and knowing that she, as they, had been well trained in the ways of the mountain wilderness, no one had questioned her move. Now, in the pre-dawn hours, Isho had found her missing.
Dakrri had no idea why Isho would have ventured to visit Dolma’s campsite and suspicion began to fill his mind. Dolma was the sister of the woman he had loved since childhood. He knew her quite well and Isho never was and never would be a person she would take into confidence. What had possessed him to attempt to enter her camp uninvited?
He knew Dolma had her own agenda. They had spoken of it often. It is most likely that she chose to avoid the morning rituals because she knew where she wanted to go and no lot would change her mind. Her disappearance may have troubled him, but not deterred him from his own goals, but now he was concerned about Isho’s agenda. This early morning visit could not have been one of goodwill and it was only the shock and surprise of finding her gone that had exposed him.
Isho came running back to the light of the now growing fire. It was anger that Dakrri saw in his face and not fear or concern. Perhaps today was not the best day to start his ride home.
NOTE: Although a continuation of “The Seeker,” this piece does use a different character. Hopefully it is acceptable within the guidelines. My guess is this will grow into a book one day, we’ll just have to see.