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|“You must go! You must try!” cried Sanaa. Her hands gripped Akil’s tunic as she cried on his flat chest. “It is our only hope for us to be together.”
Sanaa knew that Komoni was their last chance now. The tribal council of elders had decided that there would be a warrior contest to see who should be named to succeed Sanaa’s father, King Jabari, who was ailing. The winner of the contest would also be given Sanaa as his bride. Everyone knew Amari would enter the contest and no one would dare to challenge him, not even Dume. But Sanaa was in love with Akil and had no interest in Amari despite his rugged handsomeness and impressive Steve Reeves physique. Akil and Sanaa had been friends since childhood and lovers since their teens. She was not interested in anyone else.
Akil thought the situation was hopeless. He could never defeat Amari in any man-to-man combat. He knew of Komoni’s reputation as the greatest witchdoctor on the continent but he was skeptical. He did not believe Komoni could do anything to help him and doubted that he would even try. Komoni was mercurial. “Here,” said Sanaa “offer Komoni this,” and she placed in Akil’s palm five uncut diamonds that she had taken from the tribal treasury.
“I will try as you wish and will leave for Dijoboro tomorrow,” he said to her lovingly as he stared into her beautiful dark eyes.
Akil and Sanaa were members of the Suri tribe. Its tribal lands contained the largest diamond mines on the continent. The tribe was ruled by a tribal council headed by a king. King Jabari was a fearless warrior in his day and was chosen as the king’s heir through a similar tribal contest many years ago. He had grown wise over the years but recently grew ill as his age began to overtake him. He agreed with the council that it was time to designate a new heir who would be trained to follow him.
The tribe was divided into three classes, the warrior class, the managerial class and the working class. The warrior class was the most respected class of all, for this class protected the tribe from the surrounding tribes that were envious of the Suri’s diamond mines. It was the ferociousness and strength of its warriors that kept the peace with the other tribes for no other tribe dared to challenge the Suri warriors. Amari, whose name means strength and builder, was a 30-year-old warrior leader and a junior member of the tribal council. He stood 6 ft tall, with broad shoulders and torso that tampered to a 31-inch waist. Like most warriors, he spent most of his time training as a soldier and exercising to improve his strength and maintain his peak conditioning. His 220-pound physique reflected these many years of training as evidenced by his large pillowed squared pecs,18-inch biceps and a bodyfat ratio of 8%. His long arched quads left him with two prominent knee caps. His speed and strength as a fighter were well-known. Dume was his nearest rival. Dume was about two inches shorter than Amari but about 10 pounds heavier and more thickly muscled. He was 37-years-old and was thought to be the tribe’s strongest warrior until Amari came of age. But Amari had challenged Dume to a skill contest and easily beat him despite Dume’s greater musculature and experience. Since then, Amari was unchallenged and recognized by all as being the tribe’s best warrior.
Next after the warrior class was the managerial class. This class managed the mines and the government. Akil was a member of this class and managed the trade office of the tribe. While the tribe had plenty of minerals, it had very little farmland for its people. So the tribe traded its diamonds and other minerals for food with the surrounding tribes. Although the warrior class was considered supreme, several members of the managerial class also served on the tribal council. Akil was also a junior member of the council. He was considered very capable at managing the tribe’s trade, always insuring enough food for the tribe’s people. He often traveled outside the tribal’s boundaries for weeks at a time to secure trade agreements. Although he was 5 ft 11 inches tall, he was otherwise of average V-shaped build, neither thin nor fat. He was 175 pounds trim but never an athletic star. His average-sized muscles were mostly hidden below a thin layer of bodyfat. Had he focused on athletic training he would have been more muscular and strong but he would never have been successful as a member of the warrior class.
Below these two classes was the worker class which worked in the diamond and mineral mines. Although it was the lowest class, the other two classes treated the worker class very well and new warriors were picked from all the classes as the tribe sought the best genetically gifted fighters.
Akil traveled far from Suriland to the city of Dijoboro where Komoni lived. His trip was long and difficult. When he reached Komoni’s palacial home, he entered the main entryhall. There he found himself in a large room where tribes people from far and wide were just standing around. There was a balding middle aged, thin man at a podium in front of the room with a guard not far from his side. Akil approached him.
“My name is Akil. I am from Suriland. I am here to see the great Komoni. I need his help.”
The short man looked up from his ledger at the young Akil. And then looked back down scanning his book. “I see no Akil on my list for today. When is your appointment?” he asked.
“Well, I have no appointment. I have traveled almost two weeks to get here. I must see him,” Akil explained.
“My boy, do you not see all the people in this room? They all have appointments for today. You must have an appointment to see the Great Doctor. I can give you one four weeks from now.”
“No, No. You don’t understand. I cannot wait that long. The contest is in just a few weeks. I must see him today!”
The man laughed. “I do not know what you are talking about. Nor do I care. I guess you did not understand me. Four weeks or never!” he said sternly.
Akil reached into his pocket and pulled out a small leather pouch and loosened its drawsting. He removed one of the raw diamonds that Sanaa had given him. “Perhaps you could look again at today’s list, as I am sure my name is there somewhere.” As he showed the old man the diamond, he said, “This would be a gift for you if you could find my name and if I could see the Great Doctor today.”
The man glared at the diamond which was placed before him and looked down again at his list. “Yes,” he said, “I see your name, Akil of Suriland. Now wait over there until your name is called.”
Akil stepped back from the podium and waited with the others.
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