ZOE. (The missing seal)
The household was in an uproar, and Zoe was in the middle.
Those who did not believe Lady Samar’s stories about Zoe being somehow responsible for Kuwe’s death were now convinced she was responsible for Rolf’s death.
Even Zoe began to wonder if she was normal at all. She was also blaming herself heavily and did not bother to argue her way out as she was been accused.
“Two husbands dead just within a short period, is ill fortune. How could this be?”
Zoe was troubled. Not from people who crowded and accused her but within herself. Her emotions was in chaos.
Both Kuwe and Rolf had been wicked but there were many wicked men out there who went about their lives and nothing happened to them. “So why had her husbands been singled out?
Zoe’s throat closed hot, her eyes burned with hot tears. She was innocent. She had nothing to do with these strange deaths but rumors were rampant. Gossip ripped the household into faction and Lady Samar was the initiator.
How could her mother in-law call her a witch, she has never cast a spell or utter an incantation. She doesn’t even know how that is done or ever follow a road that lead to a sorcerer’s house.
She wanted to defend herself but every time she tries to speak she would see the look on others faces, if the eyes has bullet she would have been dead. it was of no use defending herself because they had already believed that she was a witch and some of them were even afraid of her.
Zoe was also afraid too.
From the day she has entered this household she had been treated like a despised slave.
Everyone knew that Kuwe had abused her yet no one uttered a word of compassion or lifted a finger to help her. And now even though Rolf had used her for his selfish pleasure and denied her right to be a mother, an heir who will claim Kuwe’s portion in the family also denied her been a mother to his own children. He bluntly refused and went on enjoying torturing her emotions and boldly declared that nobody not even God can make him change his mind.
She has never wished him dead of even thought of death. She was only resolved to hope and whatever fate await her but death has never crossed her thought and now this people point an accusing finger at her.
She had come into this household hoping to be a good wife and to bear children but everything she hoped for was dashed.
It must be that the God of Lord Amos Father and same God Lord Amos claim to serve had struck these two young men dead. Lord Amos mentioned that too the day Kuwe died. He said it was the God of heaven that struck Kuwe dead for his evil heart but now that Rolf is gone too Lord Amos is quiet and did not mention God, he looked at her suspiciously just like others.
Lord Amos did not say anything. He sat with his friend and guzzled wine just to forget his trouble.
Zoe knew that his father inlaw thinks is her fault that his sons died, he doesn’t believe that God struck them anymore. He did not even bother to stop the insult, the accusing fingers and the heavy stare on her. The death is strange and she wondered who will be next. Will the same God struck her, Shelar, Lady Samar or Amos himself. This household was doom. They live a carefree lives, doing and practicing whatever they pleases without considering the repercussion. “…God is not a man he is a consuming fire and he hates sin…”
The word dropped in Zoe’s heart and she began to wonder where she heard such word before. Is probably from Lord Amos or from Alia who also has a little knowledge about the God of heaven.
When Lord Amos looked at her, all she saw was his anger, suspicion and fear. He was looking for who to blame for all the mishap that has befallen his family, a person to blame for his carelessness and mistake of not guiding his family in the right way. And everyone in the household pointed to her. She was to be blame for everything and for all the mistake every one of them made. Lord Amos cast blame on her.
The mourning days continued and Lady Samar will not rest until she sees that Zoe was cast off.
Lady Samar’s hatred permeated the whole house, Zoe couldn’t escape from it.
“I want her out of this house and far away from my family…she has killed all my sons and planned to make me childless. She is a witch and supposed to be burnt alive. That girl you brought into this household has taken everything from me, she has rendered me childless except for my last son. I want her to be thrown out…send her away….
Lady Samar howled like an angry Lion. She was shouting at the top of her voice as she speak with Lord Amos. Who refused to say anything. He sat still without a word.
Didn’t Lady Samar understand that by stroking a fire it will burn faster? She was the one destroying her household. She should have gone to plead to the God of heaven whom she offend to have mercy on her and her entire family.
Why did Lord Amos sit and brood in silence, letting his family to fall apart around him.
Zoe was thinking within herself as she work in a wheat field around the house with Hadar beside her.
Her stomach rumble, she yawn hungrily. She has not eaten since yesterday, she lost appetite for food but wish she can get something to eat right away. But that will be in the evening. when she returns back to the house.
“You should try and speak to him…
Hadar has said to her as they work in silent and listen to all the bitter shout and accusation coming from Lady Samar.
Zoe suggested they move far away from the house to another wheat field where they won’t be able to hear lady Samar’s curses.
She had left to work out her sorrow, she took no food nor water along. She has been moving about on an empty stomach and wish she will get something to eat.
Going back to the house will be seeing and hearing Lady Samar’s curses and she doesn’t want that. She will remain in the field until evening come.
“I cannot do that Hadar neither will I respond to his wife’s lies. I will not defend myself before anyone because is useless. They already believed what they want to believe.
“Zoe, everyone is against you…they don’t understand that you are innocent. Why are they all wicked, what sort of household is this? so many calamity befalling one family.
Hadar said, sounding so worried.
“Lord Amos allowed it Hadar, he watch things get to this stage and did nothing. Now he is looking for who to pass the blame. If the God of heaven took Kuwe and Rolf what can I do to make things right. I cannot battle with God…no one can battle with him. He is a consuming fire. Now is up to Lord Amos to right his wrongs. He should stop allowing Lady Samar to lead this family to disaster with her pagan worship. Just this morning she was cutting herself with a blade at her shrine. Calling upon her god to disgrace and strike me dead with thunder. She said let my death be worse than that of a wicked witch. She cut her hands and marked her body. Spilling her blood as a sacrifice to her empty gods. And I’m here still waiting for the wrath of her pagan gods to descend on me but it appears that they are deaf to her cry for vengeance or they are probably asleep or even gone for a merriment. maybe when they return they will hear her prayer and take action.
Zoe said sarcastically. Her stomach rumbled loudly again, she angrily rose from the ground and saw Alia running towards her. She has something wrapped in a woven basket, well secured in her hands as she run towards them.
“My lady, I thought you may be hungry. I noticed that you have not eaten anything since yesterday so I brought some fruits, dried goat meat, leaven bread with a patch of cold spring water and goat milk for you and also for Lady Hadar.
Zoe thanked her greatly and collected the things she brought.
“My lady, I need to run back because Lady Samar threatens us. She asked us to stay away from you…she calls you a witch in her household. Listen my Lady, don’t be afraid of her. I know you are innocent and you are not capable of all the evil she accused you of. She is afraid of you and whatever God that is fighting on your behalf and that is more reason she want Lord Amos to kick you out. Be bold and don’t weaver for God of Heaven is by yourself and he will keep fighting in your defense.
Zoe and Hadar thanked Alia as she ran off to avoid been seen by anyone.
Hadar said after Alia left.
“Lady Samar is more the head of this household than lord Amos is. She is ruling the entire house and brought the children up the way she pleases. She controls everything and everyone….
Zoe sat down calmly but sadness clouded her soul.
she bite deeply to the juicy meat, She drank from the milk patch before tossing it at Hadar. She collected the sesame sweet fruit and threw into her mouth.
She watch Hadar cut some of the leaven bread to ate. Zoe was happy to have food, it was like an unexpected manna.
Hadar had not eaten too since yesterday because of her. And watching her eat now makes her feel relieved. Hadar had been with her through thick and thin. she and Alia have been a true friend indeed.
Zoe swallowed the fruit and drank deeply from the water patch. she pointed to a bread crumb on Hadar’s mouth and help to wipe it off. she straighten before saying.
“Lord Amos allowed it, he allowed her to rule. she kept her restriction whenever she is performing those her rituals. Lord Amos hates it but he did nothing to stop it. Whatever happens to me next, whatever my fate maybe after now is in his hands. All I can do is to wait and see what he will do.
Despite what people said or thought about her. The custom and the law of the land still required Shelar to give her children but would her father inlaw follow through or agree to that now that his second son was dead.
He may never entrust Shelar to her while his two elderly sons are laying and decaying in the cold grave.
Zoe wept in secret to the unfortunate life she found herself in. she wept heavily at the cruel things said about her but she maintained her composure and appear calm in public but whenever she is alone she will cry to the unknown God to help her and change her fate.
Even if she grovel, kneel and plead before lady Samar it will never change the woman’s black heart. She was determined in destroying her and waiting for her pagan gods whom she spilled her blood as offering to struck her heavily with an illness or with a disgraceful death.
Zoe ignored the hearsay and gossip coming from all angle. She strove and maintain her dignity before her enemies. She will not give them more reason to gloat over her misfortune. She will be strong and carry her head high. Enough of self-pity after all she was innocent of every offense.
The mourning period passed and the week wore on.
Zoe has sighted her father in-law watching her intensively from his chamber window which face her quarter. She has seen him more than once and wonder what was in his mind.
Zoe waited patiently. Sooner or later her father in-law will have to make a decision.
Either he is given Shelar to her or he has another plan within himself but until then she will do what she has always done. Patiently wait.
And the day finally came. Lord Amos summoned her and Zoe was prepared for whatever he has to say.
To be continued