Qayid Aljaysh Juyub

The Second Journey of Herodides

Marhabal the Carthaginian

I, Herodides of Ephesus, descendant of Archon Archelaos, now dedicate myself to the recording of my second journey. This led me to the land of the Carthaginians, the Numidians and the desert wanderers, to regions which had previously remained untouched by Greek footsteps.

Five years had passed since my return from Hibernia. In the meantime, my father, the much-vaunted Archelaus, had aged noticeably, but still possessed the sprightliness and wisdom of a Nestor. The Athenians, under the leadership of the great Pericles, were still in their golden age. But the dark clouds of the storm were already looming far on the horizon. Many of their allies no longer saw the Athenians as a protective power, but as merciless tyrants who squeezed them and to whom they remained loyal only out of fear. The conflict between the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians also intensified.

In those times, a clear day took me past the Artemision, when I came upon an excited crowd chomping at the heels of an obviously Phoenician man. The Phoenicians were generally suspected by the crowd of being a dishonest, greedy merchant people who sold even their own grandmothers into slavery for gold. There was a deep suspicion in the eyes of the crowd that members of this seafaring nation were potential Persian spies.

In the midst of this dichotomy stood a priestess of Artemis, her attitude wavering. She vacillated between pride in the glory of Artemis, which was recognised even by the Phoenicians, and the prejudices of the people. The Phoenician, endowed with a cool dignity, faced the accusations of the crowd with sovereign calm. My view of the so-called "barbarians", matured by the Celtic journey, taught me to admire his courage and aesthetics.

Finally, I decided to intervene. My respected position in Ephesus, justified by my origins and wealth, quickly called the priestess to my side. The xenophobic mob backed away brokenly. My protegee, now freed from the threatening crowd, presented himself as Maharbal, son of Mago, from Carthage. Deeply felt gratitude shone in his eyes, which he sought to underline with words of appreciation.

With a confident smile and a hint of pride in his voice, he thanked me for my intervention. I spontaneously invited him to accompany me on my visit to the Artemision. An invitation he accepted with obvious warmth. Our steps led us on, accompanied by the sublime splendour of the Temple of Artemis and the legends that adorned its sacred halls.

After our walk-through, I offered Maharbal my hospitality and he accepted the offer in a way that unmistakably showed me his gratitude. Our conversations in my house revolved around the peculiarities and greatness of our cultures. I quickly realised that behind the facades of our nations lay a deeper connection, fed by a common quest for knowledge and understanding.

So a new chapter of my life unfolded with Maharbal, a Carthaginian who opened the gates to a wider understanding - an understanding of culture, wisdom and humanity that reached beyond the borders of our peoples.

The journey to Crete

That's how I got to know Marhabal. A man of humble nature and at the same time highly educated, he came from a noble lineage that traced its pedigree back to the founding days of Carthage and the noble Dido. His own ship took him directly to Ephesus, where he hawked precious stones that his native Carthage had plenty to offer. Although Marhabal had the wealth to distance himself from such voyages, the desire for adventure and the search for knowledge kept drawing him out to sea.

Regretfully, he told me about the dark side of this journey, which began in the port of Ephesus. The harbour master, plagued by mistrust, had confiscated his ship and placed it under strict guard. Only through bribery had Marhabal won the freedom to explore my city. In my position as a respected resident, I used my influence to steer the harbour master onto a more right track and thus free Marhabal's ship from the shackles of Prometheus.

I was proudly showing Marhabal the sights of my hometown when a secret storm arose in my heart. Admiration for the Carthaginian, who filled my heart with his cultural diversity and wisdom, kindled the fire of passion in me. But to my surprise and at the same time disappointment, I soon felt that Marhabal's interest lay solely in female company. Nevertheless, this realisation did not lead to the extinction of our friendship, which was marked by a deep respect and joint ventures.

Finally, my new friend approached me with a bold proposal. The idea of me accompanying him to Carthage filled me with enthusiasm. I agreed, delighted at the prospect of a new adventure opening up to me beyond the horizons. Soon we set off together on our journey, full of hope for unknown realms and the union of two souls who had come from different shores and were now sailing together on waves of knowledge and insight.

When we finally left for Carthage, I felt a mixture of anticipation and excitement. The waves carried us along, our first destination was Crete, that island of legendary significance. Maharbal's ship, a stately bireme, moved through the waves with an elegance that did not leave me untouched as an admirer of high craftsmanship.

The interaction of the crew on this ship was characterised by a special dynamic. Towards me, I sensed a kind of friendly distrust among the crew, which was evident in their communication. In particular, I noticed Hamilkar, the experienced helmsman of the ship. Although he was of few words and a certain grumpiness, I sensed a warmth in his demeanour that signalled to me that he was not hostile to me, the strangers from Hellas.

Finally we reached Crete, the island that was the subject of so many stories and legends. I took the opportunity to regale my companion Marhabal and the crew with a story that was perhaps not familiar to all, but had always fascinated me. It was the saga of King Minos, his labyrinth and the ominous Minotaur. In this mythical story, the wings of Icarus, created by Daedalus, merged with the dark enigma of Minotaur, trapped in the labyrinth.

The sun glowed over the waves as I told my companions of a story that pierced the mythical veil of time.

So it came to pass at the time when King Minos commanded sea-dominant Crete that the famous Minotaur, who wreaked havoc in the mighty royal labyrinth, was trapped in the gloomy corridors of the walls. But eternity often holds strange twists and turns, and so the Minotaur had a twin brother who was gentle in nature and averse to his brother's bloody fate. Daedalus, the clever builder of the labyrinth, carried a secret that he shared with no one.

Secretly he met with the gentle brother of Minotaur and offered him a hope more dizzying than the flight of Pegasos. Daedalus created wings woven from the dreams of freedom that would lift him up to the heavens. But doubts plagued Daedalus and he hesitated, for could a man really fly through the air? So he let the brother of the terrible Minotaur be the first to take to the skies, for if he could fly, it would be easy for a man.

With perseverance and trust in the fabric of his creation, Daedalus completed the wings. Secretly he led the brother of Minotaur into the mountainous wilderness of Crete, where they ventured to fly. The winds carried the twin of Minotaur aloft and he soared above the world.

Through the vastness of the sky, he landed in Babylonia, a distant land of immense splendour. The people of Babylon recognised his uniqueness and worshipped him as a deity who had descended from the skies. Statues were erected immortalising his form and his wings became a symbol of the connection between heaven and earth.

As I told the story, I felt the attention of my listeners, like the sun on the open sea. The tense silence and the shining eyes around me revealed that my narrative found an echo in the hearts, like a song that is carried on from generation to generation. So the waves of our ship joined the waves of the tale, and Crete came to life before my eyes as we sailed along its shores and retold the ancient stories of humanity.

Thus the legend of Crete and the flight of the brother of Minotaur pierced the boundaries of time and reached me, Herodides of Ephesus, who absorbed the stories of the past and carried them into the future. The waves carried us on, and I realised that the stories I told not only animated the past, but also connected the souls of my companions and mine as we moved on our journey through the infinite expanses of life.

From Crete to Carthage

After our seven-day rest in the mighty shadow of Crete, we sailed on, the waves of the sea, those steeds of Poseidon, as our constant companions. But fate was to reveal itself once more when the Maharbal's bireme, filled with our hope and curiosity, was seized by the sinister shadows of Cretan pirates. With keen intuition and skilful steering, Hamilkar made the ship dance, breaking the pirates' oars and thus outmanoeuvring them through skilful seamanship. The attack left anger and suspicion in the minds of the crew, and soon their suspicious eyes turned to me as if I had been the mastermind of the sinister plans.

The authority of the Maharbal and the rough but honourable attitude of Hamilkar, who recognised me innocent in his humanity, proved to be saviours in my distressed situation. With clear words and a strong gaze, they gave me the respect and security I needed to defend myself. So the wave of accusations ebbed and we found our community again, strengthened by the sound of the waves and the rhythmic clatter of the oars.

In the course of our sea voyage, I came into closer contact with Hamilkar. He opened the treasure chest of his memories and told of his travels along the coast of Africa, where the sun embraced the land and the sea with equal intensity. In the depths of our conversation, however, the helmsman, so experienced in the arts of navigation, revealed to me a story so strange that it defied the limits of my imagination.

A Carthaginian ship had once discovered a wreck, originating from its home town, on the coast of Tartessos. A lone survivor, on the verge of death, told of a storm that had driven them far to the west. Under the scorching rays of the sun, they finally found an island inhabited by people with feathers on their heads and an unmistakable innocence in their eyes. These people knew neither metal nor writing, and yet they embraced the guests from a foreign land with open arms.

The hospitality of these islanders became a source of prosperity for the Carthaginians, who were allowed to live in the community of the feather-bearers,. especially as the natives were in no way aware of the value of the shimmering gold. But homesickness, relentless as the sea, forced them to take leave and they sailed back, while their hearts were torn apart by longing for home. Only one of them, called the Feathered Serpent by the friendly natives, remained on this hospitable isle.

 

The participants of this adventurous voyage returned with a memory that shone in their hearts like a sparkling treasure, and yet the return journey took the greatest toll and all but one lone survivor, close to death, perished. However, none of the glittering gold that was so easily acquired was found in the wreck.

I was convinced that Hamilkar was telling me one of those legends of the foam-crowned sea with which knowledgeable sailors like to tease the ignorant traveller, for on earth even the most primitive savage knows the value of gold.

The wonders of Carthage

Finally, Maharbal's ship reached the familiar shores of Carthage. The city, a labyrinth of exoticism and glory, welcomed us with open arms. The stories of my travels and the tales I had collected merged in a single moment as I beheld the golden shores. I, Herodides of Ephesus, the scribe of time, looked out over the vast sea, steeped in all the stories and legends that rested on its waves.

Soon Marhabal led me to his father Mago's estate outside the gates of Carthage. A place of great splendour and opulent wealth spread before my eyes, an oasis of life in the middle of the heat of North Africa. There I met my companion's father, a man of honourable age whose face bore the marks of the years. His looks reflected curiosity and suspicion, as if he attracted and repelled the distant world of Hellenism at the same time.

Tanitha, Marhabal's sister, entered the scene with a grace that testified to education and self-confidence. Her presence was one of pride and independence, an attitude I rarely found in our women. In front of her, I felt fascinated and yet insecure, as if I saw in her presence the mirror of my own ideas of femininity.

As I walked through the estate's gardens and lands, I admired the blooming splendour of nature and the bustling agriculture around me. I recognised the wisdom in the use of livestock and slaves as they were woven harmoniously into the overall picture. The fields, orchards and vineyards spoke of hard work and fruitful harvest, of the dedication of the people and the benevolence of the gods.

One evening, as the sky painted itself in glorious colours and the heat of the day subsided, I sat with Mago, Tanitha and Marhabal. Stories of faraway places and foreign cultures were told as I divulged the adventures and wonders I was privileged to witness. Amidst the conversation and laughter, a strange bond formed between us, a bond of East and West, of past, progress. and the original harmony of mankind.

So I found myself in Carthage, surrounded by the splendour of Africa and the wisdom of the ancients. A stranger in a strange world, who nevertheless built a bridge between our cultures in the eyes and hearts of those around me.

Marhabal proudly led me through the magnificent wonders of Carthage that my eyes had never beheld before. I was particularly impressed by the majestic temple of Marduk, whose monumental columns seemed to touch the sky. Its walls told of times gone by, of faith and offerings that people made here to appease the gods and ask for their blessings.

 

But I was even more amazed by the massive war port of Carthage, which was beyond imagination in its size and strength. Within the harbour proper was this place, a gigantic basin that could house hundreds of triremes. The ships stood there, impressive in their abundance and power, ready to dominate the sea lanes and defend the interests of Carthage.

And then, like an apparition from a distant dream, I saw him for the first time, the mighty wonder animal of Africa: the elephant. A creature of such immense size and majestic grace that my words are hardly sufficient to describe its magnificence. Its massive shape, long trunk and imposing tusks fascinated me deeply. I had heard of these animals, but my imagination of them was far removed from the reality I now saw before me.

It was an interesting story about the language of elephants that one of the handlers of those fascinating animals told me. The noble old man said that they have their own form of communication similar to that of birds, only much louder. These animals send messages over long distances by emitting loud calls that can be heard by their conspecifics. It is a fabulous idea that these powerful creatures impress not only in their appearance, but also in the way they speak.

Thus, Carthage became my home of wonders and stories, of temples and harbours, of elephants and their mysterious communication. A land that broadened my worldview and ignited my curiosity as I explored the mysteries of this city side by side with Marhabal.

Preparations for the great journey

A month had already passed since I had become a guest on Mago's estate. It had been a time of discovery, learning and friendship that had taken me deep into the heart of this fascinating city. One day, however, as the sun shone over Carthage, Marhabal approached me with an excited sparkle in his eyes and asked a question that made my heart beat faster with joy.

"Herodides, my friend," he began with a smile, "would you be interested in an expedition beyond the great deserts? A journey into the unknown land where the wonders and mysteries await you?"

The question hit me like an electrifying spark that ignited my thirst for adventure. "Of course, Marhabal! I wouldn't miss such an opportunity."

His smile deepened, and so began a new episode of my journey. Mago, Marhabal's father, showed little enthusiasm for the idea, but reluctantly accepted his son's "crickets". The expedition would first take us to Cirta, a Numidian city where Marhabal already had a friend and ally, a Numidian prince who was close to him.

In Cirta we were welcomed with open arms and the hospitality of the Numidians was warm and sincere. But beneath the surface of politeness, there was a certain reserve. Numidia was in a relationship of dependence with Carthage, and although they had adopted many elements of Carthaginian culture, there was a palpable distance. The relationship was characterised by complex feelings - admiration for Carthage's power, but also a desire for autonomy and recognition.

Marhabal was held in high esteem in Numidia, due not least to his level-headed and respectful manner in dealing with the local population. Unlike many of the arrogant Carthaginian officials and merchants who annoyed the Numidians with their demands, Marhabal had learned to lead with humanity. An approach that earned him the respect and sympathy of the people.

I was also showered with honours, which surprised and delighted me at the same time. The Numidians secretly admired the Hellenes for their successful resistance against the Carthaginian hegemony in Sicily. My name, which was associated with the stories of freedom and courage, seemed to inspire the people here.

So I found myself in the midst of people who had their own history, their own culture and their own way. As Marhabal and I plunged into the preparations for the expedition, I realised that this journey would not only be an adventure through unknown lands, but also a journey into the hearts and souls of these fascinating people, the Numidians.

While we were preparing for the upcoming expedition in Cirta, my amazement at the wonders of this foreign world was continually nourished. One day I encountered a camel for the first time, an amazing animal that I had only known from stories and reports. Its massive body and the fascinating way it moved made me linger in silent admiration. It seemed to be a creature of the desert that could wander through the endless sand dunes without being impressed by the dryness.

Let me describe this miraculous animal in more detail to you, dear readers. Its body was of an amazing robustness that enabled it to cover long distances without tiring. Its legs were slender yet incredibly strong, enabling it to plough effortlessly through the sandy soil. Its neck stretched upwards and the characteristic humps on its back was a sign of its adaptability to the harsh life in the desert.

But it was not only the camel that impressed me during those days. A man named Masurtha, who had been chosen as the local guide for our expedition, came into my life. His skin was a deep black, a colour hitherto unknown to me and which showed me how limited my knowledge of the world's diversity was. Masurtha proved to be an experienced and intelligent guide who not only knew the secrets of the desert but also spoke a wealth of languages that enabled him to communicate with the diverse peoples of the region.

His presence was both a surprise and a gift. I realised that the world had far more to offer than I had ever imagined and that the diversity of the human race was infinite. Our expedition, led by this remarkable man and consisting of 40 armed men and servants, finally set out from Cirta. Our group set off as the sun rose over the desert, its rays bathing the landscape in a fascinating play of light and shadow.

In the great desert

At the edge of the great desert, I paused for a moment. I looked at the seemingly endless expanse before me, at the unknown territory that lay ahead of us. The challenges and mysteries of this wondrous landscape lay before us, ready for us to explore. And as we ventured into the desert, I was filled with a mixture of awe, curiosity and determination that would accompany me on this new stage of my journey.

Amidst the endless sand dunes, we entered the great wasteland, that unknown territory that stretched out before us like an enigmatic ocean of sand. The heat of this blazing landscape was overwhelming, a sun that burned down mercilessly on us, turning the ground into a shimmering, dry plain. But in the face of this blazing heat, I could only wonder that the nights in the desert brought a cold beyond my imagination.

After some time of our trek, we came across a group of nomads who had settled in this barren landscape. Initially, they received us with suspicion and aggression, mistaking us for slave hunters bent on raiding their community. But through the wise words and gentle persuasion of Masurtha, their attitude quickly changed. They invited us to enjoy their hospitality and we spent the night together under the twinkling starry sky of the endless sea of sand.

In this cosy round, stories were exchanged and I shared my adventures in Hibernia with them. I told them about my friend, the wise druid Carabellin, who had initiated me into the secrets of Celtic culture, and about our travels through distant lands. The nomads listened eagerly to my tales, and their eyes sparkled with curiosity and admiration.

In the midst of the conversation, the shaman of the group, a wise man with a deep gaze and an aura of awe, invited me to participate in a special ritual the following night. It was to be a ritual that enabled one to communicate with the djinn, the spirits of the desert. The idea of getting in touch with these mystical beings filled me with excitement and I joyfully agreed.

Masurtha, the wise guide, warned me of the dangers of this undertaking. He emphasised the importance and seriousness of this ritual and made it clear that it was not without risk. Marhabal, my faithful companion, was concerned for my welfare and expressed his misgivings. But my curiosity and desire for new knowledge outweighed my fears, and so I prepared myself for a night that would change my life. In the silence of the desert, surrounded by the glittering stars of the night sky, I was filled with a mixture of excitement and awe as I prepared for the ritual ahead.

The Djinn

That following night, as the twinkling stars shone above us and the darkness of the desert created a mysterious atmosphere, the long-awaited ritual began. Under the wise guidance of Masurtha, diplomatic efforts had borne fruit and he and Marhabal were allowed to participate in the event. The apprehension in the eyes of my friends was palpable; they accompanied me with watchful glances as we embarked on this mysterious endeavour.

Amidst the silence of the desert night, an aura of the inexplicable arose, a presence that seemed to hover over us, filling the cold air with an unnatural tension. I felt transported into a world where the familiar and the strange merged. The boundary between the visible and the invisible became blurred and I felt something otherworldly approaching.

In the midst of the shaman's ritual, the presence of the djinn suddenly became palpable, a presence that could not be grasped with my senses, but nevertheless hovered deep within me. The idea of beings who walked between worlds permeated my thoughts. I gained a glimpse of their world, a vision of secret planes and hidden mysteries.

But the intensity of the experience overwhelmed me and my senses succumbed to the power of these unfathomable forces. I lost consciousness and when I awoke the next morning in a tent, surrounded by the worried faces of my friends, I felt as if I had woken up from a dream. Marhabal and Masurtha welcomed me with relief and smiled at me as if they knew I had experienced something unique.

The words I tried to find to describe my experience seemed inadequate. But I could see in the eyes of my friends that they mirrored my experience, as if they too had felt a connection to this distant world of the jinn. In that silence of the desert, surrounded by the traces of the mysterious ritual, I felt that the boundaries of my understanding had expanded and I was filled with the knowledge that there was so much more to discover, both in this world and in the planes beyond our imagination.

The sandstorm

Finally, we started moving again and we said goodbye to the hospitable nomads who had given us a glimpse of their way of life in this harsh desert landscape. The wind stroked the endless dunes and the grains of sand danced in the air as if whispering of the secrets of the desert.

But out of nowhere a sandstorm burst upon us, a swirling force like the unleashed winds of Aeolus, blurring vision and plunging the sky into darkness. The storm engulfed the desert, bringing chaos and confusion. My heart beat wildly with fear as the sand entered my eyes and mouth. Panic gripped me and my thoughts were flooded with an unbridled fear

In my headlessness I fell into serious danger, my steps led me into the unknown, while the storm seemed to swallow me up. But in this desperate situation, the experienced hand of Masurtha was enough to save me from ruin. His calmness and determination were the anchor that pulled me out of my maelstrom of fear, and his words soothed my troubled soul.

We faithful companions continued on our way, and as we traversed the desert expanse, Masurtha began to tell me about his homeland, about a land beyond the sand dunes. His words painted pictures of vast plains, fertile oases and vibrant communities living in harmony with the challenges. He also told of hunting, of his Heracles-like battle with the mighty lion, which he defeated with his bare hands.

Finally, we left the desert area and entered the endless savannah that stretched out before us. The grassland stretched to the horizon, an oasis of nourishment and life after the hardships of the desert. The vastness of the landscape filled me with a deep reverence for nature and its tireless beauty.

As we moved through these open spaces, I could feel my senses opening up, the silence of the desert merging into the soft sounds of the savannah. The history and mysteries of these lands mingled with the stories I had experienced on this journey, and I felt more alive and richer through the diversity of impressions.

Beyond the desert

As we roamed the vastness of the savannah, we came across a fascinating community of black-skinned people. Masurtha's skills as a translator proved to be a real blessing, as through his tongue we were able to communicate with these indigenous people. The members of this community welcomed us benevolently and invited us into their humble villages

These people lived in peaceful coexistence with nature. Their huts made of woven materials blended harmoniously into the landscape, and they lived mainly by herding livestock. Their herds roamed the vast grasslands, and the villages were filled with an atmosphere of serenity and tranquillity.

I learned a lot about their way of life and culture. The way they herded their flocks, the traditional rituals that held their community together, and their artistry in making handicrafts fascinated me deeply. Their world was characterised by a strong sense of togetherness.

In one of the evenings when we exchanged stories, a remarkable tale was brought to my attention. It was told of a distant time when metal gods had descended from heaven in chariots that looked like large pottery wheels. They had taken a whole family from their community with them. These people returned after many years, but they said that only a few hours had passed, which they had spent in the sky palace of the gods.

What particularly amazed me was the fact that these abductees had not aged during their absence after the telling. This story made me think about the unknown in this world, about what may exist beyond our imagination, and about the connection between human beings and the mysteries that pervade the skies above.

The tales of this friendly community captured my and the companions' attention. The prospect of vast jungles and a magnificent city further south, which had great wealth and many wonders to offer, awakened in us an irrepressible thirst for adventure. Marhabal and I were on fire for this new venture and were determined to plunge into these unknown realms.

However, Masurtha, our experienced guide, emphatically shared with us the challenges that would await us along the way. He explained that the way to the south would be long and arduous, through wild jungles and unexplored areas. He also warned us about the warlike tribes that lived in those lands and liked to capture strangers to sell them as slaves. These warnings cast a shadow over our plans.

The other companions showed little enthusiasm for the idea of going further south. They trusted the tales of the dangerous tribes and the imponderables of the jungle, for the word of Masurtha was much respected among them. Despite the friendly reception by the locals, no one was willing to come with us or act as a guide.

With heavy hearts and the awareness that we had to make a difficult decision, Marhabal and I decided to make our way back. We had already experienced so many miracles and gained valuable knowledge, but the uncertainties and risks were simply too great to ignore lightly. So we said goodbye to our friendly hosts and headed back, certain that we had always known an unforgettable part of the world that would stay with us forever.

Way back and farewell

After leaving the hospitable settlements of the savannah, we found ourselves once again in the unforgiving vastness of the desert. Another sandstorm burst upon us, but this time we had learned from our previous experience and were better prepared. The forces of nature might be powerful, but our determination to overcome them was no less strong.

During our crossing of the desert, we came across a village of desert nomads, but it presented a sad picture. It seemed as if robbers or slave hunters had attacked the village. We found some fresh corpses, which were a sad sight. The danger that the raiders might still be around lay heavily over us. But thanks to the astuteness of the Masurtha, we managed to pass inconspicuously by the attackers without suffering the fate of those unfortunate desert dwellers.

Finally we reached the familiar land of Numidia again, where we stopped at the home of our friendly prince. He welcomed us warmly and listened to our stories about the latest adventures we had experienced. It was heartening to see how our stories aroused the interest and delight of our host, and we knew that in our travels we were not only expanding our own horizons, but also those of our friends and allies.

 

With the conclusion of our expedition, the time of farewell dawned. The brave companions who had ventured with us into the unknown dangers were generously rewarded and dismissed. Our paths parted, but the memories of the adventures we had shared and the friendships we had made would remain in our hearts forever.

I said a particularly fond farewell to the faithful Masurtha, whose integrity and wisdom had impressed me deeply. He was not only a guide through the deserts and landscapes, but also a guide for my soul to a new level of understanding and experience.

The days on the Marhabals' family estate passed quickly as I recovered from my travels and the longing for my homeland finally grew in my heart. Marhabal and Tanitha had generously extended their hospitality to me, but the longing for the familiar climes of Ephesus had become unstoppable. But by now I realise that the real reason for my departure was my love for him, which had never died. Secretly I hoped that the distance between us would cure this disease of the heart, but I was wrong.

The Homecoming

Marhabal organised my return to Ephesus with an experienced Carthaginian crew on one of his ships. We decided to maintain our connection, despite the distance that now separated us. And so began the return journey, which, although not without challenges, was without any extraordinary incidents.

At last I had arrived back in my home town and a feeling of contentment and happiness flowed through me. But sad news soon weighed on my heart, my father Archelaos died a few months after my return. The obligations I had to assume after his death made it impossible for me to explore more distant lands. True, I saw glorious Athens in all its bloom and splendour, but this pearl of our world, must have been sufficiently admired byothers. Years later, that terrible war broke out between the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians, which is now entering its 20th year and whose end will probably only be experienced by the dead.

However, the journeys, the adventures and the friendships I had found along the way had enriched my life and opened up new horizons. With gratitude in my heart, I realised that I was learning to better understand not only the world around me, but also myself.

I received letters from Marhabal at irregular intervals whenever one of his ships docked in Ephesus. He still undertook many journeys and was not deterred from doing so even after he had started a family. In his last letter, my companion informed me that after a great expedition across the western ocean, which was to lead to the islands of which Hamilkar once told me, he would seek me out in Ephesus. After a few years, I received a message from his sister Tanitha, who was as wise as she was faithful, telling me that the expedition was considered lost and that it had to be assumed that Marhabal was dead. After that, I never heard from my Carthaginian friends again.

And so my story comes full circle. Now, in the twilight of my life, I often think of those days of adventure and knowledge. In my mind's eye, the faces of those people from faraway countries appear, which made me realise that the human race, despite its different skin colours and cultures, is one big family after all.

When eternal night falls for me too, I hope to see the wise Carabellin and my unlucky, great love again in the world of shadows.

© 2023 Q.A.Juyub

All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Qayid Aljaysh Juyub.
Published on e-Stories.org on 08/20/2023.

 
 

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