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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

Part One: The Fabled Crest

‘A Magical, Mystical Adventure Story – A Race Against Time’

Gerrard T Wilson

www.crazymadwriter.com

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

The Crazy-mad Writer

www.crazymadwriter.com

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

Text copyright Š 2009 Gerrard T Wilson Gerrard T Wilson asserts the moral rights to be identified as the author of this work.

Conditions of sale: This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form, binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

We were not boy wizards, vampire’s assistants or even living skeletons, we were normal everyday people living normal everyday lives, with no inkling of the tremendous events that were about to unfold. Our adventure began with the arrival of a peculiarly small Christmas card, which sent us hurtling to the mystical land of Onisha, where Umahia, the Grand Mystic, asked for our help. He told us that he needed our help to fight, stop and ultimately defeat ‘Miafra, the evil,’ the mystic who had stolen his powers, the seasons, free will and all time. Umahia told us that we had powers, powers that up until then we had no inkling we possessed, which might, just might defeat this evil man… We had no idea, no inkling whatsoever, that we were going to be attacked by Protectors atop Hound-Horses, fight a statue hell-bent on killing us, be betrayed in our sleep, and be forced to fight a dangerous beast called a Dragonsaur. No, we had no idea at all. If we had, we might have chosen not to heed Umahia’s call, leaving the land of Onisha and perhaps even the Earth itself open to untold dangers…

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

Contents Page Prologue:

Rioghbhardan and Fikri

7

Chapter One:

A Knock on the Door

10

Chapter Two:

Cereal That Tastes of Sawdust

16

Chapter Three;

Umahia

26

Chapter Four;

The Tree of Knowledge

44

Chapter Five:

The Old Boat

61

Chapter Six:

An Unexpected Guest

90

Chapter Seven:

The Fabled Crest & The Stone of Directions

106

Chapter Eight:

The Catacombs of Oguta

121

Chapter Nine:

Cunning Disguises

140

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

Prologue Rioghbhardan and Fikri

Hello, my name is Nott and my best friend is Wot. We have been friends as far back as we can remember; we live on the same street, went to the same school and shared most all our childhood experiences together, we are and always have been the very best of friends. As adults, we spend most of our free time together, and could never envisage it being any other way. My name, my real name is actually Fikri, and Wot’s is Rioghbhardan. Neither of us ever liked these, given, names, and from an early age, we would play happily for hours on end, trying to choose new ones. Despite spending so much time in this preoccupation, we found it difficult to choose alternatives, names we felt more suited to. Begrudgingly, we accepted them, until one sunny summer’s afternoon when we got a bit giddy, playing, thinking about possible new ones. Acting ‘the cod,’ singing in unison, we said, “What’s in a name? I do not know! It’s not our aim to go on so, trying to find what’s best or not – what must be resolved, or not.” With those words still ringing in our ears, we suddenly stopped singing.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “That’s it!” Rioghbhardan cried out. “From now on we shall be called What and Not!” I immediately agreed, though I changed the spelling slightly, proclaiming, “From now on we are WOT and NOTT, and that’s that.” Little did we realise these names were to remain with us throughout our childhood and well into our adult lives. As we grew older, we did not drift apart as so many childhood friends tend to do, if anything we actually grew closer. This does not mean we always got on well. Quite often, we would appear, to those watching us, more akin to enemies than friends. The reason for this is that we are entirely different people. Wot is a laid-back type of individual who will not be rushed into a quicker rate of knots than he is comfortable with – he gets the job done, but on his terms. This trait can sometimes drive me bonkers, because I have a quick mind with an uncanny ability (or so I am told) to work things out. I want to get things done as soon as is humanly possible and cannot understand why anyone would have any other way of behaving. This difference in personalities has always ensured that life is far from dull for the two of us. Physically speaking, Wot is a larger than life individual, whose favourite colours are earthy browns and greens; his clothes definitely reflect this taste. He always wears flared, cord trousers, whether they are in fashion or not, and a casual, polo neck shirt.

Despite

prematurely greying, Wot’s short-cropped hair compliments rather than takes from his appearance, but a series of loose wrinkles

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest running horizontally across the back of his head, quite unique to him, have to be seen up close and personal, to appreciate their uniqueness. I am just over half Wot’s height, of a thin build, with black hair and moustache. My preferred items of apparel are a crisp blue suit, white shirt, black tie and my old trilby hat that I would never be seen anywhere without. ‌We were two friends living normal everyday lives with no inkling of the tremendous events that were about to unfold...

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

Chapter One A Knock on the Door

24th December. Sitting comfortably in his favourite armchair in front of a roaring log fire, Wot was looking forward to a relaxing evening at home, watching his favourite Christmas television programmes. He had already opened the present he had bought himself – a really warm and comfortable pair of Christmas slippers, decorated with all sorts of festive scenes and motifs. Before he turned on the television set, Wot withdrew a little red book from out of his shirt pocket, and then opened it. It was within this small book that he partook of his favourite pastime – writing poetry. He loved writing his poems. He received so much pleasure when writing them, and he never suffered from writer’s block, which so many other writers endure. When he took pen to paper, with the words flowing freely, he was in another world. Some of his poems were long, others so short they were finished almost as soon as they had begun. He wrote happy ones that made him laugh, sad ones that made him cry and every other conceivable type in between. Down through the years in which he had been writing, recording his thoughts and feelings in rhyming verse, there was one thing he had always felt, and somehow known; it was a talent he possessed, a gift that he must never neglect.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Picking up his pen he wrote down the following words... “Christmas Eve so still I know, But something’s in the wind, There is a sense of magic about, It’s now we need our friends.” Those were all the words that came to Wot at this time, and they puzzled him, so. What meaning or relevance they had, if any, eluded his tired mind, but he recorded them dutifully into his little book, calling his poem ‘Words in the Wind’. Before putting his book away, he tried reading the poem out aloud, hoping he might somehow gain a better understanding, but it still made no sense to him. Giving up, returning the book to the safety of his shirt pocket, Wot relaxed in front of the warm fire, listening to the logs crackle and sparkle up the chimney. It was such a splendid start to Christmas, he thought. Indeed, he felt so content he could have sat there all night without a care in the world. Suddenly, a loud knock on the door interrupted Wot’s relaxation. His first thought, in his half-sleep, was that he had imagined it, so closing his eyes he relaxed again, listening to the logs crackling and sparkling up the chimney. To his utter annoyance, another even louder knock struck the front door. “Who on earth can it be?” he grumbled, reluctantly rising from

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest his wonderfully comfortable chair. Approaching the door, Wot found himself staring at the coat stand beside it, upon which he had placed a peculiar Christmas card, earlier that day. It was small, very small. His friend, Nott, had sent it to him. He picked it up, remembering how surprised he had been that Nott – his best friend – would have sent so small a card. Looking at the picture, a wonderful summer scene of a house in the country, Wot found himself once again intrigued by it. He studied it closer… The house in the card with whitewashed walls and weathered, wooden beams, strategically placed for the maximum visual pleasure of the onlooker, had a cottage-garden in the full bloom of summer. There was a duck-pond, an arbour, a rustic garden shed, a wishing well and so much more, and all of this enclosed by a white picket fence. It was the perfect picture of summer, not your usual Christmas card theme by any means. Studying it in fine detail, Wot held the card closer to his face. He had completely forgotten by now to open the front door, to see who was out there. Wot’s eyes, once again magnetically drawn to the picture, noticed how big and sturdy the door of the house in the card actually was. It was dark brown in colour, sporting a large, brass knocker. “They don’t build them like that anymore,” he said, inspecting it further. “It’s a bloody good job they don’t,” a voice suddenly boomed. On hearing this, a disembodied voice speaking to him, Wot got such a fright he dropped the card and very nearly jumped out of his brandnew Christmas slippers.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “Take it easy, you could have killed me!” the mysterious voice boomed again. Imagining there was someone hiding, playing a prank on him, Wot searched the entire room, trying to find the hidden person, but he did not find anyone. He was confused; he was puzzled with no idea what he should do. In fact he was not one hundred percent sure that he had heard the voice at all. “This might all be in my imagination,” he said, though not very convincing, as he stood there in the room, unable to decide his next move. “Are you listening to me?” the mysterious voice boomed again. “Wot, I am speaking to you!” Being personally addressed by a disembodied voice, confused poor Wot no end. He wondered was it a ghost, or was he simply going mad? “Pick me up!” the voice shouted at him. Pulling himself together, trying to show at least some courage, Wot whispered timidly, “Where are you?” “On the floor! At your feet!” the voice tersely replied. However, on looking down to the floor, the only thing Wot could see was the small Christmas card he had dropped, so he said, “I can’t see you! There’s nothing there!” Looking up and down the hallway, hoping to spot the person playing such a nasty practical joke upon

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest him, Wot, however, saw no one. “I can’t see where you are!” he whispered to the disembodied voice. Beginning to lose patience, the voice shouted, “Wot, I always thought you were a bit slow – now you have proven it. I AM IN THE CARD. Pick it up! BUT CAREFULLY!” Confused, wondering how anybody could possibly be inside a Christmas card, Wot bent down and carefully picked it up. Opening it, Wot half expected to see someone crammed inside, but there was no one. No. Except for the short, standard greeting of Happy Christmas, there was nothing out of the ordinary inside it. The mysterious person, loosing what little patience he had left, interrupted Wot’s floundering thoughts, shouting, “LOOK IN THE WINDOW, you berk!” With those words, something clicked in Wot’s bamboozled brain. The voice, THAT voice, was starting to sound familiar! Scratching his head, trying to figure out just who it might actually be, Wot closed the card and looked again at the picture on its front. His eyes, drawn to the quaint old house with its wonderful leaded windows, saw something, something MOVING! It was a person, someone he recognised! It was his best friend, Nott, staring out from one of the small windows, waving frantically in a most agitated manner. This was just too much for Wot and he passed out, dropping the card onto the cold hard floor once again…

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

Chapter Two Cereal That Tastes of Sawdust

After lying on the cold, hard floor for almost an hour, reality began to return to Wot’s shocked brain, but his new perception of reality was far different from that which he had known up until then “Oh my head!” he groaned. “What happened?” Looking up and down the hallway, but seeing nothing out of the ordinary, he whispered, “Was I dreaming?” Nobody answered. Silence prevailed. Whispering again, he said, “Nott, was that you?” He heard nothing. He received no reply. Whispering a little louder, he said, “Nott?” Still there was silence. He was confused. He was worried. Then he shouted, “NOTT! ARE YOU THERE?” Yet again, he received no reply. The Christmas card lying on the floor suddenly caught his attention. Picking it up, looking into the window of the old house, the same window in which he had seen Nott waving frantically at him, he said, “Was it all in my imagination? And if it was, then what a peculiar thing to imagine.” After several minutes, with no sign of his lifelong friend to be seen in the window, Wot sighed dolefully, returned the card to the coat stand and then headed for the kitchen. Once inside, he plugged in the kettle, preparing to make himself a

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest nice cup of tea. “That will clear my mind,” he said. After the kettle had boiled, he made the tea. Steam rose high into the air as he poured the hot water into the teapot. When he had mashed the tealeaves, he filled his mug with the wonderful drink, poured in some milk, grabbed a mince pie, and then left the kitchen, heading for the sitting room. Settling comfortably in his favourite armchair, taking a huge mouthful of the wonderful imbibe, then biting down hard into the mince pie, he tried to work out what had been happening. However, after finishing his tea and ‘pie, Wot still had no idea as to what it was all about. The best that he could come up with was that he must have slipped in the hallway, bumped his head and knocked himself out. While he had been unconscious, all the strange happenings regarding Nott and the Christmas card must have been one hell of a weird dream. “Yes, that must be it,” he said, trying to convince himself. Looking over to the clock, Wot saw that it after eleven and therefore time for bed. Feeling shaky from his ordeal, he decided to make himself a nice mug of cocoa, to bring upstairs to bed.

“This will

help me to sleep,” he said, climbing the stairs. “Yes, a good night’s rest will do me a power of good. I will be back to normal in the morning, so I will.” “It might sort you out, old friend, but it certainly won’t help me,” the mysterious voice boomed louder than ever. On hearing these words, Wot lost hold of his mug. Shooting high into the air, the mug, somersaulting twice, spewed its entire contents, like a wet brown

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Catherine Wheel firework, over him. In his confusion and panic, Wot lost hold of his footing and tumbled unceremoniously to the bottom of the steps, landing in an undignified heap, as the remains of hot, brown liquid rained upon him. The mug, glancing off his temple, entered oblivion in a thousand sharp, shiny pieces, as it struck the hard, cold floor. “Nott? Is that you?” Wot asked, rubbing his sore head and licking the dribbles of cocoa running down his face. “Of course it’s me!” Nott sarcastically replied.

“Who did you

expect, the Queen of Sheba?” Grabbing hold of the Christmas card, staring into the leaded window within it, Wot saw his best friend, Nott, waving out frantically at him. “So, I wasn’t imagining it after all!” he proclaimed triumphantly. “You know, I was beginning to think I was seeing things, perhaps even losing my marbles!” “That’s assuming you had any to lose in the first place,” Nott quipped, before asking, “Why did you drop it, the card, again?” While sitting on the bottom step of the stairs, licking the cocoa running down his face, Wot explained how that the shock of seeing him in the card had caused him to pass out. “After I regained consciousness,” he said, “I called out to you so many times, but I received no reply – nothing. Finally, I concluded that I must have dreamt the whole episode. That’s the best I could make of it, sorry.”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Nott gave him an extremely odd look. Wot concluded, saying, “I was just off to bed when you finally called out. Why didn’t you answer, before, when I was calling you?” “The reason why, should be quite obvious,” Nott replied. “I was also unconscious! I was knocked out cold when you dropped the card!” Then he added, “It’s a miracle I haven’t been killed, being continuously dropped from such great heights!” Wot felt so bad, hearing this. Nott continued… “Now, are you going to help me to get out of here?” “Of course I will, that goes without question,” Wot replied. “But how did you get in there, in the first place? What is it like inside there, that house? Is it just like a real house? What is it like to be so small? Who knocked on my front door? I never found out, you know!” Rolling his eyes up towards heaven, Nott began making some very strange noises indeed… 25th December. The next morning it was Christmas, a Christmas that was to prove like no other before it, where Wot and Nott’s world, and their perception of it, was to change forever. Wot awoke first; the falls and knocks of the previous evening having taken their toll on his tired body, had sent him into a deep, restful sleep. He said that had never slept so well in his entire life and was feeling totally refreshed after it. Nott, however, was another matter altogether, because when

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest he awoke he proclaimed quite sarcastically that he found it difficult to sleep inside a Christmas card, especially one that had been left in a cold and drafty hallway all night. Ignoring Nott’s complaints Wot made himself a wonderful Christmas breakfast, a fry-up to beat all others. The succulent aroma wafted out from the kitchen and all around the house, including the small Christmas card that he had placed on the kitchen table. Smelling it, Nott began shouting, “That’s right; make me feel worse than I already am!” “What are you on about now?” Wot asked. “The smell of the fried breakfast, of course – it’s driving me bananas! All I have to eat in here is dried-up cereal that tastes of sawdust! Argh!” “I’m sorry, old friend,” Wot replied. “But it is Christmas, and I was starving.” When they had each finished their decidedly different meals, Wot cleared up the breakfast paraphernalia, then returned to the card atop the table. “Right then, Nott,” he said. “Tell me the whole story, how you got into your predicament and why you cannot free yourself from it. Then we will put our heads together and see what we can come up with.” Biting his tongue Nott agreed to tell him the whole story, but only if

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Wot promised not to interrupt, not even the once. Nott began… “It started on Christmas Eve morning. The mail arrived earlier than usual, just as I was finishing breakfast. I was surprised to see that it consisted of only the one small envelope. Picking it up, I walked into the sitting room, sat down and continued to study it, there. There was no address on it, or even stamp. There was only my first name ‘NOTT’ written in capital letters upon it. I thought it was rather strange, but convinced myself that the postman hadn’t delivered it. Perhaps a friend or neighbour had dropped it in, I thought. I studied the writing, but failed to recognise it. I was so annoyed that anyone could be so stupid as to address an envelope in so a reckless manner. On opening the envelope, I found a Christmas card inside, the same one that I am speaking to you from. Apart for the printed Happy Christmas greeting there was no other writing on it. This got me even more worked up than I already was. I fumed at the stupidity of anyone doing such a daft thing, and I said, I wish I knew what this was all about.” “Then I heard a sound.” “Sound, what kind of sound?” Wot asked. “I told you no interruptions!” “Sorry.”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “It was the sound of the winding blowing, blowing,” Nott explained. “It was faint at first, but it continued to grow louder and louder, stronger and stronger until it filled the entire room, whirling and circling around me. It frightened me, Wot, it really did! As it continued to grow, it began forming a vortex, the centre of which was the small Christmas card I was still holding. In shock at what I was seeing, I dropped it. Then, then I felt the wind pulling and tugging at me. It lifted me off the floor, Wot, pulling me around and around me in ever decreasing circles. I was its captive. I wanted to escape, I tried to escape, but it was far too strong to break free. Before I was able to get my head around what I might do to free myself, the wind drew me inwards and downwards, faster and faster, towards the card lying on the floor. I was vanishing, waning from the reality I knew. I was disappearing, with no idea where it was taking me.” “It wasn’t long, however, before I found out, for in no time at all I had crash-landed with an almighty thump on a hard, wooden floor. ‘What happened?’ I cried out. ‘Where am I?’ I was alone. No one answered me. Staring at the unfamiliar surroundings, I could see that I was in a small bedroom. Then I shouted, ‘My God, that wallpaper is absolutely awful!’ That ghastly wallpaper was the first thing to catch my attention, Wot. It was weird. I could hardly drag my eyes away from it. I continued to speak, saying, ‘If this is a practical joke being perpetrated on me, by Wot or anyone else for that matter, they will see my temper, so they will.’ Then I moaned again, complaining, ‘My God, that wallpaper really is dreadful.’”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “For the first time in my life I found myself in no hurry to get up, or do anything. You see, Wot, I literally had no idea what to do next. All I could do was look at that hideous wallpaper, unable to drag my eyes away from it…” “It was quite a while later when I finally got up, dragging myself away from the horrible wallpaper. Having nothing else better to do, I went exploring around the rest of the house. Firstly, I studied the room in which I had crash-landed. While the furnishings were old and traditional in style they were certainly not antiques by any stretch of the imagination. There was a double bed, a large wardrobe and a dressing table with a mirror atop it. In front of the mirror, there was a large, china bowl, water jug and neatly folded towel. Apart from the aforementioned bad taste in wallpaper, I thought it a nice space. Perhaps a tad old fashioned for my taste, but I warmed to it, anyhow. In total, there were three good-sized bedrooms, all with the same taste in furniture. The bathroom definitely fell into the oldworld category. The toilet had one of those high water cisterns with a chain hanging down from it, with the thickest, darkest wooden seat I had ever laid eyes on. The large, imposing bath sitting in the centre of the room had a wonderfully ornate claw foot at each corner.” “Heading downstairs, I was surprised at how narrow and steep the staircase actually was. Holding on tightly to the rickety banister, I descended the steps until I was standing in the sitting room, below. Although it was darker than the floor above, it was once again pleasant in an old-fashioned sort of way. There were the usual items

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest of furniture, which I did not pay much attention to, and a large grandfather clock standing proud in one corner. This caught me immediate attention. There were two reasons why, Wot. The first is that it was quite imposing, with the sound of its slow tick-tocking filling the entire room. The second is because it had only one hand on the dial – the minute hand to be precise. The hour hand was resting on a ledge beneath. I reached up to have a look, but I was unable to move it. You see, someone had screwed it down to the ledge – it was there for a reason. They did not want the hand moved. I had no idea why this was so. ‘How very peculiar,’ I thought. Leaving the puzzle of the clock for another time, I continued exploring...” “After meandering through several more items of nondescript furniture I spied a Victorian chaise longue, and it cheered me up no end. I headed straight for it, for as you know, Wot, I have always wanted one of them. As I sat upon it, thinking how grand it was, and of how well it would fit in my study, a solemn voice interjected, ‘If you help us, Nott, it is yours, and anything else that you might want.’” “Although this mysterious voice had come right out of the blue, I didn’t take it seriously. You see, Wot, I thought it was you still playing a rather complicated practical joke upon me. I thought that now you had finally made contact, the strange goings-on would soon be over. Therefore, I hollered, shouting that when I got my hands on you there would be hell to pay for what you had put me through.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest However, the only reply I received was no reply. I was unnerved, and I shouted at you a second time, but yet again I received no reply. Finally, plucking up enough courage to eat humble pie, I said ever so meekly, ‘Is there anybody there?’ I said that I was sorry for shouting, and I pleaded with the voice, whoever it was, to answer me.” “Looking around the room, trying to spot something, anything I might have missed, I noticed a figure in the far corner, diagonally opposite the old grandfather clock. I was sure no one had been there only seconds earlier. Shrouded in shadows he was sitting in a large, leather armchair, seemingly in no hurry to speak again. Eventually, in a humble voice that seemed quite out of character for me, I plucked up enough courage to ask who he was. He remained silent. All sorts of feelings and scenarios rushed through my head as I waited for him (it?) to address me. The perspiration trickled down my forehead, over my brow and down my hot cheeks. I was afraid it was a devil that could wipe me out as easily as the wink of an eye. I wanted, I needed to wipe the sweat from my brow, but I was too frightened to move. I was scared, too scared to move a single muscle, and all through this terrible ordeal of waiting the grandfather clock ticked, ticked the seconds slowly away…”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

Chapter Three Umahia

Looking out from the Christmas card Nott continued his amazing story… “After what seemed like an eternity the dark, mysterious figure began speaking. He said, ‘I am Umahia, the Grand Mystic.’ I said nothing – I was far too scared. The shadowy figure continued... ‘You are in what is now called Summerland. Its previous, and rightful name, is Onisha. A terrible wrong has been done to this land, and to all who live in it. You were brought here because we need your help, Nott. I sent that small card to you, it was I who called you here, Nott, and it was I who instilled the Magic and Intrigue that was needed to bring you here - I knew you would come… it is your destiny.’ I was dumbfounded at hearing this, Wot, How could he know me? My thoughts raced, raced as to how and, more importantly, why this strange person needed my help. As you know, Wot, I have always thought of myself as nothing special or out of the ordinary (Wot’s

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest eyes rolled up to heaven on gearing this), so I was at a complete loss as to what use I could possibly be. Moreover, I said it to him, ‘Apart from what you have just told me I know absolutely nothing of your Summerland, or whatever it’s called.’ Rising from his armchair Umahia stood tall, his features more clearly visible. I strained to see whom I was actually talking to; he appeared old, as old if not older than anyone I had ever before seen. As he made his way towards me I cringed at the thought of what he might do. ‘Nott! Do not be afraid,’ he said. ‘We need you. We need you and your friend, Wot. Out of all the millions of people, living on Earth, only you and your friend can help us. We need your help’, he said.” “Well, I was flabbergasted, Wot, and I screeched, ‘What? Wot! What does he have to do with this?’ Sorry, Wot, but his remark had raised my goat. Moreover, I am ashamed to admit that I continued my ranting all the more, telling him that you had not got the intellect to help yourself let alone an entire population of some strange land. My temper being up gave me the courage to shout, saying that I must have been mad for thinking that you (Wot) had anything to do with all the strange goings-on. Sorry, old buddy, I got a bit carried away, no insult intended.” “Umahia, ignoring my protestations, was now quite close to me. I studied his appearance, his features, in finer detail. I could not understand how this Mystic man, this Umahia, who looked so incredibly old could also have an appearance of youth, or innocence about him. I had never before come across such a phenomenon, and

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest it intrigued me! He was about six feet in height, of thin build with long black hair, so dark it had a hint of blue about it. His skin, in contrast, was pale but so very wrinkly. He had a long, thin face with sharp features, a long black moustache that curled at the ends and the darkest, bluest eyes you could ever imagine. He was wearing a gown; a cloak might better describe it. It was long; so long, it touched the ground, completely covering his feet. His cloak was so unusual! It appeared to be thick and hardwearing, but also soft and lightweight. It also had a strange 3D appearance to it that I had never seen in any item of apparel, or whatever.” “When I looked at it, Wot, or rather when I looked into it, the cloak… it projected a vision, or a semblance of… no, wait, perhaps I can describe it more aptly as a vista of the Universe unfolding, before my very eyes. This vision was so beautiful I could have gazed at it forever, but Umahia distracted me, saying, ‘Nott, you and your friend, Wot, you each have a gift which neither of you have yet recognised, let alone developed to its true potential. You are a team – a team in which each one can, and must strengthen the other. These gifts, these abilities you possess were once common, and much used on Earth in days of yore.

Nowadays they now hardly ever

recognised. Even when they are so obviously present in someone there is no encouragement or development of such talents. However, here in Summerland, or rather Onisha, we still know and understand the powers involved, be they good or bad, from the Light or Darkness. Listen, Nott, I will now tell you a story of how things used to be…’”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “‘Not so long ago all was right, here in Onisha. We had a good life. There was enough for all, be it food, drink, a place to live or whatever. Throughout the entire land, the feeling was one of contentment. Mysticism and Enchantment had always been an integral part of our daily lives, and it was actively encouraged. We had no enemies to speak of; the last war was over five hundred years ago.’” Looking around the bedroom, Nott spied a stool in the corner, and he said, “Hold on a minute, Wot, I need to get something.” Grabbing hold of the stool (it was a tall one), he placed it in front of the window, and then climbed onto it. “Ah, that’s better,” he said. “My legs were killing me. Now where was I?” he asked. Wot attempted to speak, to tell him, but his friend did not even notice. “I wanted to ask Umahia a question but he gave me so stern a look I said nothing as he continued with his story… ‘In our mutual and distant past,’ he said, ‘the people on Earth were so like us. You also embraced the Mystic Ways, and for a time our worlds progressed onwards together, both worlds on the same path – almost as one. Yes, it is true, we discovered Earth way back in the mists of time, and while the paths of our two worlds remained close, the door between them stayed open. However, over a period of time things changed... We now consider ourselves an enlightened race, because we progressed onwards, fully embracing Magic and Mysticism, but you, you on Earth, you turned your backs on the Magical, Mystical Ways, embracing material wealth instead. The door closed – we drifted apart…’

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest ‘A simple spell can still open that door, the portal from which we can view Earth, and it’s goings on. Using this opening, we can show our young how not to be. From the moment our paths separated, almost all or your history has been of war, fighting for material wealth. We, however, had evolved beyond that…or so we thought!’ Umahia paced back and forth, thinking deeply, morosely, stroking his long moustache, and then he said, ‘Perhaps we had grown complacent. Perhaps we had grown weak in our comfort. Perhaps we took our Mysticism for granted, thus allowing our interest to wane. Whatever the reason, we did not pay enough attention to the dangers an uncontrolled regime of Mysticism and Magic posed. It was in such a climate we found ourselves in...’” Nott shifted his position on the stool, and then continued with the tale, “Umahia studied me closely, saying, ‘Now remember this name, and remember it well - Miafra.’ Umahia’s gaze drifted, to another time, to another place, and the more he progressed with his tale the more worried and old his appearance became. ‘It is our own fault!’ he said glumly. ‘Miafra is the spawn of our own neglect.’ Umahia paused for a moment, searching for the right words. ‘You see, Nott, he was an upcoming Mystic, someone who could have been a great force for good in Onisha. He could have brought us back in line, to a new Golden Age. He had a look of purpose – a confidence. He had a way about him that few people possess. It was a charisma, a gift. With a deliberate and calculated use of this gift, Miafra rose swiftly through the echelons of Mystics, perhaps too quickly, until he was the highest ranks of The Brotherhood of Mystics.’

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest ‘His powers were strong, very strong, but he lacked guidance as to how he might use them correctly, for the good for which they were intended, and he strayed. Somewhere along that deviated path, the Dark Forces came into contact with him, influenced him. We all knew they were out there, but no one dared contemplate embracing them. Yes, our world is good, but it is not perfect – there is good and bad everywhere. Although we had removed the powers of Darkness from our minds, it merely slept. That is, until Miafra strayed and touched it, and in so doing he has changed our world completely.’ ‘It was so easy for him to influence others, those less talented than himself. Just his appearance would cause an awed hush. This man, this tall man with dark skin, a shaven head and the blackest of eyes, always commanded respect. Whenever he spoke, wherever he spoke, he promised a world where all would be equal, a world where everyone’s powers would be equal – a world of eternal summer. His actions, his words brought out in the people what had lain hidden and asleep for over five hundred years – their greed!’” “Umahia gave me no opportunity to ask any questions, he was far too engrossed in delivering his tale,” said Nott. “Speaking again, he said, ‘I have already told you that Miafra had a charismatic way of getting his message across. No one suspected the Dark Forces had influenced him. Kindling support from all sections of society, Miafra’s influence steadily grew. He promised a New World Order, a world where all would be certain, a world of eternal summer, a world he proudly proclaimed as Summerland. However, there was a

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest condition to his promise. To bring his plan into reality he needed more Mystical power. The only way of achieving this aim was to become the Grand Mystic (the highest position in Onisha).’” “‘But that is your position,’ I said to him. Offering me no reply, Umahia continued with his tale, he said, ‘Miafra summoned the Brotherhood of Mystics, for a Meeting of Extreme Importance. Naturally, they were intrigued that he had called such a meeting, but more importantly, for Miafra, under the oaths they had sworn on their investitures to protect the ancient ways they were obliged to attend. Little did they know that he had a more sinister reason for the meeting than any of them could have imagined. On that fateful day, the Brotherhood of Mystics were like lambs to the slaughter, sitting ducks ready to be picked off one by one…” “The Brotherhood of Mystics had no sooner begun arriving at the Citadel of Composure, and commenced entering the circular Room of Deliberation, when some of them felt that all was not right. You see, for the last five hundred years the atmosphere in the Citadel has always been tranquil, this is common knowledge throughout the land. The Citadel is a place of pilgrimage where believers can visit to gain wisdom and composure, strength and dignity at stressful and challenging times in their lives. On that fateful day, however, tranquillity and composure was patently lacking both within and without the grand building. In their efforts to see and to hear, why the charismatic man had summoned them, so, the Brotherhood of Mystics sadly overlooked these warning signs. When the last of them

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest were entering the Room of Deliberation the skies overhead were brewing a storm so fierce, a storm so strong the very foundations of the old building shook.” “‘I myself am never expected to attend meetings of the Brotherhood.’ said Umahia. ‘They inform me, later, of all discussions and decisions taken at these meetings, for my input. My seat is there, but only for symbolic purposes, it is an old way but it works. Miafra wanted me to attend, he tried so hard and in so many different ways to pressurise me into going, but I resisted. It is for that reason and that reason alone that I am here today.’” “Once again I couldn’t help myself,” said Nott, “and I interrupted Umahia, asking him what happened to the Brotherhood of Mystics. He said, ‘Have patience, Nott. I will explain everything in due course. On that fateful day, as the assembled Mystics waited for Miafra to appear, he was far below them, beneath their very feet, secreted deep in the bowels of the building, as far down as it was possible to go. Miafra, standing in the near to total darkness, holding in his outstretched arms a chalice full of liquid gold (it’s a simple spell to change it from solid to liquid), so hot it was boiling and bubbling like it had a life of its own, began speaking. Raising the chalice high above his head, he said, ‘I, Miafra, who have dedicated my life to the forces of Darkness, the forces that were for so long ignored, despised and almost forgotten, in the deepest, darkest recesses of this holy of holy buildings, offer to you, the Power of Darkness, in all its different forms and possibilities, this sacred site.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest I offer it as the base for my Realm, your Realm, of Darkness. The Brotherhood of Mystics is an obstacle. With that in mind, I ask you to give me the means of destroying them’. Miafra lowered the chalice, pouring the liquid gold onto the cool dark earth. As it sank into the ground, steam rose, forming into a delicate cloud that took on the appearance and shape of an intricate and highly detailed dagger, a ghostly image that posed a dreadful danger! This image, it drifted, it drifted lazily toward Miafra where it came to rest on his outstretched hand. Looking at it, he smiled. Then speaking in a voice barely audible, he said, ‘End their lives.’ ‘At that command, the image, the apparition which had been conjured by evil, rose from his hand and disappeared silently through the ceiling. Upwards, upwards it continued, on its journey of destruction, through the floors above until it arrived in the Room of Deliberation where the curious Mystics had gathered. Emerging through the floorboards, the ghostly image rested three feet above them. Some of the Mystics saw it and stared in bewilderment, perplexed at such a thing in their midst, an instrument of war, of hate, and their own distant past.’ ‘Others were so engrossed in their conversations, deliberations with their fellow Mystics as to why the extraordinary meeting had been called they did not see it at all. It made no difference whether they saw it or not, because it was over so quickly. Speeding across the circular room, the ghostly image seared its way through each Mystic’s heart. It was over. The Brotherhood of Mystics, all twenty-

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest two of them, were dead.’ ‘Deep within the bowels of the building Miafra instantly knew that it was done, and he shouted, ‘There is only one person left, only one person in my way, my path for total control and power - Umahia. Like those who lie dead above me, his days are also numbered. The Brotherhood of Mystics is gone! Umahia is all but dead! Now, in the name of the Powers of Darkness, I claim the position of Grand Mystic, and no one can oppose me! Just as my powers are growing, Umahia’s are diminishing. His time has gone!’ ‘I knew this process would take some time,’ said Umahia. ‘In an effort to buy some breathing space, to slow the drain on my powers, I fled as far away as it was possible for me to go.’” “As I watched,” said Nott, “Umahia’s body shook like a ghost had walked over it. Then he continued with his macabre story, ‘This was yet another trick Miafra employed, because by proclaiming himself Grand Mystic he kept the people on side, while he still had a use for them that is. Apart from Miafra, I am the only Mystic still living. His powers are now so strong he can sense whenever I am performing any sort of mystic activity. Nott, I took a great risk when I energised that Christmas card. I cannot fight him; not yet, my powers are far too weak, and he too powerful.’ ‘All the hopes of the good people of what was Onisha are depending on you, Nott. Will you please help us to rid our land of this evil man, and all that he stands for?’”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “I answered him,” said Nott, “telling him that I didn’t seem to have any option. I also reminded him that you, Wot, were still at home, and that I had no idea as to what the gifts we possessed was supposed to mean. I also told him that I had absolutely no idea how we might start in this request of his. Despite telling him all this, Umahia simply smiled at me. ‘All will become clear,’ he told me. ‘But first you must go fetch your friend.’ At that remark, Umahia placed his hands into his robe, not into the pockets but into the robe itself or, rather, into the vista of the Unfolding Universe that was his robe. His hands actually disappeared as he was doing this – it really spooked me out, Wot! When the first hand reappeared, it was holding a small Christmas card. Well, I immediately recognised it, Wot. I told that it was the very same one, which had brought me there. I asked him how he had got, and could I go home, instead.’ ‘No sooner had I uttered this, did I regret saying it, and I told him so. Umahia continued as if he had heard nothing, withdrawing his other hand from the recesses of the Unfolding Universe that was his robe. He was holding a small black bag made from the same type of material as was his robe. Loosening a golden coloured cord at its top, Umahia delved in a hand and withdrew two glass phials each containing a clear blue liquid, a liquid that bore an uncanny resemblance to the striking blue colour of his eyes. After returning the bag to the Universe of his robe, he began speaking, he said, ‘Nott, you already know that I cannot risk using more magic, here, take this. He offered me the two phials, saying, ‘Drink from one. It will give you the power, albeit temporary, to bring your friend here.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Because you are not from Onisha, because you are an Outlander, Miafra will not be able to trace you. Use it wisely, though, and remember that its powers are only temporary and limited.’” “I asked him what the second phial was for, and he replied, ‘Your friend, Wot, must drink from it – it will bring him here.’ Removing the cork stopper from the first phial I was, to be honest, quite excited at the prospect of having powers, whatever that entailed, but on raising the phial to my lips I almost threw up. It smelt terrible! Then, heaven knows why, that awful wallpaper in the bedroom came to mind. Perhaps I imagined it would taste the same as the horrid smelling blue liquid! I told him that I could not drink it, that I would throw up if I did. Umahia smiled the same smile as before, saying, ‘Try it again, but this time close your eyes.’” “I couldn’t understand how closing my eyes would make the slightest bit of a difference. Nevertheless, doing as he bid, I raised the phial to my lips, this time with my eyes closed. The glass tentatively touched my lips, and the dark blue liquid flowed effortlessly down my throat. It was so strange, Wot! I didn’t taste or smell it at all! Then, without warning, I felt something happening within me. My sensations began changing, altering; I felt I was away, far away from where I was standing, in space, in the Unfolding Universe I had seen in Umahia’s robe – and it seemed to go on forever! All around me – surrounding me, I could sense – power. It was so dark, and yet so bright, I felt, I wanted, I needed to stay there forever, to try and fathom it all out, but Umahia, interrupting my

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest thoughts, said, ‘Open your eyes, Nott, it is done.’ On opening my eyes I saw nothing different, so I asked him if what I was supposed to feel – or know, but he ignored my question (he is good at that), saying, ‘You now have the power, but remember it is only temporary, use it wisely.’ Pointing, he said, ‘See the Christmas card?’ I nodded. ‘Look into it, concentrate on it, and go fetch your friend, Wot.’ It was a strange thing to say, to tell me, but I obeyed as much to humour him as in believing I could actually do it. As I began concentrating on the card, to my utter astonishment I heard the sound of wind rushing around me, blowing in a circular motion, and I shouted, ‘Oh no, here I go again.’ At that point, I must have lost consciousness because the next thing I knew I was sitting on the floorboards, staring at that awful wallpaper once again. I cried, shouting, imploring him to tell me what was going on, but he was not there.’ ‘Standing up, I walked around the room, and at first glance all seemed the same as before. Then I noticed something, something that was very different – a bright light shining in through the window. I went over to investigate and was amazed at what I saw looking through that small, leaded window. You see, Wot, way up high, as far as I could see, there was an enormous light bulb sporting the biggest, tackiest lampshade I had ever laid eyes on. I then noticed that everything, which had originally been outside the house, was gone; there was no garden or plants and the countryside beyond had also vanished without a trace. I found it so hard understand how this had all vanished, replaced by a view so ludicrously different.’

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest ‘Where the garden had been there was now a large area of highly polished wood. It made no sense at all. Trying to see further all I could make out was a vast expanse of deadfall wallpaper, not much better than that in the room I was in. The wall with the horrible wallpaper seemed to go on forever. ‘That wallpaper!’ I thought. ‘It looks familiar!’ I was sure that I had seen it somewhere before, though on a smaller scale. In a flash of pure inspiration, I remembered, it was the very same wallpaper that you, Wot, have on your hallway. I then recognised the lampshade and the front door, again the same as yours. I was so excited, because if this was indeed so, then all the goings-on with Umahia had truly happened, and I was inside the Christmas card, standing on the coat stand beside your front door. What a stupid place to leave a Christmas card, I thought.’” “I looked for you, Wot, I really did!” said Nott. “I stared through that window for hours on end. In fact, I looked through all the windows, but I did not see you. Because I could not see over to your window, for signs of daylight or lack of it, I had completely lost track of the time, and that old grandfather clock with just the one hand was a fat load of use. I wondered why any one would bother to wind up a clock with only one hand on it, especially when it was the minute hand. Moreover, as to why they might want to screw down the other hand onto a ledge was anyone’s guess.” “Tiring of such seemingly pointless questions I finally fell asleep. The next thing I can remember was hearing you reciting one of those

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest weird poems of yours. Shouting, I tried to get your attention, but it was useless, you could not hear me; I was too small and too far away from you. Racking my brains trying to think of a way to attract your attention I eventually remembered the door and its big, brass knocker. I thought that perhaps if I knocked it hard enough, it might, just might attract your attention. I ran down the stairs, half-expecting to see Umahia on the chair in the far corner. I opened the door and lifted the heavy knocker; it was a lot heavier than I had thought it would be. With both hands holding it, I gave the door a loud knock. I waited for you to appear, but NOTHING. I hissed in disgust, ‘That dope, Wot, has fallen asleep in front of the fire again.’ I lifted the knocker a second time and banged the door even harder, this time with all the strength I could muster. It was much louder than my first attempt. I felt sure you would hear it. I knew it had worked when I heard you stomping your down the hallway.” “Yeah, I did hear it,” said Wot. “I can still remember how it annoyed me.” “Well, I had to get your attention, didn’t I?” “I wasn’t complaining, Nott,” Wot replied apologetically. “I’m sorry.” “Can I continue?” “Sorry, go on.” “From my viewpoint inside the card, you had the appearance of an

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest enormous giant walking down that hallway, but that didn’t put me off, Not at all! Determined to get your attention, I shouted at the top of my voice. That was when you looked down and picked up the card – I was certain you saw me waving at you from the open doorway, but the speed with which you picked the card up told me a very different story indeed. You sent crashing to the rear of the hallway and into the wall, as the door banged shut behind me. From that position, huddled in the corner, nursing my bruises, I could see your bloodshot eyes scrutinising the card in fine detail. ‘Good,’ I said, ‘perhaps now he will see that I’m in here!’” “I remember,” said Wot. “It did fascinate me! That front door, its construction of such old and solid timber – it intrigued me. I remember saying, they don’t build them like that anymore, then being scared almost to death by you answering me.” “I did say no interruptions, remember? I’m telling the story!” said Nott. Concluding his story, he said... “Well, you know the rest old buddy. That is the complete and full story of how I got into this unfortunate situation, and why you must help me to get out from this card, away from this madness. It is far too dangerous a place, even for me! Let someone else help them.” His brow creasing, Wot contemplated Nott’s predicament, and the way forward, in any. “Perhaps it is dangerous,” he said, staring into the card, “but what will happen to all of those people if we don’t

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest help them?” “That is their problem, not mine,” Nott replied. His flippant remark, however, did not go down well with his friend. If they were a team, he was definitely its conscience. Pondering the situation, further, Wot asked, “Remember the time you fell down that well?” “Yeah, what about it?” “When you shouted for help, did I leave you there?” “No, no you did not” he replied, fearing where the conversation was heading. “And the time your ceiling fell in, did I leave you to fix it yourself?” Nott lowered his eyes without saying a word. “And, again, remember when your car broke down out in the middle of nowhere. You phoned me up, asking for help. Did I say no?” Wot’s truthful words hit the mark; Nott felt smaller by the second. He knew he was right, he knew that had no choice but eat humble pie, to listen to Wot’s precious conscience if he ever wanted to see the outside world again. “Okay, I’ll help them,” Nott said, quietly, rightly. “And so will I,” Wot added. “You know it’s the right thing to do,

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest don’t you?” “Hmm,” Nott replied. “Have you finished your sawdust, I mean cereal, Nott?” “Yes,” he replied, still annoyed at missing out on the big Christmas fry-up. “Right then, I am ready,” said Wot. “Now tell me exactly what I must do to join you inside that card!” Nott passed the small phial through the open window, instructing Wot to drink from it. Accepting the small and delicate piece of glass, Wot raised it to his lips and drank from it. “Okay,” he said, “I’ve done that. What next?” Although he was quite surprised that Wot had made no remark about the liquid’s foul smell, Nott went on to explain the next step of the process to him. “Concentrate on the card,” he said, “while at the same looking into it.” “That seems rather easy,” said Wot. “I am sure I can manage to do that.” Without saying another word, he sat down and began staring into the little card. In little more than a few seconds everything around him was in a whirl, as the wind tugging, sucking and pulling at him transported Wot to another place, another world, to Summerland…

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

Chapter Four The Tree of Knowledge

Wot also landed with a thump, but because he is so much larger than Nott, it was a much heavier landing. In fact, it was so heavy he almost crashed through the floor, as the floorboards split and cracked beneath the enormous impact. “Err, Nott! Can you give me a hand?” he asked. “I seem to be stuck, and these floorboards are ever so sharp. One of them is sticking in my...”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “Oh God!” Nott groaned. “I hope this isn’t an omen of things to come! You are here less than a minute and are already in a mess, needing my help.” “What on earth have I gotten myself into?” Wot mumbled as Nott tried desperately to remove him from the splintered boards. “Earth is one place you most certainly are not,” Nott replied, as he struggled to separate his friend from the floorboards, and the undignified predicament he found himself in. “And it’s vitally important to always remember that – your life may depend on it!” “Thanks, old friend,” said Wot, removing a particularly troublesome splinter from his derrière as he spoke. “Oh, by the way, it’s good to have you here.” “It’s my pleasure, Nott.” As he showed Wot around the old house, Nott called, “Umahia! Wot’s here!” However, he was not there. Descending the stairs, Nott continued with the tour of the house. He showed it to Wot with as much pride as if it was his, he even apologised for the bad taste in wallpaper. Wot replied, telling him that he thought it was nice. After giving him a rather bemused look, Nott looked out the back door window, and was relieved to see the garden had reappeared. “Now that we are well and truly back in Onisha, I think we should go outside and look for Umahia,” he said. “Come on, he might be in the garden.”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Outside, in the garden, the wonderful old world cottage-garden, Wot and Nott found themselves remembering their childhood days, when they had played a garden such as this. “This is magnificent,” Wot exclaimed. “Who looks after it?” “I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea,” Nott replied. “We aren’t here to look at the flowers, you know. Come on, we must find Umahia!” Wot hardly registered his friend’s reply, so mesmerised was he by the wonderful spell of the garden, a spell far too strong to resist. Suddenly he felt one of his a poems coming on, so taking out his little book, he wrote down the following… “World of rhyme and sorcery, The time is running short, Restore all as it was before, Lest all shall become morte.” Wot looked at the rhyme, scratching his head in bewilderment at the strange words he had written. Like his previous poem, they appeared to make no sense at all. Closing the book, he slipped it back into his shirt pocket, for later. That was when he noticed how far Nott had gone on ahead of him. “Hey, wait for me!” he shouted. When he caught up with him, Wot saw that his friend had already

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest found Umahia. They were both sitting comfortably under a plum tree, chatting, paying little or no regard to his late arrival. The tree was old, certainly much older than the house. It had a gnarled trunk, with many ugly gashes and marks upon it, like so many battle scars it had endured. It was packed full of fruit – large fat plums and all of them ripe for the picking. Umahia was already eating one. Its juice ran freely down his chin. Overhead, the steady buzz from the wasps, which had also discovered its generous bounty, emphasised the heat of the day. “Welcome, Wot, welcome back, Nott, my two Outlanders friends,” said Umahia. “I have so much to tell you. Pick a fruit, sit down and rest yourselves. Save your strength, you will need it for later.” They each plucked a large, ripe plum and sat down joining the old man beneath the tree’s welcome shade. During the next few hours, sitting beneath the ancient tree, Umahia and the two friends talked about many things. Umahia told them much about Summerland (Onisha), explaining how the main physical difference between it and Earth was that Summerland consisted of only one main continent (plus a few, lesser islands). The Outlanders also learned about the inhabitants’ way of life, which although so similar to that of Earth was yet so different. A way of life governed as much by the laws of Rhyme and Mysticism as by the laws of physics. They also learned that, although Onisha occupies the same physical place as Earth, it is in a different dimension. “That’s why it’s so easy for us to journey between the two worlds, if

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest one has the necessary knowledge and inclination to do so,” said Umahia. “This was done frequently, in the distant past, and is one of the reasons why there are so many similarities between our two worlds.” Umahia explained, “In the days of King Arthur, Rhyme and Mysticism were as important on Earth as in Onisha. Why, your very own Merlin was an honorary member of the Brotherhood of Mystics,” Umahia added encouragingly. He also explained how the shared, chosen paths of Onisha and Earth had ended, when those on Earth turned their backs on the ancient ways, the old ways. “You relied more and more on the ways of man, and mans’ devices,” he said. “It has now got to the stage that nearly all of the mystical knowledge humankind once held dear has been lost. You deviated. You chose a different path. Unlike ours, your path was in the direction of material wealth, gained oftentimes with no thought as to the consequences to humankind or indeed for the world in which you reside.” The two lads listened glumly as Umahia continued, “After the Brotherhood of Mystics had been killed, Miafra came out from The Citadel of Composure and spoke to the people. Using his considerable charismatic charm he convinced them that it had been a sad, but necessary step in their voyage of self-realisation, their voyage to a world of eternal summer, to a world where all would be equal, to a world of consistency – to Summerland.” For a few moments, Umahia’s thoughts drifted, drifted back to happier days, happier times, then he said, “Miafra proclaimed that day to be a day

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest of celebration. He renamed the Citadel of Composure as The Dome of The People. This was yet another ploy to keep them onside, and so convincing was he in his rationale no one questioned his actions. Why would they? He was their idol! He was their saviour! He was Miafra, Lord of all he surveyed.” In awed silence, the two Outlanders listened as the story continued to unfold. “In this journey to The Promised Land – to Summerland, Miafra swore that he would guide and protect everyone, to ensure that it become a reality for one and for all. It was only then did he tell them that for his plan to succeed he had to be no less than Emperor. He wanted to become Emperor. He longed to be Emperor. He had to be Emperor. In achieving this position, he would gain all the Mystical Powers, which had for so long eluded him. What Miafra failed to tell them was the simple fact that these powers were so great, so absolute they corrupted any mortal man, no matter how well trained and versed in the mystical ways, absolutely. Miafra conveniently ignored this truth, he ignored the simple fact these powers had been the main cause of all the wars that had raged on Onisha, culminating in the worst one five hundred years ago. That is the reason we abolished this position,” said Umahia. “For the good of the land and the greater good of the People, the Brotherhood of Mystics banned it. They hid, secreted away, concealed all written information appertaining to it. Miafra, however, convinced the people that the Brotherhood had no right to deny them their rightful path to Paradise. He told them that when he received these powers all would be possible for him and for them. He said, with him being

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Emperor, they would all be living in a utopian paradise.” Umahia felt tired, but he continued, “In his quest to attain this goal Miafra looked for information on the old, ancient ways. He searched for books, books long hidden, books long banned. He was patient, he was persistent, and in the end he found where they had been secreted, where they had been hidden; in the deepest, darkest depths, the very bowels of the Dome of The People (The Citadel of Composure), where nobody should have ever seen them again.” Over a period of time, and all alone, with just a faint light to illuminate the ancient words, Miafra studied every detail of these ancient texts. The books, the manuscripts, the parchments were old, so old; some crumbled as he turned their pages, others simply turned to dust at the slightest touch. However, he persevered in his quest, and from the hidden pages, the banned pages, he learned of the pure power he would gain if he were ever to be crowned Emperor. He also learned that in order to gain such power and position he could not enforce, himself. He had to observe the Old, Ancient Ways, which meant it had to go to the nation, for a Peoples’ Vote. They had to vote him in, only then the inauguration follow, by means of an investiture. Armed with this knowledge, Miafra put on his charismatic face…” Umahia plucked another large plum from a low branch, and then carried on with his tale… “In order for him to put his plan into motion Miafra summoned the elders of the towns and villages to the newly renamed Dome of the

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest People. He told them this gathering was a meeting in which all of the elders, who now represented the people on his behest, could present their ideas and visions of the way forward, in their new Summerland. In reality, its sole purpose was to enable Miafra to use his considerable charismatic charm to mesmerise and convince them into accepting his vision as the only way forward. He had no doubts whatsoever that he would succeed. All that he had to do was get them assembled in the Dome, where they would be like putty in his hands, agreeing to his every suggestion. “Couldn’t anybody see through him?” Wot asked. “Yes, some did,” Umahia, answered. “A few brave souls questioned his motives, but he banished them to a Dark Place, a limbo between worlds, where they are still languishing. All this happened at a frightening speed, and six months ago to this very day Miafra was finally crowned Emperor. I knew it would be so. It was the will of the people against his – no contest.” Umahia paused, staring at the remaining portion of succulent fruit, “Before that fateful vote, I had already fled into exile, to the island of Ogbo,” he explained “Is that where we are?” Wot asked, quietly. “Yes, it’s the only place where we can speak in safety. There are other ways, but they carry greater risks, I will tell you more about these later. This island has been a secret since the dark days of yore,

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest when last we had an Emperor. It is on no map, it never has been. It has a natural form of protection. A magnetic barrier deep within the rock veils us from his prying eyes and senses, but only to a point. While I am here, on this island, as long as I refrain from using what powers I still have remaining, Miafra should not be able to find me. But the more I use them, the greater will be the chance of him finding me.” Umahia shifted his position, trying to make himself more comfortable, and then said, “When Miafra was crowned Emperor his powers and knowledge were increased ten-fold. He finally had the means that he had always wanted to achieve his ungodly ambitions, and he wasted no time in creating the most powerful Mystic Rhyme imaginable. This fateful Rhyme had a three-pronged intention; the first to stop time, the second to drain the willpower of the people – their very chi (thus creating a world of slaves for his personal use), and the third and most ambitious part was to drain my powers, transferring them into himself. In no time at all Miafra had his Rhyme worked out. He was now ready to use it. This time he did not hide in the darkest depths of a holy and sacred building to read it – no! It was on a wonderful June evening, at the late hour of ten o’clock, the sky was still light (this does not happen here anymore), when he casually walked out from the Dome of the People and began speaking. He was so confident, he stood there as bold as brass on the top step and recited his evil words to one and to all. There was no fanfare, no announcement. Some people strolling

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest past stopped, wondering what he was doing. As they listened to Miafra’s dark words, shivers of dread ran down their spines. He said... ‘Darkest powers of darkness grow, Darkest night, darkest sight, Time slow down, time be mine, Till time, it is no more.

Darkest powers of darkness grow, Darkest night, darkest sight, Remove their light, give me their might, Their wills be only mine.

Darkest powers of darkness grow, Darkest night, darkness my right, Bleeding strength, taking his rhyme,

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest One to prevail, and one to die.’ No sooner had the last word left Miafra’s lips did the heavens above show their disapproval. Storm clouds gathered, lightning crackled and the skies opened, soaking the onlookers who scuttled silently away. Miafra, hardly registering nature’s disapproval, smiled. He returned inside and then rested…” Umahia could see that he was burdening the two Outlanders with an awful lot of information, but if they were to have any chance of succeeding they had know exactly what they were facing. He began again. “For a while all seemed good for the people in this new world, this Summerland. The sun rose at the same time each day, it was never too hot or cold, everything seemed to be just as Miafra had promised. However, as time passed, people noticed that things were not as they had once been. It became increasingly harder to differentiate between the days of the week and the weeks in the month – they all seemed to be the same! Other things, like dates of birthdays, anniversaries and so forth, began fading from our memories. No one could understand why this was so. In fact, no one even talked about it, for whom could they talk to, without Miafra or his minions hearing?” “For two or three months nothing was said about this, no complaints were made (at least not in public), then, by the time people were starting to question it more seriously, other larger, more fundamental changes had begun. The holiday months of July and August had passed without anyone giving it a second thought; they had simply

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest continued their daily work routines, without noticing. Later on, at Halloween – it is really big here – everyone totally forgot it. There were no seasons anymore, they had all merged into one long summer. We had no special days, no public holidays; we had nothing to celebrate. Somehow, the people’s perception of reality had radically changed. We saw time as a constant; our perception of it had been altered.” Umahia’s mind’s eye drifted back to those days, and he said, “Our world had been jinxed by a Rhyme so powerful, a Rhyme so strong it changed, altered the very fabric of time for the benefit of one individual – Miafra. In effect, time in Onisha had ceased to be. Yes, the sun rose with each new day, but it was not a new day, it was in reality the very same day we had just finished. I should have tried something – anything to stop him…” “I could see this happening so clearly. A few others could, but their numbers diminished on a daily basis, as the influence of Miafra grew and their minds dulled. Miafra no longer had to threaten the people with sudden death or banishment to the Dark Place if they did not do his bidding. In their altered state of consciousness they were open to any suggestion he made, and willing to carry it out religiously.” “Not content with this, Miafra surrounded himself with guards, protection against anyone who might still dare question him. Within the army he formed, he set up an elite force of guards from the highest ranks of his most loyal officers, and then he appointed a select group of Governors – his eyes and ears, to administer the provinces of Summerland. With this in place, he was in control –

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest total control. His perception of reality was the reality the people had to endure, a reality they accepted without question, being little more than his slaves. This was the true New World Order envisaged by Miafra, a world so very different from the one he had promised.” “From the outset, despite being concealed on this island so far away from his power base, his climb in station to Emperor has affected me. I felt it from the first utterance of those words, on the fateful June evening, atop those steps. I knew I was losing a part of myself; that my powers were draining. They were diminishing, then, and they still are. Luckily, they are not draining as fast as he had wished. That is my one trump card, the one small hope that I cling to. Wot, Nott; we are in a race against time, or time and life as we know it will be no more. If no one stops Miafra, I am certain his ambitions will not end in Onisha… He knows full well that Earth is there, like these fruit, ripe for the picking." “It sounds as if he is unstoppable,” said Nott, glumly. “What can we do against someone as powerful as he?” Umahia sat there in silence, chewing his plum. Each plucking another, Wot and Nott joined him eating the tasty fruit. They sat together, eating, thinking and pondering as the evening slowly drew in… It was almost dark when Umahia next spoke. Wot and Nott jumped in surprise when they heard him. You see, they had been away in their minds, to many strange places.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “Sorry! Can you say that again?” Wot asked. “I must have dozed off for a minute or two. I can’t understand what came over me.” “Hmm, what did you say?” Nott mumbled, trying to wake himself up. Suddenly jumping up, looking very frightened indeed, he asked, “Where are we, what happened?” “Its alright old friend,” said Wot. “You were dreaming, we both were dreaming.” Yawning, Nott said, “It that what is was – a dream?” Umahia nodded. “But it was so real,” he replied. “I was in this cave. It was very dark… I was not alone. Something was there, watching me – it was horrible! Am I glad you woke me up?” “Don’t worry, it’s quite normal to sleep and to dream after eating from the Tree of Knowledge,” said Umahia. “The tree of what?” asked Nott. “The Tree of Knowledge and Wisdom, to be precise,” the old man replied. “It is talked about in our myths and legends… Some believe in it, some do not. Perhaps it is better that way. It fruits continuously all year long, and those who eat from this tree will have their mind opened, so the legend claims. Good will come if the person’s intentions are noble, but woe to the person who eats of the tree if

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest their goal is solely for their own betterment.” The lads, looking at each other quite worryingly, had no idea what they might say in reply to such a remark, sat there, in near to total darkness, awaiting Umahia’s next words. When he began speaking again, it was even quieter than before. Perhaps, if he spoke any louder, they thought, the wrong ears might hear and all would be lost. Even though Wot and Nott could hardly see Umahia, they felt that he had changed, somehow. They also felt strangely altered themselves, more confident. Perhaps there was something of truth in the tale of the plum tree after all, they thought. As the light faded into nothingness, they listened ever more intently to the old man’s words... “I have already told you that Miafra’s incantation was divided into three parts,” Umahia continued. “The first was against time itself, the second against the people, and the third aimed directly against me. It must also be in the same manner that we make our counter-attack, in three parts.” The lads’ ears cocked on hearing this. “The first thing you must do is find the Amulet of Oxmosis,” he told them. “There will be dangers, many dangers along the way, but when you have secured it in your possession, it will be of a great help to you.” “Are you kidding,” Nott cried out. “We won’t last five minutes, out

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest there on our own. We have never been here before, let alone know how to get around it. As if that was not enough, we are strangers here, we will stick out like two sore thumbs!” Wot tried to hush him, but Nott continued, saying, “I wish I was at Fabled Crest, to ask the Stone of Directions what to do next.” “I have never heard of that place, Nott,” Wot said, mystified by what he was saying. “Where is it?” “Why, it’s across the sea, of course, in the Green Valley of Cross River – everybody knows that!” Still puzzled, Wot questioned him further, “Across the sea? What sea?” “The Sea of Loneliness, of course.” Only then did Nott realise the ramifications of what he was saying. “I know where we are!” he chortled. “I know what’s on the far side of this plum tree! I could bring you all the way to Onisha City, to the Timeless Gates guarding it. I know this land so well I could transverse it quite easily!” Looking at Umahia, Nott asked, “How can this be?” Umahia’s gaze lifted to the branches directly above them. Nott immediately understood – this information had come from the Tree of Knowledge and Wisdom. Feeling somewhat puzzled, Wot asked, “If the tree has given Nott this knowledge, where does that leave me?”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Umahia replied, “You already had the power before you arrived… you have always had it. But know you this; the fruit of the tree has opened your eyes, your ears and your thoughts.” Despite hearing these words, Wot still felt puzzled. Umahia continued, “Of all the poems that you have written, recite the first one that comes to mind.” After scratching the back of his head and then wiping his nose, Wot raised a hand, saying, “The first one that comes to mind is Old Blue.” “Go on,” said Umahia, “Recite it.” Clearing his throat, Wot began… “Blue was my dog, my faithful friend, For ten years we walked together, He –”Stopping dead, mid-sentence, Wot’s jaw suddenly dropped, for there, as large as life, in the form of a smoky blue cloud was his dog Blue. Rubbing his eyes in sheer disbelief, he stared at it again. It was Blue, no mistake about it. Tears welled up in his eyes. “I loved that dog…” he said. “He died three years ago… He was the best dog I ever had!” Wiping away the tears, Wot turned to Umahia and thanked him repeatedly for the wonderful vision of his old dog, and second best friend. “When the words come to you, and you write them down, you think they are merely poems,” Umahia explained. “But you don’t always

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest understand the meaning of them, do you?” he asked. Wot nodded his head in agreement. “Some are just what they seem, simply poems, but others very much more than simple rhymes. You now have the power and wisdom to differentiate between the two. Here, in Onisha, all rhymes are mystical, and if you so wish you can see them as easily as you can hear them. For an Outlander, you have the rare power to understand words – use it wisely, because so much depends on it.” Clasping his hands behind his back, Umahia continued, “You both are a team, one helping the other, adding to the other. The sum is bigger that its parts. However, you still have so much to learn if you are to stand any chance of defeating this evil man. Come, let us go inside, the day has passed, its time to rest.” With that, Umahia made his way into the house. The two friends followed closely behind. It had been a long and extremely interesting day…

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

Chapter Five The Old Boat

26th December.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Next morning, the sun rose at the same time as the day before. It was another glorious day – every day was a good day in Summerland, or so they had thought. In bed, sitting up, looking out from the small, leaded window, at the perfect new morning, Wot could see how easily it must have been for Miafra, with his charms, promises and charisma, to fool the people of Onisha. After dressing himself, Wot strolled across the landing, to the room in which Nott had been sleeping. Just as he was about to rap on the door, to see if he was awake, the expression, do not judge a book by its cover, entered his mind. Feeling it might somehow be relevant, he took out his book and recorded the words dutifully within. Then knocking on the door, he said, “Nott, are you awake?” “I am now,” he tersely replied. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you; I will go back and leave you in peace.” “Come in, come in, it’s all right. I really was awake,” Nott told him impatiently. On opening the bedroom door Wot saw the strangest of spectacle. His friend was sitting cross-legged in front of the wall, staring at that wallpaper again. “Why is it,” Nott remarked, “I can’t keep my eyes off this hideous paper?” Without waiting for a reply, he continued, “I know it’s ghastly, but there is something about it that intrigues me, so. I mean,

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest just look at it! The pattern does not even match up, in places. Look, at this blue swirl, it should finish here, but it does not – it simply continues. It’s the same over here with this green one, then here and again over here. I feel this means something…but I can’t put my finger on it - it’s driving me bananas, Wot!” Despite thinking his friend was acting quite strange – even for him, Wot smiled. Changing the subject, he asked, “Are you coming downstairs for breakfast?” “No, I think I will give it a miss, cereal that tastes of sawdust isn’t very appealing two days in a row.” “It’s not sawdust, I mean cereal. It’s a wonderful fry-up. I can smell it from here! There are sausages, fried-eggs, puddings, rashers and even mushrooms! If you’re not going to get some, I certainly am.” Having said that, he exited the room. Wot’s description of breakfast puzzled Nott no end, because on the previous morning all that he had been able to find was a lone box of cereal that was definitely beyond its sell by date. However, if it was true – the fry up, where had all the ingredients come from? At that point, the wonderful aroma of fried bread wafted past Nott’s nostrils. Curiosity getting the better of him, he stood up, settled his suit, straightened his tie and then opened the door, following the aroma. Descending the stairs, Nott found himself caught, captured by the food’s alluring spell.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “There are white puddings and hash browns to boot!” he decreed, quickening his pace. “This is the breakfast I should have had yesterday,” he added, reaching ground level. Reaching the door of the kitchen, Nott cautiously turned the handle and then pushed it open. The spectacle that greeted him was a sight for sore eyes, for there was food everywhere! He felt like a child in a sweet factory. Hesitating, thinking it might all be a figment of his imagination, tentatively approaching the table, he touched one of the sausages. “It’s real!” he creed out. “It’s really real!” Grabbing hold of a plate, he wondered what he should choose first, for there were so many huge serving dishes, each one competing with its neighbour to present the best display. Umahia and Wot were so engrossed in their meals they hardly noticed him. Determined to get his share of the wonderful feast, Nott leaned across the table, trying to lift up a plate. It felt terribly heavy in his small hands. Noticing his friend and the predicament he was in, Wot helped him by placing it in a free position on the table. “Thanks old buddy,” said Nott as he began helping himself to the food. He took six sausages, seven rashers, three fried-eggs and an unknown quantity of hash browns. He piled the food high; like a small mountain, paying special attention to the wonderfully aromatic white puddings, which he piled into another, smaller mountain of their own. There was so much food piled high on is plate, it kept falling off, but he continued to pile more on regardless. When he thought no one was watching, he put a few extra hash browns in his

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest suit pockets – for later. He was having the time of his life; he tried everything, including four full cups of tea and two of coffee. Eventually, when he could eat no more, Nott rested in his chair and let out a loud burp, “Whoops, sorry!” he said. “That was sure good! I really needed it! But where did it all come from?” he asked. “Yesterday there was nothing here in the kitchen – I am certain of it!” Umahia, as per usual, took his time to reply, but when he did, he said, “You are still thinking in the ways of Earth. This you must stop. While you are here, in Onisha, you must think differently. Remember, that which I have already told you – In Onisha the power of Rhyme is an equal to the power of substance. If you want breakfast, say the words that best describe your feelings towards this need, but say it as a Rhyme – and always remember these words, these Rhymes consist of so much more than simple poetry. For example, if you would like a glass of water to wash your breakfast down, say it, but as a Mystic Rhyme. It will be given you... go on, then, try it!” Nott felt incredibly awkward, like a child at school, when asked to recite the seven times table, without having learnt it, first. Trying to compose himself, he made a brave attempt, saying… “Water, water everywhere, But not a drop to drink.”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest A very small man, completely dressed in green, carrying a large watering can suddenly appeared, rushing into the kitchen via the back door. Running like the dickens, he climbed up the back of Nott’s chair, perched atop it and emptied the entire contents of the watering can over Nott’s head. Then, just as quickly, he made his way down to the floor, whizzed out the back door and was gone. Taken completely by surprise, Nott sat there, shocked, in sheer disbelief of what had just happened. In an effort to escape the deluge, Wot had jumped away from the table, but some of the watery onslaught had splashed onto him. Umahia, who had a good idea that something like this might happen, had retreated to a safe distance. As for Nott, well, he just sat there in shock, unable to come to terms with what the little man had just done to him. After some embarrassing and wet minutes, sitting in the chair, Nott finally stood up and he shouted, “Why did that happen?” Over dramatising the situation, as per usual, he added, “I could have been drowned, you know!” At this remark, Umahia and Wot burst out laughing. Nott, still dripping onto the kitchen floor, could not decide if he should laugh or cry. He did eventually see the funny side, and joined in the laughter, but he was still very wet! “Here, dry yourselves with these,” said Umahia, throwing the two friends a towel each. When they were both dry, Umahia said, “I hope you have learned a

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest valuable lesson, Nott. That you can now understand – and fully appreciate how powerful Mystic Rhyme can be. This is the very same power that Miafra has taken from us, from the people, my people, when he changed their perceptions of reality. This is why I said use your powers and gifts wisely, lest you do yourselves more harm than good.” “Okay, okay, I get the message,” he replied. “Just tell me who that little man was? Because when I get my hands on him, I’ll–” “He is one of The Orlu,” said Umahia, cutting him off. “The who?” “The Orlu. They are a separate race here in Onisha. They provide us with sustenance and drink. Whenever you need food or drink, while here in Onisha, they will bring it to you, if you call them correctly that is.” “That’s very handy,” said Nott. “ I am sure they will also be of great use to us in our fight against Miaf–” Umahia, cut him off, said, “No! They cannot help with your fight! That is not their way! Seeing the Orlu as no threat, Miafra allows them to go about their usual business. However, if their role were ever to change, he would kill them with no hesitation at all. Never ask for anything more than food and drink from The Orlu! And remember, use the words carefully.”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “Perhaps, in a strange way, all that water was good for me,” said Nott, looking quite pleased with himself. Umahia and Wot listened curiously as he continued, “When I was sitting there, getting a soaking, it came to me.” “What came to you?” Wot asked. “Why, the meaning of the blue swirls on that awful wallpaper upstairs, of course.” Wot leaned forward, listening intently. “Those blue swirls represent the Blue River. It’s all so clear to me; I can’t understand why I didn’t see it before. Overlooking the position where the Blue River joins with the Green, is the Fabled Crest, on top of which is the Stone of Directions. That is the meaning of Green Valley of Cross River, which I mentioned earlier … The Blue River is our first destination - that is where we shall find the Amulet of Oxmosis… I can’t understand why I didn’t realise that before?” “You are just beginning to learn how to use your powers,” said Umahia reassuringly. “As time passes you will improve and see things ever more clearly,” “I think you are great figuring that out,” said Wot. “What use have I been? Little or none I might add, and may never be. All I have is my silly poetry.” “That poetry, and the way you use it, can, and perhaps will, mean this difference between defeating Miafra or not,” said Umahia, ominously. “Never underestimate this – your life may well depend

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest on it, and sooner than you think. Now, as I said to you last night, you have much ahead of you, listen carefully…” Again, Umahia told them that once they have left the island, he would be of little or no help to them. They would for all intents and purposes be on their own, until they had found and secured into their safe possession the Amulet of Oxmosis. “I feel reassured,” said Umahia in a surprisingly upbeat tone, “now that you are already beginning to work things out for yourselves. Without my help, you have seen the way forward. I could have told you this, but did not have to – it is a good sign! Now heed me wisely as I explain the three-pronged counteroffensive that I envisaged while beneath the Tree of Knowledge.” The two friends edged closer. Umahia continued, he said, “After you have secured the amulet you will be ready for the first prong of our counter offensive – to restore time.” Interrupting hi, Wot said, “My gut feeling tells me that is a whole lot easier to say than it will be to do!” “Yes, that is true my friend,” answered Umahia. “But there are no other options – you must restore time.” With that, he walked away from them, saying, “You must be away, we cannot waste any more time or there will be no time left to waste.” “We must be away?” said Nott. “I’m still waiting to hear about the three-pronged counter attack! As far as my ears are concerned, you

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest only told about one of the prongs!” “You know all you need to know,” Umahia answered. “I will speak to you again, on your journey. Now hurry, you must head for the coast and find a means of transportation across the Sea of Loneliness.” The two friends reluctantly bidding the old man goodbye, set off down the dusty track, with Wot wondering how far it was, with Nott knowing the answer but forgetting to tell him, and with both of them wondering if they would have to walk the entire length on foot. Apart from the garden around the old house, this was the first glimpse of the island Wot and Nott had actually seen. It was quite beautiful in a wild sort of way. As they walked along the track, they saw an abundance of flowering trees, shrubs, bushes, and all of them so exotic. There was hardly a vacant space of ground left that was not colonised by at least one of them. The trees, so different from those on Earth, were growing in weirdly odd ways. Some gloriously covered in orange leaves, as if it were autumn. Others, sporting luminous green trunks and branches, had no leaves at all. One variety growing in great abundance, that Nott particularly admired, resembled overgrown flowers rather than trees. They were so full of luxuriant, vibrant life the two friends were certain they could see the young saplings growing before their very eyes. They resembled tall, thin hands sticking out from the ground, upon which even longer, thinner fingers balanced.

These fingers – branches – sported

exquisite flowers with tremendously long red and yellow petals,

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest waving softly in the gentle breeze. Much of this flora was growing amidst lush wildflower meadows similar to those of bygone days on Earth. Barely visible through this vibrant growth, stonewalls, old and half tumbled down, languished. There were also a few houses, here and there, but with no signs of life visible from any of them. Flying above their heads, in the clear blue sky, there were insects and birds of every description. There were luminescent dragonflies as big as eagles, hovering stationary, their enormous wings buzzed effortlessly. The lads marvelled at this spectacle, until one of these dragonflies headed directly towards them. “Duck!” shouted Nott, as the giant dragonfly zoomed towards them. Wot, however, was too slow to avoid the oncoming insect. It struck him squarely in the chest, throwing him unceremoniously to the ground. The giant insect, apparently unfazed by the crash, continued without a wing out of place. “Strange creatures,” he thought, feeling rather silly that an insect had toppled him. As well as the giant dragonflies, there were butterflies as large as dinner plates. They flew about unhurriedly, lazily, almost in slow motion. There were caterpillars with only two sets of legs, one at each end. Nott watched them, fascinated at how they propelled themselves, drawing both ends of their soft bodies together, like a spring, and then releasing the tension, catapulting themselves along. Scratching his head, he wondered how the insects could have any

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest hope of knowing where they were heading, next. There were many other strange looking insects buzzing back and forth, far too many to mention here, and all of them so different from those upon Earth. Lastly, and perhaps the most surprising of all, were the birds. Some of the more common varieties on Earth were represented, such as sparrows (though they were green) and blackbirds (with two separate black and white varieties). There were also crows, sporting humanlike features and characteristics, appearing more like little old men than birds. An abundance of exotic parrots was in evidence, and all competing for brilliance of colour. The oddest, the most peculiar and definitely the most outlandish of them all, were the other ‘birds’. Just the sight of them made the two friends rub their eyes, in sheer disbelief of what they were seeing. The reason for this was they were not really birds at all. They were actually fish, and flying ones at that! These birds – fish – were of the same golden colour as common goldfish on Earth. The resemblance to goldfish, however, finished with that, in every other way they were so very different. They were much larger than goldfish, anything from several inches up to a yard in length. Yes, they really were fish, albeit of a thin variety, flying through the air with great ease. To support their aerial endeavours each fish had a set of particularly large fins that they used in the same way as birds use their wings. Although these creatures rarely strayed too far from the areas of water upon which they depended to breath, they were nevertheless an amazing sight. For many minutes, the two friends watched in silent wonder. Suddenly, remembering the journey ahead, Wot said, “Come on old friend we still have a sea to

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest cross.” As he began walking along the dusty track, Wot’s thoughts drifted to how lucky he has been to have such a good friend as Nott. Yes, he was cranky as times, and abrupt, but he was proud to call him his friend, a person whom he would trust with his life, and he was sure the feeling was mutual. As Nott walked along, the only thoughts he had were of the wonderful breakfast that morning, and would he be able to conjure up anything near as good for tomorrow’s, or indeed even for tea that evening, without getting another soaking in the process, that is. The sun was low in the sky when they reached the coast. In all that time, they had not seen another living person. Finding a comfortable, mossy patch beneath a tree Wot sat down. “No plums on this one,” he remarked, realising how hungry he was. Taking this as his opportunity to see if he could conjure up a decent meal, Nott said, “Right, Wot, watch me and see how I get on this time, old buddy!” “Use the words carefully! I don’t want to be covered in another shower of water, food, or anything else for that matter,” said Wot. “I know, I know!” Nott hissed, “And for your information neither do I!” “Well, this is your opportunity, old friend,” said Wot, edging further

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest under the tree. “Go for it, and the best of British luck.” More cautious than before, knowing the sort of repercussions that might occur if he got it wrong, Nott went over the words quietly to himself, before saying them aloud. Sitting upon the ground, he said… “A meal for two we need right now, A meal with bread and butter, A pot of tea with milk and sugar, Just that and no more bother.” Listening, the two friends heard the sound of feet; feet running at great speed somewhere in the distance. At first, the two Outlanders could not see anything, and they wondered where they were. Suddenly, several little people appeared, heading directly toward the two outlanders. Whizzing around them at a tremendously fast speed, they had cups and plates, bread and milk, in fact all the items requested by Nott who sat there quite gob-smacked. One of the little people laid a large, round cloth upon the ground; others placed all the items upon it. No sooner had they completed this task, they all whizzed away, gone. “Wow! Now that’s what I call service,” said Wot. Feeling quite chuffed, lifting the teapot, Nott asked, “Tea anyone?”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest When they had finished eating, Nott said, “That was the best tasting bread and tea that I have ever had!” “You’re welcome,” someone replied from within the shade of undergrowth. Then, as quick as before, the selfsame little people reappeared, clearing everything away before disappearing again. “I’m beginning to like it here,” said Nott, watching the last of the little people disappear behind a shrubby bush. “Don’t get too relaxed, Nott. Remember what we have come here to do,” Wot reminded him. “I know, I know,” Nott replied, annoyed that eat bread is so soon forgotten. Gazing up at the rapidly darkening sky, Wot said, “I think it might be safer if we make our way across the sea by night, under the cover of darkness. Come on, follow me, we need a boat.” Nott obediently followed. Wandering along the seafront, searching for anything they might use to cross the lonely sea, the two friends found nothing even faintly resembling a boat. Further down the coast, the ground rose into a small hillock, a tremendously overgrown hillock. “That looks interesting,” said Wot, pointing it out to his friend. A pair

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest of yellow eyes, peeping from the undergrowth, hooted at them. “What was that?” Nott asked, frightened. “It’s only an owl,” Wot laughed. By the time Nott had wrenched his eyes away from the yellow ones, his friend was disappearing fast into the undergrowth. Shouting, calling him, he said, “Hey! Wait for me!”

Meanwhile, in The Dome of the People Miafra paced the floors, frustrated. The transference of Umahia’s powers, to him, was proceeding slowly, far too slowly for his liking. Something was clearly wrong. Moreover, if something was indeed wrong, he had to find out what the problem was, and then fix it. Calling together his loyal circle of governors, Miafra informed them that all was not as it should be; that the progress of the third and final part of his plan was far too slow. “Something is working against my influence,” he said loud and slow, emphasising the point. Ordering his governors to return to their regions, Miafra instructed them to enlist the help of the people, the poor, wretched, unquestioning people in his quest to find out exactly what the problem was. The people were to be his pawns, his spies – expendable items – in his quest for total power, total control. If they saw anything unusual, anything at all that seemed out of place in the

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest perfect world he had created, they were to inform his governors about it. Having dispatched his governors, Miafra again paced the corridors once again…

The two stalwart comrades, forcing their way deeper into the thick, vegetation surrounding the hillock, made slow progress. Undeterred, Wot pioneered a path for his smaller friend. As they advanced deeper into the undergrowth, the small amount of light still left in the late evening sky disappeared behind them. Finally, in one huge effort, Wot broke through the undergrowth, into the hillock’s mysterious interior. Standing on the inside of the mysterious hillock, the two friends gazed in amazement. You see, the interior, circular in construction like the mound outside, consisted of one singular room, and what a strange room it was. It reminded Nott of the igloos the Eskimos construct from blocks of frozen snow, but in this instance, the blocks were hard, unyielding stone. As their eyes became accustomed to the darkened conditions, more details of the construction became apparent to them. “I think this is a boathouse, of sorts,” said Wot, walking a few step ahead of his friend. “It used to be a boathouse,” Nott added dryly. Wot inspected the room; the sturdy, rock structure was in good

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest repair, despite its all too obvious age – and neglect. However, the fixtures and fitments were another matter altogether. They were falling to pieces. Many of them had collapsed completely, spewing their contents across the dusty damp floor. Amidst all this mess, in the very centre of the building, one single item caught their attention. It was a large object, covered by a thick dust-laden sheet. “That looks quite interesting,” said Wot. Approaching it, he pulled away the cover, setting free a thick layer of dust that soon filled the entire room. As the dust entered the Outlanders’ lungs, it caused them to cough and splutter uncontrollably. Retreating to the curved, outer wall, trying to avoid the irritating cloud, they waited for it to settle, and finally see the item that had been uncovered. “No one must have been in here for years!” said Nott, wiping the dust from his face with his hanky. “You know, you could have wiped the dust off that tarpaulin, first!” “Sorry.” Wot replied, knowing that he was right. As the fine particles began to settle and the air became more breathable, the two Outlanders realised just what had been uncovered – and they were speechless. Right there, in front of them, was their means of travel across the Sea of Loneliness – a boat, and what a grand boat it was! At least thirty feet in length, it had a cabin at its centre. Inside the cabin, there were three rows of ornately carved wooden seats, the last row being the most ornate. There was a small seat at the bow end of the vessel, and another at the stern. These

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest were of plain construction. The same type of carvings as those on the seats inside the cabin, covered every square inch of the outside of the vessel, both cabin and hull, both adorned and embellished by thousands upon thousands of pieces of painted glass and mirrors. The passage of time had done little to diminish its sumptuous ambience. It was a work of fine art, and a wonder to behold. The two friends, walking slowly alongside the boat, inspected it in detail… “This is amazing,” said Wot, running his hand along the hull, marvelling at the artisanship, “All the work that went into this one craft – it must have cost a fortune!” “It’s a bit over the top, alright,” said Nott. “They mustn’t have had much to do, back then, when they could spend so much time making boats like this.” Pointing at its interior, to the very ornate rear seat to the rear of the cabin, Nott continued. “I would be embarrassed to travel in something like this.” It was only then did he notice a gleam in Wot’s eye, and realise that his friend had exactly that in mind. “Travel we must, my good friend,” said Wot. “And soon!” “Not on your Nelly!” Nott reiterated. “This boat must be as old as Umahia himself, perhaps older! It will almost certainly sink the instant it touches the water. Look at this bit!” he said, pointing to a piece of decorative carving. “It’s falling away in my hand!” With a bit of gentle persuasion, he broke it off. Nott continued with his protestations, “Have you even considered all those pieces of painted glass and mirrors? We will be seen for miles, while out there in the

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest sea!” Nott’s argument, however, fell on deaf ears; Wot had made up his mind. Picking up a dusty piece of cloth, Wot searched around until he had found a bucket and a length of rope. “Look below, down there,” he said, pointing in the front of the vessel, while handing them to Nott. Feeling very uncooperative, Nott asked, “See what?” “The ramp!” Wot replied. “There is water down there. Fill up the bucket, and then wipe down the boat. We need to remove all this dust, to see what shape she is in.” Although he accepted the bucket, Nott mumbled begrudgingly under his breath, “I doubt this old thing is capable of holding even one pint of water.” “The only thing this appears capable of holding is air!” His protests, however, once again fell on deaf ears. After tying the rope to the bucket, Nott leaned over the banister and lowered it into water. Pulling it up, inspecting the bucket for leaks, Nott was ecstatic to see water leaking out from it. He was about to complain, to say that it was of no use, then remembering how pigheaded his friend could be, if he felt so inclined, he decided to get on with the job as best he could. As he wiped away the years of dust, Nott calmed down somewhat and actually felt a tad embarrassed by his recent outburst, so by way of apologising, he said, “What exactly is this place, anyway? And why do you think this boat is so ornate?”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Wot answered, but it Umahia’s voice that spoke, “This was the last Emperor’s boathouse,” the voice droned. “So engrossed was he in his own magnitude and importance, he had this facility constructed to reflect his glory – for his own perfect pleasure, to parade himself in front of his people. They made this vessel out of Yola tree wood. They are the ones you admired, Nott, on your walk along the track; the ones that resemble upturned hands. They grow faster than any other type of tree in Onisha. While they are young and growing fast, it is a soft wood, but as the tree matures, it turns into the hardest wood known to us. No one ever cuts cut down a healthy specimen. Only when a tree dies do we harvest its wood. Sadly, the last Emperor became so far removed from the ways of the land, the ways of the people, he ordered the trees used in the construction of this boat to be cut down, whether they were alive or not. It is a good omen,” said Umahia, “they will play a part in the downfall of the new Emperor. This boat will not let you down.” Confused by the voice of Umahia emerging from the lips of his friend, Nott tried as best he could to carry on with the conversation, “Is there anything else I can do?” he asked. This time is was Wot who replied, “Yes, you can go down the ramp and open the doors. Time is short, we must depart.” “Are you alright?” Nott asked, surprised that Umahia’s voice had ceased so abruptly. “Of course I am. Why do you ask?”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “Oh, nothing,” he replied, turning his attention to the long, dark ramp and rippling waters beneath its water-soaked doors. Despite treading ever so carefully on the steep ramp, Nott suddenly lost his footing. Landing heavily on his back, he slid, feet-first, towards the water-soaked doors. BANG! He struck them at full speed, smashing them apart, on his way out to the cold, cruel sea. “Why is it me who is always getting soaked?” he complained, treading water. “How come Wot never gets a ducking?” he asked, splashing the water despairingly. Wot heard nothing of this, above, inside the boathouse, busy readying the vessel for its first trip in five hundred years, he was in a world of his own. After Nott had made it back up the slippery ramp, water dripping from the brim of his hat and his clothes, he coughed trying to get Wot’s attention. Seeing him, he said, “What on earth happened to you?” “Didn’t you hear the bang?” “Bang? What bang?” “Why, the bang when I hit the... Oh never mind, is everything ready?”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “Everything is ready and waiting,” Wot replied (again in the voice of Umahia). Opening his mouth, about to ask Umahia why the all the ‘comings and goings,’ Nott had no opportunity, for the voice continued, saying, “You are to proceed across the Sea of Loneliness. On your arrival in Onisha proper, you must remember to trust no one, for fear it is the eyes and ears of Miafra. Avoid the roads; travel crosscountry wherever possible. Upon reaching the Fabled Crest seek the Stone of Directions.” Through the eyes of Wot, Umahia gazed down at the small figure of Nott before him, and said, “Don’t be afraid, Nott, I will be in touch again, later.” Wot continued speaking, but now in his normal voice – Umahia had gone. “Get in the boat, Nott, we must depart,” he said. The two Outlanders clambered into the old vessel. Nott sat on one of the ornate seats to the rear of the cabin. His friend stood at the stern. “Hold on tightly,” said Wot, “it might be a bit bumpy at first.” With that, he untied the two heavy ropes that were holding the old boat in position. Nothing happened; the boat moved not an inch down the ramp. Raising a hand, to offer a suggestion, Nott fell off his seat as the boat suddenly took off. WHOOSH, it sped down the ramp fast, faster, ever faster. Hurtling past the broken doors, it splashed heavily into the dark cold waters beyond, heading fast out to sea.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest The boat no sooner cleared the overgrown hillock than a thick fog descended, engulfing both vessel and its startled occupants. For several minutes, the only sound they heard was of rippling water under the floorboards, and even this became quieter and quieter as the boat began to lose speed. “Are we slowing down?” Nott asked in a whisper. Wot made no reply. “We are slowing down,” Nott cried out. The boat continued to slow for several more minutes until it finally came to a complete halt. The two friends, straining hard to see each other through the thick, pea soup fog, whispered in unison, “We have stopped?” They sat, afraid to speak, afraid to answer their very own question. Despite them saying nothing, it was true they had stopped. They were lost, adrift in the lonely sea. “We are doomed I tell you, doomed!” Nott bemoaned. Trying to put on a brave face, Wot held his calm, though secretly hoping a miracle might happen – and soon. Perhaps a miracle did happen; perhaps a miracle did find them. You see, they suddenly saw the old man, Umahia standing in the boat, between them. He said, “Remember, you have the power, you have your gifts – use them! The mist surrounding you is the Fog of Protection. It shields the island from the eyes of the world. It will also shield you; protect you from spying eyes on your journey.” On those words, the image of Umahia faded from sight.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “Come back! Come back!” they cried out, but the old man was gone, vanished. The two friends sat there in silence, neither of them confident enough to heed Umahia’s words. “How could Umahia abandon us, so?” Nott asked, baring his fears, in angst. The fog grew even thicker; the only sound was of the lazy water lapping beneath the boat. It was so relaxing, intoxicating, mesmerising – the two Outlanders drifted, drifted off to peaceful sleep. Minutes later (or was it hours?) they awoke with a jump. It was still dark, the pea soup fog still surrounding them, but the sea had turned rough, with huge, tormented waves crashing down over them. “We can’t just sit here waiting to drown,” said Nott, panicking like mad. “We must do something.” “You’re right,” said Wot, shivering from head to toe. “I have written a poem. I am going to recite it.” “A poem? You have written a poem! Is that all you think of?” Nott cried out. “Yes,” Wot replied, quite matter-of-factly. “Remember Umahia’s words, what he told us. He said we have power and gifts. He said there is power in rhyme, Mystical Rhyme that is. Now, shall I recite it or not?”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “Yes, yes, go on, go on.” “Right then, here goes,” said Wot, standing unsteadily on the heaving deck, raising his book close to his eyes. “Mystic waters, mystic might, Help us in this our plight, Guide us on our journey long, Propel the boat so smart along, Safe and sure to solid ground, To start our task, in this we’re bound, Bring us right to the land we seek, Asking this two souls, so meek.”

At first, nothing seemed to happen, but slowly, very slowly the old craft began to inch forward. It continued to increase in speed; faster and faster, quicker and quicker the old vessel accelerated until it was ploughing through the cold, dark waters so fast the two friends became worried. Holding on ever more tightly to the rickety vessel, they wondered how fast it might go. The window frames rattled, the floorboards creaked, and the entire vessel shook violently as it sped

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest through the raging waters. The two Outlanders wondered, they wondered how long it could take it and remain in one piece. The small decorative squares of multi-coloured glass and mirror, which had adorned it for so many centuries, fell away in profusion disappearing in a colourful, sparkling rain into the distance. Wot and Nott held on for dear life as the waves crashed repeatedly over the ancient boat. There was no hiding place from the sea’s terrible fury. The old craft seemed so incredibly small and fragile as it headed fast towards its final destination. All of a sudden, they struck something, something hard and solid, sending the two friends lurching forward as the boat came to an abrupt and complete stop. Had they arrived at Onisha, they wondered, or were they marooned on a rocky outcrop, never to be seen again? With such a thick fog surrounding them, it was impossible to know. Scrambling to their feet, Wot and Nott walked carefully along the creaking deck before tentatively stepping over the side onto a sandy beach. It was land! They were safe! “Where are we?” Wot asked, quietly, lightly. “On the fair ground of Onisha, of course,” Nott decreed. (His gift had evidently kicked in again). Then he added, “But I haven’t got the foggiest notion in which part.” Gazing back at the old boat Wot could see the bad state of repair she was in, having suffered badly in the storm. “We can’t leave it, just floating there,” he said. “In the morning, if somebody spots it they

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest will be onto us, and pronto. We had better do something.” “Hmm,” Nott replied. “You’re right, get back in, we will have to scuttle it. Before you jump in, help me to shove off. Hurry up, I can’t do it on my own!” Because the boat had struck the land with such force, Wot had some doubts that it was at all possible to push it back out to sea, though he did not air them. He simply put his back into the job-in-hand, pushing as if his life depended on it. After many backbreaking minutes, the old boat began to inch slowly away from the beach, and little by little, the waters once again supported it. “Get into the boat, Wot, and follow me down to the stern,” Nott ordered. “Break off a piece of the decorative panel, yes that bit there,” he said. “Now use is to prise up one of the floorboards. When you have done that, keep hitting the bottom of the boat until you have made a hole in it.” They both pounded and pounded, making holes, until water was flowing freely into the boat. When it had reached their ankles, they climbed over the side, pushing the boat seaward. Swimming to shore, they abandoned it to an uncertain future. As the vessel disappeared into the distance, Wot felt sad to see it finishing up, so; disappearing into the fog, bound for the depths. Interrupting his thought, calling him, Nott said, “Come on, let’s find a place to sleep, I’m whacked.” There was a full moon in the night sky, but due to the thick fog, they could not see it clearly,

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest nevertheless, its diffused light helped them reconnoitre and assess the immediate area. “Look there!” said Wot, pointing to a small opening at the base of a cliff, half concealed by scrubby growth. On reaching it, crawling through the small entrance, they discovered that it led into a small, dry cave. “This is perfect,” exclaimed Nott, happy to be out of the elements. Looking outside, he said, “Look over there, Wot. Do you see that dead grass?

His friend nodded. “Bring it in; we can use it for

bedding.” Despite being so tired Wot did as instructed, he knew that that his friend meant no harm, ordering him, so. Procuring the grass, he laid out the beds. With beds thus made two weary bodies lay down and rested, far enough inside the cave to be warm and dry, but close enough to its entrance to spot any potential danger that might happen along. Soon they were both sound asleep.

Suddenly, Wot found himself chained to a wall in a dark, damp room. The light was low. He had difficulty in seeing. He had no idea where he was, but he was sure there was danger there. He felt the presence of someone or something close by, that posed a great threat to him. He had to get away – but how? He was in chains! He could hear it coming closer, closer. He could hear its slow, laboured

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest breathing getting nearer, nearer. Panic engulfed him and he screamed and screamed and screamed‌

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

Chapter Six

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

An Unexpected Guest

“Wake up, Wot! You’re having a nightmare!” said Nott. “Everything is alright.” Seeing his friend’s eyes open, he warned, “But keep quiet!” Staring up at his small friend, Wot asked, “Was that all that it, simply a dream? Nott nodded. “But it seemed so real. I can still see it in here.” He touched his forehead. “Yup, only a dream,” No replied. If it was only a dream,” said Wot, “then why I feeling so bad, so traumatised by the visions I saw while asleep; the dank, dark room, heavy chains – and whatever it was that was after me?” Having no other answer to offer, Nott told him to pull himself together, reminding him of the journey and the quest ahead. “Hmm, okay,” Wot replied. “I believe you, that is was only a dream.” However, deep down, he still wondered if that was all that it was.

27th December. It was a fine morning; the sky was incredibly blue with a few lazy

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest clouds resting, going nowhere, so different from the fog they had experienced the previous night. Entering the cave Nott placed a large shell upon on the floor. Rubbing his eyes, yawning, trying to wake up, Wot said, “Morning, where have you been?” “Outside.” “Where?” “I was out, walking…along the beach. You know, it’s a wonderful day out there. The fog has gone, and air is so clear. I sat on the beach for quite a while, enjoying the moment as it were, and I really enjoyed it.” “That’s good,” Wot said encouragingly. “You should do it more often. You know, you rush around far too much.” “Hmm,” Nott answered, staring out through the cave entrance. “I sat there, looking out to sea, imagining I could see all the way back to Ogbo Island, but I couldn’t. You know, we don’t have any idea when Umahia will contact us again… We really are on our own, and that scares me. ” Nott stopped for a moment, then added, “There’s not a soul to be seen out there.” Raising a finger, in a lighter tone he said, “Oh, I almost forgot, take a look at this and see what I gathered for breakfast.” Nott picked up the shell and proudly displayed its brimming contents. “Fresh shellfish, mussels if I am correct. Well, what do you think of them, Wot?” he asked. “Good for breakfast, yes?”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Wot looked into the shell, inspecting its contents. They were of a different shape than those he usually ate, but they were definitely mussels, and fine-looking ones at that. “They look first-rate,” he replied, fingering a particularly large specimen. “Not too many?” “No.” Encouraged by the positive remarks, Nott set about making a fire just inside the cave entrance upon which to cook them. In no time at all, it was burning nicely, so he placed the shell and its contents onto the glowing embers. Soon the wonderful aroma of seafood filled the entire cave. “That sure smells good, said Wot, poking a finger into the ‘pot’. “Yep, replied Nott. “And not a Mystic Rhyme used in the whole process.” “Why not?” “I was thinking…we don’t have any idea what we will have to face along the way, and whether or not Mystic Rhymes will always work. Are they guaranteed to work?” he asked. Wot shrugged his shoulders. “Having said that, I thought it might be a mistake to entirely depend

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest on them...that’s why I did it, the mussels, without magical Rhyme” Nodding his agreement, Wot fished out the first of the shellfish from the boiling waters. Making fast work of it, he exclaimed, “They taste even better than they smell, well done!” This pleased Nott no end, then he also tried one, “God! They are good aren’t they?” he chuckled. As they enjoyed the impromptu feast, Nott said, “Earlier, while I was out there, I was thinking about our situation.” “Yes?” “Well, I tried using the gift I received, from that Tree of Knowledge, to ascertain our position.” “How did it go?” Wot asked, taking another shellfish from out the pot. Smiling, Nott continued, “I am pleased to announce that it worked perfectly, that I can now tell you we are in the southeast corner of Onisha. We simply head due east for ten miles, and then turn northeast for another three miles, and if all goes according to plan, we should be upon the Blue River. After that it will be a simple matter to it in an easterly direction until it converges with the Green River, at which point the Fabled Crest should be clearly visible, above.”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “Can I finish breakfast, first?” said Wot, fishing out another hot mussel. “Hmm, yes, but leave me a few!” When they had finished the tasty retreat, Nott said, “Right, then, let’s be off.” After putting out the fire and concealing all evidence of their occupation of the cave, the two friends made their way out, into the brilliant sunlight. Shielding their eyes from the hard light the two Outlanders followed the base of the cliffs, which seemed to go on forever. “It’s no good just trundling along beneath these cliffs,” said Nott. “If we are to have any hope of heading inland, we have no other option other than climbing them.” Nodding, his friend agreed. The two friends began searching for a way up the steep cliffs. “This looks promising,” said Nott, pointing to a gently sloping area at the base of the cliff. However, looking safe and actually being safe are two entirely different matters, which the two friends were soon to find out. “You go first,” said Wot. “You are lighter; I will follow you.” At first Nott’s progress was good; in only a few minutes he had reached a height of twenty feet. He felt positive, hopeful that he could make it all the way up to the top, so he shouted down, “Come

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest on up, Wot. It’s okay. It’s a piece of cake.” Thus summoned, his large friend began to climb up. Wot’s progress was much faster than Not’s and soon he was directly beneath him. “Go on,” he barked. “Can’t you go any faster?” Searching for a safe foothold, Nott barked, “Give me a chance, alright? I am going as fast as I can!” Unfortunately, at that instant, the soft, sandy cliff wall beneath Wot gave way, and he fell to the ground, landing in a pile of sand, rocks and coarse grass. Nott, who was still perched high above, said, “Phew that was close, I thought I was a goner there for a minute.” Then he noticed the precarious situation he was in, where the cliff he was hanging onto was no longer supported by anything beneath it. He froze, afraid to move even one muscle, in case the remainder of the cliff, and him along with it, came crashing down. Despite his misgivings, nothing happened. He waited some more, but just like before nothing happened. He began to believe, to convince himself, that if he was ever so careful, he might, just might reach the top of the cliff. He took a tentative first step, then another and another. Then, just as he was getting his confidence back and making good progress, the remainder of the cliff gave way, and he fell to the ground, on top of the sand, rocks and grass that Wot had landed upon a few minutes previous. “Are you alright?” Wot asked, lending him a hand.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “Yeh, at least I think so,” Nott replied, standing up wobbly. Come on, I think we should try and find an easier spot, this spot just too hard,” he moaned. As they walked along the base of the cliffs, hoping to find an easier way of heading inland, the two friends investigated every nook and cranny. After a mile hard walking, lady luck smiled on them. The cliffs began diminishing in height until they had finally petered out altogether. A wide grassy area stretched inland as far as the eye could see. “That’s more like it,” they chirped, turning their backs on the sea, heading towards the lush, knee-high grass before them. The soft sand beneath their feet was incredibly warm, caressing their toes and lifting their spirits, but this was not the Christmastime Wot had envisaged, when he had sat in front of the crackling log fire in his new Christmas slippers, ready for the an enjoyable evening watching TV. No, it was nothing like it. Looking down to his feet Wot said, “My new slippers! Why, I am still wearing them. I forgot to change into my shoes!” His slippers were now incredibly grubby. He tried rubbing them clean on the back of his leg, but it made little or no difference. He felt so stupid, walking around another land, another world, in a pair of Christmas slippers, and grubby ones at that. He wanted to tell Nott, but he was too far ahead and out of earshot. Watching him, making his way through the sand and grass, in his blue suit and old trilby hat, Wot thought that perhaps he did not look so stupid after all.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest The grassy area led them into a ancient greenwood. “This way,” said Nott as he passed by a particularly large tree. “It’s due east from here, for ten miles.” “That’s an awful lot of walking.” “I know, but at least we are alone, no one has seen us,” he replied. He had no idea whatsoever that a pair of eyes was watching their every move. Their progress through the greenwood was at a reasonable rate, and it was a pleasant enough place to be in, as far as woods go, though not a patch on the island of Ogbo with its wonderful variety of flora and fauna. The colours here were less intense than on the island. Onisha had the all the appearance of a watercolour painting, which had been hung out in the sun and then been forgotten. Thinking he heard something, Nott ordered a halt. They both listened, but the only thing they heard was silence. They began walking again but after a only few short steps he heard the same sound again. He ordered another halt, but the mysterious sound did likewise. “What do you think it was?” Wot asked. “I don’t know,” Nott whispered. “Come on,” Wot urged. “We still have a long way to go.”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “Okay, but keep your eyes peeled,” said Nott. “I am sure something is out there – I am sure of it.” Over the next hour, Nott ordered another five unscheduled stops, each time insisting he heard something. Wot tried to understand and to accept Nott’s concern, but in the end, his patience was wearing thin. Unwavering, with no doubts at all that someone or something was out there watching them Nott’s senses were in extra sensory mode. Despite that, for the time being at least, he had no other option other than trying to ignore it and continue the journey. At noon, they stopped for a much-needed rest break. “Go on, Nott,” said Wot. “Nobody is watching, ask the little people for a meal, if they can hear you from here, that is.” “Right, good idea,” he replied. “Give me a minute, though, to get my thoughts together.” Pacing the ground, Nott began talking quietly to himself. When he came to a stop, he said... “A meal we need, a meal for two, A lunch, it’s not taboo, Meat and vitals, soup and rolls, Served on plates and deep filled bowels, Varied fruits to follow on,

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest So we can travel ‘till tomorrow dawn.” They listened for the rush of tiny feet, but nothing stirred. As they waited in silent anticipation, nothing seemed to be happening. Did he have the words wrong? Could the little people, the Orlu, even hear them in this remote location? Near on five minutes passed, they had just about given up hope of seeing the little people, when the sound of many tiny feet rushing and running caught their attention. Several Orlu, all of the dressed in the same green garb as the one who had drenched Nott, appeared in front of them. One of them, whizzing at great speed, placed a tablecloth upon the ground. Several others placed all the requested goodies upon it, then they whizzed away. Although their meal was not up to the same standard as the one they had enjoyed in the old house, it was certainly a good spread. The two friends wanted to say thank you, but the little folk had disappeared without trace. Although the mussels they ate that morning had been good, the two friends were famished and they tucked into the meal, with gusto. It was a most enjoyable repast, so much more than the bread and butter of the previous evening. There were three types of dessert to choose from, including Wot’s favourite – lemon meringue pie, and to wash it all down there was a large pot of piping hot tea. Throughout their meal, Nott found it impossible to shake off the feeling that someone was still watching them. Hearing rustling in bushes, Nott suddenly sprang into action. Showing absolutely no fear of whom or what might be lurking within them, he ran over and dived in with a vengeance. WHAM, he knocked the hidden voyeur

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest to the ground, pinning them there. Taken aback by the sheer speed of his friend, Wot rushed over to see what all the fuss was about. On peering into the bushes, the sight of Nott pinning a young woman securely to the ground, confronted him. She was around nineteen or twenty years of age, with long, dark hair, which had a golden coloured ring woven into one side of it. She wore a light, khaki green dress made from a rough canvas like material, both equally elegant and rugged. With no shoes upon her feet, she portrayed a conflicting image, of style and hardship. “It’s a girl!” said Wot. “How did you know she was there?” Asking him to keep an eye on her while he got to his feet, Nott tried to present himself as best he could under the peculiar circumstances. After brushing down his suit, he straightened his tie and replaced his old trilby hat back onto his head. “Now, who are you?” he asked. “And why were you lurking in the bushes?” “I am sorry,” the girl replied, “I saw you, earlier, when you were on the coast, when you fell off the cliff.” Wanting to forget that unfortunate incident, Nott changed the subject, said, “Tell us your name.” “It’s Kakuri,” the girl replied. “I live on the coast…not far from where I spotted you.” “Why were you following follow us?”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “I was curious...as to who the two stranger were!” The two friends looked briefly around, wondering whom the strange people might be, then realised it was they. “You are Outlanders?” she continued. “Aren’t you?” Nott briefly answered a yes, then he continued with his line of questioning. “Where are your family?” “I don’t have any,” she replied, her head lowered. My mother died when I was young…she was also an Outlander. I have no brothers or sisters, and my father, Suru, was killed…” “Oh, I am sorry,” said Nott. “How did it happen?” “He was murdered…by Miafra.” She stopped for a few seconds, remembering. “But I must not say this…forgive me, forget what I have said.” With that, she tried to run away. Wot stopped her, though ever so gently. “Why did Miafra kill him?” he asked. Gazing intently into Wot’s eyes, she replied, “He, my father, was one of the Brotherhood of Mystics. Miafra killed him…he killed them all in cold blood. Why did he have to go do it?” she asked. “You will have to see Miafra about that,” said Wot. She started to cry.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “Come on, there’s no need for that,” said Nott, feeling sorry for her. “Would you like something to eat?” he asked, trying to divert her attention away from such memories. Grabbing hold of a chicken leg, a large chunk of bread and the remains of the lemon meringue pie, Kakuri scoffed the lot back as if she had not eaten in days. Wiping the remnants of the ‘pie from her mouth, she said, “I saw you call them, the Orlu. We used to be able to do that…to summon them. I can still remember the great meals and parties we had, life was good then. Why has it all changed? I really hate that man, Miafra.” “I was under the impression that everyone’s memories had been altered, that nobody was capable of seeing these changes for what they really are,” said Wot. “But here you are, incredibly aware of them, how can this be?” Kakuri finished chewing the last piece of crusty pastry, then she said, “I think it might be something to do with the location we are in – so far from Miafra. I think this helps me to remember. I don’t know for sure, though… What I do know,” she said, “is that over here, on the west of the country, there is a force, a power trying to resist. It seems to come and go with the wind – always strongest when it is blowing in from the sea. When I was young,” she said, “I remember my father telling me the fable of the mythical land of Ogbo, were it is said we all originally came from. He told me that no one knew its true location. I feel, somehow, that it is out there…beyond the fog that comes and goes with the wind – I am sure of it.” For a few

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest moments she said nothing more, then gathering her thought, she said, “He told me many more things about the old ways, but being so young I did not always pay attention to what he was saying. It is only now do I understand the truth and importance of his words…” Kakuri’s mind wandered monetarily into the past, and then she said, “Perhaps I can resist his powers because I am only half Onishian…” “Are there many other people living in these parts?” Nott asked. “No, I am the only one still here,” she replied. “I lived with my father, that is until he...” Remembering, she became quiet again. Despite Umahia’s implicit warning not to trust anyone, the two lads had taken a shine to this young woman, Kakuri. They felt she could be the exception. They told her many things about themselves at this time, about their lives back home, and how they had came to be in Onisha. They also told her about their journey, their mission. In return, Kakuri told them about much about Onisha, and dangers that might lie ahead. When they had finished eating, she asked would they let her try to thank the little people. “Of course you can,” said Wot, who had warmed to her. For a few moments, Kakuri sat perfectly still, and then she sang out… “Oh little people thank you so, For the food and drink I needed,

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest I am so happy for this, you know, To have seen you again, and greeted.” The sound of so many speeding feet filled the air, and then the very same group of little people returned, massing around Kakuri, each one of them hugging her affectionately. “We have missed you, and all the peoples of Onisha,” they said. “We so miss serving and helping you all.” Glancing across to the Outlanders, they said, “These men are good. Help them as best you can, Kakuri, for they will need it.” Without further ado, the Orlu rushed madly about, gathering the remains of the meal and its associated paraphernalia, and then were gone. “That settles it!” Kakuri declared. “I am coming with you!” The two friends, outvoted by a majority of one, agreed. As the band of three set off, they discussed the similarities and differences between the two worlds they hailed from. When darkness approached and they needed a safe place to bed down, they were still deep within the greenwoods. It was in this requisite that Kakuri made her first contribution to the newly formed group. Catching their attention, waving to them, she said, “Follow me.” Leading the way along a narrow, winding track that might have gone unnoticed if it had not been for her, the two Outlanders followed Kakuri up a steep little hill with a an old bedraggled hut nestling atop it. As the two Outlanders looked around, inspecting

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest their temporary home, Kakuri said. “This is a Minna. It is an old ceremonial hut. Minnas are located upon all of the highest points across Onisha. On the first day of each year, in Minnas such as this, the person appointed by the elders of their town or village, lights the fire of greeting to the first sunrise… I wonder if anyone will remember, this coming new year’s day… I doubt it.” Her thoughts returned to happier times, and she felt sad again. Returning to the present, she said, “I hereby promise, in front of you both, I will return to this very Minna on New Year’s Day and light this beacon.” The gumption of this feisty young woman, this Kakuri, impressed Wot and Nott no end. Finding some blankets folded neatly in the corner of the hut, Kakuri threw some to her newfound friends, saying, “Here you are, take them, it will get cold later on.” “Thanks,” they replied. Unfolding the blankets, they each tried to find a comfortable piece of floor upon which to bed down. As they drifted off to sleep the temperature began to drop, they pulled the old blankets higher around them…

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

Chapter Seven The Fabled Crest And The Stone of Directions

28th December When they awoke next morning, Kakuri was gone. Her blanket was in the corner of the hut once again, folded neatly as if it had never been used it. Had she left? Had she taken them in? Was she really a spy? These questions, and more, raced through the two comrades’ minds. Surely, they were wrong! Surely, she was on their side! Wondering where she could possibly be, Wot and Nott stepping outside made their way down the little hill. Strangely, the closer they came to the bottom of the hill, the stronger the aroma of cooking wafted into their nostrils. It sure smelt good, so good they were under its spell. Following their noses, veering left and then the right, avoiding the trees of the forest, the two Outlanders searched for the source of this wonderful aroma. As they continued, ensnared by its spell, its aromatic embrace, they approached the banks of a stream. Sitting in front of a small fire, they found Kakuri cooking breakfast. On a stick, cooking nicely over the bright flames, were three fish. “Morning,” she said. “I thought I would see if I could catch us some

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest breakfast. I believe it smells good, what do you think?” The two friends felt so embarrassed. How could they have imagined she was a spy? How could they have been so hard on her? “It has me mesmerised,” said Nott. “They smell like fish from heaven.” Wot added. “Come on, sit down and try some,” she said. “It’s good.” “What type of fish are they?” Nott asked enquiringly. “It’s Smeli.” “Smelly?” “Yes, Smeli.” “I think I will give it a miss, if you don’t mind,” said Nott, turning his back on the fire. “Why?” “Perhaps its name would give you a clue,” he said, still facing away from her. Then she tagged what the problem was, and she laughed. “No, no, no, it’s not SMELLY; it’s SMELI fish, go on, TRY IT. It’s wonderful!” Sliding one of the fish off the stick, she offered it to

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest him. Looking at it suspiciously, Nott pinched a small piece from out of its belly, and tasted it. “Mnnn, that’s really good,” he said, taking the fish in both hands, enjoying the tasty treat. Taking a large bite from out of its belly, he asked, “Can I be so bold as to ask why it has been given such a weird name?” “It’s not weird to us,” she replied. “Smeli is an Onishian word. It means good to eat.” “Oh.” Having already helped himself to one of the tempting fish, Wot said, “This is the best tasting fish I have ever had. And look,” he said, delving a hand into it. “The bones come out all in one piece, not one of them left behind.” Kakuri laughed, “What a strange pair you are.” While enjoying their meal they asked Kakuri why she had decided to make breakfast. She told them that although the little people, the Orlu, had always been there to help; all Onishians knew it was not in their interest to forget how to do things for themselves. Now, in this time of change, when memories had dimmed, she had reaped the rewards. After they had finished, the three companions set off, proceeding deeper into the greenwoods, three friends trying their best to right

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest three wrongs. By noon, the wooded landscape had given way to hillier, open countryside. “See over there?” said Nott. “Where?” Wot asked. “There, see that black stump, over yonder?” “Yes, I do. Can you see it Kakuri?” he asked. “Yes, it’s quite small.” “That is where we change direction” said Nott. “From that marker we head northeast for another three miles until we meet the Blue River.” Those instructions, however, were easier said than done, because from there on the terrain became increasingly more hilly and difficult to traverse. Despite these difficulties the band of three plodded on without hesitation, up one hill and down again, and then up the next. It was hard going, feeling more like thirteen miles. No one had any energy left for conversation. While they were enjoying a welcome rest atop a particularly large hill, Wot gazed out across the countryside enjoying the view. Suddenly he jumped up, shouting, “THE RIVER! The Blue River, I

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest can see it! It’s down there, below us, look, look through those trees, can you see it?” He was so excited he could not understand why the others were taking so long to see it. “See the colour of the water!” he continued, barely able to contain his excitement. “It’s so blue!” Straining their eyes, trying to see what all the fuss was about Kakuri and Nott looked in the direction of Wot’s wild pointing fingers, and they also saw the incredibly Blue River. “You’re right, Wot,” shouted Nott, “God – it’s so blue. We are really getting somewhere now!” The excitement was infectious. Soon all three were giddily running down the last hill, towards the inviting blue waters below. On reaching the Blue River, they ran headlong into it, splashing about wildly, laughing and hugging each other, the waters refreshing their travel weary souls. After many wonderful minutes relaxing, enjoying the blue coloured waters, the three fiends lay on the grassy banks of the river, enjoying the warm summer sun. When they had rested, Nott said, “Now, all that we have to do is follow this river until it merges with the Green River. From there, we should be able to see the Fabled Crest, where the Stone of Directions awaits us.” With happy heart, refreshed spirits and rested bodies, the band of three set off once again. The next part of the journey was much easier, following the flow of the river and enjoying the wonderful countryside. Being so close to

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest the water dragonflies were everywhere, though these were much smaller than the ones the two friends had seen on Ogbo Island, and paler in colour. The butterflies were also of a smaller size. The only birds they saw were light green coloured sparrows and grey hued parrots. The dragonflies, which buzzed over the water, never came anywhere near Wot, but he kept an eye on them, just in case. It did not take them long to reach the convergence point of the two rivers, and when they did it was a remarkable sight. You see, in as much as the Blue River was incredibly blue, the Green River was respectively green. It was like a freshly sown lawn, just as it comes to maturity before its first cut. As if that was not a spectacular enough site for the three friends to see, the display put on when the two separate volumes of water met and combined was mind blowing. The blue and the green waters twirled, intertwined, played together as if they were two coloured ribbons drifting, a slow and merry dance. In all of this playing, intertwining, neither the blue nor the green waters lost their unique independence. They formed a plait of sorts, a loose alliance where neither volume of water lost its identity, progressing onwards, seaward, shifting back and forth to the rhythm of the flow. “If this land, which has obviously faded so much under the onslaught of Miafra, can put on such a show,” said Wot, marvelling at the spectacle he was witnessing, “I wonder how brilliant it must have been before his interference began?” Suddenly, there it was, on top of the next ridge – The Fabled Crest

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest itself. Nott spotted it first. In his excitement, he let out a cry, “Thar she blows!”

The Fabled Crest was in fact a collection of large rocks atop the next ridge. There was nothing particularly special about it. To be perfectly honest, if it had not been for Nott declaring it was so, Kakuri and Wot might have kept on walking, missing it entirely. Looking up at it, The Fabled Crest appeared no different from the other hills they had so recently climbed. However, as they got closer, they realised that it was going to be a much harder climb altogether. The reason being its flanks consisted of loose shale that gave way to the slightest pressure. “Come on, let’s get cracking,” said Nott, urging Kakuri and Wot on. Despite the obvious difficulty facing them, Nott set off up the hill like a pro. However, after only a few minutes of climbing, the true nature of the task facing him sank home. It was incredibly hard going, trying to climb the loose shale, and quite frequently for each step taken upwards he slipped back one, two and sometimes three. Frequent rest breaks were necessary, though the view presented at each one more than made up for the effort exerted to get there. “I could sit here forever, watching the two rivers plaiting,” said Kakuri, who obviously had never seen them before. “Look, see how they twist and dance as they follow the river valley on their eternal

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest journey to the sea.” “I wonder how the two waters, green and blue, react when they enter the sea?” said Wot, also admiring it. “Do you suppose they form another, more intricate plait with the sea water, or do you think they finally disperse? Oh well, we will probably never know.” Setting off first after the rest break, Kakuri began climbing the hill like a woman possessed. Soon she was far ahead. Approaching the top, she called down to the others, “Hurry up, slow coaches.” With that remark, she lost her footing, fell onto her back and began sliding fast down the slope. Directly below, seeing her coming, Wot reached out and caught hold of her, stopping her undignified descent. “Thanks,” she said, “I thought I was passed the worst of it. Oh well, here I go again.” Although bounding up the hill once again, this time she was decidedly more cautious in her approach. When Wot and Nott finally reached the top, peering over the ledge, they saw Kakuri sitting on a grassy area, looking quite disappointed. “What’s the matter?” Nott asked. “It’s a bit of an anticlimax,” she said. “There’s not much to see, except for that upturned old rock.” “That old rock is the object of our search,” replied Nott, with full conviction of his case.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Kakuri was right; Fabled Crest was certainly nothing to write home about. It was flat, bordered on one side by large boulders, the ones they had spotted, earlier. The other three sides were sheer drops to the ground far below. At the centre of this uninspiring, grassy area was an upturned stone that reminded the two Outlanders of milestones, on Earth. This one, however, was in a much better state of repair. The stone, three four in height, was a thin pyramid shape. Unlike a pyramid, the top was flat, tapering down to the front. “This old rock,” Nott spoke out again, “will tell us where to find the Amulet of Oxmosis.” “How?” asked Kakuri. “I really don’t know!” he answered obliquely. “I was so busy with other things I never gave it any more thought.” Circling the stone, he examined it further. As he circled it, he looked almost like Sherlock Holmes, but without the looking glass and definitely with the wrong hat. Walking away from it, perhaps hoping to get some inspiration from a distance, Nott pondered his predicament. After a few minutes, without getting any inspiration at all, he returned to the Stone of Directions and studied it anew. Finally, after inspecting it for a full half hour, Nott strolled over to Kakuri and Wot, saying, “Well, that sure beats me, there’s no writing on it, no marks, nothing – nada.” Lifting his hat and then wiping his brow, Nott let out a long sigh of frustration, “I have absolutely no idea how we can get directions from that old thing.” Walking away from them, to one side of the Crest, he sat on a rock, in silence.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Wot held off while Nott had been scrutinising the stone, but now that his small friend had finished, he took full advantage of the opportunity it offered. Moving in close, hoping to make the breakthrough in deciphering the mystery, he studied it in minute detail. Sadly, after studying it for almost an hour, he also admitted defeat. Scratching his head, puzzled as to how they might glean the information they sought from it, he said, “Sorry, I can’t make head or tail of this Stone.” As he strolled across the top of the Crest and sat beside Nott, he said, “We could do with an instruction book.” “Mind if I take a look?” asked Kakuri. “Be our guest,” the two Outlanders replied, waving her on. Kakuri knew it would be pointless to study it detail, because the two lads had already done that, with no results. Approaching the task from a different perspective, she sat cross-legged in front of the stone, allowing her thoughts to wander all the way back to her childhood days. Wot and Nott watched with interest. Recalling her family life, how things had once been, she resurrected memories, long time ago memories, when her parents had her stories of the old ways. She also recalled how they had explained the importance of keeping them alive. He mother had constantly told her never to abandon such things, and never to follow man’s example on Earth. Suddenly, from out of the blue Kakuri recalled a fable, a myth her father had told her of about the Lost Nugget. This nugget was said to have powers of perception and guidance. She had imagined at the

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest time that it was a nugget of the gold. Now, however, she thought perhaps it was not. Perhaps, the Stone of Directions and the nugget were one and the same. Her pulse quickened. Could this really be so? Jumping up, she shouted, “I know how to do it! I KNOW! I REALLY KNOW!” Wot and Nott almost fell off their rocks with excitement, and running over to her, they asked, “How, tell us how?” “Well, it’s like this,” she replied, barely able to contain her excitement. Patting the Stone of Directions, she said, “This Stone, this very Stone is the Lost Nugget – I am sure of it! And if I am right, all we must do is to ask it a question!” “Hold on, have I missed something?” said Nott. “I thought this was the Stone of Directions,” “It is! They are one and the same!” Kakuri replied, her arms flailing wildly with excitement. “Shall I give it a go?” “Please do, Kakuri,” Wot answered, inching closer. “Right then, here goes,” she said. After taking a deep breath to compose herself, she looked directly at the Stone, asking, “Where is the Amulet of Oxmosis?” There was no reply. As the band of three stood there, waiting in silence, the wind howled over the top of the Crest.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Never a quitter, Kakuri asked it again, but this time she first introduced herself and her two compatriots. For a second time, however, she received no reply; all that she heard was the sound of the wind, blowing, blowing. This is useless, she thought as she stood there, despondently waiting for something to happen. Although watching her intently, Wot and Nott breathed not a word. “Okay, okay!” she cried out, feeling the tremendous pressure to perform. “I will try it again!” Coughing, clearing her throat, she said, “Let’s see...if I accept the fact that this Stone can actually hear me, the reason why it is not answering me is because it does not like what it is hearing. Perhaps, I must prove that we are who we say we are and genuine in our cause. This might take a while…” Kneeling in front of the Stone, Kakuri leaned back so that her bottom was resting on her heels, to make herself comfortable. Speaking quietly, she told it everything about them, from the beginning of their adventure to the moment they crawled over the top of the Fabled Crest. If she got to any part that she was unsure of she asked the lads for more details. Then, as she was approaching the end of her story, something finally began to happen… She heard a noise, faint at first, gradually increasing in volume. It was a grating sound, the sound of a rock being dragged along a stone floor. Her ears cocked. Was it really coming from the Stone of Directions? It was so loud Wot and Nott could hear it quite clearly. Eyes glued to the Stone, never shifting from it, Kakuri watched in sheer disbelief. The Stone was growing arms! Appendages, of a sort, were sprouting from it!

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Edging closer, trying to what all the fuss was about, Wot and Nott were shocked to the core when they saw what was happening. They shouted, “Look, its growing arms!” It was true; arms – and so many of them – were growing, extending from the old Stone. They were not arms in the human sense of the word. No. They were extensions of the Stone itself, and when they had finished growing, they had all the appearance of so many stone arrows pointing out from it. “Has it told you which way to go?” Wot asked. Stepping away, Kakuri revealed her dilemma; the arms were pointing all right, but in every conceivable direction – even upwards. They were of no use at all! “Well,” she said ever so sarcastically, walking away from it. “That will help us a lot!” having lost patience with the strange Stone, she went over to one of the rocks the lads had been using earlier, sat down and lowered her head into her lap. Mulling over the situation, Wot thought he might have the germ of an idea to move things on. Rambling casually across to the Stone, he made ready to have a quiet chat with it. As this one-way conversation progressed, the pointing arms, one by one, merged back into the Stone. At first, Nott was relieved to see this happening, then fearing the worst, he shouted, “Are they all disappearing?” On hearing this, Kakuri also approached it, and all three travellers

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest stared intently at the retreating arms. They watched in wonderment as each arm metamorphosed to the stone. However, after watching this happen for well over fifteen minutes, two of the stone arms were still there. Admitting defeat, Wot despairingly said, “There are still two of them left, I have failed,” “Two is better than fifty,” said Nott, genuinely trying to lift his friend’s flagging spirits. “But they are pointing in opposite directions,” Wot bemoaned, “and I have no idea which is the right one!” “You have certainly not failed,” Nott replied. “There are only two of them left, and in anyone’s language that is better than hundreds.” Nott’s lightning fast brain buzzing most excitedly, his eyes sparkling with interest and his grey matter jumping into overdrive, he said, “I have an idea, give me a minute to chew it over, first.” A minute later, approaching the Stone, Nott had worked out exactly what he wanted to say to it. He knew the words, the words it must hear, so he said, “It goes without question, Stone, that we shall return the amulet as soon as we have finished with it. We hereby promise to return it to its resting place, ready for the next person who has need of it.” No sooner had he finished these words did one of the arms merge into the Stone. The other one began to grow exponentially. In addition to growing in size, it changed shape, resembling an old style

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest wooden signpost, the type that was once common in England, in days old. This signpost, however, was definitely not made of wood. Words began to appear on it, directions to the place where they would find the Amulet. In large formal letters, it read, ‘The Catacombs of Oguta, ten miles north.’ Below, in smaller writing, it said, ‘It is there you will find the Amulet of Oxmosis. Beware; beware of the danger, not ghosts of the dead, but of the spirit who guards.’ No sooner had they finished reading the inscription the arm disappeared back into the Stone, leaving it exactly as it had been on their arrival. “Right,” said Wot, in a decidedly more upbeat tone than before, “I believe that is north.” Stepping down onto the slope, he began the long slide to the bottom. Kakuri and Nott, taken off guard by his sudden departure, tried to catch up.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

Chapter Eight The Catacombs of Oguta

Pacing the floors of his chambers, Miafra could sense the presence of the three interlopers, and did not like it one bit. He said, “Where are they? What are they up to? They must be destroyed!” He continued pacing the floor, his annoyance so clearly visible. “Why have I not heard anything from my governors?

They are getting too

comfortable in their favoured positions. I think it’s time they realised that failure brings severe repercussions.” A wry smile cracked across his lips. “Lest they become fat and lazy, I will make an example on one… “They must learn that I do not, will not accept second best.” It was not long before Miafra carried out his threat; he simply beheaded the first governor who reported to him of no progress in apprehending the Outlanders. As Miafra sat back, sinking into his grand throne, drinking from a goblet of red wine, he gloated, “That will get results.”

By the time Kakuri and Nott had reached the bottom of the hill, Wot was well ahead of them. Forging on, blazing a trail, he disappeared

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest into the distance. “The conversation he had with that Stone seems to have affected him quite radically,” said Nott. “I wish I knew what he said to it. And why on earth is he rushing so much? We should be proceeding with caution, to avoid Miafra’s eyes and ears... Look, I can’t even see him now!” he complained. “I am sure he has good reason,” said Kakuri. “When we catch up with him, in Oguta, I am in no doubt that he will enlighten us to why.” As Kakuri and Nott progressed at their leisurely pace, the hilly terrain gradually gave way to rolling pastures, golden knee-high grasses dotted with exotic wild flowers (though still drained of much of their original colour). There were some settlements, here and there, which they cautiously bypassed. It was from one of these settlements, that a person spotted the fast moving Wot. A man walking his dog (it had a hump on its back not dissimilar to a camel’s), seeing Wot bulldozing his way through the grass, stooped down, hushing his unique animal. It was only after Wot had disappeared into the distance, did he stand up and continue on his way. Several minutes later, as Kakuri and Nott came into view, he ducked down again. “Did you see that?” said Nott. “Did I see what?” Kakuri asked him. From his place of concealment,

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest the man knew he had seen him. He crouched lower. “I don’t know... I thought I saw something, someone. Whatever it was, I can’t see it now, it’s gone. But I did see something, I am sure of it.” “Come on,” said Kakuri, walking on ahead of him. “It was nothing, your imagination is getting the better of you,” Despite her words of denial, the man had seen them, and it would not be long until Miafra heard about it.

Being so engrossed with making his way to the Catacombs of Oguta, Wot was oblivious to the fact that he might be have been seen. As he hurried along, blazing the trail, his thoughts drifted back to the Fabled Crest, and the conversation he had with the Stone. He had tried to put on a human face to their story, to make it personal. Yes, Kakuri had already recited the whole story to the Stone, but he felt it was not enough. He told it about the hurt of the people, how they were suffering under the despot, Miafra, how they would only suffer more if he were to remain in power. It was at this point the enormity of their situation struck home, and he wondered would they ever return to the quiet lives they had enjoyed, before. Miafra might win, and all their efforts in vain. He felt so useless; he wanted to do something tangible, something concrete to help everyone. Then it came to him, a feeling, telling him, whispering to him, when they reached Oguta this would finally happen. This was why he had

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest forged ahead of the others – he wanted to kick-ass. Approaching the outskirts of the settlement, Wot slowed down, waiting for the others to catch up. He was calm now, his thoughts collected. Oguta was small, a few nondescript houses surrounding a rather unkempt green area. To one side, down a short track, he could see the shimmer of water – Lake Oguta. “So, we meet again,” said Nott, when he finally caught up with his steamrolling friend. “Sorry for steaming off like that” Wot answered, “but I had some thinking to do… I needed to do it alone.” “Hmm,” he replied, dryly. “I am feeling all the better for it, how. Can I explain?” “Yeah, go on.” “You see,” explained Wot, “when I was talking to that Stone, everything we have been through – and indeed facing – got to me. I felt so tired, tired of hiding. I wanted to do something, something concrete to stop the madman, Miafra. It was at that point I felt, realised, somehow knew that it was here, in Oguta this would happen, and it scared me...”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “You are a big lummox,” said Nott. “ A lummox?” “Yeah, a big soft lummox!” Nott replied, laughing. Changing the subject, Kakuri asked, “So, where do we find this amulet of yours?” “That is a very interesting question,” said Nott. “I only wish I had the answer.” “I think I know where it can be found.” said Wot. Kakuri and Nott watched him with interest. “As I was walking along, back there, one of my poems came to me. I wrote it down. Let me recite it.” Withdrawing his little book, he began reading the poem… “A jewel, a chain, Make a temporary claim, On the land encircled by water, There you will find, A door that is signed, There enter, and do not falter.” “Look into the lake,” said Wot, pointing down the short track. “See

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest that island?” They nodded. “That is our destination.” “That’s good enough for me,” said Nott. “Though, there is one small detail still pending.” “What is it?” asked Wot, surprised that he had said such a thing. “We don’t have a boat.” “With a settlement so close to the lake,” Wot replied, “that should be the least of our worries. Come on, there has be one around here somewhere.” Despite searching the entire area, they were unable to find anything faintly resembling a boat. To be so close to a body of water, without even one boat being in evidence, baffled them no end. “So near and yet so far,” said Kakuri, thinking their search was in vain. His frustrations resurfacing, Wot said, “Perhaps it’s shallow! Perhaps we can wade across to the island.” With that, he stepped into the cold, dark water. The water of the lake was dark, very dark, exceptionally. As well as being incredibly dark, the water had a strange consistency to it. Ignoring it, Wot continued his way into the lake. As he proceeded further into the waters, he noticed something strange happening. His feet were disappearing from sight. “How odd!” he said. He carried

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest on walking into the lake; no trick of the light was going to put him off that easily, especially with so much at stake. It was only when his legs were submerged up to the thighs that he noticed an even stranger thing happening – he was not going down any deeper! The water, the gooey black water was supporting his weight, in a wobbly sort of way that is. Steadying himself with his hands, he began walking in the water, and doing quite a good job of it at that. It was an undignified way of crossing the lake, but it worked. Looking back to shore, waving to Kakuri and Nott who had not yet noticed his discovery, he shouted. “Look! It’s okay, I am walking on water!” “Walking on water?” Nott asked incredulously, thinking his friend was losing some marbles. “Yes,” Wot replied. Thinking about it some more, he added, “I am walking in the water, to be precise. Come on… we don’t need a boat!” Although their friend’s eccentric behaviour puzzled Kakuri and Nott, they took his advice and cautiously entered the lake. Their apprehension was understandable, especially so when their limbs started to disappear beneath the inky fluids. However, when those very same liquids began to support them, and they began walking in water, smiles of approval appeared on their faces. “This is a very odd experience,” said Nott, as he followed his two

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest friends further in to the lake. “I feel like I am walking in a dream,” said Kakuri. “Or moving through jelly,” suggested Nott. “Jelly?” Wot asked. “I could do with a plateful right now!” “Take your mind off your stomach and concentrate on the job in hand,” said Nott. “You are the leader, so act like one.” Setting their sights on the small island at the centre of the lake, the band of three began walking to it, with Wot trying to forget about jelly, and the others wondering what unexpected surprises might be lurking there, waiting for them. Arriving at their destination, solid ground, the three friends made their way up small, pebbly beach the black, where the gelatinous waters, dripping in large inky splashes, left them (and their clothes) perfectly dry. “That’s a neat trick!” exclaimed Nott. Reconnoitring the island, Wot was surprised at how small actually it. As islands go, this one, no more than fifty by thirty feet, was tiny. Despite it being so small, the island had an impressive building upon it. The structure, built of a fine stone of an unusual light, apricot colour, was rectangular. There were no windows, not even one. There were, however, two imposing pillars, one on either side of the

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest imposing stone door. Circumnavigating the building, the band of three, searched, to see if there were any more features of interest. Having seen nothing, they returned to the imposing stone door at the front of the structure, wondering how they might gain access. “No hope of knocking this down, then?” Wot grumbled. “I can’t even see a keyhole, assuming we had a key to insert, in the first place.” “Look!” said Kakuri, rubbing the door. “There is some writing under this grime.” The two lads came closer. “I think I can make it out,” she said. “It says, only the Dead lie here, seek ye the Dead?” Looking at each other, then at the door, they replied, “No we do not. It’s the Amulet of Oxmosis we are seeking.” At that, the door opened slightly, as if beckoning them in. They pushed at the door, trying to open it further. It was heavy, extremely heavy. Pushing, pushing, the band of three slowly but surely managed to open the heavy stone door, gingerly entering the Realm of the Dead. No sooner had they passed through the entrance, the door banged shut behind them, sending them jumping with fright. Because there were no windows, the friends found themselves in complete, or very near to it. You see, a small glimmer of light on a wall beckoned them on. “Thank God for that,” said Nott. “I don’t like the dark.” This shining beacon was in fact an oil lamp. Being the tallest, Wot

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest took charge of it. Being so small it offered little light, and the shadows it cast, shivering and shaking as they moved did little to make Nott feel any better. Under its faint glow, they followed the passageway until it turned left, leading them down a stairway cut out of the same solid rock as the building. The steps were smooth, as if worn over the passage of time. Stooping, lowering his head under the low ceiling of the stairwell, Wot believed it not intended for people as tall as he did. It was also quiet, eerily quiet; they heard nothing except for the sound of their own breathing and careful footsteps, footsteps that led them down, down to a room carved out of the same apricot coloured stone as the building. Spotting two more lamps upon the wall, Kakuri put them to good use, offering them to Wot and Nott. “Look,” said Wot, there’s an opening on that wall!” There was indeed an opening. On the far wall, a roughly hewed hole awaited them. Stepping through the hole, the three friends faced a quandary, tunnels – and so many of them – heading off in all directions. They had no idea which one to pick. “Well, so far so good,” Nott laughed nervously, “and not a ghost to be seen anywhere.” “To save time I think we should split up,” suggested Wot. “Does anyone have a preference of tunnel?” Kakuri and Nott indeed had a

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest preference, the very same tunnel their large friend chose. Secretly, Wot was happy they did, for it was a very scary pace to be alone. Without anyone saying so, they decided to go down the tunnel directly in front of them. This tunnel, like all the tunnels, was haphazard by way of construction, as if with no real thought as to its final layout. As they progressed along the tunnel, they came across many hewnout openings, little caves at each side. Looking into these openings, they found it difficult to see if anything was inside. The job-in-hand, urging them on, pressed them to go further. After passing so many of these little caves, they finally reached the end of the tunnel. Curiosity getting the better of him, Wot said, “This is the last little cave. I’m going in, to see what’s inside.” Ever since his abrupt departure from the hill – and the Stone of Directions – Wot had been acting out of character, taking unnecessary chances, this was yet another example of his changed manner. Wot fully believed that he taking the initiative. His two friends, however, saw it as recklessness. Oblivious to their feelings Wot tentatively stepped into the small cave. Kakuri and Nott watched from the outside. “It’s wonderful in here,” said Wot. “It’s a little house, of sorts.” Stepping closer, Kakuri and Nott tried to get a better look. Strolling around the little cave, Wot said, “It’s laid out like a tiny one-roomed house…” He peered further into the darkness, his lamp lighting up

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest its furthermost recesses. His face suddenly dropping, seeing the true nature of the little cave he was in, Wot sombrely said, “It’s a house alright – a house for the dead!” On hearing this, Kakuri and Nott stepped back a few paces. Wot continued, he said, “There are the remains of a whole family in here. There are even the remains of a baby… This is so sad.” Although Kakuri and Nott were apprehensive as to what their friend had found, they were also curious. Stepping forward, the cautiously entered the cave-like structure. It was indeed a tomb, a family tomb, which had for some reason unknown, been set up to give the appearance of a house. It had a table, chairs, cupboards, and even a fireplace. However, the likeness to a house ended with the two bodies, lying side-by-side, in stone receptacles carved into the wall of the cave. “I think these are the parents,” said Wot, pointing to them. “And these smaller ones,” he pointed to three others, “are the children.” “What is that up there?” Nott whispered, pointing above. Looking into it, a smaller receptacle above the others, he replied, “This one is the baby.” “That’s terrible!” said Kakuri. “What happened to them?” “Who knows… life must have been hard back then.” They moved closer, inspecting the bodies, each wrapped in layers of

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest cloth, lying cold and still in the rock, resting in peace together for all eternity. It took them a while to get over their sadness, seeing such a thing. Before they left Kakuri paused to say a short prayer for all of the departed souls therein. Having done that, they returned to the beginning of the tunnel, and tried another one. The band of three saw the same type of scene in all of the remaining tunnels, little caves containing dead families therein. The only exception to this was very last little cave in the very last tunnel they tried. The last little cave, being larger, of a much grander scale, differed from all the others they had seen before it. On entering it, the first thing the travellers noticed was the increased height of the ceiling – a good twelve feet in height. Another difference being that this little cave contained only the one body, resting in a freestanding stone receptacle in the centre of the floor. “Why is this one so different?” asked Kakuri. “Look at it, the body,” she said. “He was tall, very tall. And why isn’t it wrapped in cloths?” Approaching closer, she inspected the deceased in detail. It had more akin to a dusty statue that a corpse. It was a pale grey in colour, dressed in armour like a knight of old. From the waist down a large sword rested upon its legs, its hands grasping it firmly. Then they saw it, reposing, resting around its neck, secured on an ornate golden coloured chain was the Amulet of Oxmosis itself! Looking, staring in wondrous excitement at what they had found, they could hardly believe their luck. The talisman was a large, ornately carved pendant, golden, unlike anything they had ever laid

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest eyes upon before. Set in its very centre was a large blood red gemstone of indescribable beauty; so dark it almost appeared black, surrounded by three smaller but similarly striking red gemstones. Finding the amulet – and so unexpectedly – excited them no end, but the tall, grey figure upon it was resting it worried them...

“Do we just take it?” Kakuri asked the others. “It won’t be that easy, I am sure of it,” Nott replied. “And, remember, the words on the Stone of Directions… beware of the danger; not the ghosts of the dead but of the spirit who guards. This statue could be the spirit who guards!” Still feeling impatient by their slow progress, Wot said, “As far as I am concerned this,” he waved a hand casually over the statue, “is not a body – or even a spirit.” Having said that, to prove his point, he touched the statue. It was hard and cold to the touch. “See?” he said. “It’s cold as ice. It is just a statue, no more, no less. We have more things to be concerned about than this!” Leaning over the statue, he attempted to remove the amulet and chain from around its neck. However, the touch of his finger triggered a sound, a loud hissing sound. He jumped back in fright. Egging him on, wanting to get it over and done with, Nott, said, “Go on, try it again, but this time be more careful.”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Trying for a second time to secure the amulet and chain, Wot extended his hand over the statue until he ever so carefully touched the talisman. As before, a sudden hissing noise warned him off. He jumped back even more frightened than before. The hissing sound was a good deal louder this time, and it did not stop. “What’s happening?” he asked. “What have I done? “How can I stop it?” All that he was able to do was watch helplessly, as the noise grew louder and louder. The figure, the statue began moving, slowly at first, as if it was awakening from a tremendously long sleep. Its head turning slowly, slowly, towards the person who had dared awaken, its eyelids opening sleepily, sleepily, revealed a bright shining whiteness where the eyes should have been. Wot was petrified when he saw this, so too were the others. Sitting upon its plinth, the statue, the menacing figure, pulling itself free from the stone, stepped onto the floor, in all of its height. Staring up, straining their necks, trying to see its face, yet trying to avoid its shiny bright stare, Wot, Nott and the beautiful Kakuri feared its next move. Wielding its enormous sword with both hands, the statue lifted it high above its head, where the gleaming blade remained motionless... Suddenly the deadly instrument came crashing down, aiming for Wot. Moving faster than at any time previous, he ran for his life. Regrouping to one side of the little cave, Wot, Nott and Kakuri feared for their lives. The statue, the exceptionally tall figure before them, raising its sword for a second time, sent it hurtling

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest towards the three pitiful figures before it. They ran, ran as fast as their legs would carry them. The statue, the guard of the amulet had very hostile intentions indeed. Lifting its sword, it turned towards the band of three, again. This time, however, they were ready for it, and they wasted no time in avoiding its menace. Apart from the powerful and tremendously fast swing of its blade, the menacing figure was quite slow in movement. This gave them some breathing space in which to think. The band of three were on the wrong side of the little cave, far from its entrance. If they were to have any hope of surviving, they had to make it across to the other side. Taking the initiative, Wot said, “I will divert its attention. Get across to the far side, when I am doing it.� Kakuri and Nott instantly agreed to this suggestion. Standing in readiness, they awaited the diversion. Shouting up at the figure, the statue that had come to life, Wot called it all the insulting names he could think of, and then some. He did not stop shouting until his little ruse had begun to work. Enraged, the figure lunged at Wot. Seeing their opportunity, Kakuri and Nott slipped silently away. This act of bravery, however, put Wot in a dangerous position. He was now the sole object of the creature’s attention, and that was bad. Wot is a big man, but he looked so small, there, in front of his

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest opponent, trying to avoid his dangerous clutches and even more dangerous sword. Lifting its gleaming blade high above its head, the figure, hissing, hissing, made ready to strike. “You great big bully,” shouted Nott, from his safe distance to one side of the little cave. Insults were all he could think of, all he could do. Continuing, he said, “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size? If Umahia was here he would sort you out, yep, the Grand Mystic, and the rightful one at that, would knock you down a peg or two.” The figure stopping dead in its tracks lowered its sword. Turning to face Nott, it said, “The Grand Mystic? He sent you?” There, it had spoken, though hissing would better describe it. “Yes, he has,” Nott replied. “He asked us to help the people of Onisha, and to help him the Emperor….” The hissing speech (this time much louder) cut Nott off, saying, “The Emperor should not be, must not be… he has no place in Onisha.” The figure, quiet for a moment, hissing again, said, “You are seeking the assistance of the amulet, the Amulet of Oxmosis?” “Yes, we must have it if we are to have any hope of defeating Miafra,” said Kakuri, butting in. “Will you give it to us?” The hissing speech continued, though now so low they found it difficult to hear, “What was that?” Nott asked.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “You cannot have it,” the figure repeated, louder. On hearing this, their jaws dropped in disbelief. “I am the minder of the amulet,” the figure continued. “No one can own it. However, you can make use of it...for a time. Before I entrust it to you, though, know you this… You can make use of its powers three times, and three times only, after which you must return it to me. If you do not do this, it is my eternal duty to track you down and destroy you.” On that ominous note, he removed the amulet and chain from his person, handing it to Wot. Accepting it, he placed it around his neck. The tall figure (they never did get his name), returning to the centre of the little cave, lay down on its plinth and once again resembled a pale, dusty statue. “Phew, am I glad that’s over!” said Wot. “You are? It was me he was about ready to slice in two!” said Nott. Interrupting them, Kakuri said, “Come on, let’s get out of here.” Retracing their steps, the band of three arrived at the stone door. Seeing it closed, Nott groaned, “It’s still closed!” Turning to Wot, Kakuri said, “Can you open it?” “Give me a minute,” he replied. “I’ll see what I can do.” A minute later, he recited the following… “Oh place of the dead,

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest We are finished right now, Will return what we have borrowed. Please open the door, Of this we do plead, To continue our mission unfettered. The grating, grinding sound that accompanied the opening of the door, earlier, began again. The door opening for a second time flooded the dark interior with natural light. Abandoning their lamps, exiting the building, Wot, Nott and Kakuri, filling their lungs with fresh, clean air, were so happy to be outside once again. Feeling the pull of the mainland, the three companions stepped into the inky black waters...

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

Chapter Nine Cunning Disguises

From the moment he received the amulet, Wot felt tremendously important, the very fact that the figure had trusted him with its safety had given him a tremendous boost. With it in his possession, he felt as if he could face anything that lay ahead. On the return trip, walking through the dark waters of the lake, he was hardly able to contain his excitement. Gazing down affectionately at the amulet, he was like a child with a new toy. Arriving on dry land, the band of three made their way up the small, pebbly beach. Droplets of inky water fell to the ground, leaving their clothes completely dry. “What do we do now?” asked Nott. “Hmm, I don’t know,” Wot replied. “Have you any ideas, Kakuri?”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “I’m hungry,” she replied. “How about us having a meal?”

“Good idea,” said Nott. “Come on, Wot, get rhyming.” Finding a secluded place beneath some trees, away from any inquisitive eyes that might happen to pass, Wot recited the following… “Oh little people small and sweet, Bring some food for us to eat, Bring us drink to wash it down, Oh little people hear this sound.” The Orlu took a considerable time to make an appearance. When they finally turned up, there was not the same milling around as before. They did provide that which had been called for, but something was definitely wrong. After the Orlu had finished laying out the meal, Kakuri enquired as to the reason for their tardiness, though emphasising that she was not complaining, just concerned. Instead of disappearing like all of his kin, one of the little people came over to her, he said, “We are feeling blue because we have heard that Miafra’s eyes have spotted you, that he will soon be informed of the details. You are in grave danger,” he said. “You must not stay in any one place for long. When he hears this news, his rage

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest will be unimaginable. We fear for you.” “Thank you for this information,” Kakuri replied. “With this knowledge we are now safer, and rest assured we will be careful.” She pointed over to Wot, “We now have The Amulet of Oxmosis in our possession. It will be of great help to us. So fear not little man, we will be fine.” Looking somewhat happier, the little person disappeared into the vegetation. From within its depths they could hear intense talking amongst the hidden Orlu. After their meal was finished, as Wot once again found himself admiring his wonderful piece of magical jewellery, a strange thing happened. The largest jewel, at its centre, began to glow bright, brighter, and then brighter still. The light, becoming more and more intense by the second, radiated from it, projecting a red glow into the still air. From within this projected red light, a form began to appear. At first, it was difficult to make out, but as it intensified in strength, it became apparent just whom it was. It was the face – Umahia’s face! “I have been following your progress,” he said, “and it has been remarkable. I am proud of you both.” Looking across to Kakuri, Umahia remarked, “I see you have a new friend. Welcome Kakuri.” Acutely embarrassed by her unexpected audience with the great Umahia, Kakuri remained silent. Umahia continued, “You already know that one of Miafra’s minions has spotted you; he will soon be informed of this. Speed is of the essence. I see that you have secured the amulet – excellent. Listen carefully… The first part of your

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest counter-offensive is to restore time itself. You must reinstate time to where and how it should be; at best, you will repair the damage done, at least you will restart it. In doing so, you will return the seasons, the festivals, Christmas and all of the other things we hold so dear.” Umahia’s avid listeners made no sound, no comments. He continued, saying, “You must travel north, to the far North of this land, to Gandu Point. It is there you will find the Axis of Perpetual Time. Once found you must repair it. In so doing you will have restored time. I wish you well… and remember, at all times be on your guard.” The red-light vision of Umahia then faded into the nothingness from whence it had come. “Well, it seems as if we have a long journey ahead of us!” said Kakuri. “Shall we get started?” having said that, she led the way forward. You see, for a time Kakuri’s father, Suru, worked up north. He had told her many a tale of the wonderful places she would see if she were ever to visit that part of Onisha. How odd, she thought, to be going there with two strangers from another world, to restore time to its natural place. Most of the journey was uneventful. Travelling cross-country, they had no other sightings or contact. However, as they entered the area of Gandu province itself, a heavily populated area, it became apparent that trying to avoid the locals was going to be nigh on impossible. A new means of subterfuge was required, one in which they would conceal their identities.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Kakuri blended in fine, her olive skin and indigenous clothes would pass by unnoticed in any part of the land, but her two travelling companions, with much paler skins – and strange clothes –were an altogether different matter. Kakuri had a plan to remedy this... Firstly, she would deal with the Outlander’s pale complexions. “Wait there,” she said as she wandered around looking for something. “Where do you think she has gone?” asked Wot. “Heaven knows,” Nott replied, scratching his head, wondering. After a short while, Kakuri returned with a bucket full of mud. “No!” Nott protested. “You are not putting mud on my face!” Despite his protestations, Kakuri continued as if he had not even spoken. Adding some water to the claylike substance, which incidentally bore an uncanny similarity to the Onishian skin colour, she mixed them together. “You first, Wot,” she said. Wot willingly obliged. Applying it first to his face, then all other areas of his exposed skin, she soon had him looking like a native. “It’s your turn now, Nott,” she said, a hint of a smile on her face. Feeling the wet stickiness of it all, Nott tries to complain, but she was having none of it, the more he complained, the heavier Kakuri slapped on the mud. In the end, he gave up, accepting the makeover treatment, though not very graciously.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Now that were sporting uncanny similarity to the locals, Wot and Nott felt confident of mingling with them. However, Kakuri had not finished with them yet. She still had to implement the second part of her plan. “Hang on a tick,” she said, heading off once again. Kakuri did not go far. Entering the back gardens of nearby houses, she borrowed two cloaks from the washing lines of their unsuspecting owners. Wot took the cloak in good faith, and soon had it on. Nott just had to complain, saying, “It’s too large.” Then he said, “It’s too thick.” He even said it was too smelly. Finally, after all of his complaints had achieved nothing all, he gave in and donned it. “Come on you two. Let’s test out your disguises!” said Kakuri as they entered the next town they came upon. It had a decidedly rundown appearance, more like a frontier outpost in the Wild West than a town. By the look of it, the locals had no interest in anything modern. As they entered the main street, a crude nameplate, attached to a roughly cut post, greeted them. It said Owenna. Kakuri smiled as she read the battered nameplate. She said, “My father told me of the market, here. It’s famous throughout the land. Come on, it will be the perfect place to test out your disguises.” Seeing only rundown string of small shops, businesses and private houses, at the corner of which was something faintly resembling a market entrance, the two Outlanders failed to see what she was smiling at. Kakuri’s words were certainly true; it was imperative they tested their disguises, and what better place to start than a market? With so

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest many people going about their business, it was most certainly the perfect place. If someone happened to spot them, there would be less chance of them being able to follow, than from elsewhere. Kakuri entered the market, followed closely behind by the two Outlanders. Once inside, the two friends were surprised at how large the market’s interior actually was. It was a veritable treasure-trove. Within its confines, there was everything and anything one could possibly want, and then some. There was bric-a-brac, shoes (of every conceivable size and shape) and joints of meat so big it was a mystery to the Outlanders as to what type of animal they could have come from. There were also oil lamps, sacks of red rice, green flour, purple salt, and terribly foul smelling chicory tips. One isle, to the rear of the market, consisted entirely of men selling snails – and giant ones at that. These snails (they were still alive) were incredibly fast movers. The stallholders were each holding a stick, which they used to tap the snails on the top of their shells whenever they got too close to the side of the stall. Wot and Nott had no idea why so many of these snails were on sale, perhaps, they thought, the snails were exceptionally good to eat, or maybe the people used them in traditional medicine and cures...

The smells wafting around the confines of the market were sometimes good and other times bad. At times, they were overpowering the two friends wanted to run away, lest they threw up. Restraining the contents of their stomachs, Wot and Nott continued

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest through the market. Their disguises worked well. No one paid them the slightest bit of attention. Perhaps, though, Miafra’s influence upon these people – dumbing them down – played at part, also. Considering this possibility, gave the trio’s mission a renewed sense of urgency. Armed with the knowledge that mixing with the population would not be a problem, they exited the market.

“Right,” said Nott, “we must take the main road north, heading for Gandu Point. It is not far,” he warned. “We must be prepared for anything from here on, especially so, now that Miafra knows we are here.”

Nott’s remark was oh-so-true, because at that very moment the local governor was presenting this very news to Miafra. If the governor had thought that bringing this news would put him in good stead with Miafra, he was sorely mistaken. On hearing it, the news, Miafra flew into a rage. Yelling, shouting at the top of his voice he said, “What did you say?” The poor man repeated his news, which infuriated Miafra even more. “This is the doing of Umahia!” he hollered. “He will pay dearly for this, so he will! Who are these people, these interlopers?” he asked the governor. Without waiting for a reply, he continued, “I thought everyone was under my

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest control!” The uneasy governor informed Miafra that one of the interlopers was an Onishian woman from the west. On hearing that, Miafra roared, “She will both live and die regretting her actions!” When the governor informed Miafra the remaining interlopers were Outlanders, he quietened. In a exceptionally low voice, he asked, “Outlanders?” “Yes, Emperor…” “From where on their Earth do they hail?” “Considering their pasty, pale skins,” the frightened governor replied, “it is most certainly from northern climes.” In the same low voice, Miafra asked, “Where are they now and what are they doing?” “We, we do not have any further information Emperor.” Miafra, returning to his former demeanour, hollering at the governor, said, “Do you know anything at all?” By now, suffering from the continuous verbal assault upon him, the governor was cringing in despair. He had truly thought that bringing this news to Miafra would have seen him in good stead. He had sorely mistaken. Having moved on from his governor, Miafra said, slowly, quietly, “Away with you. Get out of my sight.” The poor man, retreating backwards away from his leader, exited the room. Heading for his chambers, Miafra had things to work out, plans to set into motion.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest He did not want to be disturbed…

In the short time that it took Miafra to reach his chambers, he had the plan prepared. Although he had no idea where the interlopers were now located, he did know they were heading due north. Strolling across to the one small window in his chamber, Miafra gazed out, across the landscape. Everything seemed as he had planned. However, in his heart he knew this was not the case. “The meddlers,” he whispered, “the Outlanders must be stopped.” Opening the window, extending a gloved hand through to the fresh air beyond, Miafra smiled as a large brown coloured dragonfly landed upon it. It was in no way as large or colourful as those in Ogbo Island were, but it was big by Earth’s standards. Looking intently at the insect, Miafra spoke quietly to it. In words barely audible, he said…

“Dragonfly, be my eyes. Soar away before me, Seek and find in our midst, Strangers be they three,

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest Stop them in their real intent, By any means within you, Go fly my dragonfly.�

Its wings buzzing fast and furious, the giant insect took off from the gloved hand. After circling the area three times, it flew away, disappearing into the distance. Smiling, Miafra closed the window and returned to his rest. Seated, calling his guards, he ordered the immediate dispatch of the Protectors, a band of his most loyal guards, to backup the insect beast he had sent forth. The Protectors wasted no time in getting ready. The very instant their attendants saddled and loaded up their steeds with all the necessary provisions, they mounted and were off. Their steeds, not your ordinary everyday horse by any stretch of the imagination, resembled dogs more than horses, and very large ones at that. In case you are wondering what type of dog, it is greyhounds. Sitting atop their steeds, galloping out through the gates of Onisha city, the Protectors would soon catch up with the foolish interlopers.

The road to Gandu Point was as expected they had good. With such a high density of population in the area, there were many buildings lining it. These buildings while similar to those in Oweena were

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest generally taller, many of them having three or more stories. Like in Oweena, they were in a poor state of repair, some looking so fragile, the Outlanders wondered how they were still standing. From time to time, someone or another would cast the band of three a glance, but no more than that, just a glance. Sure, why would they? In the state of consciousness the people were descending into, looking out for strangers was less and less of a priority. They simply went along on their day-to-day activities, like clockwork, with little or no thought as to anything else. The closer the band of three got to Gandu Point, the bleaker the land became. The small bit of colour there had been in the landscape, almost completely faded away. Although many buildings still lined the roadside, fewer and fewer people were about. The area began to take on a decidedly eerie appearance. The clouds, unmoving and grey, looked as if they had stopped dead in their tracks. It was late afternoon when they reached the top of a small ridge. Looking over it, the three weary travellers caught their first glimpse of the sea. “There, lady and gentleman,” Nott triumphantly declared, “is our objective – Gandu Point,” Looking in the direction in which he was pointing, Wot said, “I can see a large building, over yonder. It seems so strange... ” He was right, there was something strange going on in Gandu Point – but what? Descending the hill, they set off to see what it was… Arriving at the bottom of the hill, into Gandu Point proper, an eerie

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest calm greeted the travellers. There were many fine buildings, but no one at all. There were no animals, birds or insects. The flora, devoid of all colours, was, like everything around, a deathly grey. It was as if all living things in Gandu Point had ceased to be. “I don’t like it,” whispered Wot, “I don’t like it at all...” Looking about him, he said, “I can’t shake off this feeling that we are being watched.” “I know,” replied Nott, also in a whisper. “I have the very same feeling. Are you alright, Kakuri?” She nodded. With uneasy feelings and ever-vigilant eyes, the trio continued further into the Point. However, they failed to see the large dragonfly land on a leafless branch high above them. “At one time Gandu Point must have been a wonderful place,” said Wot. “Such fine buildings, but so rundown... It looks as if no one has lived here for years.” As they got closer to the object of their search, the odd-looking building at the far end of Gandu Point, they had no doubts whatsoever that something very unusual was going on in the Seat of the Axis. This smooth faced exterior of the structure resembled highly polished steel. There were many tall windows high up in the walls – but there was no visible entrance! Even stranger, the Seat of the Axis was disappearing and reappearing before their very eyes! One moment it was visible, the next it was gone, and then it reappeared.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “Inside this building is the Axis of Perpetual Time,” said Nott. “Don’t ask me how I know it, I just do. We must get inside and fix it, the Axis.” “But where is the door?” asked Wot, scratching his head, puzzled. “Even if we were able to find the door,” said Kakuri, “how could we use it, when the building keeps vanishing, so?” “I don’t know! I really don’t know!” Nott replied to them both. “I can’t know everything, you know!” he added defensively. Little did they realise this would soon be the least of their worries, because high above them, perched on that bare branch, the dragonfly had begun growing in size. Now three times its original size, the insect was still growing. Oblivious to strange happenings above, the band of three were deep in conversation. “Surely we can use the amulet?” said Kakuri, pointing to Wot “Hmm, I had almost forgotten about that,” said Nott. “Yes, that’s a good idea.” Erring on the side of caution (it was quite unusual for him), he said, “As with all things in Onisha, we can only guess as to how we might use it.” “That’s where I can help you,” said Kakuri. She was smiling from ear to ear. “As I have previously told you, my parents taught me many of the old ways. I can operate the amulet – I am sure I can do

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest it!” Extending a hand, she said, “Give it to me, Wot.” Taken aback by her sudden request for his prized possession, Wot, playing for time, fidgeted about with his fingers. “Having no such concerns, Nott said, “What are you waiting for – give it to her!” Removing the amulet and chain from about his person, Wot placed it safely (though reluctantly) around Kakuri’s neck. Although it seemed so much larger upon her, it peculiarly appeared right, as if it belonged to her. “Like I said,” Kakuri explained, “I think I know how to use it. It’s all about projecting ones thoughts, while at the same time petitioning its help. Shall I give it a go?” she asked. “Yes, go on,” they replied. “But do be careful!” Wot added. “Right, here I go,” she said. With that, Kakuri turned towards the strange building and fixed her gaze firmly upon it. While remaining motionless, she continued to stare at it, and then she said… “I call upon the Amulet, To help us in our need, In our deeds of honour,

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest To stop this man of greed.

By the power of Oxmosis, By the power within us all, By the power of all goodness, Open up the wall.” A huge ray of red light, shooting out from the amulet, tore across to the building, striking it squarely at ground level, where it proceeded to burn a hole in the wall. When the structure phased out, the powerful beam simply passed through the air, doing no harm, but when it reappeared, the beam continued cutting an entrance. Even with all of the phasing in and out, the process did not take long. When it was complete, the red beam of light stopped, revealing a large gaping hole in the wall. Removing the amulet and chain from her person, Kakuri offered it Wot. Stretching out his arms, symbolically pushing it away from him, he said, “No, you keep it, Kakuri. I am not worthy of it. It favours you. It is therefore you who must wear it.” Ever so humbly, Kakuri returned the amulet and chain around her neck. Taking charge, Nott said, “We now have an entrance, that’s good!”

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest “But it’s fazing in and out, along with the building!” said Wot. “I know,” he replied, “and that’s bad. But with a little bit of ingenuity,” he continued, “we can overcome such a thing.” “We can?” Wot asked, agog. “Yes, of course,” he insisted. “Look, all that we have to do is...

TO BE CONTINUED...

Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU HA HOU Part Two: Ondo-O-Osiqualo

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

‘I’m the crazymad writer, The crazymad writer today. I’m the crazymad writer, The crazymad writer, hey hey! You may think that I’m not serious, And I might even agree. But I’m still the crazymad writer, The crazymad writer, hee hee.’

You can purchase further copies of this book, and others, by visiting my website: www.crazymadwriter.com

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

That’s it for now, all the best from the crazy-mad writer.

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: The Fabled Crest

www.crazymadwriter.com

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Wot, Nott, Kakuri and the HU BA HOU: Part One - The Fabled Crest  

We were not boy wizards, vampire’s assistants or even living skeletons, we were normal everyday people living normal everyday lives, with no...

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