The Mongol’s camp sat in a
valley surrounded by snow-dusted hills. Thousands of yurts, separated only
by patches of green grasses, gave clue to how many warriors there were in
“Look at the white tents.
They’re so round. They look warm and I’m freezing. It is way colder here
than where we were,” Callum said, rubbing his arms.
“There are so many tents!
There must be a huge army camped here. Unless they keep horses inside
there.” Elspet glanced around.
“They call those tents
yurts, or gers. They were called gers during Genghis Khan’s time, but now
they are called yurts. The horses are over there.” Callum pointed to the
right. “See all of them?”
When they rode into the
camp, the men came out of their tents to see their leader returning. “If I
thought the general looked mean, wow; the rest of them look just as mean, if
not worse.” Fiona stayed close to the others. “The horses over there have
saddles like ours. Maybe they only wear them into battle.”
All eyes moved their
direction as they were paraded through the camp to Genghis Khan’s tent. They
dismounted their horses. “You three go inside my ger. You will be safe as
long as you stay in there.” He nodded toward the yurt and then marched off
with his generals in tow.
Fiona, Callum and Elspet
went into the yurt and closed it up. “It is much warmer in here. I think
they stay warm because they dress in layers,” Elspet said. “Do you trust
him, Fiona? He seems nice enough.”
“Absolutely not. Nahimena
said trust nobody and that is what I intend to do. He might be nice to us,
but I’m sure he won’t be for long. They aren’t going to keep us around and
haul us into battles,” Fiona replied.
“He’s having a meeting with
his leaders. Why don’t you turn invisible and go and hear what they are
saying. Maybe they’re going to kill us, roast us on a spit over a fire, or
something worse.” Callum pulled the flap to the yurt back.
“I will. You two stay here
and don’t let anyone inside.” Fiona turned invisible and walked up the hill
toward the general’s yurt. She pulled the flap open. All heads turned.
“Wind,” Genghis Khan said.
She listened as he spoke. “I fully intend on having those two girls as my
wives, regardless of what they believe. General Bataar, tomorrow you will
take the boy from the tent while the girls are sleeping and train him to be
a soldier. He might as well learn to fight for our army. Discipline him
anyway you see fit, however, do not maim or kill him. As for those two
girls, they will work with my cook, Kuujujuk and learn to serve as women
should. They will never retrieve that gem. I gave my word of honor that I
would guard it and I refuse to allow it to be taken, especially by a
The other generals laughed
out loud, especially General Khasir. “Perhaps we can have some fun with them
“Leave them alone. They are
mine. If you go near them, General Khasir, I will have you castrated and
thrown off a cliff. Do you understand me?” Genghis Khan was not a man to
“I understand.” General
Khasir seemed to cower, but Fiona saw the look of hatred in his eyes.
She read the thoughts in his
mind. He wants to kill Genghis Khan. Why that dirty, low down general slime.
If only Genghis knew what his beloved general was thinking. It’s not going
to be easy to get that jewel. He’s determined to keep it safe. No wonder
Nahimena warned us.
“We must stay united if we
are to conquer the world. The Celts have formed an army and have challenged
us. The Franks have united with them. It is time to let them know who is the
leader of the most powerful army in the world.” As Genghis Khan spoke, all
of his generals cheered, except for Khasir.
Fiona slipped out of the
yurt as soon as they started their battle plan. She ran back to Callum and
Elspet. “We are in big trouble. We need to stay close together tonight,
especially you, Callum. They’re going to take you away and train you to be a
soldier for their army. Elspet, he wants to make us his wives. When he was
smiling at us, he was lying inside. I knew better than to trust him. I think
we need to play along with this all and act like we’ve no clue what’s going
on. It’s our only chance to escape. He’s determined not to let us have the
alexandrite. His job is to keep us away from it, no matter what or how. That
will explain why he wants to marry us and make you a soldier so he can send
you off to battle, away from us.”
That night a platter of food
was served to them. They ate the boiled mutton, wishing there was something
else besides that, yet grateful for what they had. Fiona managed to find a
few more goodies in her pack to make the meal edible and enjoyable. They
chatted about Genghis Khan and what they knew of him from school studies.
“Did you know he captured Baghdad? This is funny. When they go into battle
they wear feathered hats. The number of eagle feathers identifies their
ranks.” Callum blurted out.
“Feathered hats? I saw some
over there in the corner.” Fiona ran over and picked a few up. She put one
on her head. “Oh look at me. I’m Genghis Khan and I have feathers in my hat.
La dee dah!”
Callum put one on and
pretended to be General Khasir. Fiona and Elspet burst out laughing. “That
was fun,” Elspet said. “Those hats look ridiculous.”
“I suppose we shouldn’t make
fun of their traditions. It’s not nice. They would probably make fun of some
of the things we do in our time,” Fiona said.
After the tray had been
taking away, the three of them laid down on the sheepskins that were spread
across the yurt floor. They huddled together to stay warm and to protect