A ray of sunlight broke
through an opening in the top of the yurt. Fiona felt it warming her face.
She opened her eyes and rolled over. “Elspet, wake up. Callum,” she said,
sitting. “Callum?” She could see he wasn’t on his bedroll.
“What is it, Fiona? Where
are we?” Elspet looked around. “I wasn’t dreaming. We were captured by the
Mongols, weren’t we?” She threw herself back on her felt blanket.
“Not only that, Elspet, but
Callum is gone. They must have taken him after all. How did they get in here
and take him without us knowing? We must have been sleeping soundly. Get
dressed. We’re going to find him.”
Fiona and Elspet put on
their warmest things. The night before, Genghis Khan had some coats and hats
brought to the yurt for them. They marched over to General Khasir’s yurt and
pulled the flap open. Elspet stayed outside. “Oh, you’re here too, Genghis
Khan. Where is Callum? He’s not in the tent. What have you done with him?”
General Khasir was about to
slap Fiona across the face for being belligerent, but Genghis stopped him
once again, smirking at the girl. “Fiona, as you like to be called, it is
not wise to barge into another’s ger unannounced. I hope you will be more
respectful of this from now on. As for Callum, he is being trained to be a
warrior. If you and your friend refuse to become my wives, I will have
Callum slaughtered. I do not like to torture and maim, but be assured he
“You wouldn’t dare. You are
just like they say in history books. I thought you might be different, but
you’re not. You’re nothing but a beast.” Fiona shouted, her voice muffled by
the walls of the yurt.
“Remove her.” Genghis
ordered one of his guards to take her back to her yurt. guard grabbed Fiona,
who kicked and punched, as he carried her under his arm. When another guard
saw Elspet, he picked her up and tossed both of them into their yurt.
Fiona screamed loud
ear-piercing shrieks. “Fiona, settle down. Stop that shouting.” Elspet stood
with her hands over her ears.
Fiona stopped. “I’m so
angry. He makes me furious with his orders and commands. Who does he think
he is anyway?”
“He’s Genghis Khan, one of
the greatest leaders and warriors in the history of mankind. You’d better
start remembering that, Fiona.” Elspet saw a tray. “Look! They’ve brought us
some food. If we want to escape, we need to be strong and healthy. Sit here
next to me and let’s see what there is. How often can people say they shared
a meal with Genghis Khan.”
Fiona took some deep
breaths. “All right. I think I’ve calmed down now. Still…”
“Let it go, Fiona.” Elspet
picked up some of the food. “There are some wild onions, wild apples and
cherries, juniper berries, hazel nuts, and some sort of edible fruit. It
smells like a pine. It must flourish in those regions. Have a glass of fresh
milk, Fiona.” She took a sip. “Even though it’s warm and tastes kind of
funky; it’s probably from a goat or some strange animal that we’d rather not
know about. There are some cheese curds and even plain yogurt. We can mix
the cherries and apples and hazel nuts in with it. The yogurt is probably
sour by itself. I am not sure what this meat is, or how it was cooked.”
Elspet examined it by sniffing and nibbling. “Not bad.”
“I heard them talking about
it. They make fires with horse dung and whatever other type of dung they
find about.” Fiona reached for a wild apple.
“You mean they cook with
animal poo?” Elspet put the food down.
“Yes, but they don’t eat it.
They eat mutton, horsemeat, gag me; marmot too. I think a marmot is like a
big rat. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it.” Fiona burst out laughing.
“Rat roasted over horse poo.
Yummy.” Elspet sighed. “I’ll stick to the other stuff and leave the meat.”
“I’ve tried to pay attention
to things so we can plan a way of escape. This entire camp is spread across
a valley and the hills around it are stony. There are guards everywhere
around the camp, keeping their eyes open for the enemy and for us. At this
time I can’t see a way of escape without being caught and then who knows
what Mr. Khan will do to us.”
“What about Callum? How are
we going to rescue him? I’ll not leave here without him,” Elspet said.
“I suppose I will have to
make myself invisible again and go look for him. You stay here. If anyone
comes and asks where I am, tell them I had to go to the bathroom.” Fiona
winked and disappeared. “I’ll be back soon.” She left the yurt and walked
around a few of the others. When she heard hooves, she turned in time to see
Genghis Khan and his generals riding off. They were shouting to each other,
but too far away for Fiona to understand what they were saying.
Fiona moved from yurt to
yurt, peeking inside, but Callum was nowhere to be found. Maybe he’s further
past the tents. She trotted to the outer edge of the yurts and saw him. He
was dressed in battle clothes, with armor and weapons and a helmet. Another
man, his trainer, was throwing Callum around like a stuffed animal, tossing
him high into the air. Callum always got up and tried to fight back. “Way to
go, Callum. Don’t let him bully you.”
She walked up to him. His
legs were shaking and his body trembled from pain. “Callum.” Fiona
whispered. Callum turned around and didn’t see anyone. “Callum, it’s me,
Fiona. I’m invisible. Don’t say a word. Stay here and do as you’re told and
I’ll be back shortly to rescue you.” Callum nodded and charged at the other
man. Fiona ran off towards her yurt.