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 Episode 3

“You can’t do this to me, this is not fair mother… I thought you loved me, no mother. I can’t accept this… I can’t…"

“We want the best for you princess. You know we love you, right?"

“Then, this is not the right way to prove it, this is not just fair!!! You say you want the best for me but you are giving me the worst, she doesn’t even have any hair on her head. Zain, my friend has beautiful maids attending to her. They are Tivi girls with long hair and round waists. Her father makes sure he buys beautiful slaves for her, she boasts of her personal maids to me and I have told her that mine will be far more beautiful than hers. Now, she will laugh at me when she sees this, she will mock me if she sees the kind of slave that my parents have given to me. I don’t care what you say but I just do not want her. I don’t..." She began to sob.

As we went inside that day, Abel had asked me to wait till tomorrow before going to meet the Lord and Lady of the house. He took me to the out-house, a big house within the compound built for all the slaves. I stayed in one room with two other girls, who never said a word to me because Abel had asked them not to bother me. They were big and beautiful and could be mistaken for royalty with the way they acted and dressed. I was given cloths to wear and good food to eat, and I slept all through the night. 

Abel later came to fetch me when it was time to present me to the master. I cleaned up and dressed in the cloth I was given, and wrapped my head up. Abel had told me not to be afraid or worried, that even if Zity didn't want me and her parents agreed to it, he would put me in the kitchen as one of the assistant cooks or in the garden.

Zity, the princess is very beautiful, she was far bigger than her age, maybe because her parents were very tall. Her brother, Vim was also handsome, he had his father’s stature. The house was big and beautiful, different shapes of animals and images were carved and positioned at every corner of the house, there was a water fall and a large garden, and lots of beautiful slave girls doing different things. 

I watched as one brought a tray of gizzard and liver, well spiced and garnished. She brought it to Lord Reese and Lady Phin, the master and madam of the house. She knelt down and served them, while they picked from the tray of meat, and another slave brought red wine. I watched as Vim looked at the girl carrying the gizzard tray, and when she brought the tray of meat to him, she knelt down and without fear, looked fully at his face. I was told slaves were not allowed to look at their masters' faces while serving them, but the girl did. Vim smiled and Lady Phin, who noticed what transpired quickly dismissed the maid. The maid promptly stood up and walked seductively, and Vim looked at her behind as she whined her waist. She went to Zity but she was very angry and threw the tray of meat off her hand and it all scattered all over the place.

 Lady Phin spoke,

“You can be angry from now till tomorrow Zity, it's all fine, but your father and I will not change our minds on this. I feel comfortable with this one, I don’t know where Abel got her from but she makes me feel at peace. I know I can trust her with you. Your friend, Zain may have all the beautiful maids attending to her needs but she still feels empty and sad, and with time, she will also get jealous of your maid if you treat the innocent girl well, but, it's my choice to make sure you are in safe hands. Forget about her hair, it will grow back, and with good food, she will grow fat. Stop worrying..."

“Zity, please listen to your mother, and take her…", the master of the house, Lord Reese spoke calmly.

 He looked at me while my head remained bent. Then, he spoke to me:

“...Child, Abel said you're fourteen, and that you're very devoted. I trust Abel and I know whatever comes from him is good. so, if he picked you for my daughter then I have no worries. Abel has spoken greatly of you. What is your name and where do you come from? What of your parents? What god do you believe in?"

“My name is Tamar, my Lord. I lived close to the Abkhazia, across the black sea with my parents and siblings before the war broke out and they are all dead. I was captured and sold off, and was later shipped down to this place. And about the God I believe in, I serve… I ser..."

Getting to the last part I became speechless. denying my faith had seemed normal, hating God for everything I went through and the death of my parents and siblings had appear okay to me until I met Abel, and I began to feel ashamed of myself. Abel displayed God’s kind of love to me and had told me I was special and that God must have sent him to pass that road and meet the merchant who sold me to him. He said he didn't like passing there because it was too broad but there must be a hand that guided him to pass there and he met me. He asked me not to give up on God because God had never given up on me, He had kept me for a purpose and I would find out what the purpose was, soon.

I stammered as I was about telling the master the god I served, I didn’t want to lie neither did I want to expose myself to another danger. Abel had warned me to be careful so that none would find out the kind of God I served. As I stammered, Lady Phin spoke,

“It's fine Tarmar, it appears you don't know the god to serve. you can choose any god here. Your master worships Jupiter, the god of strength and success, he also worships twail, the god of thunder. I worship Venus the goddess of love and protection, my children serve whatever god they like, and every slave in the house chooses a god for themselves. Feel free to choose any god, we are not gods, don’t be afraid. Abel must have told you that we're good people, and that’s the truth. Serve us with your hard work and obedience. You are dedicated to my daughter Zity. Make sure you serve her well, don’t see us as gods. We give out one shilling to every slave here everyday, you can do whatever you like with the money. I told Abel to get me a little slave girl, within Zity’s age range and it has taken him time to do that, because I asked him not to buy just an ordinary slave girl. Beauty is all in vain, I’m not counting on that. I guess Abel prayed to his god who directed him to buy you. Be a good girl and you will always find favor before us. Serve your mistress Zity as is required of you. I know my daughter can be difficult to please but just do your job dutifully, don’t do eye service like most of the slaves here does. I feel at peace with you already, you've got some special thing in you Tamar, be of good behavior…"

Lady Phin spoke with compassion in her voice, while my head was bent in respect as she spoke. 

The master of the house, Lord Reese stood up and left. He was being called upon to attend to an important issue. Zity cried out again,

“I said I don’t want her mother! Why will you and father team up against me? Why can’t you listen to me? I don’t want her, just take a look at her, bare head, tiny body like she has some kind of disease! Do you see her big eyes? I wonder how she makes you feel at peace with those big balls of eyes mother. She is too strange, I can’t even boast to Zain about her, she will make jest of me to everyone, I'll rather allow other slaves to serve me instead. this is not just fair…"

She sobbed as she turned to her brother who wasn't really paying attention. "..Vim, say something! Your friends will laugh at me if they see the kind of slave mother has given to me. everybody will find reason to mock me, try to convince mother that I don’t want this slave girl…Please..."

I watched as Vim suddenly started laughing, but suddenly stopped when his sister’s cry turned into whimper.

“Okay… It's okay Zity, sorry that I laughed. I know you are sad, don’t be... None of my friends will dare try to mock you because of your servant girl, I will break their teeth if they try it. Zity, the slave girl is not that bad, her hair will grow back as mother said and she will add weight with time. If anyone says anything bad just tell them that she can…uhmm sing. I don’t know if she can actually sing, but just tell them she has got a good voice and that she can sing much better than all of Zain’s maids put together. I know Zain is jealous of you because you are much more prettier than her. Don’t allow her to intimidate you with all those beautiful maids of hers, intimidate her with yours instead..."

Vim turned to his mother and said "...But mother, you can as well allow Zity to make her choice. Since she has said she doesn’t want this one, then get like three beautiful slaves and let her make her choice. this slave girl looks like she won’t be able to do much work, she looks worn out and malnourished. She appears like she has been cursed by the gods. I want my sister to have good things of life, she is royalty and her personal maid should be as beautiful as the sun. Abel could have brought one of the Tivi girls, I know they can be very lazy but they are very beautiful. this slave is far from beauty, I can't lie but she's not appealing to the eyes…"

Lady Phin spoke up, hushing Vim to be quiet.

“You mean like Obia? Yes, I know what havs been going on between you two… Vim. I saw the way you looked at her when she came to serve the gizzard. I swear by Venus I will sell that girl off like a bag of potatoes. she acts all seductive whenever she sees you and you look at her hungrily. I have told you severally to take your pleasure outside. If the girlfriends you have are not enough, then get more and leave the household servants alone. Obia is displaying arrogance and bad attitude because you are sleeping with her…"

“Mother! That’s not true... I only admired her. I’m a man mother and I have girls dying for me outside here, I’m not always allowed to bring them home, only April is allowed here. I respect you and father’s policy, Obia is trying her best like every other maid in this house to get to me. I have not touched her, who told you that? Why will I stoop so low to have anything to do with household slaves? I have a woman, mother. If April hears this, she won't find it funny, please. I have nothing with Obia, you can sell her if you want, that’s none of my business..." Vim said loudly in his defense.

Zity who has stopped crying said,

“Vim, i have seen Obia sneaking into your chamber at night and sneaking out too, but I have not told mother anything. I swear by the gods, I’m only saying it now because you are lying to mother. You lied of not having anything with her. Obia throws herself at you every time you are around, she acts like a harlot because you are having something with her. Don’t you know you empower her when you admire her or lie in bed with her? If she dares act disrespectfully to me any day, I will break her neck. Vim, you have a woman outside and also have one inside. I have lost count of how many women that are frolicking with you. Definitely, it's not just April. April is beautiful and I want to be like her when I grow up but you are not satisfied with her. Her father is wealthy too and she is the only child of her parents... Do you see her personal slave girls? She has two and they are so beautiful…"

I listened in silent, still with my head bent as Vim stood up and spoke angrily to his sister.

“I’m soe glad that mother got you this kind of ugly slave girl as your personal maid, it's your good reward for not shutting up and minding your business. What I do with my personal life is nobody’s business, and I was even trying to convince mother to get you another slave, now I see that with this one that looks like a little temple witch, you'll learn to mind your business. Yes, keep crying, I don’t care! Mother, if you want to sell Obia, please go ahead so that I can have peace in this house, I’m going to the port to foresee things for father. I will be back after twenty nine days, I need to breath in fresh air from the sea, before I get choked from everybody meddling in my affairs."

Vim stomped out while Zity cried and ran to her chamber. Lady Phin dismissed me.

Abel smiled on seeing me back to the out house. He reassured me that everything would be fine, and I believed him.

The next day, Zity did not ask for me. Even on the third day when her friend, Zain visited, I did not go near her as her friend, who was not as beautiful as zity, was busy boasting loudly about the beautiful maid she came along with. Her miads were even more prettier than her, but Zity never reacted to any of what Zain said. She changed the topic to something else and they ate and laughed together.

Abel put me in the kitchen as one of the assistant cooks when Zity did not send for me after five days. Another slave girl was attending to her. I was already feeling comfortable with my new job in the kitchen when I was told that Zity was asking after me. I quickly ran to her chamber.

“Where have you been since..? You are meant to serve me, now, you can not even do your job. I was told you are in the kitchen. Is that where you are supposed to be?"

“No my lady, my apologies. I was waiting for the right time for you to send for me, I’m here to serve you my lady..." I replied with my head bent in obedience.

“Good, then serve me here not in the kitchen, I’m bored. No slave has any good story for me, do you have any? I love romantic stories, and stories of handsome men fighting wars. I love to listen to those love stories, that is why I pray to Venus, the goddess of love to give me a handsome prince whom I will love so well when the time comes or when father thinks it's time for me to start a romantic journey... So, do you have any interesting story to tell me?"

I thought of stories I could tell, I remembered all the bible stories that mother and father used to tell my sisters and I back then, so I started telling her the story of Sampson and Delilah, but I never told her it was from the Bible. Abel had been teaching me wisdom, and how to be careful with my kind of faith.

 By the time I finished the story, Zity was happy and she said she was going to tell Zain that I may not have long shiny hair or fat like other slaves, but I can tell good stories.

She laughed and clapped her hands, she couldn’t wait for Zain to visit so she could tell Zain that I was a good story teller.

After that day, Zity never complained of changing me or wanting another maid again, she became comfortable with me around her. Sometimes, I would tell her stories until she slept off. I had a space in her chamber where I slept at night. I hardly left her sight except if she asked me to.

My curly black hair started growing again with time. a rare genetic trait I inherited from my mother. I was gradually adding weight. Abel looked at me one day and said, “You're more beautiful than anyone I have ever seen, inside and out. Don’t allow anybody to tell you otherwise, God didn’t make a mistake when he created you. after God created you, he smiled and said, 'my daughter is so perfectly made', so believe what he says about you and not what the world says."

Abel gave me hope everyday, he make me believe in God and myself again and my faith was gradually being restored. 

I know hard days were coming, but I was not afraid anymore. 

Nothing surprises me, I was where God wanted me to be.

 I'm glad Abel found me.


Episode 4.

“Today I will be taking a walk with Zain to the museum, so get things ready for the outing because we won’t be back till dusk. Hurry, and don’t get food or drink, we will buy some there..." Zity ordered.

I quickly packed few things into a leather bag. I also put her shawl, and a sweater, just in case the weather gets cold. I put a small water bottle and fried meat with some fruits, even though she asked me not to bring food or water. 

Knowing the kind of person she was, she may not get good food outside and would end up getting angry with me, so it was better I take everything necessary. And if she did not demand or need it, I would return them.

A year had gradually gone by. I could still remember the day Abel brought me to live and serve here, it have not been easy serving Zity, but I got used to her as the days went by.

Zain, her friend met her as we left, She also came along with her personal maid, who looked me over like I never existed. She rolled her eyes and hissed. While Zity and Zain walked ahead of us, we their maid quietly followed behind.

Zity made men to turn and stare at her, she was very beautiful, but she never gave attention to any of them as she went ahead talking with her friend, Zain seemed to be boiling with jealousy at the way men and women admired Zity.

Zain suddenly said she wanted to restyle her hair and also to add more makeup to her face, Zity obliged her. We stopped at a kiosk and Zain ordered her maid to restyle her hair and apply more makeup on her face. The slave, who seemed angry with her mistress's disturbance, grudgingly did, and when she was done, Zain checked herself in the mirror and was satisfied.

The makeup on Zain’s face was much but she was okay with it. Zity said to her, “Isn’t that much, I mean the makeup? The one you wore before was far better than what you have now..."

“What do you mean Zity? What of the one you have on your face? Isn’t it also make-up? Are you trying to say you are more beautiful than me?" Zain retorted

“Hmmm, I have not said that, I usually apply a very light makeup because I sweat a lot and the weather is very hot. I’m just saying the whole makeup on you will probably wipe out if the weather gets hotter than this… You will definitely sweat…"

“Don’t worry about me, that’s why I have my maid with me. She will fan me if the weather gets hot, her job is to make sure I don’t get uncomfortable. Even though I know she is very arrogant and lazy, she will still hand fan me, making sure I’m alright", Zain replied.

When we got to the museum, which was crowded with people, they started touring round the whole place. Zain pointed at some group of handsome men, they were four in number, and after sometime, two of the young men left, leaving the other two behind. They looked young and vibrant.

Zain started urging Zity to where the two young men stood, but Zity who was not interested in what Zain was trying to do turned away.

Zain tried to convince her

“Look they are so handsome like your brother Vim. They seem to be royalties too. Come let us go close to them, maybe they will notice me. Just take a good look at them, they look like they were carved by mars, just like your brother who is always rude to me. He never pays attention to me no matter what I do, and you have refused to make it possible. You can tell your brother that I really like him or just say anything that will make him look at me like I’m special. Vim is proud and full of himself, April is always flaunting herself around him, maybe because April is older than us. April should be eighteen or nineteen, right? And her father is in charge of the big arena game, but she is not as beautiful as I am…"

“Zain, mother has taught me never to lie. I know I can be stubborn but there are certain teachings from my parents that I hold dear to my heart. In truth, April is beautiful, far prettier than you. Leave my brother out of our discussion, he doesn’t want you and no matter what I do or say, he will still not want you. Vim is just like that, leave him out of our discussion. you know I can fight with the last drop of my blood when it comes to my brother… Father said I’m too young to keep a man friend and mother has warned me not to go too close to any man except my brother. Vim will kill any man he sees around me because I’m not allowed to keep men as friends yet. My people want me to marry as a virgin, keeping a man friend may bring distaste and will stain their good name. I don’t want that either, I just turned fifteen and mother had said when I’m sixteen I will be allowed to have a male partner or they will get me a man to marry. I don’t want that though, I want to choose a partner for myself, I want to fall in love with a good and handsome young man. I know I will, someday..."

Zain looks unhappy as jealousy filled her every breath when she watched Zity talked calmly like a royalty.

“Sometimes, I don’t like you Zity. I hate you for always painting yourself as an angel. I’m also my father’s favourite, yet he allows me to do whatever I want. Losing your virginity doesn’t mean you will bring shame to your parents, it's only when you tell them that you had a fling with a man that they will know but if you shut up nobody will know. They don’t even have to know, you have your own life to live. I lost mine when I was twelve and it feels so good. I told you back then to try it out but you were always preaching, “Mother said this, father said that.” Eventually, you'll still lose it before you get married or after, whichever way, you will. except if you want to grow old and die with it. Please, stop acting as if you're perfect. Will you walk me down to those boys or not?"

“Zain, I came here to check out the art of history and fine works of the craftsmen, not to check out boys. You you can go... I’m not going anywhere near those men…"

I felt so proud of Zity. She could be difficult to please, but she was very principled. Despite having everything at her disposal, she still respected her parents whether absent and present.

One of the young men suddenly turned to our direction, and tapped his friend, who also turned.

“Aaah, I’m hot all over, there's butterfly in my belly. they're looking at me, they like me, see Zity they're both watching me.." Zain exclaimed excitedly. Then she continued,

"..Hope my makeup is still good? Is my hair well styled? I asked my maid to style it well abdyi guess she did. Zity, hope it's perfect? Stop being jealous of me because I know you are. Well, I was hoping I will meet with them and make my choice. Zity, please, be a true friend for once and accompany me to where they are. I’m blushing, look... Look they're coming… They're walking towards me. Ooh! I’m hot, they are very handsome! Look at the taller one, he has so much muscle, broad shoulders and chest. He has pink lips too... Oh! I’m melting inside… I just need him to smile at me and I will be his. He's like a god. One of those gods carved in the temple by mars, the god of sunlight and rain… I’m in love with him already…"

The men walked up to where we were, they greeted us and walked past Zain who was admiring the tall one with a full smile on her face, thinking they were coming to her.

 She frowned as they went straight to Zity, Zain’s heavy decorated face changed into an angry little owl, just like one of those small witches in their idol temples.

The taller one that Zain had wanted started speaking to Zity, who seemed uninterested in him.

“It looks like you came from Aliah, the goddess of beauty. Are you in anyway related to the goddess? You're beautiful my lady, your kind of beauty is hard to behold. I’m Chakan, my father is the third district ruler. here with me is my good friend. I got captivated by your beauty the moment I behold you. You look like Lord Reese's princess. Oh! I’m right, you were very little the last time I saw you with your parents and your brother at the gladiator parole. I admired you from where I sat, as you waved with your parents on the chariot that day. It's been five years now, and you look way bigger, more beautiful than all the royal maidens of the land. What is your name? Please, I want to be your friend…"

“It's good to meet you, but, I’m not allowed to keep men as friends. My friend, Zain will appreciate your friendship more…" Zity replied the fine young man who said his name was Chakan

The young man was obviously not interested in Zain who stormed out with her maid angrily. He tried to get Zity’s name but she suddenly walked out on him, after Zain ran out of the museum.

When we got outside, Zity started looking for Zain and when she found her sitting under a tree, while her maid was fanning her, Zity joined her and sat down on her mat. Zity apologized to her and Zain pretend not to be angry.

“I don’t even like him; the one that said his name was Chakan, the son of a common district ruler. He may be handsome but he is not my type, it looks like he's involved with so many women, I don’t like such men…"

I watch Zity laugh and later said,

“You were dying for him earlier... Now, he's not your type of man. Well, after you ran off, he whispered to me that he liked you and didn't know how to talk to you, but since you said you don’t like him, then it's fine. Any day I see him again I will deliver your message."

I watch as Zain’s eyes lit up joyfully, not knowing that Zity was only joking.

“Don’t you dare say anything to him. Oh...the goddess of kindness and love has favored me, Aliah has visited me and has put a smile on my saddened face. He truly said that he liked me, I thought he wanted you? i like him so much already... Please, wait here let me go and look for him inside or is he coming out to meet us, I’m getting hot all over again…"

“I was only joking Zain, he never said that…"Zity said laughing

“You're a cursed being Zity, may the gods deal with you for laughing at my misfortune, how can you joke with something like that? Who do you even think you are? You're always getting the good things of life, good family, handsome brother, men dying to have you instead of me. I will go and burn incense in the temple of Venus and Aliah to favour me greatly and when they do, I will taunt you like you have done to me, and lest I forget, I can also boast of my maid. She is far more beautiful than yours. Even though your maid looks better now than when she first came, she can never be compared to mine, and I don’t need you to tell me that she can tell good stories or sing, she is still not as beautiful as my maid..."

“And yet, you complained that your maid is too lazy, you told me five days ago that you wish your maid was as hardworking and submissive as Tamar," Zity retorted and continued talking.

"...Tamar is not only hard working and respectful, she tells me good romantic stories all night and can also sing. Tamar’s hair has grown long now. Have you seen her curly fine hair? She got it from her mother, that was what she told me and I’m glad mother picked her for me. I did not taunt you Zain, I was only joking and for your information, I don’t have all the good things of life. I’m always grateful for what the gods have blessed me with. I’m sorry anyway. Can we at least stop fighting and act like friends? We shouldn’t fight over everything…"

Zain pretended to be at peace and asked Zity to give her the necklace she was wearing, if she truly value their friendship and Zity, without batting an eyelid, removed the necklace and gave it to her. 

They later asked us to go and look for food and drink, but I told them I packed some food in the bag which I quickly brought out and serve them.

They both started eating, talking and laughing. While I stood beside Zity, Zain’s maid sat far away from her as she ate the food I served her.

It was sunset already and we engaged in a long walk as we went home. When we arrived, Lady Phin was walking round her garden with Vim her son. Zity ran to her brother who was hardly around and hugged her, while their mother smiled seeing her children holding each other.

 I left them to go and set water for Zity to bath. After that, I went in search of Abel and when i didn’t see him I asked of him from the other kitchen assistant who were very used to me now.

They told me he was at his usual place, close to the fountain I went straight to the fountain and saw him, his eyes were shut, his head raised high and his mouth, closed. It looked like he was in deep thought. The whole place was quiet except for the sound of running water. 

I quietly sat beside him and he opened his eyes. He turned and looked at me before smiling. He tapped my shoulder gently.

I smiled back at him and asked,

“Is something bothering you, Abel? You like being alone sometimes... I thought you were praying but your mouth never moved…"

“I am, that’s the way I pray. I praise God loudly in my mind while listening to the sound of the water fall. I tell God all my worries and allow Him to speak to me. I can’t say it out loud, I can’t pray or worship the way I would have love to because it's forbidden to do so here. Someday, I will have the boldness because I still have fears, and I’m praying to God to help me overcome it. You can also try to sit out here by yourself sometimes, and have a quiet time with God. Tell Him whatever bothers you or whatever your fears are and allow Him to envelope you in His love. We may be in a strange land but nothing happens without God’s knowledge. He knows you will be here, nothing is ever a mistake with God. He will use the weak to shame the strong and will use the things the world calls foolish to shame the wise. God said “My ways are not your ways. so I have set the Lord always before me, because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."

“My father use to read Psalms to us when he was alive. I still remember few, I wonder sometime how these people have gods of different shapes and sizes all around them and yet they feel empty and sad..." I said to Abel

“In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. No matter the images they bow to, it can never do anything for them, for they have eyes but cannot see and ears but cannot hear.."

I sat with Abel as he empowered me with the word of God.

 I later excused from him to go and check on Zity and to know if she was done with her bath.

I still wonder what I would have done without Abel. When I seemed to be losing hope, he strengthened me. I felt so close to God anytime I discuss with Abel.

 I found favour before my master and mistress, and no matter how much of songs I sang, and stories I told Zity, she only saw them as romantic stories not as God delivering His people or showing love and kindness to mankind.

Someday, I have this believe that one of them will come to know the real God more than the gods and goddesses they carve for themselves and call it a name. But for now, I will keep serving as is required of me.

I hope Zity sees the jealousy and envy in Zain and stay off from her before she will be misled.

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