“The victor is already decided. You might as well just accept the outcome, chief.”
Mur, the chief of the wanderers, silently stared into the eyes of Aldrit, who was proclaiming that he was now to replace him as a new chief to the tribe. The tribe had always been united as one throughout the whole history to survive against all the threats of the world. And this was the first ever rebellion ever occurred in the tribe. Or perhaps it should now be called a revolution since it had succeeded?
It had all started from the day of Aldrit’s return.
Aldrit’s return was indeed out of the blue as those who’d left the settlement after they reached a certain age could only return on exceptional circumstances according to regulation. However, he did not seem to fall under any of such circumstances.
As soon as he saw the chief, Aldrit requested that he wanted to know about the hidden history of the tribe. But Mur, the chief, turned a deaf ear to Aldrit’s demand and reprimanded instead.
[What’s the meaning of this imprudence? I’ve had my expectations that you might one day become the pillar of the tribe and lead the people in future. I would not shut you out right away as you must have traveled long to make this far. But you must leave at first sight of light the next morning.]
On the next day, Mur had obviously believed that Aldrit had set out on his journey once again. So, he didn’t bother himself to confirm his leave. But something that would flabbergast his mind happened just after a few days when the boy stormed into the regular conference and said this before the gathered elder statesmen.
[The future of the tribe might as well be dead at this rate. It is high time that we start discussing the future. Just how much longer do we have to keep living as sinners?]
Aldrit demanded the abolishment of the regulation where one could only learn about the lores of the tribe in phases according to age. His further remark that the tribe would only remain at a standstill and would never make any progression if the confidentials were shared only among the fractions of the tribe has greatly aroused the indignation of the unyielding elder statesmen.
At once, Mur ordered his men to remove Aldrit from the conference room and placated the elder statesmen who were greatly infuriated. He did not want things to get any worse—he always had his eyes on Aldrit as his successor at the back of his mind. He barely managed to appease the elders who insisted that the boy must be given grave punishment for his actions.
Afterwards, he called Aldrit and coaxed him instead of browbeating.
[Aldrit. There is an order to everything.]
[Sir, our tribe has been treading water to this day. To take the first step, we need to start by knowing ourselves.]
[I understand what you are trying to say. But it shouldn’t be done like this. If you truly want to voice your opinion, you should follow the procedure.]
The chief of the tribe was never the absolute decision maker. Most agenda were decided through a discussion with the elder statesmen along with various opinions actively taken into consideration. Consequently, everyone in the tribe was free to submit their opinions as an item on the agenda.
[And just how long would it take? It would take years before it is finally placed on the agenda for discussion in the annual conference if I were to follow the whole procedure.]
[You have no other choice but to follow as that’s the regulation of the tribe.]
[Sir. How can one have the leisure to walk when one’s time is being pressed? We might as well demonstrate our flexibility and skip the steps if it is needed.] Aldrit pressed.
[I wonder what has gotten into you. You are acting rather frivolously unlike how you were always prudent in your behavior in the past.]
[You mustn’t become complacent stuck in the rut if you truly care for the tribe.]
[You impertinent rascal! Why don’t you just take over my place instead! You better be gone tomorrow, no, just leave at once before you stir up any more troubles!]
Until then, Mur had failed to foresee what was going to become when he clicked his tongue watching Aldrit leave with his head dropped at his scolding.
While he was put out by Aldrit’s offensive deed, but at the same time, he was also proud to see how he did not back away from his opinion. He nodded approvingly as Aldrit had proved himself as a man of perseverance, as befitted of his successor.
With his judgment clouded, Mur repeated the same mistake he had made on the first day. He didn’t check further and blindly believed that Aldrit must have really gone for good this time as he was nowhere to be seen.
Then about ten days after that, a force composed of the promising youths of the tribe was already formed around Aldrit by the time Mur discerned the oddity.
The age group of the people who remained in the settlement was poles apart in extreme ends, as it was either the aged or the young.
The wanderers, who spend their whole lives wandering aimlessly as a means to make atonement for their sins, could only come back to the settlement to spend the rest of their lives after arriving at senescence. However, there were also the adolescent, who were yet of age to set out on a journey, as well as the parents who had children still in need of parental care while there were also those who were in a marriageable age who had come for a temporary stay in order to seek for their partners.
The tribe of wanderers have a tradition of giving their full respects to those with years of experience even though every tribal member has the equal right within the tribe. So, the young have naturally obeyed the elders and never complained of the decisions made by elders and the chief.
However, the elders wouldn’t be able to confront the young if they should join forces together. As physically, they wouldn’t be a match for them.
‘I should have seen this coming.’
Mur, who’ve been ruminating over the incidents that had led to the current situation with his eyes closed, opened his lids with a heavy heart only after a while. He sighed for grief when he saw the gaze in Aldrit eyes, staring right into his.
‘I guess I’m not solely at fault.’
The whole process or the period could have differed but there was no denying that this day would have come someday in the future.
There was an unwavering conviction in Aldrit’s eyes. And those gaze of his reflected his disposition where he would rather be broken than to bend his belief.