ZOE. (The missing seal)
Written by Amah
Lord Amos allowed 90 days of mourning to pass before summoning Zoe. All he did for the pass weeks was to think about the girl.
She has right over Shelar his last boy because that is what the law demand. Since his first and second son is dead without children, his last son Shelar was to get married to her and she will bear children through him but he was afraid that his last son may also die if he marries Zoe.
His wife will rather be dead than to watch Shelar get married to Zoe, Samar insisted that Zoe was evil and was casting a spell but he doesn’t believe Zoe has such power. He has never seen her cast a spell or utter a single incantation.
Zoe needed sons to provide for her in her old age and she needs a husband to make that to happen so there is no truth in Samar’s accusation because Zoe wanted children and was ready to suffer ill luck just to multiply his house.
Now she has passed through widowhood twice at her young age. A childless widow has no hope or a better future.
“…If you dares give her our last and only son I will hate you forever, I will kill her….i will even kill myself. Don’t even think of doing it. Send her away from this family she is a bad omen.
His wife has said bitterly. Is either Samar was railing and threatening or she was seeking the favor and counsel of her handmade gods. Her teraphim.
The whole house smells of cloying incense which she keep burning to her gods daily just to deal with Zoe. Samar invited some supposed “seer” who said they were from the other world, they claim they have message from the dead. And their message appears the same.
“Your daughter in law is a witch, she brought misfortune to your household. She cannot conceive because she exchange her womb for longevity. She has no womb and no child will come through her. Get rid of her now or the spirit of the dead will visit your house and she will be struck dead”
This is usually their message but he did not take any of their word to heart because he knows is his wife’s doing. She must have paid the seers and give them words to say to him so that he can quickly get rid of Zoe.
She was determined to get rid of Zoe by all means.
There are times he wondered if it was really true. “What if they are right, what if Zoe has no womb, a witch who brought misfortune to his house?
Maybe there is a little truth in their sayings and he need to get rid of her to avoid further disaster. “What if Zoe is evil and has no womb that will hold children. She can’t multiply my house because she is a bad omen.
Amos wondered within him as he watch Zoe approach.
He has secretly sent his only remaining to one of his brother living far away. “Remain there Shelar until I sent for you”
Shelar has appeared happy that he was relieved of his duty and of the fear his mother built in him over Zoe. Who she believe is a witch and will kill him too like she killed his elder brothers if he dares agree to marry her as the tradition demands.
Shelar traveled out to stay with his uncle living in faraway Hira.
Asking Shelar to live the house was the best he can do to avoid him getting married to Zoe. He was his only remaining son and he will protect him with his last blood. He was ready to do everything possible to guard his remaining family at the cost of his honor.
Zoe was indeed a bad omen and he will not risk Shelar for her.
His wife was open to her worship and do not hide her gods but he has never seen Zoe bow to any god or burn incense or reveal the god she truly worship. Could it be the God of heaven who she inquire about is her God or she is truly a witch without a womb?
“When will you do what is right”
Her word echoed in his heart. He quickly waved it off and watch as Zoe came to kneel before him in greetings
“I have made a difficult decision that will favor us all…
Amos started without looking at Zoe whose head was bent obediently.
“…Shelar is too young to take up the responsibility of a husband…
Zoe looked up at him. She knows he was trying to cover up what he did. Which is sending Shelar away to Hira. Shelar wasn’t so young like he makes it sound but is understandable since his mother will rather die than to see Shelar with her.
Zoe remained calm. She refused to argue with him. Arguing with him may reopen a closed wound. She will be obedient, she will be patient. She will behave with dignity.
Even if her father inlaw act like a cowardice she will not tarry because time heals faster. Time was her ally.
Lord Amos is still indebted to her as the law demands which is given his last son for her to be able to produce children and wear off the garment of shame and childlessness and if he fails her he will be tagged as a man with no honor. Could such a man ever be trusted?
“When Shelar is older I will send for you….
Zoe quickly stood with a questioning look. She did not stopped looking at him even though he was finding it difficult to keep eye contact with her.
“Send for me…how do you mean my Lord?
Zoe inquired curiously.
“As we speak now Samar is packing up your things. She will have one of the servant take you and your nurse back to your father’s house…
The moment Zoe learnt that she was going back to her father’s house her fear increased.
Her father do not care and was too harsh. Since he sold her off to Lord Amos he has never bother to check if she was alive or dead. or to know how she was faring in the household of Lord Amos. He believes he has gotten rid of her and focused on other wealthy suitors for his remaining daughter. Going home was her last option but staying here does not look conducive too.
She can’t face her father if she goes back home.
“You will remain in your father’s house until I call for you…
“But my Lord…I’m sti….
Lord Amos waved his hand interrupting her.
“Zoe, do not argue…this decision is the best for you and for everyone.
“my Lord…do you say “best decision” are mine to be cast off like a ragged garment that worth nothing?
Zoe said with a cold shocked face.
“I am not casting you off Zoe, you are not been expelled. You are still part of this family but you need to go home.
“This is my home, despite how cold, and inhospitable it has been but my father hand me over to you after the exchange of marriage rite. He is not expecting me back and I will be like a stranger in my father’s house. I can’t marry another man because of the law that bind me to your household. I will have to sit and wait for Shelar to grow and I don’t know how long that will be. I will wear a widow apparel and remain within the house of my father who will be angry anytime he set his eyes on me. I don’t want to go back. I will stay and wait here despite how unkind and unruly this house maybe…
“Say nothing more against my family, it was for their sake I made this decision. Your presence has turned my household into a battlefield and burial ground…
“Do you also blame me for your sons death…you are been unjust my Lord. Do you think my father will welcome me back with an open arm? A widow twice over, childless, rejected and cast out. You are a man of honor why do you dishonor your word. This is unfair judgement…
She struggled for control over her unraveling emotions. Anger spurred her. She try not to cry in the presence of Lord Amos but tears gave way and she break down crying. Shaming herself completely.
Amos breathed deeply before looking away
“Resorting to tears will not make me change my mind Zoe. You need to get hold of yourself. Tell your father that I want you to remain a widow in his house until Shelar grows. When that day comes I will send for you…
Zoe wiped off her tears and look at him, wanting him to give her his word of assurance.
“I’m a man of my word…I will send for you.
She refuse to look away. Let him see the faith she had in him and keep his promise to her.
Lord Amos face reddened seeing that Zoe has doubt in his word.
“You don’t seem to believe me Zoe?
Zoe gave him no answer and remain standing. When last have she ever seen Amos keep to his word or do what is right.
“Zoe, I gave you my word…I promise no harm will come to you and I will do as I say. Go without distress back to your father’s house.
Zoe was contented with his promise and did as he commanded.
She stepped out and saw lady Samar.
Samar stood triumphantly with so much fire of hatred in her eyes.
“I will celebrate because we have finally gotten rid of you…witch. Your nurse is waiting for you outside the gate and I will sweep off your foot print as you leave and burn your remaining things. I will purge my house with hyssop and it will be clean and all your prowess will be nullify. You are better off dead too and is just a matter of time you will be joining my sons that you killed. You will die a wretched death….you that has no womb and can’t conceive a child. You will die a disgraceful death and I await the news of your death and my joy will be complete.
Zoe stepped past her without uttering a word, she started heading to the exit gate. Lady Samar was not satisfied she followed her and kept cursing her.
Tears clouded Zoe’s eyes as Samar keep wishing her death and many terrible things. Zoe did not look back as she joined with Hadar.
They started their journey back home. Hadar looked back and saw Lady Samar sweeping off everywhere Zoe stepped on and did not stopped cursing until they were out of sight.
Hadar felt relieved that Zoe was returning home even though Zoe expression do not speak of joy but Hadar was happy
“Cheer up Zoe, Amos household do not deserve you…you are going home. Far away from Samar and her curses. Cheer up…things will be better back home and I curse Lord Amos house for all they put you through…
“I don’t belong with my father anymore. I belong with Lord Amos and he gave me his word of doing the right thing when the time comes. Let’s hope and pray to the unseen God that he should remember me otherwise I may have to remain a widow forever until I die. But I’m holding on to Lord Amos kind promise to me. Hadar If you have to say anything about Lord Amos household let it only be goodwill prayers and not curse. Blessing, good health…long life should be your prayer to them. I’m part of his family and I count no sin against him but I leave my fate in the hand of the all-knowing God.
Hadar did not say anything bad again about Lord Amos as they journeyed down.
To be continued
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