Saturday, 17 September 2016

The Stone by Omasan Akperi


Episode 2

Don't read this exhilarating episode THE STONE, it might kill you and don't also bother to read the previous episode too

I was having one of the better nights of my life till that call came in from Centrino Oils. Fast forward to now; I am . . . just in case you forgot, Adolf! and in a plane set for Addis Ababa taxing along the runway of the Murtala Mohammed airport, Lagos.
I am sure there are lots of things you would want me to fill you up on. First off, Charon is as sophisticated as she is beautiful. You wouldn’t believe it, if I told you she uses a hummer jeep; a yellow hummer jeep - but you should
because she does. As she led me to her car, I was staring not at her car but at her butt; she was definitely a beauty. I began to wonder, how someone that could have owned the runway ended up as an archaeologist. I was going to ask her when we got into the car but I just complimented her ride instead. From the main complex of Centrino Oils, we drove to my place, I picked up my things and then we had breakfast at the airport.
During breakfast, I asked her, “So who is Miss Charon Stone?”
“Miss Charon Stone is a young Nigerian archaeologist” she replied.
“That was not what I meant”, I said. “You see” I continued, “I figured you all wrong; I thought that all archaeologists would be nerds with big goggles and perhaps skulls on their head”. “You, you are different”, I said.
At this she started laughing, and then I asked her “what was so funny?”
And she replied, “well I guess I figured you all wrong also, I thought geologist would be cavemen with dirt all over their body” and we both burst into laughter.
By Jove! Was she pretty when she laughed.
“Ever heard of Prof Goodluck Stone?” She asked as she stopped laughing.
I had definitely heard of Prof Stone, he was a very popular figure in the country and was an archaeologist, he had died during one of his trips . . . connecting the dots, I began to realise that he was her father.
“He is my Father”, she said.
“Sorry for the loss”, I replied.
She continued, “He was the one that made me who I am today; right from when I was two years old, he took me out on his trips. He taught me the ancient Sumerian language, hieroglyphics, cuneiform and Latin even before I got into school and because of him I had become prodigy in archaeology.
Then she asked me, “Who is Adolf Edinburgh? And why would anyone be known as Adolf Edinburgh?”
“Honestly as long as I can remember, I had always been called Adolf and it had always been a source of controversy because of its association with Adolf Hitler, but once people saw past the name they were usually impressed with the person, and Adolf Edinburgh has always been hardworking and lucky, and that’s how he has gotten to where he is today” I said.
“Why are you still Miss Charon Stone?” I asked.
“Let’s just say I don’t see cool guys often” She replied as she stood up and said “let’s be on our way”.
 We were already through with breakfast a while ago
Then I stood up also as we went to board our flight to Lagos.
On the plane, I asked her for the full detail of the job.
“Ok” She started, “I know you are familiar with the idea of the philosopher’s stone, or Lapis Philosophorum in Latin. You definitely have heard about how it was the most sought after material during the middle Ages to perform alchemy and about how men would kill themselves for it. It is said, that its history goes as far back as Adam in the Bible, who acquired the knowledge of the stone directly from God. It was passed down from generation to generation thus giving the men of that time who possessed the stone, great longevity. One doesn’t have to look too far to see an example in Genesis 5:27 of Methuselah.
It had been thought to have been lost since ancient times until rumours of its appearance resurfaced in the early Middle Ages (600AD to about 1050AD). It is said to be a major reason for the crusades to the holy land during the high middle Ages (1050AD to 1300AD). It was rumoured to have been discovered by some crusaders who hid away with it, enriching themselves with the long life the stone gave them while keeping a low profile. At the time, the whole of Europe and the Orient were looking for the stone, which lead to alchemy and which our modern chemistry owes a lot to. For all their stealth, the church soon found out that certain crusaders remained in the holy land who were in possession of the stone and sent enquirers to find and obtain the stone. The crusaders not willing to let go of their precious gem, escaped and were pursued from town to town, each time barely escaping capture; from Jerusalem to Baghdad to Damascus to Medina to Mecca before crossing the red sea to Africa through Adulis and they ended up in Ethiopia in the ancient town of Axum. There thinking they had finally escaped the church enquirers lived among the people learning the local Ge’ez language and keeping their precious secret to themselves until eventually after several years the enquirers caught up with them in a rejuvenated form. It took a last ditch flight from the crusaders to escape the enquirers and they must have felt they had to hide deeper in the continent because no one had heard about the crusaders or their stone, well until just recently.
“My theory”, she continued, “is that they actually escaped deeper into the continent, crossed the Sahara desert and got to Kano; which was at the time an emerging city state. They must either have hidden the gem in Ethiopia or would have brought it with them to Kano and due to their fatigue from the chase and tiredness from been immortals. One could come to the opinion that it was the reason the stone was passed from patriarch to patriarch in biblical times because perhaps, immortality took its toll on them”.
“If not they would just keep the stone to themselves and enjoy it alone without passing it to their children. I presume there is a reason we don’t live forever”, I said.
 “But what is clear” She continued, “is that the crusaders did away with the stone and left instructions in Kano on how it should be used, but the instructions are written in a code.
“How do you then know that the code represents instructions on how to use the philosopher’s stone when the said code can’t be cracked”, I asked.                  
          She replied, “There is a part of the message that is not in code but in ancient Ge’ez, which we translated easily”. She then gave me a sheet having the translation.

The stone of eternal life is very powerful; those who aim to use it beware! For what is good is also evil. Those who aim to use the stone for good shall find its instructions within, Aksum is the destination, and behind the stelae of King Ezana would you find 123456789 and in front of it you shall find 12345678.

 “This makes no sense” I said, after going through it.
“That’s why we are going to Aksum”, she replied, “to make sense out of it”.
The King Ezana stelae is quite popular, I remember the last time I was in Aksum; I went on a tour of the stelae (a pillar-like structure carved with doors and windows) field and the tour started at the main stelae field opposite the church of Tsion Maryam, which consisted of about 75 or more stelae of various shapes and sizes but the most magnificent of them all was the king Ezana stelae. The stele was made of solid granite and was about 23m high. I remember the guide saying that “an Axumite tradition had that it was the work of the mysterious powers of the ark of the covenant” but I can’t recall seeing the numbers 123456789 in front nor 123456789 behind it and I was puzzled as to how we were going to find them. I began to think of the authenticity of the phyllite plate.
This may even be a prank, I thought to myself.
“How sure are you of the phyllite plate’s authenticity?” I asked her.
“Very sure”, she replied. “We dated pollen grains found in the plate and we found out that the plate isn’t younger than the 14th century AD thus it couldn’t have been made recently, in addition to that a depth of 2m of undisturbed sand was removed before getting to it”. “It couldn’t have been fabricated and kept 2m beneath undisturbed soil now, could it?”
I nodded in submission; I was taken aback both by her beauty and her brilliance.
That was the last word we had, before our plane landed in Lagos and it didn’t take long to get on the flight to Addis Ababa. Here I am in the first class cabin with Charon beside me and the plane taxing along the runway of the Murtala Mohammed airport Lagos, looking out the window and thinking, “How are we going to find the numbers 123456789 . . .?”

<<To be continued>>

Edited by Osoata Vanessa

About Writer

Akperi Omasan is an aspiring Nigerian Writer from Delta state.

You can follow him on instagram @omasangeomas

Have a lovely day ahead!