This story is set in the Persian world of the 1001 nights. Merchant Arash Zayed is sent on a mission to find an unknown treasure, while his first wife and his mother prepare his second wedding.
In the emerald embrace of the Golestan mountains, lies the enchanting town of Terjenli. Merchant Zayed admires its houses, adorned with intricate wooden lattices, stand as silent sentinels of a bygone era, their balconies overflowing with the sweet fragrance of jasmine and roses. He goes to the bazaars, the tapestry of color and life. Artisans, their fingers dancing like skilled sorcerers, craft wonders from silk, silver, and stone. The air is heavy with the scent of saffron and sumac, and the chatter of the market tells of the daily lives of its people. A large group huddles near the spice stall. Zayed will inquire about the wise man with the grizzled, grey-haired vendor.
It takes a while before it’s his turn. “Dear lady, peace and success to you. Can you help me find the fabled wise man your town is famous for?”
She looks up. “And peace to you. Javad the Elder lives on top of the hill over there.”
Arash follows her pointing finger. Before he can thank the vendor, other customers already call for her attention.
Shaheen’s tread up the hill is steady and sure toward a house built in the mountain’s side. Its stone walls are weathered. Shutters close the windows. The wooden door is worse for wear.
Zayed thumps with his fist…
Zayed bangs with hand and foot…
The door coughs and creaks under Arash’s poundings.
He should have asked the vendor if the wise man was at home.
Recalling an inn in town, Zayed mounts his horse again. That instant, the door wheezes open.
“Peace be with you, Javad the Elder!” Arash heads towards the opening.
There’s no one there. The entrance is as dark as the night that engulfs whole clouds and mountains. It smells musty. After entering, the door bangs shut. Zayed’s eyes try to peer through the darkness. Then two fiery orbs, gleaming like twin suns as if piercing through the veils of mystery that shroud the world, shine on him. Zayed moves back until his back is against the wall. They are eyes!
Candle after candle lights, revealing a cavernous room. Feathers shimmer with the brilliance of polished silver. Zayed looks up at a bird so colossal that its wings, when unfurled, could eclipse the sun itself, casting vast shadows over the entire town. The rukh caws like thunder.
“Are you here to kill me or to free me, little man?”
Zayed only hears his heart thumping in his ears.
“The magics of Javad hold me in this place. I will reward you if you free me,” the gigantic bird’s voice shakes through the merchant’s body.
The rukh squints, followed by a deep sigh. A tingling sound distracts Zayed. A golden ring flickers in the lights as it twirls to its resting place.
“Free me and that magical ring is yours.”
Frown deeper than ever before, Arash looks up at the creature he only knows from myths and legends. Rukhs can carry enormous loads.
I hope you enjoyed episode 4 of Season 3.