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contents Wai Z contents


Colwil was a small man who was wiry. Of slight appearance he was often mistaken for being weak although if confronted he had surprising strength; never enough that he ever wanted to display it. He lived a little way from the town but not any great distance, sufficient to make it a bit of a decision to go to town – not a haul. And that morning he had decided to do go in.

He actually needed some provisions, more than the veg he could get from his neighbours so he was going to buy what little his carpentry could afford – mind you that was usually more than enough. Sometimes he dreamed of getting far more, surely there was more to life than this. Because he rarely visited town he would visit Dom Kajaa today as well, and speak to the Abbot about his dreams.

Wandering into town he paused for a drink. His rare trips meant that he had only occasional relationships at the bar but he did know those that were regular. Much of what they spoke disinterested him, as quite naturally for people speaking often with each other serious matters were left unsaid. But on occasions he arrived and they were alone, and so conversation was much more interesting. As well the owner had taken a liking to him so she made the effort with him. Yet for all this he was never one of them. And mostly he liked it that way.

That day he saw Volfus. Volfus was now old and his family looked after him – his wife had died years earlier. Generally he was a good man but his heart had lost some shape at the death of his wife, and he often drifted into the past or clung to entrenched views although not with any great strength – it was as if he didn’t have the desire to think his way out of them. Colwil felt Volfus respected him, admired his youthful strength and commitment, but when pushed he could never find out why – in the end he left it.

Volfus being of the past often let his mind sink back into it, and he took delight in reading of those old days. He would often discuss the history of Mubanrao with Colwil. He knew the names of many of the Abbots and could describe what part of Kajaa they were famous for. Colwil listened intensely to this taking great fascination with these great people of the past.

This fascination was special when Volfus spoke of the Abbots from outside, and Colwil developed a deep desire to learn more of the outside.

This day Volfus was at the restaurant so he asked after Volfus’ health. He was told Volfus was fine but those were words that the eye put a lie to. They discussed life in the town, a few common acquaintances but then there was a lull. “Last time we spoke of the outside,” Colwil broke the silence “Tell me more of this outside.”

“I know little. All I have been able to learn concerns the Abbots, Merkangnam and Parkangnam. They came from outside and were very wise. In their own lands they spoke of Taam, and when they came here their Taam was like our Kajaa, and their time became known as the time of Kajaakayataam. But that has long past and what was then Kajaakayataam is just part of what we know as Kajaa – as it should be,” Volfus told him.

“I understand that they improved Kajaa but what of the outside?” asked Colwil with some urgency “what do you know of the outside?”

“There is little I can tell you, just that maybe there is more to learn in the Annals of Samsarapho, Kianpainee was also from the outside,” sighed Volfus, this young man’s energy is exciting but he is too dangerous – he is not grounded in Kajaa. “Perhaps you can talk with the Abbot who can tell you of the Annals and also teach you how Kajaa can help you …. calm your spirit.”

“I will do that,” answered Colwil, “today I will go now,” he resolved. Volfus smiled wistfully. Colwil had a strength, good enquiry, but where is he going?

He left Volfus to realise that he could not visit the Dom now as it was time for the Abbot to lead meditation for his students. So he did his chore and by the time he had finished there was only a short while to wait for the Abbot’s Kajaapuut. He arrived and there were only a few lay followers who began by asking the usual questions. A woman whose mother had recently died, another whose child had fallen into the river and drowned. Why did Kajaa let this happen? He felt sympathy for these people but his quest was urgent, he now felt that the outside was the hole in his life and he wished to fill that hole.

“Venerable Abbot,” began Colwil with respect “a friend recently told me of the outside, how these people came from the outside and brought with them a great wisdom that became known as Kajaakayataam. Please, Venerable Abbot, tell me what you know of this.”

“I know little of what you speak for these are times long gone by,” answered the Abbot. “I know that 10 arrived from outside, and in their different ways they helped Mubanrao. Merkangnam and Parkangkao became Abbots, Kianpainee worked on the Annals of Samsarapho, Bpamaisamsao was very famous in education - our main university is named after her, and Kakangpokao built up a small following for NaAgu at the time. They even say that the Relics of Kangsadengtang came from the outside, but this I am not sure of.”

“But what of outside itself?” pushed Colwil impatiently.

“In the Annals it talks of outside as being a dark place, a place of madness, a place the outsiders were fleeing,” he answered ignoring Colwil’s lack of courtesy. “But there was little else. Again in the Annals it just states that Mubanrao is lucky to have the snake that protects Mubanrao.”

The snake, thought Colwil derisively. His talk with the Abbot did not have the desired effect; in fact the opposite he went away on fire. The Annals, he must get access to the Annals. The Abbot had said these outsiders had held important positions in Mubanrao’s history. They brought learning from outside of Mubanrao, maybe that learning was what he was seeking. He had to get access to the Annals but he knew they were considered holy books, books that only the closest of the Abbot’s followers could study. What was he to do?

The next day he came back to Kajaapuut, and asked again of the outside. The Abbot’s reply didn’t help. “There is nothing outside for Mubans. Searching for fulfilment outside can only lead to frustration the answers are inside. Look inside and seek the peace the heart can give.”

Colwil hardly listened, he had heard Kajaa before. The answer’s inside, seek peace in yourself, the answer is in your heart and not outside in society. He derided it all because he had found the source of Muban knowledge. He believed the Outsiders’ had brought the wisdom, Kajaa, and he wanted to bring more outside wisdom back to Mubanrao. This was his life’s purpose, he now thought.

But he needed to know more. Everything about the outside was shrouded in mystery and he needed to learn more – he needed to read The Annals. He visited the Abbot at Kajaapuut several times but he learned little that was new, and he decided that the Abbot had not read or did not understand the Annals. In fact worse he thought the Abbot was suppressing the Annals because the Annals conflicted with his precious Kajaa. Always the same answer, follow Kajaa, the answer is in your heart, or some version of this.

At one of these Kajaapuuts Colwil was observed by Abano, a young monk. Seeing Colwil’s fire the monk was impressed. Although Abano worshipped the Abbot, he still felt youthful sympathy with the fire. Occasionally he too thought there was something more than he was learning. He empathised with Colwil’s frustration, and he began to read The Annals. And he then became enthralled by them. Here were books that described Kajaa before and after the Outsiders. The books spoke of Kajaa, Taam and even NaAgu – but only a little of the last. The more he read the more he too became fascinated with the different forms of knowledge, but throughout Samsarapho never spoke positively of outside wisdom. Yes it was there but it took second place to the darkness, the death and destruction that deluded outsiders brought to their lives.

After much deliberation he decided he would speak of the Annals to Colwil.

Colwil had been coming to Kajaapuut once or twice a week for the last two months. Always he got the same answers from the Abbot, and Abano could see his frustration. After one such visit Abano followed Colwil, and came up to him.

“Colwil, the Annals do say what the Abbot says,” spoke Abano quietly to Colwil.

Colwil turned and was taken aback to see the robes of a monk. He looked hard but all he could see were the robes and a monk towing the line.

But this monk had made an effort, he would see what he could learn. “What do you mean, Venerable One?” asked Colwil cagily.

“I saw you at the Kajaapuut,” answered Abano anecdotally “I saw your passion and I decided to look at what you were concerned about, so I began reading The Annals.”

At this Colwil’s eyes lit up, maybe this monk can talk about The Annals or maybe even help him read them. He would play the monk.

“What do they say?” asked Colwil courteously.

“Just what the Abbot said,” summarised Abano genuinely trying to be of help. “Samsarapho was one of these from outside, and he recorded what he saw as the knowledge from his world and Mubanrao. But he said that the outside world was destroyed and that life in Mubanrao is so much better.”

This was not what Colwil wanted to hear, and he suspected a trick. After all, this man was a monk and he worshipped Kajaa. He suspected this monk was also trying to protect Kajaa, maybe it was even a ploy by the Abbot to dissuade him from his investigations. Either way it had the opposite effect, and Colwil was even more curious – or rather he became embroiled in his fascination.

Still if they were going to try and trick him, he would play them at their game. He would try to learn as much as he could even maybe get a look at The Annals. So began a series of meetings with Abano. Colwil would come to the Kajaapuut and ask questions of the Abbot. He changed his questions slightly to avoid suspicion. He pretended that his search for the outside had brought him closer to Kajaa, and so he began to ask more of what the outsiders had done for Mubanrao. In this way he began to learn more from the Abbot, but not a great deal as the Abbot did not trust this young man. He knew his passion was not for Kajaa, but it was his duty as Abbot to answer questions and encourage the search for Kajaa amongst all, whatever shape it took. Colwil also had to be careful because he learned some things from the Abbot, but did not give away what he learned from Abano. So he began to keep two notebooks, one for his questions to the Abbot that he brought openly to the Kajaapuuts, and the other a secret diary of all his conversations with Abano. Each time he would prepare his questions for the Abbot, based on what was in the Abbot’s notebook, and so began to learn more of the official line of The Annals.

But his real interest lay in his conversations with Abano. After most Kajaapuuts Abano would follow Colwil, and they would start talking a decent distance from the Dom. Colwil was also careful with his questions for Abano. He saw in Abano’s agenda a desire to convince Colwil that there was nothing in The Annals to learn with regards to the outside. But his own agenda was the opposite, what was there in The Annals that would help in the journey he was now planning. He had already decided that there was something in this Taam that Abano spoke of. According to Abano the Annals said that the Taam added to Kajaa, what was at the time called Kajaakayataam. But Colwil did not believe this. He believed that Taam was superior to Kajaa, and that because it was superior he believed the Abbot was trying to suppress knowledge of the outside so that his precious Kajaa was not threatened. But Colwil wanted to bring this Taam to Mubanrao.

So his objective was to learn about how to get to outside. To do this he had to resort to rationalised subterfuge. He would pretend interest in Kajaa, and how Kajaa had been improved by the outsiders through using Taam. And then try to find out if the Annals explained anything about how to travel to the outside.

He remembered an interchange with Abano. “Taam is different to Kajaa?” asked Colwil of Abano.

“It is difficult to judge. The Annals describe the outside as a place where many people believed different things, they called them religions – and some didn’t believe in anything,” answered Colwil.

“So Kajaa is like an outsider’s religion?” pushed Colwil.

“Yes I suppose it is,” hesitated Abano “The Annals never talked of Kajaa as religion but called it a Taangchi, Way of Power.”

“So you could say that outside had many ways of power?” asked Colwil grasping onto such a fascinating idea.

“I didn’t understand what The Annals said about this. They said that these different Ways of Power were all fundamentally Taam but had different ways of celebration,” Abano paused trying to think of an explanation. “Each of these religions had their own Doms so in one of their towns there would be many different buildings where priests espouse different ways of power.”

“That doesn’t make sense, does it?” pursued Colwil. “Why have different places saying the same thing?”

“No it doesn’t,” agreed Abano “yet I am certain that is what The Annals talked about. They said it was bound up with the self-importance of the people in these religions but I didn’t understand that. The Annals even said that outsiders fought over these different religions.”

“Why would they fight if the religions were not different?” asked Colwil, his mind full of all these possibilities of different Kajaas.

“The Annals said that the outsiders fought all the time because of the self-importance of all these people. Religion was one excuse. But the main reason was greed, a few people wanted more than their share leaving others with nothing. And then those with nothing had to work for the greedy or else they could not eat,” answered Abano.

“That doesn’t make sense, Abano” countered Colwil. “Weren’t the outsiders good people? The ones that came to Mubanrao were abbots, and a university is named after another.”

“This is true, but the world outside described in The Annals is not a world of good people,” recounted Abano. “Anyway it matters little as The Annals describe much destruction outside, they say it is dark and dangerous, and that the outsiders were fleeing for their lives. The Annals say they think their world is dead.”

“How can their world be dead?” asked Colwil.

“I don’t understand this but it says that these self-important people fought each other with ever more deadly weapons until eventually they destroyed their world,” answered Abano.

“Their world is dead and yet our world next to theirs is not damaged, how can this be?” argued Colwil genuinely puzzled.

“The Annals say that Mubanrao is protected by high mountains and a huge wind that blew away the death and destruction,” Abano tried to answer him from what he had read “that is the only explanation I have.”

“That makes some sense,” conceded Colwil “but it is difficult to understand.”

“But does it matter?” asked Abano “Why is it important to you?”

“It interests me,” answered Colwil cagily.

“What exactly interests you?” asked Abano.

Colwil could see this was threatening, he had to be careful. “I am not sure. Kajaa was called Kajaakayataam at the time of the Abbots from outside. I think it is important to understand what the difference is, what the outsiders brought to Kajaa. Maybe there are parts of learning that our way of life does not teach us, and we need to focus on how to get that learning – how we can compensate for that lack.”

“Interesting idea!” answered Abano “It does say in The Annals that there was nothing in the Taam that was not in the Kajaa, it is just they learned Kajaa in a different way. The Annals called it the Way of Conflict. Do we want conflict?”

“Of course not!” Colwil was quick to reply “Did what they knew only come from conflict? Are there pointers to the ways they learnt so that we can learn?”

“That is worth considering,” agreed Abano “but as we don’t really know how Kajaa was changed it is a moot point. We can learn Kajaa if we practice. How is your practice going?” Colwil discussed his practice with Abano but his mind was not on that discussion and he soon took his leave. He had learned much from this conversation, and he wanted to go home and write it in his own diary.

The entry read “I have found what I am looking for. Going outside is up through the mountains and through the wind. Through the snake that protects - derisively. This was a major breakthrough, but I also learnt a great deal more. There is much wisdom outside that was not brought to Mubanrao. The outsiders that came fitted in well with Kajaa but this Taam they followed clearly rejected other teachings. Maybe that is an exaggeration. The Annals say that all the teachings have the same basis but that really doesn’t make sense. There were different Doms, different teachings, so much more to outside.

“Maybe even more. What if the outsiders that came to Mubanrao were renegades? What if outside society was a good society that had its own way of living and these renegades left and found a home in Mubanrao? Maybe outside has so much more to teach us.”

These thoughts began to play on his mind, more and more he focussed on them. Everything he tried to do convinced him. Mubans complete acceptance of Kajaa, the lack of willingness of the Abbot to let lay people study The Annals, the glimpses of understanding he gleaned from his conversations with Abano, all led him to the conclusion that outside was a great source of knowledge and that Mubanrao would greatly benefit from that learning. The more time went by the more his question became when and how, rather than if, he would leave for outside.

Again a conversation with Abano gave him his direction. “Abano, don’t you think it is fascinating that there are teachings other than Kajaa?”

“Sometimes,” began Abano “but I find that Kajaa explains all the questions I have to ask. There is so much more than you know,” he said.

“Then why can’t I go and read about it?” asked Colwil frustratingly.

“You can,” smiled Abano knowing this cul-de-sac “if you join ….”

“The Dom, I know,” he interrupted. Then began the discussion about discipline and meditation they had had before. “Teachings can be dangerous in the hands of people whose minds are not under control.”

Not under the control of the Abbot, thought Colwil.

“Our minds can trick us and if we are not careful lead us into all kinds of trouble,” continued Abano “that is why the Abbot takes the teachings carefully and helps us by instilling discipline especially through meditation.”

“I understand what you say,” Colwil agreed partially “but I learn much from talking with people like yourself. I think of it as sharpening my mind pitting my understanding against what you say so that I can learn.”

“That is very sound,” said Abano “but it can also be dangerous if the learning is not based soundly in Nature.”

“Kajaa, again,” smiled Colwil.

“Of course,” agreed Abano “The mind has the ability to rationalise so many things if based solely in logic. A maths friend explained it once to me. A typical maths explanation starts with fundamental axioms, and then based on logic and reason reaches a conclusion. But if the axiom is incorrect the conclusion can be rubbish, logic itself is a process it is neither right nor wrong.”

“For me the same principle applies in real life – as opposed to mathematical theory,” continued Abano “if the axioms are not correct the conclusions can be dangerous. But in the real world it is hard to know what are axioms, so we need the guidance of Nature, Kajaa.”

“But the mind is part of Nature,” countered Colwil.

“Of course it is,” agreed Abano “but the point is to understand its role in Nature. That is where the tradition of Kajaa comes in. For many years through this tradition many people have studied these matters, and have built up a tradition of understanding, an understanding of mind’s role in Nature. “But what is more important, the tradition has also learnt how the mind tricks us, how it makes us self-important, how it builds up an ego that prevents Nature from guiding us – a block to Kajaa.

“And the tradition has learnt how to train the mind so that this ego does not build up.” Abano added “and ….”

“That is why we join the Doms,” interrupted Colwil.

“Exactly,” finished Abano.

Makes sense, thought Colwil, but that is based on their logic that Kajaa is correct. But he is wrong if his axioms are wrong, if there is greater understanding outside.

“Of course the Abbot does encourage some people to learn about NaAgu,” continued Abano “after all it says in The Annals that NaAgu provides Mubanrao with balance.”

“NaAgu is part of Kajaa?” asked Colwil.

“In a sense it is but we must go to the mountains to learn about “walking in the hills”,” smiled Abano.

NaAgu, that was it; that was what was missing, realised Colwil as soon as Abano mentioned NaAgu. He had heard vaguely of these mountain people, but most people dismissed them as strange. But apart from a few like Abano they also dismissed him for his strangeness. Perhaps he and the NaAgu were kindred spirits. He now knew of his next step in the quest for real knowledge – knowledge that was beyond Kajaa.

But he had to deal with his legacy. He had spent much time making notes, and now it was time to turn those notes into a historic record. Should he call it The Annals of Colwil? He laughed to himself, then he thought seriously about the title, dismissing the imitation. His fierce independence was not satisfied by a copy. He felt Kajaa had slipped, or rather that the Mubans in their reverence for the institutions of Kajaa, the Doms, the Abbots, and the many ceremonies, had let Kajaa become stagnant. He knew Kajaa should evolve but somehow it was not evolving – or so he thought.

So he began his record, his book, “The Kajaa Conspiracy, how we need to evolve by learning from outside”. “Kajaa has become stagnant, and it is time that the Abbots in all the Doms begin to look outside. Let me ask you these questions. Do you know about the outside? The outsiders brought us great knowledge, and they even gave it a name Kajaakayataam. But what do we know of this knowledge? Nothing. And yet there is information available but we cannot read it “The Annals of Samsarapho”, a series of books by one of the outsiders. But only those who sign up for the duration as monks in the Doms get to read them. Only those who are firmly committed to Kajaa can read the Annals as the Abbot knows that such people will not threaten Kajaa. But if you or I ask we are told “control your mind, the answer lies with Kajaa”. We are told to meditate, read our established books on Kajaa, empty the mind, and not be attached to dreams – tricks that mind creates.

“But I say no to this. We must know Kajaa but there is more to know and that knowledge is outside. I am going outside to bring back evidence of this new knowledge, so that we Mubans can evolve.

“But first I will go to the mountains to learn the wisdom of NaAgu before I can go outside to bring back the knowledge.” He then proceeded to justify his claims by quoting the Abbot and an unnamed monk. This book was completed very quickly – less than two weeks, because in his note-making he had been aware that he was preparing a book it was only a matter of connecting the dots – padding out the notes into acceptable Muban language.

And then he just disappeared up the mountains leaving the book in an envelope on the table with a note for his sister who he knew would eventually come to look for him, maybe when he didn’t arrive for the annual family celebrations prior to planting the new crops.

Now where to go? That presented a dilemma. His family was from the East so that was out, and although he had heard vague mention of NaAgu around his home, he had paid little note he realised, he did not feel the East held the answer. And there was a general Muban feeling that the west was wilder. He headed west, and walked for several days relying on renowned Muban hospitality especially amongst the farmers far from the main town. After a week or so of walking the farms thinned, and this presented an obvious dilemma – what was he to eat? He thought back to his farming childhood, and knew of some foods growing wild. He tried them, and was generally successful – although he did make himself ill one night. Water was never an issue, there were many streams down from the mountains.

And eventually he began to climb. This pleased him as it satisfied both his objectives. He felt that outside was towards the West, and knowing he had to go up the mountains and through a hostile wind he felt this climbing was a good sign. Secondly the higher up he went the more he felt he would meet Naakon, the people of NaAgu. The higher up he went the more isolated he felt, and decided that he would ask after the NaAgu with whoever he met.

He approached with care as he did not know the reactions of these Naakon, these wild people of the mountains. No-one there, and in truth it didn’t look as if anyone lived there. He decided it was a place to rest, and he felt he would take time to think how was his plan working out?

Baakor was wandering through Hangkao mountains when he met Jerdor. Whenever Naakon met they either nodded and passed, or spent time; neither way was considered more or less an act of friendship. But today the two were ready to talk, it seemed a while since they had met but if asked neither would be able to recall. As usual they talked about the mountains, the way the streams had altered course this year, which foods were dominant this year, and most definitely the annoying excess of Singir butterflies – so many they would fly into you as if Nature had sent them on a suicide mission because of their excess. There was a lull as they both sat and stared, not at anything but everything, feeling comfortable together in their land.

“You know there is a Muban staying in the hut near Harkao Ridge,” Baakor mentioned breaking their silence.

“Oh, that’s where he is,” acknowledged Jerdor “I saw him coming up the Tingor pass maybe five days ago. He hasn’t got far.” They both laughed.

“Do you think he is looking for NaAgu University?” quipped Baakor, again joint laughter. “Should we help him?”

“It is our duty,” accepted Jerdor “after all he has made all the effort to get out here.”

“Did you think anything of him?” asked Baakor.

“He seemed quite strong, small but wiry,” described Jerdor “I followed him a couple of hours. His walking was good for Muban, but he had an air of distraction.” “You will work with him first?” asked Baakor.

“Agreed,” nodded Jerdor “but don’t leave me too long with him.”

They sat for another hour, it was a gentle day. And then Jerdor went off to his assigned task.

Colwil heard the knock, and when he answered tentatively he saw this stranger instruct him to come with him. At Colwil’s hesitation Jerdor asked “do you want to learn about NaAgu or don’t you?” Jerdor barely waited for Colwil to put on his boots and coat, and off they went. After a while Colwil soon fell behind, and Jerdor criticised. “Walking is Natural but Mubans forget how it is to walk as they do so little of it.”

“What do you mean?” asked Colwil.

“Mubans always seem to want to rest,” answered Jerdor “yet good walking is Nature’s efficient way of travel. If you walk well then Nature gives you just enough energy, this is the first thing Naakon learn, the Walk of the NaAgu.”

“You must be walking,” continued Jerdor “not walking and sightseeing, not walking and thinking, just walking. Just walk, watch where you are walking, think about where you are putting your feet and walk. Not quick, not slow, just walk.” So began Colwil’s first lesson in NaAgu, the Way of walking, the Walk of the NaAgu – walking the walk. He tried for a while himself but soon found he was tired. Then he began watching Jerdor, and became more tired. Then he recognised that Jerdor’s eyes were focussed on the path, he walked with his hands curled third finger and thumb touching. He never stumbled. Although there were small rocks on the path his feet always missed them. If he put his foot on a rock it was solid it didn’t slip, and always his eyes were focussed on the path. Sometimes he would stop and Colwil would think thank goodness it was time to rest, but no it was a time of assessment. He would look around, take in what he saw, look up and down the path they were on, and by the time Colwil was ready to rest, off he would go again.

Jerdor had said “not walking and sightseeing, not walking and thinking, just walking. Just walk, watch where you are walking, think about where you are putting your feet and walk.” What had he been doing? Thinking about being NaAgu, thinking about Outside, excited that he had found this Naakon, and that he was going to learn NaAgu Kajaa; and maybe that would help him learn the ways of the Outside. He realised that mostly he was not walking but thinking. This time he was not going to think. He was determined on his quest but he would use that determination to walk the Naa.

As Colwil started again Jerdor looked with a feeling of despondency, he was wasting his time. Whatever had brought this Muban across his path it did not seem that it was the Gods of the NaAgu. Yet .... he now noticed a change. The Muban’s eyes never strayed from where he was walking, there was no stumbling. He laughed out loud, no stumbling – he had been so intent on watching Colwil he had forgotten his own gait. This time they followed the path up the mountain and neither stopped, nor wanted to stop.

Then light stopped day, and they prepared for the night. Jerdor halted and looked around “You are lucky, Muban. We are not far from a hut, you will have your city comforts tonight.”

Colwil demurred letting Jerdor enjoy his own humour at the expense of the inexperienced Muban, comfort was the least of his concerns. They prepared first for the food and then the night. Jerdor left Colwil to clean the hut, and then prepare for cooking, whilst he went to look for food. Quickly he returned with a marten, “Luck is certainly shining on you,” smiled Jerdor, his inner mind noting the fortune “we will eat well tonight. I will return with some veg. Look in the corner in that barrel, there is usually grain – depending on the winter.”

Colwil’s questions spewed into his mind, “Where did the grain come from? How did he capture the marten? Will Jerdor show him where the veg is?” but already the man had disappeared on his tasks.

No sooner gone than returned, Jerdor made alterations to the pot, quickly cleaned and cut the veg adding them to the pot leaving Colwil with a great sense of awe. This Jerdor was so well adapted to his life, he laughed at himself he sounded like a wildlife book written by a Muban academic. He sat back, it seemed that conversation was also not on the table whilst they were cooking, a mumbled “later” was all that he discerned.

They sat to eat, and he noticed Jerdor first prayed. He started to ask but decided he would wait for the Naakon teacher. He tasted the food, it felt strangely good yet it was not the food he was used to. It felt clean, that was it, it felt clean and fresh. Here up high he felt good, somehow the food felt good as well. It was natural. He knew Mubans took care that food came from the land – there was even a section in Dom Kajaa devoted solely to food. But to be honest Colwil paid little attention. Now he did, he would for the future. A thought struck him, the food was part of the process for the NaAgu. What did that mean? He paused from eating, he focused on the thought and allowed it to permeate. It was all about Nature including the food, the Natural way to eat was the best way to keep the body healthy. What could be more natural than catching the meat and plucking the veg?

After the meal Jerdor produced some herbs. After grinding them they were soaked in boiling water, and Jerdor mumbled “Colwil, wait 10 minutes.” Sitting back Jerdor waited for the tea. Still no sign of conversation Colwil also bided his time, whilst he still felt the raging need of his quest, the quiet day in the hills and the gentle eating seemed to rest his desire, and he felt comfortable.

The tea was delicious and Jerdor said, pointing at the herbs, “These are plaitooi, and they are good for aching muscles.”

“I feel fine,” retorted Colwil peacefully.

“That’s OK,” answered Jerdor cordially “these will help you when you sleep.

“So what do you think of your first day in the ways of the NaAgu?” he asked with a broad smile on his face.

“I have enjoyed today,” answered Colwil “it was hard to begin with but after a while it felt as if I could walk forever.”

“Of course,” agreed Jerdor “walking up here in the hills is perfectly natural.”

Jerdor sat back quietly, then went outside – to the night. Looking up he saw the stars “Novice, come look at this”. They were high, there was even a freshness about the stars, the way their light came through the atmosphere – sharper more pristine. Jerdor settled back to the entertainment.

Colwil joined him and he noted it was special. But his mind was not there, his mind was on its quest and could see only that. He tried to engage Jerdor but there was nothing forthcoming, and Colwil could feel Jerdor’s irritation at being disturbed. In the end he calmed his mind – there would be another day to learn what the Naakon knew of outside. In the silence he thought back to his day, and the contentment seemed to relax him more. He slowed his breathing, and sat gently in his chair not caring whether they spoke. He smiled to himself at that. He calmed and allowed the stars to fill him, it was spectacular. Some hours later Jerdor said he must sleep, his food had settled. And that was that, the Naakon went in, disrobed and slept.

Similarly Colwil went inside and lay there trying to evaluate the day. His mind tried to focus on the outside but its chattering soon dissipated as Nature took him over and he slept. A good deep sleep.

The next day Jerdor’s ablutions woke Colwil, and he got up to help. After eating Jerdor told Colwil “There is work to be done, you can join me,” and without an answer he simply walked away; Colwil would follow or not. During the day Jerdor gathered food asking Colwil to carry it, he snipped some plants, took others carefully placing their roots in his bag. At lunch there was a hut, Jerdor checked for grain. After eating they moved on and the afternoon progressed in much the same way. And surprisingly by the evening they had returned to their lunch-time hut. Jerdor took his plants and almost caressingly found them a bed – a home? Colwil looked and realised that in between the plants that nature provided there were others that were clearly put there by the Naakon. He asked.

“I hope this will grow,” answered Jerdor “it is better to find a balance. In Mubanrao the farmers do their best but there is not the time and land to grow the way Nature intended. Up here we find where Nature grows and ask her whether she will allow us to add our plants – just a few never too many. And if we are careful Nature’s answer is the food we eat.”

Colwil smiled at the enigmatic answer but when Jerdor showed him the different veg interspersed with the limited natural vegetation something struck home. There was something to it. “How do you ask?” he pondered intellectually.

“”The ways of the Naakon,” answered Jerdor and that was all. They went inside with their veg – no meat tonight. And the rest of the evening was spent the same way, meal and entertainment under the stars. And of course deep sleep.

Several days passed this way. Jerdor continued with his way of life together with his new teaching task, and Colwil tagged along. For the most part Colwil saw the benefit and was genuinely learning, but every so often his inner demon would ask about the outside. One night this came to the stage as Jerdor opened the door. Instead of watching the stars one night he asked Colwil what he thought of the ways of the Naakon.

“They are slow and interesting,” he answered cautiously “the ways of the Mubans seem much faster.” “Mubans try to be sustainable but it is so difficult when you live in cities,” answered Jerdor sympathetically. “For many people the city is the only choice, in the country where it is more natural life lacks comfort but comfort is not necessary. It is usually only weakness. But all people cannot be Naakon.”

This surprised Colwil, maybe NaAgu was the answer. Take the NaAgu Kajaa back to Mubanrao and explain that it is better for all people. Is that what the outsiders had brought in? Not outside wisdom but NaAgu Kajaa.

“Why don’t you bring NaAgu Kajaa to all Mubans?” asked Colwil, the seeker of change.

“Because they don’t want it,” answered Jerdor wistfully “they are not ready.”

“That’s a bit arrogant, isn’t it?” bristled Colwil defending his people.

“It sounds it, doesn’t it?” smiled Jerdor unshaken “All opinions sound arrogant when they are not the norm, don’t they? City Mubans would never agree they are not ready, at least most of them. So my opinion sounds arrogant in the city.”

“But you must ask not whether my opinion is arrogant - a subjective emotional question,” he continued wisely “but how true is what is being said?”

“I see” muttered Colwil, and Jerdor could see there was not agreement.

“Why are you here?” asked Jerdor “are you happy in Mubanrao?”

Colwil nodded that he wasn’t.

“If you could be happy doing what I do, isn’t it better?” asked Jerdor.

“I would like to be happy like you,” answered Colwil carefully trying to engineer an opening to what he truly wanted to learn. “But I don’t think that is possible, I think there is something more.”

“More? Mubans we meet are usually seeking more but it is not that there is more it is that in their minds they feel uncomfortable,” advised Jerdor.

This was exactly the wrong thing to say to Colwil who reacted immediately. “That is just the Kajaa of the monks,” reacted Colwil angrily “they say it is all in the mind. Live harmoniously with your environment, do good, care for others. Are you the same?”

“Of course what is wrong with that?” answered Jerdor.

“What if there is more?” Colwil spurted out “what about outside?”

“Outside,” asked Jerdor “you think outside has answers? It only has death and destruction, that was something Kakangpokao always said, the Relics always point us away from outside.”

“Same old, same old,” derided Colwil bitterly. There was silence.

The stars shone their light on their debate giving clarity. Jerdor continued with his watching whilst he could feel Colwil consumed with anger and frustration. “Nature has one more answer for you tomorrow,” announced Jerdor as he went to bed. His sleep was deep but this time Colwil was unable as his mind clung to the outside disturbing what Nature had to offer. Eventually he drifted away but the next morning was not refreshing.

“Would you like to meet my family?” was Jerdor’s morning greeting. They had spent so long together it had ever struck Colwil that Jerdor had a family.

They descended and after almost a day’s journey they reached a treeline, it was sparse but trees. Entering what might be termed a wood they seemed to hug that line as if unwilling to descend any further into a mire. To their left the trees thickened and Jerdor moved towards them. As they reached this clump of trees it seemed their path was blocked but this did not seem to deter Jerdor. Striding forward without a noticeable change of pace he walked through the clump as if the path magically passed through the trees; even though he was close it was hard for Colwil to see that the trees parted. Walking a few yards the path opened out into space between the tress that was clearly well-worn. A bit further over there were children’s voices, and as he turned to the sound he looked behind and they had passed a house.

Jerdor moved into his house and embraced his wife, in that embrace Colwil removed all his doubts about Jerdor and family. The embrace took time until eventually Sardar separated herself from her husband. “This is Colwil,” Jerdor introduced him, “he is attending NaAgu uni for a short while.” She smiled at his usual joke, and greeted the man from the city.

They walked outside, and the girl and boy playing were called over. “Meet Angila and Marcon, Marcon is my son, Angila is the daughter of my friend Baakor – she is visiting.” Behind Colwil heard more, and turned to see a young woman come out of the house. “This is our other daughter, Sinone,” she smiled as Sinone rushed to hug her father. Colwil couldn’t help but admire her. After a time Sardar told Sinone to take Colwil to their guest room, and he followed still struck by her; this he was not ready for.

After changing and cleaning up it was time for the two travellers to eat, and they joined Jerdor’s family. The meal was little different to what they had eaten in the huts, but there were little homely touches that Colwil found appealing – touches he would have mocked in Mubanrao. That evening he had a problem getting to sleep, but not once did he think of outside.

Jerdor watched with pride as the romance developed. He knew his daughter was ready to start her own home, and he had hoped that Colwil was a match – he had grown to like this city boy. There was a deep compassion in him, and time and a good woman in the NaAgu mountains might well settle him; instead of his mind misusing him it could turn to wisdom and he could become a great asset to their community. None of that crossed Colwil’s mind as his hormones created havoc. As a young man he had always been dedicated to his quest, he saw it as something essential for his community; he never had time for love. There were times when a woman of Mubanrao interested him, but it was their custom to marry first because quite rightly the children were so important. How could he devote his time to children when he had his quest, when he knew his community needed the Kaya wisdom of the outsiders. But with Sinone none of that mattered, all he could think of was her. As their mutual feeling developed the tradition that seemed deeper for the NaAgu raised itself in him. He began to think about what was required of a Naakon family man. Thinking he was being subtle he would ask Jerdor who played along amused at the city boy’s duplicity.

Finally it became clear that the couple could not stay in Jerdor’s home so Jerdor took Colwil out to where he had scouted for them. Knowing his daughter he had not doubts that this would attract her, and as soon as they all arrived it was quite clear that Colwil and Sinone had found their new home. A celebration was arranged, and this memory kicked off the beginning of a new NaAgu family. Sinone was brought up in the NaAgu tradition, and Jerdor had seen that this cityboy knew his duty; he felt all was well.

And Jerdor was mostly correct for Colwil became a good father and provider. Once the NaAgu tradition became second nature, Colwil began to stamp his own background on matters of culture. This never proved a problem and Colwil became a great asset to the community as Jerdor had foretold. But he had misjudged the mind of the cityboy.

Two weeks after Colwil left for the mountains, his sister found the manuscript of The Kajaa Conspiracy. She read it and cried for her lost brother. She went to the abbot, and asked if the abbot would organise rescue. The abbot simply asked rescue from what? The sister had no answer. “Colwil must find his own way, who knows he may settle amongst the NaAgu?” he added wisely.

But that was not enough for the abbot. He remembered this aggressive young man who had pushed so much to study “The Annals of Samsarapho”, and he remembered how he had rejected his requests. He saw in what he had done a mistake, for this boy he might have saved the heartache simply by letting him see the darkness in the descriptions Samsarapho had given of outside; there could then be no delusions. Such a mistake could never be made again.

Kajaa wisdom continually develops as there is nothing permanent. The mind will play all kinds of tricks, and he and his fellow abbots must be aware of these tricks and help to counter them. He wanted no further Colwils through their apparent secrecy, so as part of the training there would now be the Colwil conspiracy. Abbots studied the work of Colwil, and were made aware of the trick his mind had played. If such a strong mind appeared again they would encourage study of The Annals so that there could not be a Colwil delusion again.