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Colwil never had any regrets, his family life amongst the NaAgu had been more than complete. But his mind would not allow him to settle as a grandfather. His daughter, Saniu, was expecting, she had married a sensible young Naakon. Their home was near, and Sinone would always have something to do to help her – no matter how much interfering. His son was nearing adulthood, he would soon find a bride and could settle nearby, his duty to look after his mother would be taken seriously and whilst it would add a certain disharmony to his son’s family such an extension was not unheard of and would be respected.

As his children had begun approaching adulthood Colwil’s mind returned to the outside. The Naakon spoke little of the outside, in some ways their minds were more set than the distant Mubans. Their tradition was so important to them as they believed implicitly that without their retaining NaAgu wisdom eventually when the Mubans needed it there could be a catastrophe. This was never questioned. The symbiotic Kajaa of the Mubans and the NaAgu would be held solid, this was so deeply entrenched amongst the Naakon. Yet the Naakon never considered the outside. Whilst Kakangpokao had been greatly revered he did not become a leader. Whilst he was known as the Keeper of the Relics the Relics mattered much more to the city folks. Whenever he thought of the outside he never found answers within his community. More and more his mind was saying it was time to continue his quest.

And one day he just left. He had been out checking the huts, gathering the veg, and he didn’t return home. He just continued on. He knew there would be ructions. Sinone’s father would curse the city boy but Sinone would know. She could never understand but she would know. When they had first met she had smiled sweetly and said “Am I your outside?”; he had loved her for just that. For just over 20 years his family had been his life but this quest was deep within. He had to find out before his body was not capable of carrying the mind outside.

There was a notional ring that was NaAgu territory. Although their homes were at the top of the treeline they were kept well hidden, and few Mubans knew about them, their camouflage being so effective. Naakon never descended even in the worst of weather only seeking food from above. But as they ascended weather also controlled them because above a certain height it became so cold. This ring of NaAgu that spread around the valley whose centre was Mubanrao was accepted by their tradition as their limit. But it did not limit Colwil for his mind was never limited by traps that had been set by traditions, his mind must expand.

And one day he decided that he would ascend beyond the ring in search of the outside. He had told Sinone that he would travel far westwards this time, and please not to expect him for days. And off he went westwards and upwards. He collected clothes he had set aside for his quest, and began climbing upwards. Despite having thought of this for a long time he had no definite plans. From within the valley it was never clear how high the mountains went, they never saw the top as they were always covered in clouds. There was a sense they could go above the clouds but no-one had – it was the tradition. Then there was the wind, they knew of this through The Annals, and there was also the legend of the snake – the huge snake that protected the valley of Mubanrao. What seemed so strange to Colwil was that no-one knew anything. The Mubans were so content they never explored, and for Colwil this seemed a weakness. There were no rules, no prohibitions, maybe a fear of the unknown but no-one had explored. For a Kajaa whose root was “Learning What is What”, no-one knew what was the land they lived in. He could understand their fear of the outside, that was enshrined in The Annals, but not to know of your own land just appeared ignorant to him. Well he would change that. He would chart his path so that when he returned all would know the way he had been.

Whilst the ring of the NaAgu ran round the whole of the vast valley there was one area where few Naakon worked, Colwil understood there was little food there. It seemed a good way for Nature to protect the Mubans from outside. He made his way to Kardor Ridge and started to climb but the climbing soon became too rough. Frustrated he descended again, and moved further round to ascend again. This time the path was gentler but again the Ridge proved impassable. Days had passed and he had achieved nothing. But he was making charts mapping the ridge, and he concluded the ridge was impassable. Yet he still felt that above the ridge was his quest. He decided to backtrack on the ring, and attempt to climb above the ridge before travelling round. Again this would take days.

Backtracking he returned towards the inhabited Naakon land avoiding human contact. After travelling a day or so it seemed that he had left the ridge behind, and he could ascend more gently and then return above the ridge line. Soon it got cold …. very cold. But he was prepared for that, if he could walk that was enough. As a Naakon judging distance and direction became second nature, but in this new territory that skill was being severely tested. Somehow he wanted to find his way back so that he was above Kardor ridge, but the terrain he was crossing was so different. Would it take him a day – two days? And was he sure of the direction. Sometimes the “path” forced him in a direction he didn’t want, he would then compensate but did he do so adequately? And he was going up. His speed changed so how far did he travel? And the cold also affected him. He was lost!!

But never mind, finding the outside was not an exact science to say the least. After a couple of days he judged he was above the ridge, and climbed higher. Looking up was not encouraging. It appeared he was reaching the top, but once there there was another and another. But he went up and up forced on by his mind’s quest. Although not shear like the ridge this terrain was getting harsher and harsher – difficult to traverse, and the cold was getting to him. Then he reached the wind. Above him he saw the visibility change, and when he reached this forbidding line he was blown. This wind he had never experienced before. He was climbing and being forced to keep his body at 450 in an effort to counter the wind. But he knew he was losing. He was ascending but there was no end in sight, does he give up?

Inside a voice said look for a sign. The Relics! Namzo’s Relics. They would show him the way outside. Find a Relic. This was meant to be; deep inside that’s what was said, it was meant to be. So he looked but it was not the visibility. A Relic could be there but he would miss it. And then he knew the Relic wasn’t here. He had to go down and find the Relic. That was his quest now. Somehow he must get down and find a Relic.

Easier said than done, but he was not going to be swayed. He wanted to avoid the ridge but it would be hard to retrace his steps. Yet at the same time he didn’t want to that so he decided in his descent that he would go the other way – head north. For two reasons. Whilst the ridge was impassable it had not been that wide – wide enough but not that wide. He had retraced steps and then climbed but moving into new territory seemed more sensible. At the same time retracing meant taking him nearer his own community, whilst still very distant that was not a way he wanted to go. Move north.

Whilst going down was more risky it was far quicker. Moving down and north somehow felt easy, and he took that as a sign. Maybe there was a third reason for going this way, was this the way to the Relic? Maybe it was not Kardor ridge that had drawn him but a nearby Relic. Two then three then four days he descended, and of course all the land was new to him. And before he knew it he saw the tree line. That would mean Naakon, and he didn’t want to meet them. He would not be known even though Naakon was a small community, the Ridge sort of separated them. How would he explain what he was doing? How would he explain how he had got here?

Yet he had to find the Relic, but not only that – a Relic that would guide him outside. Up the mountain the meaning of the Relic had been so clear to him but now it made no sense. He had never seen a Relic, in truth he had never believed in them. Yet he had made a decision to come down the mountain to find this inexplicable Relic. Was he delirious? It was said amongst the Naakon that going too high affected the brain, maybe that was what had happened to him?

He thought more on the Relic issue, where were these Relics? He could never just find them because many people in the Doms spent lifetimes looking for relics. He could ask them, could he? That approach had no appeal to him, he was now a loner. Going up the mountain, leaving the world behind – his family, these were matters that separated him from his people, the Naakon. The first Naakon he met would ask where his family was, how would he answer? No, he would avoid people. So, where did that leave him? Wandering aimlessly hoping to stumble on a Relic. Sobeit, he had no choice. Or at least the choice he had made had consequences to be accepted.

For days he wandered around the Ring of NaAgu. He tended to avoid paths but that was not always possible, and when he didn’t he found himself perilously close to Naakon dwellings. And then one day he was walking and looked up, there was a face in the rock – a rockface, he mused; the locals called it hinduunaakon - “the rock that overlooks NaAgu”. It was looking the wrong way, he thought, where is the rock pointing towards outside? But this was a sign, he needed to accept it as such; embrace the sign and determine its meaning. First he moved up close but the closer he got the face lost its shape – after all it was just rocks. So the shape was in the perspective, and he stepped back until the face was full frontal!! Once there he looked for a second sign, not the face but a sign pointing his way. Keeping the same distance he walked back and forth, then he noticed a group of trees. From a certain perspective they could be seen as an arrow. Yes it was an arrow pointing his way up. It was not even straight convincing him more that it was his sign, and at that moment two crows flew overhead, different directions, different heights, different sounds, but the same affirmation; his path was set.

It was not necessary to set off immediately. He thought back to his previous attempt, what was missing, what could have made it better? Apart from knowing the way outside, there was little. The cold was bitter, he checked his clothing – sufficient. Supplies he picked up on the way at the Naakon store, he laughed to himself. The maps. He could improve them, make more of an effort, collate more clearly with local landmarks – the face the trees. He decided. Once he returned from outside, people could use these maps, part of his heritage he hoped. Before he would have to spend his time fighting the elements he would make a detailed effort with his cartography. And he left.

Embracing his cartographic remit he followed his sign – the designated direction as prescribed by the trees of the rockface. Nothing like his previous walk, he felt good. No Kardor ridge to sidestep, no retracing steps. Yes this was the sign but not a Relic. Up the mountain why had he thought Relic? Everything felt good, except that – a nagging doubt. He carried on up, and there were pockets of snow between the dirty black jutting rocks. And there was a shrine, he could not believe it. Who would have a shrine up here? It wasn’t tended, someone had made the effort to come all the way here, make a shrine and leave. It wouldn’t last - it had to be this season, he thought. There was a jar, he assumed containing ashes and next to it a small box which he opened. A tooth. It made no sense. A Relic? He was stretching but he took it as a reinforcing sign, so on he went.

It was getting colder but the terrain was not so tricky, this was good he thought. He climbed and climbed, it was still fine. His maps were finished, it was just him and the cold as he pushed on. And then the wind started as before, howling trying to lift him off his feet. But he pressed on. And then the voice said, it was not a Relic, you have to find the Relic before you go up, it is time to go down. He pushed on but his heart wasn’t in it, and he eventually followed the instructions of the voice – he went down.

Reaching the tree line fatigue took him over completely. He had seen a cave a while back, he managed to find it again and crashed. How long? He awoke. There was some hunger but mostly he was disheartened. How long could he keep doing this? He was nowhere nearer the outside, how had they managed to get to the valley? He slept again, and this time his hunger drove him to get out of his slumber. No sooner had he eaten he crashed again.

Awakened he thought about his quest, the next part. He had not yet found a Relic, and deluded himself about signs. He had chosen the most difficult terrain thinking that was most likely for Nature to have protected the valley. It was time to return to easier climes – climbs, and try the easiest way out. Heading south he had to be more careful, he could well meet people he knew. Days turned into weeks as he headed south, but he was running on adrenaline. He wanted outside but was not convinced of his plan. But he had to go on, driven – southwards. Despondent. At least he was making maps.

Once reaching the South he made two further attempts to find outside, turned back by the wind on each occasion. Bedraggled he returned to Mubanrao where he met up with his sister again. To begin with she was pleased with him but he was a beaten man. This beaten man didn’t belong here and she asked her son to visit Sinone. Immediately Sinone came down to the city and took him back. He was broken, she knew he was broken, but he belonged up with her to live out his days – the furthest outside he could get.

Once Colwil returned to the Naakon and his family, he looked back in his dotage at his failure. Yes there was failure but he had tried, and there was great virtue in his efforts. Where he had once been broken he could look on Sinone, their family and the strength of purpose and meaning he had found in life – something few had. He died content at his contribution. His sister had his maps and she took them to the Abbot who was impressed. He kept them in store, and a few abbots later there was a mission to chart the valley. The Abbot called these maps “The Colwil maps” and henceforward Kardor ridge became officially known as Colwil ridge, a name the Naakon never used because they never knew.