Mathew and I Proceed
into the Unknown.
Matthew suggested a more secure passage through the countryside to avoid the Bdul. His tribal allies are located in the Wadi Sirhan, just east and south of the suspected tribe. I told him that finding my grandpa Mike and his group was more important. He agreed with that so we went on our way. The fastest route was more difficult, but we both had confidence with our horses supplied for the long trip through that part of the desert.
I asked Matthew about his beliefs in God! What we were about to do required great faith in God that he would prepare the way for us. Mathew said what he has experienced and learned from the Bedouins, was their firm belief that Allah is always present. His will be done.
At the time, I certainly believed what he had said because God is the maker of all things. He created the Arabian horse and I am asking for God’s will to be done, not mine. But I felt assured that our mission was blessed.
Our first day’s journey was uneventful. Avoiding the areas of the suspected tribes was difficult because of the terrain. Our Arabian horses were strong and showed great stamina true to their breed. We traveled at a higher rate of speed to catch up with my grandfather. The directions that Hadji gave us were helpful. I was frantic but under control.
My personality was like a horse’s. I learned to protect my charges. We did not know if Bint had already been taken. The soft sand between the graveled path we were on led us in the direction of the Wadi Sirhan. There was hope, that because of the age of the riders delivering the precious gift to the Sheykh, their traveling speed would be much slower giving us the benefit to be able to rendezvous with them. Along the way, we were assisted by Bedouin who had the assurance by Amir that they would be willing to aid us.
On our first night after arriving in an Oasis with fresh water available and sufficient feed for the horses, we felt secure knowing we had protection from the local tribe members that had allied with Mathew in his mission. Early to bed down and early to depart was our plan. I started to feel uneasy because Mathew still believed that I was a young man. I was not sure if I should tell him. I did not know how he felt about these things, a young lady accompanying him through the desert in a Muslim country. I decided to keep that a secret until the proper time to divulge my real identity. I was encouraged by the fact that the members of the tribe accepted me as a young man.
In the desert, we hobbled our horses. With our horses rested and our bodies filled with the gifts of food from our very generous Bedouin friends, we headed out early the next morning eager to see if any of the local tribe members along the way had encountered a large group of travelers ponying a grey Arabian mare. Mathew had a meeting with the tribal elders when we arrived at the Oasis. He had negotiated with them regarding their aid in exposing the potential terrorists he was looking for. They assured him of their loyalty to our endeavor. A bonus was meeting Dazshtan, the full brother to Bint. All I could talk about was Bint.
They too were dedicated horse-breeding tribes that dotted the wadis’ from Aleppo in the north to the Arabian desert in the South. They could appreciate the need to protect Bint after their encounter with her full sibling Dazshtan. The bloodlines they carried were precious to their nomadic way of life. Enthusiastically, they accepted the challenge. My special forces guide asked them to report any information regarding the entourage traveling to the Ruala. We did not know the identity of the potential kidnappers. Any information they could gather would be helpful.
With our allies’ assurances in place and our horses ready to go, we hurried along our way to head off a danger that existed for Bint. We were hoping that our fears would not have been fulfilled once we met up with them. It was hard going. The pace that we were traveling did not seem to faze our trusted horses. We were happy to realize that Hadji had left breadcrumbs along the way to guide us.
We soon encountered Hadji’s Bedouin friends along the way that knew of our destination and volunteered information when they encountered us. We found that we were close because our friends encountered our group of weary travelers who had taken a day to rest. We were encouraged by the news, and we quickened our pace.
We were nearing the encampment of the Ruala as was told by the local Bedouin. They could not tell us the distance, but they knew that within a day’s journey, we would be there. A day’s journey at our pace would be about half a day. What we saw on our well-beaten trail in front of us were fresh droppings. We knew we were getting close, but we did not know what we would find. Our early departure certainly gave us an advantage.
As we were cresting the top of a hill, we saw before us a group, with horses in the distance by a spot of greenery. Unfortunately, it looked disorganized. They were in a process of breaking down camp and it was very chaotic, but we did not see a grey horse in the group. Mathew told me to call out to them so it would not alarm them. I started to ask God that if this were the case that He would take away our fears and help us as we moved forward.
Dazshtan took the lead as we raced down the hill toward the encampment. Suddenly someone noticed us and came rushing towards us on his horse. As we got closer, I noticed that it was Rashad. Why was he there? Where was everybody else? I was afraid we were too late.
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