2 The House of Isak

Mo's house was a part of one of the prosperous tribes of the land, primarily due to the leadership of his father Isak who was an intelligent and thoughtful man. Unlike most other warmongering tribe leaders, Isak always aimed for peace and prosperity of his people - through trade and commerce, justice and fair laws, and a deep faith in the knowledge of nature. "Nature always finds a way" he would say "the spring always flows to meet the river and the river to meet the sea." No wonder his village grew in size so rapidly despite being "savages" in the eyes of the other kingdoms. He was the first to identify the options of peaceful trade between the tribes and the kingdom of the plains, building strong allies, spreading ties across the land. He even gave one of his sister's hands in marriage to a prince who expressed his desire to make her his wife. That is how he became close to the kingdom of Ohom, the largest among the kingdom of the plains.

Mo always admired his father's statesmanship skills and how he would find wonderful solutions to problems that seem impossible. For example, during peak monsoon season it was invariable that the villages in the valley would be devastated by the flood waters running down the hills. Every year hundreds of families would be left homeless and starving as their crops and houses were destroyed. Isak was deeply pained by their desperation and spent countless days thinking of a way to end this peril once and for all. That is when he came up with the idea of creating the reservoir.

He gathered the men from these villages and set out to build what everyone believed to be impossible. But after three months of tireless labor they built what is now the reason of pride and prosperity of the tribe and the villages. Tracing the flow of the rainwater through the hills Isak decided to build the reservoir between two opposing hills that would disrupt its flow, and two canals that would drain out the excess water downhill without harming their rice fields and farmlands. Later, the reservoir acted as a source of fish, something that was otherwise very hard to get in this hilly terrain. All this made him very popular among the people far and wide.

Isak knew that for his house and tribe to prosper he must maintain a peaceful relationship with the other tribes. So he would often get his people married with other tribes and favor both families with generous gifts to carry out the rituals. He would seek out most suitable brides and grooms for his men and women and help them get married and set up a family. He knew his efforts were working as the incidents of strife between the various tribes slowly grew fewer year after year. So when the time was right, they set out to find the most beautiful girl to be his daughter-in-law. Isak took Mo with him on this journey through the land and its tribes.

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Mo noticed that no matter which tribe it was, the House of Isak was welcomed throughout the land with great pleasure. Feasts were organized in their honor, accompanied by rivers of Zutho, the traditional rice-beer. Maybe the history written in blood and severed heads was being slowly forgotten and replaced with one of peace and prosperity. Hailing from a very respectable family, Mo had the pleasure of meeting some of the gracious and most beautiful girls that the villages had to offer but none could sway his heart. Though unsuccessful in finding a suitable bride for him, the travels helped Mo understand the diversity of his land, its culture and tradition, and the importance of peaceful coexistence. No wonder now that the news of an invading army left him displeased. War destroys in moments what takes ages to build and he knew that too well.

So as the tribes geared up to defend their land, their pride and their ethos, Mo too disrobed his calm and composed demeanor and decorated himself with war-paint. It was time to put his years of guerilla warfare training to the test. He was only thirteen.