You need to love the world to make olive oil. You have to love watching the seasons pass by in all their colours and hope and agony. You need to treat the trees of the grove with care and empathy. You need to love. So the two boys gave all the love they had, for a dream. This olive oil was produced in Greece, it was ripened in the sun and mellowed by the moon. The seeds it had come from were taken to the outskirts of Akkadia, just outside the black sands. There were those who avoided that strange country, which was believed cursed, but olives grown on its frontier were as fantastic as the horrors and wonders of that land, which predated Islam and Aghraba. Those who dared, said they heard their groves speak whilst at night bizarre things which sing and whisper picked the fruit. The two boys’ plan worked, they were admitted to the merchants’ trail, and they discovered that it was true, whatever it was that had changed in the Cursed Country, it was accepting people. Stranger than any land which could not produce olives, Akkadia which now waged war on the world, was also welcoming all. Soon it would be the only safe place left. And by Allah and Christ, these boys had dreamt of it, a country of books which studied the stars as though they were art or mathematics, the kingdom of geanies. They gazed out across the sands which were as black as night, outside their narrow trail to Babylon; stories told of unimaginable terror, where olives did not grow and instead flowers were… strange. Far ahead of them, the tower- it was the tower! It reached, bizarre and beautiful to impossible heights, to a frightening sky, under which earthly olives could not grow. Above them, what were these constellations? Were those moons? Worlds? This want not their world- not the world they loved- They became frightened, not for their lives, but a deeper fear, the fear of the darkness beyond sleep, further than stars. Fear of fear and a pitiless universe. This was a mistake- What was this country? What was-
“Can I try your oil?” A woman wrapped in cloudy, jasmine coloured rags. That was a greater kindness than had ever been shown them. “Don’t go to sleep tonight.” She said. That night, in the realm between waking and sleep in which that country existed, they could have sworn they saw… a woman with sword and shield, trading blows with hungry stars. Lightning, like the light between olive trees, keeping back the dark. In a world that still knew kindness. In a world that somehow, was still theirs. The world they loved. Where olives grow.
Thank you merchants for your contribution to our records and welcome to Babylon, welcome to Akkadia. Please remember to sleep.
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