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Yogesh Chandratre

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Storm of the Sumerians
Rumoured while crossing into Iran through Zargos Mountains

The Zargos Mountains of Iran wall its borders from south to east of the
country. For thousands of years the Zargos have been home to the native
Lur. Most reside on the highlands of Luristan while some dwell in it's
southern range of Far province. Mostly herders and shepherds by
occupation, the Lurs are one of the oldest surviving tribes in the world, if not the oldest. The soil of Zargos Mountains is as rich in oil as in its legends for some of Iran's major oil fields are located at foothills in the western central region. Oil miners work here all year long ensuring the world gets its millions of barrels of fuel to keep it's pace.

When men and oil come together, mishaps are always a possibility, no
matter how careful one is. The miners accept it with their own slice of
philosophy, 'Humans will err, and oil will burn.' Their notion is old. Older
than any oil field of Zargos.

One early October morning in 2004, labourers Shabbir Malik & Firoz Irani
decided to stroll a while before heading to their quarters after a second shift that ended four past midnight. The mountain breeze was cold but not freezing. Away from the chaos of machines and men, were discussed dreams, wishes, home, family and everything that was close to their hearts. Six years they had been away, working to earn just enough to sustain their families. In toil, they had sweated a few dozen barrels. But their sweat never earned worth half as oil.

In sudden, the mountain breeze thrust itself in deft force. From a deep
cavern covered in the dark shadows of the night, a sonic boom was heard. The two Lurs were accustomed to here blasts of gas. Usually it was followed by flame and heat. But in this case, it was only a cold gush of mountain speeding from the right & straight towards them. Before soon it raised every hair on their Lur skin, as it breezed pass them leaving smog of sand in trace. Shabbir & Firoz remained still, waiting for the sand to settle. It took a few moments before the blur faded.

Under the crescent moon, the ground would not have been as lit as it was by the flame of mines that never slept. Only deep of mountains could their light not reveal. But foothill and plains always basked in its glow. They were as barren as they ever were. Only stones and rocks of fist sized landscaped them.

The Lurs, curious at the strange phenomenon strided ahead curious but
cautious, wanting to inspect the track that ran across their path a few
meters ahead. Dust had come to cover but not in deep. They found
footprints running across. As boys they had wandered with their sheep in
mountains. The prints were similar to those often sighted near the site
where a sheep would either go missing or be found dead.

'Cheetah!' murmured an astonished Shabbir bending low to inspect the
prints. They were bigger. Much bigger than the average pugmarks of an
adult cheetah. But their pattern was unmistakable. Even the distance
between two successive fore tracks was twice as it normally was. 'The beast of Sumerians!' whispered Firoz. It was a weak legend not very popular amongst the current generation of Lurs, the oldest and most intact tribe of Zargos. But in stories that were discussed only in the late hours of fire talk and often at times which nearly matched the late hours of a dying night as this, Firoz had heard of the mighty Sumerian conquerors who feared not even the barbarian Kassites of Zargos. Old Farukh had once uttered of an Zargos cave painting of a Sumerian beast dashing straight into a fleet of war thirsty Kassites... a cloud of sand following the beast in his trail and Kaasite corpses left to rot. A Greek merchant who was then visiting their Lur village, told Farukh of having heard of this Sumerian beast... of rumours that the Sumerian king had come to command over the forces of nature and used them in his battles. The Elements chose their medium to manifest and use it
to strike the enemy, leaving rest of land and creatures unharmed. When
Storm, or Zargos as the Greeks called it, was summoned to battle it would choose only the fastest. The medium of Zargos was touched by the eternal elemental. It lives long after the Sumers and Kassites and their battles & kingdoms have vanished. 'An age would come when history would repeat itself... in another age... another war... whence humans will err, and oil will burn the flames of war... it knows.' Farukh recollected the Greek merchant's words. “It has already begun.' Shabbir said of oil burning the flames of war. It's neighbour across the Zargos has already fallen. Now perhaps the enemy would want to bring the flame of war into their land. “Perhaps that is what makes the Zargos restless.' said Farukh. 'Perhaps it is only too eager to wage a war,' came another read of the trail. Not a word more was exchanged and the two Lurs headed back to their quarters striding as fast as they could.

©yogeshchandrate2008 All rights reserved

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