Chapter Three: Onslaught of the evil one

The Ratheshtar, standing upright in his Rath, paused in his reading. The people were now agog with excitement. They had understood that King Jamshed had something very important to tell them.

"Go on, Brave Peshotan; read on!" came a voice from the crowd; and others took it up. Peshotan raised an arm and immediately the tumult subsided.

"My Aryan brothers; I continue the King's message."

"I, King Jamshed; ruler of the Aryan race, have thus been favoured by Lord Ahura Mazda. But my dear subjects, troubled times loom menacingly ahead for the Aryan race.

"The Great Ahura Mazda, the Lord of the Aryans; has told me thus:

"O KING, evil times will strike upon the Aryan race. In the form of cruel winter, evil will come. Snow will fall, lakes will freeze, crops will die. The homeland of the Aryans, Aryanam Vaejo will become totally cold and inhospitable.

"I Who am Ahura Mazda, your God and the God of the whole world, wish to warn you of the coming events. It is my wish that the Aryan race and the Aryan religion be not extinguished. Therefore, you should take the necessary steps."

"So informing me, Ahura Mazda has obliged all of us. He has made it possible for us to prepare for the great journey that our race should undertake.

"So prepare, my dear Aryan subjects. We must leave our beloved homes and move southwards. We must uproot our houses and our hearts and move along. Remember, we do it for the welfare of our children, for the future of the Aryan race. We do it so that the Aryan Mazdayasni religion will not die out. It is for the future that we must leave our ancient homeland and move.......!"

A hush fell over the gathered people. They looked at the Ratheshtar, who had become silent, his face bowed down in thought. They looked at one another. It seemed the worry and fear that had suddenly come over their faces would boil over into panic. At that instant, an old lady shrieked:

"Southwards! Great Ahura, protect us from the monsters and barbarians who dwell in such places. How will we ever pass through such troubles!"

The Ratheshtar's head swung up when he heard those words. His chest swelled and a glow sparked on his face, the red glow of manly courage as he sang with emotion and feeling in his voice:

"A Ratheshtar am I, a warrior true

To protect good, and fight evil is my due

Faith in Ahura Mazda is my shield,

My sacred girdle is my armour -

And my prayers are my swords so sharp!

Ten such as me can overcome

Ten thousand demons and monsters...

So my people! Do not worry,

Have faith in Ahura and let us be gone!

Let us be gone to make a new home,

For our children; and their future,

So that the true religion will ever live on,

Have faith in Ahura and let us be gone!"

At that precise moment there was a clap of thunder. Angry clouds had gathered in the heavens above. Lightning burst and fell, shaking the sky; seemingly threatening to split the earth apart.

And then it happened. For the first time in the history of the Arctic, snow fell in an angry rush; then hunks of ice driven by a howling ice-cold gale.

The attack of evil on the ancient homeland of the Aryans had begun. The Golden Age of ancient mankind was over - the dreaded ice age was to follow.

But the people did not panic; they plodded valiantly in the storm towards their homes, their chests thrust defiantly out against the gales; singing the name of Ahura Mazda on their lips.

The day of the great tribulation of the Aryan peoples had arrived.

In the hearts of Yasmin and all those on that day twenty thousand years ago, there was but one desire - to keep the flame of the religion of Ahura Mazda alive and strong. There was only one question burning in their minds - whether the evil spirit would succeed in vanquishing them in the tons of snow that were falling all around, covering their homes, their roads, their chariots, their crops and their farms and numbing their bodies and minds; or whether they would be able to struggle through the long journey southwards; through the dangerous lands on every side; where monsters and barbarians lurked at every step - through all the difficulties and tribulations that surrounded the Aryan race at that time.

And in the breast of young Yasmin; there burnt the flicker of hope that she would meet this brave young Ratheshtar again. But then her mind told her that the chances were very low that she would ever even see him again, in the course of the great Aryan migration southwards when tens of thousands of people would travel with her and it would be very hard to meet Peshotan again.

Yasmin closed her eyes momentarily, her lips whispering in prayer:

"O Ahura Mazda! Giver of Mercies!

This much I ask you today -

That I meet this brave young man again,

Peshotan, heroic Ratheshtar -

Who has moved me as no other."

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