“I will inform my kinsman the Mwene that you have accepted his hospitality and of your numbers.” The gracious words flowed from his lips, meant like water offered to parched earth.
“I, Hzoreda!, thank you. May I have the honour of your name, Mwene’s kinsman?” The woman with the tightly plaited hair was equally gracious.
“I am Nkruma, First Lady of the Hzore.” The words went back lightly and the woman gave a tight little smile.
“You are wise as well as gracious, Nkruma,” she responded. “We will go back into our vessel to await word from your Mwene.”
“I am sure he will send word of a place you can settle yourselves shortly. May your gods smile upon you until our next meeting.”
“And yours upon you.” Hzoreda! shepherded the rest of the Atlanteans back into their ship and the door closed behind them.
The diplomatic party withdrew and the military tightened their perimeter. As the Atlanteans were the Mwene’s honoured guests none of the air defences in that perimeter were pointed at the Atlantean vessel.
It took the Mwene less than a full day to send instructions. The Atlanteans were being provided with a grant of land in the Huila District, if they promised and agreed to conduct themselves in accordance with Kongoese law. The Mwene’s kinsman presented the Atlanteans with a copy of the Kongoese legal code. He went on, “The other question is whether your vessel could fly you there or whether you will have to wake your people and have us transport them there.”
“We will have to read your Book of Law before we can agree to abide by it,” Hozoreda! was doing the talking again today and the Mwene’s kinsman wasn’t sure if that was because she was in charge or because she’d been delegated the task. “As for flying there ourselves, I would have to consult with our engineers and the Navigator to know if that is possible.”
“There are many differences between our laws and our records of Atlantean law,” he agreed. “Some principles are the same but some are very different. As for flying to your new location, if distance is an issue, I have brought an aerial navigator with me.” He indicated the tall, young Kongoese man in civilian clothes and carrying maps. “He has relevant maps and a distance conversion ruler to assist you in your decision making.”
“Thank you,” Hozoreda! accepted graciously. “He will need to come aboard to meet our Navigator. Perhaps you would wish to send companions with him to view the glories of our vessel unimpeded by other duties?”
“As it happens,” the Mwene’s kinsman smiled genially, “the Terrencian ambassador has petitioned the Mwene for just such an opportunity. Would he and his two aides be acceptable? They are here now.” He indicated the three fair skinned men standing to one side.
“Terrencians? They make goat cheese, do they not? Certainly. If the four of them would like to come this way?” Hzoreda! issued a pleased invitation.
As the four men disappeared into the Atlantean vessel an aide stepped up to the Mwene’s kinsman. “Sir, why did you allow that? It’s just handing the Atlanteans hostages!”
“I’m sure the Atlanteans think that too,” answered his superior reassuringly, “but Archduke Josef volunteered to go along to protect the Flight-Lieutenant. The Archduke is a solider, his bodyguards are helots and they all fight dirty. The Atlanteans might be in for a surprise.”