He told her that, far and wide, he was known to all the Arabs of the desert and the Armenians of the hills, and how, from sheikh to camel-boy, the tribes were ready to join with Palmyra against both Rome and Persia. "Your time will indeed come, my Odhainat," said the fearless girl, with proud looks and ringing voice.
See, is it not an omen from the gods? Face valor with valor and craft with craft, O Odhainat! Have you forgotten the vow in your father's palace full three years ago?" Forgotten it? Not he. And then he told Bath Zabbai how in all his wanderings he had kept their vow in mind, and with that, too, her other words of counsel, "Watch and Wait."
But this submission to Rome only angered Odhainat, and to such a conflict of opinion did it lead that at last Hairan drove his younger brother from the home of his fathers, and the lad, "an Esau among the Jacobs of Tadmor," so the record tells us, spent his youth amid the roving Bedaween of the Arabian deserts and the mountaineers of the Armenian hills, waiting his time.
In Palmyra, Hairan was dead, and young Odhainat, his brother, was now Septimus Odaenathus "headman" of the city and to all appearances the firm friend of Rome.
Yet see who cometh now?" he cried; and at once the attention of the young people was turned in the opposite direction as they saw, streaming out of the great fortress-like court-yard of the Temple of the Sun, another hurrying throng. Then young Odhainat gave a cry of joy. "See, Bath Zabbai; they come, they come"! he cried.
His coming, as Odhainat and even the young Bath Zabbai knew, meant a stricter supervision of the city, a re-enforcement of its garrison, and the assertion of the mastership of Rome over this far eastern province on the Persian frontier. "But why should the coming of the Roman so trouble you, my Odhainat?" she asked.
Then the girl, flushed with delight at this double capture, galloped to the spot, and in that instant she recognized in the successful hunter her cousin the exile. "Well snared, my Odhainat," she said, as, the first exclamation of surprise over, she stood beside the brown-faced and sturdy young hunter. "The Palmyrean leopard hath bravely trapped both the Roman eagle and the Persian lion.
Becoming, by the Emperor's grace, a Roman citizen, this merchant of Palmyra, according to a custom of the time, took the name of his royal patron as that of his own "fahdh," or family, and the father of young Odhainat in the portico, as was Odhainat himself, was known as Septimus Odaenathus, while the young girl found her Arabic name of Bath Zabbai, Latinized into that of Septima Zenobia.
But as, thinking nothing of all this, they looked lazily on the throng below, a sudden exclamation from the lad caused his companion to raise her flashing black eyes inquiringly to his face. "What troubles you, my Odhainat?" she asked. "There, there; look there, Bath Zabbai!" replied the boy excitedly; "coming through the Damascus arch, and we thought him to be in Emesa."
If there are some people who are patriots, there are others who are poltroons, and such a one was Hairan, the elder brother of young Odhainat, when, succeeding to his dead father's wealth and power, he thought less of Roman tyranny than of Roman gold. "Revenge ourselves on their purses, my brother, and not on their pikes," he said.