It was hot… Under the dim oil lamp that half-lit the tent, he took the match that was leaning on the lamp. He ignited his tobacco. He took a deep breath. As the white smoke scattered in front of the yellow oil lamp, it took various shapes, almost resembling clouds. He took another drag of his tobacco. He pointed his finger on the map that almost covered the whole table and drew an invisible line with his finger up to the hill where they were located. Then he stood up and left the tent. With him, six more pashas followed him out of the tent. He walked to the top of the cliff. When he got to the top of the cliff he stopped. With his right hand reaching out and closing one eye as if aiming, he began to run his fingers over the Afyon Meadow. He loved the vast Afyon Meadow, with his huge hands, like a merciful father's caressing his son's back.
His look was resembling a lion. He was looking; From Kocatepe to Afyon. Trees, rocks, and soil were still. Time seemed to have stopped, the world seemed to have stopped… Only the stars were brighter than ever, bolder than ever, and more than ever.
He immediately asked his aide who stood right behind him for the time. Yaver replied:
“It's three o'clock Pasha!”
The commander with “Şayak kalpak” could hear voices, it’s because it was midnight and voices from the past and the future could be heard more easily at this time, not yet coming from the square; however, which were soon to come. He looked towards the trenches. Despite the sleepiest time of the night, no soldier was sleeping in the trench. Moreover, they were all tired. They had marched since the sixth of August fighting, a burden of six hundred years on their shoulders; From Akşehir to the Mediterranean. Now they were all with their rifles frowned, their backs leaning either against the rocks or the trenches, thinking of their homes, their loved ones, and freedom. He didn’t know the names of many of them, but he knew them very well. Each of them was ingenious like the fertile homeland, plentiful like the climate, and pure like water.
And stars were so powerful, so radiant and so refreshing to the human body; the commander with “Şayak kalpak” remembered the same heat, August in Thessaloniki, which left him tired, sluggish and immobile.
He must have been 7 years old. It was the years when he started school and lost his father. His head was on his most beautiful mother's knees. His mother, Zübeyde Hanım, was explaining to him how Mustafa was born to "Arba’een cold", her marriage ceremonies with Ali Rıza Efendi, and about his three siblings who were born before Mustafa who did could not survive - Fatma, Omar and Ahmet. Although Mustafa had heard these stories repeatedly, he would listen each time as if he were hearing them for the first time.
Ali Rıza Efendi had fallen in love by seeing Zübeyde Hanım in his dream before he even knew her.
Mustafa's mother, Zübeyde Hanım, was not a native of Thessaloniki. Zübeyde Hanım's father was "Sofuzade Feyzullah Ağa". He was engaged in earthworks and trade in Langaza, close to Thessaloniki. Ali Rıza Bey's sisters started looking for the girl that their brother had dreamed of. When they found Zübeyde, Zübeyde was only fifteen. Zübeyde's father opposed this marriage at first. Referring to the big age difference between Ali Rıza Efendi and her, he said: "I have no daughter at a marrying age". However, he could not resist Ali Rıza Bey's family's insistence and gave his consent to their marriage.
Thus, Zübeyde Hanım moved into the two-storey pink house in the Ahmet Subaşı neighbourhood.