Friday, January 29, 2016

TAKOBIDAMMA {The Writing Sessions: Two}

As evening approached, the tension and excitement in the tribe was almost palpable. Everyone was in high spirits awaiting the two grand ceremonies that were to take place tonight. Even amongst the elders in the tribe, it was a rare thing to have an awakening ceremony and a rite of passage ceremony on the same day.

In the east wing of the living quarters staring outside his window, Suluvu was getting ready for the evening rituals. The Rite of Passage ceremony popularly known as ‘THE NIGHT OF THE UDATA’ was the most sacred ritual in the Ooranyanwu tribe.
On the night of the Udata, a ritual was conducted to create a life bond between the next tribe chief and the tribe’s most sacred possession; THE TAKOBIDAMMA.
A short sword made from the finest steel curved like the husk of an elephant at the end, no one alive knew the origin of the sword as the elders claimed that it has been in existence long before the tribe herself. Rumored to be the arm of the gods themselves, the sword granted magical abilities to whoever it bonded with. The present Udata his father, had control over the sky and the lightning seemed to recognize the sound of his voice and he had heard that his grandfather could control mother earth to do his bidding.
Filled with a mix of excitement and fear, Suluvu didn't notice the footsteps approaching until he heard the all too familiar voice that instinctively dropped him on one knee.
"Suluvu, it’s almost time" the Udata said.
"I'm almost ready your greatness" he quivered.
With everyone else in the tribe including the finest warriors, Suluvu usually felt an air of superiority that he could not quite explain. It felt like deep down inside he knew they were subject to him and no match for him. But anytime he was before his father he felt like a feather in the wind; fragile and weak.
This wasn't just because his father was physically superior to him in every way standing at almost 7 feet with a build that made Suluvu seem like he had chicken wings for muscles, it was something deeper that he had never been able to understand or shake off.

"Stand up son, today is not the day for formalities" he smiled as he held Suluvu on the shoulders.

"Today, we stand as almost equals" declared the Udata as he reached into his side pouch and brought out a necklace.

"This necklace made from lion bones was given to me by my father on the day of my rite of passage, today I want you to have it."
Suluvu stretched out his hands and his father placed the necklace in his hands.

"You will wear it from this day until you succeed me as Udata, then give it to your son as I have given you" he said.

"Thank you, your greatness" the boy said taking a bow.

The Udata held his son's hands and the young man quivered in fear, he hadn't seen the Udata like this before.
"From this moment on, you will call me Father" the Udata smiled.

Suluvu's eyes widened in disbelief as he wallowed in the moment. It was cut short by the raspy voice of Seleya who snapped him back to reality.

"Can I call you father too, your greatness?" She teased.

The Udata laughed out loud at the sight of his daughter and beckoned for her to come closer. She reminded him so much of his wife in their youth. But there was something in her that he couldn't quite place that made him feel like he was looking at a mirror.

"How long have you been standing there?" Suluvu barked.

"Long enough, you should have seen your face" she giggled.

"Stop it, the both of you" their father said. Turning to face Suluvu, "You shouldn't let her get under your skin so much son, control your emotions like a man".

"Yes your gr...Father" He said.

"Okay, I'll see the both of you later tonight" the Udata said and at those words he left the room.

After about a minute of uncomfortable silence, Seleya spoke first.
"It's a really big day for you, are you nervous?"

"It's a big day for you too, I should be asking you as well" he answered.

"We both know it’s not the same thing" she shrugged.

"Awakenings happen all the time in this tribe, its customary for all girls at sixteen and being the Udata's daughter doesn't make it any different"

"Fair point" he replied.

"Exactly but the night of the Udata, that is something some people never get to see in their lifetime" she continued.

"No pressure yeah?" he chuckled.

"You'll be fine, don't worry" she said as she hugged him and dashed out to get ready.

"Why is everyone being so nice today" he mused as he put on his ceremonial robe.

The moon shone brightly as the whole tribe gathered at the center of Ooranyanwu. Popularly known as THE HEART OF THE UDATA, the center of the tribe was the location of all rituals conducted by the tribe Shamans. There were five huts arranged in a circle where the shamans lived detached from the affairs of the tribe people and right in the middle of the huts a few feet away was a circular pool of water. According to the shamans this pool was at the very center of the tribe and its depth was the center of the earth.
As the source of all the life and magic in Ooranyanwu, the water was always clean and always clear with no signs of plant or animal life in it. No one had ever touched the water except the shamans and no one was allowed to drink from it except as instructed by the shamans. In the middle of the pool stood a long staff curved at the tip and resting on the staff was the Takobidamma.

The rite of passage ceremony was to take place first and the five shamans gathered around the pool. The rest of the tribe kept a safe distance from the pool gathering around the huts and watching as the rituals took place.
The Udata and Uditun stood not too far away from the pool with their children staying close to them.
The head of the Shamans, an old, small, stout man who looked like all his hair had fallen off only to grow back in grey patches started reciting incantations. At every call, the rest of the shamans responded in unison and a few minutes later the water began to stir. The shamans chanted louder and soon it seemed like the moon glowing, reflecting on the pool as it began to boil.

“SILENCE!!!” the head shaman roared.

The tribe obeyed as no one even dared to move and the murmuring ceased. The boiling of the pool was louder now and Suluvu was fairly certain that the whole tribe could hear his heart racing.
He gave his father a puzzled look as the head shaman summoned him to the edge of the pool.
“It’s okay my son, go ahead” he said.
Nodding in response, he walked to the edge of the pool. The four other shamans then stripped him of his robes and scooped some of the pool water with their hands. Before Suluvu could think about how that was even possible, they started to bath him it. He shrunk in fear as the water touched his skin almost letting out a scream until he realized it was not hot at all.
When they finished bathing him, they put his robes back on and the head shaman approached him with a scoop of the pool water in his hands still bubbling.

“Bend your head” he instructed.

Suluvu obeyed and the old man touched his forehead with the tip of his tongue three times.

“Now drink” he said.

Suluvu obeyed and drank from the old man’s palms. The water had no taste, it didn’t even taste or feel like water and he waited patiently for the next instruction. After a number of incantations the old man finally spoke,

“The Udata blood is strong in you my child, stretch forth your hands towards the Takobidamma and call for it.”

Suluvu blinked, partly in disbelief and mostly in confusion.

The old man smiled in understanding,

“Call for it and concentrate on it, the sword will come to your hands by itself and seal the bond” he said.
Suluvu nodded in understanding. He stretched his hands towards the staff holding the sword and called loudly.
“TAKOBIDAMMA” he shouted.
Nothing happened.
“Call it again” the shaman instructed.
“TAKOBIDAMMA!” he yelled even louder.
Nothing happened.

A few feet away the Udata was watching and he was filled with worry. He heard his son call the sword a fourth time and his worry was slowly turning into anger.
Clouds began to form and lightning slowly began to flash as the Uditun desperately tried to calm her husband down. Standing beside her mother, Seleya had a headache and her body was slowly burning up with a fever. She didn’t want to worry her parents but it felt like the more her brother called the sword the worse she felt.

“TAKOBIDAMMA” he called again. By now Suluvu had lost count of how many times he had called. It had already begun to rain which meant that his father was angry.
“This has never happened before” the old man muttered obviously worried.
Quick as a flash, the Udata was standing in front of the old man, the rains had increased and the wind was so strong it started to shake the roofs of the huts. The tribe was already in panic and started to move further away from the scene as lightning started to strike the ground.
“What is going on?” he demanded of both of them.
“It…It is not working your great….greatne…ness, Suluvu needs t…to conc…centrate more” he replied, obviously terrified for his life.
“Then concentrate and call the sword Suluvu!!!” he yelled.
Suluvu blinked back tears as he tried to summon courage and find his voice.
“TAKOBIDAMMA!!!!!!!” he screamed till his legs buckled bringing him to his knees.
The sword didn’t move and the only response they got was a scream from the Uditun. He dashed back to his wife to find Seleya on the ground.
“She’s barely breathing and her body is burning up” she sobbed holding her in her hands.
The Udata in his rage stretched his hands to the sky and let out a loud cry.
Everyone ran for their lives.

The ceremony was officially over.

Monday, January 25, 2016

TAKOBIDAMMA {The Writing Sessions: One}

She had been wandering the barren wastelands for five straight days now. She knew she was lost, and she still hadn't seen any signs of human life. Leaving the OORANYANWU tribe had always been a fantasy of hers but certainly not like this, this was very far from the beautiful images that danced through her imagination as she slept each night back at home. Stopping to rest for a bit she stared at the scar just above her left breast, shaped like a scorpion who had lost its tail and was living its last painful moments was the mark of the exile known as the ‘ILARAFI'. The scar still hasn’t healed and she neither the time nor the resources to properly tend to the wound. One thing was certain though, she could never return home.
Night was coming and she sobbed softly as the light from the sun began to dim. Her tears weren’t for the cold she would have to endure again, or the hunger she felt, or even the strange insects and animals that she'd encountered. All of these were nothing compared to the nightmares she had been having since the night she got exiled. It was always the same dream, probably because it wasn't a dream at all.
On the morning of her sixteenth birthday her entire life changed. 
As the daughter of the tribe chief, the great UDATA, this was the day of her 'awakening as a woman' and everyone in Ooranyanwu was excited as they seemed to understand the importance of this day, everyone except her.
''Saleya!!! Suluvu!!!'' a voice that sounded a lot like her mother's called from outer court the Chief's home.
''Yes mother, we're in the sparring arena'' Suluvu replied, his voice booming throughout the battle and strategy quarters popularly known as 'THE ARM OF UDATA'.
Suluvu was also turning sixteen today and as a twin brother to Saleya, he also had his own form of 'awakening ceremony' later in the day. He was especially revered in the tribe because at such a young age he had already started manifesting the supernatural traits of the Udata like his indomitable will, unusual strength and his earth shattering voice.
"You have to learn to control that", Seleya warned as the walls of the sparring arena recovered from his response to their mother.
"Do you want to go another round before she gets here?" Suluvu smiled spinning the wooden staff he picked off the weapons shelf.
"You always cheat, using that freaky strength of yours when I'm winning" she sulked as she picked up another staff to replace the one Suluvu just broke.
"Fine" he sighed, "No strength this time, I'll try to control it" he made a mocking gesture crossing his heart.
"I don't believe you" she said as lunged at him with her staff. He blocked her attack swiftly, spun around and aimed for her legs. Quick on her feet she jumped to evade and took two quick steps back.
"You've always been faster than me" Suluvu protested.
"Let's not forget more skilful" she taunted.
"We'll see" he said aiming his staff at her chest.
Predicting his attack she blocked with the tail end of her staff and spun around and pretended to aim for his legs. Misreading her movements he jumped to dodge and that's when he saw it coming. Realizing it was too late to dodge, he dropped his staff, caught her staff mid-air and crushed it with his hands just as she was about to deliver the final blow.
"Arrrrggghhhh, you always cheat!!!" she exclaimed.
"I'm sorry, but the future Udata cannot afford to lose to a girl" Suluvu declared in his best vocal imitation of his father.
"We'll see how the future Udata handles this" she shouted jumping on his back as he attempted to pick up his staff to return it to the shelf. They struggled until they were both rolling on the arena grounds laughing.
"Seleya, how many times have I told you that the sparring arena is not for women" said the familiar voice that they heard calling them earlier. Looking up towards the entrance, they found their mum staring at them. She was obviously furious and Suluvu couldn't tell if she was angry with his sister alone or both of them. He hoped it was the former as he rushed to his feet to give her a proper greeting and a warm smile.
"Don't try to patronize me with your smile and your puppy dog eyes boy" she said in a much calmer voice, the smile and the eyes were obviously working.
"Come here and let me take a good look at the both you" she beckoned, waving hers hands. Seleya gathered what she thought was her last bit of strength as she stood up to join her bother who was already standing in front their mother.
They were so different and yet so similar. Brown skinned just like their parents Suluvu had a lighter skin tone that resembled that of a tree stem whose bark had been peeled off. Just like the Udata his dark hair was cropped short, his face was almost round except for his pronounced cheekbones and jawline which gave him a coy and mischievous look when he smiled.
 The only distinct feature he took from his mother were her light brown eyes. They were warm and welcoming making him more of a tribe favorite than he already was. He stood 6 feet and 2 inches tall which was very rare for a boy his age. The tribe shamans say that the Udata blood was exceptional strong in him explaining his rock hard muscles and abs. At sixteen although his body already looked like that of the best warriors of the tribe, he still had the face of a boy.
Suleya was a lot smaller standing 5 feet and 2 inches tall. She had a dark ebony skin that resembled the finest clay from the red earth. Long braided dark hair, an oval shaped face with a tiny nose. She looked very fit which could be attributed to her constant urge to compete with her brother who was obviously a giant in comparison. This didn't diminish her feminine features in anyway, she had a firm developing breasts, a flat tummy and hips that were slowly taking shape. She looked like her mother which meant she was easily the most beautiful girl in the tribe. One undeniable difference between her and her mother was in her eyes. Her eyes were dark just liked her father's and they carried such intensity that it seemed like she could see into another's soul.
Their mother, the UDITUN of the tribe always thought this was the reason why she was so stubborn and unruly, deciding to do whatever she wanted and participated in activities that were not 'womanly'. Seleya always reminded her of her husband when they were in their youth and this secretly troubled her because she knew the Udata was not an easy man to subdue.
"I've told you too many times girl, this isn't the place for your kind and a woman should learn her place" the Uditun pleaded dusting the dirt off her daughter's clothes as she spoke.
Seleya shrugged, and gave her mother a sarcastic smile.
"I'm serious Seleya" she said, this time with more urgency in his voice "You're sixteen and you should have learnt our ways by now, after your awakening I cannot continue to make excuses for you when I'm with the elders."
"I tell her every time" Suluvu added.
"Don't you even try to exempt yourself young man” she scoffed. “You encourage her with all these practice sessions you have"
"That's because she never lets me breathe until we spar and you know stubborn she is" he complained.
"Both of you should just get out of here and get ready for tonight" she ordered.
"Yes mother!" they barked as they strutted out the sparring arena.
"She even walks like her father" she thought to herself watching them dash out. It was a very special day for her family and the entire Ooranyanwu tribe but as excited as she was, she couldn't shake the feeling that something was about to go terribly wrong.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Gypsy Girl

In my dreams I watched her dance
Without rhythm and without sound
Sweat dripping down the nape of her neck
Her black gypsy dress almost undone
Adorned with silver moon rings and ruby piercings
In my dreams I watched her dance
Trapped in a desolate room with tainted glass windows
Where the walls were filled with blades
Ever so often she cut herself as she moved
Yet she smiled to herself and danced even more
In my dreams I watched her dance
With bare feet stepping on the droplets of red
Face full of glee she looked far too young
Skin the color of sweet caramel
Breath the scent of a primrose garden
In my dreams I watched her dance
Movements slowed as her strength faded
Scarlet pool slowly filled the room staining the drapes
If only I could find my feet
But I had no body, I could only see
In my dreams I watched her dance
On her knees still swaying from left to right
Someone needed to make her stop
Falling face flat on the concrete floor as her breath stilled
Looking closely I still saw the smile on her beautiful face
In my dreams I watched her dance
Simply because I could do nothing more

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

It's All In Your Head

Your mind is only playing tricks on you
Ultimately, you always do what you want to do
Maybe you wake up late in the morning
Rush through the morning rituals before your boss starts calling
Decide on a whim to skip breakfast
To give you more time for the day's task
But your wife comes in and makes you eat
She says 'You need your strength and I made quite a treat'
You cave and chew for a little bit
Then head out remembering you have clients to meet
Whatever happens at work for the rest of the day
Good or bad, know that she didn't make you stay
Because your mind is only playing tricks on you
Ultimately, you always do what you want to do
Maybe you're in school and your grades are about average
But your parents keep saying your scores are garbage
Just because the neighbor's kid is king of the crop
And the comparison almost makes your heart stop
So that night you plan to break into the principal's office
Get the questions out when no one will notice
Good or bad, whatever happens at the end of that night
Know that your parents didn't cause your plight
Because your mind is only playing tricks on you
Ultimately, you always do what you want to do
Maybe you're dating a calm nice guy
But your friends don't think he's fly
They feel like you should have better taste
And they wanna save you from the time you'd waste
One night you're hanging with the girls at the bar
A young man walks up to your table looking like a star
The rest of the girl all start to get up
At this point you realize its a setup
Ten minutes later he asks if you wanna leave
Glance at your girls knowing what they want to achieve
You tell yourself he's probably harmless
Just one night away from all the calmness
Good or bad, whatever happens after the bar
Know that your friends didn't cause your scar
Because your mind is only playing tricks on you
Ultimately, you always do what you want to do
Advice is only an illusion
The mind can only process information
No matter what another human being ever suggests
The only person that can convince a man, is the man himself.

Friday, January 8, 2016

When the words fail...

He wants to cut himself open
But he's bleeding already
She can't see it though
At least he doesn't think she can
Why does this cause him so much pain?
It's almost numbing and he has no control over it
He only sees it coming
And for a split second he prepares himself for the wave
But the wave feels different every time
Just when he thinks he's figured it out
Telling himself he knows how its gonna come
It hits and he spirals again
He's tried to explain it in words
It didn't work
He's tried silence
It still didn't work
Tried being subtle
It still didn't work
But how can he even make her see
When he can't explain to himself why this was killing him so
He's told himself he probably needs to sort it out
The best way he can
Figure it out and probably it would make more sense
Or at least he'd be able to tell her exactly how and why it was this way
The words have failed him though
He hasn't been able to get through
Not even to himself
So he's left with cutting himself open
Maybe, just maybe if she can watch him bleed
She'd finally see

We all have these days {My therapist's words not mine}

Its as much what you say as it is what you don't
You can't try to stay, you either will or you won't
Still scared you're gonna fail
Or that one day he'll just turn and bail
Still scared you're being selfish
Or that one day she'll think all your thoughts are rubbish
Everyone has a breaking point
There's a limit to how much a person can bend
Even when you suture all the joints
One day she might say 'This is the end'
Everyone has a shaking point
There's a limit to how much a person can defend
Even when you suture all the joints
One day he might say 'Let's just be friends'
So sometimes you decide to talk about it
Then stay silent and watch for the signs
Other times you fight about it
On those days peace is hard to find
But overall you finally realize
In those moments when you look into each other's eyes
That its as much what you say as it is what you don't
You can't try to stay, you either will or you won't

Saturday, January 2, 2016


You learn a lot more about a place in the dark
Light sometimes is an illusion and we don't need the spark
Illumination is the falsehood of the human mind
Colours only exist so the truth we will never find
Its just what we're supposed to perceive
Helps our fragile minds as they continue to deceive
If only we knew that its in the dark we truly see
It reveals what the world around us really is
What it all truly means
You learn more about a person when you block out the sun
As the moon comes out they reveal where they are from
In darkness and solitude we are ourselves
In the morning light we're back in our shells
Cowardice and pretense is all that we share
Tearing off our masks when there's no one there

Friday, January 1, 2016

Piercing Edge {The Writing Sessions:Zero}

She picked up her quiver, hung her bow over shoulder and headed to the practice arena. It was raining outside, she knew this was gonna affect her aim. Stepping onto the wet grounds, she was welcomed by the blade warriors who while taking their morning jog around the arena splashed mud all over her combat boots and clothes. "Great, just great"she muttered to herself, It was already turning out to be a bad day. Making her way to the archery range she reminded herself of just how much hated the blade warriors and their way of life.
She had heard of a time where things were different but apparently that was a long time ago. The way the world worked now, the priority was winning the war and in this war, there were four kinds of soldiers. The Alpha Team aka the blade warriors. They were not called the blade warriors because they used blade weapons, afterall almost everyone did. They were given this title because they specialized in short range combat. This was why she hated them so much. She knew she couldn't blame them, it wasn't their fault that they lived in a world where bravery was measured and quantified by how close you fight. Essentially this wasn't their fault, but they were such cocky bastards and it drove her crazy. The other kinds of soldiers were the Beta Team, the Delta Team and the Omega Team. The Beta Team were the mid range fighters and they came second in the hierarchy of power, last and definitely least was the Delta Team which was where she belonged. Nobody knew anything about the Omega Team and there was no known evidence of their existence except that they were written on the list of teams.
The Alpha Team was made up of mostly Swordsmen and a handful of Axemen, a few Knife-men were here but they were very rare. You had to be pretty good with a knife or a dagger to be accepted here and most importantly you must never, ever, ever throw your weapon. Countless Axe, Knife and dagger users have been relegated to the Beta or even Delta team because they threw their weapons. It didn't even matter if they made the kill or completed their mission, the Council of Blades {the bastards who decided everyone's fate} would always ask, "Would you have thrown it if it was a sword?" and with that obviously rhetorical question a debate is held as to whether they get Beta or Delta. The Beta Team had a few Javelin and Spear users {who basically made up for their lack of throwing power with savage tendencies} with an healthy number of Axe, Knife and Dagger users (mostly Alpha rejects), in her opinion the Beta Team lacked the most "grace" and they constantly were trying to find their place in the world. At least she knew where she belonged, in Delta they had Archers, more Javelin and Spear users {the ones who can actually throw}, Catapult users, Dart users and Stone throwers.
It seemed like forever but she finally made it to the archery range. Team Delta had the smallest and the least equipped section of the arena. Actually they had the smallest and least 'everything' in the camp. The Council of Blades didn't think it was "necessary" to spend "valuable resources" on such an "insignificant" unit. "Why am i so useless with a sword?" she mused as she started to sink into another wave of depressing thoughts.
"Karen!!! You're late again, give me 50 push-ups and 50 consecutive bulls eye shots you know the drill." Brought back to reality by the voice of her Unit Commander Franco Sebastian, she prepared her arrows making the split second decision to start with the bulls eye shots. "Yup, definitely a bad day" she thought as she took aim and made her first shot.