Friday, February 19, 2016

TAKOBIDAMMA {The Writing Sessions: Five}

She woke up screaming.
For the past six days she had dreamt of the same thing; the fire, the sword and the scar. She always woke up from the pain of the scars and they still stung like the night she got them.
Thankfully it was morning already and she didn’t have to stay up the rest of the night like the previous days.
The Ooranyanwu tribe was surrounded mostly by sand as the tribe was situated right in the middle of the desert. As Seleya picked herself up and began to walk again, she realized that the shamans were right to say that all the life of the tribe magically came from the heart of the Udata because naturally speaking nothing should be able to grow from the ground.
As she wondered alone in the heat of the sun; she began to miss the warm air, the animals, trees, the people and the life of her tribe. She was out of food, out of water and out of strength and the only thing that was keeping her on her feet was the conversation she had with her father just before she was sent away.
After she was marked, the Udata called her into his private chambers and said to her,
“My child, I’m sorry that things had to turn out this way but I swear on my life that this is the best thing for the tribe. I cannot lie to you, your life isn’t going to be an easy one but you’re a fighter.
You always have been and always will be. On the outskirts of the tribe you will find nothing except the desert, make sure you go eastward. I cannot tell you much, but you need to find someone due east before the seventh day when your abilities will awaken again.
The gods be with you my child.”
That was all he said to her before handing her food supplies and sending her off.
Still moving eastward, Seleya’s pain was slowly turning into anger.
“He didn’t tell me anything and I certainly do not deserve any of this.” She thought to herself.
Looking ahead though, she was almost certain she could see buildings begin to take shape as she moved closer.
Back at the tribe, it had been six days since the princess got exiled and although no one knew what had happened, the people were still asking questions.
The Uditun had not come out of her chambers for the six days and nothing the Udata did could persuade her otherwise. In her eyes he would always been the villain and for now he would have to live with that.
He also seldom came out of his chambers often lost in thought and trying to convince himself that he did the right thing.
At the time he sent Valejiri to get his family, he hadn’t decided to send his daughter away yet. His plan was to get the family so they could make a collective decision but Asarade and the other shamans gave him a better understanding of the stakes.
“I didn’t have a choice” he thought to himself over and over again as he had been doing for the past six days.
While Valejiri was away, the Udata asked,
“Is this really the only solution?”
“The young one has a point your greatness, those two children have been rivals since the day they were born and that is not about to change” Ugosidaya said.
“And??” the Udata asked.
“It may not seem like much now because they are young, but imagine them ten years from now. Seleya a young woman with mastery of the flames and Suluvu possessor of the Udata blood, if they have any disagreement which is highly likely it could tear apart the entire Kingdom.” Abafanor continued.
“Well, the two of them are like night and day” the Udata muttered.
“Exactly your greatness and…” Asarade started stopping abruptly.
He was obviously afraid to say what was on his lips.
“Speak freely” the Udata beckoned raising his hand.
“Well….like you said they are like and day. Everyone in the tribe knows that Seleya is more like you, stubborn, adamant and wilful.”
He glanced at the Udata for permission to continue.
The Udata raised his hand motioning him to speak.
“Suluvu is more like his mother, kind-hearted, crafty and cunny. The people of this tribe do not know the tribe history, all they know is that their Udata should be able to control the elements.
If a time ever comes when they do not agree on an issue, I fear that the Kingdom will be divided against itself and Seleya will actually have followers.”

The Udata thought in silence and made his decision awaiting Valejiri’s return.
Still burdened by the weight of his actions he prepared to address the people of Ooranyanwu by noon. Tales had begun to spread around the tribe and he needed to keep his people at peace. The shamans had already instructed him not to tell the truth about Seleya’s exile or Suluvu’s inability to summon the Takobidamma.
Keeping that in mind he planned to tell the people that Seleya had been sent out to perform a ceremonial ritual that occurred once in six generations and that Suluvu eventually summoned the sword.
Although deep inside the Udata, he didn’t believe his people were that gullible and because he was an honest man he knew one day the truth would eventually come out.

Suluvu was in his chambers trying to rest a bit before the tribe meeting at noon. He still couldn’t believe all that has happened so far, not only had he lost his sister but he had to stand before the people of Ooranyanwu claiming to have obtained power that he did not have.
“May I come in?” he heard outside the door of his room.
“Enter” he answered.
Valejiri stepped into Suluvu’s room and they exchanged glances for a few seconds.
It seemed like a lifetime to Suluvu now but at some point in his childhood the young man who stood in front of him used to be his friend, his only friend. Things were different back then and much simpler. Right now he was the next Udata and Valejiri was a shaman, there was no way they could ever relate on such a basic level anymore.
“Please sit” Suluvu said, pointing at a chair near the window.
“You should be getting ready for the meeting?” Valejiri said as he took his seat.
“There is nothing to prepare for, I’ll just stand there and smile as my father tells the people that I have power that I do not possess” Suluvu replied coldly.
“Well, you have a point there” Valejiri said smiling.
Suluvu caught the smile and it was so nostalgic he couldn’t help but smile back.
“Remember when we were kids and the three of us decided to sneak into the…” Suluvu began.
“Yes I remember” Valejiri said cutting him short.
They paused for a moment and both burst into laughter.
A few seconds later, Suluvu’s laughter quickly turned to a bitter frown.
“I hear you were the one that got my sister exiled” he said.
“That isn’t exactly true Suluvu, I merely gave my opinion….” he began.
“And what exactly was your opinion?” Suluvu asked angrily.
“Suluvu listen to me, believe me I merely told them I felt you were the next Udata no matter what happened with the sword.
I am the youngest of all the shamans, I can’t influence an exile even if I wanted to and I certainly didn’t say that the Udata should present a powerless son to the tribe claiming to have bonded with the sword, no offence” he concluded.
Suluvu’s breathing calmed a bit.
“I’m just tired of all the lies, how am I supposed to lead the people when my father is gone?” he asked.
“Well, your father isn’t gone yet so we have plenty of time to sort that out.” Valejiri said with a smirk.
“It’s been ten years and you still look like you’re working on a new prank.” Suluvu smiled.
“Some things never change I guess, I should go now, take care of yourself Suluvu.” he said leaving the room.
“Let’s get this over and done with” he thought as he realized that it was almost noon.

Stepping out of his room, he couldn’t help but think about his sister and where she was at that very hour.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

TAKOBIDAMMA {The Writing Sessions: Four}

The Udata stood, staring in disbelief at the sword in her hands and the flames that burned her.
The shamans, the Uditun and Suluvu were already running towards Seleya in panic as the flames roared higher. Ironically Seleya had stopped screaming and the flames didn’t seem to harm her. Noticing this, her father stretched out his hand to hold her.
“Don’t touch her, your greatness!” Ugosidaya said.
They were just behind the Udata now.
“The flames do not consume, there is no heat” the Udata said as he embraced his daughter.
There were still tears in Seleya’s eyes but the pain in her head was gone, also the touch of her father seemed to calm her and the flames began to still.
“We could feel the heat even at a distance” Asarade exclaimed.
“They are both bonded to the sword so it makes sense that they both won’t feel it”
It was Valejiri that spoke and after he did a deafening silence fell amidst them. They all had the same question on their minds but no one dared ask.
“Suluvu, did you feel the heat?” The Udata finally asked, breaking the silence.
“Yes….yes I did Father” he replied.
Asarade instinctively spat on the ground.
“Tell the sword to return to the staff child”
Seleya obeyed and the sword returned making Asarade a lot more agitated.
“Take the children back home for now, they have been through enough already” he said beckoning at the Uditun.
She looked at her husband for approval and when he nodded she took the children with her back home.
“Will she start any fires again?” Suluvu asked in fear.
The Uditun seemed to echo the question with her eyes.
“She won’t hopefully…” Ugosidaya started.
“Under normal circumstances it takes about seven days before abilities manifest again after awakening but as we all know there is nothing normal about this situation” Asarade concluded.
Suluvu wasn’t satisfied, neither was Seleya or their mother but they left anyways.
As soon as they were out of earshot, Asarade spoke up,
“Your greatness let us go inside, there are things we need to discuss with you.”

In the hut, Asarade instructed Valejiri to get the ancient scrolls as they all sat down and he began to speak.
“Do you know about the gods and the Takobidamma?” Asarade asked the Udata.
“Only as much as my father the Udata before me told me” he replied getting impatient. He usually grew wary of the nature of the Shamans. Even during times of war, the Shamans still took their time to explain everything did things with a calmness that he concluded could not be natural.
Sensing his impatience he continued,
“We shamans are bound by Oath to the truth and we protect the truth at all times, but we do not always tell the entire truth.”
“I’m listening” the Udata said.
“There are five gods who bestowed life and gave us all things. They all work as one unit but they are five in all. Velqua, Zagudo, Origki, Mazete and Sythoi. No one knows their origin but we know they are siblings because they have shown us the signs over the centuries.”
“What exactly does this have to do with my children?” he asked.
Ugosidaya answered this time.
Velqua controls the flames, Zagudo rules the sky and its elements, Origki owns the waters, Mazete dominates the earth and Sythoi rides on the winds. It is said in the ancient scrolls that when the Ooranyanwu tribe began with the first five shamans and the first Udata, the shamans were the avatars of the five gods.”
The Udata’s eyes widened as he looked through the scrolls to confirm what he was hearing.
“You’re saying there was a time in this land that a mere shaman controlled the sky?” he asked no one in particular.
“Yes your greatness and this continued for many years. The Udata was bestowed with strength, agility, durability and the voice of thunder which still flows in your bloodline till date but the shamans had a direct link with the gods.” said Abafanor, the second oldest of the shamans.
“What happened then and how does this help me with my children?”
The Udata’s patience was fading.

“Some generations passed and in the year of the sixth Udata a tragedy occurred. One of the shamans decided that he wasn’t satisfied with being Kingmaker alone and wanted to be King. His name was Chavirebi and he was the avatar to Zagudo.
When the rest of the shamans learnt of his plot to kill the Udata, they tried to stop him and a battle raged that nearly destroyed the tribe.
 The Udata was saved but the shamans killed Chavirebi in the process which is against our oath.”
Asarade paused to look at the Udata. The Udata was obviously interested now as his breathing had slowed and he sat more comfortably.
“After that a new shaman awakened to replace Chavirebi and the head of the shamans at the time decided to talk to the gods, to prevent a repeat of this tragedy.
The shamans then decided that to prevent another rebellion, they would no longer be the avatars to the gods but instead the Udata would carry on the spirit of the gods so he can rule the people.”
The Udata only nodded.
“Those five shamans forged the Takobidamma, infused it with the spirit of the gods and used it as a link with which the Udata could access the spirit of the gods.
Since that time every Udata who has lived until this time has been blessed by one of the gods to become his avatar. For you it was Zagudo and apparently Seleya has been blessed by Velqua to carry his spirit.”
The Udata was silent again for what seemed like forever.
“Does this mean she’s the next Udata?” he asked.
“It’s difficult to answer that your greatness, the issue here is that there was a time when the Udata never had any link with the gods.
It’s not a law that the Udata must have a link with the gods and with Suluvu has already begun to manifest the bloodline traits of the Udata.
On the other hand, Seleya has been blessed by the gods and that cannot be reversed either.” Ugosidaya said.
The Udata looked at Asarade for answers but got none.
“No matter how we look at it, Suluvu is the rightful heir to the throne. The Udata has never been female and this doesn’t change that” Asarade said.
“Is there a way to transfer the spirit then?” The Udata asked perplexed.
“In the ancient manuscripts there is no mention of any transfer ritual” Abafanor said.
“There may be a solution although I doubt your greatness will like to hear it.” Valejiri spoke.
“Speak now or you lose your tongue!” The Udata said angrily.
“As our head has rightly pointed out, Suluvu is the Udata by our laws and customs. They may both still be young but as they grow older, Seleya’s powers will and Suluvu will grow in strength as well. If a time ever comes that they both do not agree, nobody may be able to stop them and it may lead to grave danger for the entire tribe.”
He paused to look at the Udata and he motioned him to continue.
“Seleya is the unpredictable factor here, first we do not know how being an avatar will affect her as a woman knowing that the abilities are linked to the emotions of the wielder.
 Also we cannot risk a rebellion among the people, if they find out that Seleya has been blessed of the gods some of them may swear loyalty to her and this will tear the tribe apart.
Putting all this into consideration I suggest that the girl be exiled as soon as possible before her powers start to manifest again.”
Asarade and the rest of the shamans half expected that the Udata will strike Valejiri dead in that instant but the chief simply sat still lost in thought.
“My first duty is to my people” the Udata said in almost a whisper.
“Go and fetch my family, Valejiri” he said.

Valejiri returned with the Uditun and the children. The rest of the shamans and the Udata were standing by the pool.
As the approached the Uditun saw Asarade with a knife shaped like a crescent moon. She started to scream almost immediately knowing what the knife meant.
“No, please not any of my children!!!” she begged and pleaded.
“Hold her and bring Seleya forward” the Udata ordered the rest of the shamans his voice like a wounded tiger.
The twins were scared and confused as Seleya was brought forward.
“What….what…what is going on?’ she said.
“I’m sorry my child” was all Asarade could bring himself to say as the other shamans stripped her clothes off.
He made the first cut.

She screamed.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

TAKOBIDAMMA {The Writing Sessions: Three}

Seleya woke up in the middle of the night to find her mother and two shamans in her room staring at her. The Uditun who had been crying the whole time ran to her bedside as she tried to get up.
“Seleya, thank the gods you are awake” she mumbled in between tears.
“What….happened” Seleya said.
“You fainted during the ceremony” said one of the Shamans. The shamans by tradition never got involved with the affairs of the rest of the tribe. They had servants specially delegated to them to bring them anything they needed from the outside world as they remained in the centre of Ooranyanwu in their huts.
Studying and learning the ways of the gods and the elements, freeing themselves of worldly lust and passions. They were forbidden to marry or procreate and when one shaman dies, a new shaman awakens in the tribe and he is brought to replace deceased.
The shaman who just spoke, Valejiri, was the youngest of all the shamans. A year older than Seleya and Suluvu, he was the son of one of the tribe chiefs and a childhood friend of the twins. He was best friends with Suluvu at the time until he was seven and the head of the shamans at the time died.
One morning, Valejiri woke up screaming, saying he could see ghosts and spirits. This was the sign of a new shaman’s awakening so the rest of the shamans summoned him and that was the last anyone had seen of him till today.
Seleya still recognized him but she was still studying him and how much he had changed when she suddenly remembered the ceremony.
“What about Suluvu? Is he alright? I need to....Oooouuuuccchhhh!!!!” she yelled as she tried to get up.
“You need to rest, your body is still a bit warm” said the other shaman as he came closer to feel her temperature.
“We still cannot explain the events of today and regaining your strength is top priority for now” Valejiri said.
He sounded so cold and distant she thought to herself.
“Your brother is with the Udata and the rest of the shamans, they want to perform a ritual to inquire of the gods.” her mother explained.
At that statement, Seleya fully remembered the events that had taken place the night before and at the thought of the sword her head began to hurt again.
“Valejiri, Ugosidaya, the inquiry is about to begin and we need you” another shaman said standing at the door to Seleya’s room.
“We will be with you soon” Ugosidaya said.
“The Udata demands your presence as well, Uditun” he said.
“Will you be fine on your own Seleya?” her mother asked.
“I can always send word back that I need to be with you a little longer” the Uditun said tears welling up in her eyes again.
“She’s a grown woman now and she can handle herself, such pampering is unnecessary” Valejiri countered.
“Don’t worry mama, I’ll be okay” Seleya replied her mother softly, but the look in her eyes were clearly meant for Valejiri and he dared not look at her after she spoke.
The Uditun kissed her on the cheeks as they left Seleya to join the rest at the heart of the Udata.

The Udata, the two shamans and Suluvu sat silently in the head shaman’s hut waiting for the other party to arrive. Two of the huts were struck by lightning and burned down, another had its roof blown off by the wind and the last two were not in the best condition.
 Suluvu looked exhausted both physically and mentally, the head shaman could hardly blame him as he could not explain the events of the previous night. No one could and everyone suffered their own form of fatigue. Everyone except the Udata, he was as alert as hawk and still burned with so much anger that occasionally it seemed like lightning flashed across his eyes.
The second shaman also looked drained as he was in charge of tending to the injured after the ceremony. He worked alongside the tribe healers and provided magical potions to assist with their duties.
Ugosidaya stepped in with Valejiri, the other shaman and the Uditun trailing behind and they all took their sits.
“Asarade, what exactly is this inquiry going to entail?” the Udata said finally breaking the silence.
The head shaman turned to face the Udata slightly surprised. The Udata had never addressed him by his real name before and he could not help but feel like his life was in grave danger if this inquiry had any glitches.
Asarade stood up, entered his inner chambers and came out with a bowl full of water. He dropped the bowl on the floor and brought out something that looked like a pawpaw seed, except that it was slighter bigger and it was greenish yellow, from his pocket.
“This is water from the pool; you will wash your mouth with it and spit it back in the bowl after which Suluvu will do the same…” he began.
“Is that it?” the Udata said sounding extremely impatient.
“You will then eat half of the seed, Suluvu will eat the rest and we will recite the necessary incantations” Asarade said.
“Will this enable him call forth the sword?” he asked.
“We..we can’t be certain of that but we will def…definitely get answers” Asarade responded.
The Udata was hardly satisfied but he kept calm. Asarade handed him the bowl and he did as instructed passing the bowl to Suluvu who did the same. The shamans then put the bowl on the floor and sat in a circle around it. Asarade said a few incantations on the seed and handed it over to the Udata who took a bite and gave Suluvu the rest.
The Udata and Suluvu were then summoned to the centre of the circle where the bowl was, sitting side by side with the bowl in the middle. Asarade then shut his eyes and began to chant with the rest of the shamans responding to his call.
As they chanted, outside the hut where the pool was located the Takobidamma began to vibrate and the pool began to boil again.
Meanwhile Seleya was fast asleep in her room when she suddenly jerked up from her bed and started to walk outside. The Chief’s guards simply assumed that she wanted to use the restroom so they didn’t bother her. She continued walking in the dead of the night until she got to the gate of the Udata quarters.
“Princess, where are you headed to at this time of the night?” the guard at the gate asked as he saw her approaching.
He asked again as she got closer and she still didn’t respond. Looking more confused than before he reached out to hold her.
 “Arrrrrggggggghhhhhhhh!!!” he shouted as he quickly let go and looked at his hand.
His hand was burned like he just dipped it in a naked flame but this wasn’t what sacred him. What truly terrified him was that in the split second he touched her, he caught a glimpse of her face and unless his eyes were playing tricks on him, he was sure she was still fast asleep.

Back at the hut, incantations have been going on for over ten minutes already and Asarade was staring intently into the bowl in search of answers. Suluvu was sweating profusely but the Udata remained calm and waited for the answers he needed. Suddenly Suluvu started to cough profusely causing his mother once again to begin to wail in the corner as she watched.
The coughing continued for a couple of seconds more until he choked and vomited what looked like seed.
Asarade’s face became pale as the Udata asked as calmly as he could afford

Outside, the sword began to calm as Seleya approached the pool. She heard a voice in her head that said,
Wake up my child”
Seleya’s eyes popped open as she found herself at the edge of the pool.
“How…how did I get here? What is happening?” she asked, but no one was around.
Call me” the voice said.
“Who are you? Is anyone there? Can somebody help me?” she screamed as she began to sob. Her head started to throb louder and louder.
Call me” the voice said more urgently.
She stared at the sword and she finally understood.
“No it can’t be you…Shamans, Your greatness…anyone please help me” she shouted.
The Udata was just about to lift Asarade from the ground by the neck when they heard a scream from outside.
“Seleya, that’s Seleya’s voice” the Uditun said.
“Seleya is back at home resting, she can’t be here” Valejiri responded.
“I know my daughter’s voice” she snapped as she dashed out and ran towards the voice.
Everyone else came out with her to find Seleya standing at the edge of the pool.
Moving in a flash, the Udata was right beside his daughter surprise written all over his face.
Turning to face him she moaned,
“Your greatness, please make it stop” she pleaded in tears.
“CALL MY NAME CHILD!!!” the voice said more violently.
The throbbing in her head became unbearable as she shouted,

The sword immediately found its way to her arms and her entire body was engulfed in flames.