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.