Thursday, March 24, 2016

TAKOBIDAMMA {The Writing Sessions: Ten}

Iganda was having a very difficult week and he was not in the mood for small talk this early in the morning. Three days had passed since the incident and for every second that passed he couldn’t help but feel like his position was on the line.
Unfortunately for him, that also meant that his life was on the line. In the Ooranyanwu tribe, every child is dedicated to the gods a week after their birth. They are taken to the heart of the Udata where rituals are performed to appease the gods and the gods in turn bless each child with a unique attribute or skill.
These attributes start to manifest as the children grow older and eventually turns to their source of livelihood. So children grew up to become farmers, hunters, tailors and so on. According to the shamans no one can change their attributes, it was not a matter of choice but a blessing from the gods.
Everyday Iganda watched as the people of the tribe came to the barter market to exchange what they had for what they need. It was always a marvel to him when he passed by the marker and he saw a fisherman trying to trade a basket of fish for a bag of rice or even some clothes. He never had the privilege of participating in any trade because of all the blessings the gods gave there was one attribute that was unique.
Growing up in a family with four children and being the last child, Iganda’s parents were quite worried while he was growing up because he didn’t show any of the regular attributes child his age were showing. It wasn’t until he was ten that he started to show unusual strength and speed. Granted it was nowhere near the level of the Udata, but the soldiers of the Udata usually manifested these attributes and were taken away from their homes for training.
From that point Iganda became the responsibility of the Udata himself alongside other children who manifested similar attributes. They camped not too far away from the Udata quarters where they trained endlessly perfecting their skills. Since their skills weren’t exactly suited for barter trades, their general well-being rested on the shoulders of the Udata himself who saw to it that they were well taken care of.
 The soldiers were also allowed to go out on their own to help the people of the tribe with issues like theft and security which usually earned them gifts for their services. In terms of hierarchy, one could say that after the Udata and the shamans, the soldiers of the Udata were the most important people in the tribe.
Iganda had been serving the Udata for over thirty years now and had seen two Udatas in his lifetime. His strength, wisdom and tact on and off the battle field had taken him to the very top, making him the head of the soldiers. Serving as the head of the Udata soldiers for ten years now, none of the experience he had prepared him for the incident with Suluvu.
He quickly stepped out of his house so he wouldn’t yell at his wife and his two daughters. Normally he enjoyed their small talks in the morning but this wasn’t the day, he headed to camp quickly hoping the situation had changed.
Three days ago after the guards got Suluvu to safety, the guards apprehended the traitor that helped the strangers execute their plans. His arm was already broken by Suluvu but this was nothing compared to what he deserved. The guards wanted to kill him but Iganda stepped in with a better plan. Iganda was head of all soldiers and he was aware of the division that existed between the guards of the Udata and the rest of the soldiers.
The rest of the soldiers believed that the guards of the Udata were spoilt and never did any real work compared to them while the guards of the Udata believed the soldiers were unrefined and barbaric. Iganda understood their differences clearly and did his best to solve any problems that occurred between the two sects.
The traitor was obviously not a guard and Iganda was sure that was the major reason why the guards wanted him dead immediately. He on the other hands wanted information about the two strangers who nearly killed his future Udata, so he asked his men to take the traitor to the camp and use any means necessary to get information out of him. He also sent word to the Udata about his plan and the Udata had given him five days to get the information he needed.
For the past three days the traitor had been beaten almost beyond recognition and he still hadn’t said anything. Iganda was beginning to think that this incident was a lot bigger than they may have thought and whatever could keep the man silent for so long, he probably feared more than the Udata.
He stepped into camp hurrying past all the soldiers who were trying to greet him or scrambling to put themselves in order as they saw him approaching. He didn’t have time for formalities today and his patience was already gone.
In one of the inner chambers where the man was being held he met three soldiers outside the door waiting for him. One of them happened to be Baijid his second in command and the look on his face wasn’t encouraging at all.
“Has he said anything?” Iganda asked.
“Nothing yet, but we will keep trying.” Baijid replied.
“That won’t be necessary, I’m going to ask him myself.” He said.
The three of them looked at him in dread. Everything about Iganda was intimidating, he was a little over 6 feet tall and had the build of a man that engaged in intensive exercise. He was bald and always had a facial expression that warned you not to cross him even on a good day. Despite all these, his style of leadership has always been from the background believing that all the other soldiers needed to grow and gain as much experience as he had gathered over the years.
It was very rare for him to handle matters personally and when he did, it was usually of the uttermost importance. He was popularly known as “Fang” because of how swift and deadly he could be when he got involved.
Iganda stepped into the room where the traitor was being held and the three of them waited outside the room for him. After about fifteen minutes and a lot of screaming, Iganda stepped out of the room with blood on both his hands.
“Baijid, come with me now. We have what we need.” He said.
“Yes sir.” He replied hurrying after Iganda.
The two soldiers were confused about what to do next although they were sure of one thing. The traitor was definitely dead. No one survived Fang.
The Udata stood in Suluvu’s room watching him sleep. The boy had been asleep for three days although all his wounds were mostly healed partly thanks to the blood running in his veins. He knew this was far from over and he feared for the safety of his tribe and her people.
“Your greatness, Fang is here” a guard came in and said.
“Tell him to wait for me in my chambers” he replied.
“You will get justice my son” he thought to himself as he made his way to his chambers.
“Welcome your greatness” Iganda and Baijid said standing as the Udata stepped in.
“Skip the formalities Iganda, what do you have for me?” he asked.
“We got what we needed although he doesn’t know much. The two men who attacked Suluvu are not from the tribe, they were sent here when they heard that the ceremony had been conducted with specific instructions to humiliate Suluvu.” Iganda said.
“What we don’t know is why they would want to humiliate him and not simply kill him. We believe there is something not right here but we can’t seem to figure out what it is.” Baijid added.
The Udata sighed. This information meant that someone knew about the ceremony and knew that his son didn’t bond with the Takobidamma, it all made sense to him now. They wanted to prove to the people that his son wasn’t fit to lead which was exactly what the Shamans feared.
“Did he say who sent them?” he asked.
“No he didn’t and from the look of things he didn’t know. He was only paid to do a job which he did. If we need any more information we are going to have to ask the foreigners ourselves.” Iganda said.
“They are still here?” the Udata asked in shock.
“Yes they are and he gave us their location, apparently their work here isn’t finished yet.” Baijid began.
“I plan to put together some of our best soldiers to handle the situation, I just came to give my report before heading out.” Iganda finished.
“That won’t be necessary, I won’t allow any other soldiers die at their hands. You and I will handle these men.” The Udata said.
Iganda stared at the Udata intently while Baijid open his mouth in shock. Baijid opened him mouth in protest but Iganda stopped him.
Smiling mostly to himself, he asked the Udata.
“When do we leave?”

“Tonight” he replied.

Friday, March 18, 2016

TAKOBIDAMMA {The Writing Sessions: Nine}

The inside of the hall was just as grand as the outside. A lot of rooms with different tags on the doors describing the nature of the work being done there.
“What happens in Registration?” Seleya asked.
“That’s where information on all the citizens of the town is received and collated. Things like occupations, families and additional details” Keiy said.
“Wow…it all seems so complex here. Things are a lot simpler back at home.” Seleya said.
“You mean your former home.” Keiy corrected.
“Yeah, my former home.” Seleya repeated.
Her countenance changed and she became sad. It hadn’t really dawned on her that she was never going back to Ooranyanwu until now and she was having a hard time accepting it.
Keiy noticed and tapped her on the shoulder,
“Hey, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that, I can be quite insensitive sometimes”
“It’s okay, let’s keep looking” Seleya answered blinking back the tears.
Keiy led the way as they checked all the rooms. For every room, Keiy had a different lie to explain in explicit details why they were in the hall. Everything that came out her mouth sounded so true that Seleya couldn’t help but marvel. Keiy was obviously more skilled at this than Suluvu.
They keep moving until they approached a black metal door that was guarded by two men.
Stopping a few feet away, Keiy said,
“So I guess it’s time for Plan B. That door leads underground where the council meets.”
“And how do we plan to get in?” Seleya asked.
“Just wait here, hide behind that wall and wait for my signal.” Keiy said, a smile playing on her lips as she pointed Seleya to the wall.
Her smile suddenly changed to tears as she ran towards the door to meet the guards.
“Help, Help” she yelled tears trickling down her face.
She grabbed one of them by the arm and shook him hard.
“Calm down girl, what’s the problem?” he asked slightly flustered.
“My father, my father works at registration. I came to bring him some documents he left at home only to find some men causing trouble in his office. They had a problem with their registration and insisted he fixed it without pay.
 My dad told them to pay their token but they refused and they started to beat him because he stood his ground. I was asked to fetch every available guard to help with the situation”
“How many men?” the second one asked.
“Five men” she yelled, crying even more.
“Please, please hurry…They’ll kill him, I don’t want my father to die.” She wailed shaking both of them.
They both ran in the direction of the registration room not noticing Seleya as they passed by her.
“Seleya, hurry down here” Keiy said.
Keiy tried to open the door twice but it didn’t budge, they tried together and still nothing happened.
“So what do we do now?” Seleya asked, those guards will be back any minute now.
“Let me think” Keiy answered, cooking up another plan.
Seleya held the door knob and tried again to no avail. She soon started to panic and as she did her hands started to heat up again. Keiy was still lost in thought until she caught the smell of something burning and looked at Seleya’s hands.
Her eyes lit up in excitement.
“That’s awesome Seleya” she said gleefully.
Seleya also lost in thought hadn’t noticed anything until she looked at her hands and saw that she had almost melted through the door knob. She removed her hands immediately out of fear and in that same instant the guard were making their way back. They looked towards the door looking directly at Keiy obviously not very pleased.
“Put your hands back on that knob Seleya, I’ll distract them.” Keiy said
Seleya obeyed in silence. She was officially panicking now and as her fear increased so did the heat which was already a flame at this point.
The guards caught a glimpse of the flame and approached even faster, Keiy stepped forward to meet them until they were face to face.
“What are you doing here girl, you are not…”
That was all he had the time to say as she swooped down and knocked him off his feet with a low kick. The second guard was in shock for about two seconds which was more than enough for her to reach for the side his neck, giving him two sharp pokes that rendered him unconscious.
The second guard got back on his feet reaching out with a quick punch. Keiy dodged quickly to the side and grabbed his arm. She took the arm and twisted it on his back using it for support as she slammed her two feet into his back and used her second hand to give him two quick jabs on the neck. He fell down also unconscious.
Seleya watched Keiy moved and she was utterly speechless. Everything happened in front of her in mere seconds and Keiy was almost a blur as she moved. The door knob was melted now and Keiy kicked the door open. The both ran in, down a flight of stairs as fast as they could.
As they ran, Seleya asked,
“How did you? How…?”
“Run now, talk later?” Keiy said increasing her pace.
The stairway was well lit but it was nothing compared to the room they ran into. The room was circular with a large space in the middle. There was a slightly elevated arc that had seven tables and seven chairs arranged in a row. The chair and the table in the middle were slightly bigger and fancier than the rest although the entirety of the room was a sight to behold.
There were also more seats arranged within the circular space but the most shocking thing about the room at the moment was that it was empty.
“There’s no one here” Seleya said, trying to catch her breath.
“Thanks, I didn’t notice” Keiy said sarcastically.
“What do we do now?” Seleya asked.
“I don’t know” Keiy replied.
“Maybe we could…”
She was interrupted by the sound of the door upstairs and several footsteps running down the stairs. They were surrounded by fifteen guards all holding swords and pointing at them. A man obviously taller than every one of them approached slowly from behind and the guards made way for him to pass.
Seleya looked at him and he looked oddly like her father. He was obviously younger but they had the same skin tone, with his hair braided almost like Seleya’s. He was slim and built, wearing an open shirt that had no buttons exposing his chest and abs to the world. With a matching pair of shorts and sandals, he looked at them intently. It was at that moment Seleya looked at the left side of his chest and saw a mark very similar to the one on her chest.
“Well what do we have here?” he said, giving both girls a smug smile.
“I told you we’ll find him strolling about” Keiy said, smiling at her.
Seleya concluded that everyone in this town was completely crazy.
Still looking at her curiously he simply said,
“Welcome Seleya, I’ve been expecting you”
Both girls turned almost pale.
The tall man laughed out loud.
“I grew up looking into eyes very similar to yours, I can’t forget those eyes.
I’m Adunt, one of the elders of Oquara town. I’m also your Uncle, younger brother to the Udata.”
They still had no words for him and simply stared at him as he talked.
“I’ve heard a lot about you Keiy, it’s nice to finally meet you. I hope the guards taking a nap upstairs will be alright?” he asked a little more seriously.
Keiy could only nod. Seleya had thought nothing could shut the girl up but apparently she was wrong.
“Okay girls, we obviously have a lot to talk about but I have things to attend to now.
Can you come back tomorrow, this same time?” He asked, although it sounded more like an order than a request.
“Okay sir” was all Seleya could say as Keiy dragged her out of the room.
“And Keiy…” he started.
They both stopped at the foot of the stairs.
“…try not to knock out any of my guards tomorrow.” He said smiling.

Keiy only nodded and followed Seleya up the stairs. They had a lot to talk about when they got home.

Monday, March 14, 2016

TAKOBIDAMMA {The Writing Sessions: Eight}

Meanwhile, Seleya’s day started on a very terrible note. She had one of her nightmares and woke up with her bed on fire. Keiy managed to rush outside and get some water before the flames could spread. She burnt most of the clothes she was wearing already and Keiy drenched her in water as well.
She was now standing in front of Keiy with her piercing brown eyes who was waiting for an explanation. They both stood in silence for about a minute, lying had never really been Seleya’s strong suit. Her brother was usually the one who got them out of sticky situations with his smooth talks and cunning smile.
“Seleya?” Keiy said bringing her back from thoughts of Suluvu.
“Where did you learn to create fire?” Keiy asked.
Seleya opened her mouth in protest but Keiy cut her off.
“Don’t try to deny it, I saw you. You looked like you were having a bad dream, tossing and turning on the bed. Next thing I know your hands light up in flames and the bed is on fire.”
“Are you sure I didn’t knock over a lamp?” Seleya asked, in a weak attempt to avoid the question.
“Nice try. No lamps were lit and before you ask, I was wide awake so I wasn’t seeing things.” Keiy answered.
Seleya sighed.
She knew this was going to happen but a part of her wanted to believe that it was all a bad dream. Keiy was still staring at her from the other side of the room and now that she thought about it, this was the first time the girl wasn’t smiling since she met her yesterday.
“Listen, my parents are waiting outside for me to tell them why I carried four buckets of water into my room and not the bathroom which is outside. Now you have two options, you can tell me what is going on so I go outside to give them your ‘lamp story’; or you can stay quiet and I can tell them exactly what I saw.”
“Okay, okay, fine” She sighed.
“Do you want the long version or the short version?” Seleya asked, giving up.
“The long version, but first I need to give my parents the ‘lamp story’, give me a minute” Keiy said, dashing out.
She came back a few minutes later and sat on the floor waiting for Seleya to begin. Seleya took a deep breath and told Keiy everything that had happened since her sixteenth birthday. When she was done, she didn’t know whether she could trust Keiy or not but it felt good to finally say everything out loud.
“Wow.” Keiy said.
She didn’t have any words for Seleya and they both sat in silence for a bit.
“Well, the first step is for you to take a bath and wear some new clothes. Luckily, we are almost the same size.” Keiy finally said.
“You’re don’t seem to be shocked that my hands just burnt your bed” Seleya commented.
“Well, there are strange things in this world and let’s just say I’ve seen my fair share.” Keiy answered with a shrug.
Seleya took off what was left of her clothes, picked up a towel and was about to head for the bathroom when Keiy tapped her shoulder stopping her.
“Can I see the scar?” she asked.
Seleya nodded reluctantly but she still dropped the towel slightly to show the scar above her left breast.
Keiy studied it carefully.
“Can you describe the man your father told you to find here?” she asked again.
“Well, he wasn’t really clear. He only told me his name telling me never to mention it to anyone except the man, said the man looked a lot like him, the only difference being that this man is slim and fairly built. My dad is really built and huge.” Seleya said.
“That means the man would at least be quite tall.” Keiy asked.
“I guess so.” Seleya replied.
Keiy smiled again for the first time that morning.
“Okay, go have your bath. I think I know who you’re looking for.” she said.
An hour later, they were both out of the house after a little breakfast. Seleya and Keiy wore matching grey t-shirts with shorts and sandals. This kind of dressing was very different for Seleya who was used to wearing robes and gowns mostly except for times she was sparring with Suluvu which was actually forbidden in her tribe so it didn’t exactly count.
Keiy made some Sathi Cakes for her which seemed to like very much. As they walked through the town, Seleya could see just how different this place was compared to her tribe.
“What are the houses built out of?” she asked.
“Mostly sand” Keiy answered.
Seleya looked at her wide-eyed.
“Why are you so surprised?” Keiy asked.
“How did they make the sand so hard?” she asked.
Keiy suddenly stopped walking and stood to face Seleya. She then placed her hands on her shoulders and said,
“Okay, so the hardening of the sand is a town secret and you must swear never to mention it to anyone, promise?”
“I promise” Seleya said, swallowing hard.
Keiy’s expression turned blank. After a brief pause she finally said,
“I… have… no… clue” still with a straight face.
Seleya couldn’t help but giggle and give her a light punch.
“You’re annoying, do you know that?” Seleya asked.
“I’ve been told.” Keiy answered with one of her smiles walking ahead of her again.
Seleya still couldn’t get over the buildings. Back home, the best houses and buildings were made of wood and those who could not afford wood lived in clay houses with straw roofs or dry stems and leaves. The ground here didn’t look like it could grow anything and she had not seen any trees since she got here.
They walked until they got to the largest building Seleya had seen so far. Unlike all the other buildings that were mostly tall and slender, this building was not just tall but it was very wide as well. It looked very grand as well reminding her of her father’s quarters.
A strange fear suddenly sprang up in Seleya.
“Is she reporting me to the rulers here?” She thought to herself.
Finally mustering the courage to speak, she said,
“Keiy, who exactly are we here to see?”
“Don’t be afraid, your secret is safe with me” she said sensing her fear.
“The man you described sounds like someone who works in this building. Well he actually runs this building.”
Seleya swallowed.
“And what exactly is this building?” She asked.
“This is the Hall of Oquara, it’s basically the place where this town is run from” she replied.
“And you said the man runs this building?”
“Yes.” Keiy replied with a smug smile.
“So you’re saying he runs the town?"
“Exxx…actly.” She said snapping her fingers.
Seleya turned around started to walk back. Keiy grabbed her by the end of her shirt.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“Back to where we just came from” Seleya replied.
“Why? We’ll just enter and hope he’s walking around or something so you can talk to him.” she said smugly.
“Hold on, have you ever entered the hall before?” Seleya asked.
“Of course I have” She said smiling.
“Although, the man we are looking for is usually with the council of elders and only a few people are allowed in there” she finished.
“Do these ‘few’ people include you?” Seleya asked.
“Of course not, you may not have noticed Seleya but I’m a teenager not an elder” she said sarcastically.
“So what exactly is your plan?? Please tell me you have a plan” Seleya asked although it sounded more like a prayer to the gods.
 “Well, I was getting to that. If we don’t randomly find him strolling about then…”
“Then???” Seleya asked.
“Then…we sneak into the room where the council of elders meet” Keiy said, her eyes beaming with excitement.
“You’re joking right?” Seleya asked.
Keiy said nothing staring blankly into Seleya’s eyes.
“You have to be…wait, you’re serious??”
“Quite serious” Keiy answered.
“You want us to break in?” Seleya asked in shock.
“No no no…I want us to ‘sneak’ in.” Keiy said
“What’s the difference?” Seleya yelled.
“There’s a big difference, besides it may not come to that. We may just be lucky to find him walking about.” She said matter-of-factly.
“Come on, let’s go in” she said as she dragged Seleya towards the door.
“You’re insane, you know that right?” she said.

“Yeah, I’ve been told” Keiy said as she opened the door to the hall.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

TAKOBIDAMMA {The Writing Sessions: Seven} Special Double Edition.

After making more than a few turns Keiy stopped by a door and went inside telling Seleya to wait for her.
A few minutes later she came back outside to invite Seleya in. The walked up a flight of stairs and got to a metal door. This surprised Seleya a bit because most of the doors in her tribe were made of wood, fortunately she was too exhausted to let her curiosity get the better part of her.
Stepping inside they were greeted by the warm smiles of a woman who Seleya guessed was Keiy’s mother. She was slightly taller than the both of them and was a bit fat. On her left arm she had three circular tattoos without a line and she had a nose ring. Looking closely at her, Keiy looked nothing like her. Her eyes were big and her pupils were dark in contrast to Keiy’s cat-like eyes and light brown pupils. They really were like night and day so Seleya concluded that Keiy must look like her father.
“Welcome to our home, Seleya” she said still keeping the smile.
“Thank you for having me, ma” Seleya replied.
“No thanks necessary, Keiy told me all about how she found you. This is OQUARA town, our doors always open to guests” she said.
Seleya was still feeling quite uncomfortable. She had heard of other places outside her tribe and she was familiar with the term ‘town’ but she never thought it would be so different from what she was used to.
She glanced at Keiy who was glaring at her with her weird eyes and glanced back at her mother who was smiling at her.
“Is everyone in this town so strange?” she thought to herself.
“You must be exhausted from your trip, Keiy take her to your room so she can rest” she said.
“Okay ma, follow me Seleya” Keiy said, leading the way.
As soon as Seleya saw a bed, she fell on it and slept like a log of wood.
When she woke up, it was dark already and no one seemed to be with her in the room.
“Probably, they are figuring out what to do with me” she thought to herself.
“You look like you could eat?” Keiy said from the other side of the room startling Seleya.
“Don’t scare me like that” she said.
“Sorry, I get that a lot” Keiy apologized.
“It’s okay, you are right I am hungry” she said.
“Your dinner is on the table over there” she replied pointing to the table on Seleya’s right.
She got up, picked up the plate and started to eat. She didn’t realize how hungry she was until the food was done.
“Wow, you were really hungry” Keiy said slightly amused.
Seleya bowed her head slightly embarrassed.
“Don’t worry its fine, I can tell that you’ve been through a lot lately” Keiy said.
Seleya nodded in agreement.
“So tell me, where are you from?” Keiy asked
Seleya became uncomfortable again.
She wasn’t sure it would be wise to tell a complete stranger her life story and she was certain that until she found the person her father described to her she truly wouldn’t be safe.
“I’m tired, please can we talk tomorrow?” she said.
“No problem, get some sleep Seleya” Keiy replied.
Oddly enough Seleya started to feel really tired and found herself yawning.
Dropping the plate on the table she fell back on the bed and slept off.

Suluvu woke up and immediately wished he didn’t. It was the seventh day after his fake awakening which also meant that today was the day he started to perform his duties as the next Udata.
It was also the day that his abilities were supposed to come back and he knew that very soon the people of the tribe would want to know exactly what the gods have blessed him with.
He could only hope that today wasn’t that day and that the people of the tribe were still tired from the festivities of the previous day. His guards were already waiting outside his room as instructed by the Udata the night before.
Today his duty was to take a tour of the tribe communicating with the people and asking them their needs so that they get familiar with him and in turn he begins to understand the struggles of the common man. It seemed easy enough but he couldn’t help but fear that some of the elders of the tribe or the children would try to get him to show his abilities or even worse ask him questions about Seleya he couldn’t answer.
 He got dressed in one of his training robes putting on the necklace that his father gave him the night of his awakening. In retrospect, he didn’t think he deserved it now but he pushed those thoughts out of his mind focusing solely on surviving the day.
The day started off calmly enough as he made his way through the tribe. The barter market just opened and people hadn’t really come out of their homes yet. Suluvu was slightly relieved and thanked the gods for the festivities of the previous day.
 He went about from house to house talking to the tribe people, learning some of their names and attending to their needs as best he could. Some of the children asked him about Seleya and he playfully answered them. With the elders it was an entirely different matter because their questions were more direct. Thankfully, the guards took him away from these situations quickly and he suspected this was the instruction of his father.
Afternoon came quickly and the barter market was more crowded now. Different people came with things to exchange and to dispose of. Walking deeper into the market he saw a young girl with a bunch of clothes at the fruit stands. She was trying to barter the clothes for a basket of fruits but none of the fruit growers seemed to be interested in the trade.
He approached the fruit stands and at his arrival everyone stood up in fear.
“Please sit down, I just came to see what was going here” he said.
“Thank you, your greatness” one of them answered.
He took a closer look at the girl. She was probably his age or younger. She had short hair about the length of his and she was tall for her age seeing that she was almost reaching Suluvu’s shoulder who was quite tall.
“I came here to barter some clothes for a basket of fruits your greatness but apparently according to them, the clothes lack quality” she explained.
Suluvu looked at the fruit growers for an explanation.
“Your greatness, the problem we have is the quality of the materials and not the sewing.
We simply asked her to bring a few more clothes so we can make the barter” another one explained.
“But that’s an unfair trade, the clothes are enough…” she began to argue as Suluvu raised a hand to silence her.
Suluvu then took off the shirt he was wearing and dropped it in among her clothes.
“Will that be sufficient?” he asked one of the traders.
They all stared at him speechless. When the barter was done, she had five full baskets of fruit to carry home. He asked his four guards to help with four and he carried the last one himself.
The girl stared at him in awe not finding any words to say.
“Lead us to your home” he said.
She walked ahead of them leading the way to her home.
When she got to the door, she realized all the neighbours had come out their homes and some people had even followed them from the market.
Her parents hearing the commotion outside already opened the door before she knocked and as soon as they saw the scene, their faces mirrored the awe on their daughter’s face. The guards helped carry the baskets into the house.
“Welcome your greatness” her father said.
“Sorry we don’t have anything to welcome you with as weren’t expecting you, we are truly sorry” his wife quickly added getting on her knees.
“No need for all that, I just saw your daughter needed help in the market and decided to help out. Please stand up” he said.
“Thank you very much, your greatness” they both said in unison.
Their daughter obviously still in shock as she just stood at the door beside her parents, eyes fixed on Suluvu.
Suluvu summoned his guards and was about to leave when he suddenly paused and looked at her.
“What’s your name? Forgive my rudeness for not asking earlier” he asked.
“Raneta” she said.
“Nice to meet you Raneta, I’m Suluvu” he said and he turned to leave.
It was only when he had walked quite a distance that Raneta remembered that she never actually thanked him.
By the time Suluvu got back to the barter market, it was already evening and people were preparing to close for the day making their last exchange. He resumed his duties, talking to the people and familiarizing himself with them. Walking back towards the fruit stands he saw that they were preparing to close for the day.
One of the traders was trying to gather their gains so they could split it amongst themselves when someone dashed past and their stands taking the clothes that Raneta brought and Suluvu’s shirt.
Before the traders could even shout for help, three of the four guards were already on his tail chasing him deeper and deeper into the market.
“He picked the wrong day to be a thief” Suluvu thought to himself.
After waiting for about three minutes and the guards had not returned Suluvu and his last guard decided to follow their trail to find out what was happening.
Suluvu and his guards walked further into the market until they approached a place where people were gathered, they seemed to be shaking in fear and the women were in tears. As the crowd saw him approaching they cleared a path for him, most of them relieved at his appearance.
He quickened his pace until he got to their centre where what awaited him was too much for his eyes to comprehend. He found his three guards on the floor bleeding. The fourth guard quickly ran to them checking their breathing and pulse.
Suluvu just stood there in shock. When he finally found his voice he shouted angrily;
His voice was quaking and some buildings were already shaking.
This was evidence of the Udata blood running through his veins. He was still the heir to the throne and with or without special abilities, Suluvu wasn’t the man you wanted to face you with his anger.
“We did this” a voice responded from the other end of the crowd.
Three men slowly approached and made their way to the place where the guards lay.
The fourth guard already confirmed the guards were dead and this made Suluvu more furious.
As they approached, Suluvu studied them. The one of the left was almost as tall as Suluvu and hairy. He had hairs on his face most of his chest with pointy ears and sharp teeth. He didn’t look like anyone Suluvu had seen and if Suluvu didn’t know any better he would have said that he was a fox.
The one in the middle was a short man who was slightly chubby, he carried two metal staffs on backs while the one on the far right was obviously a soldier from the tribe.
The man who spoke was the short one in the middle.
“The both of you do not look like you’re from this tribe” Suluvu said.
“That’s the problem with this tribe, you often assume you’re only ones in the world” the fox-like one sneered.
“Quiet” the short one said to him.
“Hello, Suluvu we apologize for the mess but we didn’t know any other way to get your attention.”
“HOW DARE YOU….HOW DARE YOU ADDRESS HIS GREATNESS BY HIS NAME?” said the fourth guard. He was clearly angry and in that anger he charged towards the short one. As he approached, it happened so fast it seemed like just a blur. The short man took one of the staffs from his back and slashed the air twice. The air around the place he slashed went straight for the guard’s chest and he fell flat on his back.
He obviously wasn’t breathing anymore as two large cuts appeared on his chest where the man had slashed. The crowd quickly retreated, some watching from a distance and others heading back home.
“As I was saying, this was the only way to get your attention.” The short one continued.
Suluvu was very angry right now but much greater than his anger was his fear. He asked himself what his father would do in this situation and finally summoned the courage to talk again.
“What do you want from me?” he asked.
“Well, we heard that you recently awakened as the heir to the Udata.
All we want is for you to fight us.” The short one said.
Suluvu’s head began to spin. He suddenly began to realize that this wasn’t a coincidence. These people obviously knew something and they were about to use that information against him. He looked around and realized he was trapped.
His people were watching and these people just killed four of his guards. Four of his guards who had families and children. For their sake he couldn’t walk away from this, for the lives they had given he simply had to fight these people. To avenge his people.
The one that looked like a fox smiled coyly at him almost like he could read his mind.
“You will all pay for what you have done here” Suluvu said charging at them.
“Be my guest” the short one said.
Suluvu went for the third one first. He was a member of the tribe and Suluvu couldn’t forgive his betrayal. Suluvu was in front of him before he could register Suluvu’s speed and delivered the first punch to his shoulder. The crowd heard a crack as the man’s shoulder bone broke and he fell wrenching in pain. Suluvu’s followed up with a fast kick but it was blocked by a metal staff. The short man gave Suluvu two quick jabs from his staff and Suluvu quickly retreated.
“Seems like you’ll be tougher than I thought” the fox like one said, still smiling.
Suluvu looked at two of them intently. He was trying to evaluate their strengths calculating that he should eliminate the weaker one first. The short man so far seemed to be their leader so he guessed that he must be strongest. That left him with the fox-like one to worry about first.
He approached them and moved even faster aiming a high kick at the head of the fox-like man. He dodged it and landed a counter punch on the knee of Suluvu. Suluvu jerked back in pain.
“I’ve evaluated your strengths already, you are a bit stronger than I am but I’ve been doing this longer. You can’t win.” The fox-like man said.
Suluvu quickly recovered from the punch and threw another kick at him. The fox-like man blocked the kick and gave him three quick punches on his stomach. Suluvu staggered a bit and before he could regain his balance, he received two kicks that sent him rolling across the floor.
Suluvu couldn’t move, he was in excruciating pain.
“But I heard that you’ve been blessed by the gods, this can’t possibly be all the gods have given you Suluvu.” The short man shouted so people could hear him clearly.
Suluvu tried to stand up but wind slashed his knees and he bled. He tried again and wind slashed at his left arm and then his right arm. He was weak and he was losing blood.
“Your future Udata cannot protect you from the likes of us.” The fox-like man said approaching Suluvu as he spoke but obviously addressing the people. He then delivered a kick to Suluvu’s chest that nearly knocked him out.
The fox-man then spat on him and they both left him there.
Passing by their comrade whose shoulder was broken. The short man simply said;
“Your work with us is done, you were never one of us.”
After they left, Suluvu summoned the strength to stand up and started to walk away. Thankfully, someone had already sent word to the Udata and some more guards arrived to help Suluvu get back home.

As he made his way through the town he could not help but hear the murmurs of the people echoing exactly what the fox-like man and short man had said. He was a powerless Udata who couldn’t defend his people. He had failed on the first day and the humiliation was far worse than the physical pain he felt.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


I stepped into the dimly lit bar. It was not so full just like you would expect on a Wednesday afternoon, most people were still at work and attending to their lives.
At the corner by the right, he was already seated waiting for me. This didn’t surprise me one bit because I knew he didn’t like to keep people waiting. I walked to his table and took a sit in front of him. We exchanged pleasantries and I could see from his demeanour that he was trying his best to be cool.
Normally, he wouldn’t be caught dead in a bar and as much as he tried to hide it I could see his discomfort. In all fairness, I wouldn’t be here normally either but I was clearly more equipped for this than he was.
He shifted slightly on his seat and I counted five seconds in my head waiting for him to scratch his nose. Right on cue, five seconds later he scratched his nose. It was almost unreal, I knew him. Then again, I was him. A year ago I was him.
He was slightly chubbier and his hair was way fuller but it was still the same face, it was me. I can’t go into details as to how I got here now, but rest assured I was here, back in time, dressed in disguise so I don’t freak myself out and ready to have a conversation with myself. My former self.
I called the bartender and instinctively ordered for two bottles of coke. He (former me) protested saying that he didn’t like coke and he wanted a bottle of Fanta so I changed the order to “One Coke and One Fanta”.
As seemingly irrelevant as that event was, I was suddenly gripped with a strange fear. I wasn’t sure I was going to like this conversation so much.
We talked for about an hour about God, love, relationships, dreams, purpose and family. I listened to him mostly and even at times when I disagreed or I thought his opinions lacked depth or experience I didn’t object or argue.
This was probably because a part of me wanted to remember him. All the things he stood for and the things he understood. He talked about how he didn’t see himself doing some things or going to some places. I realized he wasn’t being condescending or rude, he just didn’t see those things as a part of his own reality.
When he was done talking, I told him about my life and the things I had done. I couldn’t give him explicit details or tell him about anything beyond the past year because I didn’t want to mess up the timeline.
Even as I spoke to him and dropped hints of my life, he looked at me with compassion mostly, sometimes with pity and sometimes with disgust.  He offered advice and told me some things I shouldn’t have done and other I could have done better.
After about another hour, our conversation was finally over. We didn’t even notice that the bartender had brought our drinks and they weren’t cold anymore.
I stood up, went to pay for the drinks, and just as I was about to leave I asked him,
“Do you believe a man can truly change?”
He paused for a bit looking for an answer and he finally said,
“I believe we change every day, we just hardly notice who we are becoming.”
I nodded and stepped out of the bar.
It was the exact kind of answer I would have given.
“I guess some things never change” I thought to myself.
One thing was for sure though as I stood at the other end of the street watching myself come out of the bar and head back home.

I realized just how much I really and truly missed me.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

TAKOBIDAMMA {The Writing Sessions: Six}

As she got closer to the buildings, Seleya saw that the buildings here were a lot taller than anything she had seen back home. The tallest building back home was probably her father’s house and it was small in comparison to these buildings.
Tall slender buildings arranged in a very orderly fashion both on the left and on the right creating a path way for people and carts. This wasn’t to say that Ooranyanwu disorganized, but it was just different. There was an air of freedom that was a sharp contrast to the place she was about to enter.
She was out of food and water supply from the night before so her strength was almost depleted. Walking through the gates she could already feel the stares and hear the voices as she made her way through. She still had no idea where she was going but her father had given her a brief description of who she was looking for.
Looking closely at the people it was all too obvious that she was a stranger. Although they all had a skin tone similar to hers and that of her people, that was probably the only similarity they had with her. Everyone here had some kind of tattoo on, black circular rings on their left arms. Some had two and some had three although she noticed that the little children had one. Some other people also had a line that cut across their circle(s) and if that wasn’t distinctive enough, every female she saw had a small ring on her nose.
From the way the sun scorched she could tell that it was about noon already. She passed by a couple of stores and shops which were all somehow attached to the base of the tall buildings, still taking in the view she stopped dead in her tracks by a scent. She wasn’t familiar with it but she knew it was food, hurriedly she traced the scent to one the shops further ahead basking in the scent as she got closer.
“Can I have one?” she said pointing to one of the square looking brown things.
“A Sathi Cake, of course that would be 8 Kanin please?” the bearded man replied.
“8 Kan…sorry I don’t know what that is, I’m just really hungry please” she pleaded.
“I knew your accent was different, you’re obviously not from around here” he said.
“Okay, do you have anything to trade for it?”
She gave him her empty water skin.
“That’s all I have” she said.
“It’s doesn’t look like it’s worth much but…” he began
“I’ll pay for the Sathi Cake, here I’ll take two” a new voice said, giving the shop owner two roughly shaped circular stones.
Seleya turned to find a girl smiling at her. She was almost the same height with Seleya, only about an inch taller wearing a pair of shorts and a tight shirt both as black as night. She had slightly lighter skin and full blown dark brown hair. Her left hand had two circular rings with a line that cut across it and like every other female Seleya had seen she had a nose ring.
“Thank You” Seleya said as she gave her one of the cakes.
“You’re welcome” She said staring intently at Seleya for a few seconds still smiling.
“So, you are lost and you need a place to stay?” she finally said.
“Yes…actually I’m looking for someone but yes I am lost” Seleya said.
“You can stay with me the rest of the day and find your way in the morning” she suggested.
Seleya considered her options looking at the girl as she thought. She looked different even by the standards of the people she had seen so far. Seleya couldn’t quite put a finger on it but this girl was almost more alive than most people. She also had the most intent eyes, almost like she was watching your every move.
No matter how she thought about it, going with this strange girl was the best option. She knew no one and she had nowhere else to go. Besides, her powers were likely to awaken the next day and she didn’t want to be out on the streets when they did.
“Okay, thank you very much” she said.
“It’s okay” she shrugged.
“I’m Keiy” she said.
“Seleya” she replied.
“Nice to meet you Seleya, okay follow me” she said leading the way.

The tribe people had gathered in front of the Udata quarters as the Udata, Uditun and Suluvu stepped out to greet them.
The Shamans were already there waiting for them to arrive. They stood in front of the people as the Udata addressed them.
The Udata said everything exactly as planned telling the tribe that Seleya had been sent out to perform a ritual and that Suluvu called the sword. The tribe seeing no reason to doubt the story especially since Asarade gave a complimentary speech turned that day to a celebration which the Udata approved.
The shamans and the Udata family went back into the Udata quarters to discuss further.
“Well that went accordingly” the Udata said.
“We are not out of the woods yet” Ugosidaya said.
“They are in a celebratory mood today so we don’t have any problems, very soon they would want to know exactly what Suluvu can do and how their future Udata intends to protect them.”
“But I don’t have any special powers” Suluvu said already panicking.
“We are all aware of that, hence why we need to figure something out” Valejiri replied.
“Can’t we just tell them the truth? I am tired of all the lies”
The room fell silent.
This was the first time any of them including the Udata had heard his wife’s voice since the exile of Seleya.
“We cannot afford…” Asarade began only to be silenced by the Udata.
“I think we’ve had enough discussions for now, let everyone go and rest today” he said.
He spoke calmly but everyone in the room knew it was an order so they all dispersed quietly.
The Shamans all got up and started to head to their huts which were almost all repaired now.
“Valejiri” Asarade called.
Valejiri came closer as they walked back.
“I am an old man my child, not much passes me by anymore”
Valejiri was confused at this statement but waited all the same for the head shaman to continue.
“You are probably the youngest shaman to have ever been chosen by the gods and you have grown faster in knowledge than most shamans before you who are older”
Asarade waited to see if he had anything to say but he didn’t so he kept talking.
“It is already obvious to the rest of us that one day you will become head shaman and by the time you get to my age you may know a lot more than any shaman did before you.
That being said I need to tell you two things; firstly, be careful of knowledge for she corrupts the soul and be careful of friendships for he corrupts the heart.
A shaman should always be careful what he learns for what is known cannot be unknown again, and as you have always been told, shield yourself from associations with the world.”
“Okay sir, is this because of my communication with Suluvu?” Valejiri asked.
“These words aren’t just for today my child but for tomorrow as well” Asarade said and walked ahead.
“Thank you sir” Valejiri called after him. “May I go to town to fetch some supplies this once?” he asked.
“If I said no, would that stop you child?” Asarade asked as he turned to look the boy in the eyes.
“Probably not” Valejiri thought to himself as he headed into town.
In town he passed by the supplies exchange market and went further down until he got to a small alley. He then took off his shaman robes and wore a pair of trousers and a loose button shirt.
Walking further down in the alley, he passed a few abandoned parts of the tribe until he finally made it to a small hut.
He carefully checked the perimeter to make sure no one was there and he entered the hut.
Inside the hut were three men. One was dressed like one of the warriors of the Udata tribe while the other two looked like foreigners.

“We’ve been expecting you” one of the foreigners said.