The 100 sons of Samia - Part 11- A battle is fought and a nation is born.
The sun had not yet risen when Kagukagwa and Mawmiwa came into the land of the Tetrapi which was now governed by Samia and Ekuan on behalf of Hamaga.
Tetrapiland was a happier place than it had been under its former chief and many willingly accepted Samia’s rule. Tetrapi women, especially, welcomed new laws preventing the mistreatment of women by men.
When Mawmiwa and her husband entered the Tetrapi village they nervously expected
that they would be treated as outsiders or enemies but Tetrapiland, mainly due to the wise counsel of Janakwa, had become a haven of tolerance, peace and friendship. They were taken to the chiefs hut which once had belonged to Agumen and had smelled of the blood of sacrifices but now belonged to Samia and only smelled of flowers.
They told Samia of the porcupine men and the vow made by their fathers to the evil ones and the eldest ten of the hundred sons listened because they had become part of the new council of Tetrapi, and Quimekona, who was chief among all medicine men asked to look at the soles of Kagukagwa’s feet, “If his story is true then surely their should be a porcupine quill lodged in his foot from when he stepped upon the spiky creature”.
However, upon inspection of Kagukagwas foot Quimekona could find no porcupine quill, “Either he is lying or the soles of his feet are porcupine proof”.
And then Kagukagwa confessed how, as a child, he had many times been accidentally pricked with needles and porcupine quills and other sharp things and though there had been some pain there had never been any injury .
“And you never thought it strange that the sharp things left no injury?”, asked Samia.
“No”, said Kagukagwa, “I always assumed that the pricks had not gone deep enough to cause a wound. Why should I have thought otherwise?”.
“It is surely destiny”, said Quimekona, “If sharp things cannot prick you then the spears of the porcupine men will not pierce your skin. The Goddess made you to fight these creatures and she brought you to us. With such good fortune on our side how can we lose?”.
“We have yet to see proof of his miraculous skin.”, said Samia, “And why would the son of a Desula chief betray his tribe?”.
“Because the only side worth fighting for is the side of right”, answered Kagukagwa, “And the only land worth protecting is the land of love and our fathers have made our land barren of love with their poisonous vow”.
“Any man with principles like those is a brother to us”, said Janakwa, “We should make you a member of our tribe”.
But Samia did not trust Kagukagwa and she said this to Janakwa, “You and your generation are of a trusting nature but I grew up with the old ways and I need to see the evidence of a mans heart. There should be some tests to show that he is telling us what is true. We must wait until our spies have confirmed his story of a porcupine army and we must also see if his skin is as impervious as he claims”.
And so Samia ordered that a sharp needle be brought to test the imperviousness of Kagukagwas skin and Mawmiwa protested because she was afraid for her husband and did not want to see him hurt but Kagukagwa reassured her, “Don’t worry my wondrous wife. If the test fails then a prick from a needle will not kill me and, whatever happens here, their spies will confirm that we told the truth”.
And so Mawmiwa let her husband go and a sharp iron needle was pressed deep into his skin by Numandwa, the scientist and, though it hurt, the needle would not penetrate and after several attempts the needle broke in two.
“It is amazing”, said Numandwa, “But it is true. Your skin,though soft and thin in touch and appearance becomes hard as iron when placed under pressure”.
But then Numandwa, who was always inquiring, asked for Mawmiwa to prick her husband with an iron needle and though Mawmiwa was reluctant to do so, her husband urged her on and when she did the needle broke through and her husband bled.
“It is as I suspected”, said Numandwa, “His skin becomes as iron where it is attacked by an outsider but it yields utterly to the one he loves. It will not protect him from his wife”.
“It is wise skin that stands strongly against hate but yields to love”, said Janakwa.
“But such love can also be a danger”, said Abakwa, the strategist, “What if our enemy should kidnap his wife. He would not fight for us then.
We must also remember that he is still only one man against a thousand porcupine men. His skin may be iron but we will need real iron to protect our flesh”.
“Then we must keep his wife under guard”, said Samia, “Not as our prisoner but as our precious guest and Numandwa, I trust, can make us armour for our warriors and those of Hamaga”.
“Do you think that we really stand a chance against such a large and terrible army?”, Ekuan asked Samia, fearfully.
“You must have seen by now”, said Samia, “That my sons can achieve anything. They have their mothers courage; their fathers loving nature and God’s own power within them”.
And so, the tribe of Tetrapi prepared for war while Shilakwa, who was now head of tribal intelligence, sent out a trained parrot to spy upon the enemy and report all that it could see and when it returned it was injured where it had been hit with a rock but it
still reported faithfully to him, “I flew to the great encampment by the banks of the Kwinowako which has become the meeting place for the tribes of the Desula and Orinka. There I saw Kulkwi and Tantonakwi discussing their strategy for a great invasion and standing, like a forest of iron armour and golden spears, I saw the porcupine armies and counted ten times ten times ten; a thousand fiercesome creatures and each twice the height of an ordinary man. Unfortunately, while I spied upon them, one of the porcupine men,purely for his own wicked sport, hurled a stone at me and thus I was forced to fly away for my own safety”.
“You have done well enough.”, said Shilakwa, giving the bird some food, “The Tetrapi are grateful for your efforts and are a friend to all birds”.
Shilakwa told Samia of the Parrots report and now, convinced that Kagukagwa had spoken truthfully to her, she sent a messenger into Imekanaland and a war council was arranged between the two united tribes and also Kagukagwa and his wife were made a part of the Tetrapi tribe and they were both baptized in the soil of Tetrapiland and the water of the Ankenaga and honorific prayers were said to the mighty mother and offerings were given to earth,river and sky and, when the rituals were over, a feast was prepared in honour of Kagukagwa and Mawmiwa and every one within the tribe smiled at them and saw them as a friend.
The warriors of Tetrapi and Imekana looked fiercesome side by side and although they had fought against each other in the past, there was no ill feeling between them
and they sang a new song of unity, “T'Azma Shikwana! T'Azma Shikwana! Dwamu Keeakya! Dwamu Keeyaka!” which means “Two wings of friendship! Two wings of friendship! Eagle of battle! Eagle of battle!” and chief and elders of the two tribes sat in a circle and discussed the impending war.
“Since the time of our oldest ancestors there has never been a conflict upon this scale; two tribes against two tribes and the enemy has sworn a vow to kill,not only the warriors of our peoples, but also the defenceless women and children. These are troubling,ungodly times and what measure of sadness and what measure of victory lies in the future, no one can say”, said Hamaga, “But what is certain is that the evil intent of our enemies has left us no option but to fight, for if we surrender there is no doubt in my mind that they would kill us all including our dear wives and children and so we are up against a wild hungry beast and we are fighting for everything that is important to us”.
“All that is true”, asked Abakwa, “But our villages are some miles apart; how will we communicate between our villages if they attack either one? How will we coordinate our efforts if they attack both?”.
And various methods were suggested such as talking drums and messenger parrots
but then the brothers Ekwinakwa and Konikwa, who were identical to each other spoke in unison, “Throughout our life, we have always had some kind of link between our minds and hearts. Whenever we dream it is the same dream. Whenever we think it is the same thought. No matter how far apart we are, we can communicate with each other through heart and mind”.
“Then they will communicate for us”, said Hamaga, “Ekwinakwa and forty nine other sons of Samia will fight for the Imekana village while Konikwa and forty nine sons will fight for the Tetrapi and if the enemy attacks only one village then the army from the other village will help support them”.
Then they looked at the routes by which the armies of the south and east could attack their villages and there were only two ways, through forest land or via the great Ankenaga by raft or canoe and so it was decided, after Janakwa had begged the forgiveness of the woodland beasts, to fill the forest with traps and pits and snares so that no army could march through it without losing the lives of men and it was also decided, after Janakwa had begged the forgiveness of the fish, to build a temporary dam so that there was no water to row upon and if the enemy marched along the dry river bed then they would burst the dam and let the water drown them.
And, as in the battle with the termite men they built stone walls to surround their villages and round about them dug two ditches so that no enemy could come close without stepping down into the ditches and they filled the inner ditches with water and venomous snakes and the outer ditches with flammable wine so that a burning Spear could be hurled into it and immolate any who dared to wade through it. “With an enemy army so vast”, said Hamaga, “it is vital that we kill as many of theirs without risking one of ours”.
And in the building of the walls and the digging of the ditches all the people of the two tribes gave help because of the shortness of time and, under the order of Samia, every woman was given a spear so that,if all else failed, they could try to protect themselves and their children as best they could and Samia insisted that she must fight beside her sons in battle although her sons protested, she said, “You are all of me; in a hundred parts and should any of you die it would be as if I had lost a limb or an eye and, if all of you were killed, it would be a fatal wound”. And so, the hundred sons agreed that their mother might fight from the parapets as long as she stayed within the walls of the village.
And into the forest Shilakwa let a flock of parrots and cockatoos loose who had all been taught to repeat these words, “Go back, go back. You are walking into death”.
And, outside the walls and defensive ditches of the fortified villages, stood the warriors of the Imekana and the Tetrapi and,beside them, the hundred sons of Samia and the brave Desula warrior Kagukagwa and while he was barely clothed because his skin was impenetrable like Iron, the other warriors all wore armour of iron and bronze although, because of his great height and melon-sized muscles, the son known as Kwashikwa could not fit into armour and so he carried a great bronze shield.
Out of the forests then came the armies of the porcupine men,their golden spears glistering in the afternoon sun, their eyes dark as drinking wells; and behind them marched the wary warriors of the Desula and the Orinka and behind them walked their cowardly chiefs and they were bickering between themselves as to whose child had betrayed them the most, “It was your cowardly bastard of a son who betrayed us; if he had not sold himself to our enemies then we would have had the element of surprise in our favour. But look, the forest is full of ambushers, traps and pits and snares and we have lost the lives of twenty of our men and ten of the porcupine warriors before we have even reached the field of battle”, said Tantonakwi.
“Don’t talk about my son”, replied Kulkwi, “It was your adultress of a daughter who seduced him and made him lose his senses and that is the only reason he betrayed us. If we lose this battle I will hold you and your unclean daughter responsible for it”.
And it looked to all as if the entire force of the enemy was attacking the Tetrapi village and so Konikwa spoke into himself and, across the Ankenaga and over the Otrupi hills, his identical brother, Ekwinakwa, heard his thoughts and he told Hamaga, “They are all converging upon Tetrapiland” and Hamaga gave the order
for all his warriors to cross hill and river and join the Tetrapi battle.
Out of the forests the evil army approached and they were as fierce as the face of death has ever looked to any man and their deepthroated war chanting was like the sound of two great vulture wings beating the air as if death were flying slowly towards them but the valiant men of Tetrapi and Imekana did not shiver or shrink but swelled their chests like frogs with fearlessness and anger and poured out some of their own thunder, dancing in their clattering armour and banging their spears against the armour rhythmically and chanting the song of their united tribes; then there was a moment of catching breath and the kakaw birds were singing and their hearts were beating and then the silence was over and the swell of venomous rage and steel exploded,crashing against the immovable shore of courage and determination.
First hand, they saw the horror of each porcupine man, his armour covered in razor sharp points that gouged at any who were brought close in the turmoil of moving bodies, the porcupine mans eyes were spikes of hate too and his mouth, long and flat like a wolf’s and his mouth full of sharp animal incisors and his fury bristled from within him like spikes emmanating from his dark, turbulent spirit but; if the porcupines soul bristled with sharp anger, then the souls of the hundred sons and all the brave men of the northwest were ironclad like the armour that covered their bodies and they answered the fury of their enemy with a fury twice as enormous. And iron and flint clashed with armour and flesh and the soil of the Tetrapi had never been so wet with rain as it now was with blood, blood and sand mixed together into a dark red mud and bodies falling in twisted shapes of agony like uprooted trees; falling in swathes like rushes and Kagukagwa could not be cut down no matter how the spears of the Porcupine men jabbed into him, his ironlike skin would not break and it was they who were falling with his fatal blows.
Seeing that Kagukagwa was undefeatable, his own father,consumed by evil and fear of losing, called out to his evil god, “Do something to stop Kagukagwa!” and so the evil ones sent the tiny biting insect called the Vogu to sneak through the Tetrapi defences and bite Mawmiwa on the arm and Mawmiwa contracted a terrible fever and then the vogu flew to the ear of Kagukagwa and told him “Your wife is sick, Kagukagwa; bitten by my fatal disease. While you are fighting, she is dying and all your strength and your impenetrable skin cannot save her” and, fearful for his wife, Kagukagwa turned away from the fighting and, because of his impenetrable skin he was able to swim through the two defensive ditches of fire and burning snakes and, recognizing him below the wall, Samia and the other women helped him to climb the defensive wall back into the village.
“Why have you deserted the battle Kagukagwa? Do you not see that we are lost without you?”, asked Samia.
“My wife is sick”, said Kagukagwa, “She was bitten by the insect that carries a fatal illness. It whispered into my ear as I fought in the field and told me of its crime. I must see my wife”.
And so Samia allowed Kagukagwa to see his wife and she was indeed ill and he
called out to the goddess, “How could you let this happen. I and my wife have done nothing but serve you and you allow her to be harmed in this way?”.
And the goddess replied, “When you juggle with planets then ask me if I should keep an eye on every flying insect. Kagukagwa; it is you who have the lives of the Tetrapi and the Imekana within your hands. Would you sacrifice all the wives and sons and daughters of two villages for one life?”.
But Kagukagwa would not listen and he refused to return to the battle until the life of Mawmiwa was saved and so the Goddess said, “Kagukagwa. somewhere amid the battle buzzes the Vogu fly that bit your wife. If you can find and swat the fly with the tip of your spear and kill it then the life of Mawmiwa will be saved”.
And so Kagukagwa agreed to return to the battle, but only to swat the fly and, seizing control of the fly, God made the fly buzz in front of Kagukagwa and land upon the bodies of his enemies so that every time he tried to stab at the fly with his spear he stabbed a fatal wound into his enemies.
Let it be remembered how bravely they all fought; those magnificent sons of Samia and the men of Tetrapi and Imekana. How the great Kwashikwa even snatched up his opponents with one hand and hurled them upon the spear points of their evil comrades; how he hurled his great bronze shield too, so that it skimmed the air like a polished pebble upon lake water and knocked seven tall porcupine men off of their feet; how Shimakwa darted about the field as fast as a hummingbird, stinging the enemy left and right with deep and fatal gashes; how Agajona fought with two spears, each with a spear point upon either end so that he could cut down twice as many; how Janakwa, because he had sworn to shed no blood, knocked the skulls of the enemy
to sleep with his club, how Quimekona with the dragon bone of Malaguna scattered shards of fire and lightning left and right, turning wicked men and porcupine men into squealing swine; how Amekwa the great patriot,possessed by the spirit of his land, danced upon the heads of his enemies waving scythe and sickle, ploughing a path through the throng and watering the earth with their blood and how Numandwa fought, not only upon the field, with his machete and his spear but also upon the ramparts with the wooden bows and the poison tipped and fiery arrows he had created so that the women could fire down upon the heads of the enemy and how it was Abakwa who decided that the enemy be pushed back into the dry river and the dam be broken and the white-water fury of Ankenaga be unleashed upon them and it was given to two younger sons, Zexiki and Jerikwa that they should,braving enemy slingshot and arrow, break the dam.
And when the weary and depleted armies of the enemy were forced they retreated,with each prod of the advancing northwesters, down and back into the dry gulley of the dammed Ankenaga and, some even fell backwards into the gulley and died upon the spearpoints of their own warriors and when atleast two hundred were standing upon the empty river bed, including the two chiefs Tantonakwi and Kulkwi who had become more pawns than generals in the battles chaos, the dam was broken
with axe and club and the waters burst through and like a lion with a white water mane roared and reared up over the two hundred enemy warriors and swept all of them with it over rocks as sharp as canine teeth until it delivered their drowned bodies to the sea.
It was now, with the enemy so severely beaten and breathless and so greatly outnumbered by the brave and good and with the porcupine men shed like so many bloody quills, and with the two enemy chiefs swept to the sea that Janakwa prayed to God to let the enemy see reason and let the killing cease and so God gave the remaining enemy soldiers a vision that infront of them was their own village on fire and scattered round about them were the bodies of their own children and their wives and their sisters; mothers and grandparents and the voice of god whispered to them, “Look you have been decieved. The village you are attacking is your own village. The army you are hacking away at are your own children and your wives and sisters and mothers and grandparents. You have murdered them all”. And this gave the remaining
soldiers a shock that made them pause and think and thinking, they all fell upon their knees and sobbed for they believed that they had murdered their own people and the voices of evil tried to wake them; “Get up! Get up!”, they shrieked, “It is only an illusion”, but grief had cast a spell over the kneeling soldiers that was impossible for them to shake off and, with this, the battle to defend the two villages was won but
for Kagukagwa all he could think of was the buzzing of the Vogu fly; it was the fly that his eye had followed all through the battle and he could not rest until he could hear its buzzing stop and he saw it settle upon the blood speckled leaf of a Tamu bush and, hurling his spear, clipped the leaf right off of the bush and cut the buzzing fly within its heart and then,for him, the battle was over and, just as the Goddess had promised him, his Mawmiwa had recovered from her sickness.
“As you fought outside in the field”, said Mawmiwa to her husband, “So my body fought the sickness and won”. And the couple embraced and seeing them embrace, Janakwa commented, smiling and weeping, “Chirimoya. That is Chirimoya”.
“What is Chirimoya?”, asked Kagukagwa, unfamiliar with the customs and sayings of the Imekana.
“Chirimoya!”, said Janakwa, “It means ‘The Reason Why’”.
And,because it was his duty as medicine man, Quimekona went about with herbs and poultices to tend to the injured and to say prayers for the dying and saw that, in Ekwinakwas arms, his identical twin Konikwa lay; his blood pouring from a fatal wound. “He felt the spear and I felt the spear but, sadly, only one of us will die”, said Ekwinakwa.
“But I will not die”, said Konikwa, losing his breath and vision but still struggling to speak, “My voice will go on inside you, Ekwinakwa. We are one mind and one heart”.
“We all become one within God,my brother”, said Quimekona.
And Quimekona also saw that Hamaga lay on the field of battle dying from an arrow in his side and the spirit was draining out of him and, because Hamaga was like an uncle to him, Quimekona wept.
"Weep not, Quimekona, unless it is with joy", said Hamaga, "The battle is won and tomorrow I will be in eternity and sit beside the white robed elders of heaven, will I not?"
And so Quimekona wiped away the tears from his eyes and then Hamaga said, "God gives me an extra length of breath to speak with and so I will not waste it. As I have no sons of my own, I give the control of my tribe and the tribes that have surrendered to us, to Samia and her sons who I know will be their best protectors and are truly the fingers of god touching our world. Let them unite the four tribes into one”.
And so it was that our great nation of Tetrapia grew out of the four tribes and Samia was made queen of all and the names of her sons and the stories of their courage still live upon the tongues of the Tetrapi today.