The 100 sons of Samia - Part 10 - The tribes of the East and the South
In the East and the South the tribes of the Orinka and the Desula had heard tales of how the hundred sons slew the giant Termite and now ruled over the tribe of Tetrapi but, rather than seeing them as heroes, the peoples of Orinka and Desula were afraid of the power that the hundred sons obviously wielded and worried that their tribes may be invaded by the now united armies of the Imekana and Tetrapiland.
Faced with such fears, the Elders of Orinka and the Elders of Desula decided to found a union of their own. An enormous feast was prepared by all the women of the East and South and the women of each tribe attempted to outdo the other in the sumptuousness of the dishes and, by the banks of the Kwinowako which is the little sister of the great Ankenaga, the two tribes met and Tantonakwi, who was chief of the Orinka, and Kulkwi, who was chief of the Desula, met and joined hands in friendship and Mawmiwa who was the lovely eldest daughter of Tantonakwi was married to Kagukagwa, whose name means impenetrable skin, the brave warrior son of Kulkwi and the old medicine women and oracles who belonged to both tribes performed ritual blessings and dances of enchantment within circles drawn in the dust and gave offerings to the four facets of the great goddess and tried to call her voice into them so that they might know her will and wisdom for, as Tantonakwi observed, “Even with all the might of two tribes we may not have enough to face these slayers of giants and so we need more than flesh,flint,fire and courage; the tribe of heaven must unite with us too”.
The mother goddess is all that is beautiful and good within the universe, her smile lies behind the sun and behind the smiles of all good and happy children; those who are blind call her invisible but those who know the true meaning of god look around themselves and even at their own reflection in a clear lake and see her face. Some then may say that she revealed herself to the tribes of the east and south and others who are wiser may say that they became conscious of her.
It was as the lips of Mawmiwa joined with those of Kagukagwa. The sky turned an unknown colour, a colour that is only seen by the enlightened; the birds sang in an unknown key, a key only heard by the ears of those who know how to listen and unto
the two chiefs of the tribe she spoke; “What is it that you ask of me?”, she asked.
“We must have your help to defend against our enemies, the Imekana and the Tetrapi and the hundred sons”, said Tantonakwi.
“The Imekana people are loyal to me”, said the Goddess, “The hundred sons are the servants of my will. You have no enemies except your own fear. Go and make peace with the Imekana and become one tribe with them so that you may serve my will as one”.
“Become one tribe?”, said Kulkwi, “But the Desula tribe is the tribe of our ancestors. It has its own customs and dress and tongue and it has always been separate from the other four tribes”.
“Nothing is always”, replied the Goddess, “The land which floats upon the sea is like the clouds that float up in the sky and nations; clouds of the human mind. I am all things and all people who play their part within me and yet you wish to divide me up and ask me to kill one part of myself for the sake of another and all the dead; where do they go when they have shed their skins and traditions; do you think that they are scattered or united into one; do you think that heaven is divided into nations? Or that the denizens of heaven divide themselves according to colour,caste,creed or culture? No. I am all who play their part in me. You have made half a step in your alliance of war; now make an alliance of peace”.
But to listen to and obey the voice of the Goddess requires effort and both Tantonakwi and Kulkwi were weak willed and so they dismissed the word of reason as a madness and called the voice of goodness a demon and into both their heads now came a sound which was more pleasing to them; the voice of evil and deception.
“To share your power is to half your power”, said the evil voice, “And is it not better to rule entirely over a small tribe than to share a large one? And what of the status of your tribe as a great warrior nation? Where is the glory in peace? What is peace but a pretty name for cowardice?”. The evil voice used all its knowledge of the moral weaknesses in man; probing the cracks within the human heart; greed and pride and fear and the two chiefs listened as gullibly as infants.
Hearing the hearts of the two chiefs decieved, the goddess let out a sigh that was heard all over the land of the four tribes like a strong wind and, hearing the goddess sigh, the evil one let out a loud, evil laugh that was heard throughout the land like thunder and, hearing these strange sounds from out of the sky, all of the hundred and Samia and Agumen looked up from Imekana land and worried about what strange kind of storm must be approaching.
And the evil voice said to Tantonakwi and Kulkwi, “Go and look by the river and bring me the first living thing that you find there” and so the two chiefs told Kagukagwa and Mawmiwa ,who had just been married, to run to the riverside and pick up the first living thing that they could find and return quickly and the young couple, because they had just been married without knowing each other too well, were happy to have some time alone together and ran off to the riverside.
And,when they reached the riverside, they pretended that it was hard to find anything there so that they could have more time to talk and Kagukagwa asked Mawmiwa, “How do you feel about marrying me?”.
“I do as my father commands and what my people need of me”, said Mawmiwa, “I have practiced and imagined,every day,since I was a little girl, taking the hand of what ever man my father would have me marry; some times with hope and some times in dread”.
“Then you must be well prepared for this. I have spent my youth practicing to be a warrior and a hunter but not a husband and so I am totally unprepared. Infact I feel somewhat like the rabbit that gets caught in a snare, although it is a very beautiful and lovely snare but still sudden and frightening”, said Kagukagwa, “I am courageous when faced with an enemy or a lion but I am shy with women”.
“There is no need to be afraid”, said Mawmiwa, smiling sweetly, “I will help you”.
Kagukagwa was about to reply with something loving but unfortunately his bare foot stepped upon the prickly spines of the great Porcupine, Chinokwi, and he gave out a yelp of pain and almost fell into the river. Luckilly Mawmiwa had been raised with a knowledge of all the names and the qualities of plants and flowers; she knew which were poison and which were for healing and she found a weed by the river that took away pain and she crushed the plant between two rocks and rubbed the paste of the ground plant upon the sole of Kagukagwas foot and the pain of the porcupines sharp quills died down.
“You are lucky that there was no injury; it is very rare to step upon a porcupine without getting a quill stuck in ones foot ”, she said, stroking Kagukagwas foot, and then joked, “There you are, fighter of enemy warriors and angry lions. I have saved you from the sting of a porcupines quill”.
Kagukagwa might have been embarassed by this incident and Mawmiwa’s mirth at his suffering were he not already deeply in love with her. Instead of yelling,grumpilly he merely picked himself up and, seizing the porcupine by one of its feet, said, “If you were not now a thing of great value to my chiefs I would pluck out all your quills and leave you bald but ‘the first living thing’ is what they asked for and you are, at least for now, alive”.
And so Kagukagwa and Mawmiwa took the porcupine back to their chiefs and
Tantonakwi held the porcupine up to the sky and shouted, “We have done as you asked, oh great power.”
“That is good”, said the evil voice and a fire then suddenly burst from the earth that had flames of an unknown colour and the voice commanded, “Throw the porcupine upon the flames and you shall have a powerful army”.
And Tantonakwi threw the squirming porcupine into the mysterious fire and the creature then grew and transformed into an army of supernatural spearmen; a strange, ungodly soldier for every quill that had grown upon the Porcupine’s hairy back and each with a golden spear as tall as two warriors in their left hand and wearing strange metal armour covered in short, sharp spikes and a spiky metal helmet on their head.
“Behold your army, behold the Krakrawaka, the men of spikes. Each one is an unstoppable murderer with an unquenchable thirst for hot blood and victory”, said the voice of evil, before adding “Ofcourse, their services come at a cost”.
“What cost?”, cried the two chiefs,prostrating themselves so that they almost seemed transformed into crawling creatures by their wickedness, “Name the cost and we shall be honored to pay it, oh great power”.
“You must vow to me that you will kill all of your enemies and their wives and their children and their elders. Annihilate the tribes of Imekana and Tetrapi, leave not one with a beating heart; make a deluge of their blood”, said the evil one, growing excited
at the thought of so much cold blooded slaughter.
And then, to the horror of Kagukagwa and Mawmiwa whose eyes had been opened by their growing love for each other, their fathers agreed to the evil terms of this pact.
“The pain in the sole of my foot has gone but I feel another pain in my heart much sharper than porcupine quills”, whispered Kagukagwa.
“Let me suggest a cure for that pain”, said Mawmiwa, whispering “Let us run away and warn the peoples of the Imekana and Tetrapi. Perhaps, with a warning, they might have a hope of saving themselves”.
“And betray my tribe and my family?”, asked Kagukagwa, “How can I possibly do such a thing? I am a noble warrior of the Desula clan ; I am a child of my ancestors; my duty is to fight for my tribe; not against it”.
“What noble warrior would kill women and children and so many and so needlessly?”, protested Mawmiwa, “Surely,my husband, you can see how our fathers have been decieved and how our two tribes may now be turned into moral-less scavengers like the spotted jackals that attack the wounded and steal babies from their cribs?”
“I know that you are right, my beautiful wife. Your heart is as golden as your face is fair, and yet I am afraid”, said Kagukagwa, “I feel the bonds of my upbringing like chains running through my arteries and bones”.
Mawmiwa embraced her husband, “Do not worry about those bonds. The love between us is stronger, the truth that we are certain of is stronger and those are a freeing force that make the bonds of tradition seem feeble and brittle”.
The first night of a couples wedded life should be a night of happiness but for Mawmiwa and her husband it was an occasion only of fear and worry; for that night,while their tribes slept, they fled their marriage hut, running through the twilight towards the lands of the north-west and, watching them, the evil ones who had tempted their fathers, sent the black panther, Agombra, after them to kill them but, fortunately, the Goddess was also watching over them and she sent a wounded deer to distract the panther and, instead of pursuing the young couple, the panther pounced upon the wounded deer and devoured it and, looking back over her shoulder, Mawmiwa said, “God bless you, you poor creature; I guarantee you that you have given up your life to save many”.