The 100 sons of Samia - Part 8 - The Brothers defeat the Termite clan
As the sun rose, the next day a messenger entered the Imekana village, sent by Agumen to ask for the surrender of Hamaga and his people and Hamaga sent the messenger away with a limp and an answer of defiance but in his heart Hamaga was not confident of victory.
“How do we defeat an army of Termite- men?”, asked Hamaga of his council, which was made up of all the elder men of the tribe aswell as the most elderly medicine-women and Samia, because she held the most power over her many sons.
But none had ever encountered such a fiercesome and so unnatural enemy and so none could give a confident reply but Samia invited her sons to listen to the councils debate and
Numandwa, who was the cleverest of all the sons of Samia, said, “I have been studying the habits of Termites and ants since I was but a small child and how best to defend against them and kill them and what works upon a termite may well work upon a termite-man. Firstly, though, we should build high stone walls around our village, like those around the great Zimektra, made out of the hardest stone, because Termites eat through wood and all plant matter but they would have trouble eating through stone. Secondly there are some plants within the forest which, I have observed, create strong poisons to protect themselves against Termite invasions and we could gather up all these plants and extract their poisons to use against our attackers and thirdly, I have observed the ants in their battles with Termites and they bite off the heads of their opponents, we must also take off their heads and so we will need great choppers like the ones we use for clearing trees”.
Many of the elders resented the intrusion of young,inexperienced voices into their debate and some old men even got up and hobbled out of the chiefs hut, tutting and shaking their graying heads but Hamagas only concern was the survival of his tribe and desperation had opened his ears to all suggestions. “We have little time to act.
Numandwa”, said Hamaga, “And few men to spare on the task of building walls and gathering poisons but anything that might get us through this dark time is worth trying”.
“I will build the walls”, said Kwashikwa, flexing his enormous biceps, “It will be light work for me”.
“And I will gather and make the poison”, said Quimekona, “Because I know all the plants of the forest aswell as I know my brothers”.
And Shimakwa who was swifter than the southern wind was sent into the nameless jungle to fetch reinforcements from the tribes which they had helped in their quest for the great Chirimoya.
He ran first to the Wirrima tribe that had been given back their true forms, then he ran to the Velidri tribe, which was now called the Umanuki tribe and was half made up of Samian sons, and lastly, he ran to the Oomwa tribe who had been set free from the tyranny of the giant Bragwa and all the tribes which he asked for help remembered what the Sons of Samia had done for them and offered their warriors to help in the battle against the Termite men and,lead by Shimakwa marched towards Imekanaland.
The building of Numandwa’s stone wall took, using Kwashikwas enormous strength and the whole tribe working together, atleast a day and, inspired by Numandwas wall, the natural born general, Abakwa, suggested that a wooden wall should be built around the stone wall,explaining, “The Termite men will eat through the wooden wall easily but we will soak the wood in our poison and so before they even reach the stone wall they will already be weakened by poison”.
Once the walls had been built around the village, Janakwa said to his younger brother Shilakwa, “You should go and see your friend Agumen. He will want to know of our defenses and you must tell him that we are poorly defended and that
we have but a flimsy wooden wall as a barricade around our village. This way, Agumen will be overconfident about winning and unprepared for the strong defenses he encounters”.
And Shilakwa went away happily thinking that atlast he would be able to serve his tribe with honour and, when he got to the village of the Tetrapi, Agumen asked of him, “Why don’t you fight beside me in battle against your tribe?”
But Shilakwa feigned cowardice and pretended to cower and shiver, saying, “Although you will undoubtedly win,my chief, an arrow might hit me during the battle and then I would not be alive to celebrate your victory”
And Agumen laughed at Shilakwa and sent him away but, upon leaving the Tetrapi village, Shilakwa ran back to his own village because, in truth,he wanted to fight, bravely, beside his people.
When the moon rose above the village, the Termite army attacked. The Imekana people could hear them approaching; their feet trampling the earth and their mandibles crunching through trees and behind them marched the warriors of the Tetrapi tribe; Agumen and his sons and Agumen was happy because he believed that victory would soon be his and when the Termite men saw the first wall, the wooden wall that was built around the village, they laughed and said, “We eat wood and so this barricade is food to us”.
But after the termite men had finished devouring the outer wall, they all felt sick and half of the termite warriors fell onto their backs and squirming, died.
“The wooden wall has eaten through them”, said Abakwa, happily.
Now the remaining Termite men were faced with the second wall, the wall of stone,but they could not eat through rocks and so they started to dig in order to get under the wall but as they did so the Imekana tribe poured clay pots of poison down upon their heads And fired poison arrows down at them and the Termite men were again halved in number.
Now Agumen was starting to worry that he might lose and he was cursing Shilakwa for lying to him about the Imekanas defenses but, just as Agumen was about to order the retreat of his warriors the united tribes of the Wirrima and the Umanuki and the Oomwa converged upon them and when the Imekana men saw this they rejoiced and, using his strength, Kwashikwa pushed down the stone walls which surrounded their village and the walls fell down and killed ten Termite men and the Imekana tribe rushed out to join their friends in battle and, as fiercesome as they were, the remaining Termite men could not stand up to the Imekana tribe and their insect heads were hacked from their shoulders by great iron chopping blades and their bodies were trampled into Imekana soil and, desperately outnumbered, Agumen sank to his knees and surrendered.