Nwin-Nwin: The Legend Begins

Dedicated to the most self-less man I ever knew and the few stories he could tell me

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In Africa, the sun rises and sets without warning, and the winds blow through the old forests with the songs of legends, the marks of their passing staining the blood-red sands.

And some of those legends are true.

******

In the old Edo, the first true black civilization, the empire was home to many tribes and cultures. Bound together by the Obas who ruled after the era of the Ogisos, the sky kings, it stretched almost five thousand miles in either direction; from the steppes of the Dahomey to the swamps of the Niger Delta. Within were the Itshekiri, the Etsako, the proud Ijaws and Urhobos, the noble Esan, the big and powerful Binis and the Igbos both west and east of the Niger River. All paid homage to the Oba and in turn were blessed by him, for the Oba was more than just a man, the Oba was king, the Oba was god on Earth.

Oba ghato kpe e!

The Bini empire was called Edo and it was powerful, the envy of the neighboring kingdoms to the west and the north. Their trade guilds employed the most skilled of artisans; blacksmiths and hunters, their warriors, soldiers from birth, trained in the knife, spear and hand-to-hand combat, and also in the finer arts of war and strategy and juju. It was strategy that led to the building of the Bini moats and high wall which surround the capital of the Edo Empire at Benin City, till this day. Moats that were built with the aid of giants enslaved and brought from across the deserts. Strategy and wisdom, both physical and spiritual.

The warriors who came from all over the kingdom, all swore allegiance to the throne of the Oba, and whether Esan or Ijaw, all spoke the lingua franca, a bastardization of the Bini language, known as the Edo language. Within this military were special cadres, the strategists, the juju priests and the elite warriors. This is a story of one of those elite warriors, and as with such tales, it began at night… Continue reading “Nwin-Nwin: The Legend Begins”

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Midnight Dance

Moonlight bathed the hidden grove in a swathe of silvery light. The rays from the Night’s Candle sifted through the branches of the tall forbidding trees to reflect off the fallen leaves on the forest floor, bathing the surrounding in a sort of eerie glow. It was fitting. For the events that were to occur that night were unlike any before, but the final participants of these actions were as yet unaware. In fact, they were very unaware of anything else at that moment. Anything asides, of course, their own bodies.

The figures writhed in mindless ecstasy, their bodies merged as one as their muscles thrashed and twisted searching for higher plateaus of pleasure. The man grabbed her waist and pulled her even closer, burying his face in her bosom while his pelvis rocked back and forth violently, seeking to immerse himself as deeply as possible. The acolyte girl murmured in a curious mix of pleasure and pain, her sounds muted, yet loud, as she threw her head back and surrendered to the endless savaging.

Around them, watching on wooden stools made of the strongest iroko, sat quiet men, whose faces bore lines of wisdom and age, and whose eyes shone in fevered excitement. All except one. They were twelve in number and he was the true reason why they were all gathered for this ceremony.

Clouds gathered and the grove slowly became darker. The bodies continued to move, naked black skin pounding against black flesh. The sounds were unmistakable and with the old men who sat watching in languid silence, there was more than one with a slight stirring of the groin.

The spirits should not be trifled with.

The Otumokpo, he was the one whose countenance did not shift, brought out a tiny drum from the folds of his George robes and began to beat a soft cadence. The leather skin of the sekere drum vibrated with the tension and the ancient beads woven around it shook with a strange intensity. A slight breeze picked up, shaking up the leaves and whipping around the ankles of the old men as the ancient rhythm of the ritual chant rolled with each strike of the sekere. As one the old men tightened their wrappers around their body to ward off the chill, their gazes fixed on the ritual before them.

The girl had begun to moan. A soft sound at first but gradually rising in intensity. The man grunted, his entire being pulsating with an excitement and a desire he knew was not his own.
“It has begun,” hissed the Otumokpo in a voice that could not be heard.

The forest is old. The leaves remain green and the black sands are soaked in the blood of the spirits.
The land is old. The air is pure and the winds are thick with the words of the ancestors.

Whatever it was in the green liquid he had sipped from the black calabash beneath the coconut tree at the home of the Changa Priestess, it has taken possession of his body. All these the man thought while he watched his body tear away at the acolyte whose screams has taken on an infernal snarl. The winds whipped up in intensity and lightening flashed.

INCANTATION
Seven rings of Odumu, the nine dogs who roam the land, the yards of black cloth would never be sewn, and to the magic, new souls we bind.

The gods are never mocked

A shriek arose from the mouth of the acolyte and she pointed to the sky and screamed. A shrill scream it was, piercing and loud. The bats in the trees took off in fright and the owl of Sambiana, that does not make a sound, hooted in surprise. A figure leapt from the tops of the trees. The old men scattered, each tripping over his stool in his haste to escape.
Half monkey, half beast, the figure tore at each man with amazing speed, severing his limbs from his body till the blood flowed red and the forest floor was soaked in the life of the sacrifices. Eleven sacrifices. The Otumokpo remained, his fingers still caressing the sekere drum, the rhythm of the chant constant as the beast turned to circle the man and the acolyte.

Lightening flashes and for a second, the grove was lit. The bodies of the eleven lay strewn about in a rough semi-circle and circling the Otumokpo, the man and the acolyte was a fearsome beast, with eyes as black as night and teeth that glistened red. It was like a black dog but with the tail of a cat and the limbs of a monkey.
The Garinja. Messenger of the Spirits. Harbinger of death. The dealer.

The man stared, his organ now as limp as the plantain when fried in too much oil. The beast circled closer. The acolyte clutched at his arm, the pleasures of the past few moments all but vanished from their minds and their thoughts filled with nothing else except the pure terror that comes with certain death.
The old men, princes of the land. Patriachs of the purest bloodlines, now dead and bleeding all over their expensive ankara and George robes. Sacrifices.

The Otumokpo could remember how this all began. When the deaths started in the village, he had appeared before the council in his white robes and with his staff rattling.
“Four days! Four days!” he had cried in a shrill voice, and they had believed him. A young man and women to the sacrificed in the Somba forest, before the eyes of the Spirits and in the presence of the dark Ones. A representative of the eldest families to oversee the ritual. Eleven old men. The true sacrifices. Blood.

INCANTATION
Blood and air, of the baboon and the cry of the jackal, the seas rise and confuse the bufoon, the stars light the way, the kolanut is not shared but struck, the rocks path in a way and water is all.

The beast, the garinja, lets out a bloodcurdling yell and rushes for the man and the acolyte. His speed is a blur, as fast as a thought, but in seconds it is over. The garinja is on the floor, torn in pieces and the Otumokpo stares in wonder, his fingers frozen above the sekere.

But Man is higher that the Forces and his actions shape the world.

The smell of blood is in the air and the sacred grove is fouled by the stench of it. The Otumokpo adds to that stench when his bowels give way as the man turns towards him.
“No, no..” he murmurs. It was not supposed to be this way.
It is over in seconds and the sekere drum is buried deep within the chest of the old priest. The Otumokpo is dead and as his heart gives way, its last tremors ignite a slight percussion and stir the beads of the sekere.

The clouds part and the rain begins to fall in fat drops of warm wetness. Only the acolyte remains, naked and trembling among the leaves of the forest floor. Her black skin is spotted with splotches of the Otumokpo’s blood as he was killed. Her full breasts heave up and down in fright as the rain falls upon them, and her dark nipples stay taut with the excitement of danger and the scent of death.
The man stares at her, his black eyes now flecked with red slashes. They rove around her body, taking in every line and every mound. His organ hardens quickly and he advances.

DISCLAIMER
*The titles, places, incantations and whatnot are not real oh..and regrettably a mere figment of this writer’s warped imagination.
*I do not dabble in the juju oh! Though I have a fetish for the fetish.. -___-

NOTE
Would use this medium to appreciate all those who helped out with celebrating my birthday last week. Promise, Sunshine, Jerry, Jazzy, Lambert, Ebere, Nolly, Eric, Ujente, Obire, Ikenna, Blehbleh, Justice, Chadni, King, Tchyoma, Onyeka, Motunrayo, Vincent, Explosive and the rest of you too numerous to mention. Really amazed I could pull off that crowd in six short months. Thank you..

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Peace.