Odimarin, The Prince Goes Home.
Sitting on top the anthill whose original occupants have been evicted by the over flown riverbank, the life of the day was ebbing away and nothing the boisterous wind blowing from the east and the grasping sun of the west could do, as nature was on her regular journey.
Lost in consuming thoughts, eyes glued to the water; the stubborn wind blasting my exposed torso and the rapturous chirping of birds from the bushes behind me, was a reminder of parents calling their wards home, and as I can easily predict the Queen and King, whom lately are harvesting despair sown by my actions, I suppose will be doing for me. The music from the forest choir of which the monkey was the leader ushered in the half yellow sun of West Africa.
The River bank has become my sanctuary since this nostalgic vibe took over me. The River bank was not just a sanctuary for processing my thoughts, it is the very place I am more than certain that begins a new journey for me yet it is also the one place that holds me back. The crispy clean sand, high and browed trees on the sides of the bank, added to the aesthetic value of the shore. The river bank is a citadel of ambiguous beauty and for every single day I have come here, I could not but savour with delight every moment opportunity presents.
The noisy wind was in consonance with the whooshing of the waters amidst the chirpings and animated sound from the forest, I heard my name.
My neck moved my head one hundred and eighty degrees, but there was no one there. It was a call from deep within me, this same call that unleashed a restless beast within me.
I know my voice, I hear the ones in my head and see not only a beautiful world across the water, there’s an unquenchable desire burning in me to go home. I am a prince from this land, a prince is at home, and a prince can only have one home. As much as I think there’s a more amazing world beyond the waters, there is a deep conviction within me that Odimarin is not my home, but my birthplace. The chasm in me, gets a brief satiation, only at the river bank, a temporal relieve for an eternal desire.
“My prince, the Igwe and the Queen are greatly worried. They have great concern in your frequent disappearing acts.
“Kingibe my friend, you know me deeper than anyone, I am much more worried for them. Odimarin is not my home, I see home in the fierce eyes of the much travelled eagle. You know how I become one with the water. Kingibe, my parents are good people and maybe I seem like a thankless wretch for wanting more, every child has to go home someday, but for now? We should go to the home of my parents.”
“You cannot keep, referring to the land, where you’d be Lord and Master over in the future as you do now, our ancestors where once nomads, but we are grounders now, by our sheer strength and wits we plundered and unsettled countless towns and villages, here, where we are the occupants, met the worst fate, but still we grounded here.
My throne Man, the people are already talking. Debate is rift among several factions, there’s no boundary among the old and the young, just desires that unites and separates and you have not spoken but yet your actions has stirred the waters.”
The quiet walk back to the townspeople was intermittently interrupted by the breaking sounds of dry leaves and tiny tree branches beneath our feet.
Back in the open among the townspeople who were not just hardworking, cheerful, loving, nescient and moving about with an impregnable gait. This I fault them not, who will dare cross the people of Odimarin? Strong men like Bulls, technically gifted in battles, swift like the eagle and fearless like lion, even in the face of death, they say Odimarinese are people who once walked among the gods and myths still has it, that the blood of some of the gods still flows inside the vein of some of the townspeople, so why won’t they walk secured?.
“Odi, see you’ve got that same look again on your face. Looks disappointment and unmet desires. The king said.
“Father please...” Odimarin tried to cut his father off, but he continued.
The benchmark for affluence and wealth in any generation rest on the things and values that the people of that generation holds dear.
Wood, hide and skin held more value than metal, and the palace was almost like an exhibition of them.
“Kingibe, Please call me the queen.
Odi, You can barely hide it, you reek of it, it has cast a ominous shadow around you, it has taken hold of you, that you walk worried, eat worried and even in your sleep, you’ve dreamed worried. What happened to you, you were once a happy child, full of life...what happened my son?”
“Your son became a man, and Men, have desires, a son cannot remain a child forever.”
At the arrival of the queen, with a gesture of his hand, the King ordered all three of them to seat down and he rose up. The Queen, who obviously, had an inclination of what was coming next began to sob, The sight of the King, in his full stride, brushing past her with little or no empathy, made her sob thicker, and there she spoke in plea “Don’t take my son away from me, don’t vindicate his desires...the King cuts in
“Silence woman, this palace is a place of happiness and joy, don’t destroy it with your selfishness, I have listened to you all these past years, and with every passing day, my son, the heir to the throne, our son drowns deeper into the sea of despair and depression. I’ll rather take a chance with the truth, than lose him to insanity, like your brother.”
“Do not speak about my brother, I know the darkness that resides in your heart, I thought I will be able to get it out of you, with the purity of my love, I have showered on you, I see now that I failed.
“And what darkness are you referring to, lady?”
“You know it Diba, there’s darkness in your heart, the darkness of revenge for my family, for my people, I saved you Diba, I saved you and loved you the very moment, my eyes gazed upon you as a child, and with every passing day, I have only increased in loving you more...”
“Saved me? What did you save me from? It was wrong for your people to run through my people and my land, before you saved me, your people have raped my mother to death in my very eyes. I saw my kid sister’s tongue pulled from her throat, by your kin man Barida, The hunter that brings sweet dried rabbit meat to our family house head was pierced by his own staff. My best friend’s body I couldn’t locate, because your people roasted him alive, hiding in his father house, so tell me again what did you save me from?
“I saved your Life, Diba, I gave you Love.”
“Love, my love I do not deny, but life? Take a look at our son, and tell me what’s a life worth when all he holds dear is denied him?
The queen was in shock, but the King walked to her, pulled her up and looked straight into her eyes, Kerida My Queen, today is not about revenge, I do not do this for revenge, you took all of that away and replaced it with Love, Love so pure and refreshing and it produced this beautiful gift, pointing towards the direction of Odimarin, today is about our son, the future of this great land, the brightness that can compete with the sun. This is not about revenge, my Queen, this is about love for our child, the baby we made together out of love for each other.”
“My dear son, it’s very sad that I withheld this truth from you. Truth about who you are and the history of our people.”
I know you have many questions to ask, but I hope we both have the right answers as we share the story of our people.
We are old now, my son, I am not the same strong and wilful Odimarinese, but I am a wise one for sure. I think it’s time for you to know what really happened.”
And the queen spoke, as she has become calm in the embrace of her husband the King.
“It began long ago, in a land I cannot really tell who owned, but I am now sure, it is our ancestral home, it is home that calleth you my, it was a beautiful bubbling place, whose kind our world today has no capacity to sustain.” She paused and smiled, as though she lived there, but this story has been transferred from generation to another.
The land was a beautiful place, men and women alike enjoyed simple things and lived happily with little and there was no desire for personal gain as the spirit of communism lived strongly inside everyone. Everywhere you go was a decoration of inbound joy and simplicity.
Our lives laid secured from the security of waters that surrounded us, and the abundance of food and the kindness that enveloped everyone of us. We were blessed with unequal advantages that it created an illusion of immortality
The people lacked nothing and the people planned for nothing, and so when disaster struck, they knew nothing and didn’t know what to do.
Death was only permitted by old age, but in one fell swoop, death took hundreds and flooded the land. The wanton death of our brothers and sisters, children and fathers, Mothers and Uncles, wives and Aunties took away our simpleton and quenched our unrestrained desires to smile.
We fear what we do not know and when fear disposed love? Greed crept in, Greed, a sickness of the mind that brought in thick darkness that suffocated our very existence, and where ever such malady thrive terrible things will follow. We have always lived by the Waters, we have always done everything with the water, that we did not realize the danger we posed to it, by our carelessness. The details of the flood I do not have, but our greatest blessing brought us our greatest pain, and left us with injuries I don’t know if we can ever recover from.
The waters came so high that it swept away everything that only those on the high ground made it out.
My family, was never a highborn, because my parents were never rulers or leader of any clan, why will the people need any? We had no need for anything, but the desire to love, be happy, procreate and all of this desires caused us nothing. We stood on the high ground and watched as our loved drown in the waters below, we had no way of saving them, we knew nothing, who would have thought.
The pain of our loss, was a gain for hate and desire, it filled us with hate for the waters and created in us desires that were only satiated with death. This is the story of how our Nomadic life began, this is the story of Odimarin, the journey of Nomads.
Soaked from our homeland, we wandered and plundered the paths that took us away from the waters. A once happy, cheerful, generous and skilful people became plunderers and victors by strength. We had no form of leadership among us, but we had our god given strength always with us. We knew what we wanted, and that’s to stay away from the waters and go as deep as possible from it.
The need for leadership arose when we first came among the Thuppians, they were unfriendly and poor, but had so much organisational structure that you will not know that all they had was fishing, yet they lived in selfish contentment. We were amazed at their sophistication but we also appreciated the weakness in their strength and that we exploited. There are some things sophistication won’t do for you, you have to get down to business and do it with your hands and by yourself.
We conquered the Thuppians, took their women and children and freed their slaves, who gladly pleaded to join us and our horde began to grow. Thuppian ladies were fair and lovely and men died for desire of them, brothers killed each other, and father’s slayed sons for their beauty, and there and there our leaders emerged from strength. The strongest became our Leader.
We could not stay at Thuppia for two reasons, one being that their way of survival was repugnant to our nomadic desires and secondly we wanted to move farther away from the water and so we left and never looked back we wiped clean everything in the land. We left no life form and did our best to extinguish any future intentions, it became a desert field, a field of food for vultures.”
The King took over the story from his wife,
“We were not always addressed as kings, but Okosisi, meaning the strong tree, Yes, tree, where we get wood from, was very important, it gives us fire for food, shelter to sleep and fire for warm, and strong trees last longer even under fire.
I cannot tell about what transpired before, the Odimarinese got to my village, the details are gory and unpleasant, but i’ll start from when they got to my village and a few other landmark journey that led us here.
Zibafel, used to be a stronghold to the land of the free men, but our forces were met at a terrible time, War with the free world and struggle for leadership within the ruling class of the kingdom. A house divided against itself will not stand. A community of farmers and lovers, turned into a war zone, and when Odimarin came upon, we could not defend ourselves, how could we when we could not defend ourselves against ourselves?
It was a time of deep pain, even if I was baby, the pain remained fresh, the blood that gushed from my sister’s esophagus blinded the Odimarinese and I walked out of the hut, with blood everywhere and heat from burning huts, and there our eyes met, she was holding a piece of meat in her hands, my eyes, welled up in tears and she walked to me, and gave me meat, and took my hands and I followed her.”
“Who?” The curious Kingibe and Odimarin asked
“The Queen” and the Queen continued.
“I think it was destiny, my father had warned me sternly to remain in the same company with the children, but I was hungry after several days of scoping and mapping out battle plans, and I walked away in search of food, and found meat and you” she said, looking at her husband and both smiled.
“When the Odimarines, walked out, Barida walked out he could not find Diba anymore, but he had always suspected, until we...
“We killed him” the King answered.
“I grew up with hate and revenge in my heart, and every day I resumed for training, Barida tormented me both physically and emotionally, how will you feel, knowing that the last man on top your dead mother, ripped out your sisters throat is your trainer and leader? I couldn’t stand his presence, sometimes I reek of hate when I am around him, only your mother saw through it all, her Love was the only thing I had, then you came along, and now you have left only her love.”
“It was a tough place your father was, I stayed secured from Barida’s wickedness, under my father’s banner, but my Dad knew that Diba was not among us, but he claimed him as his son, for the love he had for me.”
“The greatest fight we encountered was at Pruthal, it was a place of mystery, everything was different, our concern was not to conquer and vanquish, because we loved them, we had similar history. Stayed closed to the waters, living simple lives like we used to, strong men and women like us, but ignorant. They were willing to accommodate us, but we refused their accommodation and their easy passage, least we appear weak in the eyes of other people both behind and before and secondly we’ll accept no help from the water that set us this path.
We encamped around them for over seven hundred days until they became weak and surrendered. But it was a trick, they had back up soldiers, that were waiting to attack us, but we were smarter, we didn’t come this far, taking over territories without also developing superior military skills. We had spies living among them, not our own people but their own, whom their price was their own lives.”
The queen picked up the story “It was a bloody war, for once the desire to take life was weak among us, we felt like we were killing our own kind, but we killed to protect ourselves. The fighting intensified, we noticed they were protecting the pool, at the middle of the town, but why, so we forced our way and then it happened when a Pruthian fell with blood all over into the water, the water rose up and made an image of a lady in royal apparel and she spoke angrily, “I curse you Odimarin, oh, you cannot claim ignorance to the reason why the water rejected you in your land, but you’ll be nomads all your generations, you’ll go back home, but the people you are yet to conquer or they villages that sprang up after your cruelty will fight you, you cannot return by the way you came, you may have number, but the people will fight and resist you, plus your mapper died, water is the way and water is my family, what do you think Odimarin means? Children of water, you are fighting your parents and I’ll demand vengeance. “Take to safety my children, I’ll be with you” she said to the Pruthians and they fled like they were told and the pillar of water collapsed.
Her words sent cold chill into our spines, but yet we still had to defend ourselves, we had victory but no one had a desire for festivity.”
We stayed for few days and went forward, moving away farther from the water. The more we move away, the more the waters enclosed us in, the words of the goddess played in my head for months until regular war strategy and how to stay alive vanquished them all.
This present land was never a tough battle, they had everything we had hoped for, water deep into the forest, a nearby stream, well planned huts and beautiful women.
The land was ours for the taking, this was our destiny, so we believed and we took it.
The Okosisi died and then the wife died because she ate the same poisoned soup. The Okokosisi was a man of war, grounding in this land was not his desires, and then the queen died because she felt remorse at having killed him, for joining the support to ground against her husband, but that she did out of Love”
“Barida was the strongest after him, but he was already suffering from the poison Diba and I had been secretly inducing into him, and when it came time for replacement, nobody dared faced Barida, except me.
I won squarely and took the title King and Queen.
Every day of our lives we are making history as the longest serving Okosisis.”
Some of us are agitating for our old lives of moving farther away from the waters, the old want us to return our ancestral home, but the weak preferred to remain here”
“What do you want father?”
“I maybe a Zibafellian by blood, but I am an Odimariness by marriage, children, throne, and survival, I am Odimarin, I say we go back home, but I love your mother more than my desires, I say we stay, forget about the past like I did and continue life here.
The kingdom is becoming like Zibafell, I don’t want internal conflict, because it will attract enemies we have made abroad and around. A house divided among itself will not stand. With your support, we can squash every uprising and we put it into a vote.”
Odimarin rose up and Kingibe followed him outside, Odimarin placed his right hand on the growing coconut tree, trying to think?
“What are you going to do?”
“I am going to follow my heart,”
“But the king in my throne man”
“He may be my king, but he does not command my heart, gather the people, I want to talk with them and make plans for boats”
“Do you think they will agree?”
“When you take a trip to fantasy land, always have a return ticket, my friend the gold we have amassed is our ticket. Do not underestimate the evil of gold, it can make men do the things even they himself will instantly disapprove of.”
The stage was set and their Prince, who wants to not only prove himself, but fulfil destiny steps up to speak.
“My people, just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart. Hell has a voracious appetite, and lust never quits, the purity of gold and silver is tested by putting them in the fire, the purity of our hearts is tested by giving them a little fame.
My recent despair has been revealed by my face and countenance, and my heart has been tested and fame is not my desire.
I stand here today, not demanding subjection or master and slave relationship, I am demanding for a brother and sister, equals to join me in this journey of destiny, I will ask more than anyone other Okosisi has ever asked you.
Will you row with me upon the wooden houses that float on our greatest fear? (The people roared and cheered)
Will you kill anyone that stands on our way and make their land wasteland? (The people roared and cheered)
Are you ready to live your destiny and claim back our ancestral home? (The people roared and cheered)
Are you with me? (Yeah, was a thunderous answer)
Let’s Go Home”.