Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family!)
As Kukoyi plots his destruction of the Inaand awọn dudu through what he believes is their weakest link, let us take a moment to see where Ekundayo’s thoughts took him during the gathering with the Elders.
The day before the gathering…
“Sisters it is time that we share the full story of our past. Our people deserve to know the truth.” said Folami to Ayotunde and Temitope.
“Why now?” asked Ayotunde. “You were never compelled to do so before!”
“What has changed?” seconded Temitope.
“After centuries of silence, the Mother Goddess has forgiven me!” cried Folami as a tear rolled down her cheek. “She came to me in a dream! Stretching her arms out to me, she spoke. “Welcome home daughter.” I ran to her and she held me as our mother did so long ago. I did not believe she would ever show herself to me again.”
“It is a sign!” yelled Temitope.
“Does this mean that the High God has forgiven us all?” asked Ayotunde.
“It is said that when the mother goddess appears to you in a vision, it means a new beginning for the dreamer. My dreams have never been just about me. It always involves all of us. Perhaps the High God is ready to let us to start again.” answered Folami.
Opened now to possibilities, Ekundayo continued to listen as the Elders shared their tale. Images of the past moved before him. With those images came a new part of the story that the Elders had never revealed before.
“Ebi! For generations we have been separated from the Ina. But we have never shared with you the reason why.” said Folami. “The Ina” said Temitope “are of your blood.” There was a gasp and many of the awọn dudu whispered among themselves. “Is it possible? Do we really have ancestors, descendants that live above the clouds?”
“The Inaand awọn dudu were once a great tribe.” continued Ayotunde. “They lived as one. They worked as one. They worshipped the High God as one. We were a happy people and we lived quietly. Away from civilization; away from conflict and away from war. If we had a disagreement among ourselves, we settled it peacefully without harsh words or lifted fists.”
“We traded goods with one another and exchanged plants that gave us food and medicine. Each tribe had people with special talents. Able to create beautiful, useful things that made our lives easier. Everything was as it should be until I fell in love.
Ekundayo watched as an image of the man she loved appeared before him. He looked so much like his great grandfather that it frightened him. “Is it possible that this man was my descendant? The same bold, dark eyes, the same trusting smile?” he wondered.
Sighing Folami continued, “I fell in love with a great man. I tried to fight my feelings for him but once I realized that I was incomplete without him, the decision was pretty much made for me. The High God warned that I must stay on the path he had laid out for me. But I failed to do so and after that, nothing was the same. Choosing a mortal above everything else, caused me to lose my abilities. I was no longer immortal.”
“Soon after,” continued Folami, “I fell ill for the first time in my life. I did not think I would survive it. Just when I was mending from my illness, when I was at my weakest, a devil in sheep’s clothing appeared. He called himself Kukoyi. We did not know what his true intentions were until it was too late.” whispered Folami.
“Before my eyes” said Ekundayo “the image of Kukoyi appeared. His face looked round and kind, at least until you reached his eyes. Looking at them made me shiver. There was something within them; something swimming behind them. Looking at his eyes made me think that there really was evil in the world. And it hid within the shell of this man.”
“I would like to lay the blame completely at the foot of our enemy, but to do so would only make me as guilty as he was. I made a choice long ago that altered the future for us all. If I had an opportunity to change the past, I’m not sure that my decision would have been any different.”
“Many of our people were fearful, scared of the unknown. While others secretly held a longing in their hearts. They wanted to know what existed outside our home. What adventures awaited them.” continued Ayotunde. “Kukoyi used our flaws against us and found his way into our home and lives. Using what he believed was a weakness in our strong foundation. And though it was not weak at the beginning, his corruption and deceit caused cracks to develop, weakening what was once a great people.”
“As a result, the Inaand awọn dudu were divided.” said Temitope.
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