Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family!)
The sun was rising. Folami could feel its warmth upon her face. Taking a deep breath, she slowly opened her eyes. Folami was thankful that the High God had blessed her with the gift of life once more. The past few days were unsure and Folami feared that each day would be her last. But it seems that the High God had more in store for her. “Perhaps he will use me as his vessel once again.” Folami thought to herself.
Turning her head to the left, Folami looked down and saw Modupe stretched out on a pallet beside her. He was sound asleep. She stretched out her arm and lightly brushed the curly, dark hairs upon his skin. She could feel his warmth as it rose up from his body. Folami felt a combination of pleasure and exasperation as she looked upon his handsome face. Her heart leaped as she thought of the love they shared. But she was frustrated because she desperately wanted a moment alone.
Day after day, she was visited by well-meaning members of her tribe. If they were not there, then her sisters would materialize as if summoned. Modupe refused to leave. “He acts as if my sickness was his doing.” She mumbled to herself. Folami wanted a quiet moment to think about her future. Now that the haze of new love had been lifted, Folami wondered: “How will I survive without my immortality?”
As Folami’s thoughts travelled to the future, she was startled by the frantic sounds of two birds chirping from her window. She recognized the birds as they were her constant companions for as long as she could remember. It gave her great joy when she realized that she could still understand them. “Not all of my abilities have been stripped from me.” She whispered to herself. “What’s wrong little ones?” Folami asked.
The older of the two, a brown eyed sparrow named Kekere Kan peeped out, “Sister, sister there are a group of men approaching the village! We have never seen them before!” The younger one, a little quail named Aparo, was impatient to say his piece and darted back and forth on the window’s ledge. Before Kekere Kan could finish, Aparo cheeped out in a staccato-like fashion, “I overheard their leader talking. He calls himself Kukoyi!” Kekere Kan gave Aparo a hard look; silencing him with one hard “TWEET!”
“How far away are they?” Folami asked Kekere Kan. “About a full day’s journey, sister.” “Thank you so much for the warning. Quickly, as fast as your wings can carry you, go to my sisters and tell them what you told me. Tell them we must call a gathering!”
As Folami looked down once again her eyes connecting with Modupe’s. With lithe movements he rolled over and sat up on the pallet. Stretching out the kinks in his neck, he questioned Folami. “Who do you think these people are?” “I know not.” she responded. “In my 100 years here, we have never received a visitor from the outside world. We have lived in a cocoon of solitude never needing exposure to others. Now these people approach and I fear what albatross or danger they may be bringing with them.”
As the Ina and awọn dudustirred from their slumber, awakening to fear and a possible threat, Chief Kukoyi stood inside a majestic yellow tent. He stretched his arms out as his servants dressed him for a new day. Wrapped in a beige colored robe, he was then draped in a brown cloth etched with designs that represented his tribe and rank. A little boy quickly tied a matching sash around his waist to finish the effect. He never once looked at the chief’s face. Flashing a trusting smile at his advisors, he asked them, “If I presented myself to you for the first time, would you trust me?”
“Oh yes!” said one of his advisors in a nervous tone. “Most definitely!” said another as he smooth away a crease on Kukoyi’s sleeve. Kukoyi called out to one of his generals. “Akinbode! Ready the horses! Let us finish this journey. I am more than ready to meet our new neighbors. Kukoyi’s advisors shivered. The tone of his voice dripped with dark intent.
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Mari e laipe!
See you soon!