Àjàyí’s course deviated a great deal. He has succeeded in ditching his brother so that his agenda on the journey could be fulfilled.
He had often time encountered the forest goddess of the village he had most times sold his goods…. Now he needed her help.
Àjàyí’s plan was for her to help remove his sister-in-law’s pregnancy.
He stood at even time in the forest where he had encountered her on his last trip. The wind blew gently whistling as it swept through… Àjàyí could feel his heart pound against his chest strongly. He had encountered the goddess unexpectedly on his last trip and she had given him blessings for his honesty and reverence… now he needed her.
The wind kept flowing but yet no sign of the goddess. Àjàyí became uncomfortable, his legs were getting weak and so he sat. The wind became stronger moving the earth dust violently. Àjàyí’s heart was pounding harder… patiently he sat expecting the goddess.
He must have sat there another few hours of violent windy conditions with his mind racing through every possibility that the goddess could help him with… he was sure she would remember him and be kind enough to help him so he waited.
Just then he remembered her name… her beauty but not her face… she had bestowed him an honor of the same caliber as Bàbá Làkókù in his native town so he was confident he could call out to get without much of a problem after all, she would have killed him if she didn’t want him in get presence.
“Aníní!” he called out through the turbulence.
A huge wave of wind blew through the forest and swept him off his position. He smiled cunningly…confident she was coming.
“Aníní!” he screamed again… this time the trees began to move violently. One branch swung violently at him and hit his head.
Àjàyí was unconscious.
Three months gone and the signs of buldging bellies amongst the wives had begun to be evident. The women that were yet to be with child began raising eye brows about their husbands willingness to be off royal lineage.
Moréniké had been on Àjàyí’s neck to get a way to ensure that she had her child before his brother’s wife… only 3 women in the Gbádébò clan were visibly pregnant and the question was, who would be first to deliver.
Àjàyí knew something had to be done. If anything he was sure Àjàlá would try something. He knew Bàbá Làkókù wasn’t going to do anything to help out… Àjàyí was a traveller, he was vast in his trading and he knew more options to help than his brother. He reassured Moréniké that he was going to get help… he was definitely not going to make it obvious and so he sent to his immediate family as he usually did when he was set for a journey and bade farewell having given a destination.
Àjàlá who was a hunter by trade had been searching for an expedition into the forests of other lands and now asked to follow Àjàyí on the journey.
Àjàyí refused vehemently but Àjàlá was insistent until he finally agreed to have him with him…
Three nights journey and the envy between the brothers was definitely evident… they would journey for hours without a word to themselves and when they did speak it was about the throne or path.
Àmòké had just had two extreme experiences in such little time in her life. It was ecstasy for her and a lot of pain too. She was about to join the leaving queue when Òsàn Ìrètí’s voice echoed from the inner chambers.
“The one who set her eye on me shall stay!”
Àmòké’s heart began racing… she had many uncertainties… no one had really explored the personality of their goddess. No one broke the set laws and for everyone, there was a set consequence meted out as dictated by Òsàn’s law.
As long as Àmòké had lived, there had not been anyone who set their eyes on the goddess and she had no idea what consequences awaited her.
Fálékè looked at his wife as she waited behind… his jaw dropped wide as he dropped his cap to the ground. He remembered the stories his father told him about the days when Bàbá Làkókù was selected at the shrine of Ìyeri Ìrètí; the goddess of the river. How men died at the presence of the goddess… his chances of having a son that would rule were gone. He let the read drop.
Bàbá Làkókù shook his gourd to indicate the coming of the goddess… “E bode!” he ordered.
Fálékè ran out forgetting his cap on the ground as Òsàn Ìrètí stepped out with a Calabash in hand. Àmòké knelt there but her knees felt like there were soon too collapse… the gear in her bones could almost be heard.
Òsàn stretched the Calabash to her. “Drink woman.”
That was it. Àmòké knew it… like Fálékè had thought she was set to die… she had no children to mourn for… she just wanted to have one that was why she agreed to marry Fálékè who already had 4 wives that had produced a good number of offspring. She had transgressed once she wasn’t going to anymore by letting the deity repeat herself.
She took the calabash and looked upon it’s content; plain water… slowly she brought it up to her nose… it sure smelt nice.
Sip after sip, she was drinking the water of her death… Òsàn turned and left her there and so did Bàbá Làkókù. She poured the rest into her mouth quickly to get get life over with at once.
She laid there still waiting for her death.
To be continued…
It was one of those meetings where envy was the order of the day. It was a summit of the highest ranking houses not only in wealth, power but also in politics. If anything, it was certain that either of them was to be the ruler of the kingdom.
The hut where Òsàn Ìrètí lived had no furniture and each member of the whole family sat awaiting the entrance of the village goddess. At that point, no one knew what the criteria for selecting the next Baálè was. All they knew was they were principal candidates to be chosen. The envy was not just between the two houses, each sibling, each parent in the house envied the other. Bàbá Làkókù stepped out and behind him the ever young body of Òsàn Ìrètí. Everyone bowed in reverence at the sight of Bàbá Làkókù so that no eyes beheld her.
She sat elegantly on the only piece of furniture in the house; a wooden stool. Her eyes scanned through the congregation of aspirants as though searching their souls and then she spoke. “Every man or woman above 60 years cannot rule.”
There were slight shrugs and movements of discontentment amidst the concerned few but no one dared challenge her decision.
Àmòké; the wife of Fálékè Gbádébò became uneasy. Having to bend all the while was not necessarily what she needed at that time. She had just recovered from an almost fatal accident on the farm the other day.
She kept squeaking in pain from her aching back and then it got so unbearable she looked up..
There she was, right in front of her stood the wholeness of the village goddess… Òsàn Ìrètí. She motioned to quickly put her head down but Òsàn grabbed her chin.
“Look on me mortal… the next son born into this any of the families is ruler.”
Àmòké’s eyes were teary… she had looked upon the face of a good and lived… no one except the Bàbá Làkókù had such privilege… she was about to beg for mercy when Òsàn Ìrètí disappeared from before her.
Bàbá shook his gourd to inform the others that the goddess had left.
Only one question filled the minds of all present… who gives birth to the Baálè
“Ìdílé Àró ati Ìdílé Gbádébò ni ìjòyè kàn!”
In the village where the night sky danced to the tune of the moonlight and the singing birds made music to the ears of Òsàn Ìrètí, No one dared questioned the deity’s choice on who ruled the village. The time for coronation of a new Baálè was at hand and the decision was between two houses this time… two great houses.
Òsàn Ìrètí was beloved by both houses and she repayed their loyalty with wealth and power. These two were the village’s most powerful houses. In the village, a Baálè did not have to die or transgress before he was stripped of his rulership. All that was needed was the Bàbá Làkókù coming out in his red regalia.
That day was one of such days. Oba Láolú had finally completed his time as Baálè. The village was finally having much peace after the last Baálè’s tyranny and incessant Waring with other villages… he had planned to revisit Òsàn Ìrètí’s prophecy of enlarging the kingdom after he had rebuilt what he was left with and grown his army but all if that now was according to the goddess of his village, not for him to carry out.
For the next few days, the rulership of the village was Òsàn Ìrètí’s. The Bàbá Làkókù would see yo it that all her messages were conveyed to the people. The whole village gathered to wish the departing Baálè well and a feast was called in his honor. 3 days feasting saw his time as Baálè come to an end…he was loved by the people and they made him know.
Now it was time to turn attention to whom the next Baálè was to be… the two concerned houses Ìdílé Àró, Ìdílé Gbádébò were summoned by Òsàn Ìrètí.
Agbeke was barren for years before she had Eniaje. She had children before her but they all died at infancy. It was certain they were all abiku. She had to do some rituals before she could have a kokumo. She was warned not to give her an abiku name else she’d die also. The previous night, when she had been possessed by the spirit of Osa’n Ireti, the covenant to trap spirits in Eniaje’s body was reactivated. Eniaje’s spirit was lost and her body caged Osa’n unknown to her.
Iyeri was now in Asake’s house. The men that had tried to go in to get as much evidence as they could had died in their attempt.
Baba Lakoku went in, for the first time in ages, a Baba Lakoku met Iyeri joyous along with her daughter.
He spent quite a while in there and feasted with the gods. One thing was imminent. The Iyeri festival.
This time it was to be different… there were two gods.
Iyeri Ireti… goddess of the river. Osa’n Ireti… goddess of the land.
THANKS FOR READING.
Where did Iyeri Ireti go? Why did Asake have to die at such a time?
Asake’s death was greeted with a general sense of relief but the baale and the elders were yet to solve the mystery of Asake.
No one was sure if now that she was dead, the deaths and screams would cease. No one dared go near her hut. The events prior to her death were still veiled to every man.
Baba Lakoku went divining yet again… trying to understand the things about Asake from the Baba Lakoku in the days of her transgression. He was banned from disclosing the information till the day of her death.
Asake’s scream was a divine tool she learnt from Iyeri herself… it was the audible translation of a divine chant.
Every evening, the body Osa’n had possessed would be swept in… every night for over 30 generations she escaped.
That very night. She was caught. In the body of Eniaje, Agbeke’s daughter.
To be continued…
The Baale was practically insane. How could the goddess of their land have also deserted them at this time. She wasnt responding to being invoked by Faronbi… just as the dilemma was thought to have reached the peak, Some men rushed into the baale’s court.
They had found the body of a damsel. But one thing worried them so much… there was no scream.
Whose daughter was this? Where did she come from. Baba Lakoku was the man to turn to. He could consult previous Baba Lakokus to get long lost knowledge. In a few hours when he was back, the body had aged beyond recognition… but the men that stayed with it had seen it when it aged past the face they knew… Asake… She was dead.
Why was Asake dead? Baba Lakoku had the answers. Asake was a native of the village who had a thing for swimming. One day in her youth she swam in the forbidden river. The Iyeri Ireti river and met with Iyeri’s daughter… Osa’n Ireti.
She loved the human race and followed Asake back to the land.
Asake was cursed by Iyeri to not die till she had found her daughter.
Who was Iyeri’s daughter? Why was Asake dead?
To be continued…
The situation was more confusing than ever. One solution to the problem was to get a.new Baba Lakoku. Faronbi was next up. He was tipped by many to be the next Baba Lakoku. He had been the closest to Baba when he was with them… he had learnt a lot from him including how to invoke the spirit of Iyeri Ireti. The cleansing rites was done and it was time for him to step in.
He heaved a sigh and took a long look at his family once again. He knew it could well be the last time he would see them. The long chain tied to his legs tingled as the other end was being pulled to remove his colleague who was now dead.
He took his steps slowly and well calculated. He opened the door to the inner room… the guards of the innermost chambers turned to look at him. “welcome… Baba Lakoku!”
He smiled to himself and heaved. “Iya Iyeri has left this abode” one of them broke the news to him
The days had begun to drag by. The people couldn’t run from their homes anymore and the baale knew that. He imposed a curfew that began just before sunset and in the first few days it was strictly adhered to. In those days, the evening scream was replaced by a subtle tune that was sonorously rendered.
Still there was no sign of Asake emerging from the hut.
During the selection process for the candidates for the next baba Lakoku, one of the elder’s brought to the notice of the baale that the men that were missing alongside the dead virgins had been released and so they were summoned.
Bandele’s tale was about the same as every other persons. He was walking his damsel when a strange wind came fiercely, knocked em out and then they were soul trapped. All they could hear was a voice. Voice of a woman wailing her daughter.
But the night Eniaje was taken, the voice ceased and a giggle was heard.
To be continued…