HUNDREDS and hundreds of seasons back, Jaiye was only a small mass of land occupied by only a handful of kith and kin.
The men of Jaiye had deserted the foot warriors of the least dynasty in the great Majado city-state… during the Battle of the Heirs.
It was a battle between bastards and sons for the great Majado throne. And it was an endless battle that spanned countless moons and several many seasons.
It was the unforgettable Battle of the Heirs.
The said deserters of Majado warriors ran with their wives… as far as to distant terrains where no living soul dwelt.
For the war-frightened men longed to create a little community, where they could live peacefully and make many babies.
So they created their community and made laws guiding their conduct against internal and external conflict.
They named themselves the Jaiye people.
The small families of kith and kin soon grew to become pretty large clans. But the peace and tranquility among them was soon interrupted by the cruel misdeed of one of the founders.
He was an old man by that time. And his name was Koje.
Koje had coveted the youngest wife of a fellow founder and elder.
And when the fair-skinned, beautiful young woman wouldn’t give in to Koje’s seductive attempts, the old man forcefully had his way with her one fated evening.
But Koje would never have it his own way. For the depraved old man was caught in the act by the woman’s husband.
The husband stormed into the bed chamber with irrepressible fury like that of an angry bull charging towards his daring assailant.
But Koje pounced on the man instead and killed him in cold blood. And he was ready to bury the man he murdered, to cover up everything.
Koje also was ready to go as far as subjecting the man’s widow under a forced marriage to himself. Just so as to be able to ensure his secret remained secured.
But Koje wouldn’t always have his way. One of the sons of the murdered man witnessed the killing from a secret vintage point.
And the boy disclosed Koje’s murder crime to the community council; with the woman being enough witness on the rape charge itself.
A stern verdict was passed and Koje was executed for his crimes.
Koje’s several wives, children and grandchildren – and together with the entire future lineage and generations – were segregated and sentenced to eternal slavery for the Jaiye people.
The entire future descendants of Koje were placed under an irredeemable curse. And the curse was known in Jaiye as ‘the Animal Curse.’
For Koje’s generations were cursed to be forever as low as the animals.
Jakan remembered the legend of the Koje people, which his father narrated to him as a young man.
His father Dago had also finished the story with a sudden, earnest instruction.
Dago the chief priest had concluded with words that were both solemn and sparse.
‘I think the time has come for me to tell you what has been instructed me by the High Heavens. For you to carry out when I’m no longer around. As I can see our ancestors beckoning on their sick and weary son.
‘So, Jakan my firstborn and pride, I leave in your charge the sacred order our kingdom is now saddled with. What the High Heavens have commanded.
‘There’ll soon come a day like no common day. When the moon will turn as red as the blood of sacrifice.
‘When that fateful day comes, horses will no longer bleed for man; but man shall bleed for himself.
‘The blood of white horses will no longer be used for the earth purity sacrifice. But instead, each year, the blood of a young pure beauty from amidst the outcast slaves of Koje, will be shed to cleanse the entire kingdom…
‘And so shall it be.’
Jakan was now walking down his own street as he recollected his father’s words several years back.
He heaved a heavy sigh under the weight of the mantle of priesthood he got from his father. A mantle he got when his father said those things and passed on days after.
Jakan’s home came up in the distance. And the priest could make out the figure of his eldest son playing with his little child at the frontage.
Instantly, the old man brightened up with a wide smile. Koje or whatever didn’t matter here. His burdened mind raced back home as well as his walking steps.
But then, the fact that he had to someday pass on the bothersome mantle to a son, came rushing up to the ageing man. Like the gust of a disturbing wind.
He wished his young sons could continue to be young and free. But then, he knew he’d got to produce a successor from his offspring sooner than later.
Jakan heaved a burdened sigh a second time and talked to himself.
‘We hardly go to battles anymore. And no man slays his kindred any longer. But my family still slays precious white horses for man!
‘And what is more? My family must even now slay man for man… good Heavens!’
The elderly priest wished there was no priestly office nor position to inherit by his bloodline.
Jakan as a little boy had desired to rear horses and own the largest stable in Jaiye.
But it was sad that the poor man had been saddled with the sole responsibility of slaughtering the horses he once wished to rear.
And when horses were to be taken out of the way, an unbearable millstone was laid upon the ageing man. And together with his heirs forever and ever.
An excited, tiny voice cried out. ‘Grandpa!’
Jakan’s heart leaped up at the voice of his cute, little grandson.
He raised his bowed head immediately, and found himself in the frontage of his home.
Within just half of a millisecond, the old man’s melancholies dissolved into giggles of laughter.
Jakan’s eldest son smiled as he turned around to see his father.
‘Welcome home, Father,’ he said. And he bent forwards to let down his toddler, while bowing to greet at the same time.
Jakan only stooped down and flung his hands wide open for his lovely grandkid to run into.
For the cute, little boy flew as fast as the flash of an excited lightning bolt.
And into the arms of a playful grandfather.
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