Posted in eNovel: SACRIPRICE | Kayode & Tola Olla

SACRIPRICE WebNovel: Chapter 25

ÀLÀ was undeterred by his lady’s response.

He was ready to go against the world standard for Iyun. And not even the walls of status nor the rivers of custom could get in his way.

Prince Àlà sat on a bamboo bench by a small brook at the East Palace in Jaiye city. The young prince was trying to arrange his thoughts to get his head as quiet and still as the little brook in front of him.

Yet, soon enough, the water the prince was trying to still was disturbed by a large drop. A eunuch came to him to deliver a sealed letter.

Prince Àlà could tell from the seal that the letter wasn’t an official one. But he recognised that the scroll was from his father the king.

Rather than pay another visit to his prince or summon him at least, the busy King Obade preferred to send a written letter to Àlà to brief him about a new mission. Before the prince would receive the official mandate.

Àlà opened the scroll and read the letter aloud to himself.


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To Crown Prince Àlà, Heir to the Imperial Stoneseat,

The Kingdom is hereby sending you, along with other noble heirs, as emissary to our ally nations. To deliver to them an official invitation for the upcoming Festival of Earth Purity.

Also, you are being commissioned with an exclusive responsibility to go as far as the overseas empires of the Ashians, where it is said that oxen abound like the grains of seashore.

You are to purchase a score of those giant animals for the grand festival merriment, and bring them along by the way of the Great Sea down the Nile.

And by every means possible, you must arrive by the morning light of the festival day.

The official mandate for your mission will be handed to you at the imperial Department of Diplomatic Affairs.

Your journey will begin at the next full moon.

Prince Àlà let out a quiet breath as he read the last sentence of the letter.

With all the piles in front the young prince, the last log of wood that fell on the heaps was the very one that broke the camel’s back.

And as much as the crown prince’s heart was engrossed in love already, the letter was a quiet reminder to him that he still had to devotedly discharge his official duties in the kingdom.

Àlà thought for a while. He remembered meeting with his father at the palace library just a few days ealier.

He reasoned that the king must have come to inform him about the mission that day. And that what he himself brought up must have stopped his father from saying the things on his mind.


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The first full moon day was here. Àlà’s heart brimmed with the thoughts of his beloved. And his mind reminisced on the walks he’d had with Iyun in the woods and by the grassy vale.

The young man’s heart yearned to see his lovely once more and to deeply etch her beautiful face on his mind.

He wanted to see her sparkling eyes one last time. Before he would embark on a hectic journey that could take him forever to return.

That could take him ages to return to his Iyun.

The first full moon day was just some days from then. Àlà knew he must get himself prepared for the mission already.

He stood up from the bench where he’d been sitting. And he made his way to his private chamber.

◊◊◊

The quiet of mountainside enveloped Jakan’s chamber. And the silent breath of three men filled the gap between them.

Jakan had called on his two sons that quiet evening. The decision to choose his heir cannot be put to a later time. Not anymore. Not when an urgent official duty awaited the next generation.

The old man had thought it over through the long night. And just when he was about giving up, it struck him that he didn’t necessarily have to decide for his sons.

Jakan only succeeded his father as the chief priest because he was his father’s first son and pride.

Now that Jakan himself had two proud grown-up sons, he wondered who he could choose between those two. And he concluded that his grown kids could make the decision for themselves.

Jakan sat up and cleared his throat. ‘You should know by now that one of you will have to succeed me and become the chief priest of our kingdom,’ he said.

‘Father!’ The two young men chorused, some fear written on their faces. And the fright on the young faces was bold enough for Jakan to know what his children were thinking.

Jakan waved a hand across their faces. ‘Silly you!’ he chided. ‘D’ you think your father’s a coward that would leave this world too early? I’m still as strong as the rock; I’m not dying soon!’

The two young men felt relieved and they heaved a quiet sigh.


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Jakan resumed in a moment. ‘Is there any one of you who’d like to carry on the legacy of our family and the clan?’ he queried, his eyes searching the faces of the two young men.

It was Fote the eldest who responded. ‘Father, we’ve both discussed it between ourselves a long time ago. And we’ve come to a resolve.’

Jakan looked with interest. He didn’t expect it to be that simple. He never thought that his grown-ups would have looked into the future. He was eager to hear them out.

Fote resumed. ‘Although you’ve never talked about it, Father, but we know it. Firi and I know how heavy the burden has been on you. We know if you have your way, you won’t choose to be the chief priest.’

The words sounded like a warm embrace to the old man. Jakan never knew his young sons would know the things he didn’t utter. And beyond knowing, he never knew the boys were all grown up to be that wise.

Jakan reclined in his seat himself and listened.

‘After discussing with Firi,’ Fote quickly finished, ‘we both came to the resolve that neither of us is interested in the office of the Chief Priest.’

Jakan’s heart dropped to the bare floor and broke at that instant. He thought he must have heard it wrong.

So these boys have become so cunny to comfort me first and then hurt me.

If they aren’t interested, what do I do then? I can’t force my grown up sons to take up an office that I myself secretly loathe!

The old priest knew the best he could do was to convince his sons with all the patience he could find.

If the conversation were to happen some ten seasons ago when the young men were only boys, Jakan would have simply ordered them. And it would have been easy to force the office on one of them.

But not now that the boys were fully grown and mature. Fote was a successful horse merchant. And Firi owned a big corn mill in Jaiye city.

Jakan decided to give it another try. He heaved a sigh and spoke his mind.


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‘My sons, I know I can’t force either of you to succeed me. But I need one of you to do it.

‘I wasn’t interested, too, when your grandfather had to hand the mantle of duty to me. But I was his pride and I didn’t let my late father down.’ He paused a moment for emphasis.

‘I will like the two of you to think deeply about it,’ Jakan finished in a quiet voice. ‘This is our family legacy,’ he said.

It was Firi the younger son who replied.

‘Father, our resolve doesn’t stop there, you know. We ourselves know this is our family legacy. And that’s why we’ve thought of a way out.’

Firi looked into his father’s expectant eyes. ‘You see, Father,’ continued Firi, ‘you always tell us that a branch can’t claim the name of a tree. And that old saying in Jaiye is the way out.’

Jakan’s look was askance. ‘How so?’ he queried.

Firi went on. ‘Our family’s just a branch of the big Gu’ola clan which produces the chief priest.’

Jakan’s mind begin to open to his son’s idea. It seemed he knew where Firi was heading with his words, yet he seemed not so sure. So he kept on listening.

‘We’ll like to show you something, Father,’ said Firi – ‘the tree we’re talking about.’

Firi raised his voice and called out for a servant. ‘Anyone there?’ A retainer soon appeared at the call.

‘Get us a blank scroll, a quill and some ink,’ he ordered the servant. And in a few moments, the writing materials arrived.

Both Firi and Fote spread the scroll over a wooden table between the three men. And Fote the elder son offered to help sketch out the Gu’ola family tree, starting from their own end.

‘Father,’ said Fote, ‘We’ll draw out our family tree. But I’m not going to start from the top as it should be, since we’re too young to know the family history. So, I’ll just start from our bottom end and sketch upwards.’

Old Jakan stared at the sketch his sons were drawing out for him, a glow of fulfillment in his brown eyes. He couldn’t be prouder of his two grown-ups.

Fote talked aloud as he managed to sketch out the branches of the family tree.

‘Father, you said you only assume the office because you were Grandfather’s first son. But look at this,’ he said, pointing to his grand uncle’s name entry.

‘Grandfather’s younger brother is blessed with seven sons,’ Fote said as his fingers traced up his grand uncle’s pronged branches.

‘There isn’t a law in Jaiye that says only the children must succeed their father,’ continued the young man. ‘A man can even choose his nephew as his successor.

‘What I’m saying is this. Grandfather could as well have chosen any of his seven nephews to succeed him, if only he had acknowledged your disinterest. And he would have saved our father a lifelong burden.’

Jakan gave a defeated sigh.


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Fote went on. ‘So, if our lineage is not interested in carrying on this priestly legacy, we can as well go over to other branches of the family tree. And the Gu’ola priestly legacy will not cease.’

Fote finished his words. ‘Father, the legacy is not ours alone; we’re just a branch of an entire tree.’

Jakan heaved a thoughtful sigh. He understood everything his sons had been telling him. And the old man was entirely speechless.

Jakan couldn’t believe these intelligent kids came from his own loins. He’d always wondered why neither of his sons inherited his meticulousness. He had wished at least one of them could write as beautifully as he scribbled letters.

But now he had his answer. Rather than choosing meticulous calligraphy, his proud sons had gone beyond to be so meticulous in reason.

The old priest nodded in approval of his eldest. ‘Well said, Fote. Well said, my son,’ he applauded. ‘I never thought it could be this simple. Never thought of it in that way.’

As Jakan quieted and a silent breath refilled the space between father and sons, the old man couldn’t resist the golden words of his first son echoing in his head.

He let out a quiet breath as he mumbled Fote’s words.

‘The legacy is not ours alone,’ he muttered; ‘we’re just a branch of an entire tree!’


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© 2020 by Kayode & Tola Olla

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A cute duo of God inspired novelists and with other lives as lecturer and as businesswoman || Email: contact@ktolla.com

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