He slumbered on his mat hoping against fate that he could rest for a few more hours. At times like this, he would pray for the Sun to remain in one spot or not to rise at all for his own personal, selfish benefit, but that is his excuse to lazily spend the day with his beloved wife Adebisi, they had been married for 5 seasons, the best and the happiest 5 seasons of his life. Now shes heavy with a child growing within her, a child; his child; the thought still brings tears of joy to his soul. God had richly blessed him, far more than he deserved, and as a token of his appreciation, Ade vowed in his heart to dedicate the child boy or girl to the service of Oluwa-orun the God he fears.

”Ade ” Adebisi called from his side smuggling closer.

”Im here ” Ade replied

”I was afraid youd leave me in bed alone again, Im always cold at night ”

”Haven I told you that I always keep my promises, Ill never leave you alone? ”

Ade considered himself as the most blessed of all men on earth, even though he possessed a secret that continues to haunt him, Adebisi had never judged him by what he was, but by the virtue, she sees in his heart. She felt proud to be his wife, and always, she feels the urge to touch him. To feel his strength and to consume the fullness of his masculinity, deep within her core, this was the kind of feeling which she had no control over, and to prove it she began to caress his face moving closer to kiss his dominant male lips.

”Bisi!, You are already carrying a child in your womb, why are you hasty to conceive another ” Ade protested

”Its not haste, Iba mi (my lord) I believe it is called love ” she replied,

Ade could do nothing but chuckle in response, Adebisi had indeed made his past life wash away like a long lost memory. He had once assumed that marrying someone like Adebisi would bring about a great deal of guilt and unrest to his state of mind, and for her eternal suffering and regretful barrenness. Like any responsible man, Ade told her everything about his life 6 seasons ago with the hope that it would discourage Adebisis dream of becoming his wife. How wrong he was, the moment Bisi knew the truth about the man she had fallen in love with, she became even more persistent towards him and refused to give up on the dream of becoming his wife, they eventually got married weeks after his big confession and to crown it all their marriage is now blessed with a child and all of Ades fears were laid to rest.

”My lord, ” she said ”the yams in our yam barn are almost exhausted and we need more rice ”

”Women! ” Ade exclaimed ”the festival will soon be over, why is it now that you remember the shortage of food ”

”Iba mi I am carrying your first child, I must be fed properly ” Adebisi replied

”Very well, ” Ade said signing ”Im off to the farm ”

”Why don you wait till sunrise ” Adebisi suggested with a purr that baited Ade into gazing questioningly at her, the only thing that Ade noticed in his wifes eyes is the beckoning of pure lust ”what a woman, ” he thought to himself

”Well, Bisi, I think I will… ” Ade was interrupted by village, town criers gong.

”Gong! Gong!! Gong!!! Kere o!! There is a fire in this land. The gods are angry!!! People of Ilu-ina. The shrine of Ifa has been defiled and the peace of this land hangs in a balance. The Oba now summons all the village warriors and able-bodied hunters to the palace by sunrise, the King has spoken, a word is enough for the wise. Gong! Gong!! Gong!!!

Then the town crier left for another part of the village to give the public announcement.

”This is truly bad news ” Adebisi observed

”And so early in the morning as well ” Ade responded, rising from the sleeping mat

”Ade please don go out this early in the morning ” she pleaded,

”Pick one ” Ade snapped with the sounds of amusement in his voice, ”I rush to the farm now, then answer the Obas summon, that way, Ill be able to spend the rest of the day with you, or I stay with you now, then answer the summons of the Oba, after which Ill spend the rest of the day on the farm? ”

Abebisi scowled at her husband coldly, Ade could tell that she hated it when things didn go her way.

”Very well, just remember to come home to your wife! ” she retorted

”I will come home, ” he responded ”after all I have duties to both my wife and to this village ” gazing at her for a moment Ade grinned before walking towards the storeroom to collect his farming implements, especially the cutlass; the hoe and a large basket then he kissed his wife goodbye and left for the farm.

While Ade walked the lonely path towards his farm, he began recalling all the happy events he had with his wife, soberly brooding on his previous life before Ilu-inọ and comparing to see which is better, in the end, all he could tell himself was ”the difference is clear ”

”Life is like a shadow when the sun rises your shadow stands before you and when the sun sets, your shadow stands behind you; life is like a distance every man must travel ”

”Ade!! How long will you share wisdom with the trees of the forest ” someone mocked from behind

”Baba Lakan ” Ade greeted ”Baba ” meaning father, in other words, Lakans father. It is a Yoruba custom to address a man by the name of his first child, especially if you don know his true name.

”Ade-olode ” Baba Lakan greeted back. To tell the truth, no one knew Ades true name or his Oriki (tribal chant), he was accepted by the village because he claimed he was once mad and had explored the evil forest in its totality. He claimed to have learnt how to overcome its overwhelming hold of him due to his inner-spiritual strength, he was able to see many of the secrets of the evil forest and use what he had learned to help others. Though he remembers nothing from the formal life he still claims to be a hunter and that his name was Ade meaning ”crown ” and the word ”olode ” means hunter, therefore, Ade-olode which means ”crown of all hunters ”

”Why are you up so early? ” Ade asked

”Are you the only one who has a wife and son to cater for? ” He replied jokingly ”and my son has another fever, nothing too serious though, the usual fever you remember? ”

”Yes, I remember ” Ade replied

How could he forget barely a season after Lakans birth the boy developed a serious ailment, high temperature, bloodshot eyes and abnormally rapid growth. No one could tell the nature of the sickness let alone cure it, and that included the Ifa priest, it was as though Lakan was destined to die, but being a man of deep wisdom, the Ifa priest advised Baba Lakan to take the child to Ade whose knowledge of the evil forest might prove useful. The moment Ade laid his eyes on the child he was able to fathom the problem, the boy was special he thought to himself, and then he reached out and gave the boy a special kind of incision on a hidden organ of Lakans body. Incisions are used by Yoruba warriors and men of power to increase their level of ”Agbara ” or spiritual power and this is what Ade used to cure the child.

”Hell need more of those incisions as he grows older, but for now its safe. ” Ade explained ”though he will be having more fevers as time goes on because his bodys still adapting to the incision ”

”You saved the life of my son, if not for you, think of the trouble that…. ”

”Just remember the warning, no need to thank me, it was God who gave me the wisdom to help your son ” Ade cut in ”Lakan is special I have never seen an Ẹṣọ survive an incision of that nature before the passing of the 14th seasons and your son was barely 2 seasons old when he received It ”

”When he gets older he would be duly warned, ” Baba Lakan responded, ”so do you know how the meeting at the palace will turn out? ” He asked

Ades responded with a grin, he then began to walk along the lonely footpath with Baba Lakan beside him.

”For now, even I am in the dark, we will let time answer your question ” Ade responded after a short pause

The two walked together for a while, enjoying each others company, until they were forced to separate, going opposite directions towards their farms.

On reaching his farm Ade immediately set off to work for 2 hours harvesting some tubers of yams cassavas and ensuring his corn hadn been attacked by the pests, he watered most of his other crops keeping in mind that he would be rushing to the palace soon then the atmosphere around him changed. Then he felt the uncomfortable sensation of dread in his spine, someone was watching him!!!. The experience he has had over the years had taught him not to react immediately but to bide his time and determine the identity of the intruder by observing his/her footfalls, the aura had no essence of bloodlust in it so its a friend.

”Oro, ” He greeted ”Oro Ifa, ”(Meaning, the words of Ifa, or the Voice of Ifa.)

”Oju-aye, ” The Ifa priest greeted back

While people called him Ade the Ifa priest preferred to call him ”Oju-aye ” meaning the eyes that see life or in other words Ade had experienced life in its totality the joy of success and the pain of defeat. The deeper one looks into Ades eyes the more the person sees the deep knowledge of his life experiences, it is something that Ade couldn hide no matter how hard he tried. In addition, the Ifa priest like his wife knew Ades secret, some say that the priest had a kind of fear and respect for Ade, which he wasn willing to admit to any of the other elders in the village.

”Oro-Ifa great one, I sense pain in your voice, what troubles you? ” Ade inquired he could see the signs on the Ifa priest, he looked older than usual and there was a dark shade beneath his eyes when he spoke his voice was harsh due to his extensive chanting.

”The shrine has been defiled ” the priest responded.

”And the gods? ” Ade further inquired

”Furious ” the priest responded again

”You spent the entire night chanting ” Ade continued with signs of concern in his voice

”When danger approaches the watchman must never slumber ” the Ifa priest replied, gazing at the sunrise ”I used the time to still the blazing anger of the gods with my pleading even though the attempt was futile ”

”How serious is the offence? I hope it will not lead to a human sacrifice ” Ade inquired

”That you will learn when you get to the palace ”

”Then what is the purpose of your visit? If the lion is not resting at night, then it is hunting ”

”I bring another message from Olodumare, ” the priest said and in response, Ade shuddered in sudden fear.

The voice of Olodumare, Oluwa-Ọrun (King of heaven), the only phenomenon that Ade dreads, he fears God as though he feared his own shadow, hearing the name alone brings shivers down his spine.

”So what is the message? ” Ade enquired wiping the sweat off his brow

”Come home ” the Ifa priest replied

”The same message that makes a grown man tremble, especially the ones who have lived wayward lives, the message of death ”,

”Why should a man be afraid to join his ancestors; It is one of the greatest honours that can be given to any man, to be one with the ancestors is like being one with the gods ” the Ifa priest added

”Elder you would not understand, ” Ade replied

”Just remember Ade, there is always a sunrise and there is always sunset, all stories must come to an end ”

With those words the Ifa priest departed blessing Ades farm and wishing him a bountiful harvest, Ade wondered why Olodumare would send a message at such a time as this, the last time Olodumare sent him a message, Ade observed that negative things happened days after the message was delivered, it seemed as though these so-called messages are a form of warning that is to prepare him against the unpredictable future. But then, Ade thought to himself, does the message have something to do with the defiled shrine of the village? The cock crowed suddenly which broke Ades chain of thought and snapped him back into reality, gathering all his harvested crops as quickly as he could Ade packed his tools and placed them all in his basket including his crops, then, using a unique chant Ade lightened the basket to make it easier to carry, he lifted the basket with little effort thanks to the chant placing it on his shoulder and rushed home to his wife and his unborn child.

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