It has been almost 2 market days since the Balogun had sent several able-bodied men of the village on the search for the missing stone. Most of them had returned fruitless and others simply returned to find out if the stone has been found before heading out again. It couldve been disheartening, but the Balogun and the Ifa priest kept up the faith, after all, not all of the Warriors had returned, only the weak ones.

”What about Ade? ” The Balogun inquired ”has he returned? ”

”No, he has not ” the Akogun responded

The Balogun sat down on a stool with the Akogun and the Ifa priest by his side. The Akogun was a strong ẹṣọ faithful only to the Balogun though most of the time the Balogun found it difficult to control him because all of the Akoguns actions are mainly motivated by his emotions and he had a lot of pride. Like every village chief, he gets angry easily. But he is a just man, honest, truthful and strong, one must only choose his words carefully when speaking to the Akogun.

”They will return with the results; we need only to be patient ” the Ifa priest Observed

There was a sudden burst of noise thought out the entire village, the whole village had exploded into a festive mood, the women of the village started to sing loudly and joyfully, even the warriors were not left out, they sang the Oriki of the Alaramide tribe. They began to Praise Ori-Alara for his success in the venture of retrieving that which was stolen. The tribal chief was carried shoulder high and paraded around the village with the trophy held firmly in his right hand raised high for all to see.

A messenger ran towards the Baloguns hut to deliver the good news. As the messenger reached the hut he greeted the elders and then made his announcement.

”Ori-Alara has returned to the village, the Lion of the village brings good tidings. He is bringing the stone with him, today is a good day for this village, ” the messenger said.

The Balogun could tell how excited the Ifa priest was, just seeing the way he was trembling within his priestly robes said enough

”Where is he I want to see the stone now ” the Ifa priest cried in inpatients

But its a pity; Ori-Alara is still being paraded around the village like a king announcing his success to the whole world. By the time he arrived in the Baloguns hut 2 hours later the priest was red with rage despite every effort to control himself. As soon as Ori-Alara arrived with the prize in his hand, he walked in and started to talk, obviously he was about to tell the tale of how he rescued the stone from overwhelming odds and brutal enemies. Unfortunately, he was cut short by the Ifa priest who snatched the stone right out of his fingers

”This is not the mystical stone of our village ” the Ifa priest roared after inspecting the stone more closely ”its just a worthless rock, how dare you play at my intelligence boy! ” He shouted, smashing the replica on the ground in rage.

The Ifa priest was about to draw out a charmed stone from his robes to curse Ori-Alara in his rage, but for the quick intervention of the Balogun and the Akogun who desperately interceded on his behalf

”Get out of here now! ” The Akogun commanded. Ori-Alara might be arrogant but he was not a fool. He left the place immediately with the hope of putting as much space between himself and the Ifa priest as possible.

”He is only interested in the money ” the Akogun observed as soon as the Ifa priest cooled down

”Hes too proud, his brother would have been a better chief, ” the Ifa said in a controlled voice

”Then why didn his brother fight for the chieftaincy title, he had a better chance ” Akogun observed

”There was a curse placed on that tribe, especially on the head family, pride of fire that consumes everything in its path, including itself. The natural hatred of a snake that sees everything else as an enemy. The chieftain has no friends, but his greed lusts only for power and leaves misery in his wake ” the Ifa priest clarified ”Osi-Alara knew this, that was why he rejected the position. Ori-Alara is a slave to this curse ”

”Self-destruction and shame ” the Balogun observed

Once again the messenger walked in and greeted the three elders

”My Lords, ” he said

”What is it now ” the Ifa priest inquired in an irritable mood

”You said that I should report to you the moment Ade the hunter reaches the village ” the messenger replied

”Hes here? ” The Balogun demanded with a tone of excitement, the messenger nodded in reply ”good bring him here at once ”

”No! ” The Ifa priest said ”I will be the one who will go out to meet with him ” gathering all his belongings, the Ifa priest purposefully walked away from the Balogun`s hut, followed by all the other chives except for the Balogun and Ogunlara who had just walked in and from the look on her face he could see that something serious was on her mind.


”You are not going? ” The Balogun asked ”I assumed that you would be the first to welcome Ade ”

”Not really, I wouldve been the first, but my place is by your side, ” she replied, the Balogun nodded in recognition. Ogunlara! He thought it seems like shes trying to make up for the mistake she made at the meeting days ago or… ”Something troubles you, if you have a question then you can ask me now, ” the Balogun said in a calm tone

”Are you the most powerful Eso in this village? ” She asked ”you are Balogun and those of the rank of Balogun are famous because of their unlimited power ”

The Balogun could see the disappointment in her eyes, shes finally ready to face the truth

”Iba Ogunlara ” the Balogun began ”all the fingers in this world are not equal and people are not the same, I am indeed the Balogun but there are others, I once met a man who had the covenant of death or rather I fought him, all my forbidden chants were rendered useless against him. No, I can be the strongest ”

”And those dark beings that were here the other day ” she pressed

”Them? ” the Balogun voiced ”In the Yoruba Empire, people ignore its complex organization and the way it is managed ”

”What do you mean, ” Ogunlara inquired in a confused tone

”There are 3 prominent kings in this realm, the Alaafin of Oyo; the Oloofin of Ile-Ife and the Ekuado of Benin and the highest is the Alaafin, the Yoruba Empire is divided into provinces, district and local villages. The number of the provinces is 14 for now, though more provinces are formed each day, depending on wars and numerical strength, while some province grows stronger others grow weaker, and in the underworld, there are dark secret organizations. Cults manipulate the political stability of this empire. The provinces control the district and the district controls the local villages and Ilu-ino should be considered a district village, a perfectly organized empire ”

”I never knew, ” Ogunlara said still digesting the information she had just received

”Ignorance, that is the language of the natives of our land, it has always been, ignorance. Every single man, woman and child lives in blindness, not knowing what the empire is like. ” The Balogun continued

”Is there a war going on, ” she asked

”There has always been a war, between the 3 kings, the provinces and the districts, everyone wants to become stronger, everyone wants power, ” the Balogun said as though he was lecturing a little girl ”a district can conquer another with the goal of becoming a province, or two provinces can rebel against another provincial king to expand their territory, we are all in the middle of a great war ”

”So thats why the black beings were here, ” she concluded

”They are the provincial leaders of our village, a tribe undefeated in battle, powerful. Only a fool would challenge that tribe to war ” the Balogun responded

”Why do they conceal their identity? ” She inquired

”Now thats an interesting question, ” the Balogun said ”no one knows, but there are some suspicions. People believe that they are Eran-Bayon(beast-like men) men with the covenant of the animal. I once met a warrior whose animal covenant grew so strong that he grew the tale of a dog; I also met another with the horns of the bull. People also say that the tribe are a bunch of unified ”Eboras ” [evil spirits] of the night, but their secret is known only to them ”

”Why were they here? ” She asked

”They wish to turn this village into a provincial capital ” he replied

Now she understood the Baloguns motives, he was trying to increase the military strength of Ilu-ina with such an allegiance; the village of Ilu-ina would reach the peak of her political influence.

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