Kintu and Nambi; Kayikuzi and Kintu #25

Continued from; Walumbe’s delight #24

By Aine Susan

Kayikuzi made his way to the edge, his source of solace over the years.Yet even there,one could feel the tension between the heavens and the earth. His hands trembled around the staff he clutched – the only reminder he had of his worth. Unlike his siblings, Kayikuzi did not have an extraordinary ability to boast of as a god.

Nambi had her endowment with nature to distract her from all this madness. Her skill in manipulating plants and animals made her invaluable before Gulu and Walumbe’s power lay in manipulating the earth: the sole reason for his antagonism with Nambi. Whatever she drew from the earth, he could return – and he did; just to get on her nerves. He bent the earth to make those tunnels, which tore through roots and starved the animals Nambi looked to for amusement.

Father had realized the wormhole this would cause in the siblings’ relationship; especially if Kayikuzi had not been present to glue them all together. As a child, he’d been drawn to neither beauty and life nor destruction. He thrived in balance and was drawn to stability. 

This was his purpose for creating the endless physical challenges among the siblings – Gulu had seen Kayikuzi’s most prominent strength; the wit and strength to win a physical battle. He needed Nambi and Walumbe to see their brother’s strength, to think of him as their leader: so he’d always have the upper hand in restricting their antagonism. Even so, the lack of an extra ability oozed through the concrete character his father had helped him develop. Once in a while, it was evident in the other siblings’ defiance: yet he still stood as the balancing factor.

Kayikuzi sat on a rock, watching the earth so hard that he felt it reel him in; felt it tell him there was more. Beyond the ground, he felt the rumbling waters, pouring violently into rivers which flowed into vast waters. Buganda – the land they could see, was not all. There were lands with animals so tall; they peeked a little into the heavens, some so wide, they could trample thousands of chicken. He could tell that the slithering snake was not the only strange creature of the kind; some lived in shells and others were covered in thick scales. Some even glided through the waters, tormenting the little fish. He envisioned a fish, so big that it could swallow a human whole. He felt various seasons; not only sun and rain; all he saw was white, then a chill down his spine.

“Hello,” Kintu’s hoarse voice broke through Kayikuzi’s wayward thoughts, causing the god to roll his eyes as he stood up to leave.

“No…no…don’t leave on my account. I’ll go,” the human stammered.

An annoying sliver of guilt forced the god to mutter, “Don’t worry. I was leaving anyway.”

“I never got to thank you for your help,” Kintu said nervously, forcing Nambi’s brother to freeze in his tracks. If the human knew, then many others in the heavens must have noticed; it was a brewing disaster.

“You know, it’s not as bad as it looks,” Kintu continued, realising that he’d captured some attention.

“What makes this idiot have the confidence to speak such nonsense so freely?” Kayikuzi thought, his eyes scanning the human’s face.

“I know you’re wondering what I could find so amazing down there,” he went on.

“I know,” the god murmured, staring at the earth again, “What I don’t get is why you find your cow so amazing.”

Kintu laughed nervously and began, “I can’t remember my childhood. All I remember is her: the only living creature that didn’t want a taste of my bones, across miles of wilderness. Her rough tongue cleaned several of my wounds at a time when every fall crippled me. Her milk strengthened this little orphan’s bones and made his hair grow, until a beard sprouted to cover up my face and help me blend in with the other beasts. At times, when I look deep into her eyes, I feel her warmth; love meant only for her calf. I believe I’m a replacement for a loss she made long before I know. She has watched out for me and it’s about time that I returned the favour.”

Kayikuzi was so moved by the creature’s words that he felt the urge to respond. Only a brief shrug sufficed. “I’m sorry we stole your mother,” was all he said, solemnly.

At this, a smirk spread across Kintu’s face for a while, until they both burst into laughter; for no apparent reason. The sun’s waning rays marked the beginning of twilight but they talked for hours after that, with Kintu sharing tales of life on earth, while Kayikuzi shared something he’d only offered his father: A peek into the wonders of the earth.

“Let me show you something,” he whispered, placing his thumbs on the man’s scalp.

“Wait! Don’t get me wrong – My interest is in your sister; not …” Kintu stammered.

“Shut up and close your eyes!” Kayikuzi barked, causing a deafening silence.

He set loose the man’s imagination and gave him a glimpse of the vast universe he knew; beyond hills, valleys and lakes and swamps.

“What did you do to me?” Kintu asked, waving his arms in search of support. “I feel so much,” he whimpered, clutching his head as he squatted. At first, he was laughing and then before he knew it, he was in a fit of rage, until he fell to the ground, crying like a child. Kayikuzi had never tried this on anyone besides Father, who had seen so much of the universe that little seemed overwhelmingly new. It helped him when he needed to create something new. A simple flash of his son’s visions sent ideas running through his mind, which is why he preferred for this gift to remain secret; a sort of secret weapon for him against the other gods. The human, on the other hand, only knew his cow and the struggle to stay alive. 

“Maybe this was a mistake.” Kayikuzi pondered. He finally rethought the longing he’d nurtured over time. The desire to share the understanding of the universe might actually overwhelm many. At this point, Kintu wiggled in the mud like a lunatic, shouting for help, causing the god to try and reverse the effects of whatever he’d done.

 Just then Nambi ran up the cliff.

“What did you do to him?” she yelled, trying to get hold of him.

“N…Nothing…I …” her brother stammered.

“If anything happens to him, I’ll never forgive you,” she yelled frantically, with tears in her eyes.

“I’m okay! I’m okay!” Kintu finally gasped. He went on to pant, as though he’d run to the moon and back. “Relax, Nambi I’m okay. It’s just a game we were playing,” he sighed pulling himself up to lean on a rock. 

“You are both idiots!” she relented, her head lying on his chest, while he held her firmly and let out a suppressed laugh.

Kayikuzi stood there the whole time, amazed not only by what had just happened, but also by Nambi’s reaction. Perhaps he’d underestimated his sister’s feelings for this human; she wasn’t one to expose a weak spot like that. He squatted next to them and placed his hand on the man’s shoulder; a brief expression of relief for his survival, a silent request for what had happened to stay between them and a command to look after his sister. Kintu nodded his head and smiled gravely.

Kayikuzi had gifted him with creativity; he had so many ideas flowing through his mind that all he could do now was laugh. Instead of hiding in caves, he saw the possibility of making a fence around a single territory, strong enough to keep him, the cow and – yes, his precious Nambi from wild animals.

He thought of making a structure where he could rest within that territory; dry hardened mud would be strong enough to endure any storm. One thought popped in after the other; perhaps he could even trap that pesky sun before it got the chance to scorch his skin.

However, the night was young and his priority right now was finishing the task at hand. He was more sure of himself now than he’d ever been of anything.

To be continued next week on Wednesday

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