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Kintu and Nambi; The Song of War #26

Continued from; Kintu and Kayikuzi #26

By Mugabe Victor

A troubled heart only knows one language; that of the soothing melodies of ennanga. It’s chimes freed the soul the moment anyone tagged its strings, breaking one’s chest into indistinct flutters. 

From a distance, it’s cries could be heard, adding to the great treasures that came from the beer parties that raged every night. 

Since the arrival of Kintu, the skies were filled with unfocused energy and everyone seemed to be agitated.  

Kayikuzi wondered if he was losing his mind.

 “How could all this happen without my notice?” He wondered, “How could I have been so blind in all my actions?…Why did I help Nambi?…Why did I bless Kintu?”

This one fateful night, the seed of doubt poisoned his mind. He wondered if he was getting rusty or even dull at foresight. Everything he had done over the past few days barely made sense. 

His legs were now rope and his mind a fog, the only thing that pushed him as he trudged through the endless forest was the distant music. “You are almost there,” he repeatedly told himself. With his mind in unfathomable chaos, an instant moment broke him down. His legs gave way, thrusting his body upon a tree trunk. He could feel his rage taking shape of a large lump in his throat.

His world was upside down. The man was not as vulgar as he had thought , his sister was not as insane as he had presumed,and father’s power was not limitless. It seemed as though there was a force, far greater than the old man; stacking up its cards against the tide after such a long period of deep sleep. Was he still as smart and powerful as he thought? He shook his head in an attempt to thwart the toxic thoughts.

 Nothing made sense anymore and he could feel the tears gather at his eyelids as reality dawned upon him. The only thing that still made sense were the distant melodies that sunk further beneath his skin. 

The musician, drowning in his own sense of reality sang;

There once was a lonesome beast who wandered far and wide

He wore hair as thick as Mabira

And had an eye so wide with fright

His nose as large as a melon, his limbs as curled as bellows

He wandered through the forest

He needed milk, some beer, and a wife

He searched low, far and wide without a pebble turned, the beast’s efforts were all in vain

He broke down to the grazing cow

Calm and grace divine

She loved his hair, she loved his eyes, his limp and his tailless behind

She offered him her udders, her warmth and the piss in sight

The room broke into a raucous laughter, that quickly died down in anticipation for the next part of the song. “True story” the singer drawled his eyes searching the listeners’ faces for a hint of doubt.

His belly grew full and round 

It almost tore through the sky

Reaching his wicked little arms up to the moon he whispered

One day, the beast said I am going to take the sky 

In an explosive gust of motion, the nanga (singular for ennanga) and drums went off to a melody that crushed through the air. Kayikuzi could feel the goose pimples pop on his skin as the music possessed him to the very soul. Finally, he felt he could breathe. A slight grin grew on his face as he embraced every moment of it. The ecstasy slowly grew lower as the music fell in volume to allow the singer to continue.

The beast walked through the forest with a heart so tired and lonesome

And so he met a maiden 

so tender his legs went frail

Her skin as smooth as water

Her voice beauty behold

With just a glance she took his soul

He called to her and she listened 

Come to me my maiden, 

Come weave my hayfield bed

Come home and be my wife

She looked at him serenely and only whispered ‘no’

She broke his heart so swiftly he watched her run up a rain-bow

The singer stopped in his tracks, making the silence louder than it ever could be. 

“What? Has it gotten too serious for your liking?” he said, amusement dancing in his eyes. The crowd broke into a muffled laughter, “We are waiting for the good part!” someone shouted through the noise. 

“As you wish,” the singer said and he went on:

No,I will not come to you, 

please just seat there, 

see and smile

He sat and watched the maiden climb high on a rainbow’s mile

All he could do was watch her bottom 

See and smile

The next day the beast returned to the forest

With a smile and milk so fine

His love had waited for him

 Wrapped in an aura of beauty and eyes of golden sheen

He gave her the milk then said 

My heart you’ve captured, please make me your groom

She said she’d wed him only if he danced to her father’s tune

See and smile

Only then can I leave with you

The beast then whispered, it will be a while but I know that you’ll soon be mine

Once again the musicians burst into an enthusiastic display of their skills tagging at the strings and hitting the drums to their heart’s content, capturing the souls of their listeners. As Kayikuzi sank into the music-filled haze, his eyes slowly shut. His eye lids were turning heavy for the night. It had been long since he last had a good night’s rest. His musical abyss was raptured by the sudden jolt from a collision. His eyes shot open as he tried to see who it was. However,the person was moving too fast for his senses to keep track. 

It was the usual covered up face and muscular physique pounding the ground as it raced forward, shepherd’s staff in hand. For all he knew, it was another enraged god being dramatic, “What is new?” Kayikuzi muttered to himself, shrugging his shoulders. He shifted a little, fitting himself further into the embrace of the tree.

He broke a rock with an axe

He gobbled 1000 beers

He ate 1000 bulls 

And fetched a river of water using nothing but a flimsy basket

Because all he wanted was a wife…

Kayikuzi’s eyes shot open the moment the words started to sink in. 

The whole song was filled with lies.  “Which fool dares to sing about the tasks?”

His mind raced with suspects as he tried to focus his eyes on the distant figure. Everything seemed blurry from where he was standing. He squinted his eyes desperate to find out, only to be interrupted by a sudden shove from behind him. It was Nambi, all drenched in sweat and in panic.

Clearly, the heavens had turned upside down because he had never seen Nambi in such a state.

Her eyes were filled with tears and her voice shook. “Kayikuzi, you have to help me, father has run mad!”

To be continued on Saturday 30th May… Kayikuzi faces his father in combat

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Written by The Muchwezi (3)

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The time I missed my flight.