The King Makers

Hu Chen

Ep. 1

There was no moon in the sky of Ajégúnlẹ̀ Town. The rains just gushed heavily and everywhere was damp and dense. The crickets barely chapped -the strongest ones did, and the fireflies were nowhere to be found.

Everyone remained in their huts. A moment like this always made people sit down or squat in front of aro, feeding their cold bodies with the warmth coming from the burning firewood or spreading their cold palms above crackling embers and robbing them over their faces like the end of the Muslim’s prayers.

Some miles away was Àyànwálé’s household. He was a drummer for the king. He inherited his father’s position since he was the Dàódù of the drummer’s household. He strutted against the oil lamp putting on the rafter in the passage, cleaning and tunning his favourite drum.

“This downpour is a good omen to the fortune brought by tomorrow’s coronation.” Àyọ̀ká, Àyànwàlé’s wife said as she was sitting on the stool she brought along with her to the passage.

“Yes. You are right.” He blew away the imagining specks of dust from the drum’s strings. “But, do you think Adégòkè is the right heir to the Ajégúnlẹ̀ throne?” He inquired.

“Who else do you think he is competent, my husband? Are we in this town when Ọlátínnwọ́, the heir of Arárọ̀mí’s family raped a girl on a farm? Or you want to talk of Akínwùnmí, the stingy man, who collects money from his wife if she takes anything from his harvest. See, my husband, let’s stop deluding ourselves o jàre. It is the eyes that know what satisfies the stomach.” She leaned against the wall.

“You are right. But, do you people know anyone called Oyèrẹ̀mí?”

“Who is Oyẹ̀rẹ̀mí?”

“Oyèrẹ̀mí is the first child of the immediate past king. He was sent away from the palace due to the hypocrisy of the second Queen who is the mother of Adégòké.” He took his drum and tested it. “His stories are not yet riped to be told. When it is the time to defecate, the anus shall open.”

“But, you are the only one that knows him. We do not.”

“I am not the only one. The chiefs do too. But, they hide the truth.”

“And the chief Priest?”

“He is a puppet.”

“Hmm!!! Politics!!! We shall see.”

“Àyọ̀ká! This is a warning. Do not talk about him in the public to avoid problems for our families. Don’t ever tell anyone that you heard about the name. Is that clear?”

“Haha! My husband. I have understood everything. If they do not tell adétẹ̀, he should know that a needle is never a playing thing for him.”

“Good. Let’s go and sleep.”

Àyànwálé dangled the drum on the rafter, plopped the stool beside the entrance and entered his room. Àyọ̀ká checked on their only child, she put his blanket properly and put off the oil lamp.

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