- Post 08 February 2011
- Last Updated on 09 February 2011
- By Anwuli Emenanjo
The trees swayed violently in the strong wind and there was a scent in the air that signaled coming rains. The talisman on Massassi’s staff shook and dirt from the road swirled around her in a perfect circle rendering her motionless until it subsided. “I have to hurry back to the shrine before the rain starts” she thought to herself and she attemped to pick up her pace but her legs failed her. Her body seemed foreign to her these days…slow legs, aching back, tired hands and blurry vision; signs that her age was finally catching up with her. She knew that her failing body could spell disaster for the oracle because she was regarded as the “omnipotent messenger of the gods with unmatched powers”. It was very believable because even though she had witnessed over eighty yam festivals, she moved like she had only been around for half that number. Massassi was always full of energy. She often trekked from one village to another and it took her half the time it would take most young men. There were rumours going around the village that Massassi was visited by the great goddess and was given an elixir that made her ageless and powerful. Lately, her body was reminding her that she had been around for too many moons but she knew that she had to continue to appear strong. Her strength was indeed her power and any sign of weakness would make the King and the villagers doubt her messages. As she made her way back to the temple from the Kings Palace, she pondered on the discussion that had taken place. Her summon was not a good one. The King was angry and anxious and rightfully so…there was a bad wind coming towards their direction. This storm had been brewing for decades and its coming was inevitable. It was now only a question of when it will come and who will survive it but it was definitely headed their way…this day of reckoning felt closer than it ever did before and it scared Massassi but she could not show her fear in front of the King. She needed to appear unshakeable especially in these difficult times as the stability of the Kingdom depended on her. She abruptly stopped in her tracks and whispered under her breath “Yes, it is upon us…great goddess, protecting your children”. She could smell danger; just as she could smell the rain. She saw a flash of lightening and roaring thunder with a few raindrops followed shortly. She shivered in fear as if the rain was a confirmation from the gods that inescapable doom was heading their way. She began walking again and this time, she did not attempt to walk faster.
Massassi had a keen sense. She sensed a change in Udo. She seemed very absent minded lately and had gotten a few slaps from her this week to remind her to pay attention. The other day she overcooked the leaves for the medicine rendering the whole pot useless and today she just stared blankly into the air as she broke nuts for the soup at a snail’s pace. “What has gotten into this girl?” she wondered. She looked at her again, this time, examining her body and she suddenly realized that the little slave girl that she had taken in was now becoming a woman. She never looked at her this closely, until now…She had little time for the girl and she viewed her as more of an irritant than any help but now, looking at Udo closely, she realized that the young girl that was brought to her a few moons ago as a malnourished child with tattered clothes, was quickly becoming a woman…a very beautiful woman. She would have to speak to the King soon before one of these sex starved village men had their way with her “The time has come. Yes, the gods are beckoning…” Massassi thought to herself. She picked up a stick to draw lines in the sand. At the same time, she chanted some words and danced in a cirle to summon the mother goddess.