The the father and sons did not question Ochieng' after they saw his expression. It appeared like he did not want to talk about what happened today.
It didn't take them long before they were in Ndori's compound. It was filled with people from different villages. They wanted to see the guests that had arrived in their clan. An august guest that even their great seer was fearful of. It is worth mentioning that even the tribe head, the most powerful person in the tribe was treated casually by this seer.
Ochieng' wondered why the compound was full of people. Normally, most seers had special places to perform their rituals and Nyangini being a great one, performed hers at the clan's shrine. Therefore, it was odd for people to crowd her home instead of the shrine.
"He is so young" One man called out.
"Indeed, I don't know what was with the seer's respectful expression when she was talking about him a moment ago." Another person came in.
"But he hasn't even gone through the initiation ceremony despite his age." A young man said scornfully.
That was like a stone that dropped into a water body and caused a thousand ripples. It got to the ears of everyone around there. Many looked at him contumeliously while others confusedly. A man could only be considered a man only if he went through the initiation ceremony.
Initiation ceremony was the mark of transition from childhood to adulthood. The Lu tribe had their six lower teeth removed. This was done to both men and women. Someone who had gone through this was at liberty to marry or to get married. A man could even become a warrior after that. A person who hadn't gone through stage, no matter how old he or she was, was considered a child before those who lacked their six lower teeth. It was one thing for the female guest to have all her thirty two teeth, for her male partner to be like her, was there a reason for Nyangini's respect?
Ndori and his sons on seeing this, could not help but laugh at these ignorant people. They had witnessed Ochieng's power themselves. They knew how grotesque this young man was.
Ochieng' had gained a lot of power in the forbidden land. He had shown just a sliver of these abilities when he dealt with the animal before. After fighting with the horse that day, the energy that left the horse was consumed by him without knowing. This had given him more power that he was yet to discover. Even with this, he was a little nervous before these people.
Since he left his clan several years ago, this was the first time he was facing such a large number of people. In fact, it was his first time since birth. He felt like these people were completely foreign. He had lived amongst savage beasts since his childhood. He only met humans in his dreams and the first one he met in person was Apeleka. Apeleka had always smothered him with love since they met, so he found it strange to be treated coldly. Not even the beasts he left behind treated him that way.
Nyangini who was in her hut with Apeleka could not help but laugh when she saw the expression on the hero's face. Apeleka found it funny too. This was a man who confronted very powerful creatures in the forbidden land without any fear, yet before his fellow humans who were far much weaker than him, he was trembling in fear.
"I have never seen him this way before." Apeleka said amid her laughter.
"I guess he has never been in front of so many people." The experienced Nyangini told the young woman.
"That is true. He has lived with animals since he was young."
"How about you? "
"I have been there for only sixteen seasons."
"How were you surviving before you met him eight seasons ago? "
"It is all thanks to Jakony"
The bird who had been quiet since it entered this land proudly said. Right now it was near the fire enjoying the warmth that came from it.
"It can talk??" Nyangini leapt in shock. She had never seen anything like this before.
"Every animal in the forbidden land is capable of talking." The lass answered nonchalantly.
"Animals there can talk? " The seer did not believe that. Even though in her rituals she saw Ochieng' talking to animals, she only thought that that was because maybe Were was indirectly telling her something but when she heard and saw that animals could really talk, she was mesmerized.
The two women without knowing had even forgotten about the situation outside the hut. Apeleka was briefing the seer on what the forbidden land was really like. The middle aged woman's facial expression was constantly changing from awe to shock to surprise and her lower Jaw dropped sometimes.
"I greet you all elders, brothers and sisters." Ochieng' who could not take the people's discussions anymore greeted. They uniformly responded and he continued,
"I know I've not gone through the initiation ceremony, but that doesn't make me a lesser man. It's not that I am afraid or something, it's because I couldn't do it... "
"What do you mean by you couldn't do it? Is it that you're against the ancestors?" One man interrupted.
"You won't understand even if I tell you." Ochieng' casually answered. The man who asked him the question wanted to say something but when Ochieng' pointed his right forefinger towards him, he like a shot swallowed his words and one could see that in the depths of his eyes, he was terrified. Ochieng' maybe did something that made him feel so.
After he silenced the man, Ochieng' continued, "I may still have my six lower teeth, but I am pretty sure I have strength deep within me. In that case, I would like to ask one courageous young man to come forward and let us have an 'amen' duel(wrestling match). If he wins, I'll walk out of this place immediately, if I win, you will all apologize for insulting me."
What he said was followed by a complete silence. Even though they felt like the man before them was not a man just because he hadn't gone through the initiation stage of life, they knew so well that he wasn't ordinary. Furthermore he said the reason he hadn't removed his teeth they couldn't understand. Nobody dared to walk in front.
"So, nobody wants to come forward. Didn't you say a moment ago that I am a child, why are you cowering now, don't tell me you are afraid of this kid." Ochieng' contemptuously said.
At last, one strong man walked forward.
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