Kisum was a large city at the centre of the entire Lu tribe. It was at the north of Karachuo Division where Odindi clan was found. It was also the headquarters of the tribe. This is where the tribe head's palace was located. Those in several administrative departments of the clan lived in this metropolis. It was a bustling city from the beginning of one season to the beginning of another.
At the heart of the city, there was a large, beautiful opulent manse. Around the mansion were other very beautifully constructed ten buildings. These eleven residences were surrounded by very beautiful trees and the compound was covered with dark green grass and lustrous flowers. Small trees were also scattered all over the compound. The chirruping of birds was heard from time to time coming from the trees.
This was the tribe head's palace. The palace was very large, covering an area of over five hundred square metres. This is because inside the castle, there were other people who stayed within other than the tribe head. The ten houses belonged to his wives. One can imagine how large the compound where the tribe head resided was. The beautiful home was highly guarded by very powerful warriors.
Today, an uninvited guest from Odindi clan decided to visit the tribe head's dwelling place. At the main gate, he was stopped by a fireball who happened to be guarding that place.
"How do you do my brother and what do you want from the tribe head at this time of the day?" The guard respectfully asked the visitor.
They were in the same age group but the guard was extremely respectful towards the visitor. Tribe heads were people who had gone through too much trainings. For them to get there, they had to put matters of the tribe in front as other matters followed behind. Those surrounding him had to be nationalists who could leave their lives behind for the sake of the tribe. Therefore, no matter where one came from, they were allowed to visit the stately home as they wished so long as they were from Lu tribe. This was to help the tribe head in knowing the problems of everyone within the tribe and find a way to help. To avoid overcrowding, there were specific times for visiting and a specific number to visit at particular times.
There was no need to fear for the tribe head's life since he had to have strength in order to secure that stool. It was however better to be safe than sorry. Those visiting were highly taken stock to ensure they carried nothing to harm the tribe head and anyone surrounding him. It was hard for those who could not speak in Lu language to enter the palace for security purposes. What goes without saying is that so long as one was a Lu speaker, it was as easy as eating and drinking to see the Lu tribe head.
"I am doing well brother, I am Opondo Rabaya from Odindi clan. I have been sent by my chief, Chief Ong'am to his son Okoth Ang'wen the assistant chief advisor to our beloved tribe head." The visitor answered meekly.
"Brother, the sun is approaching the west, you know at this time of the day, the people here are busy preparing the palace for the visit of the tribe guardian elders and other elders at dusk, how can I be sure you are sent by chief Ong'am?" The guard smiled.
"I came with a horse but it was taken care of by those at the first entrance, I was given this thing to show at this gate." The man finished in one breath and out of his small pouch, he removed a beautiful pearl.
"Follow me." The guard on seeing the thing, he motioned.
The so called Opondo Rabaya was awestruck the moment he stepped into the tribe head's compound. He had never been to this place, he only arrived through the directions given by other people. He had been misled sometimes but all the same, after a week he arrived at the headquarters. He was used as a courier by the chief since he was the most capable fellow. Rarely was a messenger sent to the tribe's palace, so it is understandable why Rabaya did not know where it was.
He had crossed three gates before he got inside the compound. The palace was far from the gate he just crossed, even the building that was closest to the gate was about two hundred metres away. That was the tribe head's youngest wife's house. The path from the gate to the palace was made of gold, along were flowers of different kinds beautifully grown. Just walking on this path could make one fully rejuvenated.
The sight of a glowing path with beautiful plants and flowers along, dancing nicely from being beaten by the winds, the breeze that passed the nearby trees to hit the body, the delightful odor that came from the flowers and the tuneful sounds of the birds were enough to restore one's vim. Rabaya who was stepping onto the path for the first time stopped. He closed his eyes, lifted his hands and head up as if he was looking at the sky. The guard stopped as well to look at the fellow. He understood what this visitor was feeling so he patiently waited for him to be fed up.
After around ten minutes, Rabaya opened his eyes and sighed heavily. He was then marched to the palace until where Okoth Ang'wen resided. Everything in the palace only left his mouth agape.
In a spacious room at the eastern side of the palace sat a young man around the age of thirty five. He sat with his fingers resting on the strings of his 'nyatiti'¹, his eyes closed and his mind in another world. His door was knocked several times before he woke up. When it was finally opened, he was excited to see a fellow from home come in.
"Rabaya." He called, softly smiling exposing his last molar.
"It's me Okoth." Rabaya responded.
These were two people from the same age set. They were also in the same age group, from Odindi clan. People of the same age set were those who went through initiation stage of life at the same times while those of the same age group were those born during a particular period of time.
Rabaya and Ang'wen were two people who had grown up together. They had been to the same initiation camp together. They had gone to the warrior training together. Therefore, the intimacy between them had grown strong.
"How are you doing my brother?" Greeted Ang'wen cheerfully after Rabaya sat on a nearby stool.
"I am doing well, how about you brother?"
"I am also doing well. How is Odindi clan, I heard Okumu Otieno wanted to overthrow father?"
"The clan is doing well, Otieno Okumu was killed a week ago and the upheaval has tranquilized....don't tell me you heard the clan was in chaos and there's nothing you did." Rabaya rolled his eyes at Ang'wen.
"I only heard it from a friend who comes from Pinje clan, Odindi's neighbour. I asked the tribe head to help me settle the war but he refused telling me everything would be alright. I wanted to come alone then but he insisted I stay. The main reason as to why he refused to help, I think it's something we should not talk about because I don't know." Ang'wen patiently explained. Rabaya did not question him more about the matter.
"How did my brother die?" Ang'wen asked after a long silence.
"He was killed by your brother Ochieng' Lwanda who arrived in the clan when the chief was almost killed."
"Ochieng' is back?!"
Ang'wen precipitously rose to his feet and asked, his eyes gleaming with excitement. It can be said that of all his brothers, Ochieng' was the one he loved most. That brother of his had got lost when he was around fifteen years old. He missed him the most. When he heard that he was back, could he maintain his composure?
Maybe it is because of their relationship that even Ochieng' thought Ang'wen should have been their clan's next chief. Ang'wen was the only brother of his that was always kind and friendly to him over fourteen years ago.
Ang'wen said and without further ado dashed out of the room. The guard who had been ignored for all this time was overhauled at the door where he was standing like a stone pillar. He only shook his head, closed the door and reported back to duty.
1: An eight stringed Luo traditional musical instrument resembling an Egyptian lyre.
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