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The Tale Of Six Towns And The Palace Guards - Literature - Nairaland

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The Tale Of Six Towns And The Palace Guards by AdeolaOmoOba(m): 2:47pm On Jun 25, 2020
The Tale of Six Towns and the Palace Guards

Afesinjagun-nlá Oníkòkólówóléja is a big countryside which comprised of six villages: Elésin, Arógunyò, Àgbèloba Olóminlá, Àgbè-oníkòkó, Owójemílógún and Oníbú-eja. The countryside was named after these six villages. Once a green pasture, it fell down flat. The walls of Jericho sank but this countryside crumbled.

Afesinjagun-nlá Oníkòkólówóléja had mountains which melted, rocky havens all blasted, splitting rivers spewing blackness, even hot sands went cold-blooded, Gem vessels crashed into rocks, flying birds crash landed. A sky once beaming with glitter, now full of flightless vultures. The lands once filled with butter, fed eagles with stench.

The gods must not be angered, warnings fell on deaf ears, his cattles mischievously led, to feed on grass of godfathers. Surely the gods have been offended, but one thing is certain, the gods are not to be blamed.

The paramount ruler was once a warlord, Balógun is his name, a warrior while he was young, who grew into a big merchant. All he had he never showed, wealth amassed held by cronies, what he had we never know, being received by proxies. He loved the trade by barter, to laugh in chatters he mastered. Just like popular Maradona, his smiles are shocking chairs.

Negotiating with roaring banters, He collaborated with kingmakers, and got farm implements from manufacturers in exchange for his palm oil barrels. He traded his crops for cash, his nuts for processed beverages. Grinding mills, he never had. Those he earlier owned were sabotaged. Bandits carted them away hook, line and sinker.

He never lacked a thing, whenever needs arise, there is always something to trade. Whether his clothes or shoes, who cares going naked? whether his cap or bag, who cares walking barefooted? Till my appetite is sated, till I have all I wanted. I care not whose ox is gored, once my cattles get fatted.

Quite often he collected, loaned cowries to service budgets. From richer merchants he boasted, my sacks shall be filled with talents. He reached agreements of repayments, with barrels of palm oil extracted. Just be patient he told them, allow my palm fruits get matured, even just enough to reach the oil window.

What a countryside uneasy, full of rules and protocols. The kolanuts were for the gods, the northern lights watched over the oil farms, that the princes born within his palace, do not sleep without being fed. Princes born to rule, princes born with rigour. Princes born to rule, ordered not to take liquor.

Before he took his well deserved rest. He called together his kinsmen. Before he took his rest, he taught his brain child basic farm practices. Planting of crops and irrigation, husbandry and trading. Don't worry about ajílè he said, pakopako have been ordered. Just for you and for me, that our lives may be in quiet.

In his will he set aside heaps and pyramids of cowry bags, that the royal Horse-riding princes, might have no lack whatsoever. No stranger dare move near, no chief without his permission, he gathered them in his silos, lest snakes should swallow them.

Watchmen and loyal servants. Rabbied dogs in every corner. Who dares touch his anointed, who make heaps between their two legs. Everyone is deemed evil only saints he canonized, everyone deemed unfaithful, only him had no stains.

Just before King Balógun died, there was a revolution, the three smaller towns wanted a forceful change of leadership, they said his appointment of chiefs were lopsided, that he never followed the traditions of previous heroes, that they have been disenfranchised, that true character commissioners were dozing, with the sleeping dogs that lie.

They said they were being killed by land grabbers and warlords, they said their cities were plundered by bandits like no other. They said their farms were on fire set by tongues of free ranging beasts. They opened for him their records of previous kings and militants, how they settled the matter but accused Balógun of being complicit in this matter.

Are we baboons? they asked that our land is soaked in blood. Daily are we massacred, this you handled with kid gloves. What on earth is this mess? even the blindfolded woman pulled off the veil on her eyes, so as to recognize the sacred cows. The scales of justice in her hands have been snatched off her fingers, what on earth is the matter? just because the assailants were your kinsmen.

Can a king commit treason? They approached the kingmakers to set things right. They approached his friends and rulers from neighboring cities surrounding them. Despite their pleas and bargains, words fell on deaf ears. I have heard you he said but I am hell bent on ruling the way I like.

What a despot no one dare say, instead kingmakers applauded, Kára-óle they shouted because they dread his wrathful breath. They dread his burning anger, they knew he was a vengeful master, who never forgives nor forgets, till trespasses are borne till slaughter.

Kára-óle Ò, they sounded, even upon his sick bed, in blast of onerous voice, as though a dance rehearsal, the words uttered were shrouded 'may your days be long, ...please rule forever', kingmakers once powerful, who had the final say, now meet but can't decide.

Their Basilica outcomes were only conclusive, once in the king's favor. As they meet in conclave, black smokes signals from their hallowed chambers, can only mean one thing, decisions were inconclusive. This is not common, just and only when one of two things happen. Either their pockets were not properly lined or the outcome was not in the king's favor.

They feared the authority of the crown, they feared for their lives. They have amassed their own wealth, feeding fat of dying lives. They only have a weakness, the bulldogs of the King bully them. Just to put them in check and blackmail them when needed.

Men with grey hairs, golden haired sages who sat in judgement, those who mattered were in his pockets, whether by commission or by black mailbags. A sneeze in the wrong direction, the king dogs would mark their target. Scapegoats were ransacked overnight. Guns blazing and sirens roaring, the darkness of the night were pervaded with flashes of light and blue and red.

Who else could we approach they said, perhaps the Queen who has a soft side. On hearing their plight, the queen protested, not against the king but against his subjects, she played a game of no man's land, a game of freedom for all, but in the depth of her hearts, she knew she tricked them all.

On one or two occasions, the Queen approached the king, with hope of telling her fears. Give heed to me she wept, in the secrecy of their room she begged, give me some leverage or to all the world I cry. On one or two occasions, some shots were fired on air, on one or two occasions, her perceived opponents she cleared.

Once a warlord himself, he smiled and said to her 'look at a pot calling kettle black'. I have also heard of your exploits, how you received kickbacks and jailed one of your guards, just for tasting of his soiled fingers while carrying your pot of soup. How dare you? Balógun threatened, do you know how many are out there, who would kill to take your place. How dare you fight my nephews who fought my unseen battles? With much powered batteries, autocratic tendencies increased, a path forbidden and dreaded, became the new Polar Express.

When pressure from the inhabitants, of the smallest city was unbearable, his workers at his behest danced the way pythons dance. He keyed into the battle frame, the Cold War his ancestors initiated. To fight till his last breath.

He honored those who brought him upstairs and gave them all they wanted. Three titles, one person, jolly good fellows they were, until some made speeches they couldn't swallow. I will ascend to the hills of my lord, I will pride myself of his throne they said, sweet things went sour and some were relegated.

As his days drew near, He prepared his successor Enúdùnjuyò, a man who was accused to have fleeced, his village of their wealth and coffers. A man whose District Officer (D.O.) deposed. As though enemies they were, while in essence it was to fulfill their sinister plan. A plan to make him available, to take the King's stool without breaking the traditions, used to shield him from the wrath of previous king, Enipèlé.

How long will this last? The citizens, mostly hunters took their Dane guns and axes, and belts of charms and pouches. They said to their wives and children, this is a new hunting season, we shall crouch as the Leopard, and like King Leopold, shall we hunt our enemies down.

The land broke into chaos. Tohu and bohu fireballs, blood and water mixed with sands, the aliens fell everywhere. The king's plans boomeranged, could this have been averted, now the land can't recover, while the king is yet alive. Rolling on his bed, he heard the cry of small children, I can't breathe, I can't breathe.... They shouted.


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