#7: OF GOOD DESTINY BY TAJMAO

 

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Breakfast was served in a large dining area and the spread afforded mother and daughter more than enough to fill themselves up with. They had been woken up at 7.30am by a maidservant who barely said a word, and had not set eyes on Aruegodore at all.

“So do we go knock on her door?” Anaborhi asked. Akunna shook her head.

“I am sure that she will call for us when she is ready,” Her mother said as she stirred her tea. The silence that descended was thick.

“So this is over 300 years old,” Anaborhi said “I cannot even start to imagine how many generations have gone through this because of the selfish and wicked act of one person”

Akunna smiled sadly “The action of one person has a ripple effect. Even the bible is known to say something about the sins of the father’s being visited upon the sons”

“You read the bible?” Anaborhi asked as she has never heard her mother use any religious reference at any time.

“In my years of trying to find out what was happening, I tried many options. Only one pastor in Osun mentioned that I could be a part of a deep-seated generational curse. By the time he listed the items needed, I ran. I could not afford it and I never went back” Akunna said as her eyes filled with tears.

“You tried and I respect you for that. We are here now and since we have confirmed that it is a generational curse, we just need to find out more and hope that the story comes with a very detailed instructional manual on how to get solved, once and for all”

Akunna looked up at her daughter and smiled “I hope so too”

They soon realized they were no longer alone when the maid that had woken them up stood at the door.

“Tsohuwa Dada will see you now” she announced before turning to leave.

Anaborhi and her mother stood up to leave but not without first gathering a few items to take with them. Back in Adankwo’s room, they noticed a difference in the atmosphere. The sun was peering in with full force and the woman was seated in a wider rocking chair closer to the balcony.

Anaborhi took in the woman’s frame as she approached the chair, in awe of the fact that despite how old she knew the woman to be, she did not look over 90.

“It is rude to stare young lady,” Adankwo said smiling. Akunna had already taken one of the two cushioned cane chairs opposite her great grandmother and was shaking her head as she listened to their exchange.

“I am sorry. You look good for your age and your floral dress, its beautiful” Anaborhi said as she sat down, placing the food and drink in her arms on the table next to her chair just as her mother had done on the other side.

“You are making an old woman blush like a teenager but thank you for the kind words. I am flattered my darling. I trust you had a good night’s rest?” Adankwo asked.

“Well rested. This place is just as calm and peaceful as I remembered” Akunna said as Anaborhi nodded beside her.

“And the breakfast this morning was grand. Hope you have had yours?”

“Oh yes, as early as 7 am.” Adankwo said still smiling and pointing to a table behind them that held the remains of a meal. “I asked them to leave what remained in case you wanted to eat more while we talked. But I can see that you came prepared already”

“It won’t go to waste. We will still indulge in the meal before lunch.” Anaborhi said with a glint in her eye. She never bothered to hide the fact that she was a foodie and Adankwo beamed ear to ear at the realization of that fact. Anaborhi watched in awe again at the fact that the woman’s dentition was intact. The woman right in front of them was obviously in good shape.

“Now, let us continue,” Adankwo said.

“Yes but I have a question. You said that Apunanwu alleged that the child was not hers. Did anyone bother to check her claim at all?”

“A dead child was buried very quickly back then and the circumstances of death made it even more urgent. Mama said the child’s body was whisked away very quickly and there was no reason for anyone to be suspicious. Akuada covered her tracks well enough and achieved her aim. No one thought about Apunanwu until when issues started to surface.

Many years later, Akuada’s first son was getting married. Mama said that it was a beautiful ceremony and that the new wife Adaku was a beautiful and pleasant young girl that everyone liked and loved. So when the boy started to act funny and eventually run mad, it was heart-wrenching. In no time, the other boy got married and the same thing happened. When the last child, a girl got married, her husband went mad as well. Her husband visited the village dibia and his wife’s can of worms opened up”

Anaborhi was shaking her head “No no no. That would have been decades after Apunanwu was chased away. No one suspected or investigated anything before then?” she asked distraught.

“No one had any reason to suspect anyone. Over time, Akuada had changed. She became warmer and kinder even to Apunanwu’s two children that her best friend was raising as hers. Her brother’s second wife could however not have any more children of her own after losing one to a fever. By the time her husband returned from the dibia, things changed. Achojah came back angry and requested an audience with the King.

Mama said that she had never seen the man raise his voice but at the meeting, he was shaking and shouting. The dibia had told him that his wife had offended the child of a god, even though it was a minor one. That a curse had been placed on his children because of her actions and that it would not go away. They pressed Akuada for the truth and after a few denials, the confession started. My grandmother said that Ataikiru was a broken man as he listened to the confession of his sister and that his wife, his sister’s best friend threw herself on the ground, at the mercy of the king yelling that she had nothing to do with her actions. Achojah did the same, lamenting that his entire life was in a mess because of her actions.”

Adankwo smiled sadly at Anaborhi before she continued “The King asked Akuada where the child she stole was and who’s the dead child that was placed beside Apunanwu belonged to. Her answer was that the dead child was that of a slave and that they simply swapped babies. When asked what happened to the real child, she broke down in tears that the boy had died and that she started to regret her actions from that point onward. She had tried to save the child and failed.

“Mama said that the King and elders became worried that the same curse was upon them all because of their roles in the Apunanwu’s exile. They summoned the dibia who confirmed what Achojah had told them stating that Apunanwu was indeed the daughter of a minor god and a priestess with whom he had fallen in love. He went ahead to state that she had laid the curse as she delivered her child in the forest and at some point had been taken by her father”

“Taken by her father?” Anaborhi asked looking over at her mother in confusion.

“If her father was a minor god, it is safe to believe that at some point in her misery he came for her and took her away,” Akunna said. Adankwo nodded.

“Yes. Sadly in all our research, we could not find the name of the god as it must have faded with lost bits of our culture. Asaroyoma and I did visit the dibia’s descendant who asked that several rites be performed to break the curse” Adankwo hung her head and then started to cry.

“What? What happened?” Anaborhi asked as her mother went on her knees beside the woman, taking her hands in hers.

“Asaroyoma died at childbirth and her husband followed soon after. His sanity faded much faster after her death as he could not cope much longer afterward.” The woman sighed sadly turning to look down at Akunna.

“You both are descended from Akuada’s line and bound to live the curse until it is broken or your line dies out. Seeing that your lineage fading out may never happen, the only hope is to break the curse” She reached for the folder on the table on her other side, handing it over to Anaborhi.

“The minute you stepped in yesterday night I saw you as a reincarnate of my sister come to complete what she started. You may be the only hope of your lineage Anaborhi. It may just end with you.”

Anaborhi collected the file with shaky hands and sighed deeply. Flipping the file open, she took in the long list of ritual items needed. “Where is Arorisa?” She asked.

“Risa is a river to the north. Arorisa is the sacred grove of the river, it is where Apunanwu is believed to have given birth and also where her father is thought to have taken her” Adankwo said as she silently asked Akunna to return to her seat.

“And no one knows what happened to the child?” Akunna asked as she dusted off her knees and sat back down “Can’t believe that the child would have been left by a river by her mother and the god”

“No one knows. The dibia could not give us any information on what happened to the child. All he told us was that she gave birth to a son” Adankwo said softly. The woman watched Anaborhi take in the contents of the file and her heart skipped. She was worried for the young girl yet hopeful that there was a chance that in her lifetime she would see the curse broken finally.

 

To be continued….

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#6: OF GOOD DESTINY BY TAJMAO

 

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“In those years of our grandmother’s youth, there was peace. Nothing but the usual land disputes and squabbles between spouses that the king and his court usually resolved, ever happened.” Tsohuwa Dada said as she turned to stare out the window. “The only other major issue had to do with the slavers

“She told us that she had an uncle who’s friend had married a stranger that had supposedly escaped the claws of slavers but whom no one could say for certain where she had come from. The other travelers had stated that she had joined the caravan along the way and they too did not know her but were grateful to her for she possessed the knowledge of healing that helped several of them when they were injured. Mama said that even her uncle was smitten by the lady and immediately started to woo her but the woman only had eyes for his friend”

Tsohuwa Dada looked over at Anaborhi and her mother and smiled. “Mama said that the woman was a beauty with skin so like the Fulanis that used to come to the village back then to sell their cattle. They had thought that she was one but then she spoke the language of the Binis so fluently that they started to think she was from there too. She was not too conversant with their language but learnt very fast and in a matter of weeks after coming into the village, she could hold a steady conversation with anyone.

When it was time for the caravan to continue moving, the woman stayed back indicating to her other travelers that she had found her home. She and Mama’s uncle’s friend, Ataikiru, were married 2 market days after the caravan moved on. This, however, did not sit well with his sister Akuada”

“You see, Akuada had desired for her brother to marry her best friend because she was already engaged to his brother. She had tried every tactic that she could muster in order to get him to agree and may have been successful too if Apunanwu had not come to the village. She persisted even after her brother expressed interest in marrying her but failed tremendously, watching in despair as her friend, after her brother had married Apunanwu, married a trader from the neighbouring village and therefore had to leave. The hatred grew in her heart towards her brother’s wife and no one could ease her anger”

The woman coughed lightly as Akunna stood up to pour a glass of water for her. They waited as she drank half of the content of the glass before bowing her head and falling silent for a few seconds.

“Is she asleep?”Anaborhi asked and the chuckle that escaped the woman answered that question.

“I am not asleep my dear. Just lost in memories” she looked up at her and smiled “My sister and I were just as eager to get to the bottom of the story, just as you two are but Mama told us that to know the cause of something we must first understand the origin. She would yell our names when she saw that we were losing interest, much like how the children of nowadays have short attention spans”

“Is your name really Tsohuwa Dada?” the woman heard Anaborhi asked next, causing the woman to glance over at her mother in surprise.

“Did you not teach her our dialect at all Akunna?” Akunna hung her head in silence and the woman laughed. “May the gods save us and our culture from extinction”

“Anyway, no. Tsohuwa Dada is how the elders are referred to. My name is Adankwo”

Anaborhi smiled “It’s a nice name.” Akunna smiled too and yawned a little.

“You are tired. Allow me to continue so that we can get to a good point and you can go sleep. I am sure that by now Aruegodore would have ensured that a room is ready for you both” She paused a little and nodded before continuing.

“So Akuada’s hatred grew for Apunanwu and the birth of her first child did not dampen it in any way. She tried in so many ways to poison the minds of the villagers, and anyone that would listen, against her but she most often times did not succeed. Desperate she started to plot and scheme as much as she could. The death of her friend’s husband and her eventual return to her father’s house as was their tradition, saw Akuada renew her effort to get her into her brother’s bed and to get Apunanwu out.”

Anaborhi watched as Adankwo frowned. “Her next actions were out-rightly wicked and heartless, to say the least. Mama told us that the belief back then was that if a child who was still breastfeeding and yet to walk died while breastfeeding, the mother was seen as cursed or a witch even. Apunanwu ran out one morning with the corpse of her 3rd child in her arms. The baby had been suckling overnight by her mother’s side and even when she raised the alarm that the baby was not hers, no one believed her. She was dragged to the shrine where judgement was pronounced immediately because according to tradition, to delay would mean more disaster.

No one listened to her when she said she was pregnant. Akuada faked tears as Apunanwu was taken away, mourning alongside her brother and holding on to his two children who watched in despair as their mother chased out. In her absence, she wasted no time in bringing her friend into the family and was ecstatic when Ataikiru married her friend as he could not care for the two children on his own. Everyone seemed to forget about Apunanwu for years after that until Akuada’s first son ran mad barely 2 years after he got married. That was the beginning of the nightmare that has plagued your side of the family”

Adankwo stopped and smiled, clasping her hands together and leaning forward slightly. “We stop here tonight my dears. You both need to rest and this old woman before you also needs her beauty sleep.”

Anaborhi was too exhausted to argue and simply nodded.
“Akunna my darling, can you find your way? I asked your brother to set up your mother’s old room for you two to rest” Akunna nodded.

“Yes, I can find my way.”

“Good, good. Good night then darlings. We continue tomorrow”

With that, both of them were up on their feet and out of the room. They met Aruegodore a few feet from the door and after exchanging pleasantries for the night, they turned down a corridor and into a large room at the end. Akunna was overwhelmed with emotion as she entered the room but Anaborhi did not notice because in no time she was fast asleep on one side of the bed.

Akunna sat at the end of the bed and cried a bit as memories flooded her. They were both tears of joy and sadness. She wondered if she should ever have left in the first place.

To be continued…..

Characters, Stories and Scripts with Tomi Adesina

Before the film, comes the script. In the script, the characters are formed, a story is told.
 
Renowned film-maker, Alfred Hitchcock once said, “To make a great film you need three things – the script, the script, and the script.”
 
A movie is only as good as the script. Take that in. That’s how important a writer is.
 
So, are you interested in starting out your career?
Register for #CSSWithTomiAdesina here – http://css.tomiadesina.com
 
Registration closes on the 20th of March, 2019.
Thank you,
Tomi Adesina

Do you want to be a Screenwriter?

Hi Friends,

Ever thought about writing for TV? But you don’t know where to start from?

I’ll be teaching a physical screenwriting class on the 23rd and 24th of this month, March, in Lagos Nigeria. You can register for it by clicking this link – http://css.tomiadesina.com

If you’d rather attend the online class because of time schedule or if you think beholding my awesome face would be too much to take in at onceand I really understand; I can’t even keep up sometimes – Please choose the Online option when you click this link – http://css.tomiadesina.com It is on the 6th and 13th of April.

Now, just in case this isn’t for you…I’m sure you know someone who’s really interested in learning about writing for TV – Just send this link (http://css.tomiadesina.com) their way so it’s not just sitting in your inbox. Imagine being the one who stopped someone else from glamming up at AMVCA’s red carpet (Nah, don’t do that.)

 

I look forward to meeting you.

Cheers,

Tomi Adesina

#5: OF GOOD DESTINY BY TAJMAO

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The house was big and beautiful with a kind of rustic style that made Akunna smile. The house had not changed so much since the last time she was there.

“Who changed the furniture?” she asked Aruegodore as he led them through the house to the stairs.

“An uncle on some side of the family that I do not know how to trace” He answered and both of them laughed. Anaborhi looked at both of them confused.

“Our family is so large that we usually cannot identify or trace who is who’s a cousin. Occasionally, someone sends things down to us for Dada, we who stay with her and the house” Aruegodore answered as they entered another wing of the house.

“Are they all affected by the curse?” Anaborhi asked as they stopped by a door. She watched his face fall as he looked from his sister to his niece.

“The curse is on a direct lineage. It doesn’t affect most of the family, only one particular group of descendants because the acts that resulted in it was by one person alone”

Opening the door, he led them into another room and then held back at the doorway. “I leave you here ladies. She is seated by the window. Welcome home sisters and Anaborhi,” he said facing her “Keep a cool head”

She did not need to ask what he was implying or referring to as she felt like he knew more about them than she expected. Akunna nodded at her brother and slowly turned around as he closed the door behind him. They stood there for a few seconds as they scanned the dimly lit room and became aware of steady breathing across the room.

“It is somewhat rude to just stand there and come in after all you came this far” A voice said startling them where they stood. Anaborhi was taken by the crystal clear tone that seemed to reach down into her and struck a chord in her very soul. She started to walk in the direction the chair from where the voice they had heard had come from which, as her uncle had said, was in front of the window.

As she approached, a light came up revealing a woman seated in a large rocking chair whose frail body betrayed her the life that filled her eyes.

“You look disappointed,” She said “Do I not meet your expectations?” the woman said as she tapped her fingers on the arm of the chair.

“I do not think I had any expectation,” Anaborhi said as the woman smiled broadly.

“Akunna come forward my darling. Why are you hanging back?”

“I am not worthy Dada.” Came a distant response. Anaborhi could hear her mother’s voice shake and she was sure she was close to tears where she stood.

“I am not God in whose presence we are all unworthy. I am a mother who only wishes to see her beloved. Come to me”

In seconds, Akunna was by her daughter’s side and then on her knees. “I am sorry for what I did. For leaving home, for being so stubborn and not heeding the warnings that I was given”

The woman smiled and nodded. She held her arms out and Akunna dived into them, burying her head in the woman’s laps while she cried. As she knelt there, the woman looked up at Anaborhi and smiled again.

“You chose to return to us, Asaroyoma. In the form of your descendant but I would know you even if I were blind or near death. Sister, you took so long to return. This was not what we agreed”

Anaborhi tilted her head to the side as she listened to her speak. Akunna lifted her head and sat on the floor where she had knelt down.

“What do you mean Dada?” She asked as she looked to her daughter and then back at the elderly woman.

“Your daughter is a reincarnation of my sister Asaroyoma. She died early and young in her marriage while doing what she knew how to do best, fight for her loved ones. She said she would return, but I did not think it would span over a century ”

“What?” Anaborhi said in shock “Are you saying you are over 100 years old.”

“I am 115years by my estimate since in my days there were no days or months in my village” she answered. Gesturing at two chairs, she looked down at Akunna “Sit down dear. Akunna, the floor gets cold as the night deepens”

Quietly, both took their seats and waited. The woman in front of them had turned away and was looking out the window while humming a tune.

“I was a young girl when my grandmother told me the tale of the reason why my sister could not marry from the clan where she had found love. In those days, it was not strange to have cousins want to marry, so when Asaroyoma brought home her beloved Ahwinahwi, her cousin on her father’s side, it was seen as normal”

The woman said as she turned back to face them. She had a smile on her lips again and Anaborhi could not help but wonder if she ever grew weary of smiling.

“Asaroyoma was no different to you Anaborhi, she reincarnated herself well in you and she loved her man much to the chagrin of our father who was a man of rules instead of reasoning. He believed his word was law and the two sides of the family were never to merge”

“Are we descended from them?” Anaborhi asked. She watched the woman smile.

“Patience, my beloved. I have not gotten halfway in my tale”

Akunna placed a hand on her daughter’s lap in an attempt to calm her while the old woman laughed heartily.

“Yes, it is you indeed. As hot-headed as ever. Your first form, my sister, went against my father’s instruction and got pregnant. That way, no one would prevent them from marrying. That was the tradition. But two years into their marriage, and while pregnant with another, the curse started to take hold. That was when, just like you came to meet me for insight into the matter, Asaroyoma and I went to meet our father’s mother. This was the tale we were told…..”

TO BE CONTINUED……