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….