I was born of spirit and flesh. The father of Amadioha, Tore – god of the forest and wind – laid with the priestess of Amasan shrine – the mouth piece of the gods – to conceive me.
My mother lived long enough for me to take my first breath then she joined her ancestors in the land of the dead.
I was born with three green leaves in my left hand and a beating heart in my right. The trees of Amadioha – god of the forest – danced to my whistles when I entered the world of mortals.
I am Oluchi, the wind goddess of Asaman.
The cool afternoon breeze brought pleasure to everyone that was out in the scorching sun. It was the palm season so most of the families in Asaman were out in their respective farms gathering palm fruits for the market.
Amaka, Efé and Oluchi were at the farm gathering palm fruits when they heard the gong of the town crier.
“People of Amasan, the King of Amasan wishes to meet with you at the royal courtyard when the cock crows noon. Maidens of Asaman are especially invited.” He cried out after he hit his gong three times. He went about the whole village hitting his gong as he heralded his message.
“It’s about time this news came along,” Amaka said with such joy in her voice.
“What do you mean? What news?” Efé asked.
“The prince, of course,” Amaka replied but Efé raised her eyebrows in confusion.
Amaka signed in frustration and explained further. “The King is getting old and he needs to secure his lineage before he kicks the bucket.”
Amaka looked at Efé like she was the slowest thinking creature she has ever known. Oluchi turned away from Efé to hide her laugh. She knew Efé to be dumb sometimes but this was too much. ‘It’s a good this she is pretty,’ Oluchi thought.
Oluchi composed herself and said, “What Amaka simply means to say is that, the King wants an heir from the prince for the throne before he dies. Or the throne will go to the next family in line for the royal seat.” She looked at Efé to check if she comprehended what she had just said before she continued. “The heralding is about the prince finding a wife to accomplish that.”
Efé instantly lit up. Oluchi feared that she had over-understood what she just said.
“You mean to say that prince Azizè is going to be on market? Of course that’s what you mean. Lolo befits me, does it not?” Efé asked, dancing around with her basket; totally oblivious to the other two.
“Oh, my,” Oluchi sighed out. She placed her basket of palm fruit next to Amaka’s under the big palm tree.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Efé,” said Oluchi. “There are about five hundred maidens in this village who are beautiful and probably in love with prince Azizè as you do but in the end, it’ll be the prince’s choice and not yours.”
“Not if I have something to do with it,” Efé and Amaka said simultaneously. They turned to look at each other. Efé gave Amaka a ‘back-off’ look and Amaka gave Efé a ‘beware because you do not know who you dealing with’ look.
Oluchi could sense catastrophe. She sincerely feared for the maiden that would become the future Lolo of the village.
Oluchi knew prince Azizè to be the most handsome man in Asaman and the three neighbouring kingdoms that she had secretly been to. He was a warrior amongst warriors and he gained Asaman village the reputation of being the most powerful village in their fatherland.
It was no wonder that Amaka and Efé were behaving childlike but she knew that other maidens in the village would be enchanted with the thought of being with the prince.
Oluchi knew that whatever the gathering was about, she would not be a part of it. Royal business was not her business; royal marriage was not part of her existence.
Oluchi and the girls picked up their baskets of palm fruits and decided to call it a day. They needed to get ready for the gathering at noon and Amaka and Efé were leaving no stones unturned. The prince would be present at the assembly and first impression was everything.
As they walked home – still discussing the possible outcomes of the gathering – Oluchi heard a spirit call her. She felt it within her soul and she had no doubt that it was the call of the river spirit, Abiri. Her senses tingled and she was almost always filled with disgust whenever she felt Abiri’s presence.
She stopped walking then looked around. The river of Abiri was just on their far right; surrounded with weeds and rocks and big timber trees. No mortal was allowed to bath or wash in it. It was forbidden.
In her human vessel, not only would Oluchi face death if she entered the river in the presence of Amaka and Efé, she would be banished from her village and shone by all.
“What is wrong, Oluchi?” Amaka asked whilst she looked around her to see what has caught Oluchi’s attention.
Oluchi looked over the river and she saw the shadow of Abiri elevate from it. She frowned.
“Nothing is wrong,” Oluchi replied. “I thought I say something, but it’s nothing,” she lied.
By: Adwoa G. Darko