THE CACOPHONOUS NORTH

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Chapter 7: Retribution

Mzee Ayan who limps and uses a walking stick was the chief’s main advisor prior to my coming. His house and compound used to be second to the chief’s but only until we came. The land on which our huts stand; mine and Wepesi’s used to be idle and was used by royal guards for their drills. Other times, Chief Rimbrok would use it when inspecting the guard of honour every morning and evening.

Among the chief’s inner circle elders, Mzee Ayan who also happened to be his brother was the most reserved of them all. He was very upset about our coming and newly acquired status. He saw us as a threat yet our duties to our beloved community were poles apart yet close enough in matters affecting the welfare of our people. My dad Wepesi disliked him with the same zeal and he knew it making him very cautious whenever he was in our presence.

The whole community, including the chief were not expecting us back this soon! Everyone was surprised that we had gotten back from the battlefield this early. They were even more perplexed when they saw DingDing hanging from a stick by his hands and feet. They had expected a razzmatazz entry back into the village. Chief Rimbrok asked hastily, “what has happened?” He was perplexed and afraid, you could tell from his voice. I answered him back gladly, “Sir, our enemies fled and deserted their village. Someone must have given them the heads-up because we saw them disappearing on the other side of the River Rakido.” “Mmmh, I see. And what about DingDing - what happened to him?” “Sir, the fellow tried to spear our commander,” my first lieutenant Kajiwe answered the chief while bowing slightly forward. “We descended on him and taught him some manners. It took the intervention of our commander to save this poor soul,” continued Kajiwe. “We have traitors in our midst?” Asked Chief Rimbrok. “Surprisingly, yes sir,” I answered him back. “You should have killed him,” shouted Mzee Ayan. “Traitors should be killed and left to the wild animals to devour their flesh,” he continued, raising his walking stick and hitting DingDing on the forehead severally. Blood was gushing out as a result of this. He raised his stick once more, preparing to give DingDing a thorough beating but I was quick to intervene and saved the poor guy. “No, please don’t. We need him alive! He has some vital information which we need to unravel the failed ambush we just undertook.” I reiterated. “Very well my boy, you spoke well,” Chief Rimbrok supported my suggestion. “In fact, we need to establish a prison for traitors like DingDing and enemies that we capture during battle. We could use them to get some critical information that we need or better still, we could exchange them for our very own soldiers who might have been captured by the enemy,” continued Chief Rimbrok. “Well guys, what are we waiting for, let’s get down to work,” the chief suggested. Mzee Ayan retired to his hut, his head bowed down and an indication of his dissatisfaction. He even mumbled a few words as he was vanishing through the door of his hut.

Meanwhile, I organized my troops and told them that we needed to build the prison in such a way that makes escaping impossible. We had to make use of our expansive land. I asked them to dig a huge hole, large enough almost the size of a soccer field. The hole would be accessible through steps that would be left out initially as a steep descend that goes down as the hole progresses only to be converted into steps as the digging is finalized. In the middle of the hole, there was going to be hut, not so well finished therefore resembling a kraal. The roof would be badly grass thatched and the sides would have a few sticks gotten from firewood pile. We would ensure that the height of the structure is only one foot, making the prisoners unable to stand upright and in the process making their stay very uncomfortable. The badly thatched roof would allow in both rain (if any) and the scotching sun The sun would blaze the people in custody not forgetting the level of heat that would be experienced during the day because of the depth of the hole. At night, the chilly wind of the desert would sweep through. These conditions would be made even worse the moment I apply my ‘maze trap’ trick. The prisoners will not be able to find their way out hence, eliminating the need for shackles. This would make their stay very lonely and traumatizing. I then gave my troops a target and told them how long I was expecting the project to take. I did not want to assist them by making the work easy with my special powers – I wanted them to sweat, toil and learn!

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