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were still kọ́bí left unoccupied after 1,382 slaves we brought have been securely put in kọ́bí. This is to tell you how big Aláàfin’s palace was.

Very early in the morning of the next day, message got to me that Ààrẹ-ọ̀nà Kakaǹfò wanted to see me. The messenger met my Ifá priest performing divination for me about my new title. He quickly packed his divination tray and left. I was really afraid. What could be the reason for the call. It must be something serious, otherwise my Balogun would have been the one to call me. Ààrẹ is the head of all war chiefs and is third in command to Aláàfin beside Basọ̀run.

To be called by Ààrẹ is to be called by god himself. That explains why the diviner left in a hurry. I managed to be bold to the messenger. “It is a taboo for a warrior to follow a messenger no matter what the case may be.” I told him he should go and that I’m coming very soon. I set to work immediately to know the cause of the call to the Ààrẹ’s house. The Ààrẹ of this time lives in Jabata near Ọ̀yọ́ then. Sometimes when diviners fail, my dwarfs don’t fail me. They are my ears. I have till noon before warriors surround my compound.

I called on Kúrúki and told him what to do. He went with smiles on his face. I entered the house waiting for his return. He knows how to dig for information from fellow slaves about happenings around. When I waited for about 2 hours and did not see him, I dressed up and headed for the house of Ààrẹ-ọ̀nà-Kakaǹfò in Jabata.


I was still afar off when Ààrẹ’s drummers announced my presence. They sang the panegyrics of my family lineage. I was almost beginning to feel relaxed when I saw the headless body of Kúrúki being thrown out of Ààrẹ-ọ̀nà-Kakaǹfò’ s house! The drummers were smiling at me, yet the body of Kúrúki was writhing on the ground as life oozed out of him. I knew this was deliberately done at the nick of time I made my entry to the compound of Ààrẹ, just to tell me that my informant is no match to penetrate Ààrẹ’s fort.

I knew then that I was in for a new big trouble!

The story continues….

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Segun Akinlabi

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