Ikwezi I: Beginnings

Something I wrote a few years ago as a backstory to a character. It is set in a version of Tolkiens World, specifically the land of Far-Harad.

This is the first of four parts.

Born under an auspicious falling star, his parents abandoned him beneath a lone acacia tree bearing red leaves deep in the eastern savannah. His death all but assured, a pair of hunting dogs found and nurtured him. He later came to know them as Umama and Ubaba. From them he learned the ways of the savannah, how to hunt and track, to find waterholes, the plants that nourished and those that harmed, they taught him the language of the earth and of the people. With time he grew into a strong and cunning child. As he began to mature the sight awakened within him. Umama showed him the secret routes into the earth, tunnels and burrows to the places where the ancestors rested. Ubaba showed him the skies, the positions of the stars and how they affected his gift. It was not until early manhood that he left his foster parents and had his first contact with the Moredain tribes, but as a seer and spirit doctor, he was quickly accepted despite his strange nature.
His skill and potential were evident but there was only so much he could learn without visiting the Elder Seers at the House of the rising sun.

Indlu-yelanga-elikhulayo, the House of the Rising Sun, so named as it’s top was the first thing in the savannah to greet the morning sun’s rays. When the first peoples had settled the savannah it was built as a seat of power for the greatest of the chieftains at the time, Shoka. He had managed to unite a number of tribes in their lands further north and led them to the savannah. Soon after many other tribes began to move south and claim lands there, but these did not pledge allegiance to Shoka and many remained isolated, contacting only their closest neighbours. Toward the end of his life, Shoka became obsessed with holding onto power
The other tribes were rife with conflict but those under his rule had been relatively stable and peaceful, however as age crept upon him all he saw in the faces of the other chieftains were enemies seeking to depose him. Upon his deathbed, he named his older son successor and also placed a curse upon his throne swearing to the great lion that any not of his blood that sat upon it would die.

But Shoka had two sons, and his younger son was not willing to give the throne to his brother so easily despite his father’s wishes. As the elder brother sat upon the throne and was about to be named high chieftain, the younger along with two dozen men loyal to him stormed the throne room. A bloody conflict ensued resulting in the younger brother plunging a dagger into the elder’s heart still upon the throne. The bloodstains could never be removed and are still there to this day.

His rule was short, the other chieftains did not wish to server a usurper and many broke off ties completely with others rebelling. After a year of non-stop conflict, the younger brother died in battle.

His successor’s name has been forgotten, for not even a day did he rule. As he celebrated his Ascension with a great feast he began choking on a yam and died. The rest of the chieftains present were in agreement, the curse of Shoka had claimed him and would kill any other who sat upon the throne. And so the Palace of Shoka was abandoned. Not selecting a new high chieftain the tribes went back to their petty rivalries and self-rule, drifting apart over time as they spread further across the savannah claiming new lands.

It was hundreds of years later that the local tribal shamans came to an agreement to repair and preserve the ancient monument, considering it as a powerful foci for communicating with spirits due to its bloody past. With each new generation, children gifted with the sight were sent to the House to train under the elder shamans.
And so Ikwezi trained and learned for many years at the House until he was of middle age learning all there was to know until the elders had no more to teach him. By the time he was forty-five, he was elected to lead the order.

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