For this week’s Wenflafillenge (still trademarked), it’s all about dinosaurs. So… what more do you need to know? Dinosaurs! Enjoy!
The Kawazi Return
“Chief M’wakane?” Tawake, first among the Zuwi warriors, bowed down before the lion and tiger skin-covered throne. “There is a member of the Kawazi tribe at the main gate. He requests to see you.”
The Chief’s brow furrowed. That was not a name he had expected ever to hear again. It had only been a year since his Zuwi tribe had defeated the neighbouring Kawazi tribe, added the Kawazi lands to their own, and driven the survivors out of the valley, across the western mountains into the Dark Valley from which no scouts ever returned.
Since then, the Zuwi had grown to become the strongest tribe in this valley, and it was just a question of time, Chief M’wakane expected, before they could subjugate the rest of their neighbours and become the masters of this valley. Then they would set their sights on the fertile valleys to the east, and M’wakane would not just be a simple Chief, but a Haza-k-t-Hazi, a Chief-of-many-Chiefs.
“What does he want?” the Chief asked.
“He would not say. Shall I let him inside?”
“No. I will come to the gate.” Being allowed inside the palisade was not an honour one extended to defeated enemies.
The Chief rose from the throne and stepped outside in the warm sun. Presumably, a few Kawazi survivors and stragglers had returned to this side of the mountains, and were now forced to turn to their conquerors for protection. What an irony that was. If they were sufficiently obsequious, the Chief decided, he might even show mercy to them – install them on a small, infertile patch of land as a client tribe.
The envoy was waiting patiently in front of the gates, clad in the ceremonial skins and carrying a leaf of the hngara palm. At least, M’wakane thought, their destitution had not caused the Kawazi to forget about the proprieties of doing politics.
“Welcome back, Kawazi!” the Chief called out. “Have you come to beg for your survival? For some scraps of food from your old lands, maybe?” The warriors surrounding him laughed with contempt, and the Chief looked around, feeling pleased with himself. The envoy, however, looked neither obsequious nor very humiliated.
“I have not, Chief M’wakane!” the envoy replied. “I have come to offer you and the Zuwi the gift of life! We will not repeat this offer. Return our lands to us and leave us in peace, or you will be ruined as you tried to ruin the Kawazi!”
M’wakane felt the rage boil up in his chest. “You vermin!” he shouted. “You dare to come here before our gate and make demands of the Zuwi, of your betters?! Begone, before I forget you are carrying that palm leaf!”
“So be it,” the envoy said, turned his back on the gate and Chief M’wakane, and walked back to the forest.
Still fuming, M’wakane went back inside the gates as Tawake fell in beside him. “Is it wise to just send them away, my Chief?” he said. “What if…”
He paused and listened. A slight tremor had run through the ground.
M’wakane shrugged. “If you are so concerned, Tawake, take a patrol out and…”
The ground had shook again, stronger this time.
“What is going on?” M’wakane said annoyedly, as loud noises began to come from the forest edge and the guards were shouting warnings.
He and Tawake quickly ran back to the gates and climbed up one of the platforms just in time to see a gigantic dinosaur, the height of five or six grown warriors, stepped out into the clearing. Dozens of smaller dinosaurs followed it, a Kawazi warrior riding astride each one.
Realising the imminent danger, M’wakane quickly jumped to the ground and tried rallying his awestruck warriors. “Don’t just stand there! Sound the alarm! Get your weapons! Organise the defences!”
It was too late. To the sound of battle cries and loud roars from their mounts, the Kawazi force charged forward, reaching the palisade wall in seconds. The large dinosaur tore the gate apart in a single blow as if it was kindling. The horde of smaller ones swarmed around its legs through the gate and began slaughtering the unprepared defenders.
One of the riders broke off and rode slowly towards Chief M’wakane. He did not recognise the rider, but his headdress marked him as the Kawazi Chief. M’wakane quickly considered his options – there were none. Unarmed, he had no chance in a fight, but a Chief did not run. As the beast stopped in front of him and looked down, hunger and rage glowing in its eyes, he still could not help but admire it. Indeed, the Kawazi had tamed destruction made flesh.
“Please,” M’wakane said quietly. “Have mercy.”
“If you wanted mercy, Zuwi, you should have accepted it when it was offered,” the Kawazi Chief said curtly and loosened the reins of his mount. With lightning speed, it shot forward and bit off M’wakane’s head in a single bite.
The Kawazi Chief nudged his dinosaur forward, stepping over M’wkane’s body and slowly climbing the ceremonial hill in the middle of the village. Ignoring the violence and destruction around him, he contemplated the mountains beyond which lay the eastern valleys and the ocean. The Zuwi had taught a harsh lesson to the Kawazi, but one that had been well learned. The key to safety lay in subjugation of all those who could threaten them.
He patted the side of his restless mount while the screams of the dying Zuwi and the smoke from the burning huts rose towards the skies. The strength of their new allies would let the Kawazi finish what the Zuwi had started. Soon, they would ride out as a burning, all-consuming storm, they would conquer the valleys, and take for themselves the title of Haza-k-t-Hazi. Then, and only then, would the Kawazi be safe.
Liked the story? Hated it? Or somewhere in between? Comments are the sweet, sweet manna that nourishes all writers, so tell me about it! And critique and suggestions for improvement are just as welcome as positive comments; I’ll never get better without them.
Read Full Post »