It was the custom of the Imekana people to prepare a celebration for the warriors returning from their quest and so, when the brothers came out of the nameless jungle, they returned to a village that was brightly decorated with papier mache figures of sacred animals and brightly dyed banners of cotton and wreathes of flowers and feathers were hung around their necks and there was great singing and dancing around an annointed fire and 3 wild pigs were caught and slaughtered and roasted upon a spit and when all the festivities were over, they sat around the fire and told the people of their village the stories of their travels but they were forbidden to say, openly, the meaning of “Chirimoya” in case any young boys overheard them. “Every Imekana man must discover the meaning of Chirimoya for themselves”, said Hamaga, the Imekana chief and so, one by one, the brothers whispered the meaning of “Chirimoya” into Hamagas left ear and each time he nodded and beamed broadly and said “Yes that is right. That is the great Chirimoya”.
All the brothers and Amekwa especially, were so happy to be at home and see their mother Samia again but Samia reminded them all that their duties to the tribe were only beginning, “Years ago, on the day that you were all born”, said Samia to her sons, “I made a promise to Hamaga that when you came of age you would be an
army and take the tribe of the Tetrapi, which is the tribe of my birth, by force and kill
the wicked chief Agumen who runs that tribe. The chief, who was once my husband, is old now but he has five sons from his second wife Arawha and the eldest of them is called Trulanwa who is destined to replace his father as chief. It is Agumen and his sons that you must kill but it is more than just a vow which you will fulfill when you conquer the Tetrapi, it is your destiny, for I was blessed by god with one hundred sons so that they may conquer and unite all the four tribes into a great and holy nation”.
But Janakwa was not happy with this, “Why should we attack the Tetrapi?”, he said, “They have done no harm to us”.
Then Samia took off all her robes and the brothers saw that her body was covered in scars, “Look at what the evil Agumen did to me, in all our years of marriage. There is a scar for every year”, and she showed them where her evil husband had thrust a red hot spearhead into her and where he had whipped her and other scars with even more terrible causes, “and then there are the tortures that have not left any scars on my flesh but only within my mind. Agumen is evil and he rules over his tribe as brutally and cruelly as he did over his wife and so to conquer the Tetrapi would be an act of mercy”.
Janakwa wept to think of the cruelty endured by his beloved mother but still he argued, “The scars upon your body are a reason to execute Agumen but not his sons or to conquer his tribe. For you, my mother, I would gladly kill the man who was guilty of these crimes against you but not his children or his people. They are innocent”.
Hearing this, Amekwa, who was the most devoted of all the sons to his mother, struck Janakwa with his fists and threw him to the ground, “How can you say such a thing! How can those words come from your mouth,my brother”, said Amekwa, tearful and angry, and all the other sons of Samia felt the same as Amekwa and, despite Janakwas protestations, they all chanted, “The skin of Agumen is ours. The Tetrapi land is ours”.
But one among those who chanted was an ear of Agumen, the 36th son of Samia, whose name was Shilakwa which means “The Eel”.
Long ago, when Shilakwa was only a young boy, he had felt jealous of all the talents of his many brothers, “I have no talents”,he thought, “No one notices Shilakwa or cares about him. Why should he stay in this village?” and so Shilakwa had decided to run away and find a new destiny in a new home but,while he was traveling west, he strayed too close to the Tetrapi village and, asked who he was, he’d said, “I am the son of Samia”.
Upon hearing this the Tetrapi villagers had grabbed hold of the young Shilakwa and dragged him to the hut of their chief and Agumen had questioned the boy about all the rumors he had heard about how Samia had miraculously given birth to a hundred sons.
“It is all true”, Shilakwa had boasted, proudly.
“And are they all as talented as they say?”, asked Agumen, “One,I have heard, is very
swift and another is amazingly strong”.
“Most of them are blessed with rare talents”, said Shilakwa, “A gift from the great mother to the Imekana people, but some, like me, are just unremarkable and no one likes unremarkable people”.
“On the contrary”, Agumen had said, “I like unremarkable people because they make the best spies. Remarkable people stand out and draw attention to themselves, but a spy needs to go unnoticed; appear harmless; lose himself in the crowd. Unremarkable people make the most remarkable spies”.
“But I don’t want to be a spy”, said Shilakwa, “I want to be a warrior”.
“Spies are among the greatest warriors”, said Agumen, “No war has ever been won without spies. It is they who uncover all the weaknesses of the enemy. An army is blind without its spies”.
Shilakwa was beginning to get interested, “How do I become a spy?”.
“Be my eyes and ears within the Imekana clan.", replied Agumen, "Tell me everything that Hamaga and Samia are doing but tell no one that you are spying for me and be careful that you are not spotted coming to this village or else it might arouse suspicion among your clansmen. Do you understand?”.
Shilakwa had nodded, eagerly.
“Good”, said Agumen, “You are already showing great promise as a most talented spy”.
Shilakwa had been an enemy eye within the Imekana clan for fourteen years and in all that time had become practiced in the skill of lying and sneaking, so much so, that Agumen had rechristened him, not Shilakwa but Slithawa which means “The snake” and Slithawa had never been suspected of being anything by his tribes people except for a very unremarkable boy yet it was through him that Agumen knew of Samias promise to Hamaga and his half-brother’s plans to invade the Tetrapi tribe and so, armed with this knowledge, Agumen prepared for war.