Chapter 10

Written by: Sumanda Maritz

With a graciousness that was contradicted by his appearance, Yemon gave the women that followed Dilara the choice to join his village or to seek out other villages to join. Sashid was the first to shuffle away. Her movement triggered a rush from the others until only a few of the older women were left standing. Even afraid, Talesa stood proudly as she questioned Yemon. “What of Dilara?”

Yemon kept his eyes on Dilara, “She will be my wife, but only once we have true love.”

“Then we will stay to protect her honour,” Talesa declared even as Dilara started sputtering indignantly that she would never love a man that smelled so vile.

***

“I said take a bath!” Dilara’s raised voice was heard by anyone close to the hut. The trek down to Otakun had been difficult. Yemon had to carry her every now and then when she refused to budge. The women that followed soon started finding the clash of wills between these two hilarious.

Once Dilara realised that her fate was firmly settled in Otakun, she did her best to make Yemon’s life hell. She demanded and he refused to accommodate her. The women of Otunga helped with what they could. They tanned his bear pelt properly and stuffed his bedding with sweet smelling herbs.

***

It took three seasons before Dilara’s tantrums lost their fervour and became routine. Yemon bathed more regularly revealing, despite his bulk, a ruggedly handsome man. The Otunga women shared hidden smiles at these changes.

Two more seasons later Dilara started taking an active role in Yemon’s life. She braided his hair, prepared his meals and stood next to him at village gatherings. But she still refused to believe in true love. Yemon secretly delighted in her stubbornness. A woman like her would be a worthy wife for a chief.

***

Dilara realised how much she depended on Yemon when he took the hunter’s to the far fields to hunt game for the winter. Her impatience grew as the coloured leaves started to fall. For a full moon, she waited for his return. Mirembe appeared in her dream as the moon started to wax. “Dilara, if you ever want to end this curse, go now and save Yemon,” and with that, she was gone.

Dilara woke immediately and packed what she needed. Talesa stood outside, packed and ready to go with her. Three days later they found the hunting party on their way back. Yemon had been attacked by a bear and had three festering wounds over the left side of his face. Dilara took command, ordered a camp to be set up. The two women immediately brewed the healing herbs and cleaned the infected wounds. For two days they fought the infection. The night was dark when Dilara whispered to the fevered Yemon, “Return to me, my love.” Tears fell down her face as she kissed him. Mirembe appeared and seemed to gather a red mist from Yemon before she vanished forever.

Comments

Wow Sumanda, once again you have demonstrative your fantastic storytelling skills. You've tied the story up and shown the reader the way forward for breaking the spell.