“It is decided then”, said the Lion Headed one. He stood up in his regalia from his throne of skulls as the pleas of the condemned rent the air, while the other deities stood up in deference, their eyes in their various manifestations, merciless and unyielding. He vanished in a terrible vision of fire which seemed to lick him up amid the directionless sound of mighty roars as the great ceiling-less hall of stone trembled slightly while the smaller gods shifted uncomfortably. Such was the splendour of Amat’k, Lion of the Tent, and the elder god of the Savannah.
Emara’k, Pillar of the ages, The Elephant Goddess, obvious from the elephant head which sat on her elegant slender female frame turned towards the Human Chief bound with Desert Sidewinders- poisonous snakes which served the dual purpose of bind and torturer- and spoke thus in a voice which seemed to originate from the well of his mind rather than from without;
“Mortal man must never disremember his fated hierarchy in the cosmos. The scales of justice have balanced us thus”
At the last assertion, she faded from view as noiselessly as the others, whose absence he now noticed.
Chakut trembled in terror. He had no idea how he had been transported to this strange place. Worse still, the decision by the gods filled him with fear. His usually agile mind could not now even comprehend the enormity of the decree. It was impossible not to think of the events that preceded this most unlikely situation.
By the light of the evening fire of the day gone by and beneath the silky ambience of a half-moon, in the centre of the great prairie village which his people had occupied since antiquity, Chakut, Chief of the Futu tribe sang old songs to his two adolescent sons while he cradled seven year old Amasa, his only daughter. His compound was easily the biggest in the large village, housing six Huts- two for himself, two for his wives and their children and another two for his servants – and a hut-like like structure which doubled as kitchen and Fireplace during the cold winter nights. He sat in front of the fire, His eyes gleaming with pride as he related Legends to his two sons who listened, their brow furrowed in concentration and their mouths partly open in forgetful excitement.
“…like Ruk’t my father’s father who challenged the leader of the hyenas to a duel even while his arms which were as thick tree trunks and as long as the horn of the elephant was tightly wrapped round the neck of the great Lion that raided our pens and fed upon our goats”. He touched the Lion claw tied around his neck and smiled as he saw, “It was said that even the gods feared him. There is a tale told of how he defied-”
Suddenly, a horn blared from the distance. His sons looked towards the entrance to the compound expectantly, but he did not follow their gaze. He knew that sound, he had last heard it on the Night His father, Ramog, Former Chief of the Futu passed away.
A hush fell over the village, the young men and women were stricken with involuntary fear, while the Old ones frowned and ordered the uncomprehending young into the huts.
Emara’k, the elephantine goddess, pillar of the Ages, had trumpeted.
The gods were converging.
He lifted Amasa off his knees and ordered the three children into their mothers’ huts. The boys were not happy about this unexpected truncation of their night even as they obeyed diligently. He sat still for a while, his head bowed in reflection, and then he lifted his bulk and headed for his hut, a nagging feeling tugging at his anima.
Chakut was the political and, unlike his father, the spiritual leader of the tribe and as such had had to seek higher wisdom from the supreme deities in cases of exceptionally complicated affairs. Now though, he desired to perform the equivalent of eavesdropping on the gods to get an idea of the nature of their convergence, but no god could heed his call now. Not Amat’k, The Lion-headed god who reigned over such meetings or Emara’k, Pillar of the Ages, or even the more accessible Pat’k, The Drummer Of the desert, who was sometimes Mediator, as the Elder gods saw fit.
He unravelled the Claws of Divination and threw them upon the Lion hide spread on the polished floor of his large hut and sought a surreptitious entrance into the secret places. His efforts were truncated with failure until he managed to rein his curiosity amid a slight frustration and finally stopped trying.
Then he caught himself dozing. He started, shocked. This had never happened before and even now, he felt some outlandish relation between the meeting among the gods and this strange sleep coming over him. He raised himself with a little difficulty, in the same vein noting that a hushed silence had come over the compound-sleep?-and moved to the swinging bamboo bed towards the far corner of the hut. He was asleep in moments.
He was not alone in his slumber, for the ambiance of slumber had overtaken every soul in the village. The gods were ready.
In the existential oblivion of slumber, he gained a bodiless awareness. He felt as though he were being pulled down into the ground, but there was no ground here, only an ethereal nothingness. He wanted to reach out and hold something, but there was nothing in this place. The sinking feeling intensified until he felt like he was falling from a height and gaining momentum…then suddenly, all was still. His journey had stopped. He felt real, and suddenly tired. His instincts kicked in.
He opened his eyes and took it all in.
He was kneeling on rough dark-brown stone, naked except for a tattered cloth around his middle, his hands bound behind him with what seemed like cold, thick velvet – which moved! Snakes! He was in what appeared to be the centre of an incredibly large hall. It had no ceiling as far as he could see, or perhaps the ceiling was too far into the limitless distance to be appreciated by his eyes. The hall was full of roughly hewn towering stone pillars which reached up into the infinite distance, eerily cold and illuminated by no apparent light source. All around him-to about a hundred and fifty paces, as far as he could guess- were nine huge stone chairs which had the deportment of thrones, for they were all majestic in a peculiar, out-of-sight manner. The throne directly in front of him was different from the others. It was embedded with human skulls, all about halfway into the stone, set in a way no man could have done. It was a terrible sight, for on the thrones sat gods.
It was not an understanding that he arrived at, it was a knowledge that seemed to have always existed within him and now He was surprised he hadn’t seen them before. Had they just appeared within the last few mome-a noise cut him off from his reverie. It sounded like a gentle humming which seemed to come from the throne directly and far in front of him. He soon recognised it for what it really was- a low growl from the being who occupied the throne.
The Lion headed one had an incredible larger-than-life aspect. His marvellous head was leonine, and from his indistinguishable neck, which was obscured by magnificent gold coloured mane, down to his feet was the likeness of a man built like a Bull. He was the height of two men,and had on a garb of such magnificence that the human chief had nothing to compare it to. Chakut felt adoration for this being, the principal deity and Totem of his tribe.