Eniten sat atop mount Akpofure, the highest point in the land. The seas horizon met his eye, as its waters danced with the beach’s sands. An ocean of green trees lay at the base of the mount.
That day the winds caressed his skin and the sunlight warmed his bones. Red dirt snuggled between his toes, and cushioned his soles. He sat upon a stone with his back to the valley.
Hours past and his focus never shifted. His eyes breathed in the nourishment of all that surrounded him. However, his mind traveled farther.
Eniten was not like any other person of the land. He often found himself in isolation, pondering the reality of life while others lived it. It was always a curious thing to him that he could not enjoy and revel in the things everyone else did.
He found his purpose in the quandaries that few others chose to seek. This path had taken him many places. His soles touched the ground from the Kingdom of Zimbabwe to the Mali Empire.
He conversed with Kings, questioned chiefs, and lived among the people. However, no one could give him the answers his soul yearned for. Although through his travels, he did hear many stories and witnessed many more.
The time came when the questions of life overwhelmed his mind. So, he found himself in a still place for once in his life.
He sat upon many mountaintops and beside towering waterfalls. He watched the creatures of the land move about the savannah.
One night, he sat by his campfire and stared at the multitude of stars sprinkle the sky. A silence fell over him, and a single voice spoke.
The words were curious, yet a sense of deep seated truth sprang up in his heart.
‘Speak.’ The voice echoed its second command.
Again, a sense of purpose bloomed in his heart. However, never having written before, he did not know where to begin.
Eniten let the words sit in his mind for many sunrises and sunsets. Until one day, his spirit called on him to hike to western cost of the land. There he climbed mount Akpofure. That is where he closed his eyes and saw it.
Eniten shut his eyes and peered into the light of his thoughts. Darkness surrounded him, but the landscape was clear. He had visited this place many times.
A subtle kaleidoscope of colors glistened in the distance. So subtle was their twinkling that one not used to this place would only see shadows.
The words that rang in his mind by the campire stood at the forefront of his thought. He peered deeper into his thought and tried to make something of the elements swarming his senses. That is when it happened.
The world around him faded and it took him seconds to realize where he stood. He was staring at the edge of time. A space yet to be realized by many.
He looked down as he dangled above the endless realm of space and time. A rush of fear shivered up his spine. For he feared that he could plummet into the abyss at any moment.
Minutes passed and he realized that he had yet to fall into the void. Something outside of himself had been keeping him afloat. An overwhelming sting of gratitude clutched his heart, and a tear spilled from his eye.
However, as that gratitude poured out he noticed a rustling in the distance. A warp spun against the canvas of the kaleidoscope. Again, he floated deeper into the depths of space.
As he neared the anomaly, the whales of crying women and children blew like the wind across his face. Greedy snickers and jeers clamored for the whispers of rage and sadness, which followed.
Then came the rattling of chains clanging against wood. The ocean roared against his mind, drowned out by the buzz from a marketplace.
Crack! The shriek of whips snapped and the metal tinge of blood stung his nose.
Click. Clack. Bang!
A chorus of metal grinded and smashed against each other. A blur swarmed in Eniten’s vision.
When his vision cleared, a few shrouded figures hovered in front of him. Their ashen faces glared at him from the shrouds of space. Their mouths moved, but not a single sound emerged.
As they spoke, the color on their faces changed. First ashen white, then dark brown, then pitch black, and they continued to shift through all the colors of the spectrum.
Although they had faces, not a single sense of life emitted from their being. Rather, the pungent stench of death rippled around them.
Eniten sensed no good from these figures and tried with all his might to halt his drift. However, the current had a hold of him. As he drifted closer, the figures ashen hands clawed towards him.
His heart thudded against his chest and he tried desperately to flee, certain of his doom. However, when the hands became inches from him, he lifted his hands and a wall of blue flames ripped through the canvass of space.
The shrouds holding the figures caught fire and they whaled in agony. Each of them spread out and fled the flames.
The wall of fire crackled and swirled in front of Eniten. He glared at it in awe and once again a sense of graciousness poured into his heart.
A script carved itself into the wall. A script that he had never seen before. And even though he had never seen it before, the words rang in his mind as clear as ever.
Eniten opened his eyes to rain, which pelted the land. The event still emblazoned in his thoughts. He took to the dirt and ran his fingers through it.
The rain pounded divots into the script, erasing every word as he wrote it. This did not frustrate him, for the images lay on his mind as if it were still occurring.
Eniten climbed down to the valley. As soon as his feet touched the grass, the rain ceased and the sun peaked out from the rumbling clouds. He glanced up to receive the grace of the rays.
The sounds of footsteps tickled the air in a constant rhythm. Eniten lowered his gaze to see who approached.
Chikere sprinted, riding the earth with swiftness. Her face plain and her gaze focused. She peddled to a stop, and stood face to face with Eniten.
‘I see you have not stopped running through time Chikere.’
Chikere nodded and smiled as only a royal messenger could after stomping the ground for miles. Cow hide strapped to her feet and she wore a woven camel hide dress, short enough to allow her sprint through the land.
‘And you are off in your visions as usual.’
‘I assure you Chikere, the visions are not mine.’
Chikere nodded again.
‘And the winds that carry me are not mine.’
The two laughed and greeted each other with a hug.
‘I find it fortunate that we would cross paths in this moment of time my friend.’
‘Why is that?’
‘As you say, I have indeed had visions. This one like no other that I have seen before. A true message.’
‘I know something of messages. You have a favor to ask.’ Chikere smirked.
‘Truly. However, I fear this favor is a burden and carries with it much weight.’
Chikere held out her hand and waved her fingers, requesting the message without hesitation.
‘I’m afraid that message will take some time to explain.’
‘Then from one traveler to another, my favor to ask of you is your company in my travels to Mali.’
Eniten smirked and nodded his head.
So the journey began through the valley towards the Malian Empire.