Okay guys, so I called my mother to ask for the meaning of the saying that inspired this title. She wasn’t so sure (surprise! Lol) and she had to pass the phone over to my Father (who was born, bred, raised in Oyo town by the way) who then explained it to me.
Truth is, as much as I kinda get it, I am not sure I know how to fully explain. However, I intend to really try.
Let’s start with explaining the literal meaning of the proverb; According to my Dad, it means, when a man pees (yeah, like urinates/eases himself) and a woman pees while walking, we’d know who has more water behind their feet.
Now, because a woman’s organ for urinating would most likely cause more water behind her feet/heels, this is meant to believe a woman is leading in this “task”/peeing competition.
Still following? Lmao. Shit hard af.
Anyway, like you have already deduced, this is some sorta battle of the sexes where the woman expects to win.
Are you already seeing why I chose it for this story?
It is usually used by women. And I could have gone for an English title for this but I said, what the heck, imma put my culture on the map. I get readers from many countries in the world and it is about time someone learnt my own shit too.
So Eyin Ese was chosen because our Heroine believes strongly that she can do what a man can do or even better – in this case, rule the massive Oyo Empire/Kingdom.
Enjoy today’s episode of Eyin Ese.
PS: Thanks for the comments on SQUADI. And yeah, I was going to hold this back until the second book was ready; AJ would definitely seek revenge for Lerato in the second part.
You guys already knew, so, yeah, here it is.
Weeks ago, when I dedicated an episode to Dammy (@Aunty_damdam) I asked her to pick whatever direction she wanted the story to go and she wanted me to bring Lerato back somehow. This reason is why I didn’t bring her back. Her death is tied to most of the things that happens in the second book and just like the whole crew helped Hakeem scam his father, the whole crew would help AJ find Lerato’s Killers and do some other very dangerous thing I am not going to reveal. You have to pay for that one. I look forward to sharing SQUADI: The Fall Of Ajerun with you.
Meanwhile, enjoy today’s episode of Eyin Ese.
Adeola opened her eyes slowly and gently adjusted it to the only light that streaked the dark dungeon from the small window.
Recalling the last thing that happened to her before she passed out, she made to stand. The chains fastened to her wrists forcefully pulled her back into a sitting position.
She had been chained to the hard walls, her bare feet suffering the same fate as her hands.
The entrance was shielded by a tall iron door, a huge bolt securing the lock.
Taking a look around her, she realized the dungeon was small and there was barely enough room to move around. Strands of hair and tiny pieces of clothes also littered the floor. Panic coursed through her; she had waltzed into the Kingdom of the enemy unprepared and death was the reward for her stupidity.
She bit back the urge to scream. Seeing her father’s murderer mount his Horse, give her a mock salute and ride off into the darkness had been too much to bear.
Her reaction to that had been to find the closest free Horse, mount it and follow him as quietly as she could all the way to his Kingdom.
She had followed him without alerting Ajagun, her brother or any of her maidens. She had followed him without thinking.
Her mother had always drummed it in her ears how irrational she sometimes behaved. She had told her many times as she grew into a young woman how she sometimes took decisions without thinking. And the danger that could potentially put her in, someday.
“Your emotions rule your actions. That should never be. A woman who lets her emotions rule her actions will always suffer for it” Her mother had told her once.
It all was coming true now. She tried to stand with the chains still fastened to her body parts but like before, they humbled her.
Frustrated, she yelled, “Who has the gods cursed, to whom did the god of fate Esu hand the belief that I, Adeola the Princess of Oyo can be held down like a Prisoner?!”
Her words came back to her in an echo. Time passed.
And if anyone heard her voice, they ignored it.
Oyekunle was consulting with his most trusted men and his mother after throwing the Princess in a dungeon.
Sitting under the pawpaw tree in his mother’s large and well-kept compound, the men discussed the fate of the captured Princess.
Three maidens brought them calabashes containing Kolanuts, palmwine and roasted goat meat, each kneeling for blessings before returning to his mother’s Kitchen where they were cooking for the upcoming feast later, when the sun set over Tede.
Tede was a beautiful town during the day and mostly on the nights when the moon shone the fullest. Smaller than Oyo but bigger than some of its closest neighbors, Tede spread all the way to the Osunsun River.
It had the strongest men any town could boast of after Ife; the strength of its men the yarn from which great War tales were told.
The beauty of its women was also widely known; full breasts that stood like the ripe seeds of a strong tree, tiny waists that held strongly firm buttocks in place and skin that glowed under the morning light were some of the physical qualities they possessed.
Tede was Oyekunle’s mother’s mother’s own land and asides from the beauty and strength of its people, it was also famous for the loyalty of its sons and daughters.
“Oba Lola, if you ask me, I think we should send pieces of their Princess back to them so they know they have to surrender and that we mean business” one of the men closest to him said. His name was Adio, a warrior feared in the neighboring towns and who had held the heads of many men in his hands after he returned from battle.
His compound was adorned with the heads of men that had dared stand against Tede and bones of bodies he had butchered stood proudly on his wall in one of his hidden chambers.
And even though those bones adorned walls in his hidden chambers, he proudly showed them off during festivals.
For instance, his walking stick, an object he had carved for him by Agbegilodo as an accessory, had the bones of a former warrior of a neighboring town embedded in it.
Adio was feared by his own men.
He was known to love blood more than his palmwine.
Nobody crossed Adio.
“Adio, I do not think that is a good idea. We do not have need for the Princess’ head or body parts. We have need for her brother’s head.” Ogungbenro, another man said.
“I agree with Adio. The Princess is not a threat. She will never rule her father’s Kingdom. However her brother, he is the Heir and he is the only real threat we have. What can a woman do? We should send her back but only after her brother and his Army have thrown in the weapons of war” the youngest man in their gathering said.
Oyekunle looked at his mother. It was generally a taboo for a woman to sit with men or offer advice on war.
However, Oyekunle valued his mother’s advice so much, it was well-known that he allowed her to sit with him and his men during war strategy meetings.
“Keep her alive. She is more useful to you alive than she is dead” his mother quipped. “Besides, if you send pieces of their Princess to them, they will come hard for you. And remember, this is a war with as little casualty as possible. Not all those men would give you their loyalty even after the battle has been won”
Oyekunle dug his teeth into a piece of Kolanut, “They did not hold back their loyalty to Adesoji after he killed my grandfather. It should not be hard for them now”
A smile crept up on his mother’s face, “Look around you” she said, her fingers pointing to the men that sat with them under the tree. “These men will never betray you. Your enemy also has men like these ones. Even when the swords and arrows have been thrown in, some still long to serve the King that was”
He shrugged. His mother was right. Standing on his feet, he said, “Do not drink too much, we strike Oyo without mercy tonight.”
His men saluted him as he went in search of the prisoner he had caught that morning.
Her head was lowered when he pushed in through the iron door that guarded the entrance of the dungeon she had been kept. Standing by the entrance, his legs apart like the man of war that he was, he commanded her to look into his face.
Defiant, she ignored his order. “No one commands the Princess of Oyo Kingdom” she spat, refusing to look up at him.
“You are not a Princess here. This is not your Kingdom”
“Tede bows to Oyo. Every single Kingdom in the West bows to Oyo, so do Kingdoms that run all the way to the Middle East, Kingdoms across the great sea and beyond. I am your Princess.” She maintained.
The corners of his lips gave way to a slight smile. This one was going to prove stubborn. He could see it. However, she had to realize that her royal defiance was only potent in Oyo.
And even that already had an expiry date placed on it. After that night, she was going to become his Prisoner or whatever he wanted to her to be after he retook the Kingdom that belonged to him.
“Do as you please. I am willing to humor you until the night falls. Then, we ride to Oyo with thousands of my men, take it and you, like the rest of the people in your family of traitors belong to me” he turned to leave, his hands on the iron door.
She was looking at him when he turned back to face her. High cheekbones, almond shaped eyes with beautiful brown eyes and a skin that shone like the stars on a beautiful night, stared at him with disdain.
Her beauty was reminiscent of the maidens only Tede was famous for producing; she was a pleasing sight to behold.
He let his eyes trail from her captivating face. Lowering his eyes, his eyes took on her neck and her body.
It was only then he also realized she was wearing nothing but a wrapper tied tightly across her chest.
Brows furrowed, he ignored her statement and asked her, “You rode all the way from Oyo to Tede clad in a Wrapper.”
“I had to do what had to be done” she snarled, “I had to catch the Murderer of my father. The one true King of Oyo Kingdom”
Amusement danced around in his eyes before he responded, “You mount Horses and ride several kilometers in Wrappers, chase after men you cannot kill even in your dreams and delude yourself about your father’s identity” hands on his waist he added, “You, woman, are not a Princess. You are a joke”
Disdain gave way to full blown anger, “Do not speak to me in that manner you Bastard!”
The amusement disappeared almost as quickly as it came, marching towards her, he lowered himself so they could be the same height. “The next time you refer to me that way, I would have you duly punished”
She spat in his face, a response he had not expected.
With the back of his hand, he slowly wiped her saliva off his face. She was stubborn and she was determined to push him to anger.
As much as he hated to admit to himself, a woman he’d known for less than a day had easily pushed him to anger.
But he was not one to lay his hands on a woman. So he was just going to ignore the annoying one Esu had possessed to trick him into anger.
Livid, he strode out of the dungeon.
The feast had been put together to send him forth and to ensure a safe journey as he retook the throne of his fathers, his mother had told him.
After the rituals by the Priest in Tede, during which the blood of an Eagle was smeared across his forehead, Oyekunle decked himself ready for the War ahead.
Joining his men, who sat around a fire, chanting words of war while preparing themselves to take the Kingdom that had eluded them for years, Oyekunle immersed himself in the mood he carried to war.
It was known by his Army and his mother and whoever knew him that he was not one to be disturbed or touched when the time of war came.
He barely spoke and he allowed the anger which simmered like the water preparing yam for the mortar and pestle which pounded it, grow steadily.
That anger helped him drive his sword into the hearts of his enemies when he was at war; pushing in the sharpness of the mighty blade and watching their blood spill. It helped him remember the reason there was a war in the first place.
Taking his place amongst his men, he held with his eyes, the furious flames in front of him and remembered every second that had led to that moment.
He was born for that night. He was born for that moment. He was born for the crown. He was born to own the throne.
And he was going to rule.
Blazing stronger than the raging fire which sat in front of them was his voice as he asked, “For whom do we fight?”
“For Oyewale, the son of the crown and his father Oyebowale the Crown!”
His voice bellowed as he again asked, “For whom do we seek justice?”
His army thundered; their voices coursing through the walls of the houses that stood spaces away, the ground on which their feet rested.
“For Oyewale the son of the crown and his father Oyebowale the Crown!”
Raising his Sword to the skies he asked, “And for whom do we take the throne of the great Oyo tonight?”
“For Oyewale the son of the crown and his father Oyebowale the crown!”
Sounds of the drums of war rang through after their voices had been silent. The drums were to lead while they followed and rode their Horses through the villages and towns that led to the seat of power.
“Bring to me the Prisoner” Oyekunle commanded. Two of his men marched towards the dungeon that kept the Princess of the Kingdom he was about to take and returned moments later with the defiant Royal blood.
Her face was still as rebellious as when he last saw it, her body unwilling to succumb to the power that he wielded.
His men held her firmly on both hands, fingers digging into her tender skin while they held tightly on to her.
“You do not look the Prince in the face” Adio cautioned angrily.
The Princess looked at him, “I am the Princess of Oyo, I will look whomever I want in the face” she seethed. Hours in the dungeon had done nothing to soften her resolve; she was as unwilling to recognize the royal blood in him and his claim to the throne as she had been when he had paid her a visit earlier.
Adio strode towards her and sent her reeling with a slap on the face.
If she had not been held tightly, Oyekunle knew she would have fallen to the ground.
“Adio” Oyekunle raised his hand. “No” he said. He could not bear to see a woman being slapped or whipped. They were the weaker sex but they were not to be treated like slaves.
“She disobeyed the Crown, my Prince. She needs to be punished” Adio lowered his head in a slight bow.
“I will take care of that. Never strike a woman. And remember, she is royalty”
Adio took his previous position in the midst of the other men. Oyekunle stood face to face his Prisoner; the defiant Princess who now stood looking at him, chin to chin.
He was not sure why he found her amusing but his mind told him it was because she dared to speak to him with the audacity no woman, not even his mother possessed.
Whether it was because she was royalty or because she was of a different uncommon breed as it were, he was yet to find out.
“Princess Adeola the daughter of Adesoji the Traitor of Oyo Kingdom, you will respect me or be duly punished” placing a hand on her shoulder he added, “I do not want to have to repeat these words again. Do you hear me?”
He waited for her response – the silence of his men a confirmation that he was not the only one waiting for her to acknowledge his authority – but the words he wanted to hear never came.
“We march to Oyo to take over the Kingdom” he said, his gaze holding hers. “We kill every Heir to the throne if there is a resistance and we take the rightful throne of my fathers!”
His men chanted and sang praises of his fathers in response.
To the two men who held the Princess he gave a low command, “She rides by my side” Striding to where his mighty Horse stood, ahead of the other Horses and between the Horses that belonged to his closest Commanders, he mounted it.
Adeola did not know when sleep came for her during the ride back to Oyo. But when she woke, they were close to the Forest of the Untold.
They were close to her home, her brother’s life was in imminent danger and her father’s throne was about to be taken over by a bastard who held on tightly to the belief that the throne was his by birth.
Yet, she could do nothing about it.
Muttering a prayer to the god of war, Ogun, she promised to offer sacrifices to him if he protected her family from the war.
The Akangun was skilled in war, hands having fought and brought down many enemies, they were trained for and could take Oyekunle’s many soldiers without trouble.
However, they were going to be taken unawares and even the strongest soldier stood at the risk of losing his life when unprepared.
Desperate to save her father’s Kingdom and the throne that she so wanted someday, she prepared to do something about her current predicament.
“I will like to ease myself” she said to the Soldier on foot who held the Lead of the horse she currently rode on.
Turning deaf ears to her request, they rode a few more metres before she asked, “Can you stop this Horse you ordinary Soldier of no real master?”
The coldness in his eyes was colder than steel. “Careful, Princess. Some of us don’t care about your claim to the throne”
Anger raged in her, “My claim to the throne? I am your Princess! The Princess!! And I will be treated and accorded with due respect!”
“What is going on there?” Oyekunle’s voice stopped her from lurching forward and doing something silly.
“Can I ease myself?” she asked
“Let the Princess ease herself” Oyekunle said to the Soldier. “We wait meanwhile”
“Thank you, Prince” she said before hopping off the Horse with little help from the Soldier by her side.
She was familiar with the forest of the untold and she knew how to make her way out of the forest without being seen by Oyekunle’s army.
Making for a hidden spot, she heard one of the men order her to remain conspicuous.
“Do Tede men have no shame? Do they long for what is hidden under the Wrapper of ordinary women?”
“Leave her be” Oyekunle said.
Certain she had been hidden by the Bushes under which she had hidden many times in the past while trying to shield herself from an unsuspecting animal, Adeola slowly at first, distanced herself further from the Army waiting for her.
When it seemed she had not been heard, the Princess of Oyo dug into her heels and raced for the Kingdom of her fathers, desperate to alert them of their enemies’ impending arrival.
When Oyekunle’s men returned after a short while and informed him of the disappearance of the Princess, he cursed himself for letting her fool him.
However, renewed anger erupted in him like a Volcano.
Now, that they knew he was coming, he was going to show no mercy when he brought down the current ruling house.
And he was going to start with that Princess.