- Jomo: Enemy Circles (Novel) – Season Two, Episode 15
- Jomo: Enemy Circles (Novel) – Season Two, Episode 16
- Jomo: Enemy Circles (Novel) – Season Two, Episode 17
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 18
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 19
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 20
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 21
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 22
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 23
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 24
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 25
- Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 26 – Finale
Jomo, a young nomadic man was betrothed to a fellow clan’s girl, Bonajo, and they were to be married during the merriment of reuniting at the designated reunion camp in mountains of central Africa. Unfortunately, a huge war campaign was to prevent that simple thing from happening until after more than three years.
When she opened her eyes, the first thing she saw was the smiley face of Jango greeting her.
“My lady you are back.”
She was disoriented and was expecting to find herself in her palace room. She asked what happened, still hearing the maddening roars of explosion echoing in her ears.
Jomo came into her field of vision. The events of the last five hours rushed back at her at the same instant. She found Jomo!
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He had tender bruises on his face. She wasn’t sure if the white cloth he tied around his head was also an injury or a battle bandanna. She had never seen him in full daylight. This was an entirely different person from the prison cell Jomo she could remember. He was taller and broader now. His body is more muscled underneath the dark skin. His face was covered with beard. The last time she saw him he was an automatic killing machine, a man who seemed not to have ever known the joy of laughter.
“Your plan worked, it actually helped them escape.” Jango too had some bruises which he cared not about. A few days ago he would fret about ugly spots resulting from the bruises. Now he seemed to carry them proudly like a victor of war. “We are far away from Marrakech now. After the second explosion you lost consciousness, but the gate was destroyed that was how they came out.”
Bonajo was too happy with everything she had to smile at her friend.
“Audu was hurt from the explosion because he was close to the gate, luckily your man is a strong stallion; he carried him. And of course, I carried you. You have been unconscious for half a day now.”
Something dropped in her memory box. “Where is that crazy girl?”
“You are such a brave woman,” Galah came from behind Jomo without the slightest of scratches. “You are lucky to have a wife like her, Jomo. When you told me about her during your training in Agadez I didn’t think she was this wonderful.”
Bonajo smiled at her husband-to-be.
She is a beautiful woman. Jomo thought. He was so lucky indeed to have such a woman as a wife. He sadly remembered the words of his childhood friend, Mandano, when he tried to describe Bonajo, as he teased him. Though this was not the Bonajo he knew, he was right she was quite a sight. How he wished Mandano was with him.
Both Galah and Jango extracted themselves from the tent and allowed the two some privacy.
“Where are we now?” Bonajo asked, trying to sit herself up. Jomo helped her sit down.
“Somewhere in the desert of Jaza’ir, I guess.” They decided not to follow the famous Trans Saharan route, as it is now freely used by the Maghreb.
Bonajo was relieved to hear that there was no imminent danger. She started registering her immediate environment. She was inside a tent wide enough to enable three people to sit, but no more. The roof was low hanging, and she could see it straining against varying pressure from the wind outside. Inside the tent, at one corner was a cloth she used back at the palace to wrap some items that would be absolutely necessary for the journey.
Jomo stood, overwhelmed with the joy of living to see somebody belonging to his past life. He felt his heart tightened. He wished he could see Mandano again. He wanted him to be there on the plateaux when they return and get married. He wanted nothing more than his teasing at the wedding. With those bitter thoughts Jomo left the tent without saying a word.
Bonajo saw the bitterness in Jomo’s eyes, and knew that it would take time before the warrior get used to a normal life. He was a wounded lion, and needed time to lick his wounds. She felt she needed to leave the tent too.
At the site of the vast nothingness of the Sahara, tears broke out from her eyes. There was a twin tent nearby. She supposed Audu was inside, nursing his wounds too. Jomo’s broad shoulders were threatening to block the sun from the eastern horizon. The crazy girl who saved her life was drinking tea with Jango, not far away from the other tent. Other than that, there was only sand and nothing in the landscape.
This is freedom, she thought ecstatically.
The messenger returned, told Moalama that he looked all over the place but couldn’t find Jango.
It was very unlike the serious boy, Moalama got anxious. The king was expected in less than the next three hours or so, in fact anytime from now. He wanted everything to be perfect as the king entered his palace. A little surprise of the day, how could Jango not be around to make sure that the little present is all set before the king’s grand arrival? He decided to go to Bonajo’s room himself, later he could deal with Jango for the display of unprofessionalism. It didn’t matter that the boy had been doing fine until now. It took only one mistake to create calamity to his perfectionist plans.
As the crimson light of dawn began pouring into the palace building, Bonajo’s room was still semi dark. Moalama had no difficulty seeing the strangeness about the room. The windows were opened and there were clutters on the floor as well as on the bed. This bush girl is foolish! Moalama thought, angrily. Jango was nowhere to be found and now this disappointment again. Upon all the taming she was given she still could not do as little as tidy up her room. In fact it was Jango’s fault; he should have made the maids do it. He kicked the heap on the ground in anger and caught his breath at the soft feeling of fleshy body.
This could not be her lying on the ground. Terrific!
He won’t tolerate this amount of carelessness. Perhaps he had been too soft with her. Perhaps she was beginning to need discipline to know who was in control. It doesn’t matter that she could amaze the noblest of ladies in the kingdom with her beauty. He yanked the body to face the dim light coming from the window, ready to reproach the morning daylight out of her foolish bush head. His darkly kohl-lined eyes bulged out. It was Agnes and the woman looked strange.
As Moalama’s heart momentarily stood still out of fear and confusion of finding Agnes’ dead body in Bonajo’s room, he heard a loud scream from a maid calling for help. He rushed out like in an effort to escape the unbelievable scene he left behind and meet the inevitable ahead. In the corridor he saw that the screaming was coming from Djamila’s rooms. What demon has taken over the palace and of all times today, when the king was returning?
The maid was calling for help at the same time beating herself up in despair. Moalama ran as fast as he could, his plump weight causing him to exert extra effort to reach his destination. As he passed the distressed maid, he knew that today was going to be far from OK.
At the end of the corridor, Djamila’s rooms marked the finishing line of Moalama’s marathon. Heads were already popping through doors, windows and curtains in search of the latest reason of the royal pain causing the loud screams at this morning, with high expectations.
Tasked out as he was, Moalama was not prepared for what awaited him. The maid still tearing at her hair sidestepped for Moalama to gain entrance into the room. He was reluctant to do that, but he knew deep down that he should be the first to know whatever it was. He only prayed it wasn’t as bad as his previous encounter.
It was a twin.
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Djamila was lying on the floor, grotesque yellow foam caked around her mouth.
“She was poisoned.” the maid cried!
Moalama’s heart failed at the spot and he collapsed.
Jomo closed his eyes and took a deep breath, his eyes moistening from the tears that began to build and the humidity at the mountain top. The smell of grass, the cool humid air and the feeling of familiarity filled his senses and rehabilitated him beyond measure. Thousands of memories flooded his brain. He remembered when, less than three years ago, he and his closest friends stood on the same plateaux, waiting for their clan’s people to arrive at the same reunion camp. Now all those peoples he so much loved are gone, except a few.
On arrival at Agadez to drop Galah, Jomo found Shagaro well and alive; the reunion was tearful and hysterical for Bonajo. Hamani was grateful for the return of his beloved. King Hassan was happy too, and astonished both at Galah’s bravery and foolishness, as he put it. Even Abu Saleh was in town waiting for Galah’s return, as she promised him.
Jomo and Shagaro shared stories that unfolded after they departed at Gao. Unlike Jomo, Shagaro did not go on looking for their people. He decided to find a safe place for Karima, and Agadez was the first place he could think of. Galah’s father received them and was kind to the bereaved princess.
The happy party stayed in Agadez, where the king married them up. Jomo with Bonajo, Hamani with Galah and Shagaro with Karima because she decided she wanted to be far away from the empire. And her love for Shagaro, she realized, was good enough to tie the knot. Before the honeymoon was over, they set to travel to the promised land of the reunion camp.
Galah thanked them and provided them with all they might need on their journey – camels, horses and servants. They gladly took everything else, and turned down accepting the slaves.
They travelled and never stopped but at the gates of Katsina city-state – Audu’s home town. The war hadn’t touched the city one bit. It was business as usual. Slaves from Kano were hard at work, though. The departure was emotional for Jomo. But, there at the gates where Kano was lured into assuming victory by the deceptive Katsina army, they said goodbye and moved on to the reunion camp.
The beautiful reunion camp would have been more beautiful with their friends and clans people – all the goodness that was never meant to be.
He looked around in disbelief. Three years ago he was here and knew nothing of what was in store for him. The only thing he was in anticipation of was the arrival of his friends and clans people – never expecting the death of even a cow, let alone a friend or even a whole clan. At best he believed that he and his best friends would live long, until old age and the only most hazardous thing in the air was his marriage.
He used to imagine Mandano and himself resting under the shade of a neem tree as they send their children away for grazing and business, while they count their profits and watch their young daughters play about. They fantasised marrying up to four wives and raising an extended family of rich men. He remembered them talking about these good stuffs that involve making sure that their families intermarried in order to strengthen the bond between them. Now all that seemed like a long-lost crazy dream. The only persons left to remind him of his previous life was his bride, her brother Kamido, Malle and the talisman of his father, which he asked Bonajo to keep for him. He marvelled at how so much had come to happen within these three dark years.
He let his tears flow freely when he couldn’t contain them anymore. He always believed that his friends would be around during his wedding to make jest of him. Now, he could give anything just to have that. Jomo dropped on his knee and cried freely to the peaks of the mountains, venting the last of his anguish. Bonajo made no effort to comfort him, she was brooding her own thoughts too. She was made a strong woman from the unfortunate war that snatched away her family, friends and a childhood that was never completed. The only relief to her grief was the sight of the man crying in front of her; she felt if he wanted to cry she could at least give him that chance.
They arrived last night and learnt that Jalli died from his wounds, which became a serious illness sometime last year. They cried of happiness and sorrow. At first, Kamido and Malle went berserk with hysteria at hearing the news of the terrible thing that happened to their friends and clan. Jomo and Shagaro took to comforting them. Bonajo and Karima tried not to interfere. Bonajo watched Kamido and Malle and pitied them, but thought they were acting like small boys. Then she realized they hadn’t experienced what she had.
She knew that she was a hardened woman to travel from Djenne to Marrakech and to even continue the journey down here after everything. Many times during the journey they were faced with several dangers and at other times they slept under trees and the stars in the openness, with all the wild beasts lurking about. Bonajo used all these nightly adventures to recall life in the Marrakech palace, a life that seemed to belong to another world and another time. Someday she will tell her children the story, even though they might never find out what Marrakech looks like – she prayed so. She told Jomo most parts of it, to her surprise it amused him and it earned her more respect in his eyes.
She and Karima marvelled at the beauty of the camp, it was spectacular, just as she heard time and time again from Jomo during his enthusiastic speeches about its beauty. Marrakech could be jewelled with gold, silver, and diamond; and can pamper beautiful ladies. But the camp was such an unbelievable natural scenery that not even those exotic paintings brought to Marrakech from Europe could rival. She felt a genuine peace for the first time since the beginning of the war, and she felt truly at home.
By now Jomo has stopped crying and appeared to be in a meditation. He looked so serene and peaceful against the sober environment. He felt quite content, and also felt a new strength to continue with life as it was. He was thinking about his wife and how he is going to make her happy.