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Korak in Pal-ul-don

Lord Of the Waziri

Steve Allsup

The jungle drums throbbed with unusual intensity as the sun set in the west. Across the veldt the low vibrant rhythms sent ripples of sound for many miles. Human voices could be heard singing and chanting to that pulsing rumble. A large bonfire in the center of the village of huts and houses blazed in the night as the stars appeared in the heavens.

Now there was nothing left but ashes of the giant who had lain upon a frame of wooden poles that day. Burnt black by tropical suns, he had been a white man, wearing a leopard loincloth, a rope coiled around his shoulder, and a bow across his chest. He had suffered the bite of a large reptile—a black mamba—while saving the life of a small village girl who had strayed into the den of one of the most poisonous creatures on earth. For two days and two nights the sounds of the village women weeping and wailing had continued unabated, and grew louder when the man's breath ceased.

As the pyre was torched a white woman wept, openly and unashamed, her blonde tresses hiding her face. She was his wife.

Only the jungle is immortal, pondered the woman. I thought that he was... but only the jungle is forever. And then she wept again. Yet, not even the jungle is forever—he had shown that time and again. Tears racked her slim form as she gazed into the leaping flames.

As the pyre collapsed into a massive bonfire a last loud primal scream arose from the villagers that was heard as far as the next village to the south. The drums ceased. A strange silence settled upon the veldt.

In the center of the small community, in the open area at the head of the main market with a two story plantation house looming in the darkness behind, the tall, handsome warriors sat in a large circle. Utter silence reigned. Nothing stirred, no one moved, the first moment in two days and nights that the village was hushed. The people were spent, their tears had emptied the all-consuming grief from their very souls. They had poured out their hearts in the absolute abyss of sorrow. Now they rested.

The fire crackled and sputtered. The pyre glowed red as embers became ashes.

The tableau held motionless as women closed their eyes and prayed. Men gazed into the fire, embracing the memory of one they could never forget.

Into the circle strode a young man. Tall, imposing, the very image of he who had passed. He sat cross legged beside the dying fire—his abdomen rippled like rock as it held erect his massive chest and shoulders. This man, though bronzed-black by tropical suns, was white. He wore a leopard loincloth. Across his back was slung a bow. At his belt was the hunting knife of his father.

A giant black warrior arose from the circle, a man of power and leadership in the tribe. His feet slowly shuffled toward the young man in the center. He raised his spear in honor and the drums beat anew. The warrior began the dance. The women raised their voices in song, a soothing sound of hope which drifted across the veldt, a song of joy, a song of courage. It spoke of a new day.

Many warriors suddenly rose from the ranks and joined the gyrating dance. The white man in the center smiled grimly, his chiseled jaw in shadows. The lithe black warriors danced with wild abandon, a primitive ritual which predated the reign of the first Pharoah. The drums throbbed once again across the jungle, and the distant neighboring village rejoiced even as they mourned the passing of the One. The chanting rose in volume until even Numa and Sheeta faded into the foliage.

Waziri, chief of the Waziri.

Waziri, chief of the Waziri!

Waziri, chief of the Waziri!

And, at last, the young man in the center of the wild dance rose and threw himself into the rhythm, brandishing his spear at the star strewn sky. He threw his head back and shouted:

Waziri, king of the Waziri!