A Chapter by Lepus Imperator

A young girl wishes to prove herself to her clan, by finally participating to her first raid ever.


Plain tribes have settled nearby. Too close for the taste of the council. No, no, this called for a raid. For the first time, she is part of it. She knows if she succeeds, she will earn her woman's name. She will not be known as "Survived a snakebite" anymore, a name she wore for more than 10 long cycles. She will have her real and definitive name, a source of pride, identity and moreover, adulthood. Adulthood means to take part of the raids and to have a voice at the general council. Those were the ways to prove your value among the Jungle tribe. Be a good hunter and a good arguer. Sharpen your mind and the arrow will never miss. Sharpen your mind and the lie will never hide. And she knows her aim is good. And she knows her ideas will benefit everyone. But to be heard, she needs to earn her name.


The raid will start during the darkest time of the night. She is asked to come at the weapons centre and to equip herself accordingly. She has a preference for two good sharp seme and a bow. She is given the traditional living vine armour. That would not protect her enough against plain tribe warclubs, but it should protect her against any of their blades, without impeding her mobility. She thinks she is ready. At the first quarter night end, they start to sing for A’an their saint spirit of the forest.  A'an will defend them against those cutting trees down to feed their overgrown animals. A'an will guide their arms and feet among the forest right to their enemies.  A'an will forgive the necessary violence.  And thus, the raid begun.


Plain tribes are fierce fighters but they are not favoured in difficult territory due their large size and heavy weaponry. Their humongous spears get stuck among branches and their oversized clubs cannot swing efficiently in restricted environments. Even their famous hunga-munga, cannot be thrown accurately in the jungle, as they could simply get stuck in any tree trunks. Jungle Tribe warriors on the other hand, are known for their hide-and-slash fighting styles and they thrive in places providing literally anything to hide with.


The plain tribe is asleep, and a few guards are to be killed for the raid to be successful. Others would need to be scared and beg to go away. Her heart is pounding, as the art of stealth killing is the way of their tribe. They are approaching the first guards, and the one for her is on the left. A young plain tribe man, looking fresh and robust, twice her size. She takes out her bow, ducked behind a broken tree. She breathes in the name of A'an, and aims at the throat. In one smooth move, she arms and releases the arrow. It is at that moment, when her focus is the arrow, that it meets its target's eyes. She loses focus and sees her target dodging the arrow in a swift forward swirl and her two seme are already meeting with the club of the tall young man. She needs to avoid the heavy part at all cost: the vine armour would not absorb the shock at full power. The clubhead retreats and starts a large sweeping. One tree blocks the shaft and she uses that mistake to jump over it and run to the young man. He drops the greatclub, and unsheathe another smaller club and their renown hunga-munga.

She has to dodge every blow, one being powerful enough to knock her out. She starts rolling over left and right, narrowly escaping attacks coming from above her head. The plain tribe brute force is compensated by a reduced speed, fortunately for her. She aims for the legs with success. The plain tribe fells over. All she has to do is to kill him, however the look of despair in her opponent's eyes rekindled the sadness she felt when hearing the loss of an older sibling along a raid. This one for sure was not that experienced in combat. Many youths of his tribe will feel shame and sadness upon hearing how he died on his first mission... the plain tribe is still looking at her, trying to gather his forces. He was angry.

She addresses him in the common language

"- Give up, and I'll knock you out only."

He laughs and replies in a growl:

" - Yes girl, you’ll break your wooden wrist on my forehead."

He is still holding his club and leapt forward. She quickly somersaults backwards, but she has been hit on her left foot. He removes all of is armour and clothing and crouches. She is fighting a Setari, one of those who praises strength and anger on the battle... And this guy seems to only start getting angered. These warriors are entering frenzies that can divert them from feelings of pains and tiredness. They would push their limits just for the sake of winning. She knows she has to end it fast or escape even faster. 


She chooses to escape. She jumps back in the mangrove, hiding behind a low-root. But a few seconds later and he is on the root grinning at her. He had let his anger drives his instincts and she is not sure if she can hold him up in close quarters.  She needs distance, but he will not let her. However, she is an expert in the deep forest and he would never dare follow her. She needs to reach the higher trees and she will be safe. She starts running in a straight line, spotting several hideouts all around her. When he gets closer, she suddenly hides and swiftly moves few meters away from him. And it starts again. They made slow progress but she knows where to go and he blindly follows. It should go easy. They arrive an especially treacherous place: some undercurrent water will swoop away any creature large enough to reach it. She dives, just far enough to avoid the fast tunnel of water. He follows. It cannot be avoided, it is only natural: being taller, thus heavier, he reaches deeper. And deeper meant being caught in the current. He struggles, until finally letting go. She is out of the water already, and running back to the jungle. He finally escapes the river further downstream, reaching a creek before some rapids. He chooses to give up, having swallowed enough river water already.  And he is far from his camp too. He swims up to the shore, and walks back hoping to regroup with his tribe. 

She is in a tree, safe and resting. She could follow him or let him go.  For today, she would let him go. She has earned her names: few could brag escaping a Setari heading to full frenzy... Now, what could her names be? How did A'an helped her during that test? She pondered upon those serious questions while making her way back to her village.


© 2020 Lepus Imperator

Author's Note

Lepus Imperator
Let me know about english, about the story-structure and the quality of the intrigue

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Added on July 21, 2020
Last Updated on July 21, 2020
Tags: East Africa, Afropunk, Fantasy, Initiation, Girl, coming of age, adventure, jungle tribe, Twa spirituality


Lepus Imperator
Lepus Imperator


I always liked to write and tell story. I started writing in English a couple of years ago, so please forgive my grammar mistakes. I have started to write a fantasy Saga in an East-African setting, a.. more..

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