Listen good, my children; this is a story of my past, and it takes place when I was a little whelp, like you, in a village in Africa. We might be in chains now, but free your ears of the shackles of slavery and listen closely. This is a tale of a man called Credo, a brave man, a strong man. Once, not so long ago, there were these two men, strong as lions fighting over territory in the savannahs of the African continent, a man called Credo, and a man called Kha’Jin. But this story begins much earlier, when Credo was still a pup: The air was stale and the sun was scorching the earth as clouds of dust hovered over the grassy plains, and besides the squawking noise of various carrion feeders, everything seemed to be at a halt. There, a blood-gorged pit near a small tribal village; in this arena did, by a trial of blood, boys become true men. And one boy in particular has passed his test, a boy lighter than the others, who was adopted by the Zulus as an infant, when a pack of hyenas attacked and most likely killed his parents.
I would know, as my father was the one who found him in the savannah, I was but a boy when Credo passed his test, and I was afraid because he was different. But he grew, and as he grew, he honored the tribe by hard work and dedication, the values that would bring him into the ring of blood in which he now stands. There he is covered in blood, shaking from exhaustion, breathing for his life, the young boy, and above him, a grown man with a spear in one hand, and in the other, a shield decorated with a bloody, zebra’s hide. They know each other, at least the boy knows the man. This is a man deemed to be one of the strongest in the village, a man that can lift a whole wildebeest by himself! With a quick thrust at Credo, the man seemed to have secured his victory– or so he thought. The boy leapt to the side like a cougar, passion and fear intermixing in his deep, blue eyes to become the most powerful weapon one can ever hope to yield; as salty sweat ran down his blood and dust covered face, the will to live helped the boy defeat his enemy.
Swinging recklessly, the man stumbled, and the boy, Credo, took this opportunity to win. As he turned, Credo’s tomahawk began to enter the area between the enemy’s shoulderblades. The man’s eyes widened in despair, and he stood motionless for a few, good moments. Then, as if the stone axe took a week to lodge itself into his body, a loud scream decorated the stale silence of the crowd watching around the ring; the man was now on his knees, not ready, but helpless enough to receive the finishing blow. The boy stood over his enemy, snatched the spear out of his hand, and looked him in the eyes. What he saw, was fear–the fear of death; this fear, however, did not stop Credo from taking his place among the tribe. “Kill or be killed,” echoed through his head… The spear now stood erect in the man’s chest, the dust clouds whizzing by, while everything else remained silent. In the silence, the gravel grinding beneath credo’s footsteps was the only noise.
Slowly circling his nearly dead enemy, Credo took his tomahawk into his hands once again. He turned towards the man again, lifted his hands high, so everyone could see them, and as the rays of sunlight enveloped his weapon, he struck downwards with unrelenting force. An unpleasant sound of bones breaking and teeth and skull fragments dropping to the ground like dates, blood gushing faster than the raging Ncandu Falls. Red all over, Credo knew that this was hi’s domain now. But the story begins in his prime; after passing his test, Credo, seeing no point in fighting his, now, own people, turned to the hunt and was recognized by the son of the Chief Kha’Zix, Kha’Jin. The two grew up to be inseparable; they were the two who would bring our tribe to new heights. I remember looking up to their brotherhood, as a boy. The two would come back from a long day of hunting, with large, white grins on their faces as they dragged their catch into the village.
I hoped I could be like them one day… Marching out of a amber sunset with food for the tribe. But at the turning of age, when the Zulu chief, Kha’Zix is on his ill with an unknown disease brought in by those white devils from far away lands, a new chief was needed. Credo, who proved himself over and over with his leadership abilities and fiery attitude, has caught the eye of the village elders. Despite most of the tribe not wanting a ‘white devil’ as their leader, Credo was in position to be the next chief. Obsessing with the thrill of the hunt, and proving his village that he was the ultimate hunter, Credo unconsciously ignored the struggle for power as things fell apart. Credo had his eyes set on the greatest honor amongst the Zulu people, mastering the lion’s own game.
He intended to use the pelt of the lion as a gift to his chief and father, and at the same time prove his worth. The sun was beating down the Zulu village, as usual, and everyone was busy; some over come with sweat, curved like sickles, hastily picking out ripe yams from the dirty fields, some sitting, with their brows tense, scraping and tanning leather, while others were stringing bows, arguing what traps are best suited for hunting and warfare, as though preparing for war, actually. And as this went on, Credo was further away, in the open fields of South Africa, hunting like a wild cat, prowling through the low brush of the plains of South Africa, sneaking, trying not to make a single branch crackle under his cautious footsteps. Wildebeest was his game today; he needed a large catch as food was scarce those days… He let out a beastly yell as he started running towards the herd, which immediately ran in the opposite direction.
This hunter, had no intention of letting his prey loose; he guided one of the smaller calves into an oasis, where he carefully prepared a trap to catch it. Trapped, the beast was dazed, but slowly breaking loose, as the net was not meant to hold down such large animals. He flung his bola at the calf wildebeest’s legs. The bola wrapped around them with a whizzing sound, and moments after, it was helpless, on the ground, yelping. The other wildebeest were long gone by the time Credo was standing dominant above his prey, its tongue out, struggling to stand up and run away, still producing inarticulate sounds, crying for help. Bowing down, Credo unsheathed his jambiya, a curved dagger he ‘confiscated’ from a corpse of a merchant up north near the town of Sofala, east from our village. He looked at the calf one last time, and bathed in its fear; he placed the tip, gently at the left side of the base of its head, his eyes widened, his hand jerked, his roar frightened the birds around, as he pushed in, and then across, leaving a pool of blood behind as a memory.
Bringing the carcass back to the village, Credo is stopped by Kha’Jin, the son of the sickly chief. “Going back to the village with such a large amount of meat by yourself, are you?” said Kha’Jin as he blocked Creedo’s way with his large body. “Yes, brother, how are you doing today?” Kha’Jin’s smile was showing now, and they embraced each other with a powerful pat on the back. “What an odd question to ask someone when their father is dying, and their so called ‘friend’ is next in line.” Smiled Kha’Jin. “I am… sorry, I did not mean to offend. And, what exactly do you mean ‘next in line,’ next in line for what?” The mood suddenly changed to something less friendly, and you could almost hear Kha’Jin’s brow furrowing. “Are you serious?! You are to become the next chief, Credo, you are to become what I was destined to! You… you took that away from me, just like you tried to take away my father, but he never favored you, I was always his favourite, because… because I am his real son, and because I am the same like everyone in the village–” Now losing his patience, Credo dropped his prey and a familiar darkness surrounded his head.
Credo was alway one to lose his temper quickly; lies and disrespect were ways to make him furious, as he tolerated neither. Credo, in fact, was always favored by the chief, as he did not show great ambition to become chief, but to help his village, even if it meant the most difficult labor. The son, on the other hand, was proving himself worthy to be chief, arrogant enough to think the title will be bestowed upon him no matter what. A thundering fist flew towards Kha’Jin’s face, who was much larger than Credo, physically.
Credo was not afraid, he assaulted the chief’s son with great fury before being held back by other village members, who now looked down upon his behavior. “Who attacks someone in mourning,” we thought. The next day, no one spoke to Credo, and stricken with rage and anguish, Credo attempted something he was not yet ready for. Gathering his weapons, he headed towards the barren plains to the north. Now I know that this was, in fact, the part of Kha’Jin’s plan to get rid of the only thing standing between him and the title of chief. The sun set with a glaring orange tint, and the tribe moved on to the tomorrow as Credo to his demise.
The night was young and Credo stupid. He decided to attack the alpha lion by himself, in the dark. Stalking the lion, Credo’s only thoughts were of his timed attack; “Strike when ready…” He thought. The lion was asleep, and Credo was going to take this chance to best the beast. He was too foolish to remember that lions do not sleep alone. Before he even got close, let alone the chance to pounce, he was jumped by a lioness, which pinned him to the ground and looked at him, baring her teeth, ready to attack. She tore off a fist sized portion of Credo’s muscle with a single rake of her claw, but our hero made up for his lack of insight with his agility; he grabbed some dust into his bleeding fist and flung it, along with his fingers, into the lioness’ right eye. The beast roared, and stumbled away from him. Barely managing to get up, Credo ran for his dear life. He didn’t get too far when he fell and stopped moving.
The next morning Credo awoke, and the lushness of a forest surrounded him, he was marveled, yet confused by its beauty, still dazed from the wound the lioness inflicted. He realized: the closest forest to the village is half a day away, and above him stood three large figures, one of which was Kha’Jin. He stood there, his shadow gleaming over Credo, with a wide smirk on his face. “Awake, ‘brother’? I have good news, and bad news, at least; I decided. I will make you chief. Bad news: You will not be chief of MY village, not while alive.” laughed the man.
The men, carrying sticks and stones, took turns savagely beating Credo into a pulp of bloody fury. Bones were cracking and skin was tearing; if he did not die of the sheer pain, he would die of shame later on. Just like a lion will die if his mane is cut off. Laying there broken, defeated, humiliated, the only thoughts that were coming through Credo’s head were that of vengeance and redemption. The young hunter spent two days and two nights whimpering in pain, until he was found by a group of those ‘white devils’ passing through the forest, scouting the area. Unconscious he lay there, as the group approached…
Chapter 2: A Fresh Beginning
Day 2: After arriving to this new land, me and the royal expedition have decided to explore and get familiar with the environment. Mostly a savannah, this region is dotted with several forests; we are about to examine the one close to our base camp for new species of animals and plants. This hot weather will, most certainly, prove to be difficult to handle in this warm clothing. “Good Lord, Mary! Look at this poor man, laying over there under that tree!” pointed one of the three soldiers accompanying me.
“Quickly, someone, give that man some help!”
No matter how and how much we tried to awaken him, he would not budge, exhausted, beaten and dehydrated, he was in barely any condition to live, let alone open his eyes. If the pain did not kill him, the infections, surely would. Still, it is important to try. We scurried him back to the camp where I treated him with bandages and liniment.
Day 5: Miraculously, a few days later, he awoke. He seemed different than the rest of the royal expedition, feral is the word best describing him. He saw, that we seem quite like himself, or so he thought. He was intrigued by our skin color, for some reason; it is fairer than his own, and living amongst the Africans, it must have confused him. With his head lowered, the subject in front of me, Samuel, I will name him, looked around in curiosity. I take it he grew up here, though he looks very British to me. At first frightened by the unknown, this man was willing to set that aside and accept us as family in order to, perhaps, repay the debt of saving his life.
Day 246: A long time has passed since we rescued Samuel, and he has, over the course of the last half a year, or so, has proven to be the most fascinating creature ever. His learning abilities are extraordinary, as are his abilities to hunt, learned from the native tribes, I presume. I also note that in such a short time, we have been able to learn much about his former people, as he calls them, as he learned about us. We are now able to communicate, to a certain extent, and Samuel seems to have taken a liking in us, especially myself. Unfortunate this is, indeed. We have received a new mission, it is to use Samuel to find the tribes, and expand the borders of the British, Christian Empire and remove all potential barricades and threats. It pains me to use this man after he has done so much for us, but if the Lord wishes so, it will be done.
In the meantime, Samuel still practiced his hunting skills, though this time, with gunpowder and rifles. He finally caught, what he told me to be the most dangerous game in the savannah, the lion. He presented its pelt as a gift, which was in his culture, the greatest honor, for both factions. “This is thank you, for rescuing me,” stated Credo, on his knees.
“This is most peculiar, Samuel, why… I don’t know what to say! I suppose a thank you is in an order, and you are most certainly welcome. It was only proper of God’s men and women to save their lost brother, I am sure you would have done the same.” I reluctantly took the lion’s pelt. There was a glimmer of hope in Samuel’s eyes, he had found his true family, his own kin. The rest of the colonists made him believe that they meant only the best for the native peoples, and that the only thing they wanted was to spread Christianity and bring peace amongst the tribes.
Chapter 3: The Return
Foolishly enough, Credo led the colonists to our village, his old home. He was the ambassador of the two factions, not the great hunter I was used to seeing as a young boy. The peacebringer, not the hunter, not the warrior he used to be, and that is what brought him to his knees once again, he was reborn, but he was weak, not strong. He was naive, still; he believed anyone who said they believed him. Even the colonists, the white demons who wanted to purge our land of US! Kha’Jin was now chief of our tribe, and he did not want the rest to find out what he has done to Credo. Credo was managing to convince the tribe to convert to this strange belief, and he was saying how we would be protected from the other tribes and given technology to dominate. We did not need that, we needed Credo, the Great Lion.
After one of his preachings, Credo was returning back to the colonist camp with two other soldiers. Kidnapping him, once again, he tied him to a tree in the same forest he was beaten in before. But things were different this time, Credo has matured into a better being, he has learned about the technology of the north and of the power of reason. Unfortunately, that was not at all effective with Kha’Jin, who tried to break Credo once again. Unwilling to suffer defeat once more, by the hand of the unjust, Credo’s animalistic instincts reactivated. The rush of pure adrenaline allowed him to snap the vines as though they were hay, and he leapt onto Kha’Jin, grabbing the first thing he could find, started savagely beating him until there was a bloody pool left on the ground.
Meanwhile, in the village, the colonists were displeased with our lack of cooperation, so they decided to use force. One by one, the colonists were slaughtering my people like cattle, in an attempt to make an example. When Credo returned from the forest, still bloody and baring his fangs, the village consisted of two parts. One of which was the old, familiar place he used to call home, and the other a steaming pile of carcasses and stench of his former brethren. Baffled, he snuck into one of the houses still standing to find out the colonists were cleaning the land from the Zulu people.
Overcome with anger, not thinking clearly, Credo decided it was time for retribution. Finding his dagger and old clothing, Credo, along with the night, crept into the colonist camp closest to his village, and as he has done before, slaughtered all living things in that camp, but one. He left Mary alive, he owed her his life, and he could not take hers away without taking his own too. With both Kha’Jin and the colonists gone, Credo was appointed the chief of the tribe and quickly regained his reputation in the village through hard work and his ferociousness. He was happy with himself, as he finally proved to everyone that he was the lion, the ultimate predator.
Chapter 4: In The End…
Day 321: When I woke up in the morning, everyone was gone, and a note was stuck on a spear in the ground, next to my bed, it read: “Blood for blood, you killed my people, I killed yours. -Samuel Credo” I, the single colonist that survived, Mary, fled back to the port where I came form, grateful for my life, but furious with Credo’s actions. When I went back to the port, I demanded reinforcements and the cleansing of the Zulus, as they have killed the children of the Lord. Soon after, a battalion of one hundred or so royal soldiers marched to the village, and with our superior technological power, destroyed the Zulus, along with Credo, who fought relentlessly until the end.
Subject: Short story,
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 28 November 2016
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