2 November 2022
Blood Psalms Episode 7 recap: Before the wedding
Blood Psalms opens at a time of upheaval in Ancient Africa, around 11 000 years ago. Five tribes -the Akachi, the Uchawi, the Ku’ua, the Chini, and Great Nziwemabwe – whose ancestors all fled the destruction of Atlantis before our story begins – share a prophecy about the end of days. Signs are growing that the end is coming soon, as the five tribes gather for the wedding of King Letsha of the Akachi and Thozama of the Uchawi. Watch the episodes so far »
Episode 6 in 10 points
- It was the dawn of both Princess Zazi’s 18th birthday, and her father King Letsha’s wedding day.
- Captain Ahadi of the Akachi rowed out to investigate the blue vortex at the centre of the burning island of rock out at sea (which was struck by the meteorite that Princess Zazi flung away from the Akachi citadel using her new superpowers). And a pulse of energy from the vortex killed Ahadi’s two companions.
- Burutti fell out of a tree, naked, straight in front of mysterious circus performer Umna, who immediately recognised her as one of the Chini and treated her kindly.
- Chini overseer Mzinzi knocked out Burutti and took her back into the Chini caves to be punished for endangering the entire tribe by infiltrating the Akachi citadel on the night of the Chini’s were-hyena transformation.
- The overbearing, insulting attitude of Chief Xemantso’s younger (but more favoured) son Hlengu had the Ku’ua warriors giving him a contemptuous side-eye and bemoaning the tribe’s succession.
- In the Akachi prison pits, Kike, the Chini who transformed into a were-hyena in the night, woke surrounded by the corpses of his fellow prisoners. The only other prisoners left alive were the massive, brooding man, and one sick, old prisoner.
- The scheming lover of the Akachi army’s second in command, Lekoya, pointed out to him that General Toka has been driving support within the military council for Zazi, who’s now pregnant with Toka’s child, to take the Akachi throne.
- In the palace, King Letsha’s uncle Nkamanzu slyly turned the council against General Toka, the army, King Letsha, and Princess Zazi.
- King Letsha ordered General Toka’s arrest, torture and beheading, and demanded that Zazi abort her pregnancy. But palace governess Madlamini got him to agree not to shed blood on his wedding day.
- As General Toka was led through the citadel in chains, Madlamini told Princess Zazi that she has a plan to save Zazi and her unborn baby.
Full moon in the morning
On the Akachi citadel wall, the watchmen debate the protest that Lekoya is organising following the arrest of General Toka, along with discussing the merits and drawbacks of tyrannical kings as opposed to being ruled by an indecisive committee, like Great Nziwemabwe.
Down below at the citadel gate, the Akachi welcome their Ku’ua wedding guests, but Hlengu bares his buttocks at the Akachi and sits on the ground. And while the Ku’ua women, led by Lala, wife of Ku’ua heir Qotha (and Hlengu’s secret lover), ignore whatever it is Hlengu thinks he’s doing, a group of warriors stays behind with Hlengu and they all moon the city together.
Meanwhile, in the guest quarters of the citadel, Chief Xemantso is happily bathing in a pool full of concubines until Qotha reprimands him for splashing about in Akachi luxury while back home his cattle are dying of thirst. Xemantso mockingly tells Qotha that he is no son of his, and one of the women pulls Qotha into a bathing pool.
At one of the Uchawi’s sacred stone circles, Ntuka – husband of Uchawi witch Queen Assili (chief advisor and rainmaker to King Letsha) and stepfather of King Letsha’s bride-to-be, Princess Thozama – warns his most difficult student, his bright and studious son, Prince Teborah, that the Uchawi have only survived their truce with mad King Letsha through the power of their science and scholarship.
When Teborah tauntingly asks Ntuka what’ll happen when Thozama is queen, Ntuka reminds him that Letsha murdered his previous bride, Queen Ndiya Zazi (mother of Princess Zazi), and sacrificed her heart to the Uchawi god of magic, Heka. Teborah points out that Letsha only did so on Queen Assili orders, and cheekily hints that Ntuka should figure out what Queen Assili is really getting out of the arrangement with Letsha.
Later, Teborah visits the temple of Heka, where the Nymph (who delivers messages that Heka passes through the Serpent Elemental forces), urges Teborah to keep his vow to topple Assili from power, giving him a necklace holding a purple sachet.
Inside the Akachi citadel, Madlamini urges Princess Zazi to observe as she signals from the princess’s window down to Umna, who’s performing with her circus troupe for the crowds below. Madlamini tells Princess Zazi that Unma is one of a secret society who’re fighting on the side of good, and again, she urges Princess Zazi to trust her. Umna teaches Princess Zazi their wedding dance under the watchful gaze of Madlamini and the palace guards, and Madlamini calls Umna aside to discuss their plan to switch out Princess Zazi for someone else during the dance.
Elsewhere in the palace, Lala of the Ku’ua marches into the bathing area and scolds her husband Qotha (who’s now happily splashing about with his dad) for being a disgrace, while Senator Jabari of Great Nziwemabwe barges into the Akachi council room unannounced, with a fully armed escort from his Golden Army. Jabari tells the council that he has been refused an audience with King Letsha since his arrival, and that unless Letsha sees him, he will have no wedding, because there will be no Akachi. Jabari warns Nkamanzu that King Letsha’s agreement to cede the Northern territories back to Great Nziwemabwe is the only reason they’re not currently at war.
Thozama prepares to dress for her wedding, aware that she has already lost King Letsha’s trust by keeping Zazi’s secrets. She watches from her window as the Akachi priests pray over the fallen statue of Sobek, which was toppled on the night that Princess Zazi saved the citadel from being destroyed by the meteorite. And Akachi head priest Mfengetho calls Queen Assili to the council chamber. Meanwhile Ntuka and Teborah are in their carriage on the road to the Akachi citadel when they are ambushed by unknown attackers. And in a dusty corner of the Akachi palace, Mfengetho reveals his hand in sowing the seeds of Lekoya’s discontent, as he pays off Lekoya’s manipulative lover.
Near the prison pits, the witch doctor is preparing to have the prisoners fed their daily slop before they’re sacrificed, only to find that just three have survived the night. Calmly, the big brooding man tells her that he thinks they’ll skip breakfast. The witch doctor tells the shocked Akachi guards that one of their surviving prisoners must be a cursed, undead Chini, and that Queen Assili will pay a handsome bounty for him. She’s just about to test which of the survivors is undead when the guards go on strike, and the citizens start a full-blown riot.
The big man tells Kike the Chini that it’s time for them to leave, and they escape, with Kike carrying the sick old man on his back. The big man has a scarred djed pillar hieroglyph on his own back, symbolising the god of the afterlife, the dead, and resurrection, Osiris. He is Onyo, Lord of the Netherworld, and he defeats the Akachi soldiers who attack them – one by one in unarmed combat, Kung Fu movie style – after which he, Kike, and the old man strip them of their uniforms for disguises.
Lekoya manages to silence the rabble outside the palace doors by just raising his hand. After he wins the crowd over, he asks what King Letsha has done to earn their loyalty while their children are hungry, their parents die of thirst, and their crops are dead in the field.
Watching from the royal balcony, Assili and Nkamanzu send Mfengetho to bring them Lekoya. Lekoya follows Mfengetho’s summons and in the palace dungeons, Assili forces Lekoya to swallow a snake whole before sending him out to face the crowd again. Lekoya tells the crowd that King Letsha has agreed to release General Toka and that all he asks is for the Akachi to celebrate his wedding, honour their guests, and settle their domestic affairs once everyone has left again. The warriors and crowd kneel as (the now snake-tongued) Lekoya walks out to be with them, while Assili and Nkamanzu smirk over the events of the past couple of days, which have proven their abilities to sway Akachi politics as they please.
In their rough quarters in the stables, one of Umna’s performers and spies, Pee-Erot, reports that the Akachi soldiers are on strike because the king has arrested their general for impregnating Princess Zazi, and there are rumours that the King is having General Toka tortured. And Umna and her performers pray to Heka for help.
Catch up on Blood Psalms
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