This is chapter four of a novel set in the universe of The Horsemen comic book by Jiba Molei Anderson. The first three chapters were illustrated and published in comic book and trade formats by Griot Enterprises. The remaining chapters 4-7 are still in art development. While they wait for illustrations and print versions, they will be released in a text only format here on my Patreon! So all patrons can get four chapters (over 100 pages of material), exclusive, before it’s official release!
If you want to catch up on the story leading up to this point you can find the individual issues and trade collections on the Griot Enterprises website. The trade book of Mark of the Cloven: Heirs to the Throne has the first three issues and comes with a bonus prologue scene.
The Story So Far
The Orisha are the ancient gods of the African continent. They were people who so perfectly represented the ideals of humanity’s good side that they transcended into something divine. In the distant past they did battle with their evil counterparts, the Deitis. These beings represented the different facets of human vice and corruption. The Orisha won the war and defeated the Deitis. Once this was done, they left the world, allowing humanity to grow and thrive on its own.
But the Deitis were not truly dead.
They rose up and, over centuries, used their evil influence to corrupt the world from the shadows. Once this became evident, the Orisha found human excellence to incarnate their energies into. They embodied and empowered seven people from Detroit with their cosmic energy and returned to the world as The Horsemen.
The Horsemen, with their newfound powers, set upon defeating the deceitful Deitis. After seeing the state of the world, and the degree to which the United States was corrupted, they set their eyes to their motherland. In a much disputed act, Shango the Destroyer, wiped the city of Abuja, in Nigera, from the face of the earth and forced the unification of all the African nations.
From the rubble they forged a new shining city and heart of this new African Union, Lumumba. Using their unique gifts, the Horsemen transformed the continent into a blossoming utopia from which to confront the Deitis and heal the world of their harmful influence.
The world of the Horsemen is one of political upheaval and a rising presence of powerful forces. New technology produces threats daily. The Deitis grow bold in their need to maintain control of the world. The return of the Horsemen has released a spark into the world, and people, both good and evil, are finding themselves gifted with amazing new abilities. These people, known as the Manifest, take sides with world governments, the Deitis, and the new African Union.
In Chapter One, Yemaya is captured by a trio of villains intent on hurting the Horsemen and winds up battling her own brother.
In Chapter Two, Ogun is forced on a mission to steal some strange technology on the other side of the world and has a very close brush with death.
In Chapter Three, Oshun roots out a manipulative cult in the heart of Lumumba and comes face to face with a fanatical chemist.
In Chapter Four, Eshu’s hunt for the trouble with the underground railroad going from the U.S. to the A.U. led to the spirit realm and a strange journey for a Chicago cop.
For Chapter Five Oya sets her sights on rescuing the kidnapped sons of Dr.Utella and finds more than she expected.
From her vantage on the Aperture, Oya could still see traces of smoke rising from the destruction in Lumumba City. It had been days since Oshun had razed the Idafa churches to the ground, but they were still smouldering. She hadn’t been there when it happened, but she’d heard the sites had actually become molten. She wasn’t surprised. It was never a good idea to lie to Oshun.
She turned her back on the window and checked the computer console again. It wasn’t finished yet. In fact, she couldn’t really tell if it was still working or just spinning its gears mindlessly. She decided to give it a few minutes before cancelling it and trying again. She paced the control room in a slightly accelerated state while she waited.
Green lights lit up on a pair of the transport capsules. It didn’t look like she’d be getting the privacy she was hoping for. In a blink, she flashed across the room and set the computer’s process to hidden and changed what was displayed on the monitor. Whoever it was, she didn’t want to waste time explaining what she was up to. As two figures materialized she positioned herself back at the window before they appeared.
It was Ogun and Obatala. Well, not exactly. Without their divine aspects on they were just Kofi and Araba. Although the timing was awkward, she was glad to see them. Obatala had been away treating a disease in Angola. A disease that turned out to be orchestrated to keep her away from Lumumba so the Cloven could manipulate Ogun without interference. It had worked and nearly killed him in the process. Oya was glad to see he looked as healthy as ever. Oya smiled wide and gave the pair a big hug.
“I’m so glad you’re okay!” She said to Ogun.
He waved it off. “Ahh, it was nothing. Take more than some flu to kill me!”
Obatala shook her head. “Don’t let him fool you, Oya. He was on death’s door. I had to peel him out of that ship of his.”
Ogun folded his arms defensively. “Don’t go exaggerating!”
Obatala gave Oya a knowing gaze. “He let me heal him.”
Oya hadn’t heard that. Her eyes went wide. “He did not!” She looked to Ogun, shocked. “You did not!”
He didn’t deny it and instead headed across the room for the computer. She caught up with him, hoping to distract him.
“So, what’re you guys up to today?”
Obatala answered first. “I’m here to check out Nan and see if there’s anything I can do. We’ve got him in holding, heavily sedated. Despite this, his body is still shifting. Very slowly, but it’s happening. That could be a real problem if he shifts into something that resists the sedative.”
A religious fanatic with the powers of dozens of Manifest loose on the Aperture? Oya didn’t disagree that would be trouble. She looked to Ogun. “And you?”
“Still trying to get in touch with Eshu. I’m gonna use the central hub to run a search. His face shouldn’t be too difficult to spot.”
Oya got in front of him and leaned on the terminal. “Oh, it’s Eshu, you know he’s probably just off on one of his spirit walks or whatever. There’s no point looking.”
“You and I know that, but he’s going to do it anyway.” Said Obatala.
Oya moved out of his way. If she tried keeping him from using the computer they’d figure out something was up. At least this way there was a chance, however remote, that Ogun wouldn’t notice her program running in the background.
Ogun touched the keyboard and different screens started popping up without him actually typing anything. Obatala dragged her hand along his shoulders as she left for the holding cells. Oya went over to the other set of windows. The ones looked out over the blasted scape of the Abuja crater. It was grim and seemed more appropriate as she waited for ball to drop.
“Oya?” Asked Ogun.
“Why are you trying to hack the C.I.A.?”
She practically blinked across the room to his side. She took a deep breath and blurted out an explanation. “We rescued Imoh and Tunde from Am-Timan People’s Militia, all those years ago for Dr.Utella, and now they’re gone. We can’t let that happen. I refuse to see the people we rescued become prisoners again. These ‘Cloven’ took them. All the ones you saw were Deitis kids; Ahura’s, Quetz’s, Ameratsu’s. And Oshun said that Altar was the son of Exodus. This is a new generation here. We’ve got to figure out what they want and where they are. So last week I started looking for signs. I used our usual search algorithms for finding Manifest, but slightly tweaked, to look for abnormalities not associated with the Spark. We’ve got to find these Deitis kids. I figure it’s better than waiting for their next move. And I did, I found one.”
Ogun took it all in. “Oya, none of that explains why you’re hacking the C.I.A.”
“Oh, right. The one I found, worked with the C.I.A. Not anymore, but they keep tabs on their ex-people, right? We need to find out where he’s at.”
“And when you do?”
Oya was aware that Ogun knew exactly what she would do. “Find him and get him to lead me to the Cloven so I can figure out where they’re keeping Imoh and Tunde. Then, you know, rescue them.”
“Alone? I’m not sure that’s the smartest way to do this.”
Oya balled her fists in frustration. “I wanted to leave days ago, then Oshun fried all those churches! I can’t wait anymore. You’re behind on the Koso project after the attack, Eshu’s gone, Obatala’s gotta figure out freaky transforming guy, and Shango is staring off into space. I’m not waiting, Ogun! They’re trapped again! Do you even remember what those boys were like when we found them?”
Ogun did. The memory wasn’t an easy thing to live with. A metallic ripple of anger washed over and receded on his skin as he thought about the possibility of the boys returned to such a state. He turned to the computer.
“Well, you’re doing this all wrong. Give me a few minutes and we’ll find your guy.”
Oya sighed in relief. “Thank you, Ogun. You’ll let everyone know what I’m up to after I’ve gone?”
“Of course. But don’t make me regret this.”
The screens were flying now, switching so quickly all she got was the occasional flash of numbers. “Just find them. We owe Utella that.”
Will Oya manage to rescue Dr.Utella’s sons? What mysteries will she find along the way? Sign Up and get the whole chapter and see!