Luanda thrust his spear left and right, felling men like young trees. After all the battles he had led and won against the Lang’o in his few years as a warrior, he couldn’t believe how often Jolang’o attacked them.
Arrows and spears glanced off Luanda’s body. His skin was as impenetrable as rock. He never got wounded; he never bled.
Josidho were winning the short and fierce battle. Several Lang’o bodies littered the bloody plain, stretching all the way to the watering hole, where the first fight had broken out. The Lang’o had been caught trying to steal Sidho herds.
A few days later, a peaceful delegation arrived from Lang’o bearing gifts of millet, beans, ghee and cow hides. They also gave Chemurgor, one of their daughters, as a wife for Luanda. The intent was to broker peace by binding the two peoples together through marriage. After all, it was unseemly for relatives to war against each other.
Chemurgor lived in constant fear of being found out. Her Lang’o elders had charged her with the task of discovering the secret of Luanda’s strength, so that they could kill him and defeat the Sidho. Luanda barely spoke to Chemurgor. She only saw him occasionally, when he spent the night in her hut. He always ate and talked with his elder wife, but never with her.
Several months later, Luanda fell ill while his elder wife was away for a visit at a village several days’ journey from Sidho. Luanda sent for Chemurgor and instructed her to make incisions on his shadow and rub in some ointment so he could feel better. Chemurgor noticed that he bled when she made the incisions on his shadow. She rubbed in the ointment, barely able to contain her excitement at the discovery of Luanda’s secret. She would run away back to her people that very night!
Unexpectedly, Luanda reached for Chemurgor’s hand as she was about to leave his hut.
“Stay with me,” he breathed, tugging at her hand and motioning for her to lie beside him.
Chemurgor saw a vulnerability in his face that she had never seen before. Hesitantly, she lay next to him, tense, wondering how long it would take him to fall asleep so she could get away. Luanda began to tell her stories of his childhood and asked about hers. They talked late into that night, and the next, and the next.
As Chemurgor nursed Luanda back to health, his tenderness with her disarmed her, causing her to delay her escape. The closer she and Luanda got, the more she struggled with her plan to betray him.
One morning, Chemurgor woke up feeling unwell. She barely made it out of the hut before vomiting violently. Nausea dogged her constantly over the next few days, before she finally realized that she was pregnant. That changed everything. She could not betray her child’s father, this man she had come to care deeply for! When had that happened?
Luanda was beside himself when he found out that Chemurgor was pregnant. He was surprised by how attached he felt to Chemurgor, ever since she had cared for him in his illness. He had never expected to feel that way about any woman, let alone one from the enemy’s camp.
A few months later, Chemurgor gave birth to twins–a girl and a boy who looked like their mother, and whose skins were as impenetrable as their father’s. Chemurgor took Luanda’s secret to the grave. The Sidho and the Lang’o never again went to war, that remarkable marriage having brought joined them forever. To this day, they live peacefully side by side, their sons and daughters marrying each other, reinforcing that ancient agreement between their peoples.