Balance is a state of equilibrium or an action that brings about said state of equilibrium. When things are in balance there can be said to exist a harmony between all the many parts of a whole and by weighing the many different factors, qualities, quantities and possibilities against each other and using the power of influence that those who would influence or control this balance must have, equilibrium can easily be maintained with the bare minimum of diligence. Or at least that is what the Omo Orisa had thought. The mandate given to them by the Orishas to maintain the balance was one they took very seriously for in truth it was the reason for their existence, having been created for this very purpose. But in creating this race and binding them so tightly to themselves, the Gods had inadvertently erred for in doing so the reciprocity that allowed them to grow in strength and power also caused them to take on some on the less admirable traits of their Gods. In short, the Omo Orisa, much like the Orishas themselves had become complacent, lazy and indolent and in doing so had been less than diligent in their task, and now, because of their negligence the balance of the Cosmos was no longer in equilibrium. As a result, greater powers had moved to step in to prevent the destruction of the balance and to restore it to health, but in doing so many changes had been put in effect and what was previously known and familiar was quickly fading away as a new order seemed to rise to challenge and change the old and familiar ways. In Ile-Ife, a land constructed of both physical substance and of the dreams of both Gods and mortals, the changes were already becoming evident as its borders had begun to weaken and humans had begun to accidentally stumble into their home. Whole portions of the land had been transformed in seconds from lush forest to dry deserts while snow covered mountain peaks now boasted a canopy of rain forest so dense that on the ground no sun shone through. But the physical changes to land were not the main concern, for this was a magical race of beings more chaotic in nature than structured, just as is the nature of magic, so these changes were taken in stride. It was the sudden presence of powerful forces that had not previously existed, forcing their presence upon the cosmos and causing the balance to shift uncontrollably. Things were happening on Earth, things unforeseen, and though they had shirked their duties as of late, the Omo Orisa were still the guardians of the balance and they knew that they had a job to do. It was for this reason that Inioluwa, the high priest of Yemoja called together all the clan heads and high priests and priestesses in conclave, for with the exception of a few of the Orishas, the Gods had grown weak and the reciprocity that empowered ase and gave the Omo Orisa the power to be maintain the balance was beginning to fail and if it should altogether cease then who would maintain the balance? They needed a solution, but first they needed answers, so it was decided that these leaders would meet in conclave to decide for better or worse what road they would take to ensure the continued equilibrium of the cosmos.
The Omo Orisa, despite what they would like to believe, had been created from the most pious men and women tens of thousands of years ago and they were differed from humanity as water is to ice. I use this metaphor because even though water and ice are in two different physical states and as a result have very different physical and chemical properties, but in the end, they both contain one oxygen molecule and two hydrogen molecules. In short, water is water whether gaseous, liquid or solid and at their core the Omo Orisa still possessed the same chemical foundation as the rest of humanity. Because of this, their society was just as structured and stratified as human society was. Ile-Ife was broken down into territories controlled by different clans and the different clans were controlled by different families within a clan, who in turn drew their strength from the power of the Orishas who they served to rule. The families and clans who diligently served Osonyin, Orisha of Green Things, for example, had nowhere near as much influence as perhaps those serving Obatala, Orisha of Justice and Reason. One would have thought that these supposedly enlightened beings would have understood the part that every piece of creation plays in maintaining the equilibrium in the cosmos, but instead of enlightenment the Omo Orisa had succumbed to the dreams of power and had lost their way. Almost all of them had succumbed to this except for an exceptional few such Inioluwa, babalawo of Yemoja. Inioluwa had served Yemoja faithfully for more than thirty thousand years and his faith in his true purpose, in their true purpose had never wavered. It was this unshakable and unwavering faith that made him so formidable and it was this potent fire within him that kept Yemoja strong. His faith fed her and she in turn fed him, so that despite the silence and weakness of many of the other Gods, Inioluwa and his Goddess remained strong and for this reason when he chose to call a conclave all of the many clan heads, high priests and high priestesses and family heads sat up and listened. For on the rare occasions that Inioluwa spoke, it was wise to listen, for he never spoke without good reason.
The heads of the thirteen clans of the Omo Orisa arrived at the conclave looking tired, disheveled and anxious. Every priest and priestess of the various Orishas was desperately searching for answers as to untenable situation developing on Earth, a situation which seemed to be directly tied to the Great Silence which had overtaken their grand discourse with the Gods. The balance in the cosmos had suddenly shifted and the beacon of order which was the Earth had been pushed further in the direction of Chaos. They needed some answers. As the steady hum of reciprocity between themselves and their respective Gods began to slowly diminish, the strength of their ase had grown weak, jeopardizing their ability to fulfill their mandate as the guardians of the balance. It was not because Chaos was now ascendant; no, this was the nature of equilibrium. But this was not the Chaos of entropy, the very stuff of the cosmos which was part and parcel of creation; this was a completely different force, one which was not in equilibrium with the rest of creation. If the balance was not soon restored there risked the possibility of the complete dissolution of all things as creation would tear itself apart because of the conflicting forces which would not be in equilibrium with each other. It was their duty to find a solution and if they could not find a solution, then at least a compromise. Equilibrium must be restored to the cosmos at no matter what cost. If only they could understand that there was much more at stake than they could perceive, and things were moving in this directly as a part of a greater plan. Inioluwa looked across the length and breadth of the conclave and unlike his brothers and sisters he understood what needed to be done. As the most powerful Omo Orisa took their places at the conclave, Inioluwa, high priest of Yemoja and head of the Akeju clan exercised his prerogative as the one who had called together the conclave, stood up, called the conclave to order, facing his siblings and spoke. “My brothers and sisters,” he said in a quiet voice, “there is a war in Heaven, a war which we have ignored in the performance of our duties as the guardians of the balance. We cannot ignore it any longer. If we are to continue our duties, then it is time that we picked a side. Omo Orisa, it is past time that we discovered answers, it is past time that we see for ourselves what exact events on Earth have so skewed the balance. Whatever it is that has been born on Earth is a threat to the balance and to all of creation. Our duty is to protect the balance and to do that we will need more information. I propose that we send agents to Earth to discover the cause, and I ask that you my brothers and sisters consider my request carefully because we are running out of time. To succeed at this task, we will need to work together and more importantly we will need to pool our power, for this is not just a question of scrying the Earth. We must send agents there to be our eyes and ears and if the time comes to be our sword. Nothing must stand in our way as we restore the balance to its former equilibrium.” Inioluwa stopped speaking and stood quietly watching the conclave and as he stood there, Teju high priestess of Oya, and head of the Balogun clan, also stood up and faced Inioluwa. “You are right high priest of Yemoja,” she began, “but do our other siblings understand the crisis that we are presently in?” She swung her gaze about the conclave, pointing her hand derisively. “These fools are more concerned with their petty power games than in fulfilling our mandate. They have become lazy and indolent; one might say they mirror their masters! Even you cannot persuade them to give up the power necessary to accomplish this. They do not know you like I do, my brother. What you are asking will require a sacrifice that few are willing to give.” She finished she is speaking and sat, but before she was completed seated she said “When the time comes you may count on me. As high priestess of Oya my mastery of energy manipulation is unsurpassed by any other here and you will need my strength and skills. They are yours to use.” She bowed to Inioluwa from her seat and he nodded in return. There was a low murmuring in the conclave now as many of the clan heads bristled at the words of Teju, while others struggled to come to grips with the fact that they were in a dire situation and thus all petty power games and jealousy must be put aside for their grand purpose. But not all could see the beyond their own childish concerns. Tunji, the high priest of Obatala and head of the Abebi clan had been in quiet conference with Kole, high priest of Ogun and head of the Olumide clan and when he stood it was the confidence of one who thinks he has all the answers. “Inioluwa, I respect you, we all do. Your faith and dedication to our mandate and to the Orishas are legendary. If you believe that are events on Earth that need be investigated then so be it, none of us can deny that your powers are formidable. But what is it you would have us do? You know that no Omo Orisa may leave Ile-Ife and in this time of darkness, why should we? Our place is here where we have stood fulfilling our duty for tens of thousands of years. To leave this place would jeopardize the very thing we are entrusted to maintain. Sometimes the Gods leave us for their own purposes, so their silence is nothing new. But reason dictates that we remain here and search for answers and not go gallivanting off to Earth on frivolous missions. Inioluwa my brother, you must find your answers here.” Inioluwa stood up angrily, about to retort, when Kole cut quickly cut him of saying, “The truth be told Inioluwa, you already know the situation on Earth already, don’t you? A little bird informed me that you know exactly what is going on.” At these words, the conclave erupted in conversation with the priests and priestesses demanding to know what Kole meant by his statement. But he had already sat down having achieved his goal, and looked over at Tunji and smiled. Tade, priest of Ososi and head of the Ademola clan spoke up first, shouting to be heard above the fray. “Inioluwa, what does Kole mean? What are you not telling us?”
“Yes,” said Folusha, priestess of Olukun and head of the Ikeja clan, “what does he mean?”
“Please,” said Inioluwa, “let us not be distracted from our duty. We must do what is necessary to protect the balance.”
“And what exactly do you mean to do?” said Ronke priestess of Oko and head of the Apapa clan.
“Very little because he is trying to protect his son Alade. He is the cause of all of this turmoil.” All eyes turned to Abodurin, priest of Ori and head of the Adu clan.
“My sight has shown me the truth of it; it was the presence of his desire here and now to fix this problem that has opened my vision to the truth. Yemoja and Inioluwa put into motion the events which threaten the cosmos now. Nevertheless, he speaks the truth; we must send agents to Earth, but not to investigate these events but instead to destroy the abomination that his son Alade has become.” Everyone was silent as the truth of Bodurin’s words sunk in. As the servant of Prophecy, a priest of Ori could not lie, though he or she could bend the truth. Inioluwa knew that Ori was bound to Orunmila through Prophecy and as Orunmila’s status as Witness of Fate and it was in that moment that he realized that there was one clan, one almost as powerful as his own, that was not present. The clan Bankola was not represented here and Laiye high priest of Orunmila was not absent. Inioluwa looked at Abodurin and then he understood; the Gods themselves were making moves and Orunmila had just made his. There would be no saving his son in this conclave, and as he watched the others talk among themselves he snatched at one last desperate straw, the last effort of a father trying to save his son. When he came out of his reverie he saw that Teju stood beside him with her hand on his shoulder. And as he stood up to face the others he waited as the high priest of Obatala spoke. “Inioluwa, we understand your plight, but you above understand that duty and faith come first. Your son fled his responsibilities and by some dark process has now become an abomination unknown in this world. He threatens the balance that you have spent over thirty thousand years maintaining. He is no longer your son Inioluwa. This Alakharu must be destroyed and if he cannot be destroyed then he must be neutralized. This is the will of the conclave.”
“And just how do you plan on accomplishing this?” Inioluwa said, “He is power incarnate, a Destroyer.”
“We will empower others to act as our proxies. They will hunt him down and correct the problem.”
“It will not work. He is too powerful.”
“Then we will send many.”
“And they will all be destroyed. He is a God now, more powerful than all the Orishas combined. Can you not sense it?”
“He is an abomination! And what would you do, protect him? Try to talk to him? He is not Alade anymore, he is something completely different.”
“I realize that, that is why I have a plan.”
“You have a plan? Please do tell.”
“It is a two-fold trap that he must walk into. It is a trap that he will voluntarily walk into.”
“And why would he do that?”
“Because I have something that he wants more than power, vengeance or even life itself.”
“What is this thing?” asked Teju, interrupting Tunji.
“It is mine that is what it is. If you wish to succeed you will all follow me in this.”
“What is your plan?” demanded Kole.
“I have told you it is two-fold. Before I can bait the trap, I must build the trap.”
“Okay,” said Tunji, “I am listening.”
“Each clan must grant me the authority to release the war captives. One of them will track and hunt Alakharu and while the other will attempt to neutralize him when he is found.”
Tade spoke up. “But I thought you said he is too strong.”
“This is true and most likely he will destroy them both. But because of the source of the energies contained within them, when he digests their essence he will know that we sent them and in his rage, he will come for us.”
“Are you mad?” shouted Kole. “You want to bring this Destroyer’s wrath down on Ile-Ife?”
“Yes, that is exactly what I want. He will come to our home, his former home to seek vengeance, but that is when the second part of my plan will unfold. When he comes to confront us, I will reveal the bait.”
“And then what?” said Ronke. “You believe that he will simply stop what he is doing and lay down his arms?”
“Yes, he will do exactly that.”
“And then what?”
“He will voluntarily give himself over to imprisonment, in Ile-Ife, the only place that can contain him.”
Abodurin shook his head. “Inioluwa, in his rage Alakharu will tear apart the dream that is Ile-Ife.”
“No, he will not because the bait will neutralize him long enough for him to be imprisoned in the Maze of Mirrors.”
“Hmmm, the Maze,” said Folusha. “It may just work. It all depends upon the nature of the bait. Since you will not reveal what it is exactly, I trust that it is something irresistible for him?”
“Oh yes, there is nothing is this cosmos that he wants more than this.”
Tunji took a deep breath and stood up nodding to Teju who would manipulate the energies provided by the clans and bind them into the two beings they would create. As each clan brought forth one servant as requested, Tunji turned to Inioluwa gravely and said, “Then let us begin.”
Nana Buukun and Esu floated unseen observing the conclave and nodded contentedly to each other. Things were moving quietly and quickly in the right direction and it would not be long before they were able to leave this plane of existence and begin the next phase of creation. For now, they would let the events they had put into motion play themselves out and wait for Oludumare to complete its part of the plan. Everything was going according to plan and soon the Triple Being would be able to leave this cosmos and rest once more.