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Poem: "Mask of the White Demon" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Mask of the White Demon"
This poem came out of the 2013 crowdfunding Creative Jam.  It was inspired by a prompt from wander_realtai.  It also fills the #13 Enshroud line on my Rainbowfic Moonlight list.  This poem belongs to the series Kande's Quest, which you can find via the Serial Poetry page.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include: DW user Kengr

97 lines, Buy It Now = $48.50
Amount donated = $20
Verses posted = 8 of 20

Amount remaining to fund fully = $28.50
Amount needed to fund next verse = $1.50
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $2

Mask of the White Demon

Kande felt discouraged,
but she refused to let that stop her.
If she could not force open
a gate to the demons' realm,
then she would seek out a shaman
and ask his advice.
She would not let the demons
keep her little brother Atsú.

Kande mounted her war-elephant Ivory Hammer,
who stropped his four tusks on the trunk of a coconut tree
and then lumbered away in search of a shaman.

They came to a little village, still within Akaanye territory,
where an old man named Manu lived in a fine hut.
His children and grandchildren gathered around him
to run his errands and help him work magic.

"What brings you here?" Manu asked.
"I am Kande, and I need your help
to save my little brother Atsú.
He was kidnapped by demons,
and I must follow them somehow,"
the young warrior replied as she dismounted.
One of the children led Ivory Hammer
toward the river where he could bathe.

"If you simply follow the demons,
they will capture or kill you," said the shaman.
"You will need a disguise. Come.
You must help me make a mask."

Manu led Kande into his hut.
He showed her blocks of ebony
and bade her choose one of them.
Then he began to carve the mask,
and sent Kande out to collect
white clay and red clay and charcoal
for the paint, plus blue glass for the eyes.

Kande hurried back quickly
with the supplies that Manu requested.
"Now can I go to my brother?" she asked.

"No, not yet," the shaman said. "Be patient.
We have much work ahead of us still."
Indeed, the wooden face was only half finished.

* * *


Shamanism is widely practiced throughout Africa in many variations.  A crucial trait of shamans is the ability to remain calm no matter what crazy stuff is going on.  Know how to stay calm in a crisis, because that can save lives.

Masks come in many different styles.  They have deep cultural significance all over Africa.  Masks can have great power, but evil ones are dangerous to use.

[To be continued ...]

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