After many years, Marimba found himself ascending to the throne on the death of his father, King Zenith. He had dutifully acquired seven wives from the seven tribes of Jenga, and now reluctantly called for his first wife to return so that there would be stability and harmony in the kingdom. Mercedes and Jianawe returned to the palace and took up quiet residence in their rooms. Meanwhile, King Marimba’s second wife, Jiahli (JYAH-lee), had given birth to three sons of her own, and did not much like the idea of the First Wife and the First Prince returning to the palace. She contrived to affect the king’s mind with suspicions of betrayal. She often commented on the strange behavior of little Jianawe and suggested he might have been sired by the death god, Kuti (KOO-tee).
It was no great challenge to convince King Marimba that the boy was not his, and that he might even be dangerous. But the king dared not spurn the child openly for fear of unsettling the delicate political balance enjoyed by the seven tribes of Jenga. For Jianawe and his mother represented the tribe of her adoptive mother, Malwe. So the next time Marimba took Jianawe hunting, he walked far ahead of the young prince and took up a firing position from amongst the trees. Briefly, he thought he could hear a low, rumbling voice crying out just before his arrow flew. It hit Jianawe square in the chest, and the boy sank to the ground. Marimba, believing the child to be dead, returned to the castle claiming that a lion had eaten his boy. His mother grieved him terribly, and fell ill with great despair.