BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 13

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Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic Story, Men, Warriors, Blood, Heads, Killing, Killings

By night Obioma, her thirteen head hunters and some men who arrived at Ugegbe with Nwako headed to Nsu to rescue the captives. In Nsu, the warriors of Eze Nsu were in frenzy; they were hurt that Nwako took some of their fighting men and ran into Ugegbe. They did not know what was coming their way. To them, Nwako and those who had followed him were cowards who ran away in the face of battle. Nwako did not run from battle, he was bringing war against Eze Nsu under the leadership of a new master. Like snakes hunting for a kill, the pack led by Obioma meandered through the bush between Azi River and Nsu. The spies they sent out earlier in the day had found were the family members of those who followed Nwako were being kept. Their fate had been decided. They would be burnt to the gods of Nsu as sacrifices to seek their help in battle against their enemies. The moment their spies who watched the bushes and forests which bounded their village see any invading army heading toward Nsu, they would sound the horn and the captives would be quickly offered to the gods before Eze Nsu and his men would enter battle to engage their enemies.

Obioma and her men wanted to make a quick work of retrieving the captives without giving the men of Nsu an idea of what was coming their way in the war a few weeks ahead. Following the spies who knew were the captives were being kept, Obioma and her warriors went through the bush, beheading the warriors and spies of Nsu in dreadful manner. Obioma was counting on what she could do and wanted her men to see it for themselves. However she did not know what her men could do. Those thirteen head hunters from Oru Mba were ace killers. They made the act of killing seem like a sport. Only the sounds of falling human heads were heard after they had killed men. The spies and warriors of Nsu who crowded the bushes could have sworn that ghosts were taking their men one after another.  Obioma was delighted to know the head hunters were on her side and not against her.

Oma (short for Obioma) was so excited by the skilled art of killing her men displayed that night, that she was tempted to declare a full scale war on Nsu. When her men moved, they left behind them a forest of severed heads and arterial blood fountaining from where the heads once stood. When Oma killed her first man that night, she felt a mix of stormy feelings surge through her. One part of her felt for the man whose head she blew sky high with her machete while another part of her was happy that finally she had begun to avenge her mother and Chume. By the time she took the second head, there was no stopping her any more. Like a tigress after a prey, she leapt upon men beheading and blowing their chests open with the swipe of her machete. When they had reached the bamboo cages near the ancestral shrine of Nsu, the very place where the captives were being kept, Obioma was covered in thick blood. Only her eyes were discernible against the layer of blood which covered her face. The guards of Nsu who watched over the captives were given no chance to sound the cow horn in their possession. Nwako made sure his arrows and those of his men kept them eternally silent before they even got a hint of their presence. The captives were shaken to their bones when they saw a band of men covered in fresh blood descending upon the bamboo cages in which they were imprisoned.

The captives would have let out cries for help if Nwako had not called out the names of some of them and demanded they keep quiet. It only took Nwandu and his men a few seconds to tear apart the bamboo cages to break free the captives. As they were being freed, they were herded into the bush for cover. About fifteen minutes all the captives were freed and they all headed back to Ugegbe poised to handle whatever Nsu might threw their way. Except the spies who went ahead of their group to spot who was coming their way, the other men with Obioma divided themselves into two groups. Some went in front of the captives they rescued while others stay behind them. In the midst of the captives was Obioma all drenched in blood and her eyes darting about. If the captives had not seen her with their own eyes, they would not have believed it if it was told them someday that a woman led the men who set them free from the dreaded warriors of Nsu.

In Eze Nsu’s palace warriors were asleep just like the king himself was. Almost all the land was asleep except for a few warriors who kept watch. Just before Obioma and her team made it to Azi River, some warriors of Nsu who watched the bush that night discovered some headless bodies of their colleagues. In fear they ran back to Nsu to break the news that their enemies were upon them. As the warriors of Nsu ran through the bush shouting their heads off, alerting as many as would hear them that the enemy was around; something Obioma had blocked off from her mind was coming for her. Her father Mazi Udeagu, had managed to rally a hundred fighting men from Ishiagu and was heading toward Nsu that night. He was of the hope that he would be able to find more fighters in Ugegbe to help him destroy Umueze and avenge the deaths of his wife and Obioma. He still did not know that Obioma was saved from death by the very warrior who betrayed them.

Sadly Mazi Udeagu must go through Nsu which had been woken up by some of the warriors. Eze Nsu and his men were shocked to see the killings which took place in his land while he and his men slept. Not a soul in Nsu had seen who came into their land to set free the captives. Nobody could tell what the killers looked liked. If the killings had not been done with machetes and arrows, Eze Nsu and the people of Nsu would have concluded that the gods did the killings. The more the warriors of Nsu ventured deeper into the forest, the more they let out bloodcurdling cries over the number of their men who had slaughtered. The path  which Obioma and her men went through in the bush was drenched with a river of blood and littered with severed heads.

While Nsu mourned the horror which had taken place amongst them, Utaka and his family members were at the outskirts of Nsu hurrying to the neighbouring kingdom to take refuge from what had begun in Nsu. He had seen it when he communed with the gods but was too afraid to tell Eze Nsu what he had seen. While Obioma and her warriors were in Nsu, his family god had woken him from sleep and showed what was happening. The killings he had seen and the manner in which they were executed left him frozen with fear. He was convinced that the devil himself had come against them in the form of the woman who led the warriors into Nsu by night. While he hastened to cross into the neighbouring kingdom, Obioma’s father and her hundred men watched him and his family from the bush were they crouched. After they had watched Utaka long enough, they sent ten of their men to pick him up. Clearly he was running from something. From the way he behaved all was not well with the land they were about to enter.

Utaka’s heart almost fell jumped into his mouth when he saw the ten warriors. Their garb was strange and the talisman around their necks was unlike what he had seen. He stood shaking while his wives and children tried to run into the bush. More warriors filed out like ants from a burning wood and rounded up his wives and children. Hastily Utaka was taken to see Mazi Udeagu for questioning. One look at Mazi Udeagu, Utaka urinated on himself. With his inner eyes, he saw that the man before whom he stood was of the same blood with the woman who a few hours showed what she was capable of with the heads of the warriors of Nsu. With his glistering machete resting on Utaka’s neck, Mazi Udeagu asked, “This is the hour when men and women sleep peacefully; why are you and your family on the run?” “My…my land…Nsu is in danger of being wiped out by one from your loins.” Udeagu was stunned by Utaka’s words. His warriors crowded Utaka and for a moment everyone studied him curiously. “How do you know who I am? I have no one from my loins who lives.”

That moment Utaka saw the chance to save himself and his family. “I am a seer. I know much which you do not know. Spare I and my family and will tell you what you need to know. To prove to you I am no ordinary seer, you must not enter Nsu this night or at any time except to take it down with the invading army. Your daughter, the one spoken of by ancient oracles has her sight on it to destroy it.” By now Udeagu’s mouth was hanging wide open. Slowly he removed his machete from Utaka’s neck and whispered almost to himself, “My daughter was killed in Umueze by Agadagu…” “No, she was not killed. The one who shall kill her has not yet reached these parts.”

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BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 13
Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic Story, Men, Warriors, Blood, Heads, Killing, Killings An African Literary Blog
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