BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 14

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Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic Story, River, King, Warrior, War, Machete, More fighting men poured out of their huts and went into the bush like ants, Since you hate your king and want him dead, go to battle with me and let us kill him together. The moment Obioma and her warriors set their feet on Ugegbe, Obioma had a vision.

To save face and to give the people of Nsu the impression that they were safe under his rule, Eze Nsu  ordered his warriors into the bush that night, demanding they ransack it and slaughter whoever was responsible for the killings they were awakened to behold that night. The Warriors having been finally given the command to kill entered the bush with venom. With their wooden torch lights held high above their heads they searched under every blade of grass in the bushes around Nsu to find the killers. Determined to find out who carried out the killings, Eze Nsu left with a few of his guards to go visit Utaka. There was still no sign of Okiti or any members of his household. Just before Eze Nsu reached Utaka’s reed fence, he let out a cry. It was their custom. The cry was to inform him that evil had taken place in the land without a prior sign of it from the gods. The truth was that the gods had spoken lorry loads of words about what had begun, but the seers of the king were far too afraid to reveal to him what the gods had shown them.

In accordance with custom, Utaka was meant to dash out of his hut with both his spiritual staff and machete, but much to the king’s chagrin, there was not a sound from Utaka’s compound. So the king yelled again, “Ihe meey!!!” There was yet no reply from Utaka. There was however some sort of sound from his compound. His chickens were startled by the shout and so began to cluck. Turning to his guards, the king ordered them to break through the reed fence and find out what might have happened to Utaka and his family. In that moment Eze Nsu was concerned that perhaps those who invaded their land by night may have killed one of his seasoned seers. The guards tore the reed fence down with their machetes and began to call Utaka’s name. The carefully searched around the compound for dead bodies, blood or footprints but there were none. Then the guards decided to check the huts but there was no one in them. Not even fo fo foo, Utaka’s dog, was found in the compound.

“There are only two possibilities here; the invaders must have taken Utaka away to make us blind in this time, or may have dragged him and his family into the bush where they killed them. Search the bushes!!” The possibility of Utaka running away from what was coming had not yet occurred to Eze Nsu. Turning to his special assistant, he barked, “Run to Osakwe’s house, tell him the gods and the king have need of him in this moment!” Osakwe was another dibia (native doctor) in the priestly cult, who had for long been under the shadows of Okiti and Utaka.

By this time Obioma and her warriors had made it beyond Azi River and were nearing the point where Ugegbe forest began. The warriors of Nsu painstakingly searched the bushes until they picked a trail of mass footprints headed toward Azi River. There was no time to send word to Eze Nsu that they had picked a trail of the invaders. Like rabid dogs, the warriors of Nsu decided to chase after the invaders, daring the evil river, Azi and the dead along its shore. However one of the warriors raised his horn and blew it as loud as he could. In Nsu the sound of the horn was heard, its meaning was clear.

More fighting men poured out of their huts and went into the bush like ants, holding their machetes, talisman, bows and arrows. It was said of Nsu men that if one served them food and battle, they would pick battle over food. Such was their stubbornness and bravery. They never say die and did not know how to take beating. Whoever stirred them that night would get a good taste of their venom.  Though it was dark in the bushes, but due to the number of men who ventured into them with lights, a greater part of the bushes were lit up.

The sound of the horn had reached the ears of Eze Nsu. He had to put meeting with Osakwe on hold and hurried into his palace suit himself up for battle. When the king came out to head into the bush, Osakwe was already around. He too had heard the horn and so came prepared for battle. Without much delay, Eze Nsu asked him, “Osakwe, war is upon us and as I speak Utaka has gone missing just like Okiti did. Have the gods revealed anything to you? Your king is ready for battle!” “I see a woman drenched in blood! She leads an army of devourers. My king! You have fought battles, but you have not seen one like this. I am glad to live in this time and to fight by your side.” “No Osakwe! You will not fight in this battle. I will have you study this woman and find out what her weakness is. I want to end her life as swiftly as she started this war.” “Studying an enemy in battle is also battle. Thanks my king for this honour!” Eze Nsu, his royal guards, some war men of Nsu and Osakwe went into the bush.

They hurried to meet the two packs ahead of them as fast as their feet could run. It was a race for only the strong and brave. It was also a race to death and blood. At the outskirts of Nsu, near the road leading to Oru Mba, Mazi Udeagu and his hundred men wondered what the sound of the horn they heard meant. “My lord, the horn you heard means Nsu has been summoned to battle. They must have seen your daughter and her men,” Utaka said from where he sat on the ground. “You are a seer; tell me what have you seen?” “Go to war my lord. Eze Nsu must not be allowed to find your daughter’s weakness.” “What is my daughter’s weakness?” “Have I not made it known to you? He is a man. He is not yet in any of these lands. He shall capture your daughter’s heart with love but shall kill her when kings threaten to end his own life. He should never be trusted. Eze Nsu must die in this battle! Has he not spilled enough blood of the innocent?” “You speak with passion against your king. What do you hate about him and how do I know you speak the truth?” “You found me running from my land and my king. He depends on me for visions. The priest he trusted, a great dibia, has also left him. Eze Nsu kills for no just cause. He forced all of us into his madness. We want the killings to end. It must end with his death.”

“Since you hate your king and want him dead, go to battle with me and let us kill him together. Be my seer and show me how to end his life. You served him for years did you not? You must know his weakness.” “I am willing to go with you, but I have some concern. What will happen to my family?” “My men will keep them far away from battle.” “I am not sure your men can keep them from this battle, however I will go with you. If I die with my family in this war, I will have died trying to stop the madness of my king and his gods.” His wives were shocked that he accepted to go against Eze Nsu with a total stranger. They had a better lot running far away. “Nna anyi (our father), the moment Eze Nsu hears you are with his enemies, he will send all his men after you in battle. And when he is done, he will match his men down to our fathers’ houses and slaughter our relatives. Nna anyi, please reconsider this decision,” said Egowundu, one of Utaka’s wives. “Ego (short for Egowundu), have you considered what would happen if we kill Eze Nsu?” asked Utaka. “No, I have not Nna anyi.” “Then come with me and be the first to tell it when it happens.”

The moment Obioma and her warriors set their feet on Ugegbe, Obioma had a vision. She stepped aside from the road leading into Ugegbe while her men and those they rescued matched on into it. Calming herself as much as she could, she pondered the vision. In the vision she had seen the blood they spilled in Nsu following them into Ugegbe. Her men had covered quite a distance when they realized she was not in their midst. Charging the others to continue into Ugegbe, Nwandu, three of his head hunters and Nwako tracked back to find her. They searched for her until they got close to Azi River. There they saw her running like an antelope with her machete in her right hand and a shield in her left hand. Having seen what was coming, she had made up her mind to face Eze Nsu and her men alone. She could not bear to lose a single soul in Ugegbe. She trusted the dead and Azi River to fight by her side.

At first Nwandu and his team could not figure out whom she was running to meet. They followed her until they had crossed the dunes around Azi and then they heard war chant. Nsu was coming after them. Nsu must be mad and really angry to dare follow them into Ugegbe, the evil forest. Nwandu was a good strategist. He had to stop Obioma from running into the battle and then sent one of his men into Ugegbe to return to Azi River with as many men as could carry a machete in battle. Obioma stopped to listen to Nwandu only because she had seen him fight in Nsu. He was a good fighter and a good strategist. However her mind was made up. She would never let Eze Nsu set his feet on Ugegbe. She had an army which she had told none of her men about. That early morning, she would put the dead and the river to test. They must uphold their pact with her. “We must wait for our men to return before we engage them. They are too many,” said Nwandu. “I will not wait for our men to return, head hunter. As soon as this army reaches that Iroko tree, I will attack them. You and the others should do nothing except cover me. This day you shall find out who I have become, Obioma said defiantly.” Her words were like fire in their bones. Nwandu and the others nodded and took battle positions.

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item An African Literary Blog: BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 14
BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 14
Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic Story, River, King, Warrior, War, Machete, More fighting men poured out of their huts and went into the bush like ants, Since you hate your king and want him dead, go to battle with me and let us kill him together. The moment Obioma and her warriors set their feet on Ugegbe, Obioma had a vision. An African Literary Blog
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