BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 15

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Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic Story, Warrior, Blood, Head, Machete, War



Eze Nsu and his war men marched ebulliently, determined to follow the footprints they had tracked to that point into Ugegbe forest. They were oblivious of the fact that Obioma and some of her warriors were lurking in the shadows. The moment Eze Nsu and his army reached the Iroko tree; Obioma raised herself like a cobra ready to strike a prey. Under her breath she summoned the dead and River Azi. If she had an army she would have raised a battle cry, but she had about five warriors on her side. Picking her steps like a cat crouching toward a prey, she approached warriors of Nsu. Behind her, Nwandu and the others followed. When Obioma drew closer to the warriors of Nsu, she leapt into the air and swung her machete toward the closest warrior. The warrior had no chance to shout. He did not even see what killed him. All that the men around him could see was a headless body and a flying head in the air. The men raised a cry, “War!!” There was utter confusion. No one could tell who had killed their man. Those ahead were oblivious of the chaos behind. Right in the midst of the warriors of Nsu, Obioma stood and regarded them momentarily. She could tell the dead and the river had begun to work their magic on the warriors of Nsu. Encouraged by what she saw, she thrust her machete at the men around her. Like grass being mown down, heads of able bodied men began to fall down to the ground, while their bodies staggered around in heart wrenching manner with blood fountaining from the stump where their heads once stood.

Nwandu and his men surged forward, expertly killing the warriors of Nsu in a fashion that would make an average man shudder. When Nwandu, Nwako and the three other head hunters reached Obioma, they had left a trail of headless bodies behind them. The five of them circled Obioma. On the ground they stooped and raised their wooden shields. There was fear in the eyes of Nsu warriors. A good number of their men had already died and they could not explain how it happened. They could see it was indeed war. Some Nsu warriors pulled out their horns from their waists and sounded them. At the sound of the horns, those who still wondered what was exactly happening knew they had been ambushed. Like ants filling out of their holes, the warriors of Nsu began to take battle positions. Oma did not want to give them the luxury of organizing themselves. She sprang from where she stooped, leaping toward her enemies she yelled, “Die!!!”From behind her men shadowed her, killing whatever she missed.

Yet again men began to fall down like Udara (African Star Apple) shaken by a great wind during the rainy season. Obioma was not human. There was no way a human being could move the way she did. Nwako and the others tried their best to stay close to her to take care of the warriors of Nsu who might attack her from behind. However they could not stay too close to her. They feared for their lives. Obioma was moving too fast in every direction. At a point she dropped her shield and picked the machete of a fallen warrior of Nsu and attacked everything which stood near her with both machetes in her hands. Nwandu did not like that and so he barked at her to drop the second machete and pick up her shield. Sadly Obioma did not hear him. In fact if there was sound around her, she did not hear any of it. The countless dead by the river had taken hold of her and were through her unleashing their rage on the warriors of Nsu.

Running back from the front line where he was, Eze Nsu pushed through his warriors to meet Obioma head long. He must challenge whoever had sent fear into the hearts of his men. When he drew close and saw it was the woman whom they had captured a few nights earlier, he was bothered. Okiti had warned him about her and Utaka spoke about her in an uncertain manner. Peering beyond Obioma and the five men who fought beside her, he could not understand how six warriors could have killed that number of men. However he didn’t have to wait for long. As though she had paused to reload her strength, Obioma charged at the warriors of Nsu, driving them toward Ugegbe. Eze Nsu knew he must not be seen afraid of the woman so he too charged forward, raising a cry for all his men to follow him. The warriors of Nsu heeded his battle cry and came at Obioma and her five men. The men around Obioma stood still for a moment at the sight of innumerable warriors charging at them. Obioma did not notice if Eze Nsu was in front of her or not. She looked like a drum of blood on two legs as a result of the blood which covered her from head down.

When Eze Nsu reached her, Obioma treated him like an average warrior. The swift movement of her machetes carved his chest wide open and left a gash on his neck. Nwandu saw Eze Nsu fall in a heap while Obioma moved forward. He ran to finish him off but the warriors of Nsu were not ready to lose their king just yet. They circled him, forming a human wall around him. Nwandu dared them and pressed forward. Even though he took many cuts on his back yet he moved like he had not even been scratched. The more he killed men to reach Eze Nsu, the more other warriors replaced the dead to protect their king. Seeing Oma and the other four warriors had moved a little ahead of him he retreated and called his three head hunters to his aid, leaving only Nwako to give Obioma cover. The head hunters had not shown what they could do. It had all along been Obioma’s show. Seeing their leader with several machete cuts, the three head hunters raised a cry, summoning death to take them if they do not kill all who did that to their master.

That momentary pause offered the warriors of Nsu a little time to move Eze Nsu away from Nwandu, whom they were sure was an offspring of Satan. The number of machete cuts he had taken should have killed him, yet he stood on his feet. His three head hunters rallied around him and they pressed the warriors of Nsu, hoping to get to Eze Nsu and behead him. Oru Mba head cutters were masters of voodoo and black magic. If only the warriors of Nsu had heard what Utaka had to say about the warriors led by Obioma, they would have retreated at that moment to fight later. Reaching into his bag, Nwandu removed an egg and cast it violently on the ground. Fire and thick smoke erupted from it and went after the war men for Nsu. The other head hunters beside Nwandu did the same. Mind snapping wails of men burning in fire filled the air. Nsu had men who could do the same and so they replied the magic with their own eggs. Fire and smoke went after Nwandu and his men. Instead of running scared, the four men scooped sand into their mouths and began to speak to the raging fire and smoke which came for them.

It was a shocking sight to the warriors of Nsu as the fire from their eggs quenched when it reached Nwandu and his men. Nsu had fallen to an ancient Oru Mba trick. In the heat of battles Oru Mba warriors would invoke smoke to confuse their enemies because they were better fighters under the cover of smoke. Nsu warriors had invoked the smoke and fire to devour their enemies, but the head hunters did it with some other hidden intent. They wanted cover so they could move like ghosts in the smoke. The breaking of dawn would soon play to the advantage of Nsu warriors and Nwandu did not want it. While Obioma and Nwako pushed a swarm of Nsu warriors into Ugegbe, a battle cry was heard from the forest. The nine head hunters and some men of Nsu who escaped with Nwako had arrived with every man and boy who could hold a machete firmly in his hand. In front of the army from Ugegbe were the ten head hunters. One look at the battle ground the nine understood why there was smoke over it. Quickly they unleashed more fire and smoke by casting eggs at the war men of Nsu. As the fire and smoke came for them, they ran in every direction for cover. What followed when the nine head hunters moved into the smoke is better left untold.

For once Obioma stopped and looked around. Beside her Nwako stood breathing heaving and covered in blood. When he tried to loosen his grip on his machete, he found his fingers had glued to it.  Obioma did a quick math, there were Nsu warriors everywhere, but they were beginning to retreat slowly. Clearly what they had seen was far greater than what they expected. They had not been beaten yet, make no mistake about it. Nsu would regroup to fight till death. Turning to Nwako, Obioma saw his shoulder had been cut open. She had to tear a piece of her clothe and bandaged it. “Nwako you have served me well. Retreat into Ugegbe, this is not the day you will die. I still have need of you. There is a land yet to be taken, Umueze.” “I am a warrior and I have Nsu blood running in my veins, do not tell me to retreat from battle. My fate is to die in battle.” “I know, but this is not the day you will die in battle. Retreat into Ugegbe. I am commanding you to retreat. I still need you. If you won’t retreat, at least stay with the men of Ugegbe, I do not want any of them to die this day.”

To Nwako that was a better choice than to retreat from battle. Still studying the scattered warriors of Nsu, Obioma realized she had not seen Nwandu and his three head hunters. “Where is Nwandu and his men?!” she asked with alarm in her voice. “They went after Eze Nsu. I hope they have not fallen in battle.” “What!! Is Eze Nsu in this battle ground?!” “Yes, he is very much around. You probably killed him when he met you.” “Did he challenge me?” “Woman who did you say you are? Please tell me. Eze Nsu came for you and you treated him like a boy!” At that, Obioma ran back to find Nwandu and his men. Nwako could not let her go alone, he moved behind like a shadow, willing to die protecting her.
STORY CONTINUES...

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Uzoma Ujor

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 15
BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 15
Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic Story, Warrior, Blood, Head, Machete, War
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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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