BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 19

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Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic Story, Love, Battle, Blood, War, Warriors. Kings



The warriors of Nsu who raced down to Umuchu with their king, Nze Nsu, were forced to retreat from Umuchu when they found it burning and heard tales of the massacre which was taking place in it. With the option of Nze Nsu taking refuge in Umuchu completely out of the way, the warriors had to consider where else to take their ailing king. With what they had seen in Umuchu, they were not sure whether Okele was faring any better. While they pondered what to do, Obioma, her father and their warriors closed in fast on them. In Okele and Umuchu, Nwandu and Nwako had the two kings bound like slaves and slaughtered the warriors who would not take the choice of fleeing from their lands. Every shrine in which men women and children were in the past sacrificed to the gods were burnt to the ground. The priests and their families in Okele and Umuchu were given the same treatment they meted out to the people. They were tied in the shrines of their gods and set alight. Since their gods liked burnt human meat, Nwako and Nwandu served them the meat of the priests and their family members as the last burnt offering they would receive in those lands. From records they gathered, men of honourable character, who swore to Nwako and Nwandu were put in charge of the lands to lead them in justice and truth and to offer all the people of their lands the chance to worship Chiukwu the God in Igbo land, who demanded no human sacrifice or laid burdens on the people.

With Okele and Umuchu completely subdued, Nwako and Nwandu led the kings of the two kingdoms back to Nsu. Left to Nwandu, he would have beheaded Apam, the king of Okele and burnt his body. He was not trained to take prisoners in battle, but he had to take Apam alive back to Nsu because Obioma had asked for it. While the two warriors led their men and the trophies they won in battle, the two kings, back to Nsu; Obioma and her father caught up with the warriors of Nsu at Aja Ala. Aja Ala was a small community near Okele, which had no king unlike the communities around them. They had paid their dues many decades in the past and broke free from the tyranny of the gods and kings. However that was at the cost of losing all their lands. All they had left was the small stretch of land which they called home. In this small community, Nze Nsu and his warriors sought refuge. Sadly for them Obioma was not the type to easily give up on a task. She kept searching for Eze Nsu and his men until she sniffed them out in Aja Ala.

Nsu Warriors being who they were chose to fight to protect their king. In the battle which broke out, Obioma and her father slaughtered Nsu warriors. That early morning Obioma saw the dead devour the flesh of men in battle. There was yet no sign of Azi River, but Obioma was certain the river would come good in her fiercest battle which she expected to be against king Agadagu. After Eze Nsu was caught and bound up like a common thief, Obioma asked all her warriors to gather around him in units and urinate on him. That was the worst humiliation a king could suffer. As if that was not enough, Obioma had her warriors drag Eze Nsu on the ground around the small town in Aja Ala where he was caught. The men and women of Aja Ala who witnessed the battle and what was done to Eze Nsu had quite some tale to tell. The mighty king who stood tall amongst other kings was caught by a woman and was humiliated like a cassava thief.

By the time Obioma was ready to leave their community with her warriors; the men of Aja Ala came to her and pledged their support. Hundreds of their men joined her army and swore to wage war with her against any king she would have them fight. The people of Aja Ala were wise. They had heard of a woman who matched out of Ugegbe with a fearsome army and sent fear into the hearts of kings. To join forces with her would serve them well. The kings who seized their ancestral lands would give them up when they hear Aja Ala had joined Obioma’s army. While Obioma headed toward Nsu to finish what she had begun, the elders of Aja Ala quickly sent emissaries to the kings who had seized their lands and demanded that those lands be released. They boldly threatened those kings that their warrior queen, Obioma Udeagu, the one who moved with the wind in battle was willing and ready to do battle with them if their lands were not released in three market days. The people of Aja Ala were professional noisemakers. They knew how to make small things look larger than life. Their men who did not join Obioma rolled out their drums and began to drum the beats of war. Their small army paraded their boundaries and make big threats. Those who had seen Obioma leave Aja Ala with Eze Nsu bound made the claims of the people of Aja Ala much more real than they were. The kings had to meet quickly and sent emissaries to Aja Ala to persuade their elders to seek a peaceful process to recover their lands instead of war.

In Nsu the hunter king, Amanze had arrived with his men and rallied what was left of the warriors of Nsu and led them in battle against the warriors of Ugegbe. This battle was the bloodiest in the campaign Obioma had led so far. Without Obioma, Nwandu, Nwako, Mazi Udeagu and some of the thirteen head hunters, the warriors of Ugegbe were slaughtered in battle. The battle field was so much stained with blood that a man’s feet in battle was covered with blood right to the ankle length.  Amanze had expected the warriors of Ugegbe to surrender to him, but they unsurprisingly dug their feet in and fought on. Led by only four of the head hunters, they withstood Amanze, hoping for Obioma and the rest to arrive. When the people of Nsu who were on the run out of their land heard of the slaughter and that Amanze had come to their aid, many of them turned right round and headed back to Nsu. Their men and women picked arms and went to war. Don’t underestimate Nsu, like was said of them, they would always choose battle over food. Nsu fulu ogu ju nri (Nsu who saw battle, turned down food and went to fight) was the expression used to describe their bent for war.

In the heat of the battle in Nsu, a young Ugegbe warrior who dreamt of becoming like Obioma someday knew they had little chance of still standing on their feet by the time Obioma and their backup would arrive.  He had to do something. Breaking his rank, he surged forward and pressed against the swarm of Nsu warriors. If the day had not broken and all saw it was a young man moving like Obioma in battle, many would have believed Obioma had done what the young warrior did that morning.  Nsu legs, arms and heads flew high. The young man staged the sort of horror that would last a man a life time. Even Amaze had to retreat from Ugegbe warriors. As the young warrior moved, he cried out for more blood. It was later said of him that the gods took hold of his arms and fought on the side of Ugegbe. When he had cut a swath through Nsu warriors he sent two older warriors to run down to Umuchu and Okele and inform their army of what had begun in Nsu.

The two warriors didn’t have to run far. Obioma and her full army were already nearby. A few Ugegbe deserters had run into Mazi Udeagu and his daughter while they escaped from the slaughter in Nsu and told them how the battle had turned against them with the arrival of Amanze. Obioma was torn apart when she heard how her men were being killed. She ran like the wind, she moved like fire. When she pounced on the warriors of Nsu, what happened that day became legend and is in most part the reason her story is still told till this day. The men who were in battle with her that day claimed she killed ten men with one thrust of her machete and she had two machetes in her hands. This meant that she dropped twenty warriors each time she swung her machetes. Others said she killed seven men with one thrust of her machete. There were those who claimed they saw dead souls run out of her feet and devoured men. It was said that by the time the battle was over, Obioma and her warriors had to paddle their way out of rivers of blood because of the number of men they killed that day. When the battle had become too hot for Amanze, he used his charm and disappeared from battle.

However his escape did not last for long. Mazi Udeagu and two head hunters ran on foot down to his town and slaughtered him and his entire family. Udeagu was a reserved and caring man, for him to have killed a man along with his entire family meant he was horrified by the number of Ugegbe warriors he saw dead in battle. In Nsu, Obioma waited for her father to return the next day before executing her judgment on Eze Nsu. In the meantime she sent for pregnant women left in Nsu and neighboring lands. She would keep her word of hanging Eze Nsu in Ogugu’s shrine and have pregnant women stone him to pulp. As for the other two kings, she would leave her warriors to decide how to kill them. To show she had conquered Nsu, she set up her camp in their village square and had their men wrestle wild dogs to entertain her warriors. While Obioma waited for her father to return, she was told that Ugonma, the daughter of Amanze and the last queen of Eze Nsu had been caught. She was hurrying to her hometown with six sons of Eze Nsu when she was caught. Before they could be brought to Obioma, some family members of those Eze Nsu burnt to the gods ambushed the warriors bringing them to Obioma and set Ugonma and the six sons of Eze Nsu on fire.
STORY CONTINUES...
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Uzoma Ujor

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 19
BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 19
Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic Story, Love, Battle, Blood, War, Warriors. Kings
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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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