BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 20

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Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic Love Story, Warriors, Blood, Kings, stones, Stoning, pregnant women, men, heads, head, Shrine

The next day when Mazi Udeagu and the two head hunters, returned to Nsu; Obioma and the warriors of Ugegbe celebrated their return with a mighty shout of victory. To show their men that their mission to Amanze’s hometown was a success, one of the head hunters brought down a bag slung across his shoulder and emptied the content in it on the ground. The roar of the warriors of Ugegbe pitched at the sight of the heads which rolled out of it. The heads of Amanze and his sons had been brought back to Nsu to show the warriors of Ugegbe that the man who led the massacre against them had been served a judgment deserving of his sins. Eze Nsu and the kings of Okele and Umuchu were led down to the shrine of Ogugu. When they reached the shrine of the god in whose name many were burnt alive, the heads of Amanze and his sons were pinned on spikes on both sides of the path leading into the shrine.

Even though Nsu had waged war against Ugegbe to stop their land from being defeated in battle, there were very many in Nsu who came out to watch their king served the judgment he deserved. Many Nsu women celebrated the downfall of Eze Nsu. They were happy that the burning of pregnant women to Ogugu had come to an end. There were however some who came out for a different reason, they wanted to see if Ogugu, the mighty ruthless god, would stand by and watch his shrine burnt to the ground as Obioma did to the shrines of the gods in Umuchu and Okele. Raising her voice Obioma announced, “Here before you all are the three kings who troubled the peace loving people of Nsu, Okele and Umuchu. During their reign of terror innocent lives were slaughtered to amuse them and their gods. This day we shall give them the same treatment they gave to their subjects. Eze Nsu loved to burn pregnant women, for that reason I have decided that in the hands of pregnant women he shall die!” At that the crowd gathered at the shrine shouted excitedly. Eze Nsu kneeling amongst the kings of Okele and Umuchu darted his eyes about, as if expecting a last minute miracle to save him from death.

Some pregnant women standing not so far from him aimed missiles at him and let them fly. Eze Nsu was forced to lie on the ground to evade the stones which rained on him. “Since the pregnant women of Nsu cannot wait to have this evil king stoned to death, let us get it over and done with. Pin this filthy king on that tree!” Obioma ordered. Without delay, warriors dragged Eze Nsu to his feet and led him to the tree Obioma pointed at in the shrine. Using a tree branch which served as a ladder, the warrior climbed some height up the big fat tree and tied Eze Nsu on its trunk. Underneath his feet, some warriors piled up dry wood in readiness to burn his body as soon as women were done stoning him to death. In bathed breath some waited, hoping that Ogugu would make an appearance and bring the execution to a halt. While some warriors piled up wood under Eze Nsu’s feet, all the pregnant women stepped forward with heavy stones in their hands. Behind them their men carried baskets of stones to keep them supplied with stones until they stoned the evil king to death.

Seeing all was ready, Obioma raised her hand meaning to give the pregnant women the cue to unleash their judgment on Eze Nsu. She had hardly brought down her hand before the angry pregnant women began to rain stones on Eze Nsu.  Eze Nsu struggled to break loose but could not. He had to yell for mercy, “I am your king, have mercy on me!!!” He should have shut his mouth and received his judgment bravely. If his cry did anything, it drove the pregnant women to frenzy. They moved closer to the tree to which he was tied and stoned him with greater force. Once again Eze Nsu cried out, but this time he made an appeal to Ogugu to come to his rescue, “Ogugu! I served you with great zeal! Do not abandon me now!!” The pregnant women stopped stoning him. They still had fear for the ruthless god. People all around the shrine looked up and around to see if Ogugu was going to come to his rescue. There was nothing to show Ogugu heard him. A ring of laughter broke out around the shrine in mockery to Eze Nsu and his god.

In anger the pregnant women, resumed the execution. Eze Nsu had invoked Ogugu against them, they were much more eager to finish him off. When several stones had torn Eze Nsu’s face beyond recognition, his head tilted toward his left shoulder and hung loose. The life in him was fading away fast. The pregnant women stoning him to death were in wild frenzy. They were loving the sight of the revered king dying in the hands of a women and more so, his god abandoning him when he needed him most. At this point something unusual happened, without warning the top of the tree to which Eze Nsu was tied split apart with a deafening sound and one half of it bent over and slowly dropped to the ground. Men and women of Nsu were frozen with fear. The pregnant women, who were stoning Eze Nsu, took to their heels. However, Obioma and her warriors stood in their way and demanded they stand to their feet. “No man or woman shall run from this place! I am Obioma Udeagu! I dare the gods of Nsu to stop me if they can! They are no gods! Ogugu is no god!!” Her words were abominations to the Nsu ears which heard them. Some men and women covered their ears and began to pray to their gods for mercy. Raising her machete and pointing it to the people of Nsu who gathered around the shrine Obioma threatened, “If I hear anyone of you pray to the gods of Nsu one more time, I will behead that person and burn his or her body along with your god-forsaken king.”

Almost everyone had forgotten he was present; he had to raise his voice to explain to Nsu the meaning of the old tree splitting apart and one half of it falling to the ground. “Hear me, men and women of Nsu!! I am Utaka, the seer who sat face to face with the gods and scratched their backs when they had need for me to do so! What you have seen this day is not an act of any god. That tree on which Eze Nsu has been stoned to death is the ancestral tree of the old kings. All the kings of old were brought here when they were still babies. None of you know about this ritual, but the priests and the seers are well aware of it. For this tree to have split apart when Eze Nsu died means the gods and the old kings shall no longer afflict our land with tyrant kings like Eze Nsu! We are free!!!” The men and women who a while earlier were scared to their bones, jubilated wildly. Just when they had calmed to see Obioma announce what shall be done to the other two kings, another voice was heard. This one needed no introduction; it was the voice of Okiti, the priest who had fled from Nsu when he saw what was coming.

“Okiti is not dead!! I am alive!!! I only did what the wise do in such times. Eze Nsu was like the stubborn fly which goes into the grave with a corpse. I saw it all but Eze Nsu would not heed my warning. I had to leave Nsu and let the will of the old kings come to pass.” Turning to Utaka, Okiti said, “Utaka Nwaude! You have shown yourself a wise man by joining this woman. The gods of our fathers will not stop her. She is the wild wind spoken of in ages gone by. She shall blow mightily and change some of our ways until her time comes to pass and Amadioha becomes the name of the mighty god on our lips.” Moving closer to Obioma, Okiti drove his priestly staff into the ground and extended a handshake to her. “Though you are a woman, I will however shake you as a man. You have been given a seat amongst the mighty and brave in our folklore. This is my hand; I offer it to you in whatever way it may be useful to you.” Like a man Obioma took his hand and shook it like a warrior she was.

By this time, Obioma’s warriors and the people of Nsu were delirious with excitement. Okiti was no ordinary Dibia (native doctor), when he spoke his words were heeded with great care. For him to make the revelations they all heard meant the gods were actually with Obioma. Now they could understand why Ogugu could not rise to defend Eze Nsu. As the news of what was happening at Ogugu’s shrine spread through Nsu, some of the warriors who fought against Obioma regretted why they had to do so. “I have two kings here, who my warriors have decided they will burn. I suppose you know them, the kings of Okele and Umuchu. When I am done with them, I will match down to Umueze my ancestral home and serve the gods, the king and the priests there their portion of my anger. In this match down to Umueze, I will need your hand in battle since you have offered it, Okiti.”     STORY CONTINUES...

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item An African Literary Blog: BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 20
BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 20
Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic Love Story, Warriors, Blood, Kings, stones, Stoning, pregnant women, men, heads, head, Shrine An African Literary Blog
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