BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 23

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Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic Story, Warriors, Kill, Obioma has fallen in love with a man, A mysterious fire, Death, Battle.

Mazi Udeagu was scared down to his bones when he saw Obioma’s heart was set upon Ikechi. The man whom prophecy foretold would betray his daughter’s trust and subsequently kill her was in their midst. While Udeagu pondered the best option to remove the obvious threat to his daughter’s life, his warriors with whom he swore an oath to protect Obioma’s life came to see him. They had come to deliberate with Udeagu about how to take care of Ikechi. “Clearly Ikechi is the man who shall destroy your daughter’s life. Many men have laid their lives down for her; we cannot let this boy ruin everything. Mazi Udeagu, all you need is to say the word and we will kill the boy tonight.” “I want Ikechi dead as much as all of you. However something worries me; this boy saved all of us today. I would not want to take his life this soon. Let him bask a while in his newfound fame. When the time is right we will slaughter him.” “Mazi, that is risky. If we don’t kill the boy sooner, we risk Obioma getting trapped by his charisma. The boy is a great fighter. Already our men are talking about him as he was the only one who fought last night. I say we kill him now,” said Udo, one of Mazi Udeagu’s trusted warriors.

While the men deliberated, Nwandu and his head hunters joined them. They had come to see Udeagu for the same reason. “Mazi Udeagu your daughter is desperately infatuated with the boy, Ikechi. She has sent for him five times since morning. If kings who wish Obioma death hear that her heart is set upon a man, they will not delay to take advantage of it,” Nwandu warned. “I am aware of that Nwandu, but I feel we should let the boy see tomorrow. He saved us all last night. Let him see one more day.” While the meeting went on, Nwako also joined them, he was not part of the two groups who swore oaths to protect Obioma, but he had also heard about the prophecy. Udeagu and his men expected Nwako to say what brought him to their meeting and leave them, but he sat in their midst and said, “I am not a boy. I know what this meeting is all about. Obioma has fallen in love with a man and therefore her life is in grave danger. I don’t want to see her come to ruin. I have taken many machete blows in battle because of her and I will gladly take more for her.” All the men in the meeting relaxed. They were happy Nwako was on their side.

“However before we take Ikechi’s life,” Nwako continued, “all of you need to hear the rumours flying around in Umueze. They are at the moment more afraid of him than they are of Obioma or any of us. The warriors of Umueze believe we have a ghost in our midst. Let us take advantage of that. Let us use the fear of Ikechi to destroy Umueze and then take the boy’s life. After the war I volunteer to kill the boy myself.” There was silence. They all sat quietly and pondered Nwako’s suggestion. He was right; the battle against Umueze would be different. Already they had seen it. They would need everyone who can help them win it. “I hate to agree with you Nwako, but you are right. We need Ikechi in this battle. However you all should know that as soon as Umueze falls, Ikechi should not leave the battleground alive.” Mazi Udeagu said as he studied the faces of the men in the meeting with him. “Nwako is right. I was blinded by the fear of losing Obioma. I should have seen we needed him before calling for him to be killed. Nwako, taking Ikechi’s life won’t be your sole responsibility. I and my men make a living by killing. When the battle ends, what you will find out is that Ikechi is dead and not how he died. We will see to that,” Nwandu stated emphatically.

And so, it was agreed by those in that meeting that Ikechi should live till the war with Umueze was over. Both Nwako and Udeagu had other plans on their minds about how to make sure Obioma survived the threat posed by Ikechi. They did not make it known to the others; they preferred to keep it to themselves. While Mazi Udeagu and the warriors conferred about Ikechi, Obioma was told that her top generals were in a secret meeting. She did not bother to find out what the meeting was about. She knew that all her men loved her and would die protecting her. There was no need to worry about what they discussed in the meeting. After Ikechi had left Obioma the last time he was invited to see her, he went to spend time with his friends and narrated to them what it was like to sit next to Obioma. His friends sat around him and listened raptly to all he had to say, “Obioma is no ordinary human being! In fact she is a goddess!” Ikechi said looking from one face to another. “When I sat in front of her, I shook like a plant blown about by the wind.”

“I have heard that her skin glows on a closer look, is it true, Ikechi?” one of his friends asked. “That is true, but it is only half what you have been told about her. She has a swarm of unseen warriors around her. Sometimes they show themselves at other times they remain invisible. I also saw that her feet do not actually touch the ground. It was as if they rest on a river. I saw the river with my two eyes. She is not human! Let no man set his heart upon her. I believe that any man who goes in on her shall die!” Ikechi announced looking overly excited. “But I have heard that before her narrow escape from Umueze, Agadagu gave her to some of his warriors to rape. Men have gone in on her and did not die,” another of his friend pointed out. “You don’t have your facts right, Anya. The warriors who raped her did not live to see the next day. Udoka, the warrior who saved her, killed most of them that night. The rest were found dead by morning. A mysterious fire had burnt them to death,” Osondu explained further. Anya was visibly shaken. “Indeed the woman is death,” Anya said in a whisper to his friends.

“Osondu, when I was with Obioma, I told her that you were the one who blew the horn. She will see you before the next battle. I told her that you fought like a god with one arm and an arrow sticking out in the other.” Smiling broadly Ikechi continued, “I told her that all of you killed men in hundreds. I told her that you all were part of the ghost the warriors of Umueze thought they saw in battle. She is proud of us and our land Ezele.” “And what did you tell her about yourself Ikechi?” Osondu asked. “Is there anything worthy to disturb her ears about a poor hunter like me? I told her nothing about me.” His friends were shocked and at the same time happy that Ikechi did not take the glory for what they did in battle alone. “You should have told her that you are the champion wrestler in your home town in Ezele. You should have told her that half the women in Egbeaku want you to marry them since you broke the back of their number one wrestler. You should have told her that all the animals in Ezele forest know you by your name as a great hunter. There is so much about you to tell her,” Anya said breathlessly. “And if I had told her all those, what would I have gained?”

Anya looked at him unbelievably. “Did you just ask what would you have gained? Then let me tell you, you would have won the heart of the greatest woman of all time!” Anya announced loudly. Ikechi spit on the ground and waved his hands over his head and said, “God forbid! I do not want to win her heart. Did you not hear me Anya? I saw invisible warriors around her! Those are gods! If I love her they will kill me. After the war I intend to go back home and perhaps marry Ugochi. I don’t want to have anything to do with Obioma, she is from the gods, let the gods have her.” “Sadly you have no ambition Ikechi. The gods have offered you the opportunity to be great and all you have done was to reject it. No wonder the elders say that the sharp machete has no head and the blunt machete has head. If the gods were to give me the same opportunity they have given you, I would make great use of it,” Anya said angrily. “Whether Ikechi has ambition or not, his life will never be the same again. He has sat with Obioma many times, his valour in war is spreading, when kings hear about him, they will seek him out. Our friend here…” Osondu patted him on the back and continued “…will never be the same again. He doesn’t need to be ambitious.”

Just them an Obolo warrior, holding several vultures in his hands came to them and announced, “Ikechi, Obioma wants to see you and your friends now!” Ikechi and his friends were surprised. “Do you perhaps know why she wants to see us?” Ikechi asked the Obolo warrior. “Tonight we all will match out against Umueze, Obioma wants you and your friends to lead the way. Are you not the ghost who had them running back to their villages with their tales in-between their legs? Tonight Umueze will bleed.” Ikechi and his friends stood speechless. They could not believe Obioma could honour them with such responsibility. However what had begun to play out was Nwako’s scheme to protect Obioma. The surprise attack on Umueze and the idea of Ikechi and his friends leading the way were his. He was playing his cards close to his chest. Perhaps a boy who does not even dream of loving Obioma will die for allegedly loving him.  STORY CONTINUES...

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BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 23
Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic Story, Warriors, Kill, Obioma has fallen in love with a man, A mysterious fire, Death, Battle. An African Literary Blog
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