BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 26

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As Obioma led king Agadagu to the shrine of Durugo, crowds of men and women, jubilant that the tyranny of king Agadagu and the gods of Umueze had come to an end, followed behind her. They chanted, they sang and danced. Though some of them had lost sons in the war, however they were grateful that the slavish yoke around their necks had been broken. As the crowd swelled, some began to pelt Agadagu and Azunna with stones and rotten food items. With the news of the capture of king Agadagu spreading through Umueze, men and women who had gone into hiding because of the war came out and made their way to the shrine of Durugo; the god whose favourite sacrifice was roasted human meat.  At the shrine a mammoth crowd assembled, eager to see their land rid of the last of the cruel king, Agadagu.

To make sure they were not caught by any surprise, Obioma’s warriors mounted themselves around the shrine in strategic positions, poised to take on anyone who might try to spring a shock on them. Raising her voice, Obioma addressed the crowd at the shrine, “I am Obioma Udeagu, I need not tell you my story…” “Agu nwa anyi (Lioness)!!!” the crowd roared in jubilation. “When my mother and the man whom soul loved were burnt here, I swore that someday I would return to take my revenge. This is the day of my vengeance!” she continued, leaving the crowd in a delirious mood with her speech. “I was repeatedly raped and was going to be burnt to Durugo as a sacrifice. What was my sin?” she paused and looked around the shrine. “My sin was refusal to marry this filthy pig! A man who at that time had twenty-six wives! I was going to be his twenty-seventh wife…”  A shower of stones rained on king Agadagu. “Please do not stone him to death,” Obioma pleaded. “I intend to burn his family members alive while he watches. Right on this ground he burnt my mother alive while I watched,” she continued.

At the mention of burning them, the family members of king Agadagu began to cry, begging for mercy. Not one soul from his loins was missing. All his wives and children were present. Nwako had made sure he rounded all of them up and brought them down to the shrine of Durugo. On the spot where he knelt like a common thief, Agadagu squeezed his eyes shut, wishing a day like that had not come. “Since Durugo likes human sacrifice, let us not keep him waiting. Tie the king’s family members up to be burnt!” Obioma commanded. King Agadagu’s family members fought to resist being taken to the trees in the shrine where people were regularly burnt; but they were no match for the warriors. After knocking them silly, they all were dragged down to the trees and tied to them. Obioma asked that king Agadagu be carried to the elevated seat at the ancestral shrine, where he usually sat to watch men and women burnt to the gods. Mocking him, Obioma said “King Agadagu, I hope you can get a good view of the sacrifices we are about to offer to the gods from there.” The king said nothing. He still could not believe all that was happening. Behind him two warriors stood to make sure they position his face to watch his family members burn in fire.

When Obioma gave the command, the king’s family members were set alight. Their painful cry amid flames tore his heart, when Agadagu could not take the torture anymore, he had to go down on his knees and pleaded with Obioma. Even Mazi Udeagu could not watch the king’s family members burn for long in fire. He had always looked forward to it, for what was done to his wife and daughter, but watching it happen softened his heart. While Agadagu pleaded to Obioma to stop. She ascended the steps leading to the elevated sitting position and smacked the king across the face and yelled, “For kneeling down and begging me not to burn your wives and children, I will have you burnt now. You have offended the gods for kneeling to a common woman!” She was clearly mocking the king and he understood her meaning quite well. In the past the king had people burnt for no just cause, now he could see how cruel his acts were. Agadagu fought to break the ropes which bound his hands and feet, but could not. He wished he could run down and save his wives and children.

As the cry of his family members shot high in the flames which consumed them, Agadagu tried to jump off the elevated sitting position whereupon he was. The two warriors who stood behind him stopped him and forced him to watch his family burn in fire until their voices faded. Agadagu was a broken man. Even if Obioma was to let him go, he would never recover from the horror of watching all his wives and children burn to death. When the excitement of burning the king’s family had waned, Obioma demanded, “Bring Azunna the chief priest forward!” The fearsome Azunna who had men burnt at the wave of his hand, shook and urinated on himself, amusing the crowd at the shrine. “Please my queen, have mercy on me! I was only following the orders of Agadagu. Spare me please!” “Azunna I am not your queen! I am not of royal blood! There is your king and you are going to announce to him his sins before I burn him!” Azunna was relieved a bit. He had thought it was time to burn him. King Agadagu was taken down to a fresh tree and tied to it. At Obioma’s command, Azunna began to announce to the crowd the sins of king Agadagu, “This man, king Agadagu was an enemy of the people! Sadly, like every evil king his end has come! He shall be burnt to death like he had men and women burnt to death,” Azunna announced, looking over his shoulder to make sure Obioma was pleased.

“At his command women were kidnapped and raped to amuse him. He stole young girls in the name of the gods! He killed men to take their lands and wives! Let his blood be upon him and let the evil he brought upon this land follow him to the land of the dead!” The angry crowd yelled, “Let his blood be upon him!” Azunna was almost forgetting that his judgement was coming. He sounded as though he was still serving under king Agadagu as the chief priest. Either he was doing it to please Obioma or he did it to atone for his many sins. Much to everyone’s surprise, Azunna walked over to where king Agadagu was tied and spit into his face. “Let those who this evil king had abused and robbed spit into his face before our queen sends him to his forefathers,” Azunna announced. At the mention of Obioma as their new queen, the frenzied crowd surged forward and unleashed spit on the king’s face. Some even coughed up phlegm and left it on his face. Seeing Azunna had done his job well, Obioma stepped toward king Agadagu with a burning wood in her hand. “Like you did to others, king Agadagu, I do to you! Burn in fire!!!”  Obioma declared before setting the king on fire with the burning wood in her hand. The king had made his peace with death long ago and had hoped he would not amuse Obioma and the crowd by crying in pain. However, as the heat of the fire increased, he let out a horrendous scream.

By now Azunna was beginning to think he would be spared. Turning toward him, Obioma shouted, “The people of Umueze, I give you your chief priest, Azunna! Beat him to death and cast his body into fire to burn like Chume’s body burnt in fire!” Azunna had no chance to run, from every corner of the shrine angry men and women ran toward him and had him lynched in minutes. When they were done what was left of Azunna was not recognizable. The warriors took his body and cast it into the fire. While Azunna burnt in fire, Nwako pulled his machete and quietly made his way toward Ikechi. He had not forgotten his vow to take the boy’s life when the battle was over. His plan was to make a light work of killing the boy. Just before he could raise his machete and cut Ikechi down, Obioma who had her gaze fixed on him threw the burning wood in her hand at him, knowing him to the ground. Ikechi swung around and found Nwako lying unconscious on the ground. Tapping Nwandu on the shoulder, Obioma ordered, “Pick Nwako up and revive him.” Taking Ikechi’s hand Obioma said to him, “I have a story to tell you, would you like to hear it?” Ikechi who was still trying hard to get a hang of what was happening replied, “I would love to hear your story my lady.”

Leaving where he stood, Obioma walked over to her father and said, “Papa, I have done my part, the remaining speeches are for you and the others. Tell my men to remain in Umueze until tomorrow. I want to take Ikechi on a walk. I will deal with the prophecy my way.” “Be careful, he is a good fighter,” Udeagu warned. “Don’t worry papa, if I am to die this day, it won’t be in Ikechi’s hand. I have seen things worse than he is,” Obioma assured her father. As Obioma walked away from the shrine with Ikechi, her father addressed the people of Umueze.   STORY CONTINUES...
LINK TO EPISODE 27: http://www.moofyme.com/2016/07/brave-heart-blood-fire-episode-27.html

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Uzoma Ujor

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 26
BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 26
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog. Epic Story. shrine, king, the crowd swelled, warriors, family, fire, his family burn in fire , The angry crowd yelled, crowd.
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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
http://www.moofyme.com/2016/06/brave-heart-blood-fire-episode-26.html
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