BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 8

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Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic Love Story, Death, Doctor, gods, Blood, Spirit, King, Cage

He too was very cautious not to draw too close to Obioma, he feared whatever that had attacked her. From a distance he sized her up, taking in her ravishing beauty with his aging eyes. Nodding regrettably he said to the warriors, “Her beauty is not from amongst men. She would have made a spectacular queen with this sort of beauty. But obviously, the gods from whom she came have taken her by afflicting her with such odious sickness. Tonight, when the full moon is out, sacrifice her to the gods by fire. Let us not take what belongs to the gods, lest they be angry with us and afflict us with her mysterious sickness.” Having said his piece, the evil king turned with his entourage and left. Obioma became much more afraid. She was not just sick with a strange ailment, but had been condemned to die by fire as a sacrifice to the gods. She was not prepared to die that night. She had a promise which she made to Chume to fulfill; to serve and vengeance to king Agadagu and the gods of Umueze. As the last vestiges of daylight gave way to darkness, her fear mounted. She knew she had to find a way out of that cage but didn’t know how. Without giving much thought to it, she began to laugh very loud, “Hahahahaha!” The warriors, who kept watch over her, stood to their feet and ran a bit closer to her cage raising their lamp lights to get a good look at her.

“Eze Nsu is as foolish and wicked as we were told. Shall he burn an emissary of the gods sent to test him?!” All the guards were alarmed and listened keenly to know what the woman in the cage had to say. Obioma continued, “It has come to our notice that Eze Nsu uses the power bestowed on him by the gods unjustly. Should he not have consulted the oracle to know who I am and what this ailment which you find upon me is, before passing his judgment? Tonight I shall afflict the royal household and all the land of Nsu with this sickness. I swear that this night I shall lay Nsu waste like Uhumeze which has only dilapidated houses to show that once men lived in it.” The guards were confused and did not know what to make of the words of the woman in the cage. Seeing she has made an impression on them as an emissary of the gods, she continued, “Has a woman with my kind of beauty been seen in these parts before?” The guards looked at each other seeming to agree with her. “My beauty is a sign to Eze Nsu that the gods have come to him in the flesh and yet he failed to see it. Had I not afflicted myself with this ailment, perhaps he would have sought to know me carnally. But shall a mortal man see the nakedness of a spirit and live?! I summon you foolish guards of a foolish king, come nearer!” Three of the guards bolted off into the night, perhaps to go tell the king what was happening. Two stood their ground and wondered what to make of the words of the woman they had locked in a cage.

“You two are stubborn and you shall die like the stubborn fly that follows a corpse to the grave!” She pulled at her wrapper, pretending to strip herself naked. The two guards turned their backs at her. If she was a spirit as she claimed and they happen to see her nakedness, they would not live to see the first light of dawn. While they had their backs at her, she scooped the blood from her eyes and nose and threw it on them. When the blood torched them they shouted and turned to face her. “Now you have the blood of a messenger of the gods on you. If I burn in fire, you too shall burn with me, and if choose to vanish from here, you too shall come with me just like Ikenga was taken by the spirit he opposed at a stream thinking she was a mortal woman.” One of the guards seemed to have doubts about Obioma’s claims. He looked at her with distrust and longed to see evidence that she was truly from the gods. The only reason he didn’t bolt off to go call some other guards was her beauty and the length of her hair stretched down toward her waist. He had not seen a woman as beautiful as Obioma was; and he had heard tales of spirits traversing their land and communities around them as beautiful women. The most popular of such tales was that of Ikenga, a palm wine tapper who opposed a beautiful woman at a stream one early morning, mistaking her for an ordinary woman. The woman changed into a spirit and left for the land of the spirits with him. A week later while everyone wondered what had become of Ikenga, the spirit brought him to their eke market, paraded him around for all to see and then left with him. Ikenga was never seen again. When the men of his village sought the oracle for answers, the oracle revealed to them how Ikenga insulted a goddess at the stream and was hence taken by her.

Acting like she was not afraid obioma lay back on the floor of the cage and stayed alert to know what they would do. One of the guards ran and cut the door of the cage loose. Kneeling to the ground, he pleaded with her, “Messenger of the gods, the one whose skin shines by night, please have mercy on us. I am an only son. If die today my father’s name shall be forgotten. My wife has yet to bear a male child for me…” While he yet spoke Obioma sprang to her feet and plunged her knee into his chest and he collapsed to the ground. Picking up the guard's machete, she attacked the second guard who doubted her claims. He looked very surprised by her unexpected attack and had no chance to run. She thrust the machete into his stomach, giving him no time to raise even a limb. She returned to the guard who lay on the ground and pulled him up, “I am no messenger of the gods, rather I am death sent by the highest God, Chiukwu, to cleanse all these lands of the rot in them! You have the blood disease just like I do, if we do not find a cure before morning, we shall be drained of our blood. If you care to live, help me out of here, I know herbs, I can hear the voices of spirit beings and I see visions.”

With his knees trembling, the guard led Obioma away from the bamboo cage. Obioma held the machete menacingly and held the guard’s arm for support. Into the night they disappeared. Behind them the guard she had run through with the machete lay still on the ground as his blood drained away. Had he even managed to escape from Obioma, the blood disease would still have killed him by the first light the next day. Through the bush Obioma and the guard wandered. The guard was now much more afraid of the sickness which was slowly killing the woman he was leading through the bush than he was afraid of her killing him. He knew if they did not find herb to stop the sickness, he would begin to bleed like Obioma and may eventually die. Like a beast he led Obioma through the bush, heading in the direction Obioma pointed at as she kept repeating, “I can hear the herbs! There are five of them! That way is where we will find them. They are calling at me!” Obioma was way too frail for the rigorous match through the bush, but she held unto life; often stumbling over roots and picking herself up.

At the bamboo cage a swarm of frightened guards arrived with Eze Nsu. Cautiously they approached the cage. They stopped suddenly when they saw the dead guard on the ground. Making way for their king, he came forward and studied the dead man. He stooped to touch the dead warrior, but his native doctor warned, “Don’t touch him! He is death! Whatever you touch after making contact with him shall die by morning! There is a blood sickness on him.” Carefully Eze Nsu stood to his feet and pulled himself away from the dead man. “What do you see Okiti? Is the woman truly from the gods?” Eze Nsu asked the native doctor. “I see death. The woman is death. I cannot say if she is an emissary of the gods or not; but this one thing I see, death!” replied Okiti, the native doctor. “Who is the death coming after, I Eze Nsu or my people?” Careful not to give the tyrant king an unpleasant answer, Okiti replied, “My king I would have encouraged you to go after this woman now and kill her; but that would be too dangerous for Nsu. The woman is death, whatever touches her or she touches shall die. I see her wrapped in death.

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item An African Literary Blog: BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 8
BRAVE HEART: Blood & Fire - Episode 8
Nigeria's leading story blog. Epic Love Story, Death, Doctor, gods, Blood, Spirit, King, Cage An African Literary Blog
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