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Sunday, March 11, 2018

The gods might be confused 4

Written by: Muoka Chibuzor G

He, who calls his brother a stranger, would stand alone in battle, and the end of wonders is a wonder in itself.

The twelve deadly warriors of Ndiama marched aggressively and flogged anyone they came in contact with mercilessly; while crossing the bushy paths of Okonta land. The mere sight of them made the villagers took to their heels. In major bush paths that the villagers frequently navigated, there was stampede and parents lost contact with their children. At the Ihiku river where most of the villagers fetched water and carried out laundry activities. Mothers rushed into the river, grabbed their children who were swimming and playing at the river bank, carried their basket of clothes and plates, and hurried back home.

The market square became empty and there were neither sellers nor buyers as the news of the King's command had spread through the land like wildfires. The weather was becoming gloomy and it appeared as if it was about to rain. The wind blew furiously, and the trees swayed with the accompanying hiss sounds of the leaves. The birds could be seen flying back to their nests, and the cries of little children curdling within the arms of their mother could be heard from a distant, but who cares? When everyone is on the run.

Obidike looks around himself and observes the weather and its windy nature; he could sense the proximity of evil. Immediately, Ogili his slave ran into his presence, and spoke while gasping for air, “Master! Master!! The warriors of Ndiama are coming in our direction; I heard the king has sent them after those who participated in the Umunna meeting.”

Obidike was a bit perplexed, “then my sense tells me right, I had already seen the evil, may the gods be praised.”  He recalled the days of his youth and his exploits on the battlefield. Thus, he spoke to himself while beating his chest incessantly, "Unforeseen circumstances sieve out the brave; I must not die like an animal taken to the slaughterhouse! He who visits the house of a madman must be willing to partake in madness!" Ogili was struck with amazement at his master’s sudden bravely, despite his old age.

In haste, Obidike instructs his slave Ogili to alert Obiakor the son of Ijele about the recent ugly development. "When you get to his house, tell him to flee, before the King's warriors get to him. Ensure to pass this message across and do not return if you fail to accomplish this task.” Ahead of time, Obidike had already sent his two wives and six children away to Umuogu land, his maternal home immediately after the Umunna meeting ended.

As Ogili ran a few kilometres away from Obidike's compound, the sudden appearance of the Ndiama warriors forced him to halt in tension. He turned around immediately, running back to his master; for all, he could think about was the safety of his master. As he ran he shouted, "my master, my master, I have failed, and the Warriors have come to attack us!” He fell to the ground severally but readily stood up at the stance of his downfall.

The warriors immediately attacked Ogili with myriads of poisoned arrows that flew off from their bows. About six of the arrows pierced Ogili's back, but he persisted in running back to his master despite the intense pains, and enormous blood dripping out of his open wounds. Unknown to Obidike who forcefully opened the door of his hut, fully armed with his matchet. Ogili rushed towards him and tried running into his arm, but Obidike slit his throat with his matchet, mistaking him for one of the warriors. When he saw the arrows on his slave’s backside, he went back inside his hut in annoyance and set the whole hut ablaze, while hiding at one corner within the burning hut.

When the warriors approached the burning scenario, they stood confused about what next to do. They could only see a boy that was beheaded and a hut that was already ablaze. They searched around the bushes but could not find Obidike who dying of thirst and could no longer withstand the heat of the flames rising from his hut. As they turned their backs to leave, Obidike hopped out of the burning hut with certain parts of his clothes already engulfed in flames and thrusts two of the poisoned knives in his hands into the back side of the two warriors very close to him.

The piercing cry of the stabbed warriors who fell on their knees prompted the others to turn their backs immediately in eagerness to see the attacker. Obidike took to his heels and they chased after him. “The man from the fire must be killed!” The leader of the warriors roared.
Obidike ran in the open air and tried to enter the forest that was still a few steps ahead of him, the warriors stopped, assembled their arrows and aimed at him, and then they shot at him. The first arrow pierced Obidike's left backside, the second arrow pierced his right thigh, and the third arrow went through his skull from the backside. Immediately, Obidike fell with a loud thud, in the pool of his own blood.

The warriors got to him and beheaded him. They took his head inserted it on the tip of a long pole and fixed the pole vertically in the middle of his compound. Then, they headed straight for Obiakor's compound. As they left in haste to accomplish the King’s command, drips of blood dropped from Obiakor's head as it hung on the pole. Already two out of the twelve warriors whom Obidike stabbed, died instantly.

The remaining ten warriors headed straight to Obiakor's compound, and when Obidike’s neighbours discovered that they had left the area, they tiptoed and came out of their hideouts to see what has happened in Obidike's compound. "The smoke, we could see it was coming out from Obidike's compound, did you see it?" "Yes, I did." They asked and answered among themselves.

 One of the old women asked, "is that not Obidike's head on the pole near the burning house?” while pointing her walking stick at the pole. “It might be,” another woman replied. Immediately tears gushing down the old woman’s cheeks. The people around tried consoling her but she cried the more while calling upon the gods to intervene.

“He is a good man; does he deserve to die in this manner? It pains me so much that the enemy has looked at him in the spot where his god made a mistake in creating him. The gods have forsaken us, and who will save us?” the old woman laments, but the people urged her to be calm and not speak against the king to avoid incurring his wrath. “Walls have ears,” they warned.
"Park your things! Be fast! Just take your water bag and hunting weapons." Obiakor's two friends, Jidenna and Okpara urged him. “Our journey might be an adventure of no return, take your Chi along with you, the gods might be the only one to protect you.”

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