I have to do this and I must, than let these uncircumcised barbarians got their way in and make me look more of a fool. It was never the best decision to take, but I have to die than stand to fight alone and end up in the enemies’ paw. I have to set fire on myself before they reach my obi and they would only have my remains.
All hope has turned sour. My armies have fallen right from my general to the least soldier; even my allies that came in the heat of the battle have joined the heap of corpses all over Obodo. There was nothing I could hinge my hope on. Agha the god of war’s shrine has been desecrated while Ezemuo was kidnapped. My sons, Nwafor and Nwoke have seen the ugly egde of the swords of the barbarians while my young virgin daughter, Adaeze was raped till she breathed her last. Obodo the once glorious and admirable town has been reduced to debris. Every hut now smokes. The only residential building still standing was my obi, which was already surrounded by the enemies with eagerness to capture me or have my head and end the lineage of kings of Obodo.
What will my people taken as captives say when they see me among them chained and flogged mercilessly? Some would opt to have me stoned to death because I have failed them as their king and leader. I would have chosen to take up my sword and take out my enemies until I find no strength in me to wield the sword, but it was needless due to their fortification with ‘odeshi’. Nothing could hurt or penetrate their bodies, so what is the need going into arms with them? All hope has turned sour.
If I should go ahead with my plan, my fathers in the spirits’ world would take me as a coward and will not allow me into the chambers reserved for ‘ndi eze’. Am not to be faulted, my armies could not hold the enemies behind our city’s walls. The barbarians were more prepared as they broke every barrier to enter and unleash hell on my people. We could not hold too long on Ebem, the ancestral home of our fathers. They overpowered my soldiers and took the quivering staff, the symbol of power of aro, the supreme god. The last hope of Obodo, Obata fell so easily without much difficulty.
Before this doomsday, Obodo had been a great town that many of her neighbors fear and respect. There were warriors, wealthy men- the most influential people you can think of. They were wise and intelligent. It was as if the gods dwelt among us. Our harvest was always splendid, ala the god of the earth made it possible. Mmiri the water goddess never cease to bless us with abundant rain in its season.
I became the king succeeding my late father, who died over yet to be fathom illness. Dibia nkpolugwo na nkpakwukwo the herbalist tried all he could to save his life, but to no avail. He was rested among our ancestors. I was coroneted the king seven market days after his funeral rites as the heir to the throne, to achieve success where he failed. To mend fences with enemies if we got any and make Obodo even more better.
“Igweeee!!!, the whole people chorused as I take my staff of office. Their faces were beaming with sparkling smiles as I danced to the rhythm of the katanga musicians, whose melodious songs could tempt two fighters to dance for peace. It was just fun all the way until dawn.
I have not lasted on the throne for three full moons, Ezediala of Ndida kingdom sent an emissary asking me to ally with him. He has been an enemy of Obodo after helping the people of Puta to take over our lands. My father had warned never in my life should I do anything with any person from Ndida. I do sense Ezendiala must have come for my alliance because of the death of my father and he felt I was weak unlike my late father referred as the tiger.
“Go back to your king, tell him that I won’t honor his invitation”, I said to the emissary.
The emissary almost got on my nerve. He will not leave unless I accept his master’s message. My father had once told me that emissary are not killed nor kidnapped if not this one would have seen his head from the back and quickly bury him at ajo ogbe. I ordered the guards to carry him out of my obi and escort him until he reaches the sands of Ndida. I was shocked after three Orie market days; a message came telling me to prepare for war that I asked for. A reliable source did tell me that the emissary had lied and changed everything I had told him. He told Ezediala that I said Obodo was ready for war and would no longer tolerate his antics. To compound matters, he also said I have formed a battalion of army eager to fight.
We were taken on unawares that morning of an eke market day as my people were preparing for the market. We cannot retreat or should I tell my people not to fight back, I charged up my warriors and encourage the able-bodied men to join and let us crush the enemy to the dust. Our efforts yielded, we chased our enemies down to their sands. We celebrated victory when it was not yet uhuru. The enemy regrouped to form an alliance with the Puta, Mgbede, Nkata kingdoms while we went to sleep having the thought that the enemy would be too afraid to attack us.
“If you love your life, come out here and kiss my toes and you will live”, it was the voice of Ezediala. He and his allied kings have surrounded my Obi.
I did chose to take my life as fighting was out of question. I will surely be over-powered and taken captive. All hoped have turned sour, my people have fallen, my allies were out run, I was left with nothing. While I contemplated on what to do, a sudden noise came sweeping like a thunderstorm. I stood my ground, concluding on my mind that my fate has been sealed. Since the enemies have concluded to ruin Obodo, let them have a field day. My fathers should forgive and reserve a place for me in the chambers of “ndi-eze”. After all I did my best.
“Igwe!!”, a voice called as I was half dead. I opened my eyes to behold Lolo, my wife. My conclusion was that she has been slaughtered or taken captive. Didn’t she pass through the door and possibly see Ezediala and co? So many questions bordering my mind.
“It is alright”, she said
Alright? Why should she utter that sentence when my enemies are outside there, armed to the teeth awaiting my emergency to disgrace me before my people? It was better to die an honorable death than a shameful one.
“Mba mmili answered to your call and your enemies have been subdued”.
Mba mmili that ignored my call when we were having the upper hand. Why should they come now when all hope have gone sour? Didn’t they see the ruins of the enemies on Obodo? I stormed out of my Obi to see things myself. I took my royal cutlass used by fathers because my father had once said the cutlass has the spirits of our ancestors. Lolo followed behind smiling. I pray her smile does not irritate me. The situation at hand was sensitive.
“Papa!!”, Nwoke shouted as he hugged me. This cannot be a dream. Nwoke whom I thought died alongside his brother, was alive? Tears of joy stood in my eyes as I looked around to behold the undisputed Ezediala held to the ground while his eyes begged for mercy. My people that were held captive were freed and likewise held the enemies captive. Lolo was correct about the Mba mmili people. I saw their king Eze Mmili issuing orders. I turned to Lolo to smile back. Once again, there was hope for Obodo.