“I have seen a worrying sight, Orimili,” Osadebe said. On the ground where he sat, he cut the look of a man forsaken by his gods. “I don’t know what you have seen, but I smell trouble…”Orimili who was standing in the middle of his river said. This time for some reason he would not step out of the river. “After you returned my male strength, I tried it on a virgin slave girl… I could not figure out how my wife, Awele got pregnant by my hand while you still had my loins locked…” he paused. Orimili who could see clearly the schemes of the gods and how Awele got pregnant, smiled wryly. “Go ahead, I want to hear all you have to say,” Orimili goaded him on. “I did not mean to cheat the princess. You know how she got pregnant by my hand is still a mystery to me…unless you lied to me about my male strength…” he starred Orimili in the eye for any clues.
“Your quest is about the slave girl, is it not?” “It sure is. I want to know if what I saw is true.” “You haven’t told me what you saw Osadebe.” “This slave girl, after a few times of trying out my male vigour on her, got pregnant for me. Then I did something I am not proud of right now…I sent my men to kill her by night. I did not want the Asagba to find out another lady, other than his daughter was pregnant with my child. As I speak, somehow it seems the slave girl is still alive.” “How do you mean?” “Two days ago, I saw her give birth to my child in a strange land. I don’t understand how this can be possible! I believe my men killed her. I heard report of the attack on her from Onitsha Ugbo. I have come to seek the meaning of my vision. Is the slave girl alive indeed?”
“Your vision is nothing more than a harbinger of some evil which is about to come your way. You know tradition and yet you killed a woman pregnant with your child. I need not tell you the magnitude of the curse which your evil act carries. This slave girl whom you killed is dead in deed. However in the spirit, the male child who died with her has been born. Its birth is the birth of your downfall. The curse laid upon you by the slave girl has begun. You must seek the gods while you may and appease them while they can be appeased,” Orimili lied to him, mixing truth with lies. He would not tell him the whole truth because the gods forbade him. Osadebe was never to find out that Isioma was alive and was with his two sons.
“Tell me, great seer, how may I appease the gods?” “You took a life, and that a pregnant woman. You know that blood always calls for blood…” “Blood? What sort of blood? I have no blood to give!” “Yes you do! Things have changed in the spirit, now Awele’s blood can be given. The blood of your siblings will be accepted. Even the blood of your unborn child will do. Choose which blood to give and the gods will wipe off the charges against you.” “What have I done?! Orimili there must be another way out of this! I cannot offer any of the blood you have asked me to give.” “Hmmm! You always want the easy way out. Give me three days to seek the face of the gods. Perhaps they will show me what else you will give if that is possible.”
Osadebe was relieved to hear that. He paid Orimili handsomely for his service and left for Asaba. On his way home he could not stop thinking about why the gods who wouldn’t touch Awele some time ago, would suddenly accept her blood if it was offered to them. “I fear that Orimili may not have told me all he knows. Surely he has kept some truth from me. Only the fool is told that the okwe (dice) is seven in number and he puts it into his pocket without counting to know if that is true. I have to speak to another seer!”
At Asaba Awele consulted her seer, but this time things were different. “I heard him say ‘the slave girl has given birth to my seed’. It was a vision he saw. He snapped out of his sleep and began to talk to himself. You should have seen his face,” explained Awele. While she spoke the seer consulted with the spirits. He could see so much which suggested that the gods were at work. His vision was strange and murky. More so, they scared him. “Hmmm! It is the gods who tell me the things which I reveal to you. The concubine you spoke of, I see her as dead person yet she has a child…I do not know how this is possible…” the seer said, wondering what the meaning of what he saw was. “The dead do not give birth. Is it possible that this concubine is a spiritual wife?” Awele asked.
“Aha! Maybe she is! I will look into that area.” He threw his cowries on the floor and studied them carefully. Awele held her breath, desperately waiting for him to tell her she was indeed a spiritual wife. She wouldn’t mind sharing her husband with a spiritual wife; however, a living concubine was unacceptable. “I see this concubine in an embrace with death. She is dead and so also her child. However I see semblance of life. I see also that your husband is in confusion about this.” “Then this concubine must be a spiritual wife,” Awele concluded. “She is not just a spiritual wife, she is much more. I do not see love between her and Osadebe. Rather I see bitterness.” “Hmmm! Bitterness? Should I appease her then with a sacrifice?” “No Awele. You must do nothing, this one is different. I see a long, sharp arrow in her hands. This person, whatever she is, spirit or human, must be left alone.”
“Since there is no love between her and Osadebe, I suppose I have nothing to worry about.” “Yes, you don’t. However, you must do nothing from henceforth to anger the arrow bearer. I am afraid of her and I don’t know why.” “Speak not in that manner seer. When you do, I lose courage. I have conquered the mighty and prevailed over the gods, shall this concubine then put me to flight?” “Certainly not, but you must understand that every devourer has that which devours it. I fear this concubine who is dead and yet alive. In my many years of serving the gods, I have not seen such a confusing vision before.” “When the gods hide a thing, it is for a purpose. I have made my mistakes once; I will not make them again. Let the secret of the gods be with the gods, I will not seek to search them out.” “Wise words princess. You have spoken wise words. Do what you have said and it shall be well with you.”
When Awele left, she was relieved. It pleased her to hear that whoever gave birth to a child for her husband was either dead or was a spirit. The seer on the other hand began to probe deeper into the matter. He was afraid by some things he had seen. While he searched the matter, his eyes began to bleed. When he stood to his feet to wipe off the blood, he collapsed to the ground and a thick dark cloud settled over him.
In Awka, Edozien continued to grow under the watchful eyes of the gods and Odogwu Ozala. During the night, the young boy would be trained by spirits in the art of war. At first Isioma was worried by what she saw at night. The sight of Edozien groaning, punching and kicking the air gave her much concern. When the spirit which brought her to Awka explained to her that it was part of his life and destiny tobe trained in that manner for the dark days ahead of him, she quit fretting over the boy losing his life in his sleep. However, some nights, she still kept awake to wipe blood from his mouth and appeal to the gods to take it easy with the boy. Every new day, before the crack of dawn, all the wounds Edozien often sustained in the night during his dreamy training would vanish.
By this time, a new king had risen over Igala land and set his heart on the conquest of all the lands near them, especially lands considered enemy lands. Top on that list was Asaba. Like whispers in the night, rumours of his intentions reached the ears of the Asagba in Asaba.
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