Panting heavily, Osadebe sneaked into one of his huts and lay on a mat he had spread before he left to offer that sacrifice at the shrine of Odogwu Ozala. He had been meandering through the bush since he offered those sacrifices to Odogwu Ozala and his fallen descendants. What his eyes had seen were simply unbelievable. Before that night the stories he had heard about Odogwu Ozala were to him nothing more than tales by moonlight, mostly made up by elderly people. He desperately needed a bath but was concerned about stirring up Awele his wife, whom he supposed was sound asleep in the other hut they shared together.
After much hesitation, Osadebe tiptoed out of the hut and stealthily made his way to the bathroom. Gently he scooped water on his body, careful not to make any noise which would awake Awele, whom he assumed was asleep in their largest hut. The style of his bath that night was in contrast to the manner he liked to have his bath. He didn’t mind. He had a secret to protect, a secret which he could not afford to let his wife in on. As a son in-law to the Asagba, what he had done was not only a taboo, but an unpardonable sin.
Life had been hard for him and Awele; and now that things seemed to have improved for them, he would do anything to keep it going. “Awele must never find out I offered the sacrifice at the shrine of Odogwu Ozala,” Osadebe mumbled to himself as he hurried into his clothes after the bath.
He was forced to freeze in his stride as he stepped out of the bathroom. A figure was moving swiftly across his compound, heading for the hutch where he stored his farm produce such as fresh palm fruits and cocoyam. The hutch also housed lots of his farm implements. He squinted his eyes to make out the shape and figure of the object under the faint moonlight above head. Something about that object was very familiar… It is human, he thought. He was about to ask who that was when he realized it was his wife Awele. His heart sunk into his stomach. From the look of the clouds he could tell what time it was. “Where is she coming from? What is she hiding?” Osadebe asked himself as his heart pounded away rapidly in fear.
Osadebe was forced to make a swift, but gentle run toward the back of their three huts when Awele headed toward his way. She was going to have her bath before supposedly joining him in their largest hut which served as their bedroom. Osadebe figured that out and so made his way into their largest hut from the back of their three huts.
He was certain Awele would find out that someone had just used the bathroom. He wouldn’t want her to know he was the one, but the problem was that only the two of them shared that bathroom. At the bathroom Awele was afraid when she found out someone had just used it. There could only be one person who used it – her husband, Osadebe. “How do I explain my absence from the bedroom to him?” she muttered as her thoughts raced. “I don’t want him to tie me to the slaughter at my father’s royal quarters,” her shaking lips murmured almost by their own volition.
While she thought how to lie her way out of her fix, the war drums of Asaba rumbled “Gbidi gbidi gbidi!!!” That was followed by the blaring of the ancestral horn of Asaba, “Paapoo! Paaapooo!! Paaaapoooo!!” It meant there was death and blood in the land. If only the drums had been heard, Asaba people would have understood it to mean that their enemies were still afar off. However, the sound of the ancestral horn shortly after the drums meant their enemies were already in their midst, and blood had already been shed.
Inside the hut, Osadebe was afraid to come out. He feared that the sacrifice he offered must have unleashed death on his people. At the bathroom, Awele was afraid to run out, she feared that her husband will tie her to the killings at the royal quarters for which the sound of the drums and the horn had been heard. For once in her life, Awele was truly afraid. She shook from her head to her toes, wondering what to do next.
In faraway Amawbia, Awka; the old, dead kings of Asaba, had their first taste of the rage of Edozien, the great, grandson of Odogwu Oazala.
No one threatens a dead man with death, but when a dead soul brings against one a weapon forged in the deep caverns of hades, and ones seize such a weapon, even the dead would fear for their lives. This was the case in Amawbia. The clash of machetes as Edozien wielded the seized machete expertly against the old, dead kings, was like the sound of thunder. In awe of the young boy, the old kings retreated.
Outside, the spirit who had settled Isioma in Amawbia hastily led her and Amaobi into a nearby farm to hide them. While they watched from there, the fire on Isioma’s hut was blown out just like a man would blow out a candle light. “What was that?!” Isioma asked in amazement. “Edozien has come into his full strength,” replied the spirit. “What now?” asked Amaobi. “Many things will happen now…but watch and see what your brother is made of,” replied the spirit. To treat Isioma and Amaobi to a view of the battle inside the hut, the spirit blew his breath toward the hut and instantly a portal opened in the air; a portal the size of a large Samsung HDTV. “Oh my goodness!” Amaobi gasped, while his right hand tightened its grip on his mother’s hand.
While the kings pulled away from Edozien, he performed a little magic of riding on the smoke which filled the hut and delivered a venomous blow on the head of the king closest to him. Like a squelching tire crushing the head of a newborn baby on a tared road, the machete sunk in and carved its way out through the neck of the king. The old king staggered backward in sublime dismay, as something akin to black bile, dripped from his gaping skull and neck. Death had found a dead man again. While the other dead kings watched, their colleague’s body disintegrated into wisps of bluish smoke and vanished with the night wind.
“He is a warlock,” whispered one of the kings in reference to Edozien. “He is no mortal at all! Retreat!” shouted another. The wave of monstrous spells circling the kings increased, shielding them from the blade in Edozien’s hand. “Return to your graves and rise no more!” Edozien thundered. To show just how much threat he posed to the kings, Edozien waved his left hand like that of an orchestra conductor and the smoke in the room took the shape of arrows. With one more wave of his left hand, the arrows were unleashed against the bemused kings.
The kings reached deep into their whirlpool of the evil power which gave them power to rise from their graves and battle; and thrusted their machetes at Edozien. Every one of the machetes began to burn with flames as they headed for Edozien. Muttering words incoherent to an average man, Edozien summoned powers which levitated him over the exploding smoke arrows and flaming blades. It was a swift move. He completely caught the kings off guard. Before they could regroup, Edozien was already above their heads, working his blade like Aragon against the hordes of Orcs from Saruman the White.
The kings fled in fear as each of them took deadly blows from Edozien’s blade.
The kings would return. They would seek for how to stop Edozien amongst the ancient evil altars of power; and when they return, they would show no mercy.
Like an eagle proudly descending to devour a kill, Edozien rode on the wings of the smoke in the hut and touched down on the floor before he bolted outside in search of Isioma and Amaobi. “Mama! Mama!! Amaobi!!!” he shouted. “We are here Edozien!” responded Isioma as she made her way out of the farm nearby. Isioma had never been as happy as she was that night. Finally, she understood what Anyaeke meant when he told her that the gods would give her an arrow for a revenge over what Osadebe did to her. That night she set her heart to return to Asaba. In the coming days, she would find a way to convince her two sons to follow her across the river Niger.
In the farm, the spirit which had given them cover while Edozien battled the old, dead kings, whispered to Amaobi, “Now you have seen for yourself who your brother is…tonight, I will show you who you are and your place in the coming battles.” “Battles? With who?” asked Amaobi. The spirit grinned and vanished.
Sounds of war drums and the ancestral horn had resounded severally and words had spread. Asaba had woken up to defend itself, but there was no enemy in sight to fight. There were scores of slaughtered warriors at the royal quarters of the Asagba, a dead young seer with an arrow sticking from his neck and an ancient, forbidden shrine back to live. All these were just too much for Asaba to take. Much more disturbing were the lack of answers to all they saw and the silence of the gods. From the moment the Asagba returned from chasing whoever it was who fired that arrow at the young seer, several other seers had been summoned to provide answers to the horrors in the Asaba.
While the Asaba, trembled, the two architects of the mayhem in the land hid in a hut and a bathroom, completely immobilized by fear.
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