Since her abduction, Adaora had vowed never to involve herself in religious matters. She believed in the existence of the gods because she had seen their manifestations. But she could never align with them.
As she stepped outside, Adaora felt a cold chill running down her back. The little hairs that sprouted on her nape stood erect as her eyes fell on the silvery glow upon the Udara tree.
Tears stung her eyes as she noticed a figure dressed in white. The figure’s head was wrapped in a silvery crown. Her eyes blazed like a river of sunlight. Her face was neutral. She was neither happy nor sad, she just stood staring at the slave girl; the one whom she had been waiting for…
And Adaora recognized her at once.
“You! Go away!” Adaora fell to her knees as she reached the Udara tree. The moon goddess had manifested herself on such a windy night. The deity had come to her in human form. While her mother had been alive, it had usually appeared as a cobra with six heads.
The goddess didn’t flinch. She stared quietly at the weeping human.
“You must have a lot of questions for me, but this isn’t the time. Mortals do not have the right to question the ways of the gods. The gods are wiser and more powerful. They dwell in the past and in the future. Time means nothing to them.”
Adaora was weak from sobbing. The presence of the moon deity was strong. She was the source of light, the source of life and the source of power.
“My mother worshipped you and served you with all of my life, but you did nothing to save her…” Adaora’s back vibrated as she sobbed.
“Yes, your mother was my child and this is the reason that I have come to save you. Your bloodline is known for the curse of short days upon the earth. Your mother’s spirit called out to me when she died. She knew about the curse and she prayed for me to break it. That was her last speech before she died.
The only way to end the curse is for you to find him.”
The goddess’ words seemed to dissolve into the air once she spoke them. She spoke very fast and it was difficult for Adaora to catch some words.
“Who is the man that I see in my dreams all the time?” Adaora asked.
“He is a man of the people. He is upright in words and in deeds. He is called the Sun. Find him, for he is your destiny!”
The wind began to scream, howling and throwing everything that was on its path. Before she could ask the goddess another question, the deity was swept away by a violent whirlwind and towards the heavens. A rain of stars trailed behind her, until she arrived at her palace in the sky.
Adaora was greatly confused. She grabbed the lamp and scurried back to her room.
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The King had found it difficult to sleep. He had pondered on Oriaku’s words all night. He found it hard to accept the truth that Anyanwa really existed. He had heard stories about the mystical land. The people were born of magic. They earned their powers from the moon goddess, Ituru.
As he moved towards his throne, Ikemba’s heart was heavy. Why would the gods put him through such a great test? If only they had granted him just one son, he would sleep properly at night, knowing that the throne was safe. The King’s countenance was solemn and gloomy. On days like this, the servants and guards knew better than to piss him off.
His body was covered with a special garment; the skin of many leopards had been sewn together to make a fine garment for the King. He was a great man. He alone, was befitting of such regal apparel. As Ikemba strolled towards the meeting room, the Chiefs who had been waiting for him all rose to their feet. They bowed their heads in majesty and awe of their King.
“Long Live the King,” they chorused.
Ikemba didn’t answer. He raised his staff in response to the greeting and settled on his throne.
“My King doesn’t look happy today. Is something wrong?” The first Chief asked.
Ikemba sighed, “If you were a man in my position and plagued with great burdens, you will not find joy always. Even the rich and powerful have fears.”
The Chiefs murmured amongst themselves.
“I called for this meeting because I had something important to share. Last night, I had a very uncommon dream. I believe that my eyes have seen Ituru. I believe the words of the oracle. I think I may have found the woman that would give me the son that I have always wished for.”
The men –in-council all rose to their feet and bowed their heads. They were simply overjoyed by this great news. If the King had found the woman from the prophecy, then everything was settled.
“Who is she?” One of the Chiefs asked.
The King was a wise man, and he was careful with the way he disseminated information.
“Soon, you shall see her,” he replied.
He would send for Anosike’s wife later in the day. Oriaku would lead him to the slave girl, and he would take her to be his wife.
“Don’t you think you should show the woman to us? The oracle is supposed to see her as well. We must guide you to make the right decision.” The eldest chief spoke.
The King chuckled, “I am your King. I make no mistakes. You are only eager to hear if it is one of your daughters. When the time is ripe, you shall see her.”
He couldn’t wait to set his eyes on the woman that would change his destiny.
To be continued…