She was half awake in the middle of the journey. The men that had taken her against her will were the warriors of Amabara. They had placed her on a bamboo bed as they had been instructed by the great dibia, Igwekala. The oracle had told them of the powers that the moon virgin possessed. She was still in the dark about them; this made her a dangerous person because she couldn’t control her powers. The oracle had done some rituals with goat blood and raffia leaves to quench her magic. He had laced the bed which she was placed with the animal’s blood. This would weaken her until she arrived at the palace of Chiemele.
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At first Adaora couldn’t see anything. It seemed that her head was in the clouds, because everything around her was surrounded by thick darkness. Her head throbbed like she had been hit with a rock. Her body felt weak. A soft moan escaped her lips as she felt a light ached on her legs. Where was she? Was she dead? Even in her unconscious state, she could sense that something wasn’t right. It was the sharp voice and the strange dialect of one of the men that carried her that caused her to awaken fully.
“We must hurry before the sun comes out again. Luckily for us, the weather had been cloudy at the time of her arrest but the dibia old us that his charm would wear off when the sun is out.” A man with a gruff voice spoke.
The shorter warrior was curious.
“I have never heard of such a thing before. I never knew that charms require certain elements of nature to function properly.”
The first man snorted and called the second by name.
“Don’t be a fool Uzo. The moon virgin is possessed with powers of both the moon and the sun. She is full of energy and whenever these two elements show their faces in the sky, her powers would then be activated.”
Adaora’s ears tingled as she comprehended some words. They were talking about her in a different dialect, which she had heard before. A droplet of memory fell on her mind. She was taken to the time that her mother was still living. They had gone to one of the big markets in Anyanwa to procure some special herbs which were specifically collected by old women. The market was usually divided into sections; one portion for the owners of the land and the other for stranger traders. While she and her mother had crossed to the side of the strangers to sell, she had come across some plump women who had black marks on their forehead. Some of the marks were lines, while others were shapes like triangles and circles. They were all made with beauty charcoal. Out of their lips had come a very foreign kind of Igbo. Her mother had noticed her confusion.
“These women are from the sacred kingdom of Amabara. Rumor has it that everyone in that place is under a terrible curse.”
“Amabara,” Adaora’s eyes snapped open at once and she realized where the men were taking her to.
A small stream of sunshine rushed into her eyes. She adjusted quickly to her new environment. The first instinct that came upon her was that of struggle. She wanted to scream and writhe. She wanted to throw her hands into the air and call for help, instead, she pulled in the deepest breath she had ever taken. The breath gave her more strength and courage. She was helpless at this point. These men had taken her at the stream for a purpose. She had to find a way to return to Ezeudo, for her destiny was there.
Though she was in severe pain, Adaora didn’t think much about herself. Her heart went out to her master’s children. Knowing how careless their mother was, Adaora felt pity for Adaugu and Ikenna. What would those poor children have for dinner? A feeling of sadness overwhelmed her, but it was quickly replaced with the feeling of uncertainty of what lay ahead. From the look of things, these men weren’t just bandits. They were dressed in expensive animal fur and they had white markings on their body. She inhaled deeply and refused to consider the thought that dropped in her mind.
“She is awake!” Uzo had sensed a movement upon the bed.
The men all paused.
“What are we to do now?” The youngest warrior sounded a bit afraid.
“We must keep moving before the sun shows up!” The leader announced.
From the look of things, these men were scared of her and that had Adaora wondering. Was there something about her that they discovered? She panicked as she thought of cannibals. They had been stories of men that delighted in eating fair women. This thought terrified her. It provoked the stubborn tears that had clung jealously to her lashes. Quietly, she sobbed as the men continued their journey towards the King’s palace.
She could taste her own blood in her mouth as it trickled from the place where her skull had been smashed. More tears gushed out from her eyes. Why did she have to suffer this much? What offence had she committed against the gods? Adaora felt so much pain. At first she had thought that her life would follow a normal course after she had been placed in Chinedum’s household. But everything she had gotten used to, had been snatched away from her at that stream.
As she cried, she began to hum a sad song. It was a song that she always sang with her mother. Her swollen lips welcomed the melody of the folksong; the rhythm of the ancestral magic of Anyanwa. While she sang, the dark clouds that had gathered as a result of the dibia’s ritual began to part. This was followed by a gentle breeze which rocked the tall walnut and oil bean trees that stood at the entrance of the land.
The guards became sensitive. Something horrible was coming.
To be continued…