Adaora was glued to where she stood, not knowing the next action to take. She was a bit frightened as she realized that everything Uli had said made sense. Chiemelie meant to use her as a sacrifice in his war with the good King of Ezeudo, the man that she had been destined to be with. She knew that Uli wanted things to work out in her interest, so she didn’t blame the princess for being angry with her. Adaora decided to return to her hut. She needed a place to pray and sacrifice to the gods for direction because she didn’t know the next action to take.
When Uli returned to her hut, she noticed that the door was slightly open. She was highly observant. She waited a while before stepping into her room. When she pushed it open, she found Efuru, her mother sitting upon her bed and stamping her feet like one who was ready for battle.
“Mother?” Uli waited.
The woman didn’t respond.
“Why do you look so angry? That face doesn’t look good on you.” She continued. She wondered why the woman had come to her room, she seldom did. Efuru was closer to the other princesses than Uli because they always obeyed her without question. They swallowed her lies wholeheartedly but Uli was the fearless one.
“Do you realize what you’re doing to your brother? What crime did Chiemelie commit against you?” The queen finally asked.
Uli was lost.
“I have no angst against my brother but I detest his demonic rituals.”
“I have eyes Uli, don’t think that you can ever fool me. I have eyes as numerous as the star in the sky. I am your mother. I made you and I will kill you if you continue your alliance with that stupid moon virgin.”
Uli paled as she realized that her mother had people watching her every move.
“What are you talking about?”
“You took her…” she rose slowly from the bed.
“You took her to the dome of death. You tell her everything about your brother’s plans forgetting that she is his last chance of reclaiming what truly belongs to him. People from Ezeudo stole our resources and lands. They enrich themselves by it. You should be on our side. But if you fail to comply, you will die after taking that oath designed by Igwekala.” She waved her royal cow tail over her daugther’s face.
“So you have been following me around like one who has no duties? That is very shameful of you mother. You are the queen of this land until your son takes a wife. How can you do this? You both are treading on the wrong path. I shall take the oath, but I will never stand on the side of falsehood because I know the truth and the truth always liberates.”
The queen was deeply infuriated by her daughter’s disrespectful words. Without reluctance, she released her left palm and it landed right on Uli’s face. The princess’ face reddened as she gave a squeal.
“I warn you for the last time…stay away from her. She is the ultimate price for our freedom.”
Hot tears splashed on Uli’s face. She felt helpless against the woman. She did nothing. She couldn’t fight her own mother.
“You better don’t joke with your life, because that oath is final and binding.” These were the queen’s last words before she stormed out of the hut to attend to other matters.
While Uli was sobbing, a vision flashed before her eyes. At first, she tried to resist it because she felt frustrated. How could she ever win a war against her brother who also happened to be the most powerful man in Amabara? In the vision, she was taken to the boundary that lay between Ezeudo and Amabara. As her spiritual eyes wandered about the land, and the little stream that flowed after it, she saw him. She saw him another time. It was the man that she had seen in her dream.
He was running towards Amabara. When the vision faded, she was brought back to reality. Just then, a rap sounded on her door.
“Who is there?” She called out.
“My princess, it is time for the royal family to take the oath.” One of her servants announced.
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When morning came, Chinedum prepared himself for the king’s palace. He was ready for the journey to Amabara. Now that Obiajulu’s aunt was around, she wouldn’t be so lonely. Besides he would request that Ikemba send some guards to watch after his family.
“You don’t look like you’re going hunting…” Obiajulu walked into the room they shared. Chinedum was always the first to step out of the house for the forest for the day’s hunt. But he was looking rather refreshed for someone that was about to chase animals. He didn’t answer. He couldn’t share his plans.
She shrugged and sat upon a stool. Obiajulu wanted to have an important discussion with her husband. It was time to tell him about her aunt’s vision.
“Ifeyinwa saw a dream….”
“The gods reveal that one who dwells in the house is destined for the throne of Ezeudo. I believe her my husband. I have always told you to rise against your cousin. He is a barren man and would never be blessed with children. But you have a son and a daughter. You are a complete man! The people would stand by you, than an infertile king.”
Chinedum was greatly vexed by her cruel words. He slowly turned and faced her. He wasn’t in the mood to indulge her careless talking. He had to put Obiajulu in her place.
“Who makes kings Obiajulu, the gods or men?”
“The gods of course,” she answered without knowing where he was headed.
“The gods choose men and women from the womb to rule. It is their destiny. It is not a matter of qualification. It doesn’t matter if they are fertile or infertile, if they are just or unjust, if they are fit to be there or not. Do not ever speak a word against my cousin’s throne or that would be the last day in this house.”
Obiajulu’s brows came together in shock.
“Are you talking to me?” She couldn’t believe Chinedum would stand with his cousin against her.
“If you were smart enough to decipher that dream, you will know truly who has been destined for that throne.”
She scoffed, “Who could that be?”
“Adaora, the slave girl that you tortured. Why do you think Ikemba wants to marry her? Use your brain wisely next time.”
He didn’t wait for her answer. He quickly rushed out of the hut to avoid a bitter quarrel. Obiajulu stared at him wide mouth.
“By the gods, I am finished! I have lost importance to him. He must have had an affair with that stupid girl. I will make sure that she never smells that throne.” She rose to her feet and walked out of the room.
She found Ifeyinwa shredding peeling some tubers of cocoyam for breakfast.
“Why do you look so bitter Obiajulu?”
“Do you think a slave can become king or queen of Ezeudo?” She barked at the woman. She needed an honest answer to proceed with her plans.
Ifeyinwa dropped the tuber she held and faced her.
“The gods choose whom they want. Yes, I believe a slave can rule freeborn. Have you not heard the story of Igolo? She was a slave that became a queen.”
Obiajulu rolled her eyes, “That’s just folklore. Those stories aren’t true.”
“It’s just the way people say that the mysterious land of Anyanwa doesn’t exist. But I see it clearly right now in my vision. Someone would rise from that land and rule over us.” Ifeyinwa was speaking from the vision that the gods had shown her.
Obiajulu paled as she realized that Adaora was from the mysterious land of Anywanwa.
“No! It can never be.”
“Who can withstand the will of the gods?” Ifeyinwa turned to her.
Suddenly, the silence that always ate Ezeudo in the morning was broken by a strange cry. Obiajulu knew what the cry stood for. Perhaps someone had discovered Oriaku’s body. Her excitement about the vain woman’s death was fleeting as she remembered Adaora.
First, she needed to consult a powerful dibia, who would give her a love charm to buy Chinedum’s heart. She would control his every move until he had none of his desires left. If that didn’t work out, she would find a way to seduce the king. She was ready to do anything for the throne of Ezeudo.
If it meant sacrificing one of her children, she would do it.
To be continued…