The warriors of Etiti carried Nweze who was suffering pains from a subtle stab. Ikeagu who was in front of them like a strong deer, though with a lion’s heart, walked majestically. The king of Etiti who has heard the news of his Warriors’ victory followed behind the Warriors, together with his royal house, women and children, including flutists and drummers.
All came to honor Nweze and Ikeagu who led the Warriors against the enemies who had come to expand their lands. But the young man who stabbed Nweze with a poisoned dagger, disguised like a lady. Nweze turned to leave, and then he stabbed him on the right rib. Herbs were too slow to heal him now, because it’s the venom of a viper! ‘Tomorrow is too far’ they call that snake’s venom!
Nweze was brought down in his hut. The royal doctor brought herbs and examined him: “His blood can’t fight for long. The venom is too strong” He confessed.
“Can’t you do something Nnanna …? Something that will keep our strongest Warrior alive?” The king asked.
“Igwe I can only give a solution that will slow his death time”. Nnanna answered.
“Then, do it quickly”. The King said. Nnanna quickly brought out a small bottle and gave some liquid content to Nweze who drank it.
“Will that be enough?” Ikeagu asked as he prayed he survives!
“My son, some little things are too strong. Sometimes it’s because of their strength that makes them hard to find” Nnanna told him.
Ikeagu watched as his father and friend kept approaching the place of death. He remembered how Nweze taught him to hold the knife, and the blindfolds Nweze tied his eyes to be able to work with his ears and release his resilience…. All other things were now brought before his face. But Nweze’s words: “A complete Warrior is not foolish”, kept resounding on his ears.
The King gave Nweze his blessings, including gifts and returned to his palace with his royal house. But the Warriors still guarded Nweze’s hut. Only Ikeagu remained inside with the dying man.
Later in the night, Nweze managed to call Ikeagu who was asleep. The Warriors still guarded his house that night against assassins of other villages who may come to finish the great Warrior up.
Ikeagu went closer to him; the old Warrior managed to sit but still shaking; he helped him rest his back on the wall. He looked at Ikeagu and smiled: “As I look at your face now, I could see both your father the late king of Umuagu, and your mother her queen, who brought you here when you were just five. You are the last survivor of their bloodline. Omenike your father will greet me and welcome me for the man I have made you. A Warrior and stubborn deer swift on the Mountains…He said with pride emanating.
Ikeagu cuts in: “Your Words are too sharp right now, my father” He confessed.
“Yes… yes. Be careful not to disdain a dying man’s truth, because he has nothing to lose on his dying bed. Plenty problems await you if you return to Umuagu. It’s true that mysteries surround your father’s death, but till this time, I have not been able to open it. Your mother died of a heart attack, five years after Omenike her husband died”.
Ikeagu cuts in again: “But you have always told me all these. And anytime you tell that story again, I don’t know what to believe”.
“If you don’t listen to the truth, you will suffer from a lie. I promise you you will have a great future here. The other Warriors are loyal to you. You have nothing to lose, Ikeagu”. Nweze assured him.
Ikeagu stood and thought about it. He does not want to deceive the dying old man, not this time. Because anything he says is what the man takes to his grave.
“I can’t give you a promise that I will not return to Umuagu. But if I set out to know how my father died, I promise you the road to where the truth hides will not be a bad one”. He said confidently. Nweze looked at him shook his head; he knows the young man’s stubbornness will bring him so many things, especially ugly experiences.
“You are strong, but you are young in your thoughts. The best solution to a bad adventure is to avoid thinking how good the road could be. Your mother knew that the journey for the truth will open many things only God can hold their heaviness. She preferred you raise children here. I used to recite her messages to you; and for the last time I tell it to you again; she said: some stories are like the half moon, they are not full and complete. She told me to always remind you of this”. If you insist on going to Umuagu, I will not be the one to show the road that leads there!” Nweze told him.
“Don’t forget I am a lost Prince whose father was murdered. His only brother now sits on his throne, while his son is somewhere forsaken and alone in this village. No, Nweze, I want answers. Even though it means me losing everything. I want somebody somewhere to pay for my parent’s death”! He said.
“I look at you now, all I see is that your heart is made up. But don’t go to Umuagu and dream your nightmare. You know why that mad man stabbed me with ease, because I mistook him for a woman and pitied him. Now I can feel the Venom that comes from deceit. You have to be conscious of what can destroy you”. Nweze warned him. Ikeagu looked at his eyes, they were closing slowly. He knew he had lost this one again, but he steeled himself.
“You are leaving me, father!” He said fighting tears.
“Yes. The legs walk the eyes to see what the heart fears. When you go to Umuagu, remember not to kill a man and his innocence!” Nweze said and gave up the ghost!
The news went like wild fire that Nweze the great Warrior of Etiti had passed on. His burial was sponsored solely by the King who wanted it that way to honor a man who served him well.
The King was grieved that Ikeagu who should have led other Warriors like Nweze did, is about to embark on a journey he could not understand why. But the great Warrior has been buried, and the rites of his next of kin paid-– It is a culture very important, and penalties are given to those who defile this.
Ikeagu reported to the palace as the King instructed him. He came into the palace fully dressed in his Warrior’s attire and knelt before the king. His knife sheathed, while his shield rested on his back.
“Ikeagu, where your heart leads you now, I cannot stop it. But my heart tells me you have decided to go and cross troubled rivers. Well I have decided to honor you before you leave Etiti”. A big bead-necklace was handed to the king by a Chief. The king wore it on Ikeagu and gave him a wooden staff, and also wore him a leopard’s skin.
“You are now given the title ‘the hawk that caught no chick is restless’. Your road to Umuagu is a straight road from the Etiti stream. It’s a straight road down to that village”. Ikeagu stood up and bowed to the king and his council one last time, and left.
© Dike Dyke Williams, All rights reserved.