In a small village surrounded by a light forest, north of Athens was where Zadie appeared. He felt shocked as he found himself in the middle of the forest. He knew not where he was so he kept on walking towards wherever the wind took him. The tree branches were all shaking, insects chirring according to the rhythm of the wind and the sky turned darker. It seemed it was about to rain. Zadie was nervous. He had never been in a forest like this before, so alone, so lost. He walked and walked through the forest until he heard the voice of a young girl calling on her sweetheart. Her sweetheart was rabbit that ran passed her into the forest. This brought her on a trail through the forest in search of the rabbit.
Zadie found the rabbit for her and brought it to her while she was still searching for it.
“Is this what you’re looking for?” Zadie asked.
“Yeah, where did you find it?” she asked as well, in return.
“Just behind you,” Zadie answered.
“Thank you.” She spoke with gratitude and continued, “So how can I return such a help. You know, you’ve really helped me find my sweetheart I’ve been looking for, for the past 30 minutes.”
“Well, just take me to your dad. I’ve come a long way to tell him something.”
“So what is it you want to tell my dad?” the young girl asked inquisitively as she led Zadie to her dad.
“I’m afraid; it’s just for your dad alone.”
The young girl took Zadie to her dad while Zadie was busy conceiving on what he was going to tell the dad into believing him to stay with them until he finds a place to go. The young girl and Zadie had a little conversation while they headed home. There and then Zadie got to know he was in Greece, many miles away from Rome.
Zadie smartly told the dad, Evan that he came all the way from Rome to prophesy to him about his new bouncing baby boy. He told Evan he was a soothsayer and he has seen many future events. He also told the dad how he foresaw Emperor Hadrian’s success in exterminating witches and wizards in the Roman Empire. He was lucky to con the dad into believing him that he was a true soothsayer, maybe because of his ability to choose and demonstrate words cleverly or because of his intuitive ability to read situations among people’s mind.
He succeeded in predicting the dad’s situation of needing a baby boy urgently, but failed to prove how it will happen for he was told the wife was dead.
Anyway, Zadie was welcomed into the house of Evan, a Greek soldier whose wife died leaving behind four daughters and no son. Evan needed a son fervently; who he could transfer his fighting skills to. He was a strong Greek warrior, one of the favorites of the king of Greece. He found happiness again after hearing the news that he was going to have a bouncing baby boy and cared not on how it would happen.
Zadie stayed in Evan’s house for few weeks. While he was there he told Evan stories about his encounter with the kings of different kingdoms in an exaggerative manner, even his friendship and closeness to the Roman Emperor not knowing that Evan was a soldier of treason. Evan and other Greek soldiers, under the command of the king of Greece were nurturing a treasonable act against the Roman Emperor – an act of invasion upon the people of Rome and the government. It’s been decades after decades that the Romans have been in power and this have brought envy and hatred from other kings, most especially, the king of Greece.
This Greek king has successfully built 35,000 clandestine soldiers, secretly training and planning to unleash an attack upon Rome – to overthrow the central government of the empire. But a reliable and well informed informant was their biggest inadequacy. They wanted someone who was very close and knew so much about the Roman Emperor and his army.
Evan saw Zadie as the man they have been looking for, so he took Zadie to the king of Greece. Zadie, now fully aware of the situation in Athens knew that he was going to betray the trust of one to gain the trust of another. So it was going to be between the trust of the king of Roman Greece or that of Emperor Hadrian.
“Welcome my son. Welcome to Athens. I’ve heard so much about you from Evan. He tells me that you are very familiar with Emperor Hadrianus and his legion. Am I right, my son?” the king spoke.
“Most certainly, my lord,” Zadie replied.
“Then let me tell you certainly too, that if whatever you will tell us will be of importance and will lead to our victory then I will make you a king in my empire and so many lands and properties will be entitled to you, Zadie,” the king dramatized satisfactorily to Zadie as he sat beside him.
Zadie accepted the job and was paid heavily according to how he was able to con them into believing that he knew so much about Emperor Hadrian and his army. He described and mapped out best ways they could invade Rome and conquer the emperor. His master plan was great and full of verisimilitude. The king was so impressed and proud of Zadie, and his army was heartened and hardened. Zadie made them know that the Roman army wasn’t as strong as theirs and wasn’t as large too. He told them about the emperor’s incapability of reaching out to his army to meet their individual needs and as a result of this, it has created so much division among the army. He simply painted a picture that the Roman army was in a state of moribund. This was one out of many things he told and explained to the Greek army which goaded them into invading Rome.
The D-day came – the day of invasion and it happened by midnight when the Roman army were all asleep or were thought to be asleep. Thirty-five thousand Greek soldiers stormed Rome. They came with chariots, heavily equipped with armored suits and weapons. All kinds of weapons at their disposal, they came with it to Rome. Their minds were made up for the felt that victory was theirs after long years of preparation and long years of hard work. They thought they had the master plan, all the secrets and loopholes of the Roman Army for a successful invasion. The king of Greece was highly convinced and optimistic of his victory so he led his army into Rome only to discover that they had all the weapons but not the weapon of victory.
Zadie had led them into an ambush. All Zadie described was false. The Roman army outnumbered them 3 is to 1 and had a strong coherence and tactics more than them. It seemed the Romans were already informed about their plans and tactics. It was like an insect that ran into a gigantic cobweb entrapped for it.
The king of Greece was captures like a child and was killed. Thirty thousand Greek soldiers sacrificed their lives all because of Zadies deceit and betrayal and the rest fled. Zadie did all that to gain back the favor of Emperor Hadrian, which he did. He became one of the emperor’s closest aides.
Zadie was honored and enthroned into the empire but Princess Britannia wasn’t bestowed upon him because it wasn’t part of the bargain. Zadie felt intense gratification as he saw himself among the greatest hierarchy of the whole world; still his ambition was undeterred.
The emperor had a dream. A strange dream he couldn’t understand. It was like a puzzle to him so he told his messengers to go forth and tell every Roman patriot that whoever could explain his dream would be given a kingdom under his empire to rule.
Zadie smiled as he heard the dream. He saw it as another opportunity to satisfy his desperation, so he figured out what that dream could imply and waited until the right time to tell the emperor. In the whole of the Roman Empire no one could figure out or explain what the dream meant. Some were afraid of speaking up to the emperor of what they felt could be the meaning of the dream perhaps because they weren’t sure themselves or they were timid.
The day came when anyone who knew of the dream was to explain it to the emperor. The emperor waited and waited but no one knew of the meaning. Thereafter, Zadie stood up when it became obvious that no one could explain the dream. He told the emperor that his dream was revelation of his future. That the revelation will only come to pass if he doesn’t do the things he saw in the dream.
Zadie explained satisfactorily what the dream meant and was able to convince the emperor that the only way he could escape his death according to the dream was to travel to the mountain where he would fast for 7 days. He would have to travel to the mountain with only seven bodyguards. The emperor believed the whole crap Zadie told him without hesitation, perhaps because what Zadie said were all revealed mysterious in the dream and he left for the mountain.
However, he left in the disguise to the mountain. He sent eight men to the mountain, seven acting as his bodyguards and the eight acting as the emperor; whereby he and his soldiers hid in the forest on espionage. They wanted to know what Zadie was up to. The emperor had no dream at all. It was a mere tactic his father and predecessor, Marcus Traianus taught him to use in discovering who and who could be his enemy amongst his friends.
The emperor watched from afar to know what could be Zadie’s explanation on a dream that never happened. He watched with his soldiers. Fatefully as he watched his eight disguised soldiers moving up to the mountain, he saw a large number of soldiers heavily armed in an ambush. They attacked and killed his eight disguised soldiers with a thought that they have eliminated the emperor and rode back to Rome.
Apparently, it was a coup. The soldiers rode back to Rome with a thought that no one else could stand on their way as long as the emperor was dead. They were ten thousand in number with their vanguard – Zadie. Zadie rode with ten thousand soldiers back to Rome, hoping to destroy anybody that stood on his way from becoming the emperor or stood on their way from choosing their new emperor. Zadie’s conspiracy wasn’t solely planned. He had inside help which helped raise loyal soldiers that fast against the emperor. But before he arrived at the gates of Rome with his 10,000 soldiers, he saw a plethora of Roman soldiers standing in front of Romans walls with their arms ready for an attack.
Zadie was surprised as he saw the real emperor standing on the mighty wall of Rome with his legions aiming bows with arrows at his men. He knew that he had no option than to fight that war that awaited him. He was already disheartened that someone had finally outsmarted him and he saw his death right in front of him. Zadie fought and fought that war until he was captured and they rest of his soldiers were vanquished.
Unbelievably, the emperor spared his life after so much disagreement and objection from his aides and the Roman Senate, and sent him on an exile for life.
To be continued…
Culled from: “Once Upon A Time in Umuaka” by Emmanuel Aghado
ISBN: 9781301655830 ASIN: B00AGZVAFI