Oro nation, Akwa Ibom State
We waited by the beach for the sea monster. She, in red robes, tied to a rock, adorned with fruit and incense. I, in a tiger skin tunic, crouched in the shadows, bearing gifts.
I had been polishing my weapons when her ailing father burst in weeping, begging me to save his daughter. She had been chosen as the year’s offering for Isantim.
“No one fights Isantim and lives,” I said.
“I know, Elor, but you can, you’re a great warrior-princess. One blessed by the gods and revered by men. Please. You are the only one that can help us.”
I had killed lions, captured spies, and returned our stolen treasure from the Mkpitim people, but what he asked was insane. A wise woman would turn him away….
“Where did they take her?”
Isantim appeared as the sun kissed the sea. Her muscles rippled under her oily black skin, her mouth, a cave, full of jagged teeth, smelling of seaweed and corpses.
“What are you doing here?” She asked, in a roar that echoed over the mangrove forests, startling flamingos to flight.
“I bring gifts my Lady: a fattened pig, the eggs of an eagle, honey from the Obudu plateau and a jar of the finest wine. Release the girl, please. She is a widower’s only child.”
She laughed and shifted into human form. “Leave woman. The girl is mine, tribute from a people that eat its young and those of others, kill its twins, pollute its waters. Now leave or else your blood will be on your head.”
“Of course, my lady, how foolish of me,” I said, bowing myself to the ground. “But how sad for you.” I finished through clenched teeth, burying my dagger in her neck.