Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 1
Ebere and Ulumma walked into the compound with balanced pots of water on their heads.
“Ututu oma nne (Good morning mother)” Each greeted as they made their way to the kitchen to drop their water pot.
Soon, they returned to the compound to join their heavily pregnant mother “Asa” who was feeding herself to fresh abacha.
“Welcome”She said to them as they sat side by side.
“How’s my little brother doing?”Ebere asked putting her ear on Asa’s stomach..
Asa laughed.. “He’s been kicking violently these few days.. I think he’ll soon come”
“Have u gone to see Nwanyi Udu?”Ulumma asked
“Yes I did.. She examined me and said the baby will be here before the next market day”
The two girls giggled in happiness. They were all excited by the expectant birth of the little baby.. Asa had been married to Okoro for many years and after the birth of Ebere and Ulumma, she couldn’t conceive again for years. Her husband Okoro was under pressure to take a second wife who would give him a heir but for unknown reasons, Okoro was reluctant. Even Asa persuaded him but he still was dragging cold feets..But then, all of a sudden, Asa became pregnant and Nwanyi Udu, the pregnancy specialist confirmed to them that Asa was pregnant with a baby boy.. Since then, both Okoro and his daughters watched Asa with glee and excitement expecting the baby.
Back in Umuozara Palace, the “ndi ichie”(members of the cabinet) assembled to discuss the death and burial arrangements of their dead king and the way forward.
Onowu headed the meeting.
“My fellow ndi ichie I greet u”He cleared his throat
The rest hummed their replies..
“I don’t intend to beat around the bush.. Our people say When an iroko tree falls, it is cleared out so that there would be space for another iroko tree to grow.. In other words, Eze Omekannaya the 5th has fallen.. So it is our duty to bury him and make way for another Eze.. Have I spoken your minds?”He asked looking around..
They nodded in agreement.
“So let’s hurry up with the arrangements..how do we go about it? When is the right time for us to lay our Eze to the earth goddess?”Odogwu asked.
“We need to invite Onu-agbala, the mouthpiece of agbala”Ndulue suggested.
“Mtcheeeeew”Ofor hissed loudly
“Onu-agbala will only come here to give us message of doom.. That man has lost his potency! He always have bad news.. Everytime, the gods are angry, the gods are angry. Please let’s keep that man aside and bury our Eze in peace”
“I have to agree with Ofor on this one..Onu-agbala has nothing good to contribute to this.. When our Eze was ill, we invited him and what did he say? That Eze has committed an abomination and would definitely die so he refused rendering any help. When we, Umuozara was at loggerheads with Umunta over our own piece of land at the boundary, Onu-agbala testified against us and we lost that land! To mention but a few.. I don’t think we need any of his opinion here!”Dike spoke angrily
“Calm down please.. They say if we don’t eat the yam because of the oil, we eat the oil because of the yam. We just have to inform Onu-agbala not because we want to, but because we have to..for the sake of cot-cee.. Remember he is still the mouthpiece of Agbala.. We haven’t replaced him yet” Onowu said
“I agree with Onowu.. Let us just tell him”Ndulue chipped in.
And with that, they agreed to inform Onu-agbala and a guard was immediately sent to go and fetch him.
While they were waiting for the arrival of Onu-agbala, they drank palm wine and ate kolanuts while discussing random issues..
Soon, the guard returned with Onu-agbala closely following. He was an old man who was advanced in age and walked with the support of a stick. He wore old hagged clothes that made him look like a mad man with cross torn raffia bag hanging lovely against his left shoulder.
He walked into the gathering and sat on the floor like he usually does.
“Ndi Ichie I greet u”he said slowly
“Welcome Onu-agbala” Onowu replied on behalf of the rest.
“As you already know, Eze Omekannaya the 5th joined his ancestors 2 days ago and the only right thing for us to do is to hand his remains over to the earth goddess. That is why u are being invited as the mouthpiece of he gods so that we can all reason together and give our Eze a befitting burial”Onowu concluded.
There was a little silence as they looked at Onu-agbala to speak. The old man shook his head from left to right whether in anger, disappointment or confusion? The Ichies couldn’t tell.
Finally he spoke, “I wonder why you people invited me here because even if I tell u the mind of the gods, you will still disobey and do what you want!”
Ofor hissed again..He was the most outspoken of them all and hated Onu-agbala so much.
Onu-agbala continued “Eze Omekannaya the 5th sinned against agbala and the earth years ago which resulted to his ailment and eventual death.. I told you all that the gods demanded sacrifices to cleanse the land before Omekannaya’s death because he must surely die.. You people turned deaf ears to my warnings..Now, mother earth is so angry and cannot receive the body of the dead Eze!!”
“Okokobioko! What did I tell you people? This man always has badnews!! He never proferrs solution only damnation!!”Ofor spat out
“Calm down please”Ndulue told Ofor.. Turning to Onu-agbala, he said “What can be done? What is the remedy to all these??”
“Nothing! Eze cannot be buried! He must be thrown into the evil forest to avert impending dangers… So said the gods”
The Ndi Ichies were thrown into shock and confusion.
“I don’t understand.. How can our Eze be thrown into the evil forest?”Dike asked in shock
“I don’t understand it too!”Odogwu said
“What will other Villages say? That Umuozara threw their dead king into the evil forest? We would lose our respect from all these neighbouring villages that fears us.. Did what u said even make any sense to you? We should throw our Eze into the evil forest.. Inukwa!”Ofor said angrily..
“Is there no other alternative?”Onowu asked
Onu-agbala stood up slowly
“I have made my message clear, it’s left for you all to do the right thing. But if u chose to follow the wrong path and disobey the gods, don’t come running to me for solution because I will never support evil.. I have said my own.. I take my leave now” With this, He left.
“Am not surprised chacha.. I know it’ll end up like this..”Ofor said and left too..
One by one, each Ichie left the palace with different thoughts..
Umuozara is in big trouble!!
At the stream, The girls were busy with their chores.. some washing clothes at the extreme end of the river, some bathing, some playing and some were fetching water. It was a glistening evening.
At the bank of the river, Olaedo and her group of 3 friends were gisting.
“After the Eze’s burial, Prince Afam would take a wife”Agbomma said
“Yes of course, that is the routine. if he doesnt get married, he can’t ascend the throne”Oge chipped in
“Well, I pray he picks from either of us”Dimma said
“If he wants to pick from either of us, it definitely would be me”Olaedo said touching her waist beads seductively.
“And why you?”Oge asked irritated
Olaedo laughed “Isn’t it obvious? am the most beautiful”
Oge laughed mockingly “I’d be glad if any one of us is picked but definitely not you Olaedo”
Olaedo jumped up in anger
“Oge you have started okwaya? you always oppose anything I do! Why can’t I be picked by the Prince?”She shouted attracting the attention of few girls around. Olaedo was known to be a psycho who always got what she wanted. In her circle of friends, she was respected and feared but of course even though Oge was her friend, she still didn’t fear her.. Oge always blasted her which always got her angry.
“Yes you can’t be picked by the Prince for reasons that both of us know!”Oge said holding her waist ready for anything.
“What reason?”Olaedo asked obviously pissed off.
“Should I say it? Ola please let’s just let this matter slide biko”Oge laughed as she headed to pick her water pot.
Olaedo ran forward and blocked her way.. “You must say the reason why u think I ain’t good enough for the Prince!”
“Ola leave my way… My mother is waiting for me at home!”Oge said but Olaedo wouldn’t hear of it..
“Olaedo please calm down”Agbomma said trying to pacify her..
Dimma too came to beg them to stop the drama.
“I would let this matter slide only if she takes back her words”
“And if I don’t?”Oge said dropping her water pot from her head.
“I will show you what the fire uses the ears of the rat for”Olaedo said
Oge clapped her hands laughing.. “Ola, the Prince cannot marry a broken pot like you.. You that sold your virginity out to the son of Dike for a piece of bush meat”
The girls gaped in surprise. It was an abomination for a young unmarried girl not to be a virgin.
Everywhere was quiet as the girls were surprised.
Tears filled Olaedo’s eyes. “Prove me wrong Ola.. Tell everyone here that you’re still intact!”Oge challenged
When Ola couldn’t defend herself, Oge hissed and carried her water pot heading home.. Like a flash, the sky darkened.. Olaedo used her right hand to drag Oge and pushed her into the stream with full force and they all watched her drown. It was surprising because Oge could swim!
By this time, it was like a trance as all the girls in the stream couldn’t scream or move. Olaedo had used her powers to hold them down. Nobody knew about her powers!
When she was satisfied with drowning Oge, she turned menacingly towards all the girls in thee stream with fierce face.. “Your memory of this has been formatted..”