THE IGBO SORCERESS – Episode 13
The people of Lokpanta were still in jubilant mood when Adaku unleashed the first round of arrows of re in her hand. About twelve men and women were the victims. They were burnt beyond recognition. In a blink of an eye, the jubilation amongst the fighters of Lokpanta turned to sorrow. In every direction, men and women ran in search of cover. The mere appearance of Adaku was enough to deflate the most courageous heart amongst them. Uju stood transfixed, hardly able to believe her eyes. She had concluded that when the cyst exploded into flames, the sorceress was taken out.
While she beheld the horror of her people burning like goats, hot tears stormed out of her eyes. A tingling sensation on her tongue brought her mind back to the task at hand. “By the power of opete in my mouth, I send your re back on you!!!” Uju screamed. The waves of re from the sorceress swung around and overtook Adaku. It took her a few seconds to douse the flames, but that was enough time for Uju and the fighters of Lokpanta to regroup. With a rhythmic wave of her hands, Adaku subdued the angry flames around her. However, much more monster waves flames were on their way toward her. Every tongue amongst the fighters was active, commanding flames, arrows, evil wind and every conceivable weapon their minds could conceive.
It was a showdown as Adaku moved like the conductor of an orchestra, displaying her seasoned knowledge of sorcery as she sought to maneuver the relentless attacks aimed at her. In-between her laborious efforts to keep out the attacks, she would find a split second to return attack to the fighters of Lokpanta. Her attack was always a surprise as it would knock out some fighters of Lokpanta. Uju had to make it her duty to wait for those surprise attacks so she would ward them off. It was not long before word spread round that the sorceress had touched down on Lokpanta soil with her eyes blazing with re, her feet buried in liquid re and her hands full of arrows of red flames. Lokpanta surged out. Every man, woman and child who could open his or her mouth to speak words of command, came to confront Adaku with their mouths filled with opete leaves.
The more a greater number of men and women committed themselves to the battle, the harder it became for Adaku to maneuver all the waves of attacks against her. She knew it was a fight to the death. Only the arrival of her father, Amaefule, could save her. Though the tide was against her, yet she handled it with great finesse. She was a beautiful sight to behold in battle. She used evil black birds, showers of black burning water, arrows and balls of re to overwhelm the fighter of Lokpanta. However, the more some fighters of Lokpanta fell in battle, the more new fighters came to take their places. They too were ready to fight to the death. The spot where Adaku stood fighting was filled with her blood, yet she stood strong on her feet and continued to fighter. At Obieze’s compound, the trial of Ngozika and her family had to be suspended. The clash of powers between Adaku, the sorceress, and the fighters of Lokpanta was causing a great tremor.
“We must put this trial on hold! The way things are, there might be no more Lokpanta by tomorrow if we all do not join the battle to defeat the sorceress right now!” elder Obieze said to the crowd gathered in his compound. “We have a lot of wounded fighters and they need urgent medical care! As for Ngozika and her children, let them be locked up in one of my rooms and given whatever they need. This elders’ court shall sit again when this battle if over to decide her fate!” he added. “There is nothing to decide about my fate elder Obieze! I did my part by informing to Nze Emeka about what my daughter saw! I have witnesses to that! Nze Emeka boldly claimed that if the vision seen by my daughter was to come true, then the blood of all those who were to die should be on his head! I am innocent and so is my daughter! How cruel can you elders be? My daughter is possibly somewhere fighting for our land, and here you are trying to condemn her mother to death! I refuse to die! No one will condemn me for a sin I did not commit!” Ngozika barked at the elders. Kenneth stepped forward and drew his machete. “Anyone here who says this woman is guilty should step forward now! I swear on my father’s grave, if I do not take your head off, may I not see the first gleam of dawn by tomorrow!”
Akabueze and his friends pulled their machetes to confront Kenneth. Udemba who had just arrived the scene of the trial with a small army of his own, attacked Akabueze, knocked away his machete and began to beat him up like a boy. He was going to kill him if some young men had not stopped him. Breaking free from the young men who held him from behind, he picked his machete made for elder Obieze and his wife. Obieze and his wife had to flee into their house and locked themselves in. The other elders had to quickly pass a summary judgment that Ngozika was innocent of all charges brought against her. And so the large army of angry youth at Obieze’s compound surged out to confront their common enemy, Adaku the sorceress of the wild. There was little Uju could do, her people were still being taken out by Adaku in a manner which broke her heart. There was no doubt they will eventually defeat Adaku, but the cost was beginning to look too daunting. Adaku could have long passed out, giving the amount of blood she had lost. However, what no one present who could see was that she was drawing life from those Lokpanta fighters her spells were able to hurt. If Ifeoma was around she would have seen it. Sadly no one could who was present on the battle ground. The number of dead and wounded fighters he saw when he arrived his village drove a knife through his heart. “Who is responsible for this?!” Daniel asked amid tears. “It is the sorceress! She has come down on the ground with greater power!” replied a wounded fighter.
“Nturukpa most have made contact with her. Adaku does not have such power,” Daniel whispered to himself as his eyes darted about. He could not figure out how Adaku could have wreaked that sort of havoc against Lokpanta if she did not have help from someone powerful like nturukpa. “I have brought help with me!” he shouted. All eyes turned toward him. He continued “This makeshift truck is filled with new and much more powerful leaves of opete. The sorceress now has the help of nturukpa on her side!” Many people whispered in fear. A boy took some of the golden leaves of opete in the truck and ran to tell Uju what Daniel, the Lagos returnee, had said. “Spew out the ones you have in your mouths and takes as much of this new one as you can! Take and give them out to others! It will heal the wounded and the dying!” Daniel said to the fighters. Done giving instructions about the new opete leaves, he bolted off in the direction of Adaku. He knew what he was doing. Until his people see what the new leaves of opete could do, they will not believe him. As he drew closer to Adaku, she conjured those her black evil birds against him. Like a master in the art of sorcery himself, Daniel spoke up, his hands moving in similar fashion to Adaku’s. “Birds of darkness, forged from blood and clay, become dust!” he commanded. At his words, all the evil black birds turned to black dust and were blown away by the wind.
Echoes of surprise and believe rang out from the fighters of Lokpanta. Uju smiled insanely, grabbed all the golden leaves the little boy had offered her and shoved them into her mouth. From all directions fighters of Lokpanta ran toward the truck Daniel had brought and cued up for the new leaves. “Not again! Not this boy again!” Adaku shouted. She fired flaming arrows at Daniel to take him out, but he waved his hands at the arrows and they turned against Adaku. Using her magic, she turned swiftly and the arrows missed her. Ignorant of what she was up against she ran to meet Daniel. Daniel ran to meet her as well. When they clashed, Daniel took hold of her right hand and commanded, “Come out oh hand!” and pulled out her right hand from her body. Adaku hit the ground, stunned and dazed at what Daniel had done to her. While she cried over the mind-snapping pain she felt, she managed to conjure up another cyst to protect herself. Daniel stepped back, still holding her hand and commanded that the cyst be subjected to attack. Inside the cyst, Adaku saw her own death even before the first waves of attack reached her protective cyst. On her knees and bleeding terribly, she reached out to nturukpa once more.