THE IGBO SORCERESS – Episode 8
“I command you, be destroyed from the cradle of your making, thou monster of clay and blood!” Mama Daniel shouted as she locked horns with the beast. The impact of the pestle in her hand against the head of the beast flung the beast into the air. When it landed on the ground, its body parts began to crack open, falling apart like broken work of ceramics. The soulful cry of the dying beast shook both the ground and the trees on it. “I know what thou art, and I know more than your witch mistress!” Mama Daniel spat as she bolted off toward the farmlands of Lokpanta. At the farmland where the sorceress engaged Daniel in a duel of spells of re and bluish bubbles of protection from opete, the sorceress felt a part of her body being torn away forcefully. The sensation she felt was nerve racking. She almost fell from the air where she suspended herself. Had she hit the ground, she would have been history. Daniel and the power of the opete plants in the farmland would have made sure she was never heard from ever again. Managing to regain control of her spells, she vanished from the scene of the battle with Daniel. Daniel made good use of that breather and reached for the tender opete plant which was close by. Shuffling its leaves into his mouth, he sprang to his feet. The cow and the beast had already begun to retreat from the farmland. They could not figure out what made Adaku, the sorceress, to scream in pain and take fight as she did. Far beyond the outskirts of Lokpanta, the sorceress crashed to the ground spewing blood from her mouth. “Someone knows what I know,” she said to herself panting heavily. “I have killed Daniel’s mother; who else possibly knows the source of my magic? Who knows that my three beasts were made with clay and my blood?” she wondered aloud, turning her head in every direction. Managing to stand to her feet, she staggered toward an old Iroko tree. When she reached it, she held her magic wand toward it and commanded, “Ancient gate of darkness, open to me!” The Iroko tree split wide open from its base. Inside the dark portal were the roiling wind of blackness and the heart-wrenching wails of the dead. Just half-way into the open portal, the sorceress scooped sand from the ground, spit the blood in her mouth into it and commanded, “Thou beast hung in atop a tree at the border of Lokpanta farmlands, fall to the ground and revive! Go forth, raise the dead and kill!” Done making the command, she cast the blood-mixed sand on the ground and black smoke belched from it. As soon as she vanished into the portal at the base of the Iroko tree, the beast hung atop a tree fell to the ground and began to heal fast. While Uju and the little boy hurried back home, they heard the unsettling cries of the beast as it revived. “I thought the beast was dead?” Uju asked, sounding very worried. “We have to get home fast Uju,” the boy said as he picked up his pace. Mama Daniel also heard the cry of the beast and so made a run in that direction. The revived beast had something new, and Mama Daniel could feel it. She was forced to stop in her tracks. There was something very evil about the cry of the revived beast. What she thought was a cry, was much more than that, it was call for the spirits of fallen witches and wizards in the land to rise, and she was yet to realize it. “Lord help us. The sorceress must have realized I know a lot. She now knows how I killed one of her beasts and she must be hurt…” she paused, her mind deeply fixed on a thought. “Oh my God! The sorceress is hurt! She is hurt! The manner in which I killed her beast must have weakened her! This call for the spirits of the fallen witches and wizards to rise is a call for help! She must be on the run! No!!! I can’t let this happen!” she shouted with both her hands on her head. She was wondering what to do. If the dead witches and wizards were to rise, Lopkanta and everything in it would be wiped out. Mama Daniel was beside herself with worry by now. “Only the devil can think of such evil! The devil embodies this sorceress in deed! What do I do Lord?!” she asked, pacing about restlessly as the beast continued to call for the rise of the dead witches and wizards of old. “Yes!!!” mama Daniel exclaimed as a thought occurred to her. Scoping sand from the ground, she held it toward the burning sun above her head and declare, “Let blood answer to blood. This beast is a work of blood and clay. Dear God, there is a blood shed for us all; and we all in Lokpanta have come into the cover of the blood of your son. Now I declare in the name of the holy Son of God who has the keys of death and hades, let the gates of the graves of the fallen witches and wizards of old be shut! Let the chains of the righteous blood of the Son of God keep them down in their graves! Let the portals that lead into Lokpanta be sealed with the blood of your son Jesus!” She was still praying when she felt an unusually strong force levitate her, and the sand in her hand became as white as snow, glowing with the strength of the sun. From her suspended position in the air, she cast the sand in her hand all over the ground. Immediately the crying beast ceased to cry. The cracking graves across the length and breadth of Lokpanta, slammed shut. Already the hands and heads of the dead in those graves had begun to shoot out. When mama Daniel hit the ground on her feet, she felt renewed with great strength. She could sense the revived beast coming for her and the beast could sense her too. There was one more task to do – tell Daniel, if he was still alive, how to fight and to reach her quickly with fresh leaves of opete. Dry opete leaves had limit and she knew it. Just like she did in her house when Daniel was chasing a beast back into the village, she spit into her hand, slammed it on the ground and called out her son’s name, “Daniel Ekwedike!!!” At the other side of the farmlands, Daniel was engaged in a fight against the beast and the cow. He fought with new strength never seen by the beast and the cow. They could not stand him, yet he could not kill them. When his mother’s voice reached him and he stopped to fight, it served as a chance for the cow and the beast to flee from him. “Who calls me with my dead mother’s voice?!” Daniel queried “Who told you that I am dead Daniel? The sorceress tried to kill me with my dead mother s voice?! Daniel queried. Who told you that I am dead Daniel? The sorceress tried to kill me but God sent help and saved me.” “Are you truly alive, mama?” “Yes, I am. You must have laid your hands on the fresh opete leaves, have you?” “I have, mama.” “Good. I need you to get me as much as you can. I am heading toward Udemezue’s yam farm. One of the dead beasts is back to live. It has come with renewed strength and had hoped to bring back an army of dead witches and wizards. I have taken care of that.” “How do I know this is really you?” “The sorceress or anyone on her side cannot ask you to bring to them fresh opete leaves. They can’t mention the name of the plant and much less touch it… Now this is how you fight with the leaves in your mouth. The beasts are made with clay and the blood of the sorceress. For them to die, you must command death on the cradle of their making which is clay and blood. The cow has a portion of the spirit of the sorceress. Without that spirit, it is just an ordinary cow! Did you…” her voice stopped suddenly. “Mama! Mama!! Mama!!!” Daniel shouted in fear. He could sense something or someone had attacked his mother. Running deeper into the farmland, he plucked as much opete leaves as he could. Wrapping them with cocoyam leaves, he bolted off toward Udemezue’s yam farm. “Mama there is a call for everyone to come out. The town crier has just said that there is a way to fight back! Please don’t tell me you won’t open that door!” Ifeoma pleaded. Kenneth was moved by the little girl’s bravery. “If I die, I die! I am done being a coward!” shouted Kenneth as he made for the door, unbolting it. Outside there was a mammoth crowd. They were all running toward
elder Obieze’s compound. Uju and the little boy had convinced some of the elders about the potency of fresh opete leaves in their mouths. The leaves were being distributed fast. Against her mother’s wish, Ifeoma sneaked out of the house. Instead of going to Obieze’s compound, she ran off toward the farmlands. She could hear a familiar voice calling for help. With no opete leaf in her mouth or machete in her hand, the little seer went for her first battle.