Taking on full consciousness, Deba cried out as the severe pains from the beatings and burns shot through her body. Dahome came to her aid, pouring on her water from a skin bag the chief priest had given him for healing and protection. The burns and pains did not completely clear off. But she felt a little relieved.
"You!" Prince Daoud pointed at Deba after taking his eyes off Izogie. "She was one of my indispensable property. Now you're killing her. I should have killed you long ago. I see my man never killed you, neither did he return. The goat must have decided to let you live after a taste from between your legs".
"No. He did nothing of the sort. He just wasn't man enough to deal with me", Deba said, confidently moving two steps.
"I should have killed you myself", he said through clenched teeth.
"So you said before. What are you waiting for?" she drew her sword out of the leather sheath around her waist. The metal shine brightly. It was the Ada given to Ezodo by his father. "This is no ordinary sword," she announced to the Prince.
"I don't care what it is" Tira screamed. She angrily got to her feet, leaving the still writhing Izogie to fight for herself. Before Deba, she stood, obstructing the Prince. "Juba is behind this, I know. Where is he?"
"How should I know?" Deba feigned ignorance. Tira chuckled.
"I am no fool, girl." she said, looking around. I can smell you for the stench that you are Juba. Gor is mine. Do you hear me? I am taking what you treasure the most".
Juba, refusing to run away from a challenge, resurfaced in Deba and pushed her to the background.
"What I treasure most is the owner of this body I inhabit".
"And there you are. I knew it." Tira covered her, "Your stench is all over Izogie. You better undo whatever you did and give her back".
"That won't happen".
"Then be prepared. Your wife will go too. Do not forget I know your history. As we speak, a vast number of our possessed warriors march for Gor. I have shown them the entrance. When they get in, Gor will burn".
"You lie. Blocking my visions can't help you, you know that",
"Your Zulu friends couldn't wipe out our possessed" Prince Daoud spoke up. "We sent our men in two groups. One group marches through the eastern routes. The other, the west. Now behind that wall, he pointed at the Ede wall, I have a larger number of loyal men ready to die for my cause".
"Your army won't get far. A vast number of the armies from the Hausa kingdoms up north are marching through the eastern roads. The rest are marching through the western roads. Your men are no match for them".
"You lie!" Prince Daoud moved to stand by Tira. He was suddenly shaken by the fact that Juba knew their plans. "I thought you blocked his vision?"
Tira shook him off her back
"I don't lie." Juba said, "But she does." He pointed at Tira. " Ask her. Ask her who she really is?"
"What are you insinuating? Tira questioned angrily.
Juba ignored her out burst and continued. He had to, as it was his perfect distraction plans while the piece from Ogiso Igodo worked its magic on Izogie. "Ask her Daoud", he said "Ask who her real parents are and why she joined your team. The Songhai has always been hers to rule. Hers and her brothers'. But your father murdered her father, your uncle and his wife and sons. They are the true rulers of the Songhai. The daughter your father never found so as to get rid of her, is now your sorceress. She quietly awaits your triumph before carrying out her plans of revenge on you. So while you busy yourself trying to avenge the death of slave masters who captured me and my men for eight years, and then forced my only son to his death, she plots to slit your throat, hang your father and sit on your throne. Look closely at your warriors, Daoud. They are loyal to her, not you. She has them at her command. You and your father have been the big fools all along."
"Don't listen to him", Tira protested. "He is trying to turn us against each other. That's his way of doing things".
"One way or the other, the truth will reveal itself". Juba smirked. The change he so desired in his daughter was complete.. "But before then. I have another surprise for you. Turn around", he persuaded.
Not wanting to be tricked, Tira refused looking behind. But Daoud did and he drew Tira's attention when he saw Izogie on her feet. Tira turned to look at her creation.
"Izogie," Tira called, walking to her. She held Izogie's cheeks in her palms. "Look what they did to you. Don't let them hurt you again, my child. It ends now. Finish them off" she gave the last command.
Izogie, filled with new life, vigour and reasoning, slapped Tira's hands off her cheeks and placed one open palm against Tira's chest. A powerful force shot through her palm, picking Tira off the ground and flinging her through the sky into the surrounding bush. Tira screamed and landed with a very loud thud.
Izogie listened to no one but Tira, Daoud knew. So if she could do what she did to Tira, then he was no exception. He turned quickly to instruct his men to come to his defense. But in a flash, Izogie was by his side. A punch to the stomach made him bend low, holding his middle. She then placed one hand around his neck and jerked upward. His neck snapped. And when she left him, he dropped to the ground, dead.
The other Tuareg warriors behind were gripped by fear. Their leader had just died like a fowl before their eyes. They turned their horses around and hurriedly started back towards the gate.
"Don't let them escape", Dahome ordered the men, "pursue!" He took the lead. Duefe followed him
The men charged and raced after them. Just before they reached the gate, the Tuaregs were caught up with and fighting ensued. The fear they earlier felt made them almost paralyzed, so much so, they couldn't fight as well as they were trained to. While the Tuaregs were cut down, Mekani arrived with his men. Sultan Abdul Somaya and his warriors of the Hausa kingdoms arrived too. On closer look, one would see that not only did they decrease in number, their appearances showed they had been engaged in serious battle.
However, they were not weary. They came with ladders and wooden torches. They reached the walls of Ede and started to mount their ladders. From the other side of the wall, seeing that Daoud had been killed and Tira was no where in sight, Yuwa took charge of the men. She knew her treachery wouldn't go unpunished. It was better to get the men to defend her and her mother than to fall into the hands of the warriors outside her city.
She ordered the warriors, promising them all of her late father's gold if they kept the city safe. The archers among them came together. In a single file, they dipped the pointed ends of their arrows in black oil and then into the fire before mounting it on the their bows. At the fall of the commander's hand, they shot the fiery bows into the night sky. The arrows went over the fence and descended on the warriors trying to get over the walls. A lot of them were killed instantly, the fire caught some and spread over their clothes, burning them. A few others got pierced in their legs and arms. But it was just the start as more fiery arrows rained down the night sky on the men. Even as they were determined to scale the fence, they were killed in their numbers.
Seeing the massacre, Mekani raised his voice, ordering the men to pull back. It took a while but the men finally heard his voice and fell back. As soon as they did, he commanded his archers in front. They too began to shoot arrows over the fence. Loud cries from over the wall told them targets were hit.
Welcoming the interruption of arrows from the other side, Izogie roared, releasing the powers in her as she grew bigger and burst into flames. She raced for the gate. Mayo followed her, changing into his fiery giant form as they neared the gate. Together, they rained powerful blows against the wall until it cracked. Then they ripped the gate out of it. Seeing the size of their adversaries and knowing fully well what Izogie was capable of, the Tuaregs abandoned their positions and ran for cover. Izogie and Mayo descended on them.
The archers ceased firing. With Mekani, Dahome, Dogo, Duefe and Kubu leading, the men charged forward and were soon inside the city of Ede. Swords clashed against swords and spears against spears. Screams rented the air
From where she was, Deba fought side by side Sultan Abdul Somaya. Izogie sought them out and with a fling of hand, cleared away all the Tuaregs in their path before turning to face her sister. "Where did our father go?" her hands were moulded into a fist. Deba feared she was gearing up to fight her.
"Calm down Izogie. Our father will be back. He went into the bush to look for Tira. You know she can be sneaky".
"Exactly what way did he go?" The smoke from her burning body rose steadily to the sky
"That way." Deba pointed out the bush. While Izogie headed in the direction pointed out, Mayo surfaced and stood by Deba.
"You mean Juba had long left your body?" The Sultan asked, bewildered.
"And I fought with you because I trusted you had my back!" He frowned
"I may not be my father. But the more he uses my body, the more I tap into his strength and skills. Yes, I had your back".
"Good then." He turned to se more Tuaregs and some dem o n possessed warriors charging towards them. "And good you're here too. We have each other's back."
The first Tuareg to approach got the end of the Sultan's sword buried in his stomach. As the rest came, Deba and Mayo charged toward them.
It was indeed a bloody fight. The quietness of the night was shattered by loud screams, clash of metals and the fire cracks from burning houses. The smell of roasted flesh filled the atmosphere.
It was a long while later Deba and Mayo made their way into the palace hall. True, Ezomo sat on his chair, head bent against his chest. Blood oozed out of his open stomach to the floor. The sight of her dead uncle made her forget all the hate and anger she had for him. It was unfortunate he was betrayed by his own wife and daughter. The gods were right. He who betrayed his own brother will be betrayed too by someone close to his or her heart.
She moved closer to inspect his body. But a shuffling sound at the far end of the palace hall caught her attention. Mayo increased the fire from his body so they could see well. Lo and behold, Yetu with Yuwa. They held long daggers, their only protection.
"The people I've been looking for", Deba said, moving away from her dead uncle's body. "Where are the other children? What about the other wives? My aunties?
"They are well." Yetu replied, relaxing her grip on the dagger. "You have no idea how relieved we are to see you".
"Oh Deba." Yuwa stepped forward, smiling. "We are so glad to see you are alive and well. After the way we saw Izogie, we were beginning to get scared that they've done something worse to you". She made to hug her cousin, but Deba warded her off.
"I know exactly what and who you are, Yuwa. And you," She looked at Yuwa's mother, then back at Yuwa. "My supposed best aunty and cousin".
"Deba please. Don't listen to what they are saying. Those are lies" Yuwa pleaded.
"Tell me, who killed your father? Who surrendered the city and entire kingdom to the Tuaregs?"
"They did." Izogie said, joining them. She had returned to her normal size and look. However, she came in carrying Tira over her shoulders, to the bewilderment of everyone.
"You should have killed her instead." Deba protested "She is dangerous".
"We need her to undo everything done to your sister". Juba spoke. She hadn't realized he came in too.
"And what will be the fate of these two?" Deba asked
"That's my decision to make, Deba" Izogie said, "Stay away from them and help me here instead.
To be continued .....