THE OUTCOME OF VERITY

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The bible verbally expresses "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free" but if you stand for the truth, you will always stand alone, the evil doers around you will always find a away to take your life, but God never forsakes his children, his words never transmute, he has promised the virtuous long life and prosperity, consequently, we should always bear it in mind that the outcome of verity is long life. (written in 2016-2017).

Submitted: April 29, 2017

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Submitted: April 29, 2017

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CHAPTER ONE

The Pedestrious “Ogidi” was well known as the poorest and oldest man ever lived during his stage, In Obingwa. However, he was very vigorous that he could peregrinate a distance by foot, solving family quandaries, telling the histories of the past and inheritance, in order to get some foods to victual.. He was born in a minuscule village called “Umuokereke Ngwa” amongst the one hundred and thirty eight villages in the Obingwa local regime area of Abia state, Nigeria. Ogidi was very short and thin with little bowlegs by nature, albeit, he was trepidacious by his look, for he has grey ocular perceivers, whoever child he consistently visually examines becomes trepidacious, he ambulates very expeditious and never looks up, lest he falls. His parents died when he was a teenager, meanwhile, he never got married. No wife, no child, no relatives, no job, no home until he became so old and began to perceived what was not really there, hallucinating like a dog, and having some illusions. All he does was to peregrinate around seeking for obstinate children to deal with, telling people the histories of their forefathers and their traditions. During his peregrinations, he carries along with a calabash filled with imbibing dihydrogen monoxide, and a diminutive basket of aliment stuffs dashed to him by people. Wherever he is and gets exhausted of plodding, or finds the day dark, there he slumbers. As of then, there was a trepidacious ruler called “Ike Nwosu” this man was very rigorous and tough that he was dealing with the malevolent people and adamant children remorselessly, those who go tardy to school and those who reluct to go to school at all, nor comply with their parents. Therefore, Mazi Ogidi exploited the ruler's influence to threaten the children, notwithstanding he was a geriatric man, he was able to carry a child on his shoulder, claiming he was taking him to the ruler's prison yard where he would be penalized, whosoever he does this to will cry so acerbically until the parents come to rescue. All these japes were performed just to make the children more earnest and utilizable. But then, the children didn't optically discern it as jests, they became so trepidacious of him that they conventionally run to obnubilate whenever they optically discerned him emanating from far away. Through this act, Ogidi became so famous that whichever road he passes people wave hands at him, shouting.. “Mazi Ogidi, please come to our home today” but he has in mind where he's going for the day. Ogidi was seen as an angel by the people of Obingwa during those days, so, he was welcomed with plenty of foods and attire by every family he visits, because they know that he has come with fun, caution and inspiritment to their families. His missions wasn't only to convert obstinate children to docile, he was a very good man, historical and a peacemaker, he never fortified evil. But the notification of his visits was lamentable news to the auditory perceivers of the malevolents and the obstinate ones in the community. Then later on, the children discovered his impuissance that whenever he looks up he must fall, so, they utilizes this act to torment him as well by asking him “Mazi Ogidi, look up and see something falling on you” and immediately he does that, he falls, then children begin to laugh at him. One day, Ogidi went to a village called “Umulelu” this village united as one by six autonomous communities, including “Umuachara, Umunkpor, Umunkalonu, Umuedena, Umuokpaku and Umusolo, together they were called “Umulelu”. Among all, Umusolo was the smallest part, from which was where their king “Eze Onuoha” came from. While Umuachara was the largest part which has about seventy-four courtyards. So, Ogidi arrived at Umuachara and went into the biggest courtyard where there are fourteen families of different consanguinity, “Ejiofor, Enyereibe, Ugwuaku, Nwankpa, Anele, Nmaduforo, Njoku, Aguwamba, Acho, Oguzie, Ukonna, Ubani, Ugwueze and Orjinta. These families were living in peace and harmony, except Oguzie's and Ugwueze's family who have been in conflicts for a long time over a piece of land. Oguzie was a farmer, he had two wives with nine children. Ugwueze was a loaner, he lends money to people with interests and conditions that whenever one fails to pay back in the appropriate time as bargained, he would take over his wife. He had two owned wives with eleven children, then later had another three wives which he coveted from men who borrowed and were unable to pay back on time. Ekeoma, the hunter from Umusolo who borrowed two hundred silver coins when he was about taking a wife, Nkata the tailor from Umuokpaku, and Ahamba the town-cryer from the same Umuachara but different courtyard. These people's wives were coveted for had failed to returned their loans to Ugwueze within the date assigned. The dragging land was genuinely Oguzie's own inherited from his late grandfather ”Ogwugwu” whom was a very proximate friend to Mazi Ogidi during their 50s. His opponent Ugwueze was a very malignant man who goes about coveting other people's properties, he was performing some charms furtively, all his debtors were under spell to never meet up in paying back, then he would take over whichever property he wants. The elders were speechless towards his malignity because he was hazardous and the richest man in Umuachara as of then, nobody dares him.   When the children visually perceived Ogidi coming inward, some absquatulated to obnubilate as customary, while some commenced to shout his name jubilantly.. “Mazi Ogidi! Mazi Ogidi! Mazi Ogidi!” running forward to meet him.   “Hahaha! How are you my children?” Asked Ogidi. “We're fine, thank you. How are you too?” replied the children in merriment. “Ooh! I am still strong and healthy as you all can see, hahaha! Where are your parents? Go and let them know that i am here” said Ogidi. The children jubilantly ran to their parents for notification. Ogidi went straight to Orjinta whose house was the most proximate to the main ingression. Orjinta was a very proximate friend of Ubani, both of them were palm-wine tappers, they weren't opulent, and in fact, Ubani was one of the debtors in the creditor's list of Ugwueze that had yet to paid, but they were good men. When Orjinta saw Ogidi, he emerged and greeted him traditionally. “Haa! Mazi Ogidi, you're highly welcome, please have a sit.” Said Orjinta. “thank you my son, how is your family?” Asked Ogidi. “We're fine, how are you too, and how was your journey? It has been a lo..ng time you came last to see us.” replied Orjinta. “The both laughed.”   After Orjinta had introduced his new wife and children to the old man, they served him a good meal prepared with “Okporoko, (stockfish)" also with a palm-wine. Subsequently, they took him to the visitor's room, and there he stayed for some weeks, until his missions were over.   As the day was getting more tenebrous, the news of Ogidi's present keeps spreading within Umuachara, and afore the day got tenebrous, the elders were then aware of his present. A meeting was summoned by Ogidi to hold a place in Ugwueze's compound the next morning, albeit, he had nothing in mind against Ugwueze, for he knew not the soi-disant malevolent men in Umuachara, he preferred Ugwueze's house because he had a profoundly and immensely colossal and pulchritudinous premixes. It was Orjinta whom Ogidi sent to notify his neighbours about the meeting. Then, Orjinta went first to his friend “Ubani”. lastly, he went to Ugwueze and met him sniffing snuffs. Orjinta: “Nna anyi Ugwueze! I greet you.” Ugwueze: “You're welcome! This one that you came to my house today, I hope all is well? Orjinta: “Yes, Nna anyi, all is well. I only came to inform you that Mazi Ogidi is here in Umuachara.” Ugwueze: “Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Was that why I was aurally perceiving the children making much noise earlier today? So, that old man is still alive? That's good. Where is he now? Orjinta: “He is in my house. He came to pay us a visit, you know it has been long he came last.” Ugwueze: “O yes, it has been long indeed.” Orjinta: “Well, Nna anyi, he said that every elders of this courtyard should amass here in your house tomorrow morning at eight o clock. He said he has some matters to discuss with us.” Ugwueze: “Some matters to discuss with us. Really? But why must it be in my house? Orjinta: “Nna anyi, I don't really know why, but I conjecture it may be because you have a sizably voluminous compound.” Ugwueze: “I see. Anyway, no problem, no problem. Till tomorrow then.” Orjinta: “Thank you. In that case, let me be on my way.” Ugwueze: “Alright, goodnight!”  But Ugwueze wasn't blissful about the meeting, for he knew what was going to be discussed, but because of the veneration they had for the old Ogidi, he couldn't opposed. After the dawn, children hurried off to school. Men walks consecutively to the meeting at Ugwueze's house. When they had gathered, they wore smiles on their faces knowing that things would change for good thenceforth. Palm-wine and Kola nuts were brought by Ugwueze's fourth wife “Urenma” whom he coveted from Nkata, the tailor from Umuokpaku. During her present in their midst, the elder’s moods were changed, they began to look at themselves in anger and mournfulness. But the old Ogidi whom was perceivable and sensitive, therefore grasped what was going on. Ejiofor, the oldest exclude Ogidi, he stood up and blessed the kola traditionally with salutations.  Ejiofor: (Salutation; “Umunna Kwenu! Kwenu! Kwenu! Kwezuenu oo!) Well, our people says “he who brings kola brings life” in this case, we are going to masticate this kola with the confidence knowing that more life, strengths and mystical enchantments shall be integrated in our lives according to our forefathers. “Iseeee” (Amen). Replied the elders. “But afore we masticate this kola, I optate us to understand that a kola nut is diminutive, but it is more paramount that it goes round to each person and not that it fills the stomach”.   Ejiofor sat down, and the kola was passed to everyone one after the other until it got to the hand of Ogidi the oldest. He was about standing up, but they preferred him verbalizing while sitting, as he was a geriatric man, and so he did.  Ogidi: (Salutation; “Umunna Kwenu! Umuachara Kwenu! Ndi nwe Obodo Kwezuenu!”) Hahahaha! “The happy moments of a man in life is not only when he is making love with his wife on the bed, neither is it when a good food is set for him on the table. But a man equally becomes happy when he realises how honoured and respected he is in their community, that is why you can see smile on my face today. Without wasting much time, let us go ahead with this drink and kola, then we shall look into the matter that brought us here today. Orjinta my son, break these kola nuts and share the drink.” Orjinta was the youngest among the elders, he stood up and sliced the kola nuts, he performed a libation as tradition by pouring a little wine on the ground as an honour to their forefathers. After all that, they drank and chewed kola nuts. But Oguzie refused to take anything because he was in a great enmity with Ugwueze, he wasn't happy.  Enyereibe: (Salutation; Umunna Kwenu! Kwenu! Kwenu! Kwezuenu!) Our gathering here today brought joy into my heart because our people said, “A bullfrog that refuses to sleep, when it dies, it must sleep whether it likes it or not”. I know that after this meeting, that bullfrog which had refused to sleep will eventually sleep, and forever, hahaha! The elders agreed with him by smiling with nods of heads. After Enyereibe had said this, Ugwueze stared at him annoyously, for he knew that the proverbs were referring to him, but he said nothing yet, he was only shaking his legs, while his face was on the ground.  Ejiofor: Well, I think it is time for us to welcome our beloved and only surviving grandfather who has never forgotten his grandchildren, whether in the rainy season or in dry season. Mazi Ogidi, you are highly welcome to Umuachara! All the elders welcomed him as well.  Ogidi: Thank you very much my children, well, I am equally happy to be here in Umuachara today. Not because I wished to come, as a matter of fact, there are other villages which i hadn't visited for longer than this Umuachara, but i came because of the ongoing persecutions that i have been hearing about in this community, particularly in this courtyard of yours. Can someone tell me exactly what is going on? The elders were afraid of what Ugwueze's reactions might be to the person who brings out the matter, they were looking at themselves and waited for some seconds until Nwankpa stood up. Nwankpa was somehow stubborn and fearless, but because of poverty, he had no power to triumph over Ugwueze.  Nwankpa: (Salutation; Umunna Kwenu! Kwenu! Kwenu! Kwezuenu!) “ We do not use our bare feet to search for hidden thorns which we have seen in day time.” The ant that bites a man is right there in his clothes. My fellow elders, our problems are here with us.  Oguzie: (Salutation; Umunna Kwenu! Kwenu! Kwezuenu!) "Someone who fell into a pit does not hesitate to scream out loud, in order to be heard by people that pass along the road. We have had enough proverbs as tradition, so, I think it is time for us to hit the nail on the head, and stop beating about the bush. Ugwueze here, is our problems in this community. Mazi Ogidi, ask him why he has chosen to be this wicked, all he does is to go about claiming people's properties, even the only land that my late grandfather handed over to me before he died, Ugwueze woke up one morning and told me that the land now belongs to him. “Please my elders of Umuachara, help me to ask Ugwueze how the land managed to be his.  Ugwueze: (Cleared his throat) I greet you my fellow elders of Umuachara. You see, the Gods of our land gave us wisdom to utilize knowledge and experience with common sense, having this Wisdom, you will be able to live your life without problems, being able to get out of situations that seem to be difficult or embarrassing, mostly, understanding and tolerance. I cannot pretend to be ignorant of those proverbs which you all had said earlier, but from this wisdom given to me by the Gods, I was able to tolerate. You see, without knowing a person too well, we must not hate him. I Ugwueze have never done wrong to anyone, nor claimed anybody's property before. (The elders looked at themselves). But our people of Umulelu as a whole see me as a wicked man today, why? Because I am a loaner, I lends money to people in order to solve their problems, with an agreement of paying back with little interest on a given date, and if eventually the person fails to pay back within the date, whatever he or she had brought as a collateral will then belong to me. How is that a wickedness? Oguzie was stupidly and carelessly unaware when his late father “Ikpeama” borrowed seven hundred silver coins from me, with which accomplished him in taken the chieftaincy title which he took when he was alive, unfortunately, he died before the date we had agreed he would pay back, so, the only thing I had to do was to take over that piece of land which he presented to me as a collateral, that's all.  Oguzie: Ugwueze you are a liar, you are a devilish liar. My father would have told me if he had borrowed any money from you, and moreover, that land was personally handed over to me by my grandfather “Ogwugwu” and not to my father “Ikpeama”. So, whatever business you had with my father when he was alive, keep that for pending, whenever you join him in the grave, both of you shall continue the business over there. Leave my land alone for me, please..  Ogidi: My children, it is of no use to fight over unanimated issues. Oguzie's father “Ikpeama” is no more, Oguzie's grandfather “Ogwugwu” whom was a very good friend of mine is also no more. But there is one thing that can never be hidden nor die, and that thing is “truth”. No matter how far a man urinate, the last drop always falls at his feet. “Seventy years ago, I was stronger than I am today, and my late friend “Ogwugwu” was also as strong as I was, both of us were very hilarious that we do joke with family issues without a quarrel. When joking, he normally laughs at me for didn't get married and bear a child like him. I normally laugh at him for having a wife with only one son “Ikpeama” whom was addicted to alcoholic. He would say to me that it is better to have a drunken son than none. I replied to him and said, what if you get old and die, who will then manage your properties? And he answered, as soon as his grandson grows up to teenage, he would hand over his properties to him, believing that his lineage will continue, unlike me. You see, from those funny conversations we had, I now realised it's possible that Ogwugwu’s properties might have been later handed over to his grandson “Oguzie, and not to his father, Ikpeama whom was a drunkard.” After Ogidi's story, the elders were smiling in a surprise mood. But Ugwueze was disconsolate and in fact, he stoop up and pointed his finger at the old man.  Ugwueze: This is rubbish! Mazi Ogidi or whatever you call yourself, if you don't know what to say, you better shut up your mouth, rather than vomiting none sense words. The elders, stood up with annoyance.  Nwankpa: Ugwueze shut up this abominable mouth of yours, are you drunk? Don't you realise that it is Mazi Ogidi you're talking to?  Ugwueze: Nwankpa, is it me you are talking to this way? Have you forgotten who I am? “Who are you? Replied Nwankpa. “Now let me warn you,” said Ugwueze. The less opportunity given to a monkey to wear cloths does not guarantee it to join the dining table, and the monkey who tries to see the hunter clearly collects bullets in its eyes.  Nwankpa: And the sparrow said that since the hunter has learnt how to shoot without missing, it has equally learnt to fly without perching.  Ugwueze: Then, you forgot that, no matter how far an eagle flies up the sky, it will definitely come down to look for food. We shall see.. The exchange of words keeps multiplying. Then, Ogidi stood up and said the last word.  Ogidi: It was a human being who taught a leopard how to eat people. "Our forefathers say that the leopard wanted to eat people but did not know how to kill them until it overheard someone telling another that if the leopard was clever, it would jump on someone and prick its claws into the person's neck. A child can play with its mother's breasts, but definitely not its father's testicles. Ugwueze my son, step your feet out of that land, it belongs to Oguzie. I have spoken..  Ugwueze: If one were to remove every smoking wood from a fire and condemns it as bad, one would be killing the fire itself. We shall see then. The elders took their leave, and that was when the war began between “Light and Darkness” involved with the two neighbouring villages in Obingwa called “Umulelu and Onicha ngwa”    

CHAPTER TWO

Onicha ngwa is a diminutive but the most popular village in Obingwa. It additionally has six villages inside of it, with immensely colossal courtyards. But they had no king as of then. Therefore, no constitution, its citizens were living like sheep without a shepherd, committing lots of atrocities. They had fought with several villages and had always subjugated all, which made them so popular today. In Onicha ngwa, every courtyard had a native shrine where the non Christians worship and prepare some charms which they use to tie up the destined ones in order not to progress, they were few who believed in Christianity. During those days, Onicha ngwa had a group of non Christian old men called “Umummiri”, some of these people were native Doctors, their members were not only from Onicha ngwa, in fact, The soi-disant Ugwueze from Umulelu was a member. “Umummiri” their ways were to dance round the villages on every “Nkw? market days”, wearing white tops, green trousers and white canvases with long fresh palm-leaf on their shoulders, Matching in “Ekpete band” with their ritual musical compositions. They offer human sacrifices to their idols at each junction of the village. On these “Nkw? market days” Christians are not sanctioned to go out, otherwise they would be killed by the “Umummiri”. They had blood covenants to always stand for each other in time of trouble, and to never expose their secrets to a non member. Their auxiliary act towards each other was to kill anyone that makes case with their member, which affected Ogidi, Oguzie, Nwankpa, Enyereibe and many other elders that have had quarrels with “Ugwueze” whom was their member. Immediately the elders left Ugwueze's house, Mazi Ogidi selected four elders included him, they went straight to the king “Eze Onuoha” and repined to him what was transpiring in Umuachara. Already, the king was cognizant of Ugwueze's malignity, for he had received lots of complaints from numerous people within Umulelu. Mostly from “Ekeoma, Nkata and Ahamba” whom their wives were coveted by Ugwueze. When the elders got to the king's palace, they greeted him traditionally.  Elders: “Igwe eee!” (A titled name used to address a king)  The king: “You're welcome my people. Haa! Who am I seeing? Mazi Ogidi!” “Igwe” replied Ogidi. Hahahaha, laughed the king. “After many years, you recollect your grandchildren in Umulelu today? That's good. Please, you all should sit down.” Em, “Lolo” the king called his queen. When she came, she greeted the elders. “go and bring some Kola for us” said the king. After they have chewed and drunken some wines. The king: “Mazi Ogidi, how are you?” “Igwe, I am fine.” replied Ogidi. “It has been a long time, it seems like you have forgotten your grandchildren?” asked the king.  Ogidi: “Igwe, it is not that I have forgotten you people, but you know, the more older I am getting, the lesser distance i travel. And off cause you know that Umulelu is very far from Umuokereke ngwa where I was born. So, that is why it seemed as if I have forgotten you people. In fact, Igwe, I came to this Umulelu yesterday, but i was in Orjinta’s house in Umuachara. The evil i witnessed in this Village prevented me from leaving today, because we decided to see you in order to find some solutions to these evils.”  The king: “You're highly welcome once again my people. Let me hear your petitions.”  Nwankpa: (Cleared his throat) “Igwe, Our people say; One does not tell a deaf person that war has broken out. And if we don't stand for something, we will fall for something. When a son of the land does something bad, he is forcibly dragged through his father's courtyard.  The king: (Smiled) “Nwankpa, you know I don't like proverbs when it comes to a serious matter. Please, hit the nail on the head.  Enyereibe: “Well, Igwe, all trees grows in the forest, but the ora tree singled itself out. Ugwueze is the terrorist which Umuachara have, in fact, Umulelu as a whole.   “Haa, Ugwueze again.” Said the king.  No one drinks water and drops the cup. Igwe, we have come to seek for solutions, what do we do? The king: “My people, I cannot pretend that i am not cognizant of Ugwueze's posture in this Umulelu, It is not by staring hard that one optically discerns the road or understands what is going on. I have received an abundance of complaints about Ugwueze severally, and I cerebrate it is time for us to do something about it. One who does not concur, concurs on the death mat. No one can elude penalization for his maleficent deeds.”   “Igwe, thank you very much.” Said the elders.  Ogidi: “We had a meeting at Ugwueze's house earlier this morning, and he pointed his fingers at me, forgotten that an incipient-born child does not throw its father up. Igwe, we must do something.”  The king: “I have heard your petitions, we must do something immediately. Today is already gone, but tomorrow, every elders of Umulelu shall accumulate here to present their matters one after the other, in front of Ugwueze. Then, we shall know what to do.”  Nwankpa: “That's a good conception. Well, Igwe, we shall be taking our leave now, and we all shall be here tomorrow as you verbalized. Thank you very much.”  The king: “You're welcome! The town cryer will go round the village this night to notify all other elders.”  “Igwe, you shall live long” said the elders. “And you additionally, go well” replied the king. Then, the elders left. But during their present in the palace with the king, the princess herself was conscientiously heedfully listening their discussions through the window. Meanwhile, the princess and Ugwueze's son of his first wife, were confidentially seeing each other as lovers. So, when the princess had amassed the information, she then went and apprised her lover “Ejike” Ugwueze's son. Ejike withal went and apprised his father Ugwueze. But Ugwueze wasn't trepidacious, rather, he told his son not to worry, that everything is under his control. At that night, Ikoro was beaten by Ahamba, the town cryer. “Kon kon kon kon kon kon kon kon. The elders of Umulelu, the king has summoned a meeting to hold a place in the palace tomorrow morning at nine O clock, every elders must attend to this meeting, but whoever misses to come for any reason will be filed. He that heard should apprise his neighbour.” “Kon kon kon kon kon kon kon” Ahamba circumnavigated the six components of the village with the same message. Two adolescent ladies who was passing when Ahamba was messaging, they greeted him and had some gossips immediately he passed.  Lady 1: “Hmm, Nna anyi Ahamba is really trying oo! Few months ago, that wicked Ugwueze forcibly took his wife from him, yet he has the mind to serve this village again.”  Lady 2: “And so what, is that not his job? And besides, haven't you heard that Mazi Ogidi came to this village yesterday?  Lady 1: “What? That old man that normally scares us when were children?  Lady 2: “Yes, and I heard he is in Umuachara. That is the main reason our king is summoning this meeting.”  Lady 1: “Wow! I'm happy about this. That man is old but fearless. All the elders in this village including our king himself are afraid of taking any action towards Ugwueze's evil, but I trust Mazi Ogidi, he never supports evil.”  Lady 2: “Yes my dear, please let us go, tomorrow we will hear the scores. The dawn broke. All the elders took a walk to the palace. When they had gathered, they greeted their king.  Elders: “Igwe eee. (His highness) The king: “I greet you all the elders of Umulelu, you're welcome to my palace. I evoked this meeting to hold a place in this palace this morning, which was promulgated last night by Ahamba. I hope everyone is here? The elders commenced to look around to know if one was missing. Haplessly, Ugwueze was still on his way to the main ingression. But immediately his most proximate neighbour “Aguwamba” stood up to promulgate his absence, Ugwueze arrived. They were all short of words, despite his tardy peregrinated. Ugwueze was evil, he never obeys laws. But the people of Umulelu feared him a lot that no one could open his mouth to say the truth about him, not even their king. The king: "Well, I am happy that everyone is here now. The reason I called this meeting is not for us to celebrate nor to quarrel with each other, but for us to have it in our minds that we are Kindred and not strangers. The things that are happening in this Umulelu have proven itself that love is no longer existing between us. Last month, we buried five salubrious young men who died one after another without being sick, last two months, a woman and her daughter were found lying coldblooded on their farmland, nobody knows who killed them, but the worst of all was the little student whom was beheaded last week on his way to school, a boy who knows nothing, who washes his body only on his stomach. All these sacrileges were not happening in Umulelu before, so I ask, what is wrong? Who is behind all these devilish acts? Well, i have not mentioned anybody's name, neither do i have anyone in mind for saying this. As our people say "all Lizards lie on their stomachs, but we cannot tell which has a stomach-ache." Apollos: "Igwe eee. My fellow elders. I greet you all. "An old woman said that if she had revealed the details about how she trampled the Chick to death, It's mother would also be caught and given to her out of misplaced pity." We should not talk too much about the things we see or the troubles we suffer. Let us bear all our worries and sorrows in silence, hoping that one day, God will hear the cry of his children." Onowu: "Taaaa! Keep quiet if you don't know what to say, what do you know about worries and sorrows? Well, Igwe eee, my elders, I greet you. "If the pestle misses the mortar, it pounds the ground. Let us not depart from the truth, lest we meet with misfortunes." Elder Mark: "You're right Onowu, but I think Apollos was most right. Let us endure trouble courageously because there is nothing that has not been experienced before. One must face difficulties boldly." Nwankpa: "Nna anyi Mark, If you were not my elder, I would have shut your mouth up for saying such a thing. How can we fold our hands sitting and watching evil growing day by day in this village? No, just look around and tell me what you see. You will see nothing good about this Umulelu apart from; stealing people's crops in the farm, killing innocent youths, women and children, coveting people's wives and properties. Yet, you have the heart to open your mouth and said that "we must face difficulties boldly" well, Nna anyi Mark, I am disappointed in you of all people." The king: "That's enough Nwankpa. Like I said earlier, we have not come here to celebrate nor to quarrel with each other. We have come to seek for solutions about the evil in this village. It is said that an illness is not a good thing, yet someone says that the one who has a hydrocele should also have a distended stomach. Things should have their limits. So now, my elders of Umulelu "the anus is available for flute, who can blow it? Ogidi: "Igwe eee, the people of Umulelu, I greet you all. I am very happy because we have had another great opportunity to express our feelings by gathering here today. It is true that i am a stranger, I am not from Umulelu neither do i have relatives here, but, one who goes to a land where they cut off ears should cut off his own ears and contribute it. If I must tell you, I know Umulelu very well, even more than any of you here does. But if you doubt me, let me see your hand up. Now I ask again, is there any of you here whom his grandfather is still alive, let me also see your hand up? You see? Nobody. That is to show you that I know Umulelu more than you do. I would have told you the history of this village of yours, but that is not why we are here now. I am an old man, and there is no how I will see things going wrong and keep quiet, no! "If you don't spare a day to fix the door to your room, you will waste three years searching for money in your room, but will never find it." My children of Umulelu, how long shall you continue living with the fear of your mankind? If the sun claims superiority over the moon, let it shine at the night. If Ugwueze think that he is strong enough to do everything, let him die and bury himself. He cannot. So my children, stand up and tell us what Ugwueze has done to you which is not good. "When you see an old woman eating chicken excrement, because of senility, take it away from her, because when she gets a cough it will spread to everyone. "It is not good to wink at evil." Speak my children! Speak.." Ahamba, the town cryer. He stood up and spoke in bitterness, notwithstanding he was afraid of Ugwueze's present, he spoke with confidence from the moral he exploited from Ogidi's speech. Ahamba: "Igwe eee, my elders, I greet you." Our grandfathers said that "If a deceitful person buries himself, one of his arms will stick out." That is to say "No matter how wicked or brave a person may be, there are things which he cannot do." In all, you should do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I borrowed one thousand silver coins from Ugwueze, a week before my father's burial, with which accomplished me in burying my father. We had an agreement to pay back after two months, but he demanded nothing from me to present as a collateral. But i was able to raise only eight hundred silver coins within the two months he gave me. Ugwueze came to my house with his boys and dragged my wife away, my only wife. I went to his house to confront him, but he chased me away with a gun. For the past seven months now, he has refused my wife to return. Ekeoma: "Well, that is what we are passing through in this village, Ugwueze has created enmity between himself and the entire Umulelu. Had it been I knew that he would claim the wife which I borrowed money from him to marry, I wouldn't have married her in the first place. "Now look at me, just look at me." Ogidi: "Abomination! So, you mean that this kind of thing is happening in Umulelu, and you people kept quiet, even you, Igwe? Nkata: "Mazi Ogidi, that is not all o! My wife was as well taken from me by the same Ugwueze, just because I could not afford to pay back the money he lent to me within his date. We decided to remain silent since he is superior to us in everything. Our people say that "Discretion is the greater part of valor." Sometimes it is important to know when to give up and run away, instead of always acting brave and maybe getting hurt. We left everything for God to judge. Enyereibe: "Fortune favours the bold." People who bravely go after what they want are more successful than people who try to live more safely. Ogidi: "Exactly, my son. Something must be done. Igwe, we need to do something." Ugwueze: "What will you do? I ask, what will you do, this old Wizard? Do you think you can do anything to me? I Ugwueze, (He was hitting his arm on his chest) the shell that no weapon pierces on it. Look, a Hen does not expect warning to hide it's chicks from the kite. But let me warn you once again, stay away from me, mind your own businesses, otherwise.. Ogidi: "Otherwise what will happen? What will happen Ugwueze? "You want to know what will happen?" Asked Ugwueze. "Yes, I want to know." Answered Ogidi. Ugwueze: "Really? I guess you are stubborn, right? But before you start going out with a widow, make sure you ask her what killed her husband. Otherwise, the same thing that killed her husband will also kill you." Ogidi: "Ugwueze, you are a child, you cannot do anything to me. I know that you are a murderer, but bear it in mind that, Ogidi is exceptional. The gentle strides of a tiger does not indicate cowardice. Ugwueze: "Ogidi! Ogidi! Ogidi! How many times have I called you? I will swallow you as the Shark swallowed Joanna, but I will not vomit you." Ogidi: "A wise fish should know that a beautiful earthworm that looks so easy to swallow, has a sharp hook attached to it." Ugwueze: "Alright, we shall battle and see who will be the winner." "I am not afraid of you." Replied Ogidi. Then, Ugwueze departed with anger. But the king was trying to persuade him. "Let him go! Let him go!" Said Nwankpa and other elders. "Do we have to run away from this village because of one man?" Asked Onowu. The king: "No, but it requires a lot of carefulness to kill the fly that perches on the scrotum. We all know that Ugwueze is evil, and there is no how one can escape the punishment for his evil deeds. Ogidi: "When showing and knowing live together, harmony will not be absent." Igwe, the way i am looking at things, I believed that Ugwueze has charmed all of you. Yes! If not, how can a little rat of yesterday keeps terrorising the whole Umulelu? And you people are there sitting and watching him doing all that. Somebody I knew even when his father was born. No! I am ashamed of Umulelu." The king: "Mazi Ogidi, calm down. You don't have to be ashamed of Umulelu. A hunter who has only but one arrow does not shoot with careless aim. Ugwueze is not as that easy to trample upon, we are making good plan against him, and I believe that something will soon be done. Let us take it easy." The meeting ended, then, all the elders departed. Ugwueze was very angry, he then made up his mind to start killing them one after another. At that night, Nwankpa's wife was curious to know how the meeting went. She was a very good woman who loved her husband and children so much. She never wanted anything to happen to any of them. So, after she had served her husband's dinner. Nwankpa's wife: "Nna anyi, how did the meeting goes today? Nwankpa: "It went well." "Are you sure?" Asked the wife. "Yes, I am sure. Please woman, go to bed and sleep, I don't have the strength to answer all these your questions now." Replied Nwankpa. Nwankpa's wife: "Nna anyi, I want you to withdraw yourself from any matter concerning Ugwueze. You and i know that Ugwueze is evil, and he was the one who killed your only brother. Now, you are the only one left, and I cannot afford to lose you, please..." Nwankpa: "My dear, do not worry yourself. Ugwueze cannot kill me the way he killed my brother. "There is no how one can make an omelette without breaking few eggs." Trying to be good, you must provoke some people. But, instead of being blind, I rather become a hunchback. I will keep on doing what is good and saying the truth without fearing anybody, not even Ugwueze." Nwankpa's wife: "Nna anyi, I know. But, I am saying all these because I over heard Ugwueze this evening on his way back from the meeting, barking and hitting his palms on his chest, saying that he will deal with those who challenge him in this village. And he mentioned Mazi Ogidi, Nna anyi Enyereibe, Nna anyi Ejiofor, and your name." Nwankpa: "What? You mean that Ugwueze said he will deal with me? In this case, let me go and meet him now, I want him to deal with me this night." Nwankpa stood up with anger, drawing away his body from the held of his wife, in meeting Ugwueze that night. He was a very hot tempered man and never fears anybody. But, her persuasive wife never allows him to act whenever he wishes to. So, that night, she persuaded him until he calmed down. Then, they went to sleep.

CHAPTER THREE

The dawn has broken again. The cocks crowed louder than ever, and never ceased. Meanwhile, it was seen by the people of those days in Umulelu that whenever a cock crows as that much, it was a sign of the evil that wants to transpire. Enyereibe was perturbed by the crying of the cocks, for it sounded as if they were right there under the bed which he was lying on. He aroused and wondered what was transpiring, he took his knife and went at the back of his house where he has a little pottery. There he saw a very large snake swallowing seven eggs one after another, after it has bitten the Hen that laid them to death.

Enyereibe was shocked! And never knew what to do, he stood and watched, until the seven eggs were devoured. The snake was trying to escape, but eventually, Enyereibe killed it. It was Ugwueze who went into his shrine that very night after the meeting and prepared some charms. During his incantations, he mentioned the names of the seven people which he wanted to kill, but prospered in killing only five people amongst the seven. The names of those he mentioned were; Ogidi, Nwankpa, Enyereibe, Onowu, Oguzie, Ejiofor, and Ahamba, therefore, he sent the snake. After Enyereibe had killed the snake, he went inside and never felt as healthy as before again. After some hours, he descried that his body was swelling up gradually, and feeling pains all over it. While he was on the bed, he was breathing heavily. His wife and children weren't happy, they were running up and down seeking for solution, but all to no avail. "Nna anyi, what is the matter with you? You have refused to eat anything since morning. What is wrong?" Asked the wife. "I don't know, I don't know. It was just that I woke up this morning and heard the cocks crowing, I went at the back of our house and saw a big snake swallowing some eggs, then, I killed the snake. After that, I began to feel pains all over my body." Said Enyereibe. "Nna anyi, this is getting more serious, what do we do?" Asked the wife?" "Don't worry yourself, I have already sent our son to go and call "Mazi Ogidi" and "Nna anyi Ejiofor" for me. This is nothing else but the hand work of our enemies." Said Enyereibe. His wife began to cry, she knelt down and faced up with her two hands stretched up as well, saying.. "Amadi ?ha (God) what have we done to our enemies to deserve this? Please Amadi ?ha, save my husband from this illness, he is all I have, please.." When the elders heard about it, Ogidi and Ejiofor went to Enyereibe's house. They met him lying on his bed, and had swollen up that he could no longer stand on his feet. After Enyereibe had explicated everything to them, the elders then knew that it was Ugwueze who is responsible for it. However, they consoled Enyereibe and family that nothing was going to happen to him. The next day, other elders went and saw him with consolations as well, until it got to an extent that he could no longer talk. Ogidi, Ejiofor and Nwankpa acceded to summon a Chief priest, in order to foresee if something could be done for Enyereibe's survival. They went to the neighbouring village "Onicha ngwa" and brought a native chief priest. Meanwhile, the chief priest that they had brought was a member of "Umummiri" in which Ugwueze himself belonged to. When he came, he noticed that Enyereibe's illness was casted on him by a co-member, but he never knew whom the member was, for he was not aware that Ugwueze is from that same courtyard. However, in order not to fail their rules, he decided not to provide a solution within his heart, he wanted him to die. So, immediately he touched Enyereibe, he claimed to be so surprised, and he stared at the elder's faces one after another, then, he looked up and laughed. But the elders were ignorant of what was happening. "The wise one, what is the solution to his condition?" Asked Nwankpa. "My elders, I am afraid." Said the Chief priest. "Afraid! How?" Asked Nwankpa. "His condition is beyond my comprehension, I don't think anything can be done to save his life." Said the Chief priest. "No! The wise one, we believe that you can do something to save him. Please help us, we don't want him to die." Said Ogidi. "I am sorry my elders, but he cannot survive it. Death is a call of nature, and it is inevitable. Let me take my leave now." Said the Chief priest. Then, he departed. The next two days, Enyereibe died. His family cried so bitterly, but there was nothing they could do. He was buried after fourteen days, as their tradition. A week after Enyereibe's burial was "Nkw? market day" in Onicha ngwa, in which was the day of Umummiri's parade. Ugwueze had to go as a member , and off course he went with a testimony of succeeding in killing one of his enemies. Not only him, when they had gathered in the shrine, they all testified and thanked their God one after another for had given them the power to satisfy their heart's desires, they also requested for more powers to withstand, lest more troubles arise. After their triumphant shouts, they emerged to their parade ground. Christians absquatulated to obnubilate as customary, they danced right around the villages, making blood sacrifices at every junction. But then, there was a strong Christian named "Udochukwu", this young man was totally against the Umummiri, he was therefore planning on how to make Christianity stand stronger than it was in that community. During the Umummiri's parade, Udochukwu was coming from another community where he normally goes to preach the people about "Jesus Christ", he was holding a Bible in his hand. When he saw these people marching towards him, he quickly ran into the bush nearby, for he knew what they could have done to him. While in the bush, he said to himself "What type of thing is this, how long shall we continue running from these evil men in this community? Look at how they have painted the whole villages with bloods, how am I even sure that they are not the bloods of human beings? No, something need to be done, we cannot continue living with fear in our village, I am not comfortable with this culture at all, I must do something." After they have passed, he came out and quickly ran into his own courtyard. The next day in Umulelu, Oguzie thought he should go to weed his piece of land for the farming season was approaching, he then called his wife "Oriaku! Oriaku!" "Nna anyi!" Answered his wife. "Get me some water in a gallon, I want to go to clear that land, you know that it is the only land we have, therefore, we need to start on time in order to have something to harvest in the future. Said Oguzie. "Nna anyi, you are right, let me go and bring the water for you." Replied the wife. Then she went to bring the water, while Oguzie was sharpening his knife. "Nna anyi, here is the water." Said the wife. "Alright, let me be going, I don't think i will come back soon, so, do not worry even if I am not back after the noon, I want to make sure that I clear them all." Said Oguzie. "In this case I have to bring your food to you after cooking?" Asked the wife. "Yes, you may bring. I have to leave now before the sunrise. Said Oguzie. "Alright Nna anyi, please be careful." Said the wife. Oguzie left to the farmland, he was clearing the bush, unfortunately, Ugwueze was coming to clear that same land. When he saw Oguzie working on the land, he became very angry, nevertheless that the land was still Oguzie's own. Ugwueze: "Oguzie, what are you doing on that land? I am asking you, what are you doing on that land? Oguzie: "Nna anyi Ugwueze, what do you mean by "What am I doing on this land?" You and i know that this land is mine, therefore, I have every rights to do whatever I desire to do on it, and as you can see, I am clearing it up. Or, do you have any problem with that?" Ugwueze: "You are asking me, right? Haven't I warned you to step your foot out of this land, that it is now belonged to me?" Oguzie: "Nna anyi, the whole Umulelu know that this land belongs to me, inherited from my grandfather "Ogwugwu" so, I don't know what you are talking about." Ugwueze: "Oh! You don't know what i am talking about? Oguzie, you don't know what i am talking about? Alright, wait for me here, you will soon know what I am talking about." Ugwueze departed in a hurry, going home to bring a gun. On his way he met Oguzie's wife going to that same farmland with a basket of food on her head which she prepared for her husband, Oguzie. "Mazi Ugwueze, good morning!" She greeted with fear, but Ugwueze did not reply, he expeditiously passed with anger and was talking to himself "Today, I will show you that nobody dares me in this village." The woman was wondering whom he was referring to, however, She continued to go. And when she got to their farmland, she saw her husband standing with his two hands on his waist, while facing up. "Nna anyi, what is the matter with you? You look worried, who must have provoked you?" Asked the wife. "Who else will it be apart from that evil man, Ugwueze?" Replied Oguzie. "Mazi Ugwueze again? Oh my God!" Asked the wife. "He came here and asked me to step my feet out of this land, that it belongs to him. When I tried to challenge him, he left and told me to wait for him. Fine, I am waiting for him, let him go and come." Said Oguzie. "Oh! Nna anyi, that must have been the reason he was barking like a Dog going home, I even greeted him but he ignored. Nna anyi, I think we should leave now, because the mood I saw him I think he is up to something. Please." Pleaded the wife. "No, I must wait for him today, how can I abandon my own land because of one man? No way." Replied Oguzie. "Nna anyi, Mazi Ugwueze is evil, you and i know that. Please let us leave for now, you may still come back another day. I don't want to lose you." Pleaded the wife. "You mean that i should abandon my land because of Ugwueze?" Asked Oguzie. "No Nna anyi, you will come back another day, obedient is better than sacrifice, please, we must leave now." Pleaded the wife. "Alright, let us go, but I am coming back here tomorrow to finish what i have started." They departed through another road. Ugwueze arrived with a gun immediately they have left. "Where are you? No, you could have stayed and see how i would have blasted your head this morning. Don't worry, I know what to do, you will soon join those in the grave who proved to be stubborn. Very soon." At that night, Ugwueze went to his secret shrine inside one of his rooms and evoked the evil spirits of Umummiri, he had a little incantation and then told the Umummiri to kill Oguzie, when next he visit the farmland. The charm immediately flew to the farmland and buried itself. Ugwueze was laughing, knowing that his Gods has answered him. At that same night, Oguzie's first wife had a terrible dream about her husband, Oguzie. In that dream, a masquerade was chasing Oguzie with a knife, while Oguzie was running and screaming, but at a point he fell down, and the masquerade butchered him to death. All the elders who came for comfort were mourning in bitterness, while his two wives and children were rolling themselves on the ground crying. When the Chief priest of that village came, he said "Oguzie's death is not ordinary, somebody from this courtyard has a hand in his death, oh! Amadi Oha, do not hesitate to avenge. I am going." After his prophetic sayings, he turned and left. Then, the elders decided to go and bury him. Immediately he was about putting into the grave, the wife arose from the sleep. Meanwhile, she was living in a separate hut nearby Oguzie and the second wife "Oriaku". She was worried but couldn't go out, for the night was still. She waited patiently until the dawn broke. In the morning, Oguzie was sharpening his knife again to go to the farm, but his first wife came out and persuaded him not to go "I greet you Nna anyi, where are you going to this early morning?" "To the farmland." Replied Oguzie. "No, Nna anyi, I suggest you should not go out today." Said the first wife. "Why?" Asked Oguzie. "You see, I had a terrible nightmare about you last night, and I am afraid." Said the first wife. "You do not have to be afraid of anything, besides, what have you dreamed about?" Asked Oguzie. "Nna anyi, a masquerade was chasing you with a knife, and you fell down, then, he slashed you to death." Said the first wife. "Hahahaha, my dear, that was just an ordinary dream, it cannot prevent me from going to the farmland, can't you see that the farming season is approaching? I need to go and clear it up so that it will dry on time." Said Oguzie. They were both arguing over it until the second wife heard their voices and then came out. "Nna anyi, you just have to listen to her, and besides, I am not comfortable with the idea of going back to that farmland, have you forgotten what happened there yesterday between you and Ugwueze?" Asked the second wife. "And so what? What do you want me to do, you want me to leave our only piece of land for Ugwueze because "Enyidiya" had a dream of masquerade or whatever she call it?" Asked Oguzie. "Nna anyi, I suggest that we should leave that land for Ugwueze." Said the second wife. "Over my dead body, please go and get me some water in a gallon, let me leave before the sunrise, who is Ugwueze?" Asked Oguzie. "Nna anyi, I think I support Oriaku, leave that land for that evil man, what shall it profit you to lose your life over a common piece of land which Ugwueze will still take away from us when you are gone? Remember how our neighbour "Enyereibe" whom was a friend of yours died, and everybody in this community know that Ugwueze is responsible for his death. Now you want to be his next target, right? Please Nna anyi, I don't want to become a widow o!" Said the first wife. They argued over the matter, yet, Oguzie insisted on going to the farm. A gallon of water was brought to him by his second wife "Oriaku". Then, Oguzie left. Along his way were birds whispering, those birds also give sign whenever something strange is about to happen in Umulelu, just like the crowing cocks. But Oguzie was ignorant of those signs, rather, he guessed that the whispering of the birds were the sign of their farming season, therefore, he laughed and walked faster. When he got to the farm, he started working, within a short time, the charm inside the ground unburied itself, flew and hit Oguzie on his head, he fell down shouting and blood coming out from his mouth. A little boy who went for Bird hunting heard his voice, he quickly ran to the area from which the voice is penetrating, there he saw Oguzie lying helplessly, as a little boy, he could not lift him up, he therefore ran home to notify Oguzie's people. Before he got home he was very tired for had ran a distance, he was breathing heavily and could not be able to talk clearly. "What is it my son, why are you breathing like someone who has been chased by a Lion?" Asked Enyidiya, Oguzie's first wife. "It is Nna anyi Oguzie." Said the boy in stammering. "Nna anyi? What happened to him?" Asked Enyidiya, together with Oriaku the second wife, she came out when she heard their voices. "I saw him lying on the farmland vomiting blood, I don't know what happened to him." Said the boy. The wives and their children were crying, running to the farm with the little boy, together with Nwankpa who came out when he heard them screaming "Amadi Oha! Amadi Oha! Amadi Oha!" But unfortunately, Oguzie has died before they got there. The family and the entire community mourned him a lot, a day after his burial, the Chief priest of Umulelu arrived with his message from the Gods. "Bad deeds affect the doer, good deeds affect the doer. The evil that men do lives not only after them, but also with them. The slave who laughs when he sees his companion's grave being dug should remember that his day is coming. If you speak proverbs to a wise person, he will understand, if you speak them to a fool, he will head straight to the bush. The Gods has sent me to come and inform you that every calamity that has been happening in this Umulelu is from this very Courtyard, therefore, you must do something to stop this evil, otherwise, the Gods will visit Umulelu with anger. A small word is enough for the wise. The Gods have spoken." Said the Chief priest." Then he left. The elders of that courtyard including Ogidi who were listening became surprised and afraid of what the Priest had just said. They therefore, summoned a meeting within the courtyard which held a place in Ejiofor's house the next day. In the morning, they have gathered in Ejiofor's house. Ejiofor wanted to go and bring Kolanuts, but the elders refused, for they weren't happy. Nwankpa: "A woman who married two men knows which one is better for her. And when an ant stings one's buttocks, he learns to be careful. Nevertheless, the Crab says that he has two heads so that death cannot kill him, but death comes in-between them and kills him. Therefore, no matter how a person is careful or watches out, what is going to happen is bound to happen. We all heard what the Chief priest said yesterday about this courtyard concerning the calamity that has been happening in this village, and how the Gods may react on us, that is if something is not done to stop this evil in Umulelu as soon as possible. Now my questions are; who is responsible for all these calamities, and how do we stop him?" Ugwuaku: "I greet you my fellow elders. To me, I would say that we should leave everything for the Gods of our land to judge. Our people say; the Chicken that continually nibbles will one day be covered by the basket. If one keeps on doing bad things, one day he receives the wages of his work." Ugwueze: "You are right Ugwuaku, let us leave everything for the Gods of our land to judge." Ejiofor: "I am not in support of your suggestions, we all heard what the Chief priest said. The Gods of our land would discipline us in their hot displeasure if we do not cleans this community soon. Because of this, we need to do something before it gets out of hands. There is no way we can allow one man to cause what would bring disaster to everyone, no way!" Aguwamba: "So, what do we do? Ubani: "I greet you, my elders. Well, I suggest we should go to the Chief priest, since he knows of it, maybe he would tell us exactly whom the person is and how to stop him in his evil ways. That's the best thing to do." Ogidi: "You are right Ubani, that's a good suggestion. Let us go to the chief priest, he would tell us." Majority agreed, they decided to go in the next morning. During the night, Ugwueze sent two boys to kill the chief priest, they went and succeeded. In the morning, it was Ugwueze who first came and informed all other elders about going to the priest for consultation. When they got there, they found the priest lying coldblooded. All the elders included Ugwueze wept and got confused of what next to do. During the evening, Ogidi, Ejiofor and Nwankpa had another private meeting. Ejiofor: "Wonders shall never end, how can the chief priest of Umulelu died just like that, in a twinkle of eyes,? Who do we run to in time of troubles like this? This is abomination." Nwankpa: "You see, I am suspecting that Ugwueze has a hand in the Priest's death. What he acted this morning about going for the consultation was so unusual of him, he has never been so serious over such matters before." Ogidi: "I suspect him as well. Imagine Ugwueze waking us up early this morning in order to visit the priest's shrine for the consultation, this is unbelievable.


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