I trust that you have enjoyed the series so far. Tomorrow, the concluding part of this season ends and trust me you do not want to miss it! Truths will be revealed, it will be the end of an era! The next season begins on Monday, March 13. I hope you’ll be here.
Just to be clear, this is not a free story and the concluding part (when it is ready for publication) will be available for a token as with I See You Through the Peephole.
Also, the concluding part of the series, The Blue House will be available for sale by the end of this month. I hope you’re anticipating it?
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I appreciate you all!
Ajao sauntered into the throne room of King Adegbite and sat down on his chair. He stared out into the courtyard at the remains of the wedding party, leaves abandoned with food half-eaten, piece of meat and bones, scattered morsels of pounded yam, overturned wine bowls, and the wedding presents intact on his left hand side. It was the only place where there was no blood. The people had managed to flee the place before the attack began.
He sniffed and scratched the scar on his cheek.
“What is that smell?”
Durojaiye, a stocky dark man, stood by his side and replied with a scowl. “It’s the smell of burning food.”
“What do you think they were cooking?”
“So many things my Lord, meat, soup, yam, bean cakes…”
“They have polluted the air with it. I hate the smell of burning food. Who is responsible for it?”
“We found some women in the back, they were hiding in the kitchen hut.”
“They hid in the kitchen hut, where we wouldn’t find them?”
Ajao broke into a hysterical laughter, his warriors who flanked him on either side joined in.
He wiped the tears from his eyes. “Go and get me two of them. I must teach them a lesson.”
In a short while, two agitated women were brought before him, their clothes torn and stained with blood.
“Please! Please!” they pleaded.
“Are you the ones who allowed the food to burn?”
“It was a mistake my Lord, it was a mistake…” one of them said.
“Please!” the other woman said.
“What are your names?”
“You have made me very angry. What are my men going to eat? We travelled a very long distance to get here.”
Taiwo clasped her hands together in supplication. “We will prepare anything you want to eat! Please!”
“You will, you will, but, I must teach you a lesson. Where is my knife?” he said quietly to Durojaiye.
“It is here my Lord!” a young warrior came before him, holding a hot knife.
When the women saw him, they began to cry wildly. The warriors held them down as Ajao rose and collected the knife.
“Next time, do not waste food. Especially when you know that I’m coming.”
He tore open the women’s blouses and scalded their backs with it. Their screams rent the air, sending chills down the spine of everyone who heard it.
Oyinade heard them, she was hiding in a cave in the bush with her three maids. It was a safe place, one where very few knew of. Her maids were crying, reliving the horrors of a previous war . Oyinade watched sadly and tried to maintain her composure.
“Relax, we will be all right. The old woman has said that I cannot die.”
“What old woman?”
“She washed my head, she said I would not be killed.”
“There are fates worse than death,” one of the maids replied, tears streaming down her face. “I would rather die now than be captured again.”
“Be quiet, we will not be captured! We will remain here until all is calm and then we will flee this town.”
“Princess you don’t know what you are talking about, you have never seen war.”
“I know I have never seen war but I also know that I will not die and if you stay with me, you will not die.”
Oyeleke and his family had been brought before Ajao and his men in the throne room. He lay prostrate, wondering what his fate would be. Outside, in front of the courtyard where the wedding ceremony had been taking place, the townspeople sat on the ground, their hands and foot bound.
“You are Oyeleke, the bridegroom, isn’t it?”
“Where is your bride?”
“I don’t know, we all ran away.”
Ajao smiled. “I don’t like being lied to, I can ask my men to hack off a person’s head because of a lie.”
“My Lord, I am ready to swear by any god that I do not know where she is.”
Ajao massaged his chin. “Her father killed himself before I could get to him, what a coward! So, now that he is dead, I have to pass his punishment on to his children. Where is she?”
“I do not know.”
“Deal with him.”
Four men immediately descended on Oyeleke and began to beat him. Romoke watched the brutality on her brother and could not take it.
“I know where she can be my Lord!” she said nervously.
“Stop!” Ajao ordered the men. “Young lady, what is your name?”
She replied with more confidence. “It is Romoke, my Lord!”
“All right. And who are you to Oyinade?”
“’I’m one of her friends.”
“Hmm… so where is she?”
“There are three place she can be, we’ve been hiding in that place for so long that only the three of us know the location.”
“Is that so? Tell me.”
“If you cannot find her in the town, then she is in the forest. There’s a cave surrounded by bushes and banana trees. She will be there.”
Ajao’s eyes twinkled. He liked this young girl. “What did you say your name is?”
“Take her in. Give her whatever she wants.”
Chief Oyemakin watched his daughter being led away and shook his head sadly unable to believe how easily his daughter had given up her friend. Oyemakin wept silently, mourning his king and the loss of his kingdom. Someone had so callously betrayed them and he wondered how he had not known it, he wondered how as the right hand of the king, he had not discovered that his lord was in danger.
Ajao stared back at Oyeleke for a while. “King Adegbite was a weak king and so are all his sons. They have all been captured and will be beheaded like sacrificial goats. A man does not deserve power if he doesn’t know how to use it. You will kill all of them. Bring me a cutlass.”
Oyeleke became frantic. “Please my Lord, don’t let me kill them!”
Ajao sat up in the throne. “Why? Are you also weak, like your dead king?”
“No my Lord, we have been friends since childhood, I should not be the one to take their lives…”
Ajao laughed. “You are weak, but I am going to make you strong. You need to be strong. Take the cutlass, bring those unfortunate people out!”
“Please my Lord!” Oyeleke began to cry, he could not imagine taking the lives of the princes.
They were brought out, eyes red from weeping, bodies battered by whips. All five of King Adegbite’s sons ranging from twenty-four to eight were made to kneel in the open courtyard. Oyeleke was pushed towards them, cutlass in hand.
“Please my Lord! Ah Adekunle! Adekola! Adeyomi!”
The three eldest sons of the king wept bitterly. Adekunle, the heir to the throne, was more humiliated than fearful. Here he was, son of the greatest king in the region stripped to his waist with a rope around his neck like a common criminal.
Ajao hissed at the display of emotion between the men. “Strangle them one after the other and make him watch.”
Oyeleke was held down to the ground and watched in horror as the princes were strangled, helplessly throwing their legs in the air and struggling to breath until they fell limp.
Oyinade and her maids were in the cave, huddled together in fear and wondering when it would all be over. Suddenly they heard a rustling in the bushes, footsteps, people were coming towards them and their eerie silence made Oyinade certain that they were enemies.
“Oyinade, it is you we are looking for! Come out now, our Lord wants to see you!”
Oyinade’s maids began to weep, they knew what it meant to be captured by the chief warrior, their princess was in danger but they were in much more danger. Oyinade found it difficult to believe that anyone could find them here, no one else knew this cave apart from three of her friends. One had died in a storm when they were young children and the other two were Romoke and Olabisi. Could one of them have given her up?
A shadow cast in front of the cave and then five others.
“We were told that you would be here and here you are indeed.” The first person said. “Come out!”
Oyinade still wasn’t crying but now she began to tremble slightly, wondering how much trouble she was in. Iya Adigun had washed her head, why was she facing trouble?
“Do you think our lord would mind if we’re a little late?” One young warrior asked as the girls came out of the cave.
“What do you want to do? Do you want to excrete?” Another, a pot-bellied stocky man asked.
“No at all, these girls are beautiful…”
“I think we should get to the palace as soon as possible. You know this one is special to our lord.” He pointed to the princess.
“But we can taste these ones…”
“Let us go! Haven’t you tasted enough women today?”
The young warrior grumbled something about having the stamina of a horse as they tied their hands.
…this one is special to our lord…
Oyinade wondered what this meant as she was dragged away. Just as they headed out of the bush, her headtie fell off her head.
Iya Adigun stared at the pot full of water before her. Blood had been spilled, she had been avenged but the person she wanted to save the most would not be spared. She watched as Oyinade was led away by blood stained warriors.
Leaning back against a tree, she thought about how she had begged the princess earnestly to let her wash her head. Feeling absolved, she shrugged, got up and walked towards the river. She kept walking until the water reached her waist and smiled peacefully.
“I have avenged you all.”
Then she continued to walk until her head was submerged.