Hello ATS Readers,
This is to officially inform you that I have officially inform you that I have purchased the domain for my blog (www.aminatawastories.com) All my posts have been transfered there and subsequent posts will be put up there.
I’m sorry for the inconvenience this might cause. It’s all in the bid to serve you better.
Thanks for reading Aminatawa Stories.
Oyepeju’s death did not surprise anyone not even her maids. She should have taken the initiated’s warning to stop thinking bad thoughts. Abike only felt pity for her son, the boy could not even recognise his mother yet. She found herself going to visit the boy everyday, the innocent child was now in the care of his mother’s two maids.
The hour was almost upon them. It was time to stop the coronation. It was time for her to get her revenge. The Mother had provided them a three-person army. Abike and Ogunbiyi were a little worried at first but, they remembered that the initiated were not ordinary people. Three initiated soldiers equalled a million mortal soildiers.
Niniola paced her chambers, something made her uneasy but she could not point it out. No matter what happened, the coronation must take place. She had waited so long for it to happen. She had to make sure it happened. She stopped pacing, she knew exactly what she had to do.
Niniola’s presence was announced to the commander of the rebel army, he would become the Supreme commander of the Kingdom’s army after Adeniyi’s coronation.
“Your Majesty” The commander said as a away of greeting when Niniola entered his hut.
“Commander, I don’t need to remind you of what will happen if this coronation does go as planned.” Niniola said without any preamble.
The commander smiled, he didn’t respond well to threats but he was going to humour the Queen because just like her, wanted the Coronation ceremony to go on without hitches.
“Your Majesty, do not be disturbed. Everything will go on as planned. I have men surrounding the palace. If they see anything suspicious they’ll kill it first and ask questions later. And besides, the priests have promised us everything will go well.”
“I don’t trust the words of the priests, they’ll say anything we want them to say as long as they are well paid or, in this case properly threatened.” Niniola insisted. “I also heard the palace gates have being opened so that citizens can witness the coronation and from what I hear, they are not happy about it. What if they start a riot.”
The commander sighed and tried desperately to hold in his anger. He hated it when his competence was questioned.
“I have it all under control.” He answered.
“For your sake, I hope you do. After all it was the mute slave you sent to the palace that made things escalate so fast.” Niniola said as she turned to leave.
The commander smiled again, he had sent that slave to palace on her orders. She knew the second Queen would try to buy a slave she could trust to spy on her. The Queen was a really dangerous person and he did not want to be on her bad side. But, he hated when his abilities were tested. As he thought about it, he wondered where the girl was.
Abike wondered why the Mother had requested her presence when it was almost time for them to set out. She sighed, and entered the Mother’s chambers.
“Child, this battle would determine your fate, you have to enter into it with the right attitude. And the confusion I see in you is not right. You want revenge but you don’t know whether you should go for it or not.”
“Mother, you understand me perfectly, I don’t know what to do.” She answered.
“I hope what I am about to show you will help you decide. Your attitude is what will determine this battle, it all depends on you.”
“What do you want to show me?”
“Look into the calabash before you.”
Abike lifted the brown calabash and stared into it, for a few seconds she did not see anything but then, it started. She found herself back at her village the night it was burnt down, she saw her mother being raped and killed again. She saw herself at the slave village, her comatose sister was also violated and killed and then her throat being slashed, the pain was so real, it was as if it was happening to her all over again. Suddenly she was in another village and another village; the calabash took her from village to village, the wreckage and destruction was live. Children were orphaned, the old were left to die of starvation as their children were dragged off to the slave village. There was blood everywhere, houses were burnt down, it was the aftermath of destruction of the rebels brought.
Abike was back in the dark, cold room of the Mother. She didn’t even know she had started crying until she felt her warm tears against her cheeks. She wiped them off, it was not time for tears; It was time for action. Her people had suffered too much under bad government.
The Palace square was full of people, citizens, chiefs, priests, soilders. The golden throne had been brought out of the courtroom to the Square. Everyone awaited the presence of the Prince about to be crowned King.
Niniola smiled happily at the dancers who swayed their waists rhythmically to the drummers beats. But, no matter how energetic and entertaining the dancers were, it was obvious that the only ones happy were the dowager Queen and the chiefs. Even the priests were not happy, but they went along with everything for the sake of their lives. The Oracle had stopped talking to them, but it was not something they could tell anyone.
The drummers stopped and so did the dancers as it was time for the prince come in. The poet introduced him with praises that could make anyone’s head swell. Adeniyi entered all dressed up in the royal regalia, it was the happiest day of his life. The chief priest motioned for him to come forward and sit on the golden throne where he would be crowned.
Adeniyi moved towards the throne and was about to oblige the chief priest but a voice stopped him.
“Don’t you dare sit on that throne.” The voice said again, this time it was louder and clearer.
Everyone turned towards the speaker and she was almost unrecognisable. Abike was no longer in the black slave’s uniform, she wore a soldier’s uniform. No one recognised the uniform, her thick black hair and been braided tightly and neatly on her head. Her eyes lined with kohl, her formidable look was completed with the arrow she pointed at the prince.
“The only way you can sit on that throne is when I’m dead.” She said.
Adeniyi’s eyes widened with surprise, he had not gotten a chance to meet the slave, but he knew she was the one. He wanted his life more than he wanted the throne.
Niniola was infuriated, how could a slave threaten her son’s life, she more angry at her son for being so afraid of a slave.
The commander laughed so hard and deep, it almost distracted Abike, she could not take her eyes of the Prince, because the moment he sat on the throne; it was over.
“Do you think you can pull this off alone?” He asked, he suspected witchcraft must be involved in the slave’s ability to speak. With all he had experienced nothing surprised him.
“She not alone” Ogunbiyi said as he stepped out of the crowed with the three soldiers the Mother had given him; All women in the same attire as Abike
“Really, you think you can defeat me with three women?” The commander asked, irritated.
“Try us” Ogunbiyi said as he played confidently with his sword.
The priests who had recognised the pure people started to back away. They knew it would be unwise to go head to head with them.
The commander rolled his eyes at the cowardice of the priests. He was tired of the drama going on.
“Please kill them.” He ordered his soldiers with a bored expression.
As soon as he said, it was as if he had unleashed the pure people. Even with the commotion that had started as the citizens tried to run for their lives, the initiated soldiers moved through the people at the speed of light and within minutes the rebel soldiers were dead.
Ogunbiyi had gone for the commander’s head and he had gotten it.
During the commotion, Adeniyi had tried to sit on the throne but Abike was faster than he was. He lay on the floor with three arrows in his chest.
Niniola began to scream at the sight of son’s dead body, it was the beginning of her insanity.
Abike looked around, it was all over. The burden she carried for over a year had been eased; or so she thought.
Four months after the battle, the Oracle had spoken to the priests finally and had chosen the next ruler of Ibiyowa kingdom.
“Do you really have to go? Stay here and rule with me.” Abike begged.
“You know I can’t. The kingdom has been damaged beyond repair. I have to go out there and help them settle.” Ogunbiyi answered as he stroked her face with his fingers.
“Ruling the kingdom is a heavy burden, o can’t bear it alone. I need you here.”
“The Oracle chose you for a reason, I’ll help you bear the burden, but I can do it here. The kingdom has to be rebuilt, soldiers need to recruited. As the General, that is my duty. You’ll always have me and the young Prince. He’s your son now, train him well because he is your successor.”
Abike sighed, there was no way to convince him to stay, he was a soldier and he’s duty was outside the palace. It would be wrong of her to force him to stay. The gods had chosen her to clean up the mess the previous government made and she would do a good job of it.
“I have to go” He said as he bent to kiss her lightly on the lips, it was not the first kiss they’d shared but sadly it was the last. She was the Queen and he was a soldier; their fate ked them in different ways to achieve a common goal.
“Take of yourself and the Prince.” He said, before he finally left her hut.
“I will” Abike answered into emptiness. Her path was never the easy one.
Thanks for reading The Mute Slave, hope you enjoyed it.
Oyepeju paced the small room she had to share with her maids. She was not sure what way to direct her thoughts because the so called ‘initiated’ could hear her. But, a lot of things occupied her mind. She wanted to know how Abike could suddenly speak, she was curious about the woman they had met earlier, She was nervous about the fate of her son if the palace fell.
“Your Highness, you need to relax.” One of her maids said calmly, she was not sure if her mistress heard her or not. But, she knew it would be unwise to repeat herself. She turned her attention to the little Prince instead.
“Iwadayo has returned, but I’m afraid she has bad news. The rebels have taken over the palace and they have rounded up all the priests, soon Adeniyi will be crowned king and we must not let that happen.” The Mother addressed them.
Oyepeju did not know how the others felt so comfortable around the Mother who could only be heard but not seen. It freaked her out. But, more than that she could not let Adeniyi sit on the throne. It belonged to her son. She had lived a life of suffering before she became Queen. Royalty was hers and she would not let it go, not after everything she had done to get it.
“Mother, what about…” Abike began
“Do not be bothered, Iwadayo brought him back, he is badly injured but it’s nothing we can’t handle after all we did give you back your tongue.”
“Yes Mother” Abike answered solemnly.
“What is important now is to make sure Adeniyi is not crowned king.”
“Yes, my son has to sit on that throne. That is the only important thing.” Oyepeju was glad that they finally said something related to her.
“Silence Woman! Your bastard son will not sit on the throne.” The Mother’s voice had a dark edge to it.
Abike was shocked, the Prince who was supposed to take the throne was a bastard. Not that she doubted the Mother words but she looked at Oyepeju and the shock in her eyes confirmed the Mother’s words.
“But, mother if the Prince is a bastard then who will save us from the impending wrath of the gods?” Abike asked.
“Only the gods themselves can answer that. I think it is time to visit Ogunbiyi. He is in the healing chambers, you have a lot of explaining to do.”
“Yes Mother” Abike said quietly as she got up to leave. She paused in front of Oyepeju. With everything she had experienced in her life she could not judge the Queen. But, attempting to sit a bastard on the throne was something she could not understand.
Oyepeju sat shocked, it was a well kept secret. The man she called brother was her lover, the father of her child. The one she had planned to share her palace with. How did the initiated find out? He had disappeared all of a sudden, were the initiated responsible for his disappearance?
Ogunbiyi stared at Abike in awe. He couldn’t believe everything she’d just told him. The second Queen had brought her into the palace to spy on the first Queen. Abike had entered the palace with the intention to reveal the hideout of the rebels to King and avenge her family. But instead had been caught up in the power tussle between the King’s women.
The first slave who had spoken to Abike in the slave hut turned out to be an initiated. After receiving a message from the gods that the kingdom is doomed because the royal family had neglected the people, the King declared himself a god and rejected the gods. The priests were selfish and thought about their pockets alone. And since, the land of the pure was a world within the kingdom. If the kingdom was destroyed then the land will be gone with it. And so also if the land was destroyed the kingdom will be gone with it. They depended on each other for survival.
The Mother sent Iwadayo to find out how to save the kingdom from doom and somehow she read Abike’s mind and knew about the power tussle between the Queens and decided to use Abike has a tool. But, the rightful owner of throne is unknown since it had been revealed that little Prince was a unfit to rule.
What bothered him the most out of all that she had said was that he had to lead to an army of the initiated to the palace before Adeniyi was crowned, because the wrath of the gods will begin the moment he is crowned.
But, he considered himself a failure, he couldn’t even protect the palace, because of him the whole Kingdom was doomed. He was not fit to lead the an army of such pure beings. He sighed.
Abike understood his plight, she was in a dilemma herself. She did not understand how she fit into the whole situation, she could not tell whether she wanted the battle because she wanted to save the kingdom or because she wanted revenge on those who ruined her life.
She moved closer to Ogunbiyi who sat on the bed and hugged him. She didn’t know when she became so brave to hug a man. But, in their situation she didn’t know what else to do. He didn’t protest instead he wrapped his hands around her and they stayed together in comfortable silence.
Oyepeju couldn’t bear any longer. Her son must be King, she would get rid of anyone who stood against her. If she had to kill to get what she wanted she would. First, she had to give the silly tree who exposed her secret a piece of her mind.
She had just reached the entrance of the Mother’s room when she felt a sharp pain in her chest, her eyes went completely white and she fell on her chest and gasped for air.
Thanks for reading.
Final episode coming soon!
“I’m not going in there with you.” Oyepeju shook her head fearfully. Abike sighed, she was tired of Oyepeju’s complaints. If only Oyepeju knew that it was the promise Abike made to Ogunbiyi that kept her alive.
“Your Highness, if you want to live long enough to see your son seated on the throne, you’ll have to follow me.” Abike answered and entered the opening that was already closing. Oyepeju and her maids managed to enter before the tree closed up finally.
Inside the tree was a different and peaceful world entirely. The peacefulness and serenity of the place overwhelmed Oyepeju and her maids immediately. Abike was used to it, the place had become a home to her in the past weeks.
“Where is this place?” Oyepeju asked as she admired greeness of the grass and the abundance of the trees. She had always thought that Palace was the most beautiful place in earth, but this world was paradise. It was home to nothing but trees of different heights and sizes. Yet, the richness and beauty of the place overwhelmed her. And, made her wonder how such a beautiful place could become hers. Surely, if this place was part of Ibiyowa then it also belonged to her son as the rightful heir.
“Stop it, this place is not yours to claim.” Abike said with disdain.
“You can hear my thoughts?” Oyepeju could not hide the surprise in her voice.
“Loud and clear” Abike answered without looking back.
“But how can you…” Oyepeju began, but was interrupted by the appearance of a woman whose dark skin contrasted with the white wrapper wrapped around her chest. Oyepeju could not tell if the woman came out of a tree or behind a tree.
“The Queen awaits you, but she is not pleased that you have brought the noninitiated along with you.” The woman said.
“I’m sorry Iwadayo, but I had no choice.” Abike apologised with her head bowed.
“It is not me you need to apologise to” Iwadayo answered and turned to the Queen and bowed.
“Welcome your highness. While you are here, endeavour not to think bad thoughts, the initiated will not be happy about it.” She said.
“You mean you can hear my thoughts too?” Oyepeju asked wondering where she had seen the woman before.
“Not just I but all the initiated can, but only when you think bad thoughts.” Iwadayo answered. “You know the way to the Mother-tree, I have another errand to run.” Iwa said to Abike and walked away.
“Oh mother, I have arrived.” Abike said when they got to a certain tree that was grander than the rest. The tree parted the same way the first had and Abike and the others entered.
Inside the tree was a hallway of rooms brightened by torches hung on each side of the wall. “Follow me” Abike said quietly as she entered the room at the end of the hallway.
“Mother” Abike said as she bowed and signaled the others to do the same. Peju held her little child tightly to her chest as she bowed. If they could hear her thought she was pretty sure her fear screamed loudly at them as she bowed.
Oyepeju felt a chill even though the lamps that burned brightly in the room made it warm. The presence of the Mother was strong in the room, yet she could not be seen. It was as if she was part of the room; part of the tree.
“You must know by now that I am not pleased with you. You bring not one uninitiated into our world but four.” The Mother’s voice was as cold as water drawn from the morning stream and yet it was as warm as a mother’s bosom. Oyepeju feared madness had come to her for she was witnessing the impossible.
“Forgive me Mother, but I made a promise to keep them safe and I could think of no place safer than the land of the Pure.”
“You made a promise to protect two not four. We made you an initiate because the gods said only you can save our world from destruction. But, you actions say otherwise.”
“Forgive me Mother, the other two insisted on accompanying their mistress. I could not fulfil the promise without them.”
“Very well then. Take the one who wants to acquire power by putting her innocent son on the throne and also acquire my Kingdom in the process to a room and have her rest along with her maids. We shall talk when the time is right.”
“Yes Mother.” Abike said, head still bowed. “But, Mother I still have a favour to ask of you…”
“Yes yes, the one whom you made the promise to walk be saved. Without him all is lost. Now leave me child.” The Mother dismissed them.
Two episodes to go, thanks for being patient with me.
Dare and William denied knowing each other. But, the tension between them at the dinner table was like live wire. Even the children noticed it and were awfully quiet.
“Hmm hmm” I cleared my throat. “Dare, I’m taking the kids to the cinema next weekend. I promised them this weekend but something happened and I had to cancel.”
“So?” Dare asked obviously confused.
“If you don’t mind, I want Faridah to come with us.”
Faridah looked at her father with the hope that he would let her, ever since the divorce he’d become a little over protective of her. We both stared at him in anticipation.
“No problem” He said finally.
I smiled and winked at Faridah, I half expected him to say no. This time I had to keep my promise or I would lose the children’s trust forever. I was always postponing things.
“Why are you so excited to take other people’s children out?” William asked suddenly, shocking everybody at the table.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“It makes you look desperate.” He answered without any expressions.
“What?” Tade, Titi and I asked unanimously.
“I can’t believe you just said that.” I said as I picked up my bag and stormed out. I couldn’t comprehend why William would say that to me.
“Once again, Tomi has successfully ruined another dinner.” Dare said as he watched William chase after her.
“What did I say that was so wrong?” William asked when he finally caught up with me.
“Really, are you seriously asking me what you did wrong?” I blinked back the tears stinging my eyes. I never cry and it would not breakdown in front of him; Ibwasn’t that weak.
“I only said the truth, those people will take you for granted if you keep doing that. I am here for you if it’s children you want I can give you. I don’t like the look that Dare guy gave you….”
“What are you going on about?” I asked my anger gave way to confusion.
“I don’t like those people.” He said simply without pretense.
“Those people are my friends, they are closer to me than my own family. If you don’t like them it means you don’t like me.”
“It’s obvious you had family issues. You don’t need them anymore, you have me.” He continued stubbornly and I could only stare at him in disbelief.
I know you are probably shaking your head at me right now. I jumped into conclusions after one date, but at my age who wouldn’t? The guy was a freak, going all possessive of me just like that.
I shook my head and walked away from him. I was not getting into his car, I would rather take a cab.
William watched Tomi walk away; no woman ever walked away from him without facing bitter consequences. It was supposed to be different with her, a beginning of a new life fit him. But Dare had to show up and ruin everything. It was all Dare’s fault and he would make him pay dearly for it.
To be continued….
“Yes! yes! I can speak, I’ll explain later. Right now, you have to check on the King.” Abike nodded and answered with a tone of urgency.
“What are you talking about?” Ogunbiyi asked as he released the tight grip he had on her arm.
Abike told him everything she had heard outside Prince Adeniyi’s Hut as quickly as she could.
Ogunbiyi ran into the king’s Hut and truly the king had died in his sleep. He ran back out and rang a bell alerting all the Palace guards in the surrounding. First, he had to get the second Queen and her son to safety. He didn’t have much time. The rebels would be upon them in any minute, and they were experienced and brutal fighters, who also possessed dangerous charms. The Palace guards were no match for them. But, he had to try his best to keep the palace safe.
“I have to get Queen Oyepeju and her son to safety, they would be the first to be killed. But, I also have to stay and protect the palace.” Ogunbiyi said to Abike who followed him about as he walked about trying to mobilise the Guards.
“Leave the Second Queen and her son to me, I know a place where they will be safe.” Abike answered.
Ogunbiyi paused and faced Abike. “I don’t know if I should trust you. You pretended to be mute for a…”
“I did not pretend, and you don’t have any choice. We can stay here and debate on whether you should trust me or not and let the rebels take over or, you can…”
“Fine, I get it. The Second Queen is in your hands. I don’t know if I will get out of the palace alive, but if I do how will I find you?” He asked.
“Don’t worry, I’ll find you.” Abike answered and sped off towards Oyepeju’s compound.
Ogunbiyi sighed and hoped he had done the right thing as he watched Abike disappear into the darkness. He turned his attention back to the confused guards and addressed them.
Oyepeju held her son tightly to her chest, she would not let any of her maids touch him. She didn’t trust any of them, not after Abeni’s betrayal. She had sent all of them away but two of them stubbornly refused to leave her and swore to follow and serve her until they died. But, she still did not trust them. And, she did not trust Abike either, but she had no choice but to follow her when she heard that the Palace was under attack and her brother was nowhere to be found.
Abike had taken her out of the palace through a secret passage she had not known existed. She found herself and her child in the middle of a thick forest following Abike blindly.
“Stop! We have reached where we are going.” Abike said.
“What do you mean? We are in the middle of the forest. I knew I shouldn’t have trusted you.” Oyepeju fought back the tears that stung her eyes. She would not cry in front her maids and especially not in front of a slave.
Abike ignored her and tapped the big tree that stood in front of them thrice . “Great Mother of the Pure, please open the door your humble servant is here in the company of others.”
As soon as she said it, the tree split into two opening a passage to another world.
To be continued.