Trampled Chidiogor.

I sat on the ground watching my sisters work non stop under the scorching sun. I could feel stream of sweat rolling down my body and this irritated me greatly. I swatted the bead of sweat that had gathered beneath my jaw angrily. How did we reduce to this? How did our exotic and luxurious life metamorphose into this pain stricken life? How did I, Ikediegwu fall from my mighty throne? These were questions I couldn’t find answers to; questions that haunted me at the rising of the early morning sun.
Where was our wealth? our affluence? our respect? our dignity? No one remembered that this slave boy was once a Prince. No one remembered that my father was once feared and respected all over every kingdom.
I stamped my feet to the ground as I watched my fair princesses work on the field like low born. Their once fair skin glistening with sweat and suffering. Bitterness so great filled my heart that I could taste it on my tongue.
“Ike. Please, get up and work before master comes in.” Nnenna, my sister told me.
I threw a glare at her. “Who do you call master? Someone beneath you? Someone who should never look you in the eye?”
“It’s all in the past now Ike. You have to get accustomed to reality. Stop dwelling in the past. Face what is…”
“Enough! Speak no more. Not another word!” I shouted at her.
“Okay, but please come and join us before you get whipped like yesterday. You know your wounds have not healed. “
“I don’t care. I’m not scared of being whipped. I’m scared of living my life like this forever. Unfortunately, I’m the only one with this thought for my so called sisters have adapted to this life. A life of servitude! ” I spat as I got up.
I knew my words had hurt her greatly but I refused to turn back. I had never apologised to anyone except my father. For this reason, I was always beaten with canes made of thorns by the guards. My father was the only one I feared and respected. He was my model. I looked up to him in all things. It had always marvelled me how he could control a great kingdom. My father ruled his subjects with iron hand and laid heavy burdens on them. To me, this was a sign of superiority and authority. He was a tough man and I worshipped the very ground he treaded on.
The new king I served was one of my father’s chief and I loathed him with every ounce of energy in me for he, alongside other chiefs, was the cause of my predicament. He was the cause of my father’s death. He was the reason my life was destroyed. Seeing him brought back memories which had haunted and continued to haunt me. These memories embittered me. The event of that wicked day__ when everything I held dear was taken away from me__ was ever new in my mind. It replayed every night before I went to sleep and every morning when I woke up.
It was still like a dream to me and I blamed myself for every single thing that occured that dreadful day. Though my sisters believe I did my best, I felt I could have given my all to the fight. It was better to die in battle than live this life of pain and hardship. Sometimes dying was a better option than living. Living could be much of a hell to a person.
It was unexpected. No one had planned for it except the chiefs and the people. It didn’t cross my mind that the people would plan to dethrone their king. This was a mystery I was yet to unravel. My father sacrificed so much for the development of the Odio Kingdom. It was a wonder to how fast the people were to forget this.
The palace guards who were employed to protect the palace joined forces with the chiefs to kill their king. How the chiefs were able to stir the minds of the people was a mystery I was determined to understand.
They chose to attack when my father fell ill. This made me believe this treason was long planned hence the whispering and bowing of heads each time I walked past them.
I was the crowned Prince of Odio Kingdom. My mother was the first wife and I was her first fruit and only son. I was the apple of my mother’s eyes and the shining knight of my father. I was the chief warrior and I led my army to battle. My mother had once told me I was the replica of my father for my father was once a great warrior and had defeated many kingdoms. Because of this, other neighbouring kingdoms pleaded with my father to sign a peace treaty with them. My father was a roaring lion. Little wonder the toad decided to attack while the lion ails.
That day, they barged into the palace, setting the walls on fire. I had tried to fight but what could a lone man do to a mighty crowd? My step brothers were cowards and betrayals who cajoled their mother to get married to Chief Sohed, the new king.
My family and I were reduced to the state of a slave after the coup and were made to work in the palace field. I was subjected to things I had never been exposed to. Things such as hunger, pain, hardship and thirst. We were made to work harder than other workers on the field. We were given the least food and were beaten harder than the rest. My sisters were raped before my very eyes by people we called brothers. Each time I tried to fight back, I was cornered and beaten severely. The scars on my body was innumerable for new scars were added to the record each day.
My mother who was made to serve at the palace court died three years after the treason. I guess her eyes couldn’t behold the evil, Odio Kingdom had done to their king. Sohed had ordered that my mother’s body be thrown into the evil forest. I had struggled to take the body from them but I couldn’t.
There was a limit to what a man could bear and so I had planned to escape with my sisters. I woke my sisters up very early that morning and led them away from the palace skilfully. We were able to leave the city through a secret passage my father had shown me while he was alive. I didn’t know where we would go but I knew we were leaving the land of despair and pain. We got out of the city in the night. My sisters were exhausted by then. I couldn’t blame them for they were hungry and thirsty. We had not tasted anything; not even a drop of water. I tried encouraging them to be strong but they broke down instead. I couldn’t leave without them so I carried my youngest sister at my back while Nnenna who was older and quite stronger held Nnenna, my third sister up. However, this was fruitless for the guards caught up with us.
We were bounded in chains and were taken back to the Odio where Sohed commanded that my sisters be whipped and starved. It was heartbreaking to watch my innocent sisters cry out in pain; the whip digging deep into their skin and ripping their flesh apart. Things like this tore my eyes to reasons why I needed to be focused on my task__ the task of avenging my parents and restoring our dignity.
Little did I know that Sohed had something else planned for me. He didn’t order for me to be flogged but instead ordered for me to be taken away. While the guards took me away, Nnenna tried to go with me but I promised her that I would return. Little did I know!
I was taken to a cave and there, I never saw the light of the day ever again. My eyes were gouged out and I was bounded in chains. I couldn’t comprehend why such punishment was melted out on me. I wondered if Sohed had seen my inner thought of killing him and hanging his head on a stick in front of the palace. I wondered if he had known my burning the whole city.
It was shattering that I couldn’t be there for my sisters. I wondered if they still hoped for my return.
Despite being blind, I didn’t lose hope. My resolve to avenge my family was ever fresh in my mind. However, I couldn’t defeat Sohed. I grew thin out of hunger. It dawned on me that I was dying. I decided to write my story on the wall of the caves. It was a pity I couldn’t carry out my task.

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