It was very rare to hear the tusk blown, except during war, death of the king or an important personality and in the event of calamity or emergency. Many thoughts quickly ran through my mind as fear set in.
Turning to the direction of the main entrance of the compound, I saw an army of warriors with a few palace guards, eyes red, with matches and spears in their hands, fiercely marching in towards me. I knew something big had come to visit me, but what and why?
“Son of Ikpafak Otuekong Ekpene Ekpe Udo Mbiam, don’t move from where you stand! Today is the beginning of your end”. Amamkpa, head of the palace guards charged, pointing his machete at me. I laughed to stupor and to the amazement of the warriors.
Before Amamkpa earned a place at the palace, I was his biggest fear in the village since he narrowly escaped death the last time we fought. I defeated him in all wrestling bouts and reduced him to an object of ridicule in the village. Today, he comes to arrest me.
“Amamkpa the effeminate goat of Ukpe Ntukubok Adiama Mkpafi Nkopntem! What an irony”. I retorted. “So, a she-goat has led an army of lions to Ikpafak Otuekong’s compound to disrupt my communion with my ancestors? To what do I owe this surprise?”
Before Amamkpa finished saying I was wanted by the Edidem (king), I saw another set of warriors dragging in Isemin and Udo Ntafiong, my friends. Suddenly, it dawned on me what the show was all about; indeed, Amamkpa was right, my end was near.
Earlier that morning while I was in my hut, mother didn’t only knock to wake me, but to remind me of the event taking place at the village square. It was the ceremony for the prince to take a bride from among the girls in the village.
Edidem’s new policy of the prince’s bride, meant that all girls would line up at the village square and dance for the prince to choose one as his bride. It was a crime any girl not to show up. Although there were opposition in some quarters, nobody dared made it known publicly.
At the village square, a huge commotion had occurred. Of all the girls that turned out for the dance, the prince went for Ekaette. After pleading with the prince that she was engaged, the prince remained adamant causing her to abscond. Worse, words had got to Edidem that I led my friends to plan an invasion of the ceremony, in opposition to the new policy.
There I was, hands bound, facing Edidem in the Council, charged with a crime I knew nothing about and being bombarded with the most unfair verdict in the history of our community.
Edidem made a pronouncement that I be banished to Obio Mmong and subsequently sold into slavery to the white-skinned man. Ekaette was later apprehended and forced to marry the prince, so I heard.