Togbui Tamaklo The First stood before his army of hundred, a living symbol of power and strength. He was heavily clad. The royal warrior skins he wore were frightening enough, but the many charms and fortifications the priestess had given him, and every warrior in his troop, made him positively fearsome to behold.
He glared at the opposing army. They were similarly clad with all the charms their human frames could carry.
“These are the so-called conquerors who dared cross the Volta to attack the Ewe” he sneered. They indeed were the Asante; the people from that land far beyond the lake and the plains and embedded deep within the forest. ‘The conquerors of kingdoms’, they called themselves. “Not this kingdom.” Togbui snarled, “Not now. Not ever.” Then he lifted a war cry and charged.
That was the battle that tore my life apart. With every jab and stab, my fate was sealed. It was a fierce war. They crossed swords and spears in that open sandy field for three intense days. Not a drop of blood was shed. Every thrust from either army was dodged with surreal agility. Each fighter was endowed with inconceivable power and supernatural strength; it seemed the very gods were at war.
The charm pouches on every man flew in every direction as the soldiers leapt and bent in the demoniac dance of war for three long days. Then it happened; the moment that decided the rest of my life.
On the third day, just as the peach sun slowly dipped below the horizon to herald the evening moon, one Asante warrior threw his sword at an opponent. The blade missed the man’s left rib by a fraction and sliced through the flax cord that held the charms around his torso.
It happened so fast. His sole source of protection tumbled to the floor. The groans and grunts of the surrounding tussle were broken by the piercing scream that tore through the air as a sword slit through the skin of the unprotected man and punctured his lower spine.
He managed to cut the charms off and strike a retaliatory blow at his attacker. And then they both fell.
Every soul froze in bewilderment as blood dripped from the wounded; blood they’d been fighting to shed for three days, but didn’t expect to see. Togbui let out an emasculate cry when he realized who from his army had fallen. He run and knelt by the side of the fallen man. The dead warrior was none other than the Mawuga Tamaklo; the younger brother of the Togbui, a great warrior of the land, and the man to officiate my wedding in three days… My father.
In the confusion that followed, a ceasefire was called. Togbui told me all these things. Both kingdoms came to a peace agreement. As living proof of the peace pact, my six younger siblings and I are to be sent to live in Kumasi among the Eblu; in the royal family of the Asante. They too will bring some royal children to live with our family.
So tomorrow we leave. We leave for that land far away, beyond the lake and the plains and embedded deep within the forest.
Tomorrow we leave, never to return.
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