Iganda was having a very difficult week and he was not in the mood for small talk this early in the morning. Three days had passed since the incident and for every second that passed he couldn’t help but feel like his position was on the line.
Unfortunately for him, that also meant that his life was on the line. In the Ooranyanwu tribe, every child is dedicated to the gods a week after their birth. They are taken to the heart of the Udata where rituals are performed to appease the gods and the gods in turn bless each child with a unique attribute or skill.
These attributes start to manifest as the children grow older and eventually turns to their source of livelihood. So children grew up to become farmers, hunters, tailors and so on. According to the shamans no one can change their attributes, it was not a matter of choice but a blessing from the gods.
Everyday Iganda watched as the people of the tribe came to the barter market to exchange what they had for what they need. It was always a marvel to him when he passed by the marker and he saw a fisherman trying to trade a basket of fish for a bag of rice or even some clothes. He never had the privilege of participating in any trade because of all the blessings the gods gave there was one attribute that was unique.
Growing up in a family with four children and being the last child, Iganda’s parents were quite worried while he was growing up because he didn’t show any of the regular attributes child his age were showing. It wasn’t until he was ten that he started to show unusual strength and speed. Granted it was nowhere near the level of the Udata, but the soldiers of the Udata usually manifested these attributes and were taken away from their homes for training.
From that point Iganda became the responsibility of the Udata himself alongside other children who manifested similar attributes. They camped not too far away from the Udata quarters where they trained endlessly perfecting their skills. Since their skills weren’t exactly suited for barter trades, their general well-being rested on the shoulders of the Udata himself who saw to it that they were well taken care of.
The soldiers were also allowed to go out on their own to help the people of the tribe with issues like theft and security which usually earned them gifts for their services. In terms of hierarchy, one could say that after the Udata and the shamans, the soldiers of the Udata were the most important people in the tribe.
Iganda had been serving the Udata for over thirty years now and had seen two Udatas in his lifetime. His strength, wisdom and tact on and off the battle field had taken him to the very top, making him the head of the soldiers. Serving as the head of the Udata soldiers for ten years now, none of the experience he had prepared him for the incident with Suluvu.
He quickly stepped out of his house so he wouldn’t yell at his wife and his two daughters. Normally he enjoyed their small talks in the morning but this wasn’t the day, he headed to camp quickly hoping the situation had changed.
Three days ago after the guards got Suluvu to safety, the guards apprehended the traitor that helped the strangers execute their plans. His arm was already broken by Suluvu but this was nothing compared to what he deserved. The guards wanted to kill him but Iganda stepped in with a better plan. Iganda was head of all soldiers and he was aware of the division that existed between the guards of the Udata and the rest of the soldiers.
The rest of the soldiers believed that the guards of the Udata were spoilt and never did any real work compared to them while the guards of the Udata believed the soldiers were unrefined and barbaric. Iganda understood their differences clearly and did his best to solve any problems that occurred between the two sects.
The traitor was obviously not a guard and Iganda was sure that was the major reason why the guards wanted him dead immediately. He on the other hands wanted information about the two strangers who nearly killed his future Udata, so he asked his men to take the traitor to the camp and use any means necessary to get information out of him. He also sent word to the Udata about his plan and the Udata had given him five days to get the information he needed.
For the past three days the traitor had been beaten almost beyond recognition and he still hadn’t said anything. Iganda was beginning to think that this incident was a lot bigger than they may have thought and whatever could keep the man silent for so long, he probably feared more than the Udata.
He stepped into camp hurrying past all the soldiers who were trying to greet him or scrambling to put themselves in order as they saw him approaching. He didn’t have time for formalities today and his patience was already gone.
In one of the inner chambers where the man was being held he met three soldiers outside the door waiting for him. One of them happened to be Baijid his second in command and the look on his face wasn’t encouraging at all.
“Has he said anything?” Iganda asked.
“Nothing yet, but we will keep trying.” Baijid replied.
“That won’t be necessary, I’m going to ask him myself.” He said.
The three of them looked at him in dread. Everything about Iganda was intimidating, he was a little over 6 feet tall and had the build of a man that engaged in intensive exercise. He was bald and always had a facial expression that warned you not to cross him even on a good day. Despite all these, his style of leadership has always been from the background believing that all the other soldiers needed to grow and gain as much experience as he had gathered over the years.
It was very rare for him to handle matters personally and when he did, it was usually of the uttermost importance. He was popularly known as “Fang” because of how swift and deadly he could be when he got involved.
Iganda stepped into the room where the traitor was being held and the three of them waited outside the room for him. After about fifteen minutes and a lot of screaming, Iganda stepped out of the room with blood on both his hands.
“Baijid, come with me now. We have what we need.” He said.
“Yes sir.” He replied hurrying after Iganda.
The two soldiers were confused about what to do next although they were sure of one thing. The traitor was definitely dead. No one survived Fang.
The Udata stood in Suluvu’s room watching him sleep. The boy had been asleep for three days although all his wounds were mostly healed partly thanks to the blood running in his veins. He knew this was far from over and he feared for the safety of his tribe and her people.
“Your greatness, Fang is here” a guard came in and said.
“Tell him to wait for me in my chambers” he replied.
“You will get justice my son” he thought to himself as he made his way to his chambers.
“Welcome your greatness” Iganda and Baijid said standing as the Udata stepped in.
“Skip the formalities Iganda, what do you have for me?” he asked.
“We got what we needed although he doesn’t know much. The two men who attacked Suluvu are not from the tribe, they were sent here when they heard that the ceremony had been conducted with specific instructions to humiliate Suluvu.” Iganda said.
“What we don’t know is why they would want to humiliate him and not simply kill him. We believe there is something not right here but we can’t seem to figure out what it is.” Baijid added.
The Udata sighed. This information meant that someone knew about the ceremony and knew that his son didn’t bond with the Takobidamma, it all made sense to him now. They wanted to prove to the people that his son wasn’t fit to lead which was exactly what the Shamans feared.
“Did he say who sent them?” he asked.
“No he didn’t and from the look of things he didn’t know. He was only paid to do a job which he did. If we need any more information we are going to have to ask the foreigners ourselves.” Iganda said.
“They are still here?” the Udata asked in shock.
“Yes they are and he gave us their location, apparently their work here isn’t finished yet.” Baijid began.
“I plan to put together some of our best soldiers to handle the situation, I just came to give my report before heading out.” Iganda finished.
“That won’t be necessary, I won’t allow any other soldiers die at their hands. You and I will handle these men.” The Udata said.
Iganda stared at the Udata intently while Baijid open his mouth in shock. Baijid opened him mouth in protest but Iganda stopped him.
Smiling mostly to himself, he asked the Udata.
“When do we leave?”
“Tonight” he replied.