And We Bowed (African Story)

The galloping of the horse could be heard as Ahmed rode viciously, hitting the horse with a whip as he screamed “Allah akbar!”
Through the top of the mini-mountain the sand had formed, you would think it mated with the scorching sun, as the proximity of the sand and the sun from where we viewed it, made it look like the sand was buried in the clouds.
He raised a haze of dust as he rode towards our small settlement. Villagers came out in trickles from their huts, each clutching unto their veil so as to prevent the dust from choking them.
Ahmed is the heir to the exalted Birin caliphate and a warrior whose tale of gallantry at the war front had mystified him as a demi god. One whom Allah was ever merciful to his sword, from his hut Baba Ismaila raced out, his misbaha clenched firmly on his right hand as he stared at Ahmed with a fixed gaze. Baba Ismaila had both the gait and height of a soldier but the trails of old age had shrinked him, he was a revered fortune teller whose gift was respected.
Ahmed’s horse came to a halt right in front of Baba, as the whinny sound from the horse scared kids who had come out. He jumped down from the horse, panting as the wind blew his jalabia in a wavy way. When he had got hold of his breath, he pointed towards the direction of the sun “The bastards of the Nigiri are on their way, they are coming with a large troupe, Baba the fore told war is here” Baba Ismaila raised his head to the sky, caressed his beards with his left hand, shook his head as he looked both sides at the villagers that has the expectancy for an answer written all over their faces.
He turned to Ahmed and spoke in a very relaxed tone “If we go to war, we will loose something very important. When they come, we bow” that response left Ahmed stupefied, he drew his sword from its scabbard, raised it to the sky as the sun made it sparkle. He turned to the villagers as he spoke with a stint of pride glistering from his eyes “Cowardice! I can’t stand in the face of war and play dumb! We fight with all we’ve got for Ahmed has never lost any battle!” Baba Ismaila stood still without uttering any word as Ahmed’s words had pulled down every wall of fear that had engulfed the villagers, the near-impromptu step they took was what baffled Baba.
Mothers ran helter skelter with their kids, as the Nigiri soldiers could be seen approaching the village, men and boys alike rallied as they scrambled for their swords. The Nigiri soldiers stopped at the entrance of our settlement while a tall, fair soldier adorned in a red regalia that had all the aura of royalty exuding as he slowly jumped down from his horse. Our villagers had placed themselves in formations while Ahmed stood in front dragging his sword on the sand, leaving a trail as he walked from one end of the formation to the other. “You desecrated our land, raped my sister the princess and stole all our precious stones!” The fair soldier said with so much anger brewing inside him, saliva spewed out of his mouth freely as he spoke.
“Those are the pains of war Jubril. remember, war has no rule” Ahmed said boastfully, with a smirk as he turned to his villagers. “Today history would be made my people! Today the sun would take home tales of our victory to allah when it goes home” Ahmed said. Without prior warning he launched an attack on a Nigiri soldier, piercing his sword through the stomach, blood gushed out as the soldier let out a loud scream embellishes in agony and all ties of normalcy was cut short as that singular act stirred both sides. The sound of swords clashing, the screams from soldiers who had felt the fangs of a double-edged sword was what rented the air. two men stood in one place, trading feints, thrusts and parries with lightning speed, both soldiers of various factions fighting with all their might. While this was going on Baba Ismaila stood where he was, his feet rooted to ground as the war grew wild.
Jubril, the fair prince of the Nigiri’s had dragged out his sword from an enemy’s stomach when he noticed an imposing shadow coming from his back. He turned to see Ahmed coming with so much chagrin in him as Jubril swerved and he ran past him, they ran towards each other. Ahmed was the first to draw blood, his sword dug deep into Jubril’s arm as he attacked him. Jubril threw his sword on the ground, as he signalled at Ahmed to do same, which he did reluctantly.
They both wrestled, Ahmed getting the upper hand as he dished blows to Jubril whose face now battered and covered with blood. They rolled on the floor for a while, each trying his best to subdue the other and that’s when Jubril got hold of a sword that was on the ground, he dragged it and tries to stab Ahmed. A force pushed Ahmed away as the sword went up into another soldier’s stomach, he groaned as Jubril pressed the sword further. He pushed the body of the soldier away, the thud of a lifeless body hitting the ground, made another villager turn only for him to scream “Baba! Baba Ismaila!” Other villagers turned immediately and indeed it was true.
It was Baba who took the place of Ahmed at the nick of death. When Jubril had seen that the person he killed was of great value to the villagers, he ran to the lifeless body of Baba and in one swipe he chopped his head off his body, dragged the severed head and raised up for all to see. Ahmed broke into tears as he caught a glimpse of it “Bow!!” He screamed. He wasn’t sure if it was his mouth the word slipped but he turned to see that all the villagers had dropped their swords and bowed as Jubril smiled with one eyes swollen.
The Nigiri soldiers took their maidens, cattle and precious stones as they headed west. That night silence had a heavy heart of guilt buried in it as the villagers slept in their various huts.
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