Saturday, November 26, 2016

QUEEN OMOTOLA! Episode 4.

To read the previous episode, click here

********
Omotola wiped her tears, paid homage to the gods and went outside with a straight face. The Chiefs rushed towards her and asked if everything was okay.

She managed to offer a smile to them. “There is hope.”

All of them wore a smile and chuckled cheerfully. Her children moved closer to her and asked if they could go inside one after the other.

“It’s late already.” She said without making eyes contact with anyone of them. “Let’s go home.” Omotola turned away and began to walk with her guards. They followed her behind. Sota went inside in fear to see his sister become the new eyes of the gods. He fell on his knees and she rotated to face him.

“The gods will always protect you. The queen should be your number one priority and not Owokan. He can take care of himself when the time comes.”

He bowed down his head. “What time wise one?”

“You shall find out when that right time arises.”

He looked at her with teary eyes. “Are you still my sister?”

“I am the priestess of Izieole Kingdom and you will see me as that. May the gods be with you.”
“Ise.” Sota said and rose up.

Odion, Owokan and Morenike escorted their mother to her room doorstep but she stopped her children when they were about to walk away to their various rooms. She ordered them inside, stood in front of them, and finally stared into their eyes.

Omotola sighed and spoke in a softened tone. “I just want to let the three of you know that I love you equally.” They looked at her puzzled. “I want the best for you my children and I will never ever want anything bad to happen to any of you. It will be my greatest joy to you all prosper. Whatever decision you make in the future, first, think about your father and how proud he would be when you become who you want to be. Then you can think about me your mother, the sacrifice I made to protect all of you from danger.”

Morenike’s mouth moved but she was unable to let the words out. Her mother’s sudden behavior made her confused. She waited for her brothers to speak.

Owokan said, “I know I will put a smile on my father’s face and make you proud of me.”

Odion said, “I love you mother. Fear not of what I intend to become in future.”

Their younger sister finally stated. “In times of trouble, always remember I will be there for you. I will never cause you pain.”

Omotola smiled. “Thank you my children. You can go to your rooms and sleep well.” She watched them leave. She shut her door, removed her robe and lay on her bed to cry as she remembered the words of the priestess.

*******
For the past two days, Omotola refused to come out from her room or even see anyone. She lied she was sick and needed enough rest. The only person allowed to enter was Osato and that was when she gave her food and water. She lost appetite and had no mood to see her children. Most times, when Osato came back to collect the plates, she saw the food untouched. 

In the evening on the third day, Osato made up her mind not to leave immediately she was through with her duties in the queen’s room. She decided to take a stool and sat opposite the queen as she was about to eat.

“I said you can go.” Omotola said.

“I know my queen and forgive me for disobeying you for I intend to speak with you as a friend. I’m I permitted?”

She shoved some yam pottage into her mouth, chewed and spoke. “Permission granted.”

“What troubles your mind?” Osato said. “You’ve changed.”

She sighed tiredly and dropped the spoon on the plate. “Have you been able to visit the priestess?”

“Yes I have.” She answered. “But you need to see the people lined up to see her. I was able to meet her very early in the morning today.”

“Did she see the future for you?”

She smiled happily. “The eyes of the gods said I have a great son, that the gods would have punished me if I had refused him to be a warrior of Izieole. It was his destiny. I asked when I was going to have grandchildren.”

“What was her reply?” Omotola asked with curiosity. 

 “She said the vision is not clear.”

She folded her arms. “This priestess is mysterious like the past one. I only hope I can escape her prophesies.”

“What did she see for you?”

The queen narrated it word for word. Osato placed her hands on her head and opened her mouth wide.

“Yeh!! May the gods not allow it to happen! One of your children would fight you??”

“I’m not over it and it bothers me. I am only going to watch them and be a good mother.”

“You are a good mother and you don’t deserve betrayal especially from your son?”

“What makes you think that the traitor is a boy? I have a daughter.”

“You think Morenike is capable of doing that to you?” Osato asked in a dazed tone. “You and I know your number one suspect is…. forgive my queen… Prince Owokan.”

She shook her head. “I love him just like the others and I wish him well.”

“I know you love him but I think you have a favorite among them.”

She gave her a look. “Who do you think is that?”

“Prince Odion.”

Omotola looked her in the eyes and chose not to say anything.

“Am I wrong?”

She thought for a while and smiled faintly. “I don’t know but sometimes I think I favor him more. I no longer want to talk about it and please take away the food. It’s cold already.”

“I can prepare another one for you.”

“Don’t bother yourself. You have tried, I want you to go home and rest.”

“But before I go, are you making preparations for Morenike’s birthday? She turning eighteen soon and becoming a very beautiful woman. I am sure suitors are already knocking on her door.”

She broadly gave a sincere smile. “Yes but I don’t know her plans yet. I will speak with her about it before preparing for a party.”

“That is a wise decision my queen.” 

“But won’t you be happy if Morenike and Imafidon become husband and wife?”

Her eyes brightened up. “Am I worthy to be your in law?”

“Of course you are! We could match make them. I believe they like each other.”

“But you should ask of her opinion first.”

“I will do that.” Both of them giggled together.

*******
The next day the queen came out and appeared cheerful. She went with two of her maidens and Imafidon to the market square and spoke with the traders. Morenike coming from an outing saw them and went to meet them. She sang and more people coming to buy food items neglected what they were doing just to listen to her voice. Her mother was impressed. When they got home, Omotola on her way to her room, heard loud voices of her twins. They were in Odion’s room. She quickly opened the door and both of them shut their mouths the moment they saw her.

“What is going on here?” She asked with inquisitive eyes. She searched the room and found nothing suspicious. She looked back at them. “Am I not talking to the two of you?”

“Nothing.” Owokan said walking to the door.

“Stop there!” She ordered him. He halted and stared at her with a huge frown on his face. 

“You will not walk away from me again. I tolerated that and I won’t anymore. Why were both of you quarreling?”

Odion rubbed his chin, sauntered to his bed, and sat on it. She got no response. 

“Are you both gone deaf all of a sudden. This will be my last time or I will give you a punishment.” She turned to Owokan. “Why were you quarreling with your brother?”

Swift-stunned eyes gazed at her. “Are you blaming me without hearing the side of my story?”

“He is your elder brother and you should treat him with respect!”

“And I do that all the time! Why is it now you are reminding me of that when you absolutely don’t know the reason for screaming at him.”

“Okay, tell me why.”

“It’s too late for that except you ask your oldest son!”

“What is the meaning of that statement!” She barked and raised her right hand on him but he held it with his left hand and dropped it down. 

He told her, “Don’t ever try that again or you will regret it!”

She was undeniably speechless. The space between her lips was large.

Odion suddenly rose on his feet and dragged his mother beside him. “Our lovable queen, you don’t need to bother yourself. My brother and I have settled and the cause of it was nothing to worry about.”

Owokan walked out on them.

“Nothing?” She glared at him. “Is that what you are supposed to say? Your brother just threatened me!”

He laughed audibly and spoke. “Don’t take that threat serious. I know him. He has a bad mouth but a good heart.”

“You think so?”

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
 
Queen Omotola sighed and shook her head. “It’s okay. I know what to do.” She said and moved towards the door. She turned and faced Odion. “In fact, I won’t do anything but watch as everything goes. I will not plan anymore.”

Her words left him confounded.

********
 Morenike exploded into a very loud laugh when her mother asked her if she found Imafidon attractive and if he was right person to be her future husband. Omotola was seated on her throne.

“What is funny my daughter?”

“I will not deny the fact that Imafidon is a handsome man and women flock around him but he is not my type. I do not see him in that way.”

“You mean you still see him as a brother?”

“Yes.” she replied. “What did you expect?”

“What are your plans for the future! Don’t you want to get married and have children?”

“Yes I want to get married but I have not found him. To answer your first question, I want to be the first woman to make money from singing in this Kingdom.”

Omotola quietly said to herself. ‘I will not plan for my children. May the gods stop me from doing such and making a mistake.’  She forged a fake smile and said. “That’s good.”

“Thank you mom! I knew you would love it.”

I hate it.
“You believe you can make money from it?” Omotola asked. “I think the people would rather love to hear you sing for free than spend their money.” She tried to discourage her daughter.

“I would gladly sing free for them. They are my people and I have never thought of making money through them. I have decided to visit other Kingdoms and sing professionally at parties, coronations and festivals.”

“Hmmnn.” she said nodding her head. “That’s good. I remember you told me your father blessed you when you revealed your dreams to him. Was it to be a singer?”

“Yes.”

“He actually gave you his blessings for that?”

“Yes mother. Any problem?”

“No o! I give you my blessings too.”

“Thank you mother,” Morenike said gleefully. “I wanted it to be a surprise but since you have asked, I have been invited to sing on a marriage ceremony in Ota Kingdom.”

Her eyes widened. “Is that not in the west?”

“Yes mother.”

“You are willing to travel far just to sing?”

She gave a nod and a smile. Omotola saw the impeccable facial resemblance between them.

“Why are you telling me now?”

“I was planning to tell you a week before my birthday.” Morenike replied.

“And why is that?”

“Because I have to be there on my birthday.”

“What!!!”

“That is the more reason I have to go. They are getting married on the day I was given birth to.

“But it’s a special day for you too. I wanted to have a big party in the palace.”

“I have to go, please.” She said innocently.

Omotola heaved out a loud sigh. “I have no choice but permit you to leave. How many days journey?”

“One and I am going with two of my female friends. They are the daughters of your chiefs because I know you would ask.”

She smiled brightly. “Have you told your brothers?”

“Only Owokan for now.”

A faint frown flushed out from her face. “I am sure he encouraged you.”

“Of course he did!’ Morenike said excitedly. “I will inform Odion about it today.”

“Imafidon will escort you there.”

Her face suddenly fell. “I am no longer a baby and no harm would come to me.”

“Don’t ever forget you are a princess. He is following you and that is final.”

Morenike gave up. “Your wish is my command.” She said in a joked tone.

******
After some days, Omotola received some surprised visitors. When she was told who came visiting, she couldn’t understand why he came. On her way to see him and his subordinates, she took a sword.

“I am not here to fight,” he said the moment she approached him and sighted her weapon. “I am here to appreciate you for what I couldn’t do for many years.” He was a handsome man and appeared to be in his late fifties.

She remained standing. “Why didn’t you take the throne that belonged to you? Are you a coward?”

“I am not a coward Queen Omotola,” he said. “I am different from my brother and the only way I could have stopped him was kill him. I loved him. He was my blood and my heart was very weak to hurt him.”

She wondered what a compassionate man he was. Family must have meant a lot to him. “I heard Ekiemute didn’t just take the throne from you. He also wiped away your family.”

He wore a sad face. “I don’t ever want to remember that.”

“I am sorry.” Omotola left his side and sat on her throne. “I am sorry if I insulted you. You are welcome to Izieole Kingdom. I believe we are going to be good friends King Osamudiame, the rightful ruler of Eroma Kingdom.”
“Thank you Queen Omotola.”

She called out Osato to prepare a feast for her guests. They ate, drank and joked around. Morenike sang and Eroma’s King invited her to his Kingdom to sing. One of his assistants that came with him, gave the queen a large parcel filled with ornaments. It was a gift for winning the war. She was grateful. After a while, he informed Omotola he wanted to speak privately with her. She obliged. Everyone excused both of them. 

When they were alone, he spoke. “I know Eroma is not as big as yours. It was one of my plans to make it bigger not until it was taken from me. I have old friends in the north and they are willing to trade horses to me.”

“What are you offering them?”

“Ornaments,” he replied. “They need them.”

“Horses are useful in battles and Izieole don’t have any. Why are you telling me this?”

“Because you are a kind woman,” King Osamudiamen said. “We are friends now and I want us to work together. You can offer them sharp swords because you have the best. They will be willing to give you any amount of horses. They have so many and rarely use them.”

“It’s a good deal and we can go there together. It’s a far place but it’s worth it." Omotola smiled. “If I agree, will I be indebted to you?”

He smiled back. “In time of trouble in Eroma, you will join forces with me in war and I will do the same for you. I am already gathering many warriors and they are presently training. Eroma Kingdom will be great again in my own hands.”

“I will think about it and give you an answer in your Kingdom?”

“Queen Omotola coming to my Kingdom?” King Osamudiamen asked excitedly. He had a genuine cheery expression all over his face.

“Yes. Remember we are friends now.” She liked his kind of person and believed he was a great individual.

********
Morenike, her friends Uwa and Eki and Imafidon left for Ota Kingdom. It was a safe and smooth journey and they arrived on the celebration day. It was early in the morning and they had enough time to prepare. Eki introduced her to the couples and the price they negotiated was good. The groom was from Ota while the bride was a princess from the south. She was a princess and she had many powerful friends that attended. 

After the traditional marriage and time for dancing, Morenike sang the special song she wrote in bini and Yoruba languages. They loved the song and her song electrified everyone. Imafidon was so proud and told the people beside him, she was his younger sister.

A slim and good-looking man dressed richly could not take his eyes off her. He wanted to know her and planned to see her after she sang. When she was through, he finally walked up to her and she liked him the moment her eyes saw him.

“I love your voice.” He told her.

“Thank my prince.” She said with a smile on her face.
“How did you know I was a prince?” He asked in a surprised tone.

“Because as a princess I am able to detect one.”

“You are a princess of a Kingdom?”

“Yes!”

“Well, I am not surprised because you look like one. May I know your name beautiful one?”

“I am Princess Morenike Obayuwana.”

His eyebrows hiked upwards. “Your name sound familiar. Which kingdom are you actually from?”
Morenike answered, “I won’t tell you until I know yours.”

He offered his hand and they shook hands. He refused to let it go. “My name is Omorodion Osaze. The future King of Udo Kingdom.”

**********
To be continued…

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Series coming up on my blog later.....

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