CURSE OF THE FULL MOON – CHAPTER THREE
Emeka got to the beautiful gates of the Kingdom of Elekko at the dead of night. The gate was a magnificent creation of prowess and grace. It was fashioned from pure gold, and hinged on sculptured precious stones. Studded in the two mighty towers were rubies and diamonds. The gates were shut, however at the side was a smaller gate, which was slightly ajar. Heavily armed uniformed guards stood with drawn swords.
As Emeka alighted from his horse, he could see archers standing along the massive walls of the great city of the Elekkians. They were at ease and looked beyond the outer grounds of the city to the many broad paths that fed towards the city like rivers into an ocean. These were the royal archers and they were draped in scarlet robes with seams of gold.
One of the archers looked down at him. This particular archer looked familiar, but Emeka wasn’t sure why. He had, had little contact with Elekkian archers, except during war or a battle. So why did this particular archer look familiar?
Emeka pondered on this even as he led his horse towards the small gate. It didn’t take him long to realize he had a more pressing concern, which was how he was going to get past the archers and the guards at the gate. Worse of all, he was wearing traditional Amanze royal robes and he was leading an Amanze horse. This was bound to go bad, he knew.
Emeka stopped before the small gate and considered going back. In the urgency of the moment and the sadness filling his heart, he hadn’t thought his plan through. Now the voice of reason was filling his mind, and he wasn’t sure he was going to live through the night.
Before he could turn and go back, a voice said, “Halt, who goes there?!”
Emeka froze in his tracks and looked through the open gateway. There was a large bodied man standing there, and his hands clenched on his long blade. Though there were pots of fire lining the wall where the archers stood at attention, this light didn’t reach down to the small side gate, so much of the gate-man’s features were hidden in darkness.
Fear gripped Emeka’s frame. His mind went blank. The gate-man became more suspicious.
“Let him through,” said another voice behind. “He’s with me.”
The gate-man immediately bowed his head to the voice and retreated out of the way, revealing the same archer he had seen up on the wall a moment ago.
Emeka did not move into the gate. Rather, he took several steps backward, away from the gates. He wasn’t liking the way he was feeling about the whole arrangement. He could be walking into a trap by walking into the gate.
The archer stepped out of the gate and took confident strides towards Emeka. He was unarmed, still he had an imposing stature.
“My name is Lekan,” the man said in a steady voice. “I am in charge of the Kingdom’s Wall Guards. I know you are Emeka, prince of Amanze, and I know why you have come.”
Emeka immediately recognized the man. He had been the one who had shot the Beast. The same one who had saved Wura’s life. Emeka realized that if it hadn’t been for Lekan’s bravery and sharpness, he would have lost Wura to the Beast.
“Thank you, Lekan,” Emeka said. “Thank you for saving her life.”
Lekan bowed in response. His face was covered in a hood, so Emeka couldn’t tell the expression he had on his face, whether it was that of scorn or regret, regret for not slaying the Amanze Beast while it lay paralyzed.
“You know why I have come?” Emeka asked the young man.
“Is it true?” Emeka asked, holding his breath.
Lekan didn’t reply immediately. It seemed as though he was tethering on deciding whether to divulge sensitive information to the enemy or not.
After a thoughtful while, the man nodded slowly. “Indeed, Wura is being given to Ahmed of the Sabontashi Nation for marriage in the hopes that their union will unite our two kingdoms.”
Emeka staggered backwards, his heart hollowing out. His mind rambled for a moment as he felt a great disappointment eat away at his core. Wura, getting married? How? When? Why?
“How long has this been in the works?” Emeka asked Lekan. “How long has she known about this?”
Lekan said, “For over two weeks now.”
This information caused Emeka more emotional pain. He felt so bad, in a way he had never felt in a long time. He felt heartbroken. He felt his will had been broken.
Tears fell down his cheek, even as his eyes lost focus.
Lekan touched him on his shoulder, which startled Emeka.
Lekan withdrew his hand and said, “It is not too late, your royal highness. Wura is not yet married. You can still win her heart back.”
Emeka felt a bloom of hope in his heart. “I must talk to her…”
Lekan said, “Yes, you must, your highness. She has been taken by a group of her peers to the Mami Falls for purification. Go there. Find her. Stop her. This is your last chance.”
Emeka nodded. “But, why help me?”
“Because,” Lekan answered. “You make her happy. And also, our alliance with Sabontashi will bring back war to our kingdoms. War is bad. I’d rather have the uneasy peace that we have now.”
Emeka said, “Thank you, Lekan. May your aim be true.” Then he mounted his horse and rode towards Mami Falls, his heart yearning to see Wuraola.