“Stop this at once and quietly go back to your kingdom.” Enitayan shouted, “Leave this kingdom alone in peace or face the wrath of the gods.”
The commander of the enemy army laughed and commanded his army to proceed. “He is just a mad man. Kill him and advance.”
Enitayan closed his eyes and sucked in his breath. “Oh gods... now is the time to help me.”
He heard gasps around him and opened his eyes; they widened in fear as he saw his two hands glowing brightly. Without warning, his hands shot out and the soldiers rushing towards him caught fire. Moments later, they were dead.
He couldn't think as he saw his hands moving of their own accord and sending fireballs that incinerated anyone that came close to him. He felt strange sensations in his body as he threw more fireballs. He began to feel weak and realised that if the enemies were not defeated before he drained himself, they would be in trouble. So, he willed all his strength and energy and made more fireballs which he used to trap the entire enemy army; the last one, he sent to their middle. He fell down and the last thing he heard was shouts of victory from the soldiers of Ijoba before darkness claimed him.
Three days later. “No, let him rest. We cannot wake him now. Let's give him time to rise.”
Enitayan struggled to open his eyes as he heard whispers around him. After a while, he opened them but quickly shut them back. It seemed his whole body was on fire because of that small effort. His limbs and muscles all felt raw. He slowly remembered the events that happened and grunted. This alerted the people whispering since they didn't notice him waking up.
“He has woken up. Quickly! Go fetch Ariran.”
After the pain in his body subsided, he opened his eyes. He took in his surroundings and realized he was in a beautifully decorated hut covered in paintings. Before he could explore further, a young man entered and smiled;
“Glad to see you are awake now.”
Enitayan surveyed him carefully. The man chuckled.
“You must be wondering who I am. Well, I am the priest and mouthpiece of the gods of this kingdom. My name is Ariran.”
“You look too young to be a priest.” Enitayan said, “I am really surprised.”
He continued to examine the man who looked like his age-mate. Ariran smiled. He was used to people being surprised at him being a priest. Yes! He was young but he possessed the power of all the previous priests of Ijoba kingdom. He was a very powerful man.
“You are right, but I am gifted and honoured by the heavens since birth. Enough about me! We must know the name of the hero who had saved the kingdom from extinction. Let us know who our gratitude goes to.”
Enitayan exhaled. “My name is Enitayan. I am from a far away kingdom. I was exiled.”
He proceeded to tell Ariran about everything that had happened and how his life had changed since the discovery of his powers. After he finished, Ariran smiled.
“The goddess Ewa had informed me of all this. I have awaited your arrival for almost a decade now. You are welcome and the people of Ijoba welcome you.”
Enitayan nodded. “Thank you.”
Ariran shifted to his seat and sighed. “I know you are not well enough but this is a matter of great importance; time is against us.”
Enitayan nodded. “Talk to me, I am all ears.”
“It's been a long time since we had our last king. The enemy kingdom had always made it a tradition to assassinate our warrior kings who would be fit and just to rule over us. The gods promised us that our next king would be the one who would save us. That is you, Enitayan.”
Enitayan could not believe his ears. He laughed until his sides ache. “No! Find someone else.” He said, “When I am well enough, I will continue my journey. I am neither a hero nor a leader. Please leave me alone.”
Ariran smiled, “It would be shocking if you just said yes and agreed. I will give you three days to think about it, after which I and the elders will be back for an answer.”
He stood up to leave but Enitayan shrugged, “Even if it is in a hundred years time, my answer will still be a no.”
Ariran chuckled. “We would see about that. But for now, please enjoy our hospitality. There will be servants to attend to you. Have a good day.”
Enitayan sighed. What had he gotten himself into? It seemed the issue had become something else. The following days were interesting as he was given a tour of the kingdom. Even though the villages were badly affected, the indigents remained cheerful. He realised then that it had become a usual thing for them to be raided and killed. His heart called out to them. He looked at all the gifts his servants were holding and wished he could protect them.
“You can if you want to. You can be their protector and they will serve you forever.”
Enitayan jumped. “Please stop scaring me.”
Ewa laughed softly as she made herself visible. “Sorry about that. This is your destiny! Please do not reject it. Do not leave this people vulnerable to attacks when you have the means to help. You will see as time goes on that you are a born-leader. Your era will be great and there will be none like you. Yes! You will face obstacles but you will overcome. The gods are with you.”
He breathed out heavily. The goddess was right, he had the means to help the people of Ijoba. All his life, he had been running away from responsibilities and commitments but it seemed it was time to get serious. He looked at her with determination.
“What do I have to do?”
She smiled. “The priest, Ariran, will guide you. He will be your greatest ally when you need one, treat him well.”
She nodded to him and vanished. He walked to the palace with determination. For once, he won't run.
“Summon Ariran for me.”
Ariran exhaled and tried to calm himself. When he got the message of Enitayan, he walked to the palace as fast as he could. He entered and saw three elders already seated. They exchanged greetings and Enitayan was summoned.
Ariran became nervous; he least expected to see Enitayan with his bag. He was relieved when he entered with no bag but sat down instead. He nodded to him and spoke;
“We got your summons and came as fast as we could. I believe you are already acquainted with the elders.”
Enitayan nodded. “Yes, I have. And I have summoned you all here to give you my answer. This is going to be the first time I am being committed to something, so please I would need help and support from all of you.”
One of the elders spoke up, “Are you trying to say that......?”
Enitayan smiled, “Yes! I have accepted your request to be king.” He continued, “I will do my best to protect this kingdom and its people with my life, only if you will accept me.”
He was half way through his speech when the elders and Ariran prostrated fully before him and shouted, “Kabiyesi o, ki ade pe lori, ki bata pe lese. (your majesty may you live long.)”
After the meeting, news spread to all the villages and there was extreme celebrations in Enitayan's honour. The days passed in a blur and before anything else, the coronation took place. After he was installed as king, he officially installed the chiefs for his court with the three elders ranking the highest and closest to the king and Ariran as the chief priest. Then they began the seven days feasting.
Enitayan looked on at the smiling faces of the people and was soon caught up in them. He looked up and smiled. Months ago, he would never had believed he would be a king with power of fire but then life is unpredictable. He knew that there will be troubles and war thrown in his path but he was prepared. He raised his hands to heaven and prayed for strength and protection of the gods to face the challenges to come.
In the distance, the goddess Ewa looked on and smiled. Her work was done but she would soon be needed. After all, that was just the beginning. She sighed and vanished.
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