Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 1
The girl known as Adesewa had been walking hand in hand with her father. It was the day she was finally going to learn how to weave. The art fascinated her and luckily for her, that was precisely what her father did. Her mother often teased that she was a perfect replica of her father, so alike in many ways
. He had planned on taking her to his shop to begin her training when the harbingers of death showed up.
The very moment he sighted them. He turned, kneeled and shook her with all his might “Run! Find your mother and sister and run like hell”. Her father shouted at his youngest daughter, Sewa, fear gripping his heart.
Pushing her backwards, he pointed to the road behind them, to the direction of their small hut, where her sister, Bola, would be making breakfast with their mother. She found herself staring up at her father in confusion.
“Papa, I…I don’t understand” Sewa stuttered as she watched her father turn and head towards the invading army which looked like an impossible wall of black descending over her village.
The merchants and bards that passed the little village several weeks ago had spoken of them and said they had been making their way through the several settlements; burning and pillaging villages as they pleased.
Sewa’a mother insisted that the travellers were telling tall-tales. She believed the king would never allow such a thing within his kingdom and reassured her children that they were perfectly safe. Although, the villagers were a bit tensed for some time, anticipating some form of calamity but they soon became light-hearted and insouciant when nothing out of the usual happened. It seemed that they were all wrong and now a thousand strong armed men of the invading army were heading for her village.
“Mother! Bola!” Sewa yelped as she ran home.
The roads were crammed with fleeing villagers and Sewa struggled to find her footing, being as small as she was. She being pushed around and squeezed tight in the horrified crowd at the same time until she felt like she couldn’t breathe.
The air was filled with shrieks and screams of concerned mothers looking for their children and wailing juveniles in desperate need of their parents. The commotion only increased as the army got closer. The earth seemed to shake as Sewa pushed her way to the side of a hut and climbed to the top.
Small but startlingly agile, Sewa secured her feet upon the window and pulled herself up onto the straw roof. Hauling herself to her feet, she stood and gazed out at their small village and looked stunned in horror.
Fire was raging through the village already and as she looked into the distance she could see only a wave of blackness which, as they got closer, became tens of hundreds of men draped in black clothes with spears, clubs, swords and shields in hand.
Some were on horses whilst others roamed about, face smeared in black and white. The foot soldiers stood tall and proud, bodies built and bathed in blood as they grinned in mad delight. They busied themselves grabbing women and defiling them on the walls of their huts, barging into homes and coming out with food and treasures in hand, thrusting swords into villagers they didn’t find pretty enough to sodomize.
On the ground caked in dirt and blood, were the bodies of children not older than Sewa herself, stomped to death in the intense stampede.
Sewa wiped the tears that now spilled from her eyes and turned her head in full circle trying to figure out the safest route to her hut. As a plan formed in her mind, she nodded to herself and descended down the hut, running like the wind immediately her feet touched the ground.
She ran with all her might, never pausing or glancing sideways. From the corner of her eyes, she could see Labake, the next would-be mother in the village, pleading for mercy as a man drove a spear through her swollen stomach. Sewa whimpered and suppressed the need to freeze and cower in a corner.
Her feet felt like they could fall off at any time and her chest felt heavy, arrows whizzed closely past her ear but she kept on running, nothing mattered but her mother and sister. Her father had told her so and she needed to find them.
Her hut now in view, she slid and crawled to the front door. Pushing it open with all of her strength, she walked in on her mother and sister running around frantically, packing their belongings and valuables.
“Adesewa!” Her mother yelled and ran to her, wrapping Sewa up in her arms.
“Mama!” Sewa cried back and hugged her mother tightly, never wanting to let go.
She was safe in her mother’s bosom now, nothing could harm her not even the scary looking men outside.
“Bola, take your sister” her mother ordered as she stood and tossed a bundle of clothes wrapped in a blanket to Bola.
Sewa was pushed into her sister’s arms and her sister held her wrist tightly as she made for the door. Bola’s eyes widened in horror and her jaw dropped when she spotted three warriors heading towards their hut.
“They’re here!” Bola yelled. She hurriedly pushed Sewa into their parents’ room and shut the wooden door.
“Stay quiet and stay down” Bola said “No matter what you hear, DO NOT MOVE!”.
Sewa was crying now, tears dribbling down her cheeks like a dam had been broken behind her eyes. The door to their hut was suddenly shoved open and the three warriors came running into the room.
Sewa peered through a crack on the door, clasped her hand over her mouth, biting down on her fingers to keep from yelling out. She watched as her mother and sister screamed, clawed and bit, struggling futilely against the strong men. They were soon subdued as the men rammed their fist to their chins and threw them across the room.
“Let’s have some fun”, one of the men chuckled and licked his lips.
Sewa watched as the men tore away her mother’s and sister’s clothing as her family protested in a teary voice. She watched as the men’s trousers dropped and a third leg, black and fat, dangled between their legs. She watched as the men spread the legs of her family and moaned as they thrust atop them.
Sewa didn’t understand what they were doing but seeing the way her mother and sister screamed and the blood that snaked down her sister’s legs, she knew what was happening before her was terrible.
She watched her sister arched her head, her eyes fixed on Sewa through the crack on the door. Sewa closed her eyes unable to hold the gaze of those glassy eyes and blank expression. Soon enough, she heard the men moan loudly and laughing to themselves. She opened her eyes to see them jerk awkwardly and pulled away from her mother and sister. Their attention was then diverted by a command that boomed through the air outside the hut. Sewa looked at her mother and saw only a woman of broken spirit lying there.
She looked like the living dead on the floor, neither moving nor blinking. The only thing that proved she was still alive was her uneven breaths. When Sewa thought the worst was over, her mind searching for words to console her mother and sister. The warriors whispered amongst themselves and glanced at the women sprayed on the floor. One of them sneered in disgust and drove his sword through the women’s chest. Red liquid oozed from their bodies to the floor. Sewa would have screamed at that moment had she not bitten her tongue.
Sewa stayed in the room for hours even after the warriors had gone, time ceased for her as she stared down in horror at the lifeless corpses.
. She curled up on the floor, pulled her knees to her chest and cried. She cried until her eyes were completely drained of liquid and her throat ached. Exhausted, she slowly dozed off to sleep. When she awoke, her eyes were sore and her throat was dry. She opened the door and crawled out of the room, went over to her mother and planted a soft kiss on her forehead and took her mother’s ring from her left finger. She turned to face her sister, hugged her tightly. She said her farewells and took the bags her mother had packaged before the murder.
Opening the door, the sunlight blinded her momentarily and she looked around to see smoke rising from charred huts. The smell of death filled her nostrils. Their once animated village was now a graveyard. Confused and dazed about what to do and where to go, she searched for her father but she found no living person. Soon enough, she found herself on the trail out of the small village and into the world beyond.
A decade later and Sewa still suffered nightmares from that tragedy. Every time she closed her eyes, she heard them. The screams of her village people as they were massacred; could still smell the rotten stench of burnt flesh, the wails of children turned orphans crying for their parents, and the laughter of the invaders as they plundered their homes. The memory of her family’s rape and butchery burnt into her memory.
As she grew older, she finally understood the reality of what had been done to them and that only fuelled her disgust and rage
. It made her lust all the more for revenge; to watch the faces of those defilers when she shoved her sword down their throat.
A month after the massacre, she had wandered far and wide, aimless without no sense of direction. She fed on lizards and rats when her food finally ran out. She would have died of cold and starvation had she not been rescued by a group of bandits who were chanced to meet her as she was dying by the roadside. At the moment, why they saved her, Sewa could not tell but as days went by, they fed and cared for her without inquiring her on; who she was or how she ended up in that state.
When she was recovered a bit of her old self, she discovered they were all strays, just like her. Some of them lost their homes and families to invaders and others were sold by their families for money
. That was why they had pitied her and had taken her in, in the first place.
Feeling a sense of belonging, she shared her story with them and they offered her a place among their ranks. She partook in their exploits and robberies, using her size to her advantage. Whenever they heard of a wealthy cohort travelling a particular route, they would lay a trap using her as a decoy.
Sewa would lay helplessly on the road acting as a girl dressed in rags, desperately in need of food and water while the others hid. As she stalled the horses, the others would ambush the affluent traveller, running away with all the goods and riches they would carry. They got by with what they robbed and often shared their spoils with beggars and destitute communities.
During her time in the mob, Sewa honed her skills in swordsmanship and archery, through training and years of experience in battles against rival gangs and troops hired by wealthy travellers for protection. Her name eventually became a topic on everyone’s lips. They had nicknamed her Wolverine because she was small and deadly just like the animal itself. Her feats told at the village squares to children who gathered to listen. The story of a petite girl in man’s clothing whose blade struck as fast as a snake and whose arrows never missed its target. Rumours about her spread like wildfire; some believed she was a demigod, some said she was a man and that no woman, puny as they were, was capable of her feats while others simply insisted that she was nothing but an exaggerated myth.
Two year ago, Sewa learned that the entire kingdom was aware of the massacre that took place in her village and had decided to turn a blind eye. Even the King, who her mother so much believed in, didn’t even try to address the issue. To them, it was just an unfortunate incident that should be left in the past. Only the present and future mattered.
Fuelled with rage and bitterness, she decided to take matters into her own hands and left the gang on a hunt for the men that plundered her home. Now, all she lived for was seeing the look on the faces of those murderers as she ripped their insides out.
She was disappointed to learn that the numbers of those mercenaries had dwindled over the years. Some were killed in latter battles and others succumbed to diseases and illness. Nevertheless, she took pleasure in ending the lives of those that remained, hunting first and foremost, the ones that raped her mother and sister.
She found the first one in a brothel with a smug look on his face searching for a woman to satisfy his lascivious needs. She acted as a prostitute, seducing him and leading him to a remote area, finally ending the night with a dagger in his throat after she reminded him of his transgression. The second was killed with an arrow piercing through his skull as he stood to hug his jocose child who was welcoming his father’s return after a hard day’s work. She took her time with the third and last, dismembering him alive as she told him the story of her survival since the raid.
They were her first victims and Sewa spent the last two years hunting the others that took part in the incursion. She had managed to squeeze out, from the first three, the names of the men that partook in the invasion.
Now she walked through a small village looking for the next victim.
. She attracted a few glances as she strolled through the crowd of beggars and diseased villagers coughing out blood and mucus. The village smelled of faeces, vomit and withering flesh. She clasped eyes with bony children clutched tightly in the arms of a dead woman who she assumed to be their mother.
“What had happened here?” she wondered.
She dropped to one knee and offered the children a loaf of bread. Their eyes lit up in gratification as they accepted the bread, devouring it within seconds. From the corner of her eyes, she spotted a scrawny bald man licking his lips and crawling towards the children. She turned her head and stared daggers at him. The man, feeling a shiver down his spine, retreated from her murderous glare to his corner.
She spotted a tavern and hurried to it. If there was any information to be found, it would definitely be in such a place. As she entered the dram-shop, the chattering boozers went mute. The place became as silent as a graveyard. She felt eyes inspect and assess her figure.