THE HALO BREED
Just as the spears were going to slam home, Kharisa closed her eyes, expecting them to smash into her body, but when she did not feel any terrible pain, she opened her eyes, and saw that they had stopped inches from her body!
One was almost touching her right eye, and the other was virtually pointing less than an inch from her heart area.
“I beg you!” she wept bitterly. “Please, spare my father!”
“He remains on the other side of the lake!” came a sweet, echoing, female’s voice around them, not coming from any specific direction. “He will remain there till the Breed of the Halo comes along!”
“The voice of the tree,” Mavis Tease said with wonder. “They have spared that imposter!”
“Yes, please, yes,” Kharisa wept. “He will remain on this side.”
The spears began to reverse slowly at first, and then moved at great speed until they slammed back into the bark of the gigantic tree.
And then Kobby Obeng crashed down heavily in a faint.
Kharisa knelt and gathered her father into her laps.
“Obed, quickly, water!” she told her brother. “Please, bring water to our father!”
The survivors stood a little way back and watched as the two siblings attended to the pathetic man who had once been a true and fearsome warrior of Densua. Obed gave him water to drink from a calabash, and he drank weakly because he had gone several days without food and water, and before that his food had mainly consisted of mud and grass.
They brought him some of the juiciest, meat-flavoured pod foods, and he ate hungrily.
Kharisa washed his wounds clean with the water from the great lake, and as they all gasped with wonder when the horrible festering wounds on Kobby Obeng’s body got covered with a whitish foamy substance as soon as the water from the lake washed them, and when Kharisa gently washed off the white foam, they saw the wound had closed over and had started healing!
“The water has healing powers!” Kharisa said with awe.
“It is written that it shall be a balm for the afflicted,” Mavis Tease said gently. “Keep giving it to him to drink. Perhaps, it will cleanse the evil that runs through his blood, and makes him a monster! I did warn him this day would dawn!”
Kharisa looked tearfully at the old woman.
“Please, Mama, do forgive him!” she said in an unsteady voice.
“I do not wish him ill,” Mavis said softly. “The person that can forgive him, alas, is not here with us! As I keep hearing of the arrival of the Breed of the Halo, I do wonder if it is perhaps our own Gus Kukah. But time will tell, aye, time will tell.”
As Kobby Obeng was finding a little respite from his nightmarish existence with his children and the straggling survivors of Densua, Daniel Baffour Koduah encountered something beside a pool of water too, though in a rather different way inside the palace of Densua.
In a rather peculiar turn of events, he had been left vastly alone after the disappearance of Kobby Obeng. Perhaps, because he was the father of Princess Grace, and had been the king before, the Hadesians left him alone and did not pressure him to go hunting like they did the other hunters.
And so, Dan roamed the vast palace during the day, and returned to the shed he shared with Dawn in the evenings. Quite predictably, he had lost a lot of weight since his ordeal, and seemed to have lost touch with the realities that existed before he was turned into a hunter for evil.
It was during one of such sojourns in the palace that he came to the place where it all started, the gardens of the palace beside the beautiful pool where he had slit his own father’s throat.
In his hands was a huge sheaf of leaves which he was munching on, the juices staining his lips, moustache, chest and belly. His hair, which had once received the daily attention of five grooming men, was now wild and unkempt, mushrooming into a great beard and big whiskers that almost covered his face. And his nails had become long and unkempt with dirt smudges under them. His feet and toes were hideous, and save for a pair of large shorts, he was virtually [email protected]
He had been laughing gutturally in his cocoon of temporary insanity. In the process of uprooting fresh grass from an abandoned flowerpot, a huge frog leaped out and landed on the grass. The sight held particular interest for the former king, and he began to race after the frog, eventually dropping to his knees and hands and hopping along happily after the frog, giggling insanely in this newfound sport.
It all ended, however, when the frog finally leaped high and plunged into the lake. Dan would probably have jumped into the lake too, but suddenly, when he lifted his head, he saw the lake… and then he m0aned deeply in his throat when he saw that there was a great white mist covering the lake!
The white ducks and swans on the lake were sitting still regarding him with reproach, and Dan m0aned louder as sudden and unwanted memories came crashing into his head, giving sheer physical pain, a headache that made him clamp his hands to the sides of his head in anguish.
“Nooooooo!” he groaned in a thick voice that was riddled with pain as he knelt on the edge of the lake. “Noooooo! Father! Father! Nooooo!”
He could see a pale form of himself moving towards his father, the hidden knife coming up and slashing the only man he had ever respected in the throat! He could see his father tottering backward, hands clamped to his throat, blood running over his hands, his face shocked!
“Noooo!” Dan screamed as he fell on his face and pummelled the ground with his fists. “I’m sorry! Sorry, Father! Forgive me! Forgive me!”
And as he wept bitterly, his heated brain was finally ravaged by a remorse he had not felt in a long time, he did not notice that the mist on top of the lake was rising higher, swirling bigger, and then slowly it began to form a ghostly figure of a beautiful, elderly woman in a white gown.
The ghostly figure stretched a hand out towards Dan.
“Dan!” she called softly. “I do not have much time, my son! Dan!”
At first her voice was like a whisper that did not cut through the chaotic madness the man was feeling, but as it grew more urgent, it finally penetrated the fog, and the king stopped beating the ground with his fists. He looked up slowly and saw the ghostly, spectral figure hovering on the lake!
He gasped with horror; his face was covered with great shame.
“Mamaaaa!” Dan cried in anguish. “Oh, don’t tell me you’ve come to condemn me too! I’m so sorry, Mama! I did wrong, oh, I did so wrong! Mama, I murdered your husband, my father, just to have the crown! I deserve to suffer and die, Mama!”
“Dan!” she cried urgently, and when he looked into her face, he saw compassion and not condemnation, love and empathy and not judgement. “I don’t have much time, my son! I would have come to you earlier, but your heart of stone, your unrepentant wickedness, kept me away from you!”
“Mama!” Dan wailed in anguish. “Surely, you must hate me! You must!”
“I wouldn’t be a mother if I hated you, my son,” she said gently. “I hated your act, yes, I did! But I do not hate you! I know that deep inside, the son I raised is still there! Today, when you felt remorse, when you felt the heaviness of your folly, it broke down the walls that separated us!”
“Oh, I want you back, Mama!” Dan roared. “And I want father back! I am so lost without you, without him! I did something awful to Densua!”
“It was prophesied, my love, and so it was bound to happen!” she said gently. “Look, this Armageddon will usher in the final stance of good and evil! If evil wins, all things good will vanish, and the universe will be plunged into chaos! We all pray, that He who was promised and prophesied on, the soldier of the Spirits, the Halo Breed, will stand tall after this battle! So, it is good you’ve regretted, but please, do not beat yourself to death!”
“A mother’s love covers all wrongs of her son!” Dan wailed pathetically. “Where’s father? Let him come and forgive me, please! When I hear it from his lips, I’ll be alright!”
“That is not possible now, my son!”
“He’s still angry, isn’t he?” Dan screamed. “He still hates me, doesn’t he?”
“He hates you not, my son, but disappointed, yes, he is disappointed!” his mother said gently. “The Breed of the Halo will pass through soon, my dear, and he will be filled with the rage of the Spirits, and he will not spare any he perceive as evil! I’m afraid, and I have been afraid, that when he comes, which is soon, he will slay you!”
“Let him kill me!” Dan shouted. “It will be better if I die to atone for this evil curse I brought on my people!”
“No, son!” she said sharply. “It is meant to be! I came here to help you, to save you from the rage of the breed of the Halos! Perhaps, when the storm settles, you will find redemption in his eyes! But, my dear son, I must do this for you!”
“What are you going to do, Mama?” King Dan cried. “Do not value my life because it is of no value! I cannot live in this horror, this anguish, this devastation! Let me die!”