Last Days Of Queen Amina – by Davi’O R. Seki (Chapter 1)

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The blood on the soil could still be smelt and the wailing of children could still be heard from the just ended war and the villagers of Idah had run into safety. The Zauzzau army did not consider whether to mourn the lives that were lost during the battle, but had gathered in their camp to celebrate their victory over the people of Igala. The air was graced with Hausa music, which was food to the ears and made the sitting soldiers stand to dance in various traditional steps. The smell of roasted goat filled the air and made the celebrants expect for the meat to be shared and passed to them. One by one entertainers approached the centre to do various stunts.
There was a group with their bodies bare from the neck to waist. They danced around and began to use the sharp edges of clean knives to rub themselves, but didn’t get any injuries. It was as if the knives were blunt and people hailed as they performed the trick. When these were done with their performance, another group took to stage and these drank something from the calabash each one of them held. These once were even more fierce-looking. They had a variety of tattoo designs all over their bodies. They were huge and looked more like a heap of horror. Their faces were strong-looking and each one had a pair of bull horn attached to his head. The markings on their faces made them even more horrible to look at — the markings were of black and white colours having designs the shape of leopard, snake and crocodile. They did not look like typical Hausa men. They were hired as entertainers and followed the Queen’s party to every incursion. They used a burning torch to put fire in their mouth, closed it and when they opened it, they began to breathe out fire. The Zauzzau people did not seem to care about the horrible looks of the performers — they were thrilled by the performance instead — and they cheered them up as the huge men kept swallowing and breathing out fire. The music in the background intensified as they performed. It was like the music was fuel to them — the more intensified the music, the bigger the fire they breathed out.

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