Our strategy was to divide ourselves into four groups and then attack from the four walls surrounding the Redican lands. As slave owners, the Redicans had handlers who trained the humans in different task required of them. Father once told me that the Redicans usually spent most of their effort in building and developing their civilisation and they hoped to reach the skies someday. However, those were dreams yet to be set in motion, or so we thought.
They had made heavy foundations at the foot of their lands, but with thousands of my Purican brothers, I knew this day marked the end for the Redicans. We marched forward without fear.
The Redicans were more civilised compared to the Puricans. They never made an attempt to wage an all-out war against the Puricans but our chief believed that the small-scale attacks by their scouts might have meant something deeper than we had thought. He feared that if he did not cripple them in time, he wouldn’t have anything left to rule, and most importantly, they were cutting short our food supply.
His orders were: slaughter the entire Redican bloodline, capture the humans they kept as slaves and slaughter them as well, or return them for food. In other words, wipe out the Redicans and bring the food home.
It used to be very easy for the Puricans to catch the humans before the Redicans began hunting them because the humans loved staying in comfortable and secure places mostly near springs, in valleys, beautiful forests, or beneath mountains. Their settlements could be detected easily because they were fond of dancing, singing and playing drums at night. Midnight was always best since it was natural that they would be tired after going about their daily activities and needed to rest.
Most of the humans hunted by the Puricans were killed in their sleep. Before they had a chance to wake up, their headless bodies would be thrashing around and dying. We would then gather them and pile them up for transportation.
My work mainly consisted of protecting my people against others of our kind from different kingdoms and chiefdoms. The Puricans rarely questioned why I never raised my sword against the humans.
Mother believed that our race feared the humans would soon grow strong and become too powerful to be stopped from taking over all the territories. The best plan was to consider them as food and means of survival. However, she did not know the reason why the Redicans refused to eat humans.
I thought that both the Puricans and the Redicans felt threatened by the growing population of the humans, along with their great strength and power from within, so the best thing was to reduce their size and strength to nothing before it become too late.
The Redicans did not idolise war and seldom attacked the Puricans, especially in the process of hunting the humans. However, both sides believed that the other side was affecting its growth and development, so the clash was inevitable.
The elders said that in the days of old, some Puricans were captured and enslaved by the Redicans and only a few escaped. No-one knew what happened to the rest. Until this day we had no evidence that it was true. However, I had never cared about history or all the silly stories and tales. My mind was on the mission. I just wanted to fight, and most importantly conquer the Redicans at that time in order to go back to Anna.
We arrived late after sunset and not as planned but it did not affect our strategy; we were to attack when their lights go off but it seemed they had a fete which lasted through the night.
We heard songs and drum beats from where we staged ourselves. They were all gathered around the central of the settlement which appeared to be their king’s palace. We watched them dancing; noticing that the Redicans danced like the humans. This made us wonder whether it was true that they shared same ancestral spirit and had interbred.
Their activity was taking too much time, and it was already past midnight. We needed to make sure the fight ended before sunrise. It was said that they had a weapon that used the sun’s rays and could burn any intruder once they pointed it at someone. These weapons were said to be mounted on the four sides of the walls that covered their land and were heavily guarded.
We knew that the surprise night attack would be the best in order to minimise casualties on our side. But I was growing impatient, maybe the best time to attack them would be while the celebration was still on, because it appeared that they were intoxicated and almost all of them were gathered in the same place. I turned to my fellow Puricans and told them that we should launch the attack while the celebration was still going on. After I had explained my reasons to them, they agreed with me, so I sent out six others to go warn the other Puricans that they should strike; two to each separate group just in case one could not make it to deliver the message.
I took a few from my group and approached the wall. There we climbed up and slaughtered the guards in charge of the weapon on that side of the enclosure. We could not wait for the others, so we began to crawl in slowly, slaying all those whom we encountered as we went.
We swept them as we moved. All I wanted was to get my hands on their king. We could hear commotion amidst them and many of them began to run, so we knew they must have sensed our presence or that one of our groups had entered from another side. The Redicans were caught off guard and unprepared for war. We took down their sun-ray weapons with ease and rained terror upon them, the battle continuing until dawn.
We set their houses on fire as we pounced on them, pulling down their pillars. I secretly tried my best to open all the cages where the humans were kept so they’d escape and not be captured. However, few of them were killed as well by both the Redicans and the Puricans in the course of the attack. We reduced the number of the Redicans to nothing as I faced their warriors and shamed them all. We left no stone unturned.
It was a gift. I was so great in battle that I slew thousands, thus giving the impression that my Purican brothers were invincible and that I was invisible.
After making sure all were wiped out, we advanced to the king’s palace and entered his compound. I told the others to stay behind, for that was my major task, to take him down alone and deliver his head to our chief.
Their king refused to run; he stayed and watched his entire kingdom fall, and no-one was spared. When I entered his chamber, he was all alone and I saw him seated on his throne, singing as he sipped a drink from his big shiny cup. He did not appear to be bothered by my presence.
“Come in Buga!” said the king as he admired the golden rings on his fingers.
I walked slowly towards him, looking around, prepared to kill anyone who might come out. However, I saw no-one, cowards they were.
“My own are either dead or have escaped,” he added as he pointed to a chair for me to sit. I grabbed the heavy chair made of bronze and dragged it close to his throne, causing it to screech. I made my way and placed it right before his golden throne and sat down staring into his eyes. He was an old Redican, older than all our elders and he had no fear of me in him.
His face was old and wrinkled, strong large eyes like a beast still filled with pride. He smiled at me. Even though I knew he was too old and too weak to face me, a deep sense of fright stirred in me as he stared into my eyes.
“Many, many moons ago the oracle foretold that this kingdom could only be brought to its knees by its own! But that was even before I made the gravest mistake of my life!” he said.
I did not know what he meant but he had no place to run to, so I decided to stay and listen to him talk.
“When I was told that hundreds of guards were slaughtered by one Purican few moons back, I buried my head in the ashes and cried that day. I cannot remember how your Mother looked that day but I and my Redican brothers were so young and wild. All we wanted to do was just to go hunting with our fathers. Then two of my brothers decided to take a different route that day, which we did, leaving the fathers. We didn’t know how it happened but we came across these young beautiful Purican mates by the stream and my brothers caught one of them and forced me to … well, they forced me. At first I refused but later, because I didn’t want them to call me a coward, I did as expected. I happened to be the youngest … and dumbest. It was later that they laughed at me and told me that no Redican had ever slept with a Purican before. They laughed so hard that I could not stand it and I could not let them tarnish my name. So while on our way back to the lands, I killed them both,” said the Redican king.
I did not understand what he was trying to say so I stood up holding my sword.
The Redican king smiled at me.
“Son, sit down!” he said.
I giggled and sat down, thinking that it was a sneaky move to deceive or delay me over my mission. However, the look on the king’s face surprised me. The king had a mixture of fear and joy in his eyes.
“I know nothing can stop you from doing what you were destined to, but I also believe that you have the right to know who fathered you. I highly doubt that your spirit would permit you to taste human blood, my son … so tell me, do you feed on human flesh like the rest of your half-brothers?” asked the Redican king.
I interrupted him with a slice of my sword and beheaded him. His body fell to its knees, then to the ground as his head rolled over the side. I untied the bag which was wrapped around my waist, picked up his head and dropped it in the bag. Before I closed the bag, I peeked into it and his red eyes were still wide open as though he were still alive. I fastened it and tied the bag back on my waist and then picked up one of the fruits which had fallen from his table and gave it a big bite as I walked away.
I didn’t want to think about what he had said, knowing that someone under threat would say or do anything to escape death, especially the Redicans, such cowards they were. Nothing can come between me and Mother, for she was special.
The Redican king had said what he wanted to say and I had done what I needed to do.
I left everything he said right there in his throne room where his headless body lay, never to think of it again nor let it bother me. Maybe that was the warrior’s way. I was born strong and wild. Even though my only weakness was compassion for the humans, I was still strong, a strong Purican warrior.
We decided to leave some of our Purican brothers behind to guard the conquered kingdom and wait for our chief’s command on what to do next. They had a lot of work to do; pile up all the dead and burn them. By the time the sun was up, only the Puricans were left standing. The humans had fled and probably some Redicans but we spared none that crossed our path in that kingdom.