Nayele heard the commotion outside and got up from the raffia mat in her cell. Asomasi, the leader of the asafo's drummers removed a key from his pocket and unlocked the cell.
'The other priestesses are engaging the asafo companies in combat, which leaves her baguafo (bodyguards) in charge of protecting her"
'Where is she now?" asked Nayele.
'In a meeting with the other asafo drummers over wages. They've managed to prolong the meeting for two hours.'
Asomasi paused at the door leading to the court, then opened it.
Hawa was rubbing her left arm when Nayele strode in. The chief rose to her feet in alarm and the baguafo rushed to her side to protect her when the drummers rushed them.
With her bagaufo restrained, Hawa watched powerlessly as Nayele approached her, with a sacrificial dagger in hand.
She raised it to strike when an arrowhead tore through her arm. She screamed as another burst through her left thigh and hit the floor. The drummers nervously edged away from the chief as all ten asafo companies aimed their arrows at them.
'Surrender or die' Ami said flatly.
The next day, Ami and Hawa watched as Nayele was sent to an even larger efiase underground.
'Well, has she talked?' the chief asked.
'No. When a priestess takes a vow of silence, nothing can make them talk. The other priestesses won't talk either. '
'So we just wait for the next attack to happen?'
The Supi sighed. 'No we take you somewhere safe. Out of the city. There is no telling how many other asafo members are still loyal to the priestesses. In the traditional setup, the priestesses are links to the spirits and are consulted on an almost daily basis. That tends to create a dependence and unswerving loyalty to them.'
'I take it you're not a traditionalist?'
'I am. I'm just not keen on placing my faith in people. People make mistakes. I suggest we go back to your old village, Ankonamkrom.'
Ankonamkrom had two basic rules. The first was that residents should mind their own business. The second was that no foreigners were allowed. Ever. While the village nkunimdifo) (champion) was happy to welcome Hawa, she was not so pleased to see Ami.
'Come now, Akyeaa', pleaded Hawa. 'She's the only one I trust to keep me safe'.
'Sorry, rules are rules. No foreigners allowed. That's how we've been able to keep the village unchanged for over four hundred years. Besides, everyone knows everyone else here. If there are any intruders here, I'll flush them out. This is the safest place in the country'.
'I doubt that' said Ami.
'Unlike other villages, being a village nkunimdifo) means being able to protect it from any threat single handedly. Whether it's from invading armies, annoying tourists or supernatural beasts. This village has been raising tough nkunimdifo) in place of the asafo.' Akyeaa said proudly.
'Then I'll leave her in your care then' said Ami calmly, as she turned to leave.
'Where are you going?" asked Hawa.
'Back to Cape Coast. I'll meet the other companies and come up with a plan to end this.'
The Tufohen, Edufa and ten other asafo sat in the middle of her war chamber. She had taken to calling it that despite the relatively peaceful times. She knew they were at war with an old enemy. One that she could finally eliminate, once and for all.
'Nayele's priestesses have declared war on us, by attacking our chief. Now we will stamp them out. Make no mistake. There are more priestesses out there waiting to attack us when we least expect it. So my plan is to detain all traditional priests in the city, for questioning.'
'But that doesn't seem right.' protested Fafa. 'How do we tell the innocent ones from the guilty?"
'They are priestesses!' Edufa snapped. 'None of them are innocent. Not one! This operation will be covert,meaning no-one else apart from us will know about this. Once they are detained in the abandoned witch camps, torture them into giving us the information we need.'
'Fafa, you will lead these asafo, that I have named Afena (longsword), to commence the abductions tonight . You have your orders. Carry them out.'