While Nneoma and her children were making ready to run from their village, Nwaraka and his apprentices were consulting with spirits to know why Nneoma woke up from her trance saying, “Do not trust Nwaraka, for he has been deceived with empty promises.” Nwaraka was miffed that he could not see everything he wanted to see clearly.
“I see eyes that can see clearer than mine. I see feet running down to Nwete and back. I see gifts of the gods far greater than mine and those of the native doctors in Okwohia. All these are from Nneoma Uruaku’s home. What are we missing?” Nwaraka asked, staring into the faces of his apprentices for answers which the gods would not give him.
“There is something going on in that family and the gods won’t reveal it. First it was the spirit which came visiting them with the intent to kill and after that the gods refused to reveal why the spirit was attacking Olekanma’s wife and children. Something big is going on in that family and in our village and no one can tell what it is. How could a mighty servant of the gods like me be around and secrets of the gods are revealed to a woman and her children who are not even in the lineage of priests and native doctors?” Nwaraka asked, looking into the smoke of the gods, his water pot and mirror for answers from the land of the spirits.
“Nnanyi, since you said you saw feet running down to Nwete and back, and all indications are that those feet are from Nneoma’s house, let us then have her arrested and forced to reveal what she knows,” suggested one of Nwaraka’s senior apprentices. “That is a good idea but it is also fraught with risks and danger.
If Nneoma was the one who went down to Nwete last night, why is she still alive? Our custom declares that any who does such would not return from the river of the gods alive. Why then is she alive? You two went down to her house and saw her alive. This is a big puzzle, my boys.” “Nnanyi, we can threaten Nneoma with the feet which went down to the river! It has to be her. She did not sleep in her husband’s brother’s house last night and neither did she pass the night here. Who else has the need to take such a risk if not her?” inquired one of the apprentices. “Witchcraft! Witchcraft is the answer! The only way the feet could be linked to Nneoma is if we claim she is a witch! Like we know, witches do go down to Nwete for power,” an apprentice said, beaming with smile. He was sure he had handed to Nwaraka what he needed to make Nneoma look guilty in the eyes of the village.”
“Udensi! Take warriors, run down to Nneoma’s house and arrest her and all her children. They are all seeds of witchcraft. I see a connection between Olekanma’s mysterious death and what is going on right now in his house. Nneoma and her children are cavorting with evil spirits! Aru!” Nwaraka exclaimed and spit on the ground. Udensi bolted off. Turning to Ikenna, Nwaraka barked, “Go summon the elders at the village square, tell them it is an urgent matter.” Ikenna ran off. Nwaraka began to consult once more with the spirits for clearer direction about the claims he was to make against Nneoma and her children. They gave him no answer, and that worried him very much. Yet he deadened his conscience and chose to go ahead with that decision. “If she knows something I don’t know, then what makes me the seer of my people. How on earth did she even manage to go down to Nwete without being afraid or running mad in the process? How did she come back alive? If she is not the one, why have our people not seen any dead body at the river by now?” “Nnanyi, little fairy spirits at the river can tell whose feet those are.
They have always spoken to us,” Chuba suggested. As quickly as he said that, Nwaraka began to make incantations which would open the portal to the world of those fairy spirits. Instead of the white smoke which usually rose when he consulted them to help him with a task, a black smoke rose. Nwaraka sprang to his feet and ran from the black smoke. “Nnanyi, this is an evil omen! Should we not leave this matter alone since the gods have said it is a matter for the gods?” Chuba asked, shaking like a weather beaten bird. “This is strange Chuba. I have not seen anything like it before,” said Nwaraka. “Nnanyi Nwaraka! The great seer of our time. The one whom the gods speak with face to face!” “What is it Chuba? Why the praise singing at this time?” “I am concerned about Olekanma’s visit last night…” Chuba paused. Nwaraka gave him all his attention. Chuba was known as a deep thinker; when he spoke, he spoke wisely, and made a lot of sense, especially that which was not common. “Speak on Chuba.” “When Olekanma was here last night, he cut the figure of a happy man. Is it not true that every dead man knows what or who killed him?” “What is your point Chuba?” “I am wondering why Olekanma did not reveal to you that his wife, Nneoma is a witch, but revealed that Onyeka will make a great priest for the gods.” “Hmmm,” Nwaraka grunted. Chuba had spoken wisely as if he was an elder. However, the problem was that Nwaraka knew much more than he had let everyone know. There were lies about the spirit world he was to cover. He feared they may have been revealed to Nneoma and his children. Deep in the farmlands, Nneoma and her children meandered through bush paths with baskets on their heads, hoping to reach Ehume before anyone would notice their disappearance from the village. They all held their nerves, doing their best to play the part of those going to work in the vast farmlands between Ehume and Isiafor. Sadly, for Nneoma and her children, warriors had picked up information that they had seen heading for the farmlands on their border with Isiafor