The Halo Breed…
THE HALO BREED
IN THE HALOS
A WEEKEND STORY
King Ato Baffour Koduah stood by the lake and watched his son approaching. The old king sighed softly as he felt his fury bubbling and he forced himself to remain calm. He dragged his eyes off the form of his son and watched the ducks and swans. To calm himself down further, he forced himself to remember the days his wife had stood beside him sharing the view with him.
Most of the time thoughts of Edith gave him peace, but not this day, not this evening. His son’s actions had filled him with so much fury and dislike that his old frame shook and he was afraid he might do something he might regret bitterly afterwards.
Where had he gone wrong?
He had tried to bring up this boy to the best of his abilities as a father. He and Edith had longed for a huge family, but alas, soon after Dan was born Edith had come down with a severe form of fibroid growth that had necessitated the removal of her womb to save her life.
The king had not wanted to lose his wife and had taken solace in the fact that he had a son, at least. Of course, Edith had been inconsolable when she learned she would not be able to have any more children but the love of her son and her husband had finally made her gain happiness again.
Maybe, because they knew he was the only child they would ever have, they had spoilt him with love and over-protection. Dan had been a brilliant academic learner, but he had not taken much interest in anything else.
And now he had become the sort of man that filled the old king with horror when he imagined him as the next king.
“I hear my own father is angry with me,” Dan said coldly when he came to a stop beside the old man.
The king grunted and spun around with an angry sound. The back of his right hand lashed out and he slapped his son across the right cheek. Dan groaned with shock and pain as he took faltering steps backwards.
“Father!” he groaned with a shattered expression as he grabbed his cheek. “What was that for? Why did you do that?”
“You fool!” the king hissed furiously as he advanced on his son. “What’s the matter with you, Dan? Of all the women in this kingdom and beyond, is it the only woman Gus Kukah loves that you must make advances at? Are you out of your mind?”
Dan straightened and looked at his father darkly.
“Oh, so it’s about that, isn’t it?” he asked bitterly. “It is about your bloody Gus Kukah, isn’t it, Father?”
“Yes, it is, you fool!” the king said harshly. “That man is the backbone of the army! He spends his life fighting battles out there so that our town will be safe! He has no ambitions apart from serving the throne, serving his king, serving his town! Densua is alive and well today because of Gus Kukah! And then you get up and try to take his woman, the only woman he’s ever loved! Are you mad?”
“I’m not mad!” Dan shouted and tears came to his eyes. “I’m your son, Father! Me! Not Gus Kukah! You should be concerned about me! You should feel for me too and let my needs be important to you! Yet, you treat me like dirt and treat that damn man like your son, as the prince! I’m your son! Your only son at that!”
“Then behave like my son and stop behaving like a fool!” the king shouted furiously at Dan. “Good Lord, son! The soldiers love Gus! When I’m gone, you’ll not have many friends! People will try to take you down! Your only hope of surviving is Gus! So, it was stupid for you to try and take Sarai from him!”
“Yes, Gus, Gus, Gus…the only man you respect, Father! The son you wished you had, isn’t it?” Dan said bitterly. “Is that why you have been considering making him the next king over me?”
The king froze suddenly and his eyes narrowed.
“What are you talking about, Dan?” he asked softly.
“Oh, stop acting with me!” the prince screamed. “I know, Father, I know! Yes, you planned to adopt Gus Kukah and make him a son, didn’t you? You want him to be the next king when you’re gone, don’t you? You have sent a secret document to the Representatives to consider, haven’t you? Don’t you dare deny it, Father! I know you have!”
The king scowled darkly as he peered at his son.
“I won’t deny it, Dan,” he said in a tired voice. “Yes, I sent a document to the House of Representatives to consider making Gus Kukah a caretaker king when I’m gone!”
“You hate me that much?” Dan asked as tears of anguish came into his eyes. “Do you hate me, your own son, that much, Father? You will humiliate me like that?”
The old king shook his head sadly.
“I do not hate you, son,” he said calmly. “I love you more than any person alive. But this town and the people are important to me, and I’m afraid you don’t have the qualities to be a good king, Dan! You’re too wicked and vindictive! You’re a dictator who wants your way at all costs, and you step on the feelings of people recklessly, using your power against them. No, my son, you won’t make a good king. Under your reign Densua will descend into the doldrums! I can’t have that!”
“So, you chose Gus, a man you know I detest, and a man who detests me!” Dan cried bitterly. “What have I done to you? What have I done to deserve this, father?”
“Gus is a just man!” the king cried passionately. “He understands the ways of this land, and he is kind and merciful. If I ask him to take you as a brother and teach you the ways of a king, he will succeed where I failed. And when you’re man enough he would relinquish power to you again. It is a bitter and painful thing for me to do, my son, but you must understand!”
“You betrayed me, Father!” Prince Daniel said coldly as he brushed his tears away fiercely. “And you betrayed the love of my mother!”
“Shut up!” the king cried and backhanded his son across the face again. “Don’t you dare to mudsling the love I had for your mother because of your mistakes and weaknesses, son! You forced my hand!”
“If you want me to change, I’ll try and change!” Daniel cried bitterly. “But please, you must withdraw that document from the House of Representatives!”
The king shook his head sadly.
“It stays, Dan,” he said sadly. “I don’t have long to live.”
Daniel nodded with tears streaming down his face.
“Indeed, the physicians tell me you’re dying, Father,” he said softly as he crossed his hands across his chest. “They tell me you have a debilitating bone disease and you don’t have more than a couple of months or so to live.”
“Who told you this?” the king asked with horror as he stared at his son.
Dan smiled darkly.
“You don’t have any trust in me, and you don’t have any love for me, Father,” he said painfully. “But believe me, there are others who love and prefer me!”
“Because they know you’re weak and greedy!” the king said as he flung his wine glass away. It sailed in the night sky and shattered on the ground. “They know with you as the king, they can have all their evil cravings come true! They’re feeding on your weakness, son! Believe me, I know best, and my decision will stand! Gus Kukah shall reign after me and if you show enough change and study at his feet, and become the man you’re supposed to be, he will relinquish the throne to you. But, until you show that marked change, he will be the next king of Densua!”
Dan looked at his father through a film of painful tears.
“Have you told Gus Kukah this?” he asked in a pained voice.
“No, not yet,” the king said thoughtfully. “I want him to get married first, and then I’ll tell him he is going to be king. But I started the process there on the battlefield as best as I could.”
“You’re going to disgrace me in the process, Father,” Dan cried bitterly. “You will expose your own son to shame and ridicule, Father? You will do this evil to me?”
“Because it needs to be done for the sake of Densua!” the king shouted. “Forgive me, son. Indeed, I have sinned against you, but if there had been any other way, I would have taken it. You’re not fit to be king. Please understand that! And you will keep away from Sarai, do you hear me? She is for Gus Kukah, and he is going to marry her. I won’t have you anywhere near her again.”
Dan’s tears fell in torrents now as he looked at his father.
“Forgive me then, Father, for this sin,” he whispered.
He stepped toward his father swiftly as he pulled a knife from the folds of his robes and swiftly slashed it across his father’s throat, cutting it from ear to ear!
The king gurgled with sudden pain and horror as he tottered backwards with his hands across his severed throat!
His eyes bored into his son with sheer hatred now as thick blood poured over his hands and bubbled out of his lips. Desperately, he stretched out his right hand and his lips moved fast in agony as if he wanted to say something, but only a gurgling sound came out from his tortured throat.
“Join my mother, Father,” Dan whispered with anguish as he slowly dropped to his knees and the knife slipped from his hand. “I’m sorry! Please, forgive me, but I won’t allow you to humiliate me this way and give what is rightfully mine to a pig!”
The king stumbled and fell into the lake, startling the ducks and swans and they took flight.
Dan walked to one of the trees and began to pull on a cord along its trunk, and then he rushed into the lake and waded to his father’s lifeless body. The cord was attached to a huge bell that sounded stridently and summoned warriors to the garden.
The warriors found Prince Daniel Baffour Koduah inside the lake holding the bloodied body of his father in his arms and weeping pathetically.
“Get Gus Kukah!” Prince Daniel screamed at them. “I saw him murdering the king! My father told me he wanted to make Gus Kukah the next king after his death, and he sent a proposal to the House of Representatives for consideration! Gus Kukah could not wait for my father to die when he heard that! He killed the king! Get him!”
As the enraged warriors rushed off into the night, one remained.
It was Kobby Obeng.
He looked at Prince Daniel coldly.
“Gus Kukah will never raise a hand against his king,” he said softly.
Prince Daniel looked into the face of the cold man facing him.
“With Gus Kukah out of the way, you will become the next powerful man in Densua after me,” Prince Daniel said softly. “The army will be yours to command. You will have respect and wealth. But, if you choose to stand with Gus, it will only mean you’re standing against me, your new king, and for that I will have your head, and that of every member of your family. So, soldier, will you stand with me, or with Gus Kukah?”
Kobby Obeng’s jaws tightened and he nodded slowly.
“You’re my king!” he said at last. “I stand with you.”
“I do like reasonable men, soldier. Go find Gus Kukah then and kill him,” Prince Daniel said. “And I do not have to stress on that fact enough, Warrior Obeng. I do not want Gus Kukah as a prisoner. I want his dead body. Is that clear to you?”
“It shall be done, Your Majesty,” Kobby Obeng said.
The happiness of the town was turned into mourning and grief that night!
As the news of the atrocity spread and the wailing increased, an army of warriors moved into the night after Gus Kukah.
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