The Halo Breed
THE HALO BREED
IN THE HALOS
A WEEKEND STORY
“And your grand wish to be the queen and attain the power that comes with being queen, is greater than this love we share?” Gus Kukah asked painfully.
Sarai looked him straight in the eyes as her tears fell unheeded.
“For that kind of power, and the ability to punish those who wronged me and my mother, I will sacrifice everything, Gus,” she whispered, and then she winced when she saw the sheer look of agony that flashed across his face.
He took a step back as if she had physically slapped him and his pain was so palpable that she took a sudden step towards him with her right hand stretched.
“Oh, Gus!” she whispered painfully. “Look what you made me do!”
“If you feel that way about the love I have for you, Sarai, then there’s nothing more to say,” Gus Kukah whispered. “Go and be queen! Go and have your power!”
“Gus, please…” she began painfully.
And just then a voice thundered mightily from outside.
“Gus Kukah, Chief Warrior of His Majesty’s army! Step out with your hands raised! This is a warning!”
Both Gus and Sarai looked at the door suddenly with incomprehension!
The living room was awash with bright light from outside. They could hear a lot of voices now and the impatient neighing of horses. Gus walked rapidly to the window and pulled the drapes aside.
The sight he saw outside turned his blood cold!
His yard was filled with many guards from the palace!
They were holding burning torches and had drawn their swords. They were in full armour and they were being led by none other than Kobby Obeng.
Gus Kukah’s face became grim as he turned from the window.
“Who are they, Gus?” Sarai asked with sudden fear. “And what do they want?”
“Get dressed,” Gus said curtly as he quickly pulled on his slacks. Bare-chested, he picked up his sword which was still in its scabbard and walked angrily towards the front door.
“No, Gus, wait!” Sarai said as she desperately blocked his path. “What is going on here? Why are there guards from the palace?”
He glared at her with pain.
“You didn’t think your precious prince would leave me alive once he got you to agree to his proposal, did you?”
“No, no, no, no!” she groaned as she shook her head. “He promised me you’ll never be harmed! He promised me you would be given more authority as the commander and given a huge land and gold! I made that a condition for accepting his proposal! Whatever is happening now isn’t because the prince wants you killed because of me! Gus, please, believe me!”
“What do you care, Sarai?” he shouted with raw agony. “What do you really care?”
Filled with pain and with his heart shattered, Gus Kukah walked past her and flung open the main door. He walked onto the porch and then he descended the steps to face the guards from the palace. There were about sixty of them, he guessed. He walked forward until he stood facing Kobby Obeng.
Gus Kukah looked coldly into the expressionless face of his second-in-command. He glared at the other warriors around him and he saw the uncomfortable expressions on the faces of many.
He had trained many of these men and fought side-by-side in battles with them. They respected him and many held him in awe, revered him even, and he knew that many found the prospect of pointing weapons at him quite unappealing.
On some of the faces, though, he saw the grim determination of men who would always obey orders first and ask questions later.
Gus measured distances and angles, and then his eyes darkened perceptively when he noticed movements in the bushes on the outer fringes of the compound. He knew there were many more warriors in the bushes, these ones probably armed with poisoned arrows.
“You come at me like you would do a common thief?” he asked calmly.
Kobby Obeng sighed and pursed his lips for a moment.
“The king was slain, Gus,” Kobby said quietly.
Gus Kukah gasped and a look of sheer horror crossed his face.
“What?” he hissed furiously. “I left him in the garden alive and well. I met the prince on his way to the garden!”
There were murmurings from some of the warriors and Kobby knew the first seeds of suspicion had been sown. These were men who mostly revered Gus Kukah.
“The edict is that you killed the king, Commander,” Kobby said quietly.
Gus nodded with narrowed eyes as his understanding of the situation dawned.
“He killed his own father to be king,” Gus said harshly. “And he sent a death squad against me so that he can marry my woman and make her queen.”
Again, the murmurings came forth, more pronounced.
“Enough, Gus!” Kobby said harshly as he slowly drew his sword. “You would not slander the prince!”
“You draw a sword against me,” Gus stated calmly. “So, you would be my executioner, Kobby? You would stab a friend in the back knowing I had nothing to do with the king’s death? You’ll be such a dastardly coward?”
A look of bitterness and regret passed across Kobby’s face.
“I’m sorry, Gus,” he said softly. “Unlike you, I have a wife and three children. I have a sister and two brothers, and my mother still lives. You know I have no choice.”
“Do not let me be your rationale and do not seek understanding from me,” Gus Kukah said harshly. “Your evil heart rules your wicked ambitions. We’re warriors and live by a code of honour, truth and commitment. You witnessed the murder of your king and yet your blind desire for power clouds your allegiance to the Code. You will rot in hell, Kobby, you and your ilk!”
Kobby, filled with guilt, raised his sword.
He had a bitter taste in his mouth. This man standing there was an innocent man and every word he had uttered was true. Prince Dan Baffour Koduah had murdered his own father, plain and simple, and framed Gus Kukah for that dastardly and cowardly act.
Kobby knew that Densua owed her safety and prosperity to Gus Kukah, a warrior whose tactical abilities were next to none. Gus was always able to mount a counter-attack that had made the warriors win battle after battle. They owed Gus Kukah life itself and this was not how this man should die. This man deserved honour and the best of accolades.
Perhaps, worst of all, Kobby knew the dead king had wished Gus Kukah nothing but the best.
But times had changed!
The king was dead and his place was going to be taken by a young prince who had always hated the strength and character of Gus Kukah and had never hidden his jealousy for the fact that his own father loved and respected Gus above all men, his son included.
Gus Kukah had become expendable.
His death was wished for by the new king who was as vindictive as he was wicked. To let Gus Kukah live would be like signing Kobby Obeng’s own death sentence.
“I wish you peace in the afterlife, Gus,” Kobby said softly.
When his sword was pointed high enough many warriors rose up in the bushes with their arrows levelled at Gus Kukah.
Gus looked at them with sheer contempt and fury.
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