African StoriesHistorical Fiction Stories

The Freedom Oath

“Captain Winston. You can’t do that. Toss them overboard? I cannot wrap my head around this cruelty. I understand the loads on the ship is too much, but we can do away with the food and treasures. I will not allow lives to go to waste.”

“We can toss the other things out the ship, but not them. I will not stand for this cruelty. Do not forget they are cargos for my mother the Queen of England.” I have to let him know where he stands and my words are still law. I turn to face him and lock my eyes with his. I can see the anger in his eyes and the loathing he has for me. He never likes it when I make my stand against him, the men tells me, he did not want royalty on his ship. He calls them spoilt , insolent brats, and they did not know the harshness of life. To his surprise and my amusement, I have proven him wrong everytime.

The ship rocks and sways. The captain is holding onto the table to balance himself and I hold onto my chair to keep my body on the chair. We have been stuck in a storm for three days now and it is not letting off. The captain says the mermaid cannot handle another day. We need to let go of some cargos to lift the weight and his first suggestion are the prisoners. It is his official duty to bring cargos from Africa to London for servitude. I am commissioned to oversee the safe return of the cargos. I do not know why I am given this mission until my arrival in Africa.

“Prince Edward. We are going do all die,” Captain Winston says to me with his annoyance in check. I smile to him and continue looking at the map spread out on the table. There should be a way around this storm. I just have to find another route, if only Captain Winston would look at this with me. He wants the fast method.

“Captain, if we toss the cargos overboard, all the cargos including the special one, can you be hundred percent sure, we will make it out of this storm?” I ask Captain Winston and also put him in a cage.

“Prince, I cannot be … but … but … the special cargo …” I smirk, drink my ale and watch him. He is in confusion as to what to say and which he should address. He knows he has no authority over the special cargo and the other cargos are treasures for the nobles. He is in a loop.

Suddenly the door opens with a bang and one of the crew rushes in. He holds onto the door handle to balance himself. He looks at me and then at the captain. He looks like he had seen a ghost. He is short of words and his mouth fails him.

“Your High … ness, Cap … tain,” he gasps and stops to catch his breath.

“What is it Cyrus?” Captain Winston asks the young lad. It saves me the trouble of asking.

“Trou … ble in the …” He stops to allow air in, by taking deep breaths. The Captain moves to give him water. He declines and continues with his struggle till he is calm. I let out a snort, he is afraid and moves to apologise. I signal for him to tell us what is going on.

“Your Highness, Captain. The prisoners escaped from their cells and her fighting their guards.” I stand up at the gravity of the news. We can’t have a prison break during this storm and what about Fari? The Captain is in shock by the development. He prides himself in not having a record of prison break. But to have one now, it was definitely a blow to him.

I have more concern for Fari. She must be safe at all costs. I stand from my chair and walk towards the lad. I tower over him and surely intimidate him, for his hands tremble, lips are twitching and he keeps swallowing his saliva. “Lad, do tell me what transpired. I want every detail and an honest answer. Is the special cargo safe?” I look him in the eyes and wait for his response. The Captain moves closer to know the situation.

“Well … the thing is, Your Highness …” he stammers and this irritates me. I need to know the situation of Fari.

“The wolves do not have your tongue lad. Answer me in a clear tone or they will have it,” I command him with a bit of my irritation sipping into my words. He understands the urgency now. The Captain looks to me and furrow his brows. He is thinking, ‘Why my annoyance?’

“The special cargo is safe, Your highness. The cargo is protected by the special guards,” he says and I heave a silent sigh. I cannot have the Captain getting too suspicious and digging for answers.

“Good. Now take us to the prison and explain the situation along the way.”

“Of course, Your highness,” the young lad replies and head out the room. I pick up my sword and the Captain picks his gun. Together we heed to the lower deck. The hallway is lit up, burning woods are hang on the wall, we move down the stairs to the storage room at the lower deck. We can hear shouts and groans as we move closer. The lad says one of the cargo stole the keys to the cell from one of the guards and set his commander free. The strongest among them, became a distraction while the others are set free too. They charged towards the guards at the door and they are being beaten.

There is a door which connects the storage room to another room. The weaponry and it houses their weapons and other equipments. The prison is below the weaponry. I can see why the Captain worries. If the cargos got out and find these weapons, they will cause havoc. I smile at the development, It is fascinating knowing the abilities of these cargos; they will make fine warriors. The lad opens a secret compartment hidden in the floor. We climb down the compartment and walk down the barely lit hall to the prison cell. The place is in chaos.

The soldiers beat the cargos to get them to submit, but it only seems to rile them the more. They are like a beast out of its confinement. Dark skin, bulging muscles and hunch back, they are like animals of the wild; bloodshot eyes, yellow teeth dripping with saliva, some are jumping around like apes, while some ram into the guards like gorillas. The women among them stay huddled in their cells. Is this why they are liken to apes and people call them THE JUNGLE PEOPLE? I chuckle at the sight. If only they can see what I see, They will understand these people can be more. The Captain is already shouting orders to the men. I look around them and notice that Fari is still in her cell. The special guards are protecting her cell. Anyone who comes near will suffer brutal pain. I move through the battle to her cell, she senses my presence and looks up, she worries for her people. I have the urge to rush to her, but I control the urge and still move with the air and status of a prince. She is truly beautiful; dark, rich skin, pearl white teeth and a seductive smile. The grace of a swan and confidence of a lioness. Princess Fari was a sight.

“Greetings Your Highness.” The guards bow to me. I nod to them and signal to the cell. One of the opens the lock. I walked in.

“Greetings, Prince Edward,” Fari says in her native tongue and bows.

“Greetings, Princess Fari,”* I reply in her tongue. It slips out of my mouth with ease. I had to learn the language from the interpreter, but Fari taught me the power of the language. We move to hold hands and revel in each other’s warmth. I miss her and everyday I think about visiting her, but I have to be cautious about it.

“Princess Fari, we cannot have a battle at this moment. This time is crucial for all of us.” I want to enjoy it a little more, but I have to address the matter at hand. It is for everyone safety. “We are in a middle of a storm and we need everyone working together to keep this ship moving. The Captain has proposed to toss overboard your people, I can’t have that. So I need their cooperation,” I lay down the situation to her and also make her understand this is against them and my plans.

“Prince Edward, pardon the error of my people, I shall see to it they cooperate.” She moves to do her duty. I pull her back into my arms and kiss her forehead. I hold her for a little while and enjoy her womanly scent. She taps my shoulder and signals she has to go, she strokes my right cheek and smiles. She turns and walks towards to the entrance of her cell. I move to stand behind her.

Kumasi!” Fari shouts in her native language with great power and this is enough to stop the actions of her people. The power of Africa fascinate me so much.

Kumasi! Masi! Ku!“* they reply in unison and become quiet to listen to the words of their Princess.

“Endure a little more, my comrades. We shall soon be free, I promise,* she says to her people and I too makes a silent oath to make it so. My plans is already in motion and if everything goes well. They will be free men. She turns to me and nods to get a confirmation of my promise to her. The promise of freedom. The freedom of the Kumasi clan. For I have come to adore this small clan.

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