Part the One Hundred Fifty Second: The Fante Lad is Seized
Hope hadn’t realized her mouth was agape again until Osei once more put his fingers to her chin.
“That’s becoming a habit,” he noted.
“I think the continual surprises are to blame,” she replied. “That’s an odd way of putting it, though, referring to a woman as a ‘master’ that way.”
“Though she claimed the right to be a lady, she bore herself with more swagger than most of the men in the New World when she wished. She used that as well as all the other weapons in her arsenal.”
“Dare I ask, what… kind of weapons she had?”
“Yes,” he replied, “she wielded physical ones too. She was particularly skilled with a whip and a dagger, and could use them with the same ease as a graceful smile and well-timed tears. She was so hateful that I came to hate less Kwaku Bekoe, to my surprise.”
“And this Bekoe is…?”
“He was the Akan warrior who led the raiding party into my village. I was but nine years of age when he and his warriors swooped down on us, killing the men who resisted and those who they thought would slow them down on the march to the coast.
“The Akan and Fante had been in conflict for some time, yet my village never assumed we would be raided. At least I could never recall anyone fearing such a day; those old enough to know better probably had those fears in their hearts, which they kept from the youths. I still cannot decide if their choice had been wise or not.”
Hope broke the silence following Osei’s musings and asked, “Your family… What of them?”
“I last saw my mother and sister, the only other family members who survived the raid, when we came to the end of the march. Bekoe separated us, and almost immediately I was part of the manifest on a Spanish vessel that packed together scores of young men deep in her hold to sail west. I lost the only ones who started the march with me to a desire to meet a count for slaves.
“And for most of the voyage, I felt I could not hate another man as much as I hated Kwaku Bekoe, saving for him the same fury and anger he showed me as he clubbed and beat my village and wiped it off the land. I had even dreamed of finding a way to get back to Africa, returning there with others taken from the land as I had, with but one task: To hunt down Bekoe and place him before me, that I might strangle slowly from him his last breath.
“And had I never met Señorita de Cordova, I would most likely be on that side of the Atlantic now, hunting for him.”
“What did she do to you, to keep you from your revenge?” Hope finally asked.
Hope felt a wave of pain and anger in coupled entwinement emerge without sound from Osei’s soul, sweeping over the decks of the Gale before he continued…
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