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A Mother's Poison
These are my texts and my memorandums.
They scratched my history from the texts. They didn't want anyone to know...they scratched away my story and my legacy. They couldn't let anyone find out what happened all those years ago. You see...it could have changed the world.
It could have changed everything.
Because this is my story. It isn't just a story of I am, but also a story of who I could have been and what could have happened and the threat of it was just too much to be written down in history.
So here is my story...you ready? I hope so...it may just change your future too...or not. That isn't my concern any longer. I've been long dead and gone.
It started in the rainy season. The Nile would have been inundated soon. A season of abundance was going to come around. I'm sure you are used to your modern times, but no, this story took place a long time ago. This story takes place in a land of sand and magic instead of science and technology.
And this is my fairytale. It doesn't belong to anyone. I'll tell it as I like.
There was a place long ago in a land names Nubia along the Nile. Now it is lower Egypt and Northern Sudan and in that place is where my story started. Back then Nubia ruled over Egypt. Egypt was our world. Nubia was our conqueror. Kerma was its capital. So whoever sat on the throne in Kerma ruled the world.
Everything started with him letting the cup slip from his hands and hit the floor as he was poisoned. This took place in a land far away a long time ago. It wouldn't matter what you called it now because back then it was called something else.
The king had just been laid to rest.
The tale of death wasn't so tragic on hearts though. The people weren't as upset as they could have been. They weren't upset as they had been before by other leaders that have died. No one cried or shared any type of huge grief. It seemed like unanimously there was a curious sentiment.
"Don't stand so tall," she told me, "Don't be so masculine. Twist your hips. Squint your eyes...yes, just like that...more."
She always wanted a girl. She had raised me for this moment.
We walked into the huge hall together. There were so many people there. It wouldn't have been so rare to see my mother there. They had no idea what was hitting them. They had no idea what she had planned. My mother had only been allowed in because she was the head priestess in the temple of the Goddess Bast. There were many Gods and many priests in Nubia but my mother was by far the worst...
"You remember your training? One million people stand outside and I got you here...I got you here."
I nodded smiling. I tried to look as feminine as possible. I hated every moment of it. I was a man. I was cursed with a youthful look and a pretty face that was somewhat androgynous but I was a man.
She was right about how many people were there. At least one million people were standing on the streets of Kerma all staring towards the palace gates. All of them were waiting on the crowning of the new King.
"Put it over there."
He was being ordered by Chenen. Chenen was the son of the old Queen. As being the actual son of the queen, he really didn't inherit much. I was slightly aware of the situation that Chenen was in when he saw Chenen's face. Chenen was a strong military youth. He had a broad chest and broad shoulders. He always had his chest out and only wore a kilt. You wouldn't tell of his stature in the kingdom of less he stated it. Otherwise, I could have mistaken him for a mere soldier. He was rugged...experienced and had been through all the troubles of war as known for a man of his time.
There were several steps next to where I had placed the glass that. The steps led to the throne. The throne was beautiful of course. It was clad with marble that had been taken from when the Nubians had first conquered Egypt.
"Where is he?" Chenen barked.
Off on the steps was 1st wife was Amanirenas, the Egyptian. 1st wife was Chenen's mother. Her hands were shaking. I noticed it from my peripheral view. I had been her servant for a long time now. She probably wouldn't have noticed me. I never spoke with her. She was a mysterious woman but very stern. She never spoke directly to me but always spoke about me. She seemed the closest to the king. They'd always disappeared together. The king had been fond of her and it was a strange thing. Many had first believed that it was a political marriage. They believed that the king of Nubia should marry an Egyptian princess once Egypt had been taken over. This was the best way to gain loyalty from the Egyptian people.
A few steps away from 1st wife was Nyla. She was second oldest from Chenen. As Chenen's mother was a queen, Nyla's mother was unknown. Her heritage had always been called into question as one day the King had just shown up with a child in his hands and claimed, "This is mine." The strange truth of where this child had come from was strange. None-the-less, she looked like the king. Her skin was as dark as his and her lips as full. She had the arch of his eyes and even his mannerisms. She was beautiful in her own way and many men desired her. Just a few hours ago her suitors had brought in gifts of gold, ivory, silks, slaves, ebony, incense and even life animals as grievances for her father's death. At least that is what they said.
There were so many times I watched how my own mother looked at Nyla. I rarely saw my mother in the palace, but when she was...her eyes always laid fast on Nyla. My mother knew that powerful men believed Nyla may be anointed Queen due to Chenen's bloodline.
"Can't we continue without him?" the 1st wife asked.
The priestess and her cult shook their heads almost in unison. They held in front of them the scepters of Isis and remained still continuing to hold. Until a king was anointed these women were supreme. They decided who had the right to the throne.
Nyla shook her head, "He isn't coming."
"We should be able to go on without him," The 1st wife continued her plea, "We have been waiting for 3 hours for him. A king must be anointed."
Nyla laughed, "He isn't coming..."
Chenen crossed his arms, "How long can we wait for him?"
His anger was building up. All along the wall were the most important characters in the empire. They were the richest. They were wise men and advisors. They all whispered among themselves in ways that they would have not done if the King was alive. There had to be over a hundred people in the long hall now. They were all waiting. They were all waiting for what Emer believed Chenen called the wind.
The 1st wife nodded, "Nyla is right. He isn't coming...can't we continue?"
The priestesses didn't even give the 1st wife any type of recognition. The priestesses barely were seen in public. They were regarded closely to the goddess Isis and answered only to the king. It was clear they knew their position by how they ignored the 1st wife. I was astounded and by the whispers and expressions in the onlookers many others were as well.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw him. He was beautiful. It had been so many years that we hadn't seen each other. We were just children when we shared our first kiss...
Prince Taharqa Emer was grown now. He was of Egyptian origin born on Nubian soil. He was the favorite to take the throne even above his sister Nyla and his brother Chenen.
When he entered I noticed something...something so strange.
The women of Isis they all bowed down to him. It was almost automatic as he moved. The faces in the room all lit up. Some weren't as happy as others. In fact most had dreaded the day that Emer would become king. He didn't have the military prowess that Chenen had or the social delicacy that Nyla had. Of course it wouldn't have been much of a tale if it would have come easy to him now would it?
Now all of the people started bowing. It started with the royal household. As leaders of the country they had to set an example and could not deny who had been chosen king. They bowed.
Then the royal court bowed.
The guards...and rich partisans bowed.
I waited until everyone had bowed and I remained standing.
Of course my mother was gone by this point. She wouldn't bow either. She had disappeared somewhere like she had a million times before. She had had inserted her venom and slithered away through the rocks. It was just like my mother to do so.
And today I was her venom.
At first no one noticed but in a minute or so when there was only silence eyes started to wander. Short whispers fell across the court. Someone didn't recognize the king. Someone was still standing. They all looked at me shocked.
I'd been trained for this moment.
"Get on your knees!"
I hadn't known who the comment had come from. It didn't matter. It could have come from another servant or it could have come from a member of the royal family. I had gone past the point of telling the difference. My mother had raised me for this.
"You disrespect the king?"
In these times it wasn't as though I disrespected a president. I was disrespecting a religious leader. I was disrespecting my entire country. It was worse than treason.
I closed my eyes.
You couldn't imagine how it felt to have an entire country look at you. It felt like such a pressure was all set down on my chest. It was hard to breath. I took short breaths but no long ones. I was so short of air. It was amazing that the royal family did it so well. Yet the feeling wasn't all bad. There was something so good about it. There was something so good about being important.
I loved it and it was so strange.
You see this isn't a story like the rest. This is a story about the sins of man and how a man could succumb to those things. Right now...at this very moment...I was the most important person in Kerma. I had taken the spotlight from the king himself. That was all I cared about. That was all I saw. I didn't see the angry faces. I didn't the hate. It didn't matter why they were looking at me. At this very moment they were all looking at me and I was beautiful and I was important.
It didn't appear to me until I heard the command how real the situation had become.
"Take off his head..."
The order had come from a military commander. The military commander's men grabbed me before I even thought about running. I knew I wouldn't run even if I could though. I didn't struggle against them as they grabbed me up and placed me against the stairs. I could see the golden axe in my grasp. How wonderful! How important I finally was.
Mother all your dreams were coming true.
All eyes were on me but only 2 really mattered.
I saw the blade measuring my neck. No sweat dripped down on my forehead. I didn't shake or scream as I prepared to meet the end of me. My mother was never wrong.
Just then I remembered a flash in my mind.
When I was a child, my mother had dragged me to the gardens outside the palace gate. They were beautiful at that time. I felt so at ease. She told me to near the ledge and I did. She told me to lean over and I did. She tied a rope around me and lowered me slowly...gently into the depths of the well. Then she pulled the rope up without me. My mother had dropped me in a well and told me to scream every day whenever I could see the sun directly above me. She left me there for days and every day I did just as she said. On the 3rd day with no water and no food...a boy heard my scream. He saved me. He was only a little older than I was barely a young man. He fed me, dressed me and he fell in love with me because I needed him. And before he returned me to my mother...he kissed me. Now how would my mother have known that this boy would save me? How would my mother have known that it was Prince Taharqa Emer ho waited walked those gardens at times. He wanted to be my savior and so I had to play the role of the wounded victim in need of a hero.
The voice had come from Emer as he ran up to his men. He stopped them at that very moment. He stopped the man just as the man was about to drop the axe on his head.
"What are you doing?" Chenen asked his brother.
The priestesses chanted as well, "Behead him."
Emer shook his head immediately, "No..."
Amanirenas walked up after him, "What's the meaning of this
him. He disrespected your coronation in front of the country."
The priestesses began to chant. I lifted my head. I looked over at Taharqa. He was staring back at me. He knew these eyes just as I knew his. We were just children back then but you always remember your first. You never forget your first.
Taharqa quickly shook his head, "He's is going to be excused. There is a problem...yeah...a problem with the boy's knees. You see...they don't work that way. It is some sort of new paralysis that came about. Heb...take the boy to my ...new quarters. The pharaoh's chambers..."
The country was in a silent uproar.
Taharqa looked weak in front of all these people but immediately he looked strong as well by disobeying the royal family. I wondered what it meant that he spared me. I wonder if my mother thought so far in her plan. She never explained anything to me. She only trained me. She only told me how to stand.
She only told me to smile at Taharqa now...just a little bit to show teeth. She showed me how to leave my mouth slightly open...as though wanting to say something. She showed me how to bring out memories in my eyes like I was doing now.
She never told me why though.
Of course I missed the rest of the ceremony. It lasted well into the night. The celebration was probably one of the biggest that Nubia ever saw. Taharqa was a new king. He was the first true king of both the Egyptian and Nubian empires combined. He was the strongest man in Nubia and I had made him submit to me.
Was this all my mother's plan? Was it just embarrassment that she had in mind?
No...the embarrassment was a huge blow to the dynasty but it wouldn't be written in history. My mother wasn't settled for local gossip.
"You have a death wish?" Heb had asked me.
He was a servant just like I was. We had known each other forever as we had both been servants. However I was a servant to Queen Amanirenas. He was a servant to a Prince Taharqa and had now been obviously escalated to a servant of King Taharqa. His status was above mine in many ways but still he was nothing more than a servant.
"Probably not if I'm still alive," I stated.
"How'd you know he's stop you..."
Heb was older. He was probably in his early 50s. He kept himself more like the Egyptians. Not a blade of hair touched his skin. He kept himself clean and shaven. He had abundant eyes that seemed to hold so much knowledge. He was also very stingy with that knowledge too. He was stubborn. It was hard to get anything at all out of him.
"You are up to something," he stated.
He didn't say it in a negative way or a positive way. He was just stating a fact almost as though someone would say `it's raining outside'. It worried me though how he paced himself across the room after saying it. It was almost as though he was waiting for me to act now.
worry. I'm not an assassin."
Or was I?
I didn't know what my mother had planned. I needed her to tell me the next plan. I needed her to let me know what it was that I had to do.
"Whatever you are...I don't take kindly to threats of any magnitude against my master," Heb stated.
I nodded, "Spoken like a true slave."
That was all he'd ever be. He'd only ever be Emer's slave and Emer's dog. I walked around the room amazed by what I saw. This was a grand room with marble floors. The marble had been imported from the Europeans as a gift to the past king and an act of piece. They were beautiful. Statues stood higher than 8 men.
Baby lions played at the entrance where naked women watched lovingly with their limp bodies on golden trinkets. They acted as if it was the most comfortable thing in the world. They lay on gold while fine linen from Tombos sagged along the floor. There was a huge bath that was illuminated by golden torches. The Greeks believed in a place called Olympus. They believed the place was on a mountain. Perhaps they had not seen the King's chambers.
Heb followed my every move, "The king will probably come back with his senses and have you beheaded. Don't make yourself too comfortable."
The entire city was celebrating and all the old man could think about was whether or not I would get my punishment. Of course people were worried about Emer. He made bad choices. He wasn't the wisest. He was too passionate. His elements were all wrong. He had too much air. However the people would find any reason to drink.
"I think I will."
I started to take my clothing off. I did it slowly at first just the way mother would have wanted. Maybe she meant it at another time but there was no problem in practicing.
"Taking a bath...don't worry. All I need is a bowl. I won't enter the KING's pool..."
I took off all my clothes and started to make my way to the bath. The naked women who were across the room didn't even turn around and give me a second look while Heb just stood there staring the entire time.
look just like a woman."
"My mother always wanted a daughter..." I told Heb as I poured the water on my body, "Maybe it's to my dismay. She raised me like one. She taught me how to be so feminine even though everything inside me was masculine. She refused to let me gain muscle and mass. She refused to let my feet harden. She made me smell forever like chamomile."
"You do smell like it...why would ...why would a woman do such a thing to her son?" he asked confused.
He was like a little question box. I could see how he was digging at me trying to uncover something. His eyes were so full of wonder. It was amusing really.
I shrugged, "She always wanted a daughter."
"It is easy to confuse you for a woman...if you wore a wig and headdress. You can pass for a very beautiful woman. You remind me of someone."
"I am just my mother's son. You should hurry to your post. Your master is coming. Don't you know? Don't you hear the sounds of the footsteps? Oh no...he's coming I'm sure of it. You'd better get ready?"
"Wait...what is your name?"
"Yes, your name. What is your name?"
"My name is Menice..."
"And who is your mother..."
"You don't want to know..."