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I struggled to push him off of me. I couldn't budge. It wasn't his strength but it was the surprise attack that got me. I had already begun to give up actually. The afterlife in Nubian society was something that you prepared for all through life. I knew I hadn't met my potential yet though. I knew that I had so many more things that I needed to do in life it was just sad.
And just when I had stopped struggling and accepted my fate, things started to turn black and I drifted away lifeless...
It seemed like my whole life flashed in front of my eyes but all of a sudden there was a light and I opened my eyes. I wasn't in heaven, no I was in the same room. I laid on my bed with fresh clean linen sheets on it. My headrest was secured in place. Where was Heb?
The room was peaceful. It was obviously the next day. Sun shone through the room. A bright ray spread across and below it was Aya, soundly asleep by the bath that I had almost been killed in.
It was as though nothing had happened at all. I wanted to believe it but then I felt my strained neck. It was sore and had all the evidence I needed to know that I had just been attacked, but I didn't know exactly what happened. Had he abandoned his plan to kill me?
"You should stay down."
The voice was very familiar. I had heard the voice all my life. The strong secure voice that would scold me if I played too loud was there. It was the voice that I had grown to love and fear more than any other.
"It can't be..."
She looked the same. She was covered a dark shawl however. Her face didn't seem to age at all for the year and a half that I had not seen her. She had the alertness to her face. I never thought of my mother as a beautiful woman in the conventional way. There was nothing customary or typical about her look. She changed it very often and depending on the day she can be a beautiful damsel or a hideous beast. It's just depended on the day. She was a standard woman who was too strong to be feminine and too romantic to be a masculine. She stood there and gave me the same look that she had given me a million times before. It was that ambitious look. When she looked at me she saw something that I didn't quite see. When she looked at me her entire face would light up at times.
"I've been back in Kerma for about a week now," she stated, "I was keeping a good eye on you making sure it was the right time to make my appearance. I know this palace fairly well. I was able to get in. And just in time."
"You saved me from him..."
"Where is he?"
She pointed across the room. There was someone there. It was a woman. She was a tall woman with red hair. She seemed so foreign. Her skin was silky white. She looked like a European but she dressed like a normal Egyptian. Her red hair was amazing really. It fell straight down her back and it was almost the color of blood.
"Her name is Boxemnas," my mother stated, "She saved you. She killed Heb. I have not forsaken you my child. You see I knew you'd need protection and so I sought her out. She is an Egyptian. I know her skin is so pale to be one but she a legendary combatant in her day. It took me a year to find her and win her service. However I did and with her close by no one can her you."
"Her? She's a woman...what if men came..."
Before I could finish I noticed the red-haired woman kick open my carpet. I hadn't noticed it was rolled. In the folds of the carpet laid Heb. His head was completely cut off of his body. It was slightly sickening really to see someone who I had gotten so close to end up like this. The red haired woman seemed to take pride in her kill. She wrapped the carpet up again.
"I see your point," I told my mother, "I don't know why he did it. He was sent by the same person who killed Aya. Mother someone is trying to get rid of me."
My mother shook her head, "You'll figure who it is one day. No need to worry about that. Mother is back now. There will be many more people wanting to kill you than just one old man. Soon you will give your enemies reason to fear you."
The ambition was thick in her voice.
"So you came back to tell me what this was all for? It's too late. The King doesn't want me any longer. He has Fatine."
"I assumed Princess Nyla would have gotten rid of Fatine by now."
"She needs my help."
"Then help her."
"Taharqa doesn't want me. It's too late. We need to hang up the towel."
My mother shook her head, "You are disappointing me. Clearly I have come back on the right time. What are you going to do now crawl into some hole somewhere? You were born for more than the average."
She smiled at me. My mother was up to something. I knew it. The look in her eyes just said that she had a plan.
"What should I do?"
"I will be in this room and I will be there for you. You will not let anyone know I am in this room. Tomorrow you will meet with the Kandace. The Kandace has not yet taken care of Fatine most likely be can't. That is where you'll come in..."
I realized with my mother around, I was changing. I wasn't changing into something that I was before or changing into something that I thought she wanted me to be. I felt more confident but also I felt like I was losing my mind. It was driving me crazy. The drifting dreams of my mother and what she saw of me controlled my body but I had no idea what controlled my mind. Was it ambition or romance that was causing me to sit here and plan? I didn't know but all of a sudden it felt like every decision I made in these days would affect the rest of my life.
the next day pulled in word had come back to the palace that Chenen had once
again refused to meet with Taharqa. Word
had also come that the king was going to travel off to see King Mursili.
I looked confused at the thought of it.
Was he so desperate to regain his lost
kingdom from his brother that he would bow down and take trips to Hattusa just
to get it back?
"I'm glad you chose to join me..."
The Kandace Nyla was standing by a patio over the water. I hadn't seen this part of the palace before but there were many parts of the great main palace that I had not seen. The patio sat right in center of a lake. Nyla had almost a following of woman lounging out in this area with her. Some of them talked and gossiped. They must have been the most elite in the country. I could tell by the expensive way they talked and the superior way they talked to the servants. She was in a long flowing gown and in her hand was a large peacock feather. I realized now I saw her with peacock feathers often. She kept them as fans and ornamentation all around her.
"How did you know it was me?" I asked.
She turned around her eyes were up and her shoulders back when she talked, "In this life ... in this palace you have to watch your back. If someone walks up to my back it helps to know who it is before they get close enough to finish you off."
I shivered with how suspicious she was being. I guess she had reason. She wasn't the Great consort of the pharaoh but she was his wife. There were probably many people who saw that as a threat to her.
"Someone tried to kill me last night."
Her face turned strong. She crossed her arms, "No doubt who it is."
I didn't answer her inquiry even though I doubted it was Fatine. Fatine definitely may have had the most reason to but her resources weren't that clear to me. All the servants she used belonged directly to the King. She spent all her time underneath King Taharqa to even communicate that intention to anyone.
"Yes," I stated, "It's time to bite back while I still can."
At that moment I saw he grab me and pull me close to the water. She wanted out talk to remain private. I could see the excitement in her voice. She waved away her handmaiden who was intent in following her. I could see this was exciting to her.
She smiled, "So you've made your decision. We will get rid of Fatine."
"Good I have a plan..."
"No," I replied rather quickly.
She withdrew. I could tell her that I caught her off guard. A part of me wanted to smile when I said it just to see the might Kandace thrown off of her structured life. She had a surprise now and she didn't seem to know what to do with it. I laughed.
I could see however that she rather lose her plan than lose my help in this situation. I seemed to have the Queen by her tongue. She crossed her arms and smiled...uncomfortably. She was a politician and always good with her tongue but I could tell there were points that even she stumbled with.
"I'd love to hear it," she continued.
I crossed my arms, "News has come to me that Fatine was throwing a private banquet for the King..."
She wondered from whom I got my news from. Of course it was from my personal spy Chek who proved himself more and more useful everyday by the way his ears were able to get as much information as possible. He never wrote anything down. He couldn't write. He just listened and remembered everything that he heard. Then he reported back to me.
"I have heard word that she is going to finally petition the king for a marriage at this time," I stated, "This cannot happen. Of course being a banquet, the king will be under a slight influence. She will likely seduce him. You know they have said she's a witch and a seductress. I am going to interrupt her. This may seem like an impossible feat to strip away the King's attention so completely that he has forgotten who Fatine even is. However I assure you that it can be done. Fatine stays underneath the king so she is not touchable. If I can remove her from under the eye of the king will you able to touch her."
She smiled and called over her hand maiden, "WINE!"
The handmaidens quickly gathered around us bringing different flavors of the finest wine imported from Egypt. They bowed down holding up their trays and letting us grab the wine together.
I could see now that I had won over the Queen. I could see from the way her eyes gleamed and her smile remained. She raised her glass over the pond where the palm trees shaded our plan almost completely.
She continued with her glass raised in the air, "Let's drink Menice. We'll drink to a holy alliance. How miserable and how beautiful. Surely Ra shines on us. Surely Horus blesses our union. Should I call us friends? I must...that is exactly what we have become. Don't you think so? We are friends out a most uncommon bond. And I do for my friends. If you do your half I assure you that she will be touched. Let the king abandon her. Let the king forget about her and stop watching her. If he forgets then everyone will forget about Fatine...forever. The sun will shine on us at last. I will be the Grand first wife. You will have the King and I will have the country."
For me the king...
For her the country...
We drank to it. She seemed happy and I smiled accordingly. She wanted the title to be his highest wife so much. It was almost as though that was her only goal in life.
It may seem evil to you to try to bet on the life of a woman but I knew that if Fatine had become the Great first wife she would have had me executed the very same day to remove my threat. This was the time that we lived in. I had to act before she did. As I allied with someone who I had once considered just as much of a threat I realized that it was necessary to do so. It was necessary to take out a common threat but I wondered what would change.
Ambition was one hell of a thing and it caused people to do the strangest of things.
The night had come had everyone had on their tongues gossip about Fatine's big private banquet. She had set it up just for the king, the Vizier and the highest of his bodyguards. No one else was allowed in and this was a huge feat for our time. It was rare that the King did anything without a school of priests, scribes and Medjay cluttered around him.
I was dressed in a robe that my mother had somewhat acquired. My mother and I sat alongside the pool. She played with Aya who had taken a real liking to her.
I couldn't see how she found time for games at this time. My entire hands sweat furiously. My entire future depended on this night. If Fatine won favor with the king with her banquet it could all be over very quickly. I was nervous.
The feeling was overwhelming.
We waited for an hour until Chek quickly returned. I was so excited I left my seat and met him at the door. We exchanged hard looks as I ushered him to give me the news.
the King have my audience?" I asked him, "Am I allowed to the banquet."
"I couldn't even get word to the King," Chek stated, "Fatine has been armed with the Vizier's guards. They won't let me anywhere near the hall."
I roared furiously. It was so hard that Chek took a few steps back and bowed quickly. I was pissed. My entire plan was going down the drain. I couldn't even get word to the king. What was worse was that my mother was still busy playing with Aya and Boxemnas, my new bodyguard, was so emotionless that nothing seemed to phase her at all.
was expected that the Vizier would side with Fatine," my mother stated, "Relax.
That wasn't the plan anyway."
"Relax? Relax!" I screamed at my mother immediately, "The Kandace has ordered special forces because I so confidently said I can break up their banquet. We can't just replan this. Don't you understand. This has to happen now. That witch will get him if it doesn't. How do you not understand that? How do you not understand how serious this is!"
"Have I ever failed you before?"
I looked at her wondering if this was a trick question. She had failed me before. She had abandoned for a year when I needed her. She was standing her glorified in her strategies. I slowly began to question the logic of my mother lately. Was her confidence really confidence or just some show she put on?
"What...are we going to do?" I asked impatiently.
I didn't have time for her games and slow way of doing things.
"It's a banquet isn't it?" she asked, "Which means they will have to have food. Being as knowledgeable as I am I know where this food is prepared. I also know that the caterers are paid very little and just so happened to make sure that they got a very awesome bribe. They will be here soon with the biggest tray available where they usually stuff the largest pig as a feast. It will be empty. Are you understanding what I'm trying to say."
"You want me to serve myself to the king."
`Yes...on a tray."
God I scared.
"They may kill me before they even see who it is under the tray. They may just assume it is an assassin. We'll have to assure this. Boxemnas...no, Boxy...she will not leave my side. She will act as the hostess."
"Yes. That's fine," My mother continued, "Boxy this is your chance to prove your worth to my son. He will be very important one day. Don't fali."
Boxy nodded silently in an agreement.
That was how the plan began. The caterers had come just as instructed. My mother had definitely planned this all along and hadn't let me know until the last minute what the details were about. The tray was huge but I still would have to curl up to fit.
The tray went to the king. I assured Boxy was standing right next to me and hoped she was the perfect defender that my mother claimed she was. I remembered the words of my mother as I laid there on the tray. The men carried me on the tray very gently but the long walk my stomach tremble. It also could have been nerves. What if they cut me down as soon as I opened the tray? If the Vizier's men were around this could definitely be a possibility.
I realized from the voices I heard underneath the tray that we had to have been in the hall. The words of my mother kept rolling back in my head.
Completely disrobe before you get on that tray. Sprinkle yourself with golden dust. Cover your eyes with black paint. Let the incense burn around your skin for a long time. I want you to seem as though you are Ra when you go to the king.
I could hear Taharqa's voice amongst the voices of the people there. He was having a good time. He was laughing like I'd never heard him laugh before. Had Fatine won him over? Was he drunk and satisfied with her company? Surely the Vizier was also convincing him to marry Fatine. She was going to proposition him for marriage. Perhaps I was too late now.
Do not appear as his slave when you go to him. When you go to him present yourself as a God. Present yourself as his conqueror. He cannot have a choice to resist you because in all actuality he should. FORCE him to put aside the well-being of his kingdom. MAKE him ignore his better virtues. When he looks at you, have him forget all the promises that he made to himself when he said he'd stay away from your forever. Make him regret those things. Make him put his better judgement aside Menice. Make yourself become his biggest mistake.
"To the King Pharaoh..." a caterer announced, "Here on this platter will be served the grand meal."
"Oh I can't eat any more," Taharqa stated, "Send it back!"
My heart raced immediately. Send it back? Send it back? I could actually see the caterers moving back. They weren't of any status to deny to rules of the king. I thought about just jumping out now. The surprise would probably be too much however. The Medjay would kill me before I even hit the floor. I couldn't believe I was risking my life so stupidly.
please King," Fatine petitioned, "I had it ordered especially for you.
Let's just look and see it."
"Fine...bring it here."
The tray stopped moving in the direction it was moving. This was definitely bittersweet. Fatine had helped my plan but at the same time it was scary because she had enough pull with the King to do so. Was she winning Taharqa over from me?
It was several seconds I could see the tray being lifted from over me.
Be his biggest mistake.
The incense had formed around me when it lifted it. It was just the idea that they had wanted. The dust blew out and for a second everyone was blinded. For a second they didn't know what it was. I could see the Medjay scream out a loud call to arms!
The huge men charged at me and just as that moment I was took shocked to move. I was too shocked to run.
As one Medjay charged at me with his spear, I saw Boxy quickly disarm him, grabbing the spear with her small arms tripping the Medjay with his own weapon until he landed flat on his back. She grabbed the spear and stood in front of me, blocking me from the other Medjay who were quickly about to attack as well.
"STOP!" Taharqa stated to them.
"What is he doing here!" Fatine asked.
She wasn't asking the king though. She was asking the Vizier who was next to the King. I knew at this moment that this banquet must have been all of his doing. He must have completely planned this entire thing. He was such a sneaky skeleton of a man. I could look in his eyes and see his bad intentions laced in them. He was disgusting.
Just at that moment I could see Chief Si Ren Boos step up. He was looking at me just like all the rest of them. They were shocked at my appearance. They were shocked that I stood naked in front of a king.
"Stand down Medjay," he ordered quickly.
I wanted to give him a smile but I didn't. Instead I kept looking straight on Taharqa. It was what my mother had said to do. I looked right into Taharqa's eyes. I didn't smile or seem at all passive to him. I was conquering him with every second I caused him to look back at me.
I was glowing. This was my moment of glory.
"Get out," he ordered.
"You heard him," Fatine stated and pointed at Si Ren Boos, "Get your Medjay to get this pest out of here."
Si Ren Boos looked at the King, "Is this what you want sir?"
"No...not Menice," Taharqa stated, "The rest of you get out. All of you get out. Just leave Menice and I here alone. That's what I want. That's what I always wanted."
He had been conquered. The Chief Si Ren did just as he stated. The Medjay began to exit the room. The Vizier gave me a harsh look and began to stomp out the room. I could see Fatine chasing busily behind the Vizier.
"Wait," she cried out desperately, "You can't just leave! He doesn't mean it. Wait!"
The Vizier angrily shook her off, "Leave it be woman."
He stomped out of the room immediately with his own men following behind him. I could tell he had been defeated and he seemed like the man who knew how to withdraw from a fight when he knew things had gone past him.
She didn't seem to be getting the clue though. Fatine's eyes had went almost as red as blood. I could see the failure in her eyes. The innocent look that she usually had was slowly fading and showing the true beast that was underneath it all. Underneath all that beauty and innocence there was something that was so familiar to the Nubian Royal palace. Beneath all of it were the eyes of a desperate woman.
"Taharqa please. This was my party. You can't just dismiss all of us."
His will was law.
I watched as the High Chief Si Ren Boos himself picked her up and dragged her out into the halls. Little did she know she wasn't just going to be sent to the halls. She was going to be sent to the darkness away from the King's protection and whatever fate awaited her at that time.
We were alone.
He looked at my body up and down.
"Come close to me."
That was all he had said at first and I shook my head, refusing the king, "No you come to me."
There was no one left to punish me. He had sent all his guards away. Why not provoke the King? Why not demand something of him. He did as I said as well. He did it quickly as well. I looked at Taharqa his beautiful body as he looked at mine. It wasn't look before he was cupping my buttocks in his hands and he was massaging the back of my neck. He kissed me then. He kissed me real deeply and I could feel all the passion in his kiss. His mouth was wet with desire.
He laid me down on the floor and continued to kiss me. He rolled his tongue down my neck and down my face. Then he turned me over continued to lick. He licked my back. He licked my legs. He licked my butt and bit deeply into my cheeks. There it was again. That desire that he has was unmatched. I knew that. I groaned in passion as he continued to lick my body. He worshipped every part of it as though I was that god that he believed I was. I believed it as well. By the time he entered me I had become more than just a servant boy. I knew now what my mother meant by saying I was so much more. He had long strokes.
"You are Nubia..." he whispered in my ear.
He continued to dig into me satisfying himself multiple times and each time he satisfied myself he stated the same comment. He called me Nubia. I allowed him to do it as many times as he wanted and he wanted to do it many times. He continued long into the night and when he was done he laid down on his back. I
I looked up over him squatting on his bed. It was an amazing feeling to know what I had done. I felt like I had conquered something great. I was so complexed by it. The way he looked at me made it seem like he didn't understand why.
He was intrigued, "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Why do you want me so much?" I asked as I studied his naked body, "What is it that would make an ordinary man interest a king. What is it that would make you do what you do for me? Why?"
He smiled, "Why does anyone fall in love besides a King? Every man chooses who he wants to fall in love with. Why should it be different for me? When I'm with you, I don't think about my brother betraying me or rebuilding my alliance with the Hittite. I just think about you. I think you are like medicine to keep me from losing my mind."
I was his medicine.
He took me to his quarters and we laid there all night talking and dreaming. It was the first time that I had spent in the King's quarters. It was usually something that rarely happened even for a Queen.
I realized now more then ever that yes, something was changing in me. Why couldn't I put a finger on it? Maybe it's the reason that someone wanted me dead. Maybe whoever it was that ordered Heb to kill me saw this. Something was changing...
The morning approached and I went to my room to see Chek and Boxy standing outside of it. They were waiting for me. I was surprised to see them there.
"What's the matter?"
Chek looked a little bothered.
"There's been a complication..."
"With what? Is the job done? Is Fatine gone..."