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Death of A Princess
I was guided down the backgrounds of the Nubian palaces. Who knew places like this even existed? I was guided through the dark shadows and for a moment I felt as though I was finally seeing the ugly face behind all the glamour. The walls here were cold here and lonely. The torch that Chek guided me with didn't help to bring any warmth at all. I crossed my arms and held myself. The darkness kept surrounding us. It swallowed us whole.
"Are you scared sir?" Chek asked me.
I looked to my right to see Boxy. She wasn't afraid. She was walking as though she had walked down these halls a million times. Her confidence gave me confidence. I saw how she had defended me against the mighty Medjay warriors of the King. She would turn even against the King for me. It was ultimate loyalty. I had wondered why my mother disappeared and it was because of this creature. Was she even human? She didn't speak. She just followed protected. She was a gift only a mother could give.
"No I'm not afraid," I stated as I continued through the darkness, "Losing love...that scares me more. Let's find out what happened to Fatine to settle this. I won't be scared of a knife to the back any longer. I'm more afraid about a stab to a heart. That hurts so much more. There is no big tomb and ceremony that happens if someone stabs you in the heart. You know what happens when someone stabs you in the heart, Chek? You bleed alone. No one mourns. No one cries. You just die alone without anyone knowing but you. That scares me. This darkness is nothing."
The halls remained darker. We went through some doors that I had never seen before to another hallway I had never seen before. Chek stopped at a door that seemed no different from the other doors that we passed. He knocked hard twice on the door and the third time his knock was a little softer.
The room was lit when we walked in. The first thing I saw was the Kandace. Nyla sat on chair. It was a fancy stool that seemed like it didn't belong in a basement of any room. She crossed her legs on it and was relaxed. She had a pillow below her feet. Several of her attendents were around her. I could see there was no difference here from no regular ordinary day to them. The attendants served their Queen and the Queen sat in her chair as though there was nothing amiss. It made me wonder what the problem here was. The roofs in this room were high. The pillars were stacked up against one another heavily in the room but there was a bald spot. Right there in the bald spot I saw Fatine. She was laid out in a pool of blood.
The only issue was that she wasn't dead. With all the blood that had surrounded her and stained her creamy white sheath dress she still seemed rather beautiful. The dress was completely red now and wrapped so tightly around her body that she had to lay with her feet close together. She grabbed onto her abdomen which made me think that was where her wound originated. She didn't move. She didn't struggle to get up and run away. It seemed like she had completely abandoned her idea. It also seemed like Nyla had completely abandoned the idea of trying to end her for sure. She just watched intensely as she died before us. It was amazing now.
"Pull up a seat for your master," Nyla commanded of Boxy.
I noticed however Boxy didn't take orders from anyone else. I nodded my head for her to do it and she went off to the side to get a stool for me to sit on. She placed the stool right next to Boxy. I took my time to walk up to the stool and took my seat next to Nyla...my accomplice in this hideous crime that we creating here.
"Is there a reason that she isn't dead?" I asked slightly trying to hold in my complete annoyance at the fact that Fatine was here with us, "Is this a show or something? By now the Medjay are probably roaming the palace looking for her."
"No they aren't. That has been settled away," Nyla continued, "She was actually making an attempt to leave Egypt when we caught her. "
"Yes. She was going to Egypt to join Chenen. Most likely she was going to marry him and provoke vengeance on the King. She made these plans known to several people before we interrupted her quick getaway."
She was traitor. I looked at her now with the most clearest intentions. Any feeling of sympathy I had for her was now gone. She was looking me now even more than Nyla. Her eyes were black. They were darker than I had imagined. She was breathing so slowly. It seemed like it took her all of her energy just to breathe now. I could see her struggling at it.
"Even more reason she should be dead."
Nyla shook her head, "Yes...however the assassins attempted this as you can clearly see. She refuses to die. They ran away to prayer. I guess it's my fault for getting some idiots from the north. They think she's a witch. Can you believe it? They stabbed her several times though. She won't die of course until she sees you. I can't believe it."
We looked down now at Fatine. Her eyes had opened wide as she started to talk. She looked at the conspirators against her with the most vicious of anger. I could see now that all that innocence definitely was pretending.
"A witch," Fatine struggled to speak with her mouth opening wide to spit out the words that were coming from them, "Yes...then according to my gods, if they have it be I curse both of you."
Her eyes were so dark when she spoke. It was a joke really. Nyla seemed to find it interesting though. I couldn't believe she was actually AMUSED by it. It was as though she was watching her gladiators in the court. She had a wide smile on her face and her attendants served her fresh fruit as she looked on at this dying woman. I found it completely boring.
"I don't have time for this..." I stated getting up off the stool.
curse you Nyla.
Nothing will come from you," she stated, "Nothing you plant will grow
and you will continue to plant and continue to plant, but nothing good will
come from you.
Your nothingness will resemble your soul."
Nyla found this amusing. By now I had my back to her and was gathering my composure to be guided out of the room. Nyla would get tired of her quickly and actually have someone put an end to her. I wasn't sure what foolish assassins she had hired. They couldn't do their job right.
"And Menice," Fatine started, "Your desires will be eat into you. Your ambitions will bring to heights unimaginable. But beware at certain heights it becomes hard to breath and you will suffocate..."
"Boxy..." I suggested.
It wasn't even two seconds after I had said it that Boxy flung herself from the room towards Fatine. She grabbed Fatine by her neck and with her bare hands I watched Fatine strangle Boxy. Fatine didn't even struggle underneath Boxy's deadly claws. You would think Boxy was a huge monster but she wasn't. She just behaved as though she weighed several hundred pounds. She was a tall woman and more muscular than average but her strength came from something else.
It was easy to cover up Fatine's death after that day. For a while there was some debate about her death but in a few weeks almost everyone came to the same idea that she was killed by bandits trying to escape to the North and marry Chenen. Almost everyone seemed to care. Of course the Vizier had tried many times to convince the King that there was something else wrong with this.
We had all assumed that with Fatine out of the picture Taharqa would have to make Nyla his Chief Consort. He didn't make her the Great Royal Wife however. He didn't seem to have plans on marrying anyone else either. His plans had moved to gathering his forces and for good reason. Chenen had banned all Nubians from the Egyptian trade routes. He confiscated Nubian ships that were sailing along the Nile and held citizens as prisoners until Taharqa acknowledged him as Pharaoh of Upper and Lower Egypt.
Chenen was officially an enemy of Nubia.
Taharqa kept me around however now. It seemed like with Fatine out of the way I no longer needed to hide his feelings for me. He kept me around for many things that I had not had access to before. At nighttime, he would make love to me and in the day time he would worship me.
"It's turning in your favor," my mother had stated.
I didn't have long to talk to her. It wouldn't be long until Taharqa would come looking for me. My mother would pull me aside though several times and she would whisper things in my ear. She would plan things in my mind and everything she would say would stick with me while I went through the day. She knew things that I quite comprehend. I didn't know how she knew the things that she knew but I didn't ask either. I just appreciated it.
"I should go he's looking for me."
"Why does he need you?" my mother asked.
"He's become dependent," I continued to explain, "Tonight a messenger from King Mursili and the Hittite comes. The messenger will begin talk on building an alliance against Chenen and his Egyptian army. He wants me there..."
"Does he need you there?"
Her questions sometimes seemed repetitive. She was trying to get something out of me. I never knew completely what she was trying to get out of me but it was almost something deeper. She always looked below the surface. Sometimes I got bothered by it...especially lately. I was doing all the work, but she had the luxury to sit in the finest quarters and get served all day.
"I think so..."
looked concerned, "You should know he needs you there. Hasn't he needed you at
"I think he believes I can help charm the Hittite again. Mursili may take word kinder if it partially came from me. I don't know."
"Forget what he wants," my mother stated, "This isn't about the King...trust no one. Didn't I tell you that before? I got that from somewhere Menice. Nubians were people of pride once but they've seemed to lose their way when the mix with all these different breeds. The Hittite, the Egyptians...why do we need them? Nubia is a power onto itself. The king now wants you to beg a HITTITE for help. A HITITTE!"
"Nyla believes the same," I stated.
I shook my head. Many of the Nubians believed just what my mother and Nyla believed. The Nubians were so proud. I shook my head. They carried their shoulders back and their head strong. I couldn't believe it. They would rather face Chenen alone and struggle then join forces with the Hittite and win with minor loses.
"You can trust her..."
"You just told me I can't trust anyone," I stated.
"You can trust her. You mustn't go to him when he calls you tonight. No matter what he does you must not go to him. We need Nyla to bring a sense of reason to the kingdom. Taharqa has no reason. If he made her promoted her to Great Royal Wife then she can attend war meeting and perhaps persuade the king..."
"Mother...why are we pushing for Nyla to do anything?" I asked shaking my head, "She can handle her own. Our agreement was that we get rid of Fatine. If she still couldn't secure the position as chief consort then I can't help her."
"Why should ANYONE be called his consort but me?"
The jealousy was seen in me. I could tell that is what was changing in me. I had the I slept with him every night and he
"FOR WHAT! I do everything. And she holds the title. I sleep with him and she is his wife. He loves me and she is his wife."
"You will NEVER be married to the King," my mother stated, "Is that the meaning behind these emotions? He needs a wife. What better than a wife who understands her place? She knows he loves you. She accepts that and embraces it. Isn't this what you wanted?"
She had told me once that she wanted me to hold the crown but it seemed even my mother's mind had changed. She was becoming satisfied with the situation that we had at hand.
"Nyla's time is coming up."
need her. And you will do as I say.
The king will call you tonight and you will
not go. You will do as I say...because I
I looked at her and nodded.
I smiled even but something was changing in me. I wasn't satisfied with this. I wasn't a woman and could not be his wife. I didn't even have royal blood so there was no point of even if I were woman. But I guess I had to lay down everything for this. I had to just be satisfied.
Nyla tried to speak to me several times that day. She believed she found a friend but I couldn't pretend any longer. Every time she spoke the jealousy took hold? Taharqa belonged to me. I owned him now in the same way that he once claimed to own me. Why should I have to share it with anyone?
entered the royal gardens where the royal family usually gathered in the
afternoon. I kept thinking about the
evening. How could my mother expect me
to refuse the King? I couldn't believe
such a thing. She acted too hastily.
Only weeks had passed since Fatine's death. Did
the palace really need more controversy?
Nyla was standing there beneath a pine tree.
She smiled as I walked in but seemed to take offense when I didn't go directly to her. I sat on my own side of the garden closer to where the little children were playing. I had my attendants set up a small station there, putting up stools and tables. They brought me wine and fruit. All of these things belonged to me. From my side of the table I could see her eyes grinding into me unhappily.
In a few minutes Nyla had sent her messenger to come to talk to me.
"The Queen requests you come join her."
The Queen...the queen...
I smiled, "She can come over here if she'd like but I will not come to her."
The messenger went back to Nyla. In a few minutes Nyla's eyes looked vexed. She got up all of a sudden and walked away quickly. She disappeared so quickly into the palace. I could see the anger in her eyes. I had refused her and I meant to do so openly in front of her subjects. I wanted to embarrass her. I was not a slave to the Queen. She couldn't even get the title of Chief Consort. What good was she? If I was a woman and of royal blood like she was, I would have had the title a long time ago.
I basked in my triumph for a few minutes until I got some sort of visit. The visit came unexpectedly. I could see Boxy on high alert and I knew immediately who it could have been.
I quickly stood to my feet as he approached me. He had with him Baraka and several other strong looking men. I looked around now to see that there were many citizens around. Would he act so brashly in front of so many witnesses? Had he become so desperate? Could Boxy really protect me against so many people.
"Boxy," I adjusted myself quickly taking a step behind her.
I saw her right hand had disappeared beneath her linen cape. I wondered what sort of weapon she had concealed under there. I wondered if the weapon would be enough. I prayed that it would be.
He had the nerve at this time to take a seat in front of the chair that I had just stood up from. His eyes darted into me past the guard of Boxy. His men stayed a few feet back. I wondered what he was here for. I could see his threat appearing all over him.
The Vizier was open with his threat, "I came to say something to you. I will say it once. It seems like you have forgotten your place in this matter. I don't blame you. I'm sure there's some force behind all this that is pushing you to commit acts that you are ignorant of. I know it was you who did away with Fatine. However Fatine is a small matter in the magnitude of things. I don't know what your scheme is...boy...but I usher you away now. Leave here. Don't look back. You will not be touched if you leave now. You won't always be under the king's eye...you hear me. And my first attempts at your life was just a warning. Yes...just a warning. If you stick around...I won't be so kind."
His threat rang louder than any words that I had ever heard.
got up and walked away. It was short and
blunt and to the point. He didn't give me room to reply.
He didn't even give me room to form a
reaction? How do you respond when
someone comes up to you and admits trying to kill you several times?
What if they promised to kill you again...
quickly ran to my room. Boxy struggled
to keep up with me. Tears were rolling
down my eyes. They were tears of sadness or fear.
No these were tears of anger.
I had known it all along but why was I so
surprised now? It was the Vizier who had
killed me. I was running now through the
halls. These halls seemed so much darker now.
It seemed no light was coming from them.
I could feel this anger in me. Aya was dead because of him.
The woman who had raised me when my mother
was off planning and plotting was a dead BECAUSE OF HIM!
Or was it because of me?
I had tossed myself in this lifestyle so quickly. I looked around at the great pillars. They were in the huge halls of the Grand palace. They were raised almost 60 feet in the air. The ceiling disappeared into darkness. Everything was built on a massive scale but why? The king was just 6 feet. Why did he need halls that seemed to be endless? Why did he need huge ceilings? Why had I not noticed this before? I hadn't noticed that everything wasn't scaled right. Everything was too big. Everything was too much. I was an ant in this huge palace and till now I had been completely blinded to that. I had no control in the state that I was in now. The Vizier was right. I was nothing to him. I had no power. I had no sway. The Pharaoh had everything. I was nothing but a decoration in the palace that the King kept around.
I entered my room, collapsing too the floor. I saw quickly how Boxy closed the doors behind me. I had fallen to the floor so quickly that I had given out.
I raised my head trying to find her. I needed her now. If the Vizier had meant to upset me he had succeeded. I needed my mother's help and her assistance. I raised my head to see her sitting there. She was bent over on the steps. Aya...the lioness was curled below her feet. However what surprised me was the company that we had.
The room was lined with handmaidens. They were royal handmaidens. I knew what this meant almost immediately before I smelled the perfume or anything like that.
"Menice...are you ok?" I saw Nyla.
She had a scented cone on top of her head and she playing a board game with my mother. They seemed like old friends sitting there. The both had smiles in their faces. Here I was in TEARS...laying on the grounds of my own quarters while my mother played chest with the woman who was married to my lover! I could feel my anger start to build up.
"You enjoying your game?" I stated, quickly jumping onto my feet.
I couldn't even be comfortable in my room. Everywhere around me in this palace were VIPERS! They all were snakes trying to bite my blood and here was Nyla seeming ready to do the same.
"I came because I was upset about your behavior in the courtyard earlier," Nyla stated," I thought we were friends. I came to discuss it. However upon arrival to your quarters I saw this lovely woman. She stated she was your mother. Now I see how you have become so handsome. Why wouldn't you introduce your mother to the court?"
My response was delayed as I walked past the two woman and the group of servants that were associated with a royal figure such as the queen. I was no longer impressed by her presence as I had once been. I remembered how starstruck I was when I first laid eyes on her. I hadn't believed a woman's neck could be so long or her shoulders stand so broad. I hadn't believed anyone could be so classy as Nyla. Now I just knew all that was a lie. She depended on others.
She and my mother were the same. They loved their country. They put away all their desires to serve their country.
But I was beginning to think I wasn't willing to do the same.
Things came to my mind.
Those things wouldn't let go so easily. I guess I was run by my desires. I let Nyla wait for my response even longer as I poured my drink. It was a strong tonic. It burned the back of my throat as I drunk it.
"The Queen addressed you," my mother stated.
I turned back to them both. My eyes were full with wonder. How great and powerful the Kandace was but she couldn't even demand a peasant like me to speak. She needed me still.
"I have my reasons for not introducing my mother," I stated and smiled the fakest smile I could muster.
My mother smiled as well, "My son, I was telling the Queen about our plan. She was enthralled. I told her how we planned to get the King to submit into making her the Great Consort."
Nyla's smile at the thought of it almost sickened me. I couldn't believe iw as going along with this. I was submitting to her so easily. I couldn't believe my mother was going along with this as well. I knew she more than all could see that Nyla was just a stepping stone...for me. Nyla was just a stepping stone for something so much greater.
"You will be greatly rewarded. You and your mother," Nyla stated, "You will have a table at the highest of courts. You will be adopted into the royal family where you belong when I am the Great Consort."
She smiled as though I should have been satisfied.
I smiled back. My mother seemed satisfied. I looked at how they continued to talk and carry on. It was as though they had already started to build the greatest friendship. I wandered off to the side. Aya had come to me. She had already become quite the beast.
It was in 20 minutes when the first messenger from the king came. Nyla and my mother at this point had begun to have dinner together prepared in a small portion on the lower tier in my quarters. This was closer to the patio which overlooked the other palaces. They allowed me to deal with the guard but I could see their eyes watching me. It was almost as though they were staying in the room just to make sure what I was saying. It was almost as though they were on the same exact page.
"I must refuse the King's offer. There is a matter that upsets me and I cannot come."
"You REFUSE? The King?"
The messenger was shocked as he walked away. He had reason to be. Once again I was pushing the limit. Once again I was testing Taharqa's love for me. Isn't this what my mother had prepared me for all this time to do? She wanted me to test his love for me.
I waited at the steps of my corridor. It was almost a half an hour before several messengers walked in. This time when I sent them back they seemed rather scared. I could tell now that it was perhaps that the King was becoming more and more impatient.
The next visit was quite alarming.
The doors had split open and several men walked in. They lined up against the sides of the walls. I could tell they were Medjay by the size of their bodies. I could tell this was an important visit by how my mother seem to sink into the darkness and exit out on the patio taking Nyla with her. She probably made an excuse to as though there was something to be done but I knew my mother just didn't want to be part of the light. She couldn't be. She had to live THROUGH me. Yet she was so damn entertained by Nyla. Nyla seemed to be claiming everything that belonged to me. First she married Taharqa and now she was taking the attention of my mother.
I shuddered as I watched them go by and turned to see the Chief Si Ren Boos enter into the room. He was so damn handsome as he made his way up to me. His shirt was off except for his cape. He had on full royal headdress and a huge sword strapped onto his thrusting waist. I could feel my entire mind wander from his face to his large erected nipples that were attached to his manly chest. The Chief was definitely something to look on.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
He did it rather informally. I shook my head and looked at him.
"I'm sitting here. On my stairs..."
"The king called you. Menice what are you up to?" he asked again coyly, "He needs your help. He is having a problem communicating with the Hittite messenger. It seems the messenger has gifts that he needs to deliver to you."
am not interested in gifts."
"Menice please," Si Ren Boos stated, "You cannot deny the Pharaoh. There are ordinary men who have been executed for less."
"I am no ordinary men."
"Please Menice. Be reasonable. This is for the country. You are the bridge to the Hittite. Only you can help our country at this time. If not for the King do it for the people. Do it for me..."
For him...I looked at Si Ren Boos and for a second he seemed more then just the King's bodyguard. He seemed like a real human. I could see how he wore his heart on his sleeves. I could see how he seemed to acknowledge me.
"I have a simple wish. If the King grants this he will get any thing he wants."
"What is the wish?"
"Tell him he must choose his Great Royal Consort. Tell him he must choose tonight."
Si Ren Boos shakes your head. From where I sat I could see my mother and Nyla watching from the patio. They spied at us. Huge smiles remained on their faces.
Si Ren Boos had left by the guards did not. I saw Boxy come to my side. She had her hand on a sword. She didn't conceal the sword. She stood on the steps above me her shadow cast over me. I knew she was doing this for a reason. I tried to remain calm and collected as the Medjay began to fill my room. First it was five and then it became 25. After it was 25 it became 50.
The men lined up packing into my room all one right next to another. I could feel the impatience wavering on me. I knew my mother could see what was happening now.
I wondered if she was as nervous as I was.
The drums began to play. It was clear that the King was coming. He hadn't been the first one to come though. Si Ren Boos re-entered the room. He stood not too far from me. His head was bent. He didn't seem happy about the situation from what I could see. Maybe he knew the mood of the king. I wasn't sure. After Si Ren Boos and the Medjay that he led, came the priests .They lined up and bowed down on the floor burning incense and blessing the room for the king's entrance.
After the room was blessed, the Vizier and his personal attachments entered the room. That included Baraka who I had recognized almost immediately.
Lastly the King entered the room. He had his scepter in his hand and a headdress of great value over him. The look in his eyes were priceless. I had disrupted his entire festivity because of my refusal. Si Ren was right. There were men who would have been executed for far less then what I had done. However I had gotten away with it before. Now was no time to back down. Now was no time to be afraid.
"What is the meaning of this!" He stated.
The king's voice was booming as he walked into the room. I knew if we were alone he wouldn't have spoken to me with such disregard but because his court was present he had to demand it.
I nodded, "Great King, Pharaoh of Upper Egypt, the Nile and keeper of the Glorious Nubia...I have a simple request."
I tried to make my voice seem strong and confident but I think at times I failed. I was trying to be respectful. I was trying to give him the respect that he needed but at the same time I knew my mother was here looking at me. She wanted me to seduce him and I had done that. She wanted me to win over his heart and I had done that.
What she hadn't known was that the King had managed to win over mine as well.
"When I call you, you WILL Come!"
"After my request."
I had just cut the King off. I could see the Vizier's eyes darting at the King expecting him to do something. Maybe that was why Taharqa was shaking with anger. I could feel his frustration building up.
"What is your request?"
"I will speak to the Hittite messenger. I will assure with King Mursili that there is peace between the Nubians and the Hittite. I will also persuade the Hittite to ally with us against the Egyptians. However I need you to chose the Great Royal Consort before anything."
"Did Nyla put you up to this?
"No...I've done this at my own accord."
"So then why do you push for me to make her the great consort!" he asked angrily.
I shook my head, "I pushed for no such thing. You will make me the Great Consort..."
I knew there was confusion at my request. Everyone was confused. I wasn't a woman. I didn't have royal blood. I was a nobody who had just requested the impossible. I wondered what my mother was thinking now that I had gone against what she wanted? I wondered what was going through her head.
"Are you saying you want to marry me?"
"But you...are ordinary. You were not born of royal blood. You are a...a... man."
"I am a man."
"Ok...I will do it," Taharqa stated, looking at me with this wondered look on his face as though he had searched for the answer and somehow come to a realization, "You will be the Great Royal Consort. My word is law. You will be my husband and I will be yours. "
There was a slight pause before the room erupted with a violent cry. The gossip had broken the line of even the Medjay. They too were talking and whispering amongst themselves. The soldiers hardly ever broke their line in such a manner.
People had become so confused and so bothered that no one noticed my mother coming out until she had crossed into the middle of the room. She stood there and for some the response was even bigger than Taharqa wanting to marry a man.
"Not so fast..." my mother stated.
For the first time I realized that my mother was something...different.