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"You can sit..."
He spoke...he spoke directly to me. My stomach clutched up. The king had told me to sit. I couldn't believe he directed it towards me. It wasn't for anyone else but me.
I took my seat almost immediately. His lips were so sexy when they moved. His eyes glimmered at me. He had given me an order but had done it in such a kind way. My entire chest was frozen up. I never remember feeling this way. It's hard to know the reaction love can have on you until you are in love.
I hadn't even noticed that I was directly between Kakra and Husain. They both looked at me with strange looked as though there was something wrong with me. Hell maybe there was something wrong with me.
"Achebe, your students are very peculiar," Widow stated.
I saw her walk freely across the room. We weren't Achebe's students. I didn't correct her however. I doubted anyone had the balls to speak out of turn in a room like this. Even Kakra seemed frozen in his place. I bet he learned his lesson from the last time he spoke out of turn and that was just with a general. This was with the ruler of the entire nation.
"They are for your amusement, Vizier..."
"Well I'd have them do just that..." the Widow offered us.
I hadn't noticed the only one on the stage besides the King and the general was a red haired woman. She had striking features. I had seen wigs that had made red that were a fashion statement but had never saw a woman with actual red hair that was not a wig.
At that moment music had started playing a few dancers had come out. The dancers were all male and they were all nude. Their penises were flinging around in the air and I could tell some of my companions from the scribe house were uncomfortable. I looked over at the King. I could slightly make out that he found this somewhat interesting. He wasn't clapping or cheering or anything but he had a smile on his face. It was the faintest smile I'd seen from him but it definitely was a smile. His eyes were prancing around even though his body remained perfectly still like some sort of statue in his chair.
"You look confused," Kakra whispered to me.
By now the music was so loud that no one could hear us speaking. I turned to him and saw that he wasn't paying attention to the boys at all. He was paying attention to me actually.
"I just didn't expect this."
Kakra leaned over his lips almost touching my ears and whispered, "It's his preference. The king keeps strange people around him. They are shady characdters. You see that woman that escorted us in with the hood over her face. Her name is Widow..."
I looked over at the Widow now. She was a dark and strange character indeed. She seemed like a character snatched out of a child's nightmare or something. The hooded figure just sat up on the stage and it was unclear who she was looking at in her cloaked exterior. It was unclear where her mind really was. She just seemed lost.
"She frightens me," I stated.
"She frightens the whole country," Kakra replied, "Viziers are usually raised from birth. She was a medicine woman from the far away country of Hattusa that the king met. He put a MEDICINE woman over the entire country."
"Why does she hide her face?"
"No one knows. Some say she is the most beautiful woman in the world underneath there. Some say she's a monster..."
He was serious when he spoke. It was such a mystery that no one would know how this woman looked like. I wondered now even if the king knew. Had she ever revealed herself to him and if not how could he come to trust someone who wouldn't even show you their full face. All I saw now was a set up lips underneath her veil. She was such a strange woman.
"Whose the other people up there?"
the red haired woman is named Boxy or at least that is what she goes by.
She is the king's personal bodyguard.
She's as strong as many men and people find
it quite strange. Some say she was a
religious heretic who fled her country and went into exile.
She took a vow of silence not to speak.
Somehow the king got her alliance though and recruited her as his personal
The red haired woman stared just out. She was strange as well and shady looking but she definitely didn't strike fear like Widow did. I wondered now why the king would have a woman for his personal bodyguard. How could a woman be stronger than several men. I looked at her face and her arms. Neither of them signaled strength.
you disgusted?" Kakra asked, "I like you Jabari, I feel like you think just like me.
I see how you have your passion for
poetry. Look at this boy.
He has passion for boys.
How can you run a country
if your only love is for lust?"
I didn't know what Kakra meant when he said I was just like him but I knew what he meant by lust. I could feel my lust as I turned around to see the King.
I could look past all of flaws at this point. I looked past all of the shady characters that he kept by him. I looked past all of that and I could just see him for his most beautiful self.
The dancing boys went away and the King seemed unsatisfied. At that point Siren Boos looked to us.
"Aren't your boys going to debate Achebe?" Siren Boos stated, "We need some entertainment."
looked around the tables, "Go ahead boys..."
Instead there was just silence. I looked over at Kakra who had been the one who started the debate last time. He was just quiet all of a sudden. I didn't quite get it. It was such an awkward moment as the royals looked down on us waiting for us to entertain them. A part of me figured it would be something like this. Why else would we be at a dinner with such important people unless they wanted to simply laugh at us?
The Widow was the one to break the silence, "They refuse...is this all the entertainment for the night. Should we bring back out the dancers..."
Siren Boos shook his head looking a little annoyed, "No I saw it myself. They argued back and forth amongst one another. It was very amusing."
The Widow spoke again, "General, if they refuse than they refuse. Let's move on."
could see the General wasn't too pleased with this idea.
I wondered now if the Widow's position
trumped the General's position. I wasn't
completely sure how everything worked out.
From all I knew the King was the figurehead but the Vizier made most of
the municipal decisions. That made Widow
second in charge but did municipal decisions mean she also had reign of the
I wanted to ask Kakra but he was under some sort of pressure now. He was sitting silent looking at the floor. I could tell it was easy to critique a figure behind his back but in person things got much more difficult. He had the king sitting right there looking down on him. The young king had to be younger than I was but he still seemed so much more mature.
"I'm telling you it was entertaining," the General continued, "ACHEBE why are your boys all of a sudden speechless."
"Boys ,DO SOMETHING!" Achebe stated.
He was sweating. I could tell he was under pressure. I could imagine. It felt like the whole kingdom as weighing on our shoulders at this point. Several of the boys were looking around to see if Husain or Kakra would speak up like they did last time. Both boys just sat in silence...nervous and flushed a bright red color.
"Enough bring out some tea," Widow stated.
The king spoke and it seemed like the entire world stopped. His lips were so damn perfect. What did they feel like I wondered? He had a heavy looking headdress on but he moved his head with grace as he turned to Siren Boos who was still posted next to him.
"General, what were these boys saying that amused you so much?"
General seemed more than happy that the King had overrode the Vizier and spoken
up, "There are those among them sir that doubt you."
"Doubt you sir."
"Oh how interesting," the king stated and smiled, "I'd be happy to hear from whoever doubts me."
"I can point the boy out," Achebe replied to the king.
The king moved his head again this time away from Siren Boos and towards Achebe, "Who is this fat man?"
One advisor who I had not noticed be answered the questioned rather quickly, "His name is Achebe, great pharaoh. He's been lead the library for years now..."
The king raised his hand and almost immediately the man who was announcing Achebe stopped talking. I almost wanted to laugh when I saw Achebe swell up in embarrassment. Menice couldn't even have enough interest in him to know who Achebe is. It put things into perspective here. To us Achebe was the head honcho...but to the king he wasn't even worth mention.
The king shook his head, "If the person doesn't who has something to say about me wants to speak then he can. You have my attention now. If not...no one will reveal you to me. You have an open forum..."
Complete silent. I looked at Husain. He was angry. He was angry because Kakra was just sitting there. I could almost read Husain's face. He was staring right at Kakra. He wasn't trying to hide it. It looked like it was taking everything in him not to jump out of his seat.
Kakra just sat though silently, completely ignoring the question as though it wasn't even asked.
"This is really boring..." the Widow said almost as though she was speaking for the King, "Weren't there drinks here or something...anything..."
Her tone said it all. She was bored. I looked over at Husain. I could by the look on a lot of the boys faces that they were disappointed, but Husain's just beat the cake. This was probably the only chance in a lifetime that we would get to be in front of the Pharaoh. This was our one chance to impress him. Yet all of us were frightened.
"You seem worried," Kakra leaned in close to me.
"Aren't you?" I whispered back, "We were brought here for a reason."
"We definitely were..."
"You'll see very soon."
The complexity of his tone made me dig deep into a meaning. At that moment the boys from the house of Safflowers started to bring drinks out. The boys lined up all in front of the king and began to hand out tea to the guests. I knew the tea had to have some sort of tonic in it by how slow everyone was drinking it. When the tea was brought to me I couldn't see anything but my reflection in the dark water.
I looked over at Kakra...no...was it now...
I remembered the things that I had heard.
Yes... I knew now why Kakra was so quiet the whole night. That secret meeting that he attended was about tonight and by the look of intensity on his face I could tell now was the moment. His eyes darted across the room to a young boy. The young boy had a golden goblet in his hand. It was bigger than the others and by the grandeur of the cup I knew who it was for.
The cup going towards the king. The dark king sitting there opened his arms accepted the drink into his arms. He smiled. He may have even thanked this servant...this deceitful boy.
It seemed at the moment everything flashed before me.
Had they laced it with poison? Is this what they could have done? I looked over at the Widow. No one noticed. No one was even suspecting what was happening next. What about the General?
Wouldn't anyone save that boy sitting there? Didn't anyone see?
I hadn't noticed it was my voice until I had spoken. I had even gotten to my feet. Husain was looking at me first and then the rest of the scribes but soon I had managed to gain everyone's attention with my outburst.
The king was looking at me and I was looking at him. For a moment all that mattered me ...him...and this cup in his hand. That's all that seemed to matter. It ran across my mind to just tell him what I suspected but how would I know who to blame? How would I know if it was really poisoned? How would I have known the king wouldn't blame me.
"Someone escort this boy out," the Widow stated in a carefree manner almost like you would slap off an annoying insect.
The king shook his head though, "Wait...what do you have to say young man?"
He called me young man but he was younger than me. I loved it actually that he was actually addressing me. The king had addressed me and I was just standing there looking deep for the words.
"Before you drink...I want to represent the Royal library in entertaining you."
The words were just flowing out of my mouth. Anything didn't matter now. My body had a mission and I was going to do it. There was no way I'd like Menice put his mouth on that goblet. There was no way I was going to risk it.
I could see Kakra pulling on my pants, "Stop this madness."
The fact that he was even doing this now showed that there may have been something going on. It strengthened my resolve to keep going. I stepped away from Kakra making sure I was out his distance to be pulled away. I had to make sure the King didn't drink this tea.
"How do you plan on doing that?"
All the eyes were on me.
"The power of the word," I stated.
"Yes the word," I replied to him licking my lips as I looked at him. I couldn't help it. Every part of my body wanted him. How could he not see that? He was blind though. He was blind to the way I was trying to fix every muscle in my face so that I could a little more attractive. I was trying to seem confident even though I wasn't. Did he notice? Did he like my smile?
"Yes...a poem..." I replied.
Then the strangest thing happened. He put down the tea and a smile spread across his lips. He actually leaned out of his seat the slightest bit and looked at me in a way that made my entire world stop. Damn...why do you have to look at me like that? Why do you have to take my breath away so easily.
"What is it about?"
There could have been other people that said things at that time. However it seemed like when I spoke to him I didn't hear anything. I didn't hear Achebe's hard breathing or hear Kakra and the other students. I didn't hear the General boast in his loud powerful voice. I didn't hear the Widow commanding everything around her as though she was some sort of goddess. All I heard was the king and it seemed that was all that mattered here.
"Fury, fury burning bright fill all my nights with heat...
Fury fill my day with a heat so terrifying it paralyzes me.
It causes me not to move ,or think or breath or be. I want to feel a hideous heat
I want to be alive again. I want to know how it feels like to cry in glory
I want to BECOME the emotion attached when someone breaks things...
Put me in the habit of breaking things...
Fill me with heat. Let me want a kiss so bad that lips become weapons
And the war is love. And war is death. I want to yearn for suicide
I want to sacrifice it all. I would give my body for love. I want to be so alive that I drip passion.
I want to piss feelings
I want everything you do to upset me because you make me sensitive
I want to forget what I was doing every moment to think about you.
I want your Fury. I want to say every day is the best day of my life
And I want to say it everyday...
I want to be an emotional mess because isn't that what living is about?
Fury, fury burning bright...fill all these nights with heat
Ravage me. Yes you... fill me with you heat
And warm my days...my icy cold days with ... heat..."
Just at that moment. The king grabbed his cup and right when I thought he was going to actually put it up to his mouth. He launched it all the way across the room and it fell into a statue breaking it on the floor.
Had I offended him? It didn't matter. The drink was spilled. The poison was on the floor. It was making a puddle. Good...there was no threat no. He was fine. He was still beautiful ... and still alive...
"Put me in the habit of breaking things!" he yelled at the top of his lungs, "I loved it!"
The glass hit the floor.
I stood there completely lost in that moment. I wondered if I had done a great favor to this young man. I wondered if without even knowing I could have possibly even saved his life. The thought crossed my mind as I looked up at him and saw his interested eyes. He was entertained. It made no difference what was in that glass to him. Was I his savior?
I turned my head and looked back towards the crowds of people who were smiling with amusement.
The other seemingly important people didn't find it as amusing as the king. They just nodded in a slight understanding and then raised their noses almost reminding me how low of a status I had compared to the rest of them.
The General seemed indifferent, "Should I send them away now King, since they've served their purpose and entertained."
Menice shook his head, "I'll choose them...all of them, especially that one. The one who recited the poem. Have them report to me tonight. I need them..."
The distinct look on his face showed that he was serious and all of us looked at one another none knowing what to expect. It wasn't long before Menice had disappeared to his chambers and at that same time we all stood around wondering what this meant. What could the king possibly need with 9 youth at the night. No one knew for certain and no one had it in them to just ask the king what he wanted. It wasn't in our judgment to question the Pharaoh...for to the Nubians he was god. To me...he was just a boy...amused by me.
"Prepare the boys," Widow stated.
Widow issued orders to the boys of the Safflowers. All the other guests had been excused when the king left to his chambers in the House of Safflowers. The only one of great importance that remained was the Widow.
Achebe didn't seem relatively worried with what the king wanted from us. He walked up to the Vizier in such a low stance that I thought he was about to start crawling. Out his mouth he begged the words, "What about me Vizier?"
"What about you?" she stated.
There was a short quaint silence. I could see Achebe's unsatisfied glance but he didn't say anything. He seemed to know better. It was amazing to see someone who could make him hold his tongue. He quickly bowed down and left out of the room without saying another words. He just left us there to ourselves.
The Vizier left the room at that moment, leaving behind her perfume as the only reminder she was ever there. She moved like a shadow. It scared me a little bit but I had other thoughts on my head. The other boys were confused as well. I could see the looks in their eyes. Some had a sense of amazement while others were just...
The twins Baba and Bubu, servants to the House of Safflowers approached us with the other attractive servants of the house.
"Change into these," Baba stated throwing down clothes to us. "What he wants with you all when he has us for the choosing I have no idea."
I could tell he was jealous. As I wraps, I noticed how short they were. There were barely anything there at all. Was this the apparel that someone had to wear before you had audience with the king? As rude as he was thought he was right. There were some attractive ones among the group. Kakra had his tall dark features and Husain had his innocent boyish charms to him but there were also some strange looking ones as well. The majority of my colleagues from Fukayna's house weren't at all sexual figures. Is that what he wanted from us? Sex?
My heart beat faster than ever. I had dreamed of him. He couldn't leave my mind most nights. Isn't this what I wanted as well? Then why was I so nervous? Why was every part of me trembling in fear.
"You have no idea what you've done," Kakra stated.
He had already changed. By looking at him I knew how short the kilt was. It barely covered his crotch area. I could see his pubic hairs sticking out from the bottom. I turned my head away from him as he walked over to me.
"I know more than you think."
"Do you really?"
He looked at me suspiciously for a minute. I wondered if he was going to go deeper into his questioning and when he stepped forward I thought he was. Then all of a sudden he backed down and walked away to the twins to continue being prepped. I realized it was because Husain was approaching. Husain was completely naked and not too ashamed of it.
"What was that about?" he asked.
"I'm not sure. Either way this isn't the time to be worrying about one of Kakra's weird moments," I continued turning my full attention to Husain.
"You're right...you think I'll please him."
He had asked me the question with a straight face. At first I wasn't sure what he meant exactly by it but by the way he presented his body I figured he had the same presumption that I did. He thought Menice wanted sex from us. His body was boyish really not as mature. He didn't have Kakra's tall height and dark features. He didn't have my athletic tone. He wasn't unattractive though. He looked like a boy...so innocent.
I shrugged my shoulders, "We aren't even sure what he likes."
"Everyone seems on edge. I hope we can still be able to perform. Some of the boys...you know I don't think they've even done it before?"
"Sex... have you?"
He paused for a second. I almost wanted to laugh. He was answering the question with his silence.
"With women, yes.
Never with a boy..."
"I think he probably wants you. I'd assume he does. I mean you are the most attractive one out of all of us," Husain stated, "I mean there's Kakra too but he's an asshole. You're a nice guy. Maybe you'll represent us. If you wear him out, the rest of us won't have to be embarrassed..."
"You have this all planned out don't you?" I asked laughing a little.
He laughed as well. It was a nervous laugh. I didn't blame him. I acted like I was so calm and collected but deep inside I was really screaming. I knew I was attractive and got a lot of compliments on my looks but I also knew that this was a king. How could I satisfy a king?