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“Axum must not be feeling well,” Marcus stated, “And Torrance is meeting with your Vizier to discuss building us new ships.”
I was joined at a chariot race by Marcus and Darius. Even though all four brothers were supposedly equal these two definitely seemed like they were more in charge than the other ones. I felt like the Captain Torrance didn't like me and I hadn't seen Captain Axum since that I discovered his hard dick in my baths. It was all for the best though. They were strongest when it was all four of them together.
“I'm glad you are using our resources to your benefit.”
ships. They would be getting stronger...
Darius smiled, “I'm happy that you are being compliant. We are greatful for your hospitality. Soon we will have enough power to conquer your enemies for you.”
He was charmer. Maybe perhaps the most dangerous one of all of them.
I smiled back at Darius, “It's quite necessary to do so. Baba Please bring more wine for my new generals.”
Baba disappeared for awhile. The coliseum was a new one.
“This coliseum reminds me of the one from Rome.”
“They were built by the same architects. The Romans were quite generous as you see they were at war with the Egyptians. Once we conquered the Egyptians there was a time of peace.”
Until your people came.
moved closer, “I think it's actually a little better to be
honest. There are much more...beautiful sights here.”
He was looking at me when he said that. Here I thought I was the one who was going to be doing the seducing. Was Darius flirting with me?
It seemed like I wasn't the only one that noticed either.
turned to me, “Aren't you married King Menice? They tell me
your wife is very beautiful and with child.”
“Right now she resides in her mansion in Thebes. She is ruling over the Egyptians in my name. She is pregnant. Not with my child though. You see it was a political marriage. The Queen Nyla is actually my sister. She became pregnant with my lover. I plan on raising the child as my heir.”
“Your lover?” Darius stated.
I smiled at the way him and Darius were all of a sudden looking at me with these strange looks. My conquerors were surprised.
“He was a man named Jabari. He's dead now.”
“It's sad to hear,” Darius stated.
He didn't look to sad. I wondered if that was some sort of smile I saw form at the side of his mouth in that moment. Marcus seemed just as surprised but it didn't seem like it was in a good way. This Marcus was a brute looking man. The hardest of Nubian men didn't look so hardened as him.
Nubians are strange people. For your ruler to openly have a man for a
lover. That is very much against our laws.”
“In Nubia my word is law,” I stated.
“It must be nice,” I heard Darius say. He had said in a low almost hushed tone.
Marcus turned to the chariot race. He wasn't amused. He seemed a little offended if anything. He was very solemn and I noticed Darius wasn't speaking much either after that as well. Telling them that I had a male lover had made them feel very uncomfortable I assumed. It was definitely something that wasn't heard of to them. I allowed it enter their minds though. I wanted it to make sense. It was halfway through the race when a servant came back.
She was right on time.
Menice...it looks like there is chaos at the ports. Several ships
have been burned.”
“Ships?” Marcus stated, “Our ships?”
faked a sense of urgency, “It may be. The people of Nubia are a
resilient people. Please have General Babusa lead Marcus to the
ships. We have to make sure our new generals entire fleet doesn't
burn to the ground.”
The look on Marcus's face was priceless. I could tell he was the type to get up in arms about it. The fact that my own servant had come to report it was just for show. I had ordered the burning of those ships myself. For every ship they used Nubian money to create I'd have one of their own burned.
Marcus ran out with my escort and Darius got up as well.
“I should go,” Darius stated.
“No...I'm...afraid...” I stated.
I didn't know if this would work on him but for some reason it did. He was an idiot. Just below me was a swarm of Medjay soldiers and right over my shoulder was Boxy who was more lethal than ten men. What did I have to fear. Still men had a thing about themselves. They liked to feel wanted. They loved feeling important. This man Darius was no different.
He sat back down. I could tell he really wanted to go see what had happened to the ships in the harbor. I wanted to be alone with him though.
“Tell me about you Darius?” I asked looking over at him.
He smiled, “You want to know about me?”
I had to admit he was handsome. I had an immediate attraction to him that was very different from what I felt before. He was physically attractive. His long black hair made him look exotic. He was like some sort of jewel or something.
He shook his head, “I'm a soldier. There is not much to me besides that. We are very simple people. We travel from place to place taking what we want. We've gotten very good at it.”
“What is you want?”
want gold. We want to have enough wealth to return home and rebuild
“I didn't ask about you all. I asked specifically about you,” I stated shaking my head, “It's like all of you act like a community. Isn't there any selfish desire that you want for yourself. Something that you know the rest of them wouldn't agree on.”
“That's a tricky question?”
“We've survived this long thinking about the whole. I haven't really thought about anything else but the whole. I'd had to protect my brothers this long. Marcus makes the plans and I go along with them to make sure they run smoothly.”
Marcus was the decision maker.
By his cold demeanor though he would have been a hard one to crack.
I smiled, “So everything you do is for them.”
“Just about,” Darius stated laughing, “Is that so weird to you?”
I nodded, “Yes.”
“You ask a lot of questions. How about I ask you one?”
By this time it was like the race wasn't even going on any longer. The cheers from the crowd on the lower levels didnt' seem to concern him. He had turned his whole body to me.
“What is it that you want?” he asked me.
You are the ruler of the richest nation possibly in the world and you
want love?” Darius asked shaking his head, “You are such
a strange person.”
“Have you never thought about love?”
gone so long without it,” Darius replied, “I guess I've
gotten used to loving war. That's the only thing that exists to me.
You sound like my brother Axum...always dreaming about some
fairytale. Those things aren't real to me.”
I remembered how nervous Axum was when he came to see me last night. Darius was no where near that nervous. He was talking to me as if I was his equal.
smiled at him, “Maybe Axum is the smartest one out of all of
“He talks about you often,” Darius stated, “We have been looking at Nubia for a while. We studied your city, your language and your history. It's almost like an obsession. Him and Torrance are very close. I hear them talking about you. It's no different than most of the men on the ship.”
“Is it good or bad talk?”
“Both. You seem to hypnotize people,” Darius replied and his smile grew wider, “What is it king of Nubia that people find so intriguing?”
He was close to me.
His eyes stared into mine.
He was very different from Axum. I didn't intimidate him.
We were very close now. I could lean into him.
“Do you really want to know?”
I pulled back.
I got up and looked over the balcony. The sun was so hot in the sky. The race was crowded. All of Meroe had come out for the event. I had met the famous charioteers myself before the race and wished them luck. They were putting on quite a show now. Their horses were the fastest in the land.
I parted my lips speaking before I even thought about it. “There is nothing that I won't do to win. Nothing.”
crossed his arms, “That is something that you and I have in
“I doubt it.”
Darius stated, “You have no ideas the lengths that I took to
conquer you. How far I went to conquer Nubia. It's not every day a
group of mercenaries is able to conquer the king of Nubia. You have
no idea how far I've gone and how far I am willing to go.”
“You think you've conquered me?”
know I have.”
I hadn't felt him behind me. Darius was so different from Axum. Where as Axum was afraid to show his erect dick, Darius was now pressing it on the back of me. He wanted me to notice it. He had his face against the side of my cheek. It was already hot but for some reason I felt like I was burning with him so close to me. I apologize Jabari but this man was SEXY. Darius knew he was. I had meant to seduce him but it was him seducing me here. I felt him wrap his hands around me.
“Is this too in the best interest of your people?” I asked Darius.
“No...this is completely selfish,” he stated.
I could feel his hard dick against the back of my leg. It was rising still. It stuck me. Then there was his hand rubbing against the side of my arm.
I stopped him moving away a little bit. This man was DANGEROUS.
don't want to break your laws.”
“Can we have some privacy?” he asked.
He turned to the other people on the balcony. It was Boxemnas, a few servants and a few Medjay guards. He nodded at them.
Boxy shook her head, “That's not a good idea king.”
It was rare that Boxy spoke. I knew that she was right. I already didn't trust this man but I needed him to feel comfortable around me. Boxy nodded to the other Medjay and they left the balcony. The servants followed suit putting down their trays and leaving behind her.
It was only me and Darius...the most dangerous man in Meroe on this balcony now.
“I'm not a fool like Marcus,” he stated to me, “I know you are up to something king.”
“Yes. You are,” he stated smiling, “Like I said I went to a lot to conquer you. A lot of that was gathering valuable information. Your wife is in control of a large group of people. It was I who battled your top general on shores of the Nile. When he ran I began putting two and two together.”
This man was too dangerous.
I smiled shaking my head, “What is your point. He was a coward.”
“No. He fought too bravely to be a coward. He went to get reinforcements from your sister-wife. Didn't he?
I just sat there and stared.
“You think you have me all figured out huh?”
“Don't worry,” Darius stated, “ I didn't share that information with my brothers. You have informants in your camp. I'm not sure but they are employed by my brother Torrance. He is a huge threat to you. He doesn't trust you. I had to play the role of the loyalist. However I'd like you to ask your question again.”
question that burns you up. The one that you want the answer to the
My eyes squinted at him, “What do you, Darius, want?”
“I want everything.”
I didn't share the information that Darius had given me with anyone. I couldn't think of who could be a spy for Torrance. Besides I was only sure of one thing in all of what he was saying. Darius was ambitious. I wondered just how ambitious that was but it didn't matter.
He had escorted me back to the palace and as my litter gathered over the throne room I saw that there was some sort of a commotion going on at the steps of the palace.
I looked over at Darius.
We made it to the steps of the palace. Right before us I could see there was a scruffle going on. I turned to see General Babusa. He was protecting someone. I looked over to see another man behind Babusa. He was attacking someone from Torrance though.
The two were fighting with swords. I watched as Torrance attempted to slash at Babusa. Off to the side was Axum. The sea people were in numbers here. It was the first time I saw just how many of them were occupying my city. They had Babusa surrounded. Babusa was holding his own however. He didn't look sick at all but as my litter approached I could see him staring over to me. It was Darius beside me that got involved relatively quickly breaking up the fight.
“What's going on here?”
Torrance had stopped, “The man the general is protecting set fire to two of our ships.”
I looked over at the pyro behind Babusa. I recognized him. He was one of Babusa's men. I didn't understand how he was able to get caught.
turned to me, “Is this one of your men.”
“No,” I lied, “However he is a Nubian. Who saw this man set the fires?”
“He was running away from the scene,” Axum stated.
“As a Nubian he is under my protection. He was probably running because of the fact there was a fire.”
Torrance looked over at me, “Liar.”
I wasn't too surprised when Darius challenged his brother.
“Do you have any proof?”
“Darius why would we need proof! This is OUR city now. He should be punished. JUDGEMENT.”
“The king is still alive, unless you were unaware,” Darius stated, “Perhaps you missed the litter and the colorful wardrobe. Torrance you will retire and leave this matter to the Nubians.”
The Sea People watched intensely. I could tell there was some sort of struggle of power here. Maybe I didn't need to work so hard after all to create tension between them. From the look of things, everything was intense enough.
“What makes you think you can tell me what to do?” he asked.
“Fine. We vote. Axum is right there,” Darius stated, “Clearly I vote to leave this matter and alone and you vote to cause a scene. Axum...what do you decide.”
For some reason there was silence.
I felt so disrespected at this moment. These people were in MY city. They were in MY city on top of my steps and they were voting! If this was another time I'd have them all killed. How dare they challenge my decision in such a way. They were acting as though I wasn't even there right in front of them. I was king of Nubia!
Axum all of a sudden seemed to notice me though. He stared intently at me.
this is stupid and it's over brother.”
Torrance looked at me. He spat on the floor, threw his sword in front of me and continued into the palace.
I looked over at Babusa, “Get him out of here.”
I got off of my litter and followed Axum. I grabbed him and watched as he swung around.
“Thank you,” I told him.
Axum looked at me, “I did it because it was right.”
I wanted to thank you. I also wanted to apologize for what happened
before. I was out of place.”
“Maybe I overreacted as well,” he stated, “I've always been able to control myself. I guess that was something that I couldn't control and it embarrassed me. I'd never been used to getting embarrassed before. You have a way of...”
“Axum!” a voice called.
hadn't noticed that Axum was closer to me now then when we first
started talking. His hand was touching my arm. His eyes were looking
at mine. I hadn't noticed that until I heard the voice calling him.
I turned to see Darius calling him. Darius was watching us intently from far off. Had he noticed Axum's hand touching my arm.
“What were you saying?” I asked him.
He shook his head, “Nevermind.”
Why was my heart beating a little bit. I watched as he walked away at that moment. I was so confused on why my heart was beating in the way that it did.
I spent the rest of the day doing trials. It was a tedious matter. Truth was I didn't really do anything consisting of the actual trials. People brought their complaints before the Vizier and she decided on them. I was just there to witness them. It was a silly tradition that offered a great waste of time. I couldn't get the brothers out of my head though. I remembered how Torrance had looked at Darius when Darius took my side. When Axum agreed with Darius, Torrance completely lost it. The boy had a hot temper and in many ways reminded me of myself at a point in my life. I still had a lot of that hot-tempered demeanor but I had to get rid of it. It had left me too emotional. If I was right about Torrance than I could definitiely use him against the others. He was a hot head and full of pride.
The rains had late that night. They wouldn't stop for several days. I was sure of it. The river would inundate the fields. This was becoming a necessary part of life. I was dressed in my flowing white linen at that point and was looking down at the gardens at Axum.
This part of my apartments had no walls. The pillars kept the ceiling high above us but I could lean agaisnt the kingdom and see all of Meroe until the river. It was Axum that kept my interest though above all of them. There was something about this boy. There was something about the silent way that he looked at me and agreed with me earlier. Why couldn't I get him out of my mind?
Whereas with Darius I knew for sure we were playing some sort of game it seemed different with Axum. That silent loner was so mysterious. I watched him in the garden. I'm sure he didn't see me. My apartments were far above. He walked around not doing anything.
“You miss the company?”
I knew who it was without turning around. It was Widow. I barely heard when she came in or out. She had that way about her. She had requested an audience with me earlier but I had denied her. I guess she took it on herself to enter my chambers anyway. I didn't mind.
“Yes of Jabari,” I stated.
any man,” she stated, “Jabari and you had become quite
distant before his death.”
“He didn't want to impregnate Nyla. He felt like I forced him. Things were never the same.”
“That boy down there favors Jabari no?”
I laughed to myself.
She had spotted Axum in the garden. He looked different without his armor. He was handsome and very serious just like Jabari was but they didn't look alike at all. Still there was something about the him that kept me staring even with Widow discovering it.
Why the hell was I just looking at him like this?
I told her, “He is my enemy. I'm just looking for a way to
“As you should,” she stated, “Have you found a way.”
“I'm not sure yet.”
“Nubia is depending on you,” she replied to me, “You understand? All of Nubia is depending on the fact htat you will remain strong in their time of need. I've seen you look at Jabari the same way when you first met him. Your eyes would get lost in his image.”
I turned to Widow.
My eyes were shaking.
“What exactly are you saying?”
“I'm saying don't fall in love with him.”
She was wise. She was too wise.
I walked away from the pedestal and back towards the bed. The moon was shining high in the sky. To the right was a statue of Anubis. The jackal head seemed to be teasing me. It reminded me of Jabari as well. I was so weak. I needed to find a way to surpress these feelings.
“When it comes down to it, I will do my duty,” I stated, “I will have him killed.
“You have no choice.”
for the advice,” I sneered, “Are you done yet? I'd very
much so like to go to bed.”
“In the morning we have a meeting with them. They are coming to discuss some issues with financing their new military...”
She continued to talk but at some point I tuned her out. I undressed for bed. Matters of state seemed to weigh so heavily on me. Every day I could feel the heaviness of each of my decisions. Everyday it was the most important decision that I had to made.
That night I laid in my bed. The sheer canopy closed me in to protect me from insects but somehow the cool breeze of the river Nile managed to blow in. It covered me slowly tickling at my neck. It drew me into a closed sleep and I dreamed of Jabari.
I dreamed of Jabari every moment since he'd died but for some reason as I dreamed of him he began to transform. He began to transform in Axum. His dark skin lightened up again and his determined eyes became Axum's serious eyes. At that moment Axum reached for me. He grabbed me over my throat and I could feel myself suffocating. I felt myself kicking.
Then my eyes opened and I realized I wasn't dreaming.
I was being suffocated. I couldn't breathe!
Someone had a pillow over my head and was trying to kill me...