A Big Shiny Blue Marble Ch. 41byTaLtos6©
***Dakhete is a lot of things, depending on how one chooses to look at her. She lacks a piece of knowledge however. In this chapter, she meets a couple of rather singular individuals, thought at least they know what they are.
More importantly - and it doesn't get more than a hint here, both of them can see what Dakhete cannot, though right here, she's not quite ready to listen.
Book of the Djinn Part 4
They talked for a time, and somewhere in it, Dakhete realized suddenly that there could be no reprising what they'd had so long ago. They had changed, especially Nasira, who now seemed convinced that her own genitalia had been ruined during her ordeal, as though anyone could see the way that she'd been ruined, somehow. She kept saying that no one could ever want her, of course, and she'd said it just that way often enough to begin to annoy Dakhete, though she understood and felt a lot of sympathy for her old friend.
"Nasira," Dakhete said earnestly, "We sit together naked as we often were between us and it has been an age, but nothing has changed in my eyes. I can see all of your wonders and you can see my poor gifts. I see nothing which takes anything from your beauty in the slightest. All there is to be seen by anyone are the scars on your back and you know that they fade after all this time. There is nothing different about your sweet flower from how I remember it.
If we were at the same place between us, you would still the one that I would wish for, if I may say it – and I try to hide no intent in my honest words. You must believe me, if you would hear the words of no one else. You are beautiful. If you hide yourself away in your shame for what was done to you, do you never feel the want of any pleasure or love anymore? Has this been taken from you as well?"
"Everything was taken from me," Nasira replied, "The loss of my dignity was the least of it all. I have little feeling or hope of love anymore and when the want of pleasure overtakes me, I seek it in the only way that gives me release. I go back to my prison and walk into my cell. There are my own jailors. They chain me and I allow them to take me in the most savage way that they can, for this is all that pleases me anymore. They hurt me, it is true, but it is in the way that I crave to be hurt. It lasts for days until they cannot anymore. We all sleep then, them near me, touching me out of their need and I lie in my chains, my body tingling and aching for when they awake."
Dakhete was disturbed and upset only to hear it, but what bothered her the most perhaps, was the gleam of excitement in Nasira's eyes as she told of it.
"I outlast them, you see. When it is over, they crawl to me and beg for my forgiveness and I give it to them, letting them spend into me one after another as gently as they can. In the sweetness of that, I find my release, Dakhete, and nothing else."
Dakhete leaned back, careful to keep her mask of detachment on her face since there was nothing that she could say in the face of what she'd heard. She decided that she would always remain a friend to Nasira, but that there likely would never be anything more between them.
Eventually, Nasira took her large cats and Dakhete walked her to the gates and watched her ride off into the night. She walked up the slope to the palace slowly, wishing that she'd never agreed to help Nasira to leave Meroe in the first place. She shook her head in sadness. Since the shine had not left Nasira's eyes, she supposed that the jailors would be busy over the next few days.
She walked past the bathchamber and saw the young pair standing neck deep and looking at each other a little too happily with no words exchanged between them.
"Get out of the bath," Dakhete said, "get ready for bed. Separate bedrooms, Yasmin still has a few days to wait. Then I won't care. Go. Now!"
"What does it matter? Yasmin asked, "You are not my mother."
"No," Dakhete said quietly, "But I am your very sincere friend and I am your teacher. I need you sharp for the next few days at least. If you do not wish for me to teach you, Yasmin, then only say it. I admit that I am in a terrible mood, but I really mean this. I told you why as well. If you do not want the teaching, I can understand that, but if you do, then you both will have to live as though you were already dead until I tell you. I can promise that it will be soon and then you can play with your new love all that you like, as long as you are careful, but if you wish to know how to mix the fighting with your magic, then get out of there, kiss your boy softly once and go to bed alone."
They nodded and began to climb out. "Can I ask something?" Khyan said.
"Of course,"Dakhete replied.
"What happened with my mother?"
Dakhete looked over, "Nothing. We talked and she went home. We came through here for her to say goodbye to you, but you weren't listening. I would say that what happened is that a lot of hurt was done to her. After three thousand years, I have changed as well. We just changed in different directions."
Dakhete walked to her bedroom and lit an oil lamp there with a wave of her hand. She walked back and brought a jug of beer to her room. She sat on the bed and after two cups, Dakhete began to cry a little for herself and a lot for an old friend.
It took a while for it to pass. Dakhete was upset because she felt that Nasira had been damaged; not as she saw herself, but in her heart and her mind. What she'd learned today ought to allow her to begin to put her own ghosts away, at least she hoped so, but she felt terrible for poor Nasira. To have gone through what she had, ...
She looked up from where she sat on the bed and saw that Saddiq was sitting on the floor, facing away from her. She reached out and touched his ear, "Saddiq, I am sorry. I have forgotten you and did not mean to."
He turned his head around and Dakhete saw that he looked sad somehow. She was about to feel even worse over it, but she suddenly felt as though he understood.
"You were with me the whole time, weren't you?" she asked as she pulled his large head onto her thigh to rub it, "I have been foolish and rude. I am sorry. You walked both ways with me and never left me. Forgive me, I am upset."
"I know it," she heard in her mind and her eyes flew open wide, "I had no wish to watch your tears fall. Sorrow and sadness, I feel from you. A long sadness is a shadow on your heart which is not deserved. Our friend was a lover to you long ago. This road is blocked to you as you feel it. You may be right."
She looked down into the yellow eyes, as bright as her own, but much larger and with the vertical irises opened wide in the dim light. He lifted his head and brought it near to her face. The whiskers tickled a little, but he sniffed and licked her cheek once. When he turned his head and rubbed his face against hers, he moved her head a little.
"I smell the drink," she heard, "It is good?"
Dakhete nodded slowly, wondering if there was something in the beer to have caused this. She remembered Nasira's words, but ...
"I can try?"
She reached for the jug and filled her cup with the last of the beer and held it for him. He sniffed it and his large paw reached and wrapped itself around both the cup and her hand. She looked down and saw that he had a thumb. It was the same as any leopard's, a modified pad, but the thumb was articulate enough to grasp some things, she guessed. He lifted both the cup and her hand with it and his drinking was a mixture of her way and the way that she would have expected.
"My thanks," she heard, as he lowered it, "You do not seem to notice, but you are much like me. I see the cat with me here." He offered her the cup and though she wanted to decline, she didn't and he watched her drink from it. When she lowered the cup, he raised his head and finished the beer quickly.
"I feel so much from you," he thought to her, "different feelings and the way that you meet what comes to you. So like us. I do not like this sadness."
He looked up at her, "You are weary from a day of strong feelings. You should lie back and rest. I will stay and you will be safe to dream if you wish, or, ..." He stopped then, as though waiting to decide the nature of what he felt.
His eyes turned to look deeply into hers for a moment, "If you wish for pleasure, call to the male who serves you. If you cannot do it, I can make him as he was for you and you will know pleasure from him once more."
Dakhete shook her head, "No," she whispered, "That is not really your wish, is it, Saddiq?"
"It is not," she heard in her mind, "but it is what I can do for you."
She leaned forward and put her arms around the powerful neck and squeezed affectionately as she rubbed her own face against the top of his head, "A strange sort of friendship that you offer to me," she whispered.
"Perhaps," came the reply, "but – "
"I know, "she smiled against him, "it is what you can do, and it may be just what is needed."
She let him go then and got up, turning to get onto the bed. He remained where he was and only watched her go. She stretched out and when he didn't follow, she raised her head and smiled, patting the bed next to her, "Come then, Saddiq, and let us talk – or, let us try while I struggle with getting my thoughts to go to you in the same way that yours come to me."
In one motion, he was on the bed, walking up it and around her head to walk down the other side of her. She smiled, "What are you doing? Do you wish to show me how handsome you are? I already know," she said, as she reached up and trailed her fingers against him while he passed around her head.
When he walked toward the foot of the bed, already turning to go around again, she saw what he had and grinned. "My friend is not only a beauty."
She lifted her hand and he stopped and looked back with his eyes a little wide.
"He has toys which he somehow knows would be of interest to me because he seeks to tell me that we are alike." She pet him there very gently for a moment, "So come and lie down, handsome boy, and tell me what you wish for me to know. I was sad, but only a little more than I have carried for so long. At least I know what happened now. It passes from me once again."
Saddiq walked over her feet and came up her right side before he eased himself down beside her. Dakhete trailed the backs of her fingers over his lower chest and abdomen.
"Who are you, Saddiq?" she asked, "I lie in my bed with one so beautiful and deadly, and I know so little."
"You mention two traits which show much of us both," the words came to her mind, "for I am known by them and they have often been said of you."
He shifted a little so that she could lie with her head on the bed looking up as he looked down at her. Dakhete thought that, as a word, 'regal' did not even begin to approach what might describe him to her.
Her eyes widened , "You smile, Saddiq! You can smile to me."
He nodded a little, "Your thought came to me, and I thank you. But you asked of who I am. Very well, I will do my best to sound important.
I am the ninth prince of my elders, the third son of the third birthing and the only one of my elder's line who is marked as I am by my darkness. As such, I have gifts which are of little use to one who would rule. But then I never will, so it matters little. I am strong, but not the strongest of my brothers. I hide it with my wit and my way of bending things. Those are our words, as closely as I can say them. I believe that you call it magic.
My siblings fear me, for I can end their lives with a thought. I never would - not without a reason anyway, but fear is seldom a reasonable thing. Among my kind, I am known as the Black Prince, and I am loved by the lower ones and feared by the higher. The coloring happens, but never to royal ones. It is my place to break rules.
I could live an easy life, making cubs and doing little but growing fat. It is not my way. Since no one expects much from me, I do what I will. When I learned of the open pathway, I came here, feeling the chance to see the one that I that I have wanted to meet for so long. I choose to live with my goddess for my life, and accept what she and her road bring to me."
He lowered his head, and before Dakhete knew what was happening, he touched his lips to hers very softly.
Dakhete lay there with her mouth open for a moment. "Your god,...dess, ..."
He nodded and smiled, "You."
He looked away as he listened to the night sounds for a moment and then he looked down at her again, "You believe that I am mistaken, but I know that I am right. I told Nasira that the goddess whom I sought was very old to ease her mind and to stop her questions of me. I meant you, though you are young to us as am I. You call yourself Dakhete now. But you were Dakhete once and to us who watched and could not reach you, you were –"
The sound which he made was not anything which she could pronounce using the motions of his mouth and throat, but the sound of it in the rumbling tone that carried it caused her to open her eyes in astonishment. If a cat had to say Dakhete, then this was what it was. She recognized her name.
"In our legends, it is told that a goddess will come, one who carries deadly beauty, and that she will need one of us to help and serve her as her friend and companion. The one must be of high birth, the prophesy tells, a ninth prince – the third of the third, and he must be the black prince of truth, for he must possess abilities like unto hers. I have waited for a way to come to you for all of our lives."
"The Black Prince of Truth?" Dakhete asked, and he smiled, "It is closer to my proper name. Nasira misunderstood. But I like Saddiq, and I will answer to it.
You may believe what you will, Goddess, but I will not fail you, and I will throw my life away before I forsake you. I give myself to you," he said in her mind as he lowered his head so that his chin rested over her heart, "And I am yours always."
Dakhete reached for his head and she stroked him softly. What she'd heard was a little unsettling, but it intrigued her as well. "Saddiq, a legend or a prophesy carries something in it for the people to whom it applies, almost always. How does this legend benefit your kind?"
He lifted his head a little and they looked at each other from very close up for a moment. "The purpose of the legend is to give the people hope, like most legends. The foretelling helps them to look forward to the day when their kings are free from their destroyer. That one has now left them. The prophesy is seen to be fulfilled, and they celebrate the departure of the world ender. The low-born still wait and hope for the destruction."
"Which world ender?" Dakhete asked, "What destroyer did they fear?"
He sighed. It was not something which came to her mind. It was the sound which he actually made.
"Me. The high-born think that the appearance of a Black Prince would be the end of the world to them. It shows their selfishness. All that would end is their reign, and that is why the low-born have looked to me with hope. My mother was put to death because it was thought that she mated with another. My father could not cast me out for the poor would revolt, so I was shunned by my family. I care not. I have many friends among the poor. I have said that my place is to break rules. I will never rule there, but I may go back one day to break something, like the necks of my family.
Now you know, Goddess," he smiled, "Things are a little different here, I think. My abilities are a little lessened, but not much. I have found you and you seem to like me. If there were no others near who sleep this night, my happy purring would shake the house.
He rubbed his face against her jaw gently and Dakhete realized that she was beginning to like it from him. "I still do not see why you say that we are the same. I grow fond of you, Saddiq, I have to admit it, but –"
"I hear your thoughts again," he said in her mind, "You must learn to think what you wish to tell me or say it. You do both at once and it is hard for me to follow."
Dakhete chuckled, "Of course, Saddiq. I am a female. It is what we do. You are lucky that I do not say two things at once and think a third as well."
"Nevertheless," he said, "It is not my place to tell you, but I can see things which you cannot yet – some things which you have forgotten. You are not sure who you are. I can help a little at a time, and one day, you will know everything once more. I seek your friendship for me, and for another. I will walk beside you, protect you if you need it from me, and help you in anything. I wait for a time before I must return to my people to make things right for them. I am the destroyer whose birth was foretold, but I also look out for another, and so the time is not right to finish it. Once that is done, I can return to you."
He shifted a little and laid his paw onto her chest. Dakhete was surprised at how he kept the weight off her. "So you seek to be my companion?" she asked.
"Always," he said with certainty, "though I heard what was said. I will not make noise when you use the commode."
"Well I am glad of that," she smiled up at him as she reached to toy with his ear a little.
"You like me, and it makes me happy to know it," he smiled, "I have never been richer than I am now."
"I can explain it to myself," she said, "at least a little. Looking at you, regal one, it is easy to see that you must have been much wanted by the females where you are from."
"I have had my moments," he admitted, "If you tell me that you accept me as yours, I will tell you a very quiet thing – a secret which no one knows but me. It is another of my ... abilities, it might be said."
Dakhete reached for his face with a soft and quiet laugh. She liked what she saw as she looked up and she caressed his cheeks with her thumbs and stroked the backs of his ears with her fingers. "This is the friend that I have needed," she smiled, "one who knows how to delight me with something which tantalizes me at the same time. In this, you are quite correct in how you say that we are alike.
A secret, you say to me. I hold a walking secret in my hands, Saddiq, – a prince among secrets, who now dangles a quiet thing for no one to know before me as though I was the kitten, desperate to play.
You say that you are to be a friend and companion to me always and would protect me. It is a little strange to hear, Saddiq. I am one who fears nothing. It is my nature."
"It is mine as well," she heard in her head, "but I will always seek to be sure that you are safe. It is my nature as what I am, it is the prophesy fulfilled, it is what a male of my kind does."
Dakhete smiled in a slightly teasing way, "For his female? Is this the secret?"
"It might be so," he said as he looked away again and listened to the night, "or it may not be so at all. You will have to find out. And you will never know if you tell me no and send me away."
Dakhete gasped, realizing the full truth of Nasira's words. The thought of not having him near her was a shock now. She pulled his head down to her and hugged his neck. "I don't think that I would wish to be parted from you – even now," she smiled in his ear, "You make me feel fortunate to have you wish for my friendship."
She smiled up at him, "I accept you, Saddiq, Ninth Prince, the third of the third. I have walked alone all of my life. Stay by my side and let's walk together and laugh a little as we go."
He drew his head back, "Goddess, this is no jest. I wish to give myself to y-"
He stopped and groaned as she kissed him. When she broke the kiss, she whispered, "That was no jest either, Saddiq. Now you know, and we both share a secret. The Kandake drinks beer with the Ninth Prince and she finds that she likes to kiss him as well," she whispered very softly as she looked into his eyes.