The true desire for vengeance is a cold and spine chilling affair. It is a far cry from the passionate and hot idea of vengeance that much of the world entertains. Princess Mediha's desire was more the latter. It wasn't the calculated vengeance of someone who has planned for years to have deliver cold comeuppance. It was rather a royal hothead making plans while she was driven by her naturally passionate nature.
Such hotheaded vengeance can be turned around, if the right person is there to do it. Unfortunately the right person wasn't there to do it just then. Tuya was dragged into the princess' chambers. Her caramel face was fired up with fury. She had no idea what the princess' idea was, but she had been dragged here when she was attending to the most private business a human being can conduct. Needless to say she was outraged, but she was also smart enough to know that she was in trouble and that the princess was the one with the power right then and there.
What was clear to the astute observer was that Tuya was genuinely nonplussed. She had no idea why she had been dragged to the palace by the princess' guards. Her first impulse had been to fight, being a warrior herself. However one look at Habiba, and at the size of the contingent that came to get her, told her that she may lose her life in such a fight. So she came along nicely, but she was clear about her confusion to them.
Princess Mediha accused her to her face, as she was dragged in.
"This is the Nubian bitch who tried to assassinate me," she said.
"The princess is mistaken," Tuya said, knowing that she had to be cautious in controlling her own temper. "I did not make any such attempt."
Habiba struck her across the cheek, and Tuya staggered from the blow. She glared at the muscular guard, but kept quiet.
"Are you sure it was this woman, princess?" Habiba asked the princess.
Mediha was furious, and her immediate desire was to take her scimitar and open Tuya's throat ear to ear. But she hadn't seen her assailant's face, and that woman had been smaller proportioned, something befitting someone who was more lithe and light on her feet. She was sure Tuya had been the person who hired her though.
"It was her," she said, hoping that immediate execution was something that they could carry out then and there.
"This is a serious charge princess," she said. "Her majesty the queen must be informed of this, and this assassin must be tried in court, unless the Sultan or the Sultana decide otherwise."
Mediha felt panic rise up within her. That would mean lots of delay, and she was going to run away from the kingdom at the end of the month, which was only a few days away. She wanted instant justice, delivered via scimitar. That is how hotheaded vengeance thinks.
Her guards were here though, and princess or not, murder is a serious affair which would detain her in the kingdom. Her mother would increase her guard and have her under observation around the clock, at the very least, when she learned of the attempt. She could not afford that. She had taken a stand though, so she couldn't backtrack and allow it to be known that she wasn't sure that it was Tuya. She knew deep within that she wasn't, but she also knew deep within that she wanted to carve the Nubian bitch's heart out.
Princess Mediha started thinking hard, while her guards awaited her next words.
Olga's body broke down rapidly. Envenomation by an Egyptian cobra is a terrifying affair. Her nervous system was compromised rapidly. Nervous signals were not being sent to her muscles initially, and her limbs wouldn't obey her commands. She dropped flat on her face in her own home's courtyard. There was nobody around, and terror flashed through her mind.
Then the nervous signals were denied to her vital organs. Her heart and her lungs were no longer under the control of her central nervous system. She witnessed her own lungs collapse, in mute horror, trying to cry out - not wanting it to end.
A smile broke out on Imi's face. If the sky goddess, the mother of gods didn't help her get her angel, she would find her own methods. She saw Hor slithering in her direction, and moved the basket towards him. The next on her agenda was a Persian whore who had slept with prince Rustum a week ago. Her lungs would be next.
The horse trader was called Kasim. He was in his forties, and looked gaunt, with dark rings around his eyes and sunken cheeks. A salt and pepper beard grew in an irregular fashion on his chin and cheeks, showing just as much as it hid. Rawer had learned early that a gaunt and emaciated look wasn't the easiest to trust. A lean and hungry look often indicates the character of a jackal. It indicates someone who may stab you in the back and make off with your spoils. Kasim was also a shifty character who kept telling everyone around him how old his business was, and how many decades his family had been selling the best horses, but his body language was all wrong, as if he wanted to fit in in the business. Rawer studied him carefully once more. Nobody was this bad an actor. If he truly was some sort of spy, his acting would have been better. Rawer had reached his conclusion on Kasim earlier. This was a profoundly insecure individual, who must have faced a specific kind of turmoil growing up. He was horse trader all right, but he couldn't really be trusted with keeping his mouth shut. That could be a problem.
Rawer thought some more. Kasim was insecure enough that it would be easy to manipulate him into revealing information. They had many nights travel ahead of them, and if he invested complete trust in the horse trader it could mean betrayal at some point. The seeds of a rough plan made themselves known to his mind. The princess would no longer be a princess and she would wear a veil throughout a journey. He thought up some reason for that as well, wondering whether Mediha would play along. Then he knew that he needed someone else he trusted to come along with them. They needed more numbers in their favor, so that they could watch Kasim's movements. Information was the key.
At the end of his meeting with Kasim their travel plans were confirmed. It was to be the end of this week that he would uproot the princess from the life she was accustomed to. He wondered what the future would hold for them, and whether the Kushites would welcome him back, or whether he would viewed with suspicion.