BORN OF BLOOD
BY AMANDA RANGANAWA (2016)
CHAPTER 1(European Kingdom)
Screams of pain filled the palace walls. With each push and sweat the woman became weaker and weaker. Her eyes had now turned dark blue, her fangs exposed with every scream. Slowly she began to lose color. Green lines of struggle could be traced on her arms and legs. She felt a pang of vicious pain and tried to rise from the bed. The three women tending to her gently pushed her back. The agonized woman was sweating ferociously. One of the woman started damping her forehead and chest with a cold towel. She was burning. The three women were frightened. One of them ushered the other two to a corner, where they spoke in whispers.
‘’ Her condition plays drums of fear in my heart. It is unbearable. She is too ill’’, said Madeline, the elderly one of the three with gray hair.
‘’We know that Aunt Lynn. Oh how l wish it was midnight. Then she would turn into a werewolf. It will be easier for her to give birth then’’, replied an anxious Anna – Mary
The third one, Veronica, cut in, ‘’Let’s not just stand there. Let’s inform the King. Her Majesty has been in labor for far too long. She might die’’.
They all agreed. Veronica and Anna – Mary stayed with the Queen as Auntie Lynn went to inform his Highness of the condition of his wife.
The King sat in his chamber in a brown study of thought. Tired of pacing up and down his room, he had decided to sit on a chair. He prayed that his wife and child come out alive. Such prolonged birth had never been heard of in the whole Kingdom. Twelve hours of labor! It must be an omen he thought, or in a bright light, a good meaning. He wondered what the birth of this child could mean.
He got up from the chair and strolled over to the window. He stared blankly at the trees that bowed loyally beneath the Castle’s windows. As he stared at the trees he wondered what it would be like if his wife died. The thought thrashed his soul, like flesh being whipped by hot iron. Shaking his head he murmured sadly,
‘’Who plants a rose only to pluck it before it blossoms?
Who grants joy only to grant back sorrow?
Such is the foolish betrayal of life
That sneezes at no cold, and cries at no pain
Leaving longing and despair
At that which was once pure and delightful…
His thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. A mixture of worry and excitement filled his voice as he spoke, “Who is it?’’
A royal guard answered, ‘’Your Royal Majesty, one of the midwives begs for your presence’’
The King’s heart pondered fast as he was thoroughly filled with apprehension. Could it be his wife had delivered? If she had, how was the child? His head danced with questions. He quickly rose and opened the door.
Beaming up a fake smile he said, ‘’l am here’’
Madeline stood at the entrance door, head bowed. The King looked at her and waited for her to open her mouth. The woman twitched her thumbs and bowed as she spoke ‘’My Lord, there is no change. Her Majesty is in a lot of pain. The baby is refusing to be birthed no matter how she pushes.’’
At the uttering of these words the King cursed his gods and hit his fist on the door. The guard and maid stepped back from him. They feared being the receivers of his outrage.
‘’Take me to my wife!’’ his Majesty ordered Madeline who hurriedly led the way.
The King walked down the multiple stairs led by an anxious Madeline who feared that her madam could die in child labor. They reached the door where the Queen had been prepared for her child birth. Her husband slowly opened the door and entered. His wife lay on the bed unrecognizable as she had turned green and purple. Her eyes were huge and black. Her fangs had mercilessly bruised her lips till she bled. The King felt intense pain and sadness in his heart and he went over to hold his wife’s hand to comfort her. As he lifted her right hand he saw that her nails were a shiny deep yellow. The King froze and suddenly shook with rage.
‘’This is Theresa’s markings. That devil!’’ he screamed ‘’Guards!!!’’
A distance away stood a beautiful, mysterious and clever woman at the window of her own palace. It was very small compared to the large Kingdom that her butterfly eye lashes gazed at. Her maiden gracefully combed her hair as she melted into her own thoughts. She turned away from the view and stopped the work of her maiden by a simple hand gesture.
‘’Edward is on his way. Do tell the guards to quickly show my brother in when he arrives. I have missed him’’ she ordered softly
The maiden bowed and replied ‘’Yes, my Lady’’. With that, the young slave rushed out to inform the guards. After a few minutes, footsteps were heard coming towards the beautiful woman. She stood with both hands on her side and smiled as the steps quickened. The owner of the rushing feet drew closer and stood in front of her with four of his guards behind him
‘’Oh dear Edward you came with an entourage. I had prepared a meal for two. What am l supposed to feed these poor servants that you have brought? ‘’, she mockingly said as she pointed at the royal guards.
The King disregarded her and stepped near her his hand trembling with despise for his older sister. His voice was rough and angry as he questioned her.
‘’Don’t play jokes with me Theresa what have you done to my wife?’’ he demanded. Theresa fanned surprise and asked with an innocent voice.
‘’What have l done?’’
‘’You have bewitched my wife. You witch!’’, he accused.
‘’Now hold it brother, do not accuse me of something l am not. None of our parents were into witchcraft so do not bestow that hateful title on me’’
‘’You have done something to my wife. You will release my wife from this bondage this minute! I am not the one who cursed you!’’ he roared with rage as he grabbed his sister’s hand and shook her. She quickly punched him in the stomach and released her hand.
Her eyes were icy and sharp as a blade as she replied him, ‘’No you weren’t’’ she said. ‘’However, you stood by and watched him banish me! ’'She screamed.
‘’You were a traitor! You brought this upon yourself Theresa”
‘’No, you and your our male-chauvinistic father delivered this upon me. You left me to live in the pits of hell on earth.’’
‘’Sister it was you who tried to poison our father. It was you who wanted to rule’’
‘’And why couldn’t l rule?’’ her temper flared. ‘’Why couldn’t l? Was it because l am a woman and tradition says women cannot rule? Or was it that you both feared that l would make a great ruler and you would never have had a chance?’’
Shaking his head, ‘’It was none of the above reasons’’
‘’Then what was it?’’
‘’Father just didn’t want you to rule’’
‘’Dear brother l lack patience for nonsense, so l suggest you tell me why or you leave for good.’’
The King moved closer to her, ‘’Please Theresa my wife and child are dying. Release them from thy bondage l beg of you’’
‘’I never thought l would see the day you grovel. You always took from me remember? You never asked….the spoilt and entitled Prince whom everyone adored. I don’t care about your wife. She can die for all l care’’ she mocked.
The King’s voice quivered with anger ‘’ Do not test me Theresa! Release my wife from your spell or you will feel my fangs on you. I will feed your body to the wretched wolves. Do not test my anger!”
‘’You always did like to threaten me’’
‘’I don’t make threats, l make facts’’ he retorted
She looked at him and saw his blazing red eyes staring so hard at her. Sensing war she smiled.
‘’Pray, do calm yourself. You and l know that if you feed on me your wife and child will die. So l will make you a proposition. Your wife and the child will live…it’s a girl by the way. That child must succeed you and rule when you die and with my help, of course, she will trample to the ground everything you and Father ever built.”
‘’What?’’, asked the shocked King
She ignored him and continued, ‘’ You shall call her Alexis, from Alexander the Great. She will have to live by the sword all her life for she will fight men like you and our father. Happiness for her will be her greatest and unattainable achievement.’’
‘’Theresa, is thou out of your mind? You know as much as l that no female ruler has ever existed in our kingdom and even in the neighbouring ones. They will devour my daughter. They will capture, torture, rape her and make her an example to all women. Noooo!!!. I refuse that proposition.’’
‘’Then watch them die’’
The King suddenly pounced on his sister. He hit her across the face and lifted her by the neck, choking her. He opened his mouth to bite her, thought otherwise, and suddenly threw her. The wall shook as Theresa’s back landed on the brick layered building. She felt intense pain but quickly got back up and stretched her muscles.
‘’You will make my wife deliver now. Once my daughter is grown, I will tell her to kill you.’’
Theresa looks at him with a painful smile on her face. ‘’We will see about that. Alexis will...//
I will not call my daughter that name’’
Theresa sneered a him and purred the deadly words to his ears, ‘’Oh you will Edward because if you don’t she will hate you all her life if you call her any other name. That name is her love for you until she tears apart everything you believe in. It is also the strong bond between me and her. That girl will fight my battles and you will lose...every time. Karma is after all a whore’’, she finished sarcastically.
‘’My daughter will fight you'' the King declared as he pointed at his enemy.'' Whatever spell you have put on my daughter. Best believe this, she will fight you and you will wish you had never crossed our paths. ’’ he roared.
‘’We will see. Go back to your castle. Alexis has arrived’’
The King departed from Theresa’s dwarf castle in a state of dismay and sorrow. His thoughts serenaded with the clouds as he tried to reach for an immediate solution to his sister. When the guards arrived at the castle with the King, he had only one thought in his mind. Blood. He wanted so desperately to feed on the miserable wench. It was only a matter of time.
The midwives stood outside waiting to receive the King. As soon as he got out of his chariot the three ladies rushed to greet him. They were all smiling and all three gladly announced,
‘’Our King, our Lord, our Master, the little Princess is here”
The King’s heart skipped a beat and for a minute he looked like he had seen a ghost. The three women were confused but they still smiled, bowed and led the way for him to their Queen. His Majesty followed with slow steps. His child’s future was flashing before him and he felt depression and not joy. Madeline opened the door to where the Queen laid holding her child so tightly and kissing her softly. The mid wives left the King looking at his wife attend so affectionately to their cursed child. The Queen was planting tiny, passionate, and sweet kisses on the child’s lips, cheeks, eyes, forehead, basically anywhere. She raised her eyes and saw her husband looking at her. Her smile was so full and welcoming it drew him closer to her.
‘’Edward, why are you standing there?’’, she asked cheerfully. ’Come see this gorgeous baby that the gods have blessed us with.’’
Edward, who now stood beside his wife’s bed reached out his hand and touched the baby’s tiny face. She had brown smooth skin, big black eyes that shone bright, a delicate nose, full light brown lips and the shiniest black hair. She yawned so cutely, stretching her little face; she looked identical to her father.
‘’She looks just like you. Look at those bushy eyebrows. You gave my daughter your looks’’, she laughed ‘’…and yet lm the one who laboured so hard. It’s funny isn’t it... Here, hold her’’.
His wife handed him their child. Gently he placed the little one on his chest. He looked at the child so intensely, admiring her beauty and delicacy. Suddenly the look on his face vanished and was suddenly replaced by an angry look.
‘’My Lord, why are you staring at our child like that? What is the matter? ‘’ his wife enquired after noticing his devastating look.
‘’Theresa has bewitched our child’’
‘’Who? You mean little Elizabeth?’’ asked the Queen.
The child suddenly broke out into a loud shrieking scream. Her Mother stretched out her hands to take her but her father shook his head so she dropped them. She looked on as her husband soothed the baby and called her little Alexis. Immediately the child stopped crying.
‘’You renamed our child?’’ she sadly asked.
The King sat on his wife’s bed beside her and explained, ‘’I had no choice; Theresa has put a curse on our child. That’s why you were in labor for so long. She had put her markings on you. ‘’
The Queen pushed back from him in shock. He looked at her and continued, ‘’If we don’t call the child Alexis then the child will never love us. ‘’
‘’Is that all she wanted, for our baby to be given a name she has chosen?’’
‘’No, that’s not all. The name represents our daughter’s future. She wants our child to be the ruler and warrior that our family prevented her from being. Theresa wants our child to be the destroyer of Kingdoms and a traitor to everything our fathers built. She wants revenge.’’
The Queen was astonished by his words and several questions flew out of her, ‘’From us, why? We did not make the laws that stopped her from ruling. Those laws have been there for ages upon ages and for a bloody good reason too! What sort of vengeance and evil is this?’’ her voice rose with each word, ‘’ Has your sister gone mad? How dare she touch my child!?’’
The furious Mother tried to get out of bed but her husband stopped her. She waved his hand off and leaped out of the bed. The Queen felt a painful weakness seer through her body. The child labor had drained all her energy even though the midwives had fed her with plenty of blood afterwards. She had not fully recovered. The floor opened its arms to her as she collapsed. The King laid the baby on the bed and rushed to her side. Her eyes were open, filled with rage and tears.
‘’Kill her! Kill Theresa’’, she told her husband with a shaken voice. He looked at her with pity and informed her that Theresa’s funeral meant the death of their child. Upon hearing this, the poor woman wept in the arms of her husband. The King held his Queen as she wept the tears of hate and regret. Soon she stopped crying and drifted into a deep sleep. The King carried her to the bed, led her by their baby’s side and left the room.
His furious steps could be heard ten staircases down the palace. As soon as the Gifted One heard the direction of his foot path she quickly rose from her chambers and followed the King. A huge black door stood in front of him. The door had the shape of a werewolf and a handle that looked like a snake. The King reached the handle and opened the door to a candle lit, horrific room. Skeletons lay on the walls of the room, and a large black coffin lay in the middle of the room. King Edward touched the coffin and stared at the Gifted One, who stood a few feet away from him.
‘’Raise my Father’’ he demanded.
The woman who looked like a spiritual medium, wearing red cloth and bone necklaces nodded and asked ‘’How many do you want for the sacrifice?
‘’Make them three’’ the King responded. ‘’I need answers and l need them now. So those should be more than sufficient. Make it quick’’
Upon hearing the order, the Gifted One turned to the guards and raised three fingers. Immediately the guards left in a hurry. Five minutes later they came back dragging three gagged girls. The three young maidens looked around the age of 15 and 17 years. They were all terrified and wept bitterly as they entered the room. One of the girls walking behind the two tried to make a run for it, but was stopped by a fist punch in the face by one of the guards. The girl screamed a painful muffled cry but did not receive any sympathy from the Gifted One upon whose feet she had fallen on.
Using her head the Gifted One pointed at the coffin and the guards pushed the girls forward towards it. King Edward lifted the lid and there inside lay the royally clad bones of his father. The expensive burial rob was soaked with dry blood. Three of the guards stood behind the girls each holding her head down towards the corpse. The girls tried to struggle to no avail. Their efforts were suddenly stopped as three swords sliced their heads at the same time. Their blood dripped on the dead King’s skeleton. The skeleton started developing skin. With each blood the skeleton soon had the fleshly body of the late King Spencer.
‘’Father’’, King Edward addressed the body. King Spencer opened his blood shot eyes and grinned. His mouth was covered in blood, his teeth blood stained and his face an animistic terrifying ugly mold. The guards dropped the girl’s dead bodies and withdrew from the risen Lord. The body in the coffin rose and sat.
‘’Edward’’, exclaimed King Spencer. ‘’These days you are fond of ruining my burial clothes. I take it my grandchild has been born. What is his name?’’
‘’It’s a girl Father’’ responded Edward
His father’s face dropped as he gasped out an ‘’ooh’’ that his son quickly picked. King Spencer had hoped his grandchild would be a boy. A girl child had almost cost him his life before. His son explained to him about Theresa’s curse on his child and how it could ruin his child and the Kingdom. The older King gazed at his son and murmured a poetic riddle to him.
‘’The way of life has never gracefully accepted its end
As one leaf falls another grows
As one cries another laughs
As one sleeps another awakens
The twists and turns cannot be perfected’’ said King Spencer.
‘’Your sister is a witch and l should have had her beheaded the first time she tried to destroy this Kingdom’’, he added.
‘’How do l stop her now, that is the question?’’, King Edward desperately asked. He looked at his father as he hoped to hear a solution that would allow him to destroy Theresa for good. His father looked at him and shook his head and sadly answered him,
‘’By killing your child’’.
CHAPTER 4 (The African Kingdom)
The night was as silent as death. Only the cry of a startled creature, the sough of the wind within the forest, the cackling cries of witches in the upper air and the snores of the Dzimbabwe people sang in tune with the darkness. One hut disturbed the common sounds.
He was choking her. This woman that had given him temporary joy and pride was convulsing with pain underneath his big hand. She gasped for air as her vampire teeth and tongue stuck out like a painting dog. His nails squeezed the sockets out of the big bloody red eyes which begged for his forgiveness. She struggled and kicked but the might of this huge man was too strong. So she begged for an answer. At lease let me die knowing why, she thought. ‘’Why my Prince?’’, she breathed with all her might. Her body lost all energy and it shook less. There was a deep angry growl at this, as Prince Chandagwinyira’s disdain rose and erupted mightily against her. He was furious that she even dared to ask why. Why? Why? Didn’t she know why? Was she that much of a stupid woman? Both his hands winded on her as he lifted her from the bed like a lifeless chicken and screamed, ‘’ You don’t know how to satisfy a man bitch! You move…you move!’’ he barked.
With that, he threw her dead body back to the bed. Her head smashed into the wall and made an awful thud. Blood oozed from her nose, neck and from the back of the head. The sight disgusted the Prince who quickly licked her blood off his nails. However, within a minute his anger slowly subsided. He eyed with cruel amusement at her mouth which was ajar, her eyes bulging out, hands limp, and legs crooked. Chandagwinyira wondered who had raised this girl. He had enjoyed her innocence two nights before.
Chandagwinyira had removed her clothes slowly, patiently and affectionately. His lips had tested the ripeness and smoothness of her back and neck. Her light, round and firm breasts had felt like the moon shining on his face.
They were so beautiful to test and their softness hardened him more and more. She had melted under his touch and moaned at his kisses. The young woman had felt his fingers and tongue explore her flat belly, her thighs and her treasure. Right there. She had screamed his totem, ‘’Shumba, shumba…maiwe kani’’. At that, the beast in him had come out to play. The Prince wanted her and he entered her swiftly. Her scream had annoyed him. His wolf eyes and fangs had come out as he gave her a warning look. The flash in his eyes had made her gasp with fear and quickly close her mouth. So she remained still as her thrust into her. The innocent body quivered with pain whilst his shook with pleasure. The more she felt the horror of the fire running though her body the further he went deeper and deeper. So she had scratched him, bit him and begged him to stop.
‘’My Prince please stop’’, she pleaded in shocked tones.
‘’Shut up!’’ he commanded.
Suddenly his hand covered her mouth, and his other big hand pinned her tiny hands above her head. Ferociously he mounted. She was sure she was going to die. He wasn’t stopping; he was going on and on and on. Is this what Mama always said was the great sex that made you forget all your troubles? The one that made you sing and smile all day after having it? No, Mama had lied. She had lied. The young woman was so sure this sex or loving making as Mama called it was going to take her life today. Her head soon bopped on the wall and she felt the hard mud wall hitting her over and over again. Tears kept streaming down her face but the man on top of her was in his own world. Finally, he growled and lay on top of her painting. She was pleased to feel his huge weight on her rather than his manhood that had almost killed her.
Prince Chandagwinyira moved off her tiny frame. He grinned as the thought of his big body squashing her amused him. This latest wife of his looked like a softie and so he decided to turn and sleep. She lay there muffling her cries. Fearing that he might mount her again, she pulled away from him and lay quiet trying to hear his breathing. Chandagwinyira had already dozed off to a sweet and satisfied sleep. So she too, decided it was best to sleep than to cry all night.
When a knock on her hut door woke her up early morning, he had gone. Leaving her to her soiled bed and bruised thighs.
‘’Our young wife, come out and let me allocate you your house duties’’, an elderly woman’s voice called out. She was the chief of all the seven wives that Prince Chandagwinyira had, which now included her. All the five Princes had their Chief of Wives. These elderly women made sure all the wives worked equally and fairly. This would create fewer quarrels in the Princes’s homes.
The new bride didn’t want to make the elderly woman wait. It would be a sign of disrespect. So she called out her greeting, ‘’Good morning Ambuya (a name given to an old woman/grandmother). I am coming’’. It was easier for her to throw aside her bed cover. However, when she tried to get up she felt crippled. There was pain, pain and more pain. That fire was once again burning her thighs and body. She began to cry and called out in a terrified voice, ‘’Ambuya, please help me….Ambuya…’’
Two nights later, Prince Chandagwinyira had looked at her and had not been amused. Her virginity had been lost. He expected her to perform for him and to lift his sexual desires. His imagination had seen her buttocks playing jerusalema on his manhood and her waist to whine like a snake and her breasts to tease his chest up and down. Instead she lay there like dead wood. Without a word he had climbed on top of her. As he entered her all she did was gasp in pain and surprise. She slightly touched his waist as he moved up and down inside of her. He barely felt her touch. Suddenly he came out of her and his right hand started to choke her. His youngest wife’s body was squashed under his own and she screamed.
Alas, there was no Ambuya to help her. Her screams for help had been heard by no one. Prince Chandagwinyira was not a man to even ask about the sounds coming out of his bedroom. He had ripped apart the throats and hearts of nosy guards and servants before. So even if they heard, they all pretended it was just the wind passing by. So she died, begging and wishing for rescue.
The Prince looked at her body and noticed the blood soaking on the bed mates. Quickly he lifted her off the bed and threw her out, a few steps away from his door. Back inside her removed all the bed materials and threw them out as well. Her clothes and belongings, he also tossed on top of her. Soon there was no trace of her except the blood stained wall. One of the wives would clean it up tomorrow he thought. He walked out of the hut and stood three feet away from his wife’s body.
‘’Guards!’’ he called out. Two of them quickly emerged in front of him from the dark. They stood back when they spotted the pitiful sight of their youngest Queen.
‘’Take her body and belongings out to the woods. Burn her. She is a useless woman. Anyone who asks tell them the beasts of the wood ate her whilst she was fetching firewood in the forest’’
The guards nodded, ‘’Yes, our Prince’’. They quickly did as instructed. Soon she was disposed of and the only thing left to do was to the lie. It would take them a few more hours till day before they had to give the news of this useless woman death to her parents.
The following morning Prince Changadwinyira and his oldest brother, Prince Gono hurriedly went to visit their father, King Dzimbahwe who stricken down with illness. The King lay on his bed looking frail, thin and pail. The finely made lion skin mat seemed to give his back no relief. The old King’s body moved violently up and down as he coughed. Saliva spitted out of his uncovered mouth straight into the face of his loyal Jinda(also known as adviser), Chaitezvi. The man bend near him, wiped his face slowly, respectfully and regrettably. Gono approached his father and held his old thin fingers. King Dzimbahwe looked at his son and weakly informed him,
‘’We cannot run away from her dark cloud. Her reign will come to stay’’ he said
The old King for the first time in his life began to cry. The Prince and Adviser were both shocked and fear creeped into their hearts. Gono squeezed his father’s hands in a bid to comfort him and questioned him.
‘’Father, the Son of the greatest warriors, the Son of the greatest gods, why do you cry and torture my heart? Why do you leave me last memories of your fears and not your strength? Has sickness made you a woman?’’.
The King slowly shook his head and stopped crying, ‘’ My son listen carefully. Do as l say and they won’t be any tears you will shed. When she comes let her be…let her be….let no evil befall that maiden’’. His gruff voice was accompanied by a violent cough and a spat of blood. He painfully digested the blood that covered his mouth and fangs.
The three men were confused and Chaitezvi enquired with no progress about the identity of this maiden and her whereabouts or purpose. Chandagwinyira felt impatience rise inside of him as the idea of some powerful girl living amongst them irritated him. He was not one to be told what to do by a woman let alone some strange girl. It occurred to him that maybe his father’s sickness was making him delusional and this message was not even from the gods. The thought made him calm as he listened to his father struggle to speak again.
‘’If treated well she will bring fairness among you all. If not she will…’’
The old leader was quickly cut off by an anxious Prince Gono, ‘’ Who? Who is she Father? Please tell us’’
The King breathed heavily and whispered, ‘’ l am tired my Son. Let me be. I have said enough’’.
With a grave face and feeling defeated his son sorrowfully murmured,
‘’As the sun goes down to bid the moon welcome.
I fear for your failing heart,
and the heavy burden your heart carries.
Empty your basket of thoughts one last time Great One.
His eyes had already closed by the time the Prince had stopped begging. Only his heavy breathing could be heard. His tight face revealed an impending visit from the messenger of death and the Prince feared not knowing what his Father had meant. Immediately he walked out of the hut and stood outside its door step. His father’s adviser followed him.
‘’My Prince, your father is dancing between two worlds. We need that medicine from the River of Blood and sadly only royal blood can fetch it.’’
‘’I will go with four of my brothers, Chaitezvi. We will keep each other alive’’
To be continued*………