The Feast

Nee Ra looked out over the encampment, at the brightly burning bonfires. The flames lit up the night dancing merrily against the moon light. From her position, on the hill above the encampment, the screams below danced around her like the flames from the bonfires.

At each of those bonfires, the people that had sided against her were being put to death by her army. In the morning, the encampment would be populated only by her people. Rebellion quelled, the long march back to the city would begin and the reclamation of the land now under her rule.

A Queen would rule bringing peace and prosperity or so the prophecy foretold. Certainly the prophecy did not say how this queen would achieve the task.

Nee Ra could scarce believe that only two weeks had passed since she had arrived in the encampment. She came at the summons of the youngest brother to the King. Her family had always made much of their distant connection to the royal family. The arrival of the summons had sent the senior members of her family into a series of frenzied arguments behind closed door. When the shouting had died down, her father had called her into the room to tell her that she would be delivering the reply to the summons. That in itself was unusual. She had thought at the time that her father or one of her uncles would have gone, even one of her elder brothers. When she was told that she had been selected to go to represent them all, she had quailed under their stipulations and warnings on how she was to behave.

The journey to the encampment had only taken a matter of days. The herald had not spoken to her at all in that time even though he had been solicitous of her. Yet with each day her sense of something wrong grew. Her thoughts had been in turmoil until an inner voice had whispered a question. Nee Ra had replied automatically. The voice had been so pleased with itself when she responded.

Without the voice she would have perished on her first day in the encampment. It steered her through the initial meeting with the King’s youngest brother. Looking back, that first meeting when she had out manoeuvred the Prince had been the turning point. From that moment her presence had been sought and then required by the generals, her sage advice sought before each battle. With each battle won, the loyalty of the Prince’s army had grown until it was her army.

The Prince’s attempt on her life had been ham fisted in his rage at seeing all his dreams crumple before him. It had failed and he was held with other prisoners taken during the final battle won that day.

Tonight, she would feast on the flesh of the members of the royal family. It was tradition to feast on your enemies. The bonfires burned brightly cooking the enemy. The choicest cuts from the bodies of her enemies would be presented for her to eat. First on the menu was the King’s youngest brother then each member of the royal family in order of rank.

The feasting would last as long as there were enemies to be killed and eaten.

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