The Moon of Xxene

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic


Omote (Uh-muh-teh) - fourth and lowest rank of palace Maidens

Chapter 3 (v.2) - Third Phase.2 (Continuation)

Submitted: July 05, 2019

Reads: 33

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Submitted: July 05, 2019

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Having become official Omote, Emeravwe and the other girls vacated the rooms of the Omote-in-training and were assigned to quarters with other Maidens who worked in the same department. Emeravwe was assigned a room with two other Omote in the Bureau of Halls and Chambers called Omote Oluchi and Omote Ngozi. It was with a heavy heart that she moved to her new quarters, for the two girls were Omote with whom she had gone through training, and they had always been antagonistic toward her.

“Do not cross this line,” Omote Ngozi, a handsome girl who was a bit tall for her age, with dark skin and eyes, said on their first night together, pushing Emeravwe back and drawing an invisible line across the room with her foot.

“You will sleep on that side of the room and Ngozi and I will sleep on this side,” Omote Oluchi, who was shorter, with blue eyes and sand-colored hair, said. “Do not mix our beddings or uniforms with yours!”

 “And do not speak to us! We may not be valued,” Omote Ngozi said, “but Oluchi and I come from well-known families. We will not be friends with a nameless valued child!”

Emeravwe’s chest tightened at Omote Ngozi’s words. She had thought the Omote treated her badly before, but now that they suspected her background was unknown, it hardly seemed as if they recognized her as a fellow human. Emeravwe did her best to ignore Omote Oluchi and Ngozi, and though doing so did not spare her feelings, her mind was often occupied with other troubles.

Each morning, the Omote rose before the sun and reported to the schoolrooms at the anterior of the Maidens’ Compound where their formal education continued. They were instructed now, in one of their classes, from the Four Classics of Xxene, books which detailed Xxene’s early history according to its four founding tribes, and in the other, Mannerisms of a Maiden, they reviewed daily how to conduct themselves as palace Maidens. By the time these classes ended the sun would just have risen, and after breaking their fast they reported to their assigned departments. Each day, Emeravwe reported to the Compound of the Ministry of Rites, which contained the Department of Ceremonies, the Weavers’ Department, and the Department of Cleanliness. Within the Department of Cleanliness were three subdivisions; the Bureaus of Halls and Chambers, of Wardrobes, and of Toiletry.

In the Bureau of Halls and Chambers Emeravwe and other Omote were quickly orientated and assigned to clean the halls and offices of the Outer Palace. Emeravwe found the work exceedingly strenuous, the fact that many of the Maidens alienated her making it even harder. The Agaenaye and Omote she worked with bullied her into cleaning whole sections of halls by herself, and her hands became so dry from cleaning each day that they often cracked and peeled. When she complained to the Aye of the Bureau, it was her word alone against those of the other Maidens, so she learned to bear it as best she could. But often she could not bear it and would run to her secret garden in the Eunuchs’ Compound to cry till she was calm again. And though she was often exhausted after each day’s work, she gained no rest even in her chambers, for Omote Oluchi and Ngozi were there.

One night in April, when Emeravwe had been working in the Bureau of Halls and Chambers for two months, she returned to her chamber after a particularly difficult day. The Omote she worked with had bullied her into doing their share again, and she had even missed supper as a result. Tears were already brimming in her eyes from hunger and frustration as she walked to the quarters, and all she wanted was to lie down and sleep. But as soon as she reached their chamber Omote Oluchi and Ngozi hurled her blankets at her, demanding that she move out of their room.

“I cannot bear to stay in the same room with you any longer!” Omote Ngozi declared. “I can hardly sleep with you whining every night like a wounded little beast!”

“Ngozi is the daughter of the governor of Ekporero, and my father is a relative of the Director of the Department of Civil Affairs,” Omote Oluchi said, crossing her small arms haughtily before her. “We cannot share a room with a nameless beast!”

Emeravwe clutched her blankets to her chest, tears stinging her eyes.

“But Oluchi,” Omote Ngozi snickered, “she is a valued child!”

“Ha! A stray dog is more valued! If she is so valued, her parents would not have abandoned her in the palace! Leave!” Omote Oluchi commanded, violently shoving her out the door. “Valued children do not belong here!”

Emeravwe tripped over the threshold, her blankets billowing over her as she crashed to the floor. The other girls in the hall laughed, echoing, “Valued children do not belong here!” and a lump rose from the pit of her stomach to lodge painfully in her throat. She kicked away the blankets and ran from the building, stinging torrents of tears pouring from her eyes. She ran to the garden in the Eunuchs’ Compound—the only place in the palace she had ever found refuge—and crumpled before the pond there.

She had had enough! She did not want to stay in the palace anymore—she hated it! She wanted to leave and search for her parents and prove that she had not been abandoned. She had not been abandoned! She had not… She always told herself that. She had repeated it over and over through the years until she believed it. But she had lived in the palace for so long now, yet no one ever came searching for her. If she was truly valued, she wondered as she sobbed over the pond, why did no one know who she was? Why did no one want her?

“What is this?” The voice came from across the pond.

Startled, Emeravwe looked up to see a boy standing just beyond, flanked on one side by the purple fountain grass that grew there.


© Copyright 2019 OE. All rights reserved.

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