The Moon of Xxene

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


[Digwe (“Deeg-weh”) – Male greeting; bow with the hands cupped before the chest]* [Kada (“Kah-dah”) – King’s response to the greeting “Umogu”, roughly meaning, “Grace upon you.”]* [Miguo
(“Me-goo-uh”) – Respectful greeting which can mean “Hello” or “Thank you]* [Umogu (“Ooh-moh-goo”) – Deferential greeting only for the king, roughly meaning, “Greetings to the revered”]* [Onótu
(“Oh-nuh-too”) – Minister]* [Ovye (“Ohv-yeh”) – “King.” Ovye is a stand-alone title used to address the reigning king.]* [Ovyeme (“Ohv-yeh-meh”) – “My King”]

Chapter 6 (v.3) - Sixth Phase.3 (Continuation)

Submitted: July 12, 2019

Reads: 34

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Submitted: July 12, 2019

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The young king marched furiously down the second-floor gallery of the Royal Library, vibrant paintings and elaborate wall tapestries flashing by.

“Edewor, what was his charge!”

Eunuch Edewor, a Eunuch with brown eyes and curled brown locks not completely covered by his headcloth, answered as he and the other royal attendants hurried to keep up with the king’s fierce strides, “Yes, my Lord. Her Majesty the Queen Dowager indicted him for contempt against the court. The punishment was carried out last night, and he will be exiled from the capital later this morning.”

The king stopped in his tracks, turning stormy amber eyes on him. “Why were we not notified earlier!”

Eunuch Edewor dropped to his knees. “May Ovye forgive me. The Grand Eunuch and I learned of the matter only this morning, when we went to the Office of Appeals to obtain the petitions for Ovye’s review before court. I rushed to inform Ovye immediately upon the Grand Eunuch’s instruction. It seems the Queen Dowager ordered the invasion of the Royal Tutor’s home late last night, and that is when the officers of the Bureau of Interrogations pulled his tongue.”

The king closed his eyes, his stomach wrenching with remorse. The Queen Dowager’s exacting punishments were no rare occurrence; she had always dealt severely with dereliction and opposition. “Get up!” he commanded in frustration, spinning around and storming down the hall.

“Yes, my Lord, miguo.” Eunuch Edewor and the royal attendants followed on the king’s heels.

Incompetent! he berated himself. It was not Eunuch Edewor’s fault for not notifying him of the situation sooner. You are the one who is incapable of protecting your officials!

“But, Ovye, why would the Royal Tutor be charged with contempt for the court?” Eunuch Edewor questioned.

The king’s face was grim. During his lecture with the Royal Tutors the previous day, they discussed what an ideal court should be. He proposed that the court of his late Sovereign Father was ideal for, under his rule and supervision of the late Prime Minister, officials freely voiced their opinions and dissidence was not punished. Royal Tutor Edojah had agreed with him and continued the discussion, juxtaposing the order of the previous court with that of the current. The Queen Dowager must have learned of this.

“And to display his tongue in the Squabble Coop where the scholars hold debates!” Eunuch Edewor shuddered. “How dreadful.” Looking up, he caught the king’s glare and ducked his head.

At the end of the gallery the double doors of a hall stood open, officials gathered at the entrance. Seeing the crowd, Eunuch Edewor looked over his shoulder at the Grand Maiden. She gave him an approving nod and he flashed a grin. Turning back, he puffed his chest and cleared his throat, bellowing, “Ovye approaches!”

The officials in the doorway came to attention, clearing the way. Each knelt to one knee in a digwe of the first degree, uttering in unison, “Umogu.”

Kada,” the king answered dismissively as he breezed past into the Chamber of Communal Wisdom.

It was an oval hall with tiers of seating on either side, a wide carpeted area designated for presenters occupying the space in between. More officials crowded the hall, but all cleared the way and bent to their knees in greeting upon the king’s entry. He made his way to the back where a minister stood before a bookcase carved into the wall. The shelves contained precious volumes of classic scholarly works, and when the minister bent to his knee, the king saw with alarm what more they now held. There, placed between two volumes, was Royal Tutor Edojah’s severed tongue floating in a jar.

As the king took in the display, the room faded around him, his stomach churning with nausea. In the four years since he took the throne, officials who supported him and the teachings of the late Prime Minister had gradually decreased, punished and dismissed on one ground or another. He refrained from actively approaching any official in particular because of this, focusing instead on his studies and ceremonial duties. Now, the faces flashed before him, his chest constricting. He remembered the late Prime Minister; the confident gaze and smile he bestowed him moments before his death. He had entrusted him with the kingdom, believing he would continue the work he began with his Sovereign Father.

The king struggled to release his stifled breath, choked by dread, shame, and anger. He snatched the jar off the shelf, turning furiously to the minister. “How dare you defile this space and unsettle our officials with so horrid a display!”

The minister rose, smiling pleasantly as he bowed his head, his manner nonchalant. “May Ovye be at peace, it was not my intention to startle him. The Royal Queen Dowager simply wished to exhibit that as a caution to the officials against sedition.” He nodded at the jar.

The king fought to contain his anger as he regarded his cousin. Minister of Defense Odafe Beliko Efetobo was a man of average stature, and though handsome with curled red locks, neatly shaven mutton chops, and light green eyes, he wore proudly the domineering trait that characterized the Efetobo clan and made him almost unbearable.

“Sedition?” the king spat. “It is the role of scholars and officials to scrutinize the court and unveil what is right or wrong.”

The minister lifted his chin, practically sneering as he condescended, “It is the role of officials to carry out their assigned tasks rather than questioning the rule of their sovereign. Thus, they can elude rebellious ideas and avoid throwing the court into chaos by repeating the mistakes of past ministers. Ovye is still young and filled with the naïve idealism of his late mentor, in time he will understand.”

Pushing down his ire, the king settled a piercing gaze on the minister. His voice was level as he cautioned, “Onótu Odafe, do you dare patronize us? Have you forgotten to whom you speak?”

The minister paused, taking in the commanding amber gaze which compelled his submission. He bent to his knee, bowing his head. “May Ovye forgive my insolence.”

“Leave our sight,” the king commanded.

Miguo, Ovye.” Rising with head bowed, the minister backed away from the king and exited the hall, the other officials following suit.

Alone now but for his attendants, the young king clutched the jar in his hands, lowering his head.

“Grand Eunuch Iroro, you are here!” he heard Eunuch Edewor greet his mentor. “Did you witness the nerve on Onótu Odafe just now? He may be the Queen Dowager’s nephew, but that arrogance will lead him to his death!”

“And that loquacious tongue will lead you to yours,” Eunuch Iroro warned. “Silence!” He bowed, approaching the king. “Please excuse me, Ovye. I was delayed while attending to the appeals.” The king remained silent. Head lowered, Eunuch Iroro walked around to face him, but when he looked up, he immediately fell to his knees. “My Lord! Please forgive this servant’s ineptitude and shed no more precious tears!”

The other attendants dropped to their knees in alarm, crying in unison, “Ovye’s servants remain loyal and dutiful, may he relinquish his sorrow!”

Eunuch Iroro lifted his head, pleading, “Ovyeme, please issue a command.”

The young king shook his head, lifting a hand to wipe his tears. “You may be loyal and dutiful, but that is not true for all our ministers and officials. You welcome our command,” he regarded Eunuch Iroro through mournful eyes, “but Iroro, it is not enough for us to simply command the court or rule over the kingdom. It was at our insistence that Royal Tutor Edojah took up the topic of the court for discussion. Our very words can cause a man’s ruin, how much more our reign over the kingdom.”

“But Ovye’s reign, and Ovye’s words, too, can save and change lives,” Eunuch Iroro asserted.

The king lifted his head, regaining his composure. His amber eyes gleamed with steely resolve. “We know, Iroro. That is why we intend to change things from now on. We are sixteen this year, and we shall take command of our court and rule of our kingdom.” He looked at the jar in his hands, gently touching the lid. The tongue floating within etched painfully in his mind alongside other unforgettable wounds. “And we shall cherish our people, with all their ideals.” 


© Copyright 2019 OE. All rights reserved.

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