IN BETWEEN TWO KINGS
One king from the East, known in his country, was a courageous warrior. He feared nothing and would not let any mountain too tall stand in his way. All of his people confided in his ability to win wars and conquer kingdoms. It made his country feared by most and they received many riches because of this. He was also a proud man and always dressed himself in eloquent jewels and the finest garments in the land. He felt he had it all, including myself, his love.
The other king, from the West, was great in his own way. Very intelligent and insightful. He used his gifted skills to win over debates and the minds of large numbers. He also conquered many lands without raising a sword. His people were made of scholars, wise men, and doctors, and many traveled all over the world to see these fine men, this is what created much wealth in his land. He was humble and generous. His garments and jewels were not handsome for he felt rich in his knowledge. He felt he had it all, including myself, his love.
I was a lover to both kings. They were both handsome and loving to me, and my heart was fond of them both in their own ways. One day, I received two letters, one from the king in the East and the other from the West. Both letters read of how the other wanted myself for his wife and queen to his land. I cried all night because of the challenge that was presented. How would I say yes to one and deny the other? I knew I was being selfish and I knew for the longest time that this day would come. Both kings did not care for one another. There would be a great disturbance in the land if they were to find out about this affair.
A royal messenger was sent to my door requesting that I visit the king in the West at once. Without hesitation I headed towards the Western kingdom. As I was leaving in the Western royal caravan, I saw the Eastern king's royal messenger approaching. I tried to turn and shield my face from being seen, but I feared it was too late and he had seen me. He stopped and I could see his mouth agape in disbelief. As soon as he realized who I was and who I was with he turned and ran back towards the Eastern kingdom to alert the king.
The messenger of the East ran into the king’s study and told him all that he had seen. And of course this upset him greatly. He ordered his palace soldiers at once to ready for war. He would destroy the West king and destroy his kingdom until he took what was his back.
I sat and ate in silence with the king of the West. He could tell something was bothering me and asked what was wrong. I was fearful of telling him of how I was also in love with another man and that he too wanted my hand. So I said nothing. He smiled at me with loving eyes and told me that he would protect me no matter what.
We went to bed and as I lay I felt something terrible was approaching. I felt the earth begin to tremble. I got out of bed and ran outside the balcony to see thousands of lights in the distance. The sound of a horn blew loudly from where the lights were. The king of the West was instantly awoken from the sound and came to my side to see that a massive army was approaching. Suddenly I broke down and began to sob at the king’s feet. He pulled me to my feet and asked what was wrong and what I knew about the army. I could no longer contain my lies and I told him about my love for him and the king of the East. The king said nothing and left my side and I now was all alone.
I ran from the palace and out of the Western kingdom to the front lines of the Eastern king’s army. I found him getting ready to charge the kingdom. He grabbed me and pleaded for me to leave and be his wife or he would kill the king of the West and all his people. I begged for him not too and told him my love for both men and how I could not choose. He then told me if I would not choose he would still feel it was his duty to destroy the other king with no mercy. He turned to his men and a loud battle cry roared over the land like thunder. Frightened I ran off, away from both the king of the East and West.
As soon as I reached the peak of a high cliff, I turned to see the Western kingdom go up in flames. I could hear the cry of thousands of lives being lost, all because of me. Walls were being destroyed. Bloodshed in the name of love? It was a burden that I could not live with. And it would not have been fair for me to live while others died because of my selfish desires. I stepped closer to the edge preparing to end my life. But I couldn’t. I was a coward and selfish. I fell to my knees and screamed out the most high for him to take my life at this very spot. But nothing happened. I laid my face in the dirt and cried.
I remained in the same spot and watched the destruction of the Western kingdom until it was no more than rubble and ash. There was nothing but silence. No one emerged from the remains of the city. Not even the Eastern king and his men. My heart thumped faster as I feared they were both killed. And it was my fault. I ran off the cliff and away from all of the disaster. I went back to my home to find that someone had come to burn my home. Now where was I to go? I had lost it all. Everything.
For weeks, I remained hidden with a witch doctor who I was employed to be an assistant too. I waited to hear news of what had happened to the two kings, but no news ever came. Days and nights past, and over the years I became very ill. My life was coming now to its end. As I lay on my death bed, I heard a noise in the night. I was too weak to sit up to see who walked through the door. My eyes were too weak to make out who this person was. He stood over my bed and touched my cheek. I began to shake as I knew who it was. He whispered in my ear. Pain overcame my body. I could feel my linens become soaked with what I knew was my blood. The word repeated itself to me over and over until I passed. It was not the wound that killed me, nor the visitor, but what it was what I had done.