The sound leather smacking against flesh echoes in the bowels of the dungeon of the Nubian Royal Palace. As I march through the corridors and hear her cries I smile. Perhaps this beating will finally break that streak of insolence in that annoying slave.
I wanted to have her sent away a year ago when I first came to the royal Palace. But to my chagrin she has the favor of Prince Ammon and King Ammet. To them, she’s practically like family, maybe even more to the Prince. The way he looks at her it’s clear he has eyes for her. He says she’s just a friend, but I know they’re much more than that. Even though I’m betrothed to be wed to him, I know his heart is with her. In time she could take my kingdom with her charms. I’ll kill her before she gets a chance to do that.
I turn the corner and rush into the hall near the jail cells. Anticipation builds inside me as I look out at the limp body of Prince Ammon’s favored servant stretched out between the posts. In the torchlight I make out the red streaks of welts going across her the golden skin of her soft back. When I brush back her sweat soaked chestnut hair and catch the look in her brown eyes, she gives me that annoying smirk that makes my blood boil.
“Hey, Princess, is that all Sammet’s got?” Isis teases. “The thirty-fifth lashing just didn’t have the same spark as the first-”
I seethe with rage as the back of my hand swats across her cheek. She isn’t fazed by the blow. That light is still in her eyes. What will it take to break this slave?
Isis continues to smile at me as I glare at her. “Forty lashes for serving you soup on the left instead of the right. What’s next Amari?” Isis continues. “You cut off my arm for turning down your bed on the wrong corner tonight?”
I look over at the dagger on Sammet’s twin brother Sammel’s hip. I’m tempted to thrust the insolent bitch through for her smart mouth. But if I kill her she’ll become a martyr. Too many of the king’s servants and soldiers are fond of her.
“Sammet give her forty more lashes!” I demand.
Sammet peers down at the welts on the weary woman’s back and shakes his head. “I will beat her no more.” Sammet says.
“My hand swats across the tall burly man’s cheek. “I order you to beat her!”
Sammet doesn’t back down from his position. And his twin brother seems to be supporting him. “Princess, the punishment has been meted out.” Sammel says.
“If you don’t beat her, I will make sure you get forty lashes!” I order.
“Princess, forty lashes would kill a strong man. It’s a miracle from her God that Isis endured such a beating two days in a row.” Sammet continues. “To beat her any further would kill her.”
“And the king would not be pleased if we killed his favored servant.” Sammel adds. “To the Prince Isis is like a sister and to the king like a daughter.”
And to them she’s like a friend. I wish I could cut her throat right here. “Untie her!” I hiss.
Sammel unties the ropes from Isis’ wrists. As her bonds loosen, Sammet catches the girl’s limp body as she falls and lets her lean on his muscular shoulders. “Isis, are you okay?”
I suck my teeth at the sight of them comforting her. The gentle way they treat her it’s like she’s the princess of Nubia and I’m the slave.
“I think I can make it on my own Sammet.” Isis replies catching the forlorn eyes of the servant.
“But you took forty lashes-”
Isis pulls out of Sammet’s grip and staggers to her feet and smiles at him. “Forty lashes?” She jokes. “I barely felt them. Are you sure you’re not losing your touch Sammel?”
The men perk up at the sight of her smile and share a laugh with her. “Perhaps I need to work on my technique.” Sammel retorts.
“I told you it’s all in the wrist. There’s no blood on my back is there?” Isis says turning around.
Sammel’s eyes take their time going down the slender servants’ shapely back. “There never usually is.”
“I guess I’m tougher than I look.”
My hands clench into fists as Isis pulls up her dress, puts her arms through the straps and smiles at me. “Is
that all you’ve got Amari? Or do we go do this again tomorrow?”
She knows she’s got me. These days it’s getting harder and harder for me to get the guards to follow my orders regarding her punishments because they sympathize with her. But I have to break that insolent spirit of hers before I wed Ammon. It’s the only way I’ll have control over the palace.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to wipe that smile of your face.”
Isis smiles proudly as she looks me dead in my eyes. “You can have Sammet here give me fifty lashes, a hundred lashes or even a thousand. You can even take that whip and beat me yourself. But you’ll never
break me. I’ll die before I ever let that happen.”
Isis takes a deep breath and pulls herself together. As she shuffles around the corner my hands clench into fists. As long as she lives she’ll have their favor. She’ll have their respect. I’ll never be able to reign over them as Queen.
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