Here’s Sections IV & V of Fourth Day: Chapter Three. I hope y’all like it. I know I do. And of course, keep up with the whole series by clicking here.
Amina returned and challenged the queen of the Sand-sprites.
The Queen had to relinquish her name and could only use it if she was no longer Queen.
Amina walked into the royal chamber and called the Queen by her “common” name.
“Halima! I would speak to you.”
The court fell silent. They knew the Queen seized the throne and kept it by sheer ruthlessness. No one had ever learned how powerful she truly was, but everyone feared how powerful she seemed already.
The Queen looked down from her throne, made of the very sand that they stood on, kept by her power, and shaped by her very character.
“You dare call me by that name? You forget your place here, girl. What power do you bear that gives you the…”
“The seed of a King in me, and they give me the power to rule over you…and your kingdom.”
The Queen raised a hand and sensed the children in Amina’s womb, but did not understand the power they held. Still, Halima did not become Queen by being afraid or cautious in the face of the unknown.
“You would battle me? While you are with child? The ‘seed of a king’, unrecognized by this throne? You will fall hard this day, and your fall will remind everyone why I continue to rule.”
“No, Halima. I will establish a new royal house with the seed of a King you know nothing about. A King you have mocked me for over the last few years.”
Amina turned to the court of 70 women and pointed a finger at each of them as she said, “I know your hearts, all of you.”
She then faced the Queen and said in a commanding voice, “Halima, I know what must be done. I will do what must be done.”
“A usurper who bears bastards?” said Oru’e; one of the queen’s champions in jest. The hall laughed. Amina didn’t have a sense of humor. The earth literally turned to whirlpool of dust under Oru’e, and the harder she struggled to control it, the stronger the current became until she was sucked under and carried to the depths of the earth beyond even where she could rescue herself. The crater that was left made that clear to everyone that Amina was not the same person they had known.
“If you are done thinking about your future positions, I suggest that one of you, any of you, all of you stand forward to defend your queen’s throne, or stand behind me as I establish mine.
“I am many years younger and many times more ruthless than she, so choose well. The winner will take it all.”
It was clear that the court would support Halima. Amina looked crestfallen, but in her heart she smiled. Being disregarded and despised made for a plain-realistic look of the world. She knew them for the snakes that they were and they had to die. All of them.
Nedeseh had agreed with her that she had to be seen as doing this by herself without him.
“Unseen, Amina. I will be unseen. I will be the shadow that is next to your very body beneath your clothes. No harm will come to you or our children. I will see to that.”
There is a great thing about being powerful and in love. Promises are guarantees and even a sigh is a commitment made. The battle for the throne of the Queen of the Sand-Sprites was not anything like the earth giants. Nedeseh learned that Amina never really needed him to do more than love her. He had already made her a Queen among the Sand-Sprites and she made sure they knew.
Halima stood up and the throne shifted into the form of a sphinx made of a mist of dust. It arched its back until she sat comfortably, then it stared at Amina with predatory eyes and the members of court scampered away. It made ready to pounce, then changed its mind and started to stalk her in a perfect circle.
“So, liar and bearer of bastards…what will you do now? I have no kindness in me. The children in your womb are not my weakness.”
Amina stood perfectly still, then lowered her head and said, “True. Your over-confidence is.”
The sphinx began to convulse, throwing Halima off its back before falling apart into a cloud of dust.
Amina then asked no one in particular, “She doesn’t fear people, but is terrified of scorpions?”
A scorpion of dust slowly rose from the earth beneath, seemingly clawing its way out of hiding. It then shook itself violently, causing its form to become more and more solid. Soon, it was an animated creature of shale. Its pincers large enough to snap the spine of any horse without much effort. Its legs were graceful yet purposeful as it advanced on Halima.
Halima stared at it passively as it raced towards her. When it was almost on top of her, a large jagged rock crashed on it from above.
Halima motioned at the distance behind Amina to a cloud of dust in the distance. It made sense with the trajectory of the rock.
“For a queen, you certainly have little awareness of your kingdom you hope to claim.”, Halima scoffed.
Amina smirked as the form of the scorpion seemed to be struggling under the weight of the rock, but it flailed under the weight, sinking deep into the sands.
“Your manipulation can’t fight the weight.”, Halima said pointedly.
“Halima. You have a grasp of the use of power, but you don’t understand its purposes. It takes more power to create than to destroy.”
The tip of the rock seemed to be animated and a strange pattern burst all over just before it sank beneath the sands. They looked like stress-lines, but they were deliberate, not natural.
Halima sensed the rock wasn’t aiding her cause.
“My scorpion is not fighting the weight of the rock…it is joining with it.”