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That was the very first time in many years I had an opportunity to interact with princess TT at a personal level because male servants were not allowed to get closer to the princess. Sometimes, you could turn and look in the opposite direction whenever any of the princesses was passing by. Other princes tried their luck to marry her but all did not go well. Don’t be ridiculous, I told myself and decided to hold my worries and wait since that was the only available solution at my disposal. I even had no idea of exactly where we are except knowing like it was an island. Suddenly, the carriage stopped signaling that we had reached our destination. Princess TT stepped out of the carriage and offered me her hand. I felt bad and ashamed, I didn’t like being in that state but I remembered It was not my duty to like or dislike anything here. I was now “a wife.”I took her hand, and she helped me down.
"You are mine ,Imani.
Mine you will forever be ,the day they separate us dont give up on me ,put me in prayers. Promise to be with me and I will make you strong .
If you let me out,they will see your weakness and you will die .You cannot live with me ,yet you cannot survive without me .You are mine, Imani .
You are the one I love."Those were words of Katonde to Imani;the girl he loved most and yet denied a chance to love her.
It is time, Imani .She left the maids room in the mid of the night when she received news that her love of life was missing in the kingdom .She knew that this was the time she expected her enemies to execute their injustices to her ,so she was prepared,determined and ready for this .It wasn't a shocking news to her as she expected that this was would happen . She barely found sleep ,she couldn't hear any advice or consolations, she only had one big goal to achieve and that was to get her love of life whether dead or alive .The goal was clear in her mind. Now it was time to evaluate the SMART aspect in her goal.
My entire love life I knew am going to be remote controlled since the early days of my childhood working as a shamba boy in the Jungle Kingdom .I always knew that I was never going to be able to choose whom to marry.Growing up in the Kingdom I really experienced humiliation beyond description ,from earning a slavery simply because my parents failed to remit the annual thirty percent of our farm produce .
They were forced to give me out to the Jungle kingdom to work and serve for an intended period of seven months; the period that since then has never expired;now am a man ready to marry .
I didn’t have any rights to choose .My opinions and feelings didn’t matter to anyone ,not even my own family.I have been alone and I have learnt to do ,think and practice what am told and not what I feel.
In fact,my father viewed me as a tool to gain more favours from the royal family ,they created an alliance with the kingdom of decrish-a very powerful kingdom -by marrying me off to one of their princess against my wish .My desire to marry somebody I cherished kept on dwindling day in day out.
Imani stepped out of her room into the pool of moonlight ,listening to the demon as he paced inside her mind.
IT IS TIME ,IMANI.THE KINGDOM’S MEN ARE WAITING TO SEE YOUR NEXT MOVE.YOUR LOVE IS ALREADY OUT OF THE KINGDOM AND THEY ARE IN HURRY TO HIDE HIM TOGETHER WITH THE PRINCESS TO A DESTINATION DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO FIND.TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVE BECAUSE THEY ARE DETERMINED TO HARM YOU AS PER THE PRINCESS’S COMMAND.
She knelt and poured the contents of her water bottle into the ashes of last night’s fire that kept the kingdom warm from the cold ,stirring with her fingers ,working the mixture into a gritty paste.
All round her,the forest was dark and still ,wrapped in silence.With great bravery she escaped.Nothing moved except her .High above in the canopy ,a pale mist clung to the leaves.Thin tendrils of vapour hung in the air,as if trees were holding their breath,waiting for the dawn.Imani kept on making suspicious moves through the ways she understood best though in suspicious directions.
In her unsuspicious journey she meets the demon of the forest;the Black Mamba appears.
‘COME ON ,IMANI,hissed the demon ,THEY ARE WATCHING YOU AND THEY ARE DETERMINED TO ELIMINATE YOU BUT YOU DON’T HAVE WORRY I SHALL PROTECT YOU FROM THEIR EVIL PLANS AND YOU SHALL GET THE LOVE OF YOUR HEART.”
The last part of the demon’s words caught Imani's attention as it matched with her ultimate goal.She didn’t think beyond questioning the character of the demon but to corporate with it.Imani’s hands hovered over the ash paste and trembled .
”STUPID LADY.DO NOT SHOW YOUR FEAR.YOU KNOW HOW CRUEL THE KINGDOM MEN ARE AND WHAT THEY CAN DO IF THEY SEE YOUR FEAR."
Imani breathed in deeply feeling her lungs with cool night air.She tried to block her mind from the purpose of her task since she had then found company of the devil but it proved difficult.
She worked faster,scraping and squeezing the wet ash in her fists,allowing water run out between her fingers .Then the demon began to smear the ash on Imani's face from the forehead through the cheeks to the upper part of her chest and neck atleast to eliminate the fear that was speedly overwhelming her.
She could feel the ash mixture dry and hardened like a shell.Next,she smeared the ash paste on her bare arms ,painting long sinous bodies of snakes from her shoulder to her wrists.
As the paste dried ,it glowed white in the moonlight ,bright against her dark melanine skin.
As time goes by, the distance between the two lover birds got longer and longer.
Thought after thought went down her thinking lane things proved to be turning worse through this well orchestrated plan by Kombo the great King to let her daughter princess TT forcefully marry Katonde as princess TT had refused three proposals from other kingdom’s well known princes to marry her and now it was an embarrassment to the royal family and the entire Jungle Kingdom and particularly her father king Kombo.
Princess TT was growing old and now she was at the latest age when many girls got into marriage life.She was the only one remaining in her age set .The King was worried!
It could be for a princess but not for a mere village boy at least for a prince. Since when did things change, Katonde questioned his instincts. In the old days, only girls were forced to a man and now today am forced to love and marry the princess.
This will happen over my dead body!
Katona had less to do but only to murmur some words of courage within his throat.
The Black Mamba moved out of the bush. He was a big man,thick-necked, like a bull buffalo. His anger was unpredictable like one, too.
He wore antelope-made skin clothes with a greenish painting that camouflaged with the immediate environment.
A big necklace made from black Mamba’s skin ran diagonally from his shoulders across the upper chest, through the lungs, and to the back. Imani got even more terrified than the task before her.
It was time to execute the plan and teamwork was necessary. Men lined up to have their arms painted with her dark magic,
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