Chapter 10: The Rebellion
“Hasani! What’s that?” Rania asks excitedly as she leans forward in the saddle to point at a strange creature that performs graceful tricks in a designated space.
Hasani comes up beside her as Suma bays a little once she’s brought to a halt beside Ra. Hasani’s astute gaze surveys the scene until it lands on the creature.
A smile pulls at his lips. “That is a Carthellian Sea Dragon. They’re one of the smallest races of dragons that are native to the Carthellian Reefs.”
Rania’s eyes widen a little. The dragon is just a little smaller than the hippocampi, so if this is the smallest then what would the biggest be? The Carthellian Sea Dragon looks just as it’s called, a dragon. Except if has webbing between its talons on its forelegs and back legs. A graceful looking dorsal fin begins at the top of its head to the tip of its tail where it meets an elegant tail fin that looks like a pointed fan.
Its overall coloring is a peach color with pale blue being the color of its fins. The dragon’s most striking feature, however, is the ruby red eyes. The dragon seems to have no pupil as the iris seems to take up the entirety of its eyes, yet it seems to see just fine.
For a moment, Rania forgets everything that has occurred leading her up to this point. The wonders of this new world overtakes every other negative thought to replace it with pure delight.
Ra’s ears twitch as the pace in which his eyes dart around pick up just the slightest bit, but he’s not the only one. Suma seems similarly disturbed but expresses her anxiety more noticeably due to her own wild nature.
Rania only half pays attention as her eyes stay glued to the small dragon. However, Hasani’s eyes immediately begin searching the large crowd for the source of the hippocampi’s disturbance.
Amidst the crowd of spectators, a few hooded figures subtlety move through the crowd heading straight for Rania.
Not even a second before Hasani notices them does Rania strangely become aware of the impending danger. She rips her eyes from the dragon and immediately makes eye contact with one of the hooded figures.
Quickly they all rush forward at once, weapons being brandished, and the bazaar erupting into screaming chaos. Mers swim left and right as they rush to flee the bizarre while palace guards close in and attempt to restore order.
“Princess!” Hasani shouts as he has Suma race up to Ra’s side. He grabs hold of Ra’s reigns in preparation to have the hippocampi to swim at top speed back to the palace.
“What the hell’s happening?” Rania cries out as one of the hood figures try to approach. But they’re intercepted by a nearby guard who locks his spear with the person’s sword.
Hasani curses as he looks around for an escape, but there are too many people running about in blind panic. “Members of the rebellion. They must have caught wind of your presence in the bazaar and thought it an opportune chance to abduct you.”
Rania’s hands tighten around Ra’s reigns. Yet another downside to the royal life. Things would probably have been much better had her father left well enough alone. If he hadn’t had summoned her to Zivaria then she’d probably be safe in her own bed right about now. She’d be blissfully unaware of this chaotic world that she’s been thrust into. Now she’s starting to see why her mother had refused to return.
Who’d want to if your life is in constant peril just from being associated with the Pharaoh?
“Get back!” Shouts Hasani as he brandishes a sword that had been aimed directly at Ra to prevent Rania’s escape.
Ra gives an angry whinny as he begins to shuffle a bit after the mer is thrown further away.
“We must flee!” Hasani pulls sharply on Ra’s reigns, who didn’t need much prompting to take off towards safety. Suma and Hasani trail behind to deal with those who dared to pursue them. A feat made more difficult when more of the rebels appeared atop their own hippocampi. These being of various shades of darker colors ranging from browns to black.
The rebels quickly close in, those closest having already attempting to reach out and snatch Rania from Ra’s saddle. Each time this happens, Ra gives a sharp snort as he either picks up the pace or snaps at the offending hand.
Rania’s hands are nearly white as she grips tightly onto the reins for dear life. How the hell did this happen again, comes that typical sarcasm when she finds herself in bad situations. That question is quickly followed by her obvious answer. Oh right, deadbeat father turned king decided to kidnap me and put me in the middle of this mess! Her blood begins to boil, a tell-tale sign of the impending actions she may or may not take. All depending on how quick Hasani is to stop her.
What little fear might’ve remained quickly bleeds into anger as a strange fury overtakes her. The emotion feels strange, and her body seems to react all on its own as her mind settles into a strange calm.
A foreign sensation begins to course through her, pulsing outward like a dam about to burst.
Hasani abruptly turns to her in alarm, obviously aware of what’s happening.
Rania has every desire to ask him what’s going on, but no words come out and her blood boils hotter until its searing in her veins. Whatever it is that’s welling up in her, obviously isn’t something that’s healthy to contain. The longer it remains inside, the more it tries to rip her body apart to get out.
Her surroundings grow silent as she struggles with herself. The chaos has ceased in favor of a nervous calm that has the rebels backing away ever so slowly. Hippocampi whiny and shuffle in a panic, clearly sensing some impending danger.
Yet Ra seems completely calm beneath her, as if he’s certain that he’s not in any danger.
A minute passes until Rania’s eyes begin to water. She can’t hold it in anymore, whatever it is. A deep exhalation of breath, and she abruptly releases the pent up sensation.
A tumultuous serge of white particles blazes from her body like an erupting volcano, hitting all within her vicinity.
Surprised shouts ring out around her as people and animals are sent flying. The terrified screams of the hippocampi are deafening, but in the midst of this discord, she’s just fine.
Ra hasn’t budged an inch and remains completely nonchalant about the situation.
Meanwhile, his rider gawks at the scene before her. The bazaar has mostly been leveled with debris still floating precariously around the area. People and animals are scatter throughout the streets, either unconscious or trapped under the remnants of a building.
But she never even heard the destruction. The only thing that ever flowed in her ears at the moment she released that energy was the sound of her own screaming as it ripped out of her.
A quick glance at her body has her gawking once more as the markings on her tail and torso emit an intense glow.
However, the sound of groans grasps her attention once more as she twists her body all about her in search of Hasani and Suma.
Judging by the fact that they are no longer beside her and Ra, they had must’ve gotten caught in the blast as well.
For the most part things seem to have worked out for her. Briefly she finds it strange that she’s maintaining even a semblance of calm after the calamity she just caused, but, strangely, it doesn’t bother her all that much.
The rebels have all but been immobilized, and she’s still in one piece. For the most part. Rania’s fairly certain that she’ll have some kind of mental breakdown later.
“Princess…!” A momentary rasp diverts her attention once more. Searching amongst the rubble with her gaze, she quickly finds Hasani pushing himself out from beneath the remnants of a tent. Suma appears from beneath the cloth a moment later. She has a few scratches here and there, but Rania’s thankful that no major injuries were inflicted.
She turns back to Hasani. Blue liquid trickles from the left side of his forehead, with identical liquid flowing from a gash in his right arm. It doesn’t take a genius for Rania to realize that it’s blood, but she sets her questions aside in favor of dismounting Ra to check on Hasani.
“We’re going to pretend for a second that I completely understand what the hell just happened,” she begins with a quick wave of her hands. “Are you okay? It wasn’t intentional, but I am sorry!”
Hasani gives a small chuckle that’s interrupted by a wince as he lightly shakes his head. His braid seems to have come completely undone and now floats languidly about him whenever he moves.
He smiles. “It’s quite fine. I did not expect that you would come into your power so quickly, but I suppose when your life is in danger that will happen.”
Rania blinks owlishly. “Power? What the hell kind of power is that? I leveled the whole fucking street!”
Hasani grimaces at her loud screeches. “I shall explain later. For now, it would be best if we head back to the palace as soon as possible.”
Rania says nothing more. If the man is choosing to ignore her profanity, then obviously this isn’t the best place to sit around. Even if the rebels are unconscious, but then, so are the guards.
She cringes after taking another quick look at the scene before climbing atop Ra and following Hasani and Suma back towards the palace.
A scowl desperately tries to pull at her face as Rania engages in this ridiculous stare off. The subject of said stare off? Her father, of course.
The two are unrelenting in their fierce gazes as the servants present, seem to back away nervously. Once more, she finds herself in the damn throne room surrounded by all the stuffy court nobles.
Though everyone knows better than to utter a word to either member of the royal family. Even Hasani remains dutifully silent as he stands off to the side.
After their return to the palace, Hasani was immediately seen to by a healer and the hippocampi taken away to be tended to. Not even a minute after having his wounds patched, did a servant appear out of nowhere with a summons from the Pharaoh.
Obviously, news travels fast in this place, but that’s the least of Farrah’s concerns.
She glares at Pharaoh Aharon with a savage glint in her eyes as he sits atop his high and mighty throne. He easily matches her gaze and more, but clearly his daughter isn’t one to relent as easily as those around him. The fact alone annoys him. For so long there has been no other to directly challenge him except Amarine. Then he didn’t mind, now? When faced with his own blood, its intolerable.
But a stubborn daughter isn’t something he can mold and shape to how he desires. Her earlier antics can attest to that.
The two continue to stare at one another for maybe another five minutes before the Pharaoh finally relents. There are more important things to do than engage in childish horseplay with his own daughter.
Pharaoh Aharon’s gaze never strays from Rania as he calls out, “Hasani.”
Hasani stands a little straighter as he bends his torso into a bow with a hand over his heart.
“My Pharaoh,” comes his steady reply as his eyes slide shut whilst awaiting his king’s next words.
“Recount to me all that transpired in the bazaar down to the most minute detail.”
Rania suddenly feels as though there’s a collective breath being held amongst the participants of the court. The air, or water, all of a sudden seems pretty chilled as thirty sets of eyes remain glued to the high throne and the duo standing beneath it.
Even the guards stationed on either side of the throne have gone rigid as all await the next few moments in nervous anticipation.
Hasani, though, doesn’t seem the least bit bothered by the oppressive feelings of the throne room as he launches into a detailed report of earlier events.
Rania aptly tunes out for the majority of the explanations as her gazes idly slides about the throne room. At least what she can see without turning her head. No need to give her father anymore reason to criticize her as he’s done up until now.
Like the vast majority of the palace, the throne room is steeped in gold with a large representation of whites and shades of turquoise with some blacks spread throughout. These colors mostly seen on tapestries and banners adorning the walls. Each one strategically placed between a strange looking Egyptian torch that holds a brightly glowing orb in place of a flame.
Pillars line the center, leading up to the throne, with a ring of platforms comprising of the seats of each court member sitting high above them. Not as high as the throne, but high enough.
Each face is a shade of brown, different from the last, but each person possessed of a beauty unique to mers.
Rania flinches just the slightest at the sharpness of her name as she returns her attention to the stern face of Pharaoh Aharon.
His lips are set in a grim line as his grey eyes seem to darken with thought.
She waits in silence, fully prepared to fill this throne room with her rage should Pharaoh Aharon utter a criticism.
“Where is General Shukura?” He calls out as he takes his gaze from Rania to momentarily search the room.
Immediately after, a woman appears behind Rania and Hasani. She swims past the two and slips into a bow before the Pharaoh. The woman is pretty, Rania notes, but there’s an unwavering astuteness to her sharp features that doesn’t quite sit well with Rania.
“What may I do for my Pharaoh?” Yet the woman’s tone is smooth like honey, with a powerful resonance that matches her commanding exterior.
Pharaoh Aharon props his head up on his fist against the arm of his throne. His facial expression quickly takes on a rather dispassionate appearance.
The Pharaoh takes a quick glance at Rania, effectively leaving her with a bad feeling. “I leave Naunet’s tutelage in your most capable hands.” Rania’s jaw drops, but a quick glare from her father has her frowning instead. That’s the reason I was brought along for this ridiculous summons? Rania takes a quick look at Shukura who has simply uttered a sound of compliance. Who even is this woman? Rania’s certain that if she were to look up an Amazon in a history book, a picture of Shukura would surely be there.
The woman isn’t so much as completely built like one than the mere strength of her presence makes her to be.
Shukura is of a more bronze complexion, with fierce dark eyes and wild dark hair held in a bun by an intricate metal clasp. Like everyone else, there is a fine line of kohl around her eyes with some kind of Egyptian ankh tattooed across her back.
Rania’s gaze briefly glides over the length of Shukura’s smoky grey tail, to her dark blue fins. Everything about her just screamed warrior. Especially given the golden chest plate she dons with golden vambraces.
Rania stiffens when Shukura suddenly turns her intense focus on her. “A pleasure Princess Naunet. I would prefer we begin immediately. Your instruction begins promptly tomorrow before sunrise.”
Sweet Lord have mercy! What the fuck kind of time is that? Rania bites her tongue to refrain from embarrassing herself before an audience.
One glance at Hasani’s bemused expression and she’s quite certain that she’s royally fucked.