Will it rain?

Bakoena Kingdom

The king came back from his royal duties with anger radiating through his body, he was riding his horse at full speed, he stopped at the palace gates then got off the horse and went inside with his guard right by his side. " Ask the maidens to bring me bathing water, I will be in my chamber" the guard bowed his head and went without a word, when the king is like this no one dared say anything to him. The guard ran to the where the maidens were, " One of you must take bathing water to the king, you will find him in his chamber" he then walked away bumping into the queen. " My apologies my queen I was not looking to where I was going" he quickly apologised to the queen, but her concern was that he has never acted this way so surely something was wrong. "What is happening?" She asked worried that something might have happened to the king. “My queen, the meeting the king and I went to didn’t go well, I don’t have all the details but something bad must have happened because the king even left the elders behind." the queen was puzzled. "He left the elders behind" the queen couldn’t believe it " Yes my queen" the queen was quiet for a moment " You may take your leave I will take it from here" the guard bowed his head and left.

The queen saw a maiden carrying bathing water heading to the king's chamber, she called the maiden and asked her to bring the water to her, she took it and asked for her to look after the princess while she went to the king. She went in and put the water basin on floor then took a cream and bathing towel. " Come my king, let me help you that tension you have" she held out her hand to him and he took it then they moved to sit on the chair next to the bed with the queen standing behind him. She took the towel and dipped it into the water and massaged his shoulders. "Tell me what made my king so angry?" she asked with a sweet and soothing voice. " King of Romo kingdom is evil my queen" he said anger still visible in his words "What did that greedy Pedi do this time" The Romo king was known to be very greedy and selfish, the queen was not surprised that he is the source of the king's anger. " We went to a meeting there since he sent word requesting it and I took elder Simon and elder Lance with me. When we got there, he informed us about a deal he wanted us to go into" The king put his head on his hands and rubbed it hard in frustration. "What kind of deal was it my king? it must have been good because that kingdom is very healthy" indeed the Romo kingdom was one of the wealthiest kingdoms around. " They are only wealthy because they sell people!" said the king in anger and the queen's eyes were now big as sources "What do you mean they sell people my king?" the king shook his head as if not believing what the king of Romo was doing. 'how can one person be that cruel'

" I mean exactly that my queen, do you know the reason they have only wealthy and middle class people in their kingdom? it’s because they sell those with nothing to defend themself with to human traffickers that come from the northern African countries. They pay millions for those people and when they sell virgins, they make 5 million a girl. That bloody king wants me to do the same to my people since he is running out of his own stock now since his treating them like cattle." the queen was frozen in place ' what is that man? God or a god, why would he treat his people like that' the queen wanted to say but she knew it will only add onto the king's anger. "what does he think I am? so sell my people like that because they have nothing! how despicable does he think I am?" the king continued to vent. " Am glad you turned him down my king, we don’t do that here and we never will. Yes, we have high unemployment rate and our people are struggling but that is no reason to sell them off. Besides, we have the princess now the kingdom will prosper just like the gods said." said the queen trying to lighten up the mood at the end. "You are right my queen but what infuriates me is the fact that my old elders wanted in on that deal. what kind of elder do I have?" 'oh, bloody greedy old men!' the queen cursed them out in her mind. " Mind them not my king, they are just greedy, and greed is to be their downfall one of these days"

A month later

The kingdom was very busy, maidens going up and down cooking and others serving drinks to the guests that had already arrived for the princess's introduction ceremony. Men were standing by the kraal talking and discussing about which cow to slaughter for the event. The king went towards the other men and pointed at the cow he wanted slaughtered. " That's the cow I want slaughtered and 15 sheep to go with it. I will inform my queen to tell the maidens to slaughter 25 chickens." said the king wearing a proud smile " Don’t you think that is waste of livestock?" questioned elder Simon " That is nothing compared to what this kingdom will have because of the princess and I want what is best for my one and only princess" said the king not losing his smile. "Don’t you think that will make the prince's heart heavy? because he didn’t get this on his introduction." elder Simon pressed on " Simon how will the prince know how his introduction was when he was only a baby when it was done? Unless you are to share that information with him." the poor elder started sweating " No no no my king that is not what am saying" quickly corrected the elder now shaking in fear "It better not be or I will know it was you and you will be banished from this kingdom" said the king leaving the elder with his mouth hung open."

Inside the chamber the queen has just finished dressing in her royal attire, completing the look with royal beads, she was now ready to go welcome their guests as they arrived. Big and small kingdoms were invited. But the queen was more concerned about the weather, the sun was out with no sign of rain. The king entered the chamber and stood there admiring the beauty of his queen. But the queen was deep in thoughts oblivious to his presence in the room. He went and placed a hand on her shoulder and turned her around. "My queen what seems to be the problem?" the queen sigh " Nothing my king I am well." the king was now more worried. "But you don’t look well my queen in fact you look bothered." the queen knew that she will not get away with it because the king knows her too well.

" Am worried about the weather my king, you know for the ceremony to be success we need the rain. Am afraid we may have done something wrong and the gods are angry." the king was also worried, but he didn’t want to show it to his queen." Do not worry my queen, I know the weather is not in our favour for this ceremony, but I have faith in the gods. The Bakoena are rain people, creatures of the water and they will never disappoint one of their own." The king said all this to console his queen but in fact he was also worried and feeling useless because there was nothing, he could do to fix the problem.

They both went out to welcome their guests as the maidens ushered them to their respective seats. The royals of BaTloung kingdom one of the wealthiest kingdoms around after Romo arrived at Bakoena. Riding in the most beautiful carriage, pulled by two beautiful, healthy, and well taken care of horses. When they stepped out every royal that was present was envious. King Lerumo and his queen met them halfway to welcome them. " Sunrise greetings old friend" said king Lerumo sharing a handshake with his friend. " Sunrise greetings dear friend, how have you been fairing?" greeted back the king with a pleasant smile, the two have been friends since their youth. " Greetings my queen, let me take you to join the other queens because when these two start talking we will stand here till the sun sets." said queen Mabotle and the queen of BaTloung smiles gently walking along with her. " Old friend its almost time for the ceremony, are we waiting for other kingdoms or we are going to start now." asked the king of BaTloung. "Actually, old friend you were the only one left to arrive we can start now." the king of BaTloung nodded. " I hear your old friend but how are we going to start? I mean that I know the ceremony requires rain but today the sun is out, and the birds are singing their beautiful melodies. Maybe you picked a wrong day to do this." the king nodded in agreement. "That is what I have been worried about old friend, but I know the gods of the land are watching."

as they were discussing the matter, the chief priest walked up to them. " My king its time" he said and walked away as the king followed. While they were busy in the hut with the queen holding the princess and the chief priest burning incense praising and summoning the Bakoena ancestors. The king had a heavy heart worried about what the other kingdoms will say about this. While they were busy outside people were gossiping about how the ceremony will take place when there is no rain. One of the kings who was standing close to the door spoke. " This is a waste of our time; no ceremony will take place here. We all know that these are rain people and today there is no sign of it. I could have been busy sorting out my kingdom's affairs than this." the king of BaTloung was annoyed by the comment. "No one forced you to come so if you feel like you are wasting your time the gates are open my king." the other king kept quiet.

Just then the chief priest came out of the hut and addressed the crowd. " Royals please move away from the door so that we can place the princess for the ceremony to begin." the Pedi king of Romo chuckled. " How is that going to happen when there is no rain?" the chief priest was annoyed " I don’t argue with fools, move away so that we can begin." the Pedi king felt anger raising from the pit of his stomach but he moved anyway. The other royals also moved away making space for the princess to be placed on. In this kingdom to introduce a child to the gods there must rain, a quiet rain and the child is placed right on the outside on the door to be rained on until it passes. That is the way of the rain people, usually it would rain starting at night until the day of the ceremony and stop when the introduction has been done.

The chief priest went back inside and asked the queen to undress the princess, the queen did as told but all the while she was shaking in fear of what was about to happen. When done undressing the princess leaving her in her birthday suit, she and the king were instructed to both hold the princess and go place her outside on the spot, right in front of the door on a cow skin mat laid there. With each step they took the weather was changing outside, dark clouds started forming quickly and as soon as they took a step out rain drops fell from the sky. Warm quiet summer rain fell, and everyone was shocked, the king and queen put their princess on the cow skin with the rain pouring on her quietly. The chief priest was moving pacing praising the gods of Bakoena. The little princess kept blinking her small little eyes with her feet up and little hands moving around as if trying to catch some of the rain drops.

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