*Note: Due to the lack of time submitting this into the competition there I didn’t get to take many screenshots. I only have the bare minimum which is … one. After the results I will update this with the rest of the screenshots. Enjoy! 🙂
When I was 5, I had lost a pendant my mha mha beckoned me not to lose. I had only taken it off to admire it’s beauty, but ended up dropping it in the snow that cold afternoon. My bha bha sensed my frantic nature and took me by the hand to help me look for it. Being 3 years older than me, he couldn’t find it either and consulted me as I weeped. When it was time to face mha mha, he claimed he took it from me as an antic. I asked why he took the condemnation for me and he replied because I was his sha sha and it’s his duty to protect me and before he could one day protect Arundi, our country, he had to protect me first.
That was 14 years ago and my fondest memory of my bha bha.
Whispers surround my room, as the servants leave to report back to one another about the current emotional state of their beloved Dona. They don’t dare discuss tragedy matters in here for it may cripple their Dona. But for I, as the Dona, care not for what they keep hidden, even if he was my beloved elder brother, my bha bha. It happened 5 weeks ago, 8 weeks before his coronation, when I was given the news of his death. It stroked a fatal blow to my heart and left an empty void in my soul, but not too much to uphold the announcement of me becoming the new Dona, the 100th ruler in the long lineage of Dons and Donas.
In still, no one dared share the details of what happened to my bha bha, for it may affect my desire to become their Dona, and in the words of my mother, my mha mha, “it’s better this way”.
“Does this outfit suit your liking,” my most valued servant, Yelza, disrupts my thoughts. “or maybe this one.”
“Hmm..,” I ponder between the two gowns. “Which one do you fancy best?”
“Well, your majesty, the blue one is awfully gorgeous.” She answers in admiration.
“Then I shall, go with that one.” Jumping out of bed, making my way to her. “Now help me dress in a hurry, I can’t be late to my first meeting with the council.”
As I walk, through the palace to the designated area, talk among persons diminish into a whisper, leaving only scrutiny in its wake.
Upon arriving sits a large table crowded with seven councilmen and a councilwoman present, all awaiting for the head of the table to be filled. As I go to occupy the seat, thoughts of all my predecessors evade my mind. They were given this same spot at the table, but only one other Dona shared this same space as me, my great-grandmother. She was the first to have ever been accepted as a female ruler and since then positions in other scepters have opened up for women, such as the council. I can only hope, I’ll be as effective a ruler as she.
“The Dona has appeared, shall we begin discourse?” the councilman starts, leading them into discussions about an economic framework, infrastructure policies, social protocols, not adhering to any of my opinions, only magnifying my agitation, and then finally my coronation.
“As planned the coronation will take place in 3 weeks, where she will be crowned the new ruler of Arundi.”
Most of them are in agreement, “Is it maybe too early for her to inherit the kingdom, given that she already has had 5 weeks, she may need more time to prepare, especially after the recent death of Reyshi,” asks the councilwoman.
“Our real focus should be, in preparation, that she refrains from falling into the same footsteps, guaranteed that the lineage is blood only, but if she is as foolish as him, then I have my doubts.” another councilman replies.
I slam my hand down in rage.”How dare you speak my brother’s name with such disdain. He was generous and supporting with the leadership of any Don you’d exemplify.” I express. “It would be an honor to even be able to touch his qualifications.”
“What you call generosity,” he states “I call weakness. There is no need for that when ruling a kingdom. That’s how he met his demise.”
The look of devastation wrote across my face as, I stood up and rushed to the door.
“You took things too far, Csek.” Says the councilwoman. “This was her elder brother.”
“There is no room to be soft in ruling a kingdom.” Csek states. “She is much too naive. How will she be able to manage a country?”
Hearing those words, coerced streams down my face and motivation to move me back to my place of solitude. Those whispers I once heard became louder and those eyes became sharper. They followed me into my room until it forced me into a deep slumber.
Snow envelops my body as I rise with a shiver. I have no record of where I am or how I got here. As I search for answers, I hear a voice in a distance.
“Sha Sha” It goes. “Sha Sha”
I turn around and see a familiar figure walking towards me.
“Bha Bha!” I run to him in excitement. “Oh, how I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too, but I’m not here for long,” he explains. “I’m here to talk to you, to the new ruler of Arundi.”
“Oh, Bha Bha” the storm starts to rave, “I don’t have the ability to be Dona. They cast me aside, avoid my input, I never had a chance.”
“How do you expect anyone to give you a chance, when you haven’t even given yourself a chance?” He asks.
“But Bha Bha” The storm worsens. “This was your dream. How could I ever mount up to something you’ve always wanted to be? Especially, when their version of what a ruler should be differs from me. How can I be the ruler they want me to be?”
“The thoughts of others aren’t to matter, it’s only yours and what you believe in.” He explains. “A ruler never runs away, they face their challenges head on. They will belittle, discourage, and lose faith in you, but only you can stop the… “
“What?” I yell back as the storm roars. I hadn’t realized how the storm has worsened. I could no longer make out his words.
I contemplate his guidance and their validity. The only way I’ll be the Dona I aspire, is to be me and my bha bha had the faith in that, and me.
At last the storm calmed and I heard his last words, “Only you can stop the noise.”
I awake by dusk in a pit of sweat and Yelza next to me with a concerning expression.
“How long was my slumber?” I ask her as I jump out of bed.
“At least six hours.” she answers. “You should really lye back down. When I found you were ridden with fever and worn.”
“There is no time, Yelza.” I go to my desk for pen and paper. “My coronation is in 3 weeks. I’m in preparation. Send a notice to the council that we meet two weeks from today. And that’s an order.”
“Yes, your majesty.” she complies. “I don’t mean to pry, but what are you writing at this time?”
“My policy as the new Dona.” I tell.
2 weeks after my first council meeting, I held a 2nd one, where I will exhibit my ability to be the new Dona.
Instead of sitting in the chair, like before, I stood. “I appreciate you all agreeing to meet with me once again before I am crowned, Dona.”
“Agree would be a ridiculous way of putting it.” Csek replies. “Why have you summoned us? We all agreed that after your last performance, you are not fit to rule this country.”
“I agree. That is not how a person inheriting a kingdom should act.” I say. “However, your actions aren’t up to par for someone that will become a part of my council.
“Like my predecessors, new rulers are allowed to rid and appoint 2 new council partisans.
“I shall execute that to rid anyone disloyal and who awaits for my demise.”
Silence fills the air as I pause to wait for any move of discomfort or objection, then continue with my objective.
“Last time we were here, you all discussed the following topics. I acknowledged everyone’s views and put together a framework that I feel best suits the current state of Arundi.” I reach for my paper. “Shall we begin discourse?”
I stand in waiting behind the doors for my name to be called in front of thousands of people. Nerves wrack as I hope my people will accept me, but calm in the thought of my bha bha. Only I could stop the noise, but as I heard the following name Djozelle Yse Asette Nubia, I welcomed it, emerging as their Dona, the 100th ruler of Arundi.