Chapitre 1

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"The queen is dead! The queen is dead!"

"Called the High Councilor Mekhet ! That he comes at most, quickly it's urgent!"

"Poor queen! Finally a little relief after weeks of agony."

"Watch your words! It doesn't bode well. It's the whole lineage of Bel'Azal that goes out. And there is no one to take over the succession. Alberial will live on dark days."

"But didn't Queen Abidia leave a son?"

"The prince is a man, he has no legitimacy to ascend the throne."

"Humph! He has only one more pack between the legs. Have you only seen his face? It's not for nothing that the king raised him in the seraglio. If this little monster would dress in robe, you would be fooled."

"But he remains a man, whatever one may think of it."

"In this case, I wonder how the Council will settle this case of succession."

"Prince Ceylan may well lose his title and rights in favor of the establishment of a new dynasty."

"So, everything we know could change. Pray for the augurs to serve us favorably."

* * *

Ten days later —

"High Councilor Mekhet, we have been deliberating for five days! It's time that it finally stops. Alberial can't stay with a vacant throne. You have collected all our proposals and our grievances, you must decide."

Mekhet looked down at the pile of parchments piled up in front of him, sweat on his forehead. After many reflections, nothing that had been proposed had suited him. However, it wasn't the ideas that had missed. Some proposed to give power to the most deserving concubine, others to the most beautiful one or to the oldest one. A few had proposed a way to decide between them with a simple contest or election. Another advanced solution had been to choose a new queen during a selection throughout the kingdom. The questioning of the matriarchy had also been considered, proposing to make Ceylan the legitimate king. However, many points against him were heavy in the balance, to the great displeasure of the High Councilor.

Mekhet didn't want power to go into unknown hands, so it eliminated the option of choosing among the people, but he also didn't want a woman lacking qualifications, what the concubines were. In his eyes, they were only mistresses too spoiled by a life of luxury and concupiscence, never having had any responsibilities to take on. On the contrary, Prince Ceylan met all the criteria. He was of royal lineage and aware of the burden his mother had borne during all his years of reign, especially since her husband's death ten years earlier. His only fault was wearing extra jewellery. For the rest, he had everything else he needed: a breathtaking beauty, a fine and delicate body, a presence and a grace like no other, and an extraordinary intelligence. All this, accompanied by strong values and a golden heart. He was the one he wanted to see come to power, but he had to take into account the many oppositions. Mekhet was well aware of the many unflattering terms used to describe him. A man with a woman's face ; an aberration of nature ; a failed child. Prince Ceylan was androgynous, but what could he do about it? Should he have to pay the price for it?

He decided to speak.

"Councilors, I have carefully studied everything that has been brought to my attention. But after mature reflection, I am convinced that only the appointment of Prince Ceylon as the legitimate successor can best serve the interests of our kingdom."

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