Author’s Note: So this probably isn’t anything close to what would come to someone else’s mind for this quote, but I am weird that way. I thought of Anokii and Gekin and the oppression of the Nebkasha, and this is what happened after I asked for prompts.
Liana Mir gave this one:
“What the gods can digest will not sour in the belly of a slave.” — Moses, The Ten Commandments
“That meal is not for us.”
Gekin grunted, reaching for a fruit from the tray. He lifted it and held it out to her. “If I told you that your cousin said to eat it, would your response be different?”
Anokii sighed, sitting down at the table. The meal did belong to the queen, but in the heat, the food would spoil before she was able to return. She would be with the king all day, and they had been foolish to send anything for her to eat, but then the servants trapped in the kitchen would not have been told of the king’s decrees. Whatever they might have been, the cooks had not been informed of them, so they had prepared the queen’s meal according to the schedule that she had kept before the king’s return.
“It would go to waste if we did not eat it, and yet doing so could mean our lives if they realize that we ate something reserved for her.”
“The queen is not like the king. If this fruit belonged to him, yes, it would mean death, but she is supposed to be our ally.”
Anokii nodded. She had seen more of that in the woman of late, and though she still had her reasons to doubt the queen, she was more inclined to agree with the conclusion the others had drawn—the queen could be of assistance to their cause.
“Of course, there is still a possibility that this could mean death,” Gekin said, turning the odeyaise in his fingers. “If someone sent this to her to end her life, then consuming it would mean ours.”
Anokii took the fruit from his fingers. “Then we shall leave it to spoil. There is no reason for either of us to risk our lives for a piece of forbidden fruit.”
He laughed. “Perhaps not, but when you think about it, you and I have long indulged in the forbidden.”
“Oh, you. One would never believe that you have been married for more as long as you have been, and not to the same woman, not with that sort of grin up on your face. You look like the rotten boy I caught watching me when I was only just past the beginning of adolescence.”
“That is your fault for being more beautiful today than you were when we were children.”
She lowered her head. “Shameless. That is what you are. That, and a fool.”
Gekin knelt next to her, brushing back her hood. She should have objected. Here in the light of the two suns, even inside the castle was a dangerous place for them and their skin that burned with such ease. He placed his hand upon her cheek. “There is no shame in what we feel for each other, and there never has been. The king’s edicts make our love forbidden, our marriage a crime, but we have never felt that they were wrong. The Nebkasha have a right to live same as the Biskane.”
“Show me a Biskane that knows what love is anymore. He and his ancestors have bred that out of them the same as they have attempted to force us out of existence by not allowing us to breed.”
Gekin lowered his head, and she was forced to lift it. She knew the pain that prompted his actions—they had no children of their own, not after many years, and she did not know what had left them barren, though she suspected the fault lay with her. “You have brought freedom to so many other families. We must count their children as ours, for in a way we have helped them come into this world.”
“Perhaps we should not have encouraged that. What life are those children coming into?”
“We will not be oppressed forever. Things have changed, and we have sent most of the children across the border. They, at least, can have the darkness we are usually denied.”
Gekin took her hands. “I love your strength. I always have.”
She smiled, leaning forward to kiss his forehead. She adored so many things about him, and she did not have time to list them all. “You should go, niniamant. Even if the queen is our ally, this is not your place, and we cannot indulge ourselves any longer.”
“I wish you were not so dutiful. That you would forget the cause and come across the border with me. I know you won’t. I know I don’t truly want that, but every time we part, I feel the same. I hate to leave you.”
“That was why we chose to marry so long ago.” She smiled as she rose, pulling the cloak back over her head. “We will still be married when this ends, and I will still love you. I will see you later in the catacombs. You will wait for me there?”