The Dance of the Cobra and Scorpion by Artelia

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Art by Nicolas Chapuis

“The Dance of the Cobra and Scorpion.”

By Artelia of Yahira

“The Dance of the Cobra and Scorpion” was born in Yahira’s earliest days. King Kheoff and Queen Clea gave birth to twin sons: Tariq and Fazar, putting the line of succession into question.

When twins are the first-born, the small council determines the successor based on the heir’s temperament, intellectual and physical capabilities. Tariq and Fazar were equally qualified but lacked the patience for bureaucracy. They chose the quicker route, war.

The conflict tore Yahira apart. Neither claimed victory and our people suffered. A peace conference was called. To the brothers that meant poisoning one another.

The brothers came to the conference with a weapon in their sleeves. Tariq, a scorpion, and Fazar a cobra. They signed the treaty but the moment they shook hands, their weapons pierced each other. Poison seeped into each brother’s veins. Their last words to each other were, “I win.” The kingdom despaired.

They say the gods took pity and granted the royal family a third son, Ramses, allowing Kheoff’s line to continue. Whatever the truth is the Game of the Cobra and Scorpion was born. Cobras and Scorpions battled to the death in a popular past time amongst Yahirans.

The game was played for centuries amongst commoners and gamblers, making many wealthy. Then Princess Shiera learned of the game.

Sickened by the thought of two animals forced into mortal combat, she disguised herself as a commoner, snuck into an arena, and sang a song praying the fight would stop. The Cobra and Scorpion heard it and instead of fighting danced together. From that day on, the Cobra and Scorpion fights were outlawed and the Dance began.

Shiera’s original song has been lost to time. But it’s meaning, the will to survive, has driven my family and kingdom for generations. To the Five Kingdoms and the folks attending the Midsummer Festival, I offer my version. That is all I have to say.

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