When Dido, a Black princess blessed with magic by the gods, learns her brother killed her lover, she flees home and builds a sparkling kingdom with her powers. With a broken heart and lust for vengeance, Dido prepares to reconquer her homeland. But when colonizers invade her new kingdom, she must decide what’s worth saving: her motherland or her newly-crafted legacy.
This Aeneid reimagining is The Gilded Ones meets Daenerys Targaryen, inspired by African-American folklore. It features power-hungry girls who will burn down kingdoms to avenge the ones they’ve lost.
Gods don’t bless the cursed.
It’s all I think as I prowl through the castle, tiptoeing on tension like the woven carpet is a bed of hot coals. But my eyebrows raise when the silence sings in my ears. The halls echo a hollow and empty tune audible throughout the gilded palace. It’s been this way for weeks. The normal clambering has subsided substantially since mama and papa, our beloved Queen and King, fell sick. Their imminent death caused a crumpling in the kingdom of Tumaini that used to burst with a triumphant tempo of jazzy beats and soulful warriors. There hadn’t been much noise around us for long. Not while the death of the monarchs crept closer and closer.
But this silence is different. Palpable. Something I can reach in the air and feel with bony fingers. It awakens the powers thrumming beneath my mahogany skin. It grows stronger than a storm. Blessings bestowed to me by the gods and my ancestors.
I rub the gold birthmark branded on my neck. A celestial mark blessed to me from the gods. A promise I’ll always be protected. Right now, I feel anything but.
If I am gods’ blessed, why do I feel cursed?