By: Vaishnavi Patel
'I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions-much good it did me.' So begins Kaikeyi's tale. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on grand stories about the might and benevolence of the gods: how they churned vast oceans to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they offer the devoted and the wise magnificent boons, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land prospers. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, her own worth measured by how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear. Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the ancient texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. She uses it to transform herself from overlooked princess into warrior, diplomat, and most-favored queen, determined to forge a better world for herself than the one that gods and men have granted. But as the demons of stories Kaikeyi grew up hearing threaten the cosmic order, her will clashes with the path that the gods have chosen for her family-and especially that of her beloved son, Rama. And she must decide if her resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak...and what legacy she intends to leave behind.