You are reading: The Dark Queen

Written by LadyStargazer on 15 Jun 2017 22:46.

Adriana had taken the child under her wing; for the most part because it kept her from practically tripping over the Queen's robes in her attempts to follow her. The girl still tried, but the Queen seemed to be making a concerted effort to avoid her. This seemed off to her handmaid, who had watched the Queen ignore people with a complete lack of subtlety for years. She had never gone out of her way to avoid anyone.
"You know," she mused to the child as they ate breakfast one morning, "at some point you should tell me your name." The child regarded her with a curious look, one that Adriana couldn't quite understand, and shrugged. "Well, what am I supposed to call you if you won't tell me?"
The child shrugged again, concentrating on the large slab of bread and honey in her hands. The cook, who Adriana had developed a sort of friendship with, rolled her eyes.
"As if having one silent person to deal with wasn't enough, you've basically adopted this one too. Don't you miss proper conversation?"
"First of all, I have not basically adopted her. I'm looking after her, for now, and making sure she doesn't get in the way. Secondly, if the Queen ever hears you comment about her, even like that, the quality of your food will not be enough to save you." Adriana frowned at the cook disapprovingly and then saw the child watching them intently. "Besides, this one does speak. She's just very particular about when and to who." She raised her eyebrow at the child, who shrugged and began devouring her third slice.
"She don't talk, but she sure can eat," the cook muttered. The child looked up and narrowed her eyes. "Don't go giving me that look young missy. It's a compliment to a cook if someone eats a lot of their food; I'm not complaining. Besides, it'll take a little while until we've got you to a healthy weight again."
"Do you have a family that we should be looking for?" Adriana asked. The girl froze, swallowed, and shook her head slowly. "Are you sure?" A nod from the child.
"We can't just keep asking you yes or no questions child," the cook frowned again, disapproving.
The door opened behind them and Silver stepped through. He glanced at the child curiously and then his eyes slid to Adriana and the cook.
"Come for some food?" The cook asked, rising from her seat. Silver nodded. "Well sit down then."
"I have to go to the Queen as soon as I can," he replied. "I'll take something to go."
"Alright, your choice."
Silver sighed slightly, and shook his head. Adriana continued to watch him. Silver had been a source of fascination to her since the Queen had brought him home with her one day. He was generally reserved, a weapon to be wielded, and Adriana had sensed the sorrow and despair in him from day one. She had a gift for noticing the cracks under the surface. Silver's story intrigued her, but she had never asked him about it. Not yet.
"Can I come?" The girl asked suddenly, startling the cook who almost dropped
Silver's breakfast.
"Oh, now she speaks," the cook muttered.
"No," Silver replied to the girl, who frowned.
"Because she doesn't want to see you."
"How do you know, if she doesn't talk?" She mused, sucking the honey from her fingers.
"Haven't you noticed how she's never around when you are? Just leave her alone child. You're better off here, out of her way." The child scowled but Silver ignored her.
"Here," the cook handed him some food. "You should take some for her too."
"She wouldn't eat it," Adriana interjected with a sigh. "She just throws it away, unless
I've prepared and brought it for her."
"She doesn't trust me?" The cook muttered. Silver murmured his thanks and slipped away while the women were distracted.
"She doesn't trust anyone." Adriana replied.
"She trusts you."
"Not much."
"Well, so long as she actually does eat occasionally." "You sound like you care," Adriana smirked.
"I like my head on my shoulders thanks," the cook rolled her eyes. "At least for now this one is keeping me occupied… where'd she go?"
The pair stared at the empty seat where the girl had been sitting.
Silver knew that the girl was following. He'd glared at her. He'd dismissed her. He'd all but forcibly removed her from his sight. If she wanted to face the Queen, let her bear the consequences. Maybe she'd learn.
He opened the door and stopped dead, when a knife thudded in to the frame next to his head. He peered around it, and found the Queen, arm raised and prepared to throw another. Seeing him, she lowered her arm and gestured for him to enter. He stepped in, trying to close the door behind him, but the child slipped through. The Queen had her back to him, and he ignored the child. Fine. Let her do what she wants. It won't end well.
"Your Majesty… reports come from the city. Your rule has been accepted. They have cleansed the city of all… unsavoury activities. Your advisers would like to know if they should return or remain."
"Remain." Her voice was hoarser than usual. The word did not sound quite right.
"So you do speak." The child spoke. Silver felt fear clutch his heart as the Queen spun around. She had obviously not realised that the child was present. She stared at the child for a moment, her mouth ajar as though in shock, and then dark eyes pierced Silver's. Her face was rigid with anger.
"I tried to get her to leave your Majesty. She would not listen. I am sorry."
"Why won't you let me see you?" The girl frowned. "Why did you save me if you didn't want-" A knife hit the door again. It was closer to Silver than the girl, but it had missed them both. She was no longer looking at them.
"You should go… child." Silver growled.
"I'm not a child," she glared. Silver glanced at the Queen and was surprised to find her watching the child intently now, albeit from the shadows on the far side of the room. Her face was so pale, it was like the moon in the depths of night.
"You gave us no name, so child you shall be," Silver replied, opening the door. "Now, out."
"No!" The door slammed closed. Silver looked at the Queen, confused, but she was staring at the girl. "I am staying here."
"Enough!" The Queen's voice ripped from the shadows, making Silver and the girl start. She stepped out of the shadows, and Silver saw the knife, flashing as it turned between her fingers. He had never seen her hurt a child, but there was a first time for everything. He wished that she'd order him to go, so that he would not be witness to it. Her next words surprised him. "Name?" "She won't-" he began, but was silenced with a look.
"Name." She repeated.
The girl looked at her for what seemed to be an age, and the Queen slowly gained the same look on her face she had held when she first met the child. Silver studied her, but was no closer to understanding it now, than he had been then. He worried that the child would defy the Queen, as she had the rest of them. Then, to Silver's surprise, the child opened her mouth, and replied.
"Moirai. My name is Moirai."

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