The Child

You are reading: The Dark Queen

Written by LadyStargazer on 15 Jun 2017 11:01.

Most who knew the Queen had often been confused by some of her behaviours. For example, it seemed odd to the Captain, as he fled the room in which her magic had been unleashed, that she would be so angry about the plight of this man and others like him, when she had inflicted terror and death herself. He did not understand of course. He never would.
Adriana, upon discovering what remained of the room later, closed her eyes and sighed. She had long been a witness to the Queen and her magic. She knew how to spot the slightest change in mood, despite the Queen's general lack of expression or outward emotion. This latest outburst no doubt meant that bloodshed would follow.
Adriana was right. Within a day the orders for the entire army to march on Raas had been given, and the Queen stood on the ramparts, staring in to the distance, focused on the invisible border between the two lands. She had dressed in her battle gear, and the few citizens who dared to glance up to her, did not dare again.
"You're going to obliterate them aren't you?" Adriana asked, joining the Queen quietly. "The people who did that to the poor man in the infirmary?"
The Queen's eyes flicked to her companion and away again so swiftly, that it was almost as if her concentration had never been broken. Adriana pursed her lips.
"Are you doing it because you think what're they're doing is wrong, or because you don't like the competition for darkest ruler of a Kingdom?" The Queen's eyes narrowed and fixed on Adriana, who just raised an eyebrow. "Well? Which is it?"
She did not break her gaze, although the hand that had suddenly found itself wrapped around her neck threatened her, and the darkness in the eyes merely a couple of inches from her own tried to swallow her whole.
"Why do you continue to test me?" The Queen rasped when Adriana refused to blink. "Have you not seen what happens to everything I touch?"
"I have not been destroyed yet. And you didn't answer my question," Adriana gasped, resolute even in her breathlessness.
"You already know the answer, dear, even though you continue to search for a better one." The Queen released her throat. "I cannot allow this."
"So why keep me around, if I'm so irritatingly persistent?"
The Queen cocked her head to one side and frowned. A moment passed in which Adriana thought, momentarily, that this would be the end. But she watched as the Queen's mask fell back over her face, and she turned to fix her gaze once more on the horizon. Adriana had been dismissed, and granted another day of life. She took a step towards the door that led downstairs, and paused.
"If this King has done half of the things I have heard rumoured, then you should make him feel it when he dies." The Queen looked to her maid again. "No one will mourn him."
"No one shall mourn me either."
It was as though the Queen's thoughts had escaped her before she could reign them in. A flicker of surprise flitted across her features, before she turned away and strode across the battlements, the darkness swirling around her to hide her from any response.
Adriana bit her lip and returned downstairs.
***
Raas fell. They did not even have time to put together a defence. The Queen strode in to the castle and took the King from his throne, then dragged him in to the square and allowed the subjects that he had persecuted to finish the job under her watchful stare. The Captain swore that with each scream from the dying monarch, the Queen gained the closest thing to a smile that he had ever seen from her.
They found dungeons filled with people. Starving, some almost skin and bone, covered in blood and other signs of torture; the sight was one that made even the strongest man sick to his stomach. But the smell; that was the worst. The putrid air, filled with the stench of death and human waste, caused more than a couple of men to run back the way they had come, to throw up their guts in the courtyard.
"We should get the Queen," the Captain said, horrified.
"She already knows." Silver muttered, noticing the quiet that had fallen over the previously wailing victims.
The Queen stalked through the dank corridor, her guards stepping aside for her immediately. The people shrank away from her, clearly terrified that a worse fate now awaited them. The Queen paused in the centre and turned, her eyes somehow darker than ever. Silver felt her eyes upon him, and began to step forward, ready to be of service. Then, a voice spoke out in the silence. "Please release us."
The Queen turned slowly on her heel. Silver searched for the source of the voice.
Pale hands wrapped around cell bars, and hollow eyes peered out from the darkness. The Queen took one step, then another and stopped in front of the cell. Silvery eyes stared steadily in to dark ones, although the child who they belonged to looked weak. A large scar had been ripped across the skin of her face, starting at the inner tip of her eyebrow and following the arch round. It continued this vein downwards, narrowly missing the corner of her eye and coming to a halt before the edge of her mouth. Unkempt and dirty blonde hair hung to waist level, and all she wore was a ragged black piece of cloth that might have been a dress at one point. She looked to be around twelve years old.
"Your Majesty?" Silver ventured. The Queen had been staring at the child for a long time, seemingly unaware of everything around her. The child was staring right back. "Your Majesty, what should we do?"
The Queen lifted a hand, and Silver felt the soldiers around him wince out of habit. With a flick of her wrist, the cells opened.
The occupants were caught between freedom and fear. The Queen turned and strode down the corridor. At the entrance she paused, and looked back. The child had followed. There was a brief moment in which the two stared at each other again, and somehow, Silver knew that understanding had passed between the two. The Queen tilted her head slightly, in acknowledgement and then turned and continued with her exit.
The child followed, as though she had become part of the shadows that cloaked the Queen in all of her movements.

Next Chapter: Ring by Dethnus

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