As I try to juggle this weeks busy schedule, I once more would like to share a short story that I have written. Please feel absolutely free to pledge your life to me because I inspire you so much.
She sits in the darkness, bathed in her shame and sorrow. The dress flows on her still, cold body. There is no ray of light in this temple of agony, no hope, no escape. To know love is to know weakness, the words ring in her ear.
Her arm reaches out and pulls her up on the steely throne. The messenger does not dare move from his place. The queen is all alone, no one to help her. One by one, she had pushed everyone away, for “love”. Neglected her royal duties, persuaded by a life of matrimonial happiness, of the future laughter of children. Even her brother had been sacrificed on this altar.
Now that dream lay broken. Now, her kingdom lay broken.
“Do the people hate me?”, the voice spread out of her throat like a dry cough.
The messenger was flustered, yet remained strong.
“No, my Lady. They mourn, and they fear for their lives, but there is not one ounce of hatred in…”
“They should. I was weak.”, she replies, filled with disgust. “But now, as the dream crumbles, I can see clearly.” The messenger was not sure whether the Queen actually knew of his presence or whether she was just rambling of madness.
She had been misled. Her heart broken, her insides now hollow and empty. Her entire army, slaughtered in this plot against her.
“What is there to do now, on the precipice of defeat?”
“Surrender, my Lady.”
Give up? That’s what they want from her. That is why they are not marching their armies right into her throne room, because they are sure she will just give up the Crown. Does she even deserve to wear it?
“But one can always seek vengeance.” The messenger’s voice resounded from the walls. It was the first time the Queen actually turned her gaze towards him. So concentrated on the little man, he was now regretting saying that with so much conviction.
“Vengeance”, she repeated, in a slow voice, tasting the word. Amidst all the bitterness, it seemed such sweet a thought.
The season passed; the Queen now made her way to the seat of the Holy See – the City of Gold as some would call it. The Hall was splendid, all sparkling of the precious metal. She lay in wait, covered in light grey clothes, adorned with silver.
The Hierophant looked at her from the shadows. Once seeming so powerful, now she was washed up and humble.
“Such a pleasure to be visited”, his slithery voice broke the silence.
The Queen raised her hand towards him, her wrist to be kissed.
“I am afraid such protocol is reserved for ruling monarchs.”
“Until I give my crown or stop breathing, I will be a ruling monarch and respected as such”, she demanded.
The priest complied, more because he was rather amused by this remaining spark of strength she had. He kissed her hand gently, taking in the sweet perfume of her skin. The Queen then snapped her fingers, and a cloaked figure appeared with a box in his hands. Gently opening it, the Hierophant could glimpse the Crown of her Kingdom.
“Oh, my dear, I am not the one that could accept such a gift”, he scoffed.
The Queen started laughing, joyously and full-heartedly. This left the priest confused, a small spark of worry growing in his heart. He pushed that thought away – she had come to surrender, just as they had planned it should be.
“A gift? You think I came here to give away my Kingdom?” another bout of laugher came forth. “Oh, you poor old man, age has made you soft in the brain. No, I came here to let you see it, what you craved for so long, one last time before you part this world.” The box closed with a deep metallic sound, echoing through the halls.
“This is hardly the time to make empty threats”, his smiled grew bigger, yet so did the shadows in his soul.
“This is exactly the time to make threats”, she said, not paying attention to him anymore but watching the murals. “You have made me a ruined woman. I have nothing else to lose.”
Finally, the survival instincts of the Hierophant kicked in, obscured until now by his pride.
“Tell me, there are no women or children in this city, are there?”, the Queen went on, as absent minded as before.
“N-no, only men can be ordained. This is a Holy City, we do not accept visits from pilgrims or the sort.”
“Good, as I had thought so.”
The priest was slowly backing away, towards the door, trying to go unnoticed.
“Oh, you can try to run if you want”, the Queen turned her eyes onto him. “Your feet will stop working in a short while, however.”
“You wouldn’t dare, not here…”
“There are no more guards at your doors”, the Queen moved onto other murals. “The poison is already in your blood. By my standards, you are already dead.”
She spoke the truth. He could feel it, inside him, churning. His knees trembled and failed, the priest falling to the ground.
“How does it feel, to die from the inside? To feel your heart bursting?”, her voice cold and steely. She lowered herself and grabbed the priest by the neck, nails sinking in the flesh. “This is how you made me feel. Weak, frail, useless. The pain I felt, I pass onto you. You have made me hollow, yet now I am filled with rage and vengeance. I will break you, one by one.”
She released his neck, his head falling and smacking the ground.
“You… have no armies…”, he muttered.
The queen was once more not paying attention, too concentrated on murals.
“I have no men. You are right. But I have their wives; I have their daughters; their mothers; their sisters. From each and every one, you have snatched their loved ones. And each and every one of them wish to have their chance at tearing you to pieces, to avenge their fallen.”
She returned to the Hierophant.
“Vengeance is such an empowering feeling, you would be shocked how much can be accomplished through it.”
The poison had invaded every part of his body now. The back arched, muscles contracting as they die. Spumes were rushing from his stomach. He raised a hand towards the Queen.
“Pray, little priest. It’s the only thing you can do before Death takes you. Though no God in this realm can save you now.”