Part one- by R.D. Jess

The Kingdom was burning beneath me. I stood on my balcony clutching the marble rails. Praying that God would spare my family. That my fear would not be true, although I knew my brother and father would be primary targets. I wanted to run and hide, but where would I go? I felt every bone shake in my body. I smelled the burning flesh of my people, good people. We had failed them. I tried to convince myself to not cry, to not remember the faces of the kind people. I sensed my maid approach. “Princess Fae, I’m sorry to tell you that the castle is theirs. They have killed your father, mother and your brother.” I clung tighter to the rail. The world spun as I felt a deep drop in my chest. I kept thinking to myself, “Hold it together, you’re the last royal alive. You must keep it together.” She stepped forward. “Princess Fae, you have to run! They will kill you next.”

A single tear escaped my frozen body. I should have moved or said something, but I couldn’t. I kept staring down at the burning kingdom. Screams still echoed off the cobbled streets. Pain, all I felt was pain. The agony of death surrounded me, from the innocent below and the loved ones I would never see again. My heart pounded as I stared down at the place I once called home. King Sargon of the Craven Kingdom was known to be ruthless. His son Ammar was even worse. Now my beloved people would live under their tyranny. They would starve. They would be beaten. They would be forgotten. 

“Princess Fae, you are now the Queen.” said the handmaiden. I looked down at her, eyes wide and tears streaming down my face. She saw it, I know she did. The frightened little girl I’ve always been. My mouth trembled as I tried to speak.

 “I know, but I wasn’t even a good princess. How can I be a Queen? How am I supposed to give people courage when I am terrified?” I grabbed her shoulders and stared into her eyes. “I am about to die!” 

There was no division in status, we would both die and decay the same way. We took comfort in each other’s arms. I needed this, to be a human before I would be made an example of. The air was cold and her body was warm. We leaned on each other for comfort. I heard the clanking of armor come from the stairwell. I looked up at my bedroom door. A sword was placed in between the handle’s. The handmaiden wiped her eyes. “The sword won’t keep them out for long my queen. We should pull ourselves together.” She rose and ran back into the room. Returning with a rag. “Let’s make you presentable for the people.” She was right, that was the least I could do for my people. For them to have a queen who didn’t look like she was a wreck before she was a captive of King Sargon. I nodded, still feeling very numb. She wiped my face and re-did my makeup. I could now hear them running down the hall. A man’s voice would shout, “Found one!” Followed by screams. The maidens’ hands shook as she pinned my hair. I stood up and we walked into my room. I brushed off the sweat of my hands on my gown and folded them in front of me. We took one long deep breath together and the first bang on the door came. 

We flinched. I let the breath out, hoping to calm my nerves. I raised my head and watched the sword break under the pressure. The doors flew open wide. Three soldiers grind a sinister smile. “We found the queen!” they shouted. They marched in and one grabbed my handmaiden from behind me. He swung her around, throwing her to the ground. He lifted his sword and I panicked. “Don’t hurt her!” He turned his head to me. Then to the soldier in front of me. I assumed he was the one in charge so I decided to appeal to him. “Please sir, this woman is a fine handmaiden. It would be a loss to king Sargon, to lose someone as skilled as she.” He stared stoned faced, unlike me. Who I know must be using fear and pleading eyes. He didn’t look away, his gaze was locked on me. As if he had just found the greatest prize and was not willing to lose sight of me.

 “Don’t kill the handmaiden just yet, we will bring her before the king. As for you.” He seized my arm. “You are coming with me.” The man pulled my maid off the ground and dragged her along by her hair. She clung to her head and screamed. Did I just make things worse for her? Would it have been merciful to let her be murdered? We walked into the hall. Soldiers of the craven kingdom ran through the castle, slaughtering everyone. Blood pooled under my feet.

A hand grabbed my ankle. A fallen soldier looked up at me tearfully. He gritted his teeth in pain and said, “Stay strong my queen, it’s not over yet!” The Craven soldier came up from behind me and cut the man’s hands clean off. Blood splattered my face. Fear tingled through my body and I flinched. The man screamed and rolled around on the ground, clinging to what was once his hand. Then the Craven soldier grabbed the man. Pulling the blade up to his neck. I turned away, I couldn’t watch, but I heard the sound. The handmaiden was next to me, no longer being dragged along. Her eyes were wide and lit a flame. She just watched the man get murdered before her. Then she screamed “Michael! Michael!” Each scream wavered in agony. She tried to escape the man’s clutches, but failed. The soldier grabbed her by her waist and threw her over his shoulders. She pounded on his back. “Let me down. Michael! Michael, Michael!” Her eyes welled up with tears, and she let out one last thought before collapsing. “I love you.” She hung from the man’s arms sobbing. I felt the burn of the tears. I felt the heat welling up inside me, but I had to shove it down. I couldn’t fall apart, I needed to be strong. Just like that soldier asked me to.

Every hall and room we passed was filled with more blood shed. I watched a servant run out of a room. She saw me and stopped. She bowed as she said “long live the queen.” The Soldier that was chasing her plunged the sword into her back. She looked up with a painful flame in her eyes, “Stay strong my queen.” The soldier pulled me along. Watching countless servants and soldiers giving me respect before their final demise. I couldn’t help but shake. I wanted to scream, but I kept telling myself to breathe. I kept slipping on the blood. My light blue dress turned dark red on the hem of my skirt. I prayed for mercy, I prayed for this all to be over. As we approached the great hall I felt like I was going to throw up. Even though my stomach felt empty, butterflies fluttered in its great chasm. The doors were flung open and I saw many workers kneeling on the floor. Bound and cowering in a corner. The soldier took my handmaiden over to the corner. Binding her just like everyone else. 

I walked in, willing myself to stay calm as I saw my fathers and mothers body lay on the ground holding hands. I watched the eyes of my people stare in expectation. I wish I could deliver a defiant queen, but I trembled the whole walk to the middle of the room. The king lounged on the throne, cackling.

“These people are such wimps. No kingdom has fallen this fast. Ha! The great Roseland people are just another notch in my belt. Now the last royal stands trembling before me. The rumors are true, you are a fragile princess.” He rose from the throne and walked towards me. He kicked my father out of the way. “Tell me princess, what’s it like to be the last one alive in your family? To watch the kingdom fall and your people scream? Pleading for mercy before your eyes.” He wiped a speck of blood off my face with his finger. “I’m assuming this is the blood of your own.” He licked the blood off his finger. I went queasy, and swallowed it down. Remembering the brown eyes of the soldier named Michael, going lifeless like so many others. The king’s nostrils flared, he lunged at me and I flinched. “I asked you a question, and you will speak princess. What was it like?!” I scrambled for words. How can anyone say what it’s like? King Sargon slapped my face. “Tell Me Princess!” The tears welled in my eyes again. 

“I’m not a princess any more. Sargon, you asked what it’s like. It’s like becoming a queen. The weight falls on your shoulders. That’s what it’s like.” Sargon began to let out a grotesque laugh. “Oh, that’s right. I made you a queen. You can thank me later.” 

One of the male servants in the corner jumped up. “Long live the queen!” Sargon flung himself around and pointed at the man. “Execute him!” A Craven soldier charged the man and slit his throat. I let out a squeak and turned my face away. The king began to laugh again. He grabbed  my face and turned it to him. He patted my cheek as he said. “Now that’s why I have you here.” Sargon started walking back to the throne. “You see Princess…” He turned his face to me with a sly grin. “I mean Queen Fae.” He continued on. “It’s your lucky day. I have a use for you. I am giving my son your kingdom.” Sargon gestured to the young man sharpening a knife in my brother’s seat. “My Son Amar is known across the world as a ruthless ruler. He followed well in my footsteps.” 

Amar’s lips quirked up in a corner as he winked at me. He looked like a wild man. His flaming red hair was shaggy. A scar ran across the right side of his face. He sat shirtless, covered in battle wounds. Sargon sat on the throne and gestured to the other seat. There sat a calm man, not as rugged as Amar. The man stared down at the ball and chain he was swinging. “This son is not known like the rest of my sons. Nothing to show for our great name.” Sargon spit on the ground. “I need to fix that, so I will give him Roseland. Since you have shown to be such a weak kingdom. I figured you would be perfect to train my youngest son on.”

Heat flushed my face. “Did you bring me here to mock my people to my face? What’s the point in this mockery?” The king’s eyebrows rose.

 “I didn’t expect to hear you speak, little princess.” He smacked his thigh and cackled. He leaned over to Amar and said “Did you hear that, the little princess is stronger than I thought. Look at her being so pathetic. Quivering in her bloody dress with nothing left but the honor of her people. Which I so conveniently mock.” Amar growled a deep laugh. The king snapped and Amar threw the dagger into the chest of one of the servants on the other side of the room. I shrieked and covered my mouth with my hands.  The king continued, “I would not speak unless I give you permission to, or another slave will die. Understand?” I nodded, too afraid to say another word. 

“Good, I brought you here for a proposal. Your people admire you. I think it might be easier for my son to control Roseland with you by his side.” My heart sank in fear. Marry one of the Craven sons! “Plus, you’re a fragile thing. He should have an easier time controlling you. Will you accept this proposal, or shall I execute you, where you stand?” I couldn’t catch my breath. Both options scared me. I would rather die than marry the ruthless son of the Craven kingdom; but if I married him I could possibly help my people in secret. Amar hissed “Father I think she’s afraid to speak. Hahaha! Do you need to go cry to your daddy? Hmmm…? He’s right there! Lying on the floor, why don’t you go cry to him?”

Sargon waved off his son. “You may speak.” I looked at the people in the corner. Unsure what I was looking for. “I… I Accept your proposal.” 

Part two of the story will release May17th


Published by reneweddream.com

Hi, I am R.D. Jess. I am a christian writer and postpartum doula. My relationship with my God is not a religion but a state of who I am. I love being there for others and find that writing the hard truth is the best way to make people feel less alone.

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