Heavy is the Crown Stained With Blood.
Part two – By R.D.Jess
Stop! Before you continue, make sure you have read the first part of the story. You can not read the story out of order. For those of you who have read the first installment of the story we left off with Queen Fae accepting the proposal of the Craven King. Her whole family was killed and she was the last royal alive. Now she is struggling to be a strong queen for the rebels left in the land…
The King clasped his hands. “Fantastic, just what I was hoping to hear! We will keep the rest of your staff for you. With the exception of keeping them in line. I’m not afraid of making a few examples of people” He motioned to the soldiers to release the captives. “We will have a grand celebration in a few weeks. When you will marry my son Malik. You are dismissed.” He motioned to the guards. The same guard grabbed my shoulder. I made the long trek back to my room, through the blood and lifeless bodies. Their faces stared up at me, as if their souls had been pulled from their bodies. How many are left? If I had to guess I would say a fifth were left.
They locked me in my room for two weeks. My maid was the only person I saw. She would bring me food and update me on what was happening outside my bedroom walls. Today is the wedding and the feast. As she did my hair, she explained, “They killed three more rebels today and hung their bodies in the street.”
“I wish they would stop rebelling, I don’t want anymore people to die.”
“My queen, they see it as an honor to die for you. You are their last hope.”
I rested my hand on my forehead as I began to tear up. “I can’t help them. I don’t even feel hopeful, how can I bring them hope? I’m dreading my fate. I eat and feel empty, I pray but feel ignored. Tell me how to stop their pain and I will.”
She tugged on my hair. “Don’t mess up your makeup. My queen, you can stop our pain by spying on the king. You think you’re weak, but that’s your best asset. He will think he has control over you, but you silently make your moves.”
A knock came at the door and a soldier’s voice said, “Bring the queen to the hall. It’s time!” I stood up and my maid grabbed my hand.
“Stop shaking, you’re not alone. Your kingdom stands with you, so stand strong for them.” I gulped and took a breath. Feeling like I was walking to my execution. The halls were clean and filled with banners of celebration. Only a few weeks ago it was filled with horror. I was led to the main floor and asked to wait in the tea room before walking down the aisle. I watched the steam billow over the cup. I was so cold that the tea couldn’t warm me. Then I heard a crash of dishes from the kitchen. You would think that was normal until you heard the agonizing scream.
I didn’t think twice before I ran to find out what was happening. I ran in the room just as Amar shoved a woman’s face into a pot of boiling water. The whole kitchen staff was screaming in horror. While putting as much distance as possible between them and Amar who was laughing. My mouth hung open as I watched the woman struggle to free herself. Her hands caught on the fire several times.
Amar looked up at me and released the girl. She fell to the floor wailing. She reached for her face but immediately pulled away. A group of women began to tend to her, but we all knew she would never be the same again. Amar licked his lips. He took a few steps towards me, like a lion ready to pounce. “Well, well who do we have here?”
My voice wavered, “Why… Why did you hurt her?” His eyebrow rose, before he answered.
“Because I wanted to.” He corked his head. “They need to know who is really in charge. You might be their queen, but the Cravens own them.” He slid a knife into an open fire. “Go back to your room little princess. Your wedding is about to begin.”
“What are you about to do with that knife?” Amar’s face turned wild and he began to growl. “She has to be marked as a trader.”
“Don’t you think you’ve done enough?” He longed for the woman on the floor.
“This is the fun part! Watch, princess as I burn and cut her skin. Her pain will be great!” The blade began to sear the skin. She let out the most agonizing scream I had ever heard. The women holding her, turned their heads and closed their eyes. I was going to throw up. Amar turned to me with a smug grin. “Run, princess. Run!”
I panicked, and ran. I’m not sure where I went, but I had to go. I finally stopped and braced myself against the wall. I closed my eyes, trying to catch my breath. It was fast and shallow, causing a sharp pain. I heard a voice but dared not open my eyes. “Your majesty, just take a breath.” He grabbed my hand, “It’s okay, you’re safe. Breath with me, Okay?” His voice was deep but soft spoken. It soothed me, as he instructed each inhale and exhale. “Good, that’s better. How are you feeling?”
I let out one more breath, “good, I…” I opened my eyes and terror filled my heart again. Sargon’s son stood in front of me. Malik, the man I’m supposed to marry. My enemy! My mouth dropped and I began to tremble. He pushed a loose strand of hair behind my ear. Heat flared through my body.
He spoke gently, “I’ll find you a maid to fix that, but you need to stop trembling. I know you’re scared. You have a right to be scared, but you have to put that aside for now. Stuff it somewhere, because your people need a strong queen.” A noise came from down the hallway. Malik’s whole demeanor changed. If I wasn’t mistaken, I saw fear flash across his face. As fast as it came it disappeared. Malik stood tall and stone faced. He grabbed my forearm, dragging me towards the noise. Two craven guards rounded the corner. Malik shoved me towards them. I almost lost my balance. “Take her back to the tea room. Amar had scared the little princess.” The guards saluted Malik and grabbed either of my arms.
Just as Malik said, a maid was sent to help me fix my hair. The next knock at my door was Sargon. He waved my servant away and sat across from me. “I hear our little princess saw something scary today.” I didn’t know what to do, so I said nothing. He smirked while grabbing a cookie. “I came to have a little chat before the wedding and feast. Don’t try to do anything stupid. How well you perform today will affect your people.” He flicked my chin. “Turn that little smile of yours on. My friends will be here for the feast and they need to see the control I have over you.”
“May I speak?”
He chuckled a bit, “Please princess.”
“How does smiling show that you have control over me? Isn’t the force you’ve shown enough?”
“Good point, control isn’t a good word. More like a prize,a joke. You’re a little cherry on top. I’m just flaunting you. The princess no kingdom could convince the Roseland king to hand over in marriage, is mine. So, do your best work and rub salt in their wounds.” He rose and patted my shoulder, “good talk.”
Soon after I was escorted to the doors to the grand hall. Everyone was fawning over me. Telling me I was pretty. Talking about how exciting it was going to be. Here I felt like a shell. This was it, this is where my life ends. The door swung wide and the organ played. The whole world spun as I walked in. I lifted my head as high as I could. Staring straight ahead and stuffing my panic away. There in front of me were the two crowns, still stained with blood. Malik seized me at the altar and jostled me around. It felt like I was playing a role. Performing this beautiful wedding as a beautiful bride. I could be wrong but it seemed like Malik was playing a role as well. His face would snarl just like Amar’s but his eyes said something entirely different. The priest asked “If anyone has a reason that these two should not wed, speak now or forever hold their peace.” I panicked. Remembering all the servant’s who lined the hall. I needed to do something.
“Father, all do respect. May I say something?” He nodded and I addressed my people. “I order my people as queen of Roseland to hold your peace.” I looked back at the priest. “You may continue.”
He said, “You may kiss the bride.” Malik snatched me up. I couldn’t stop my eyes from growing wide. It all happened so fast. I heard the growl and hoots from the craven men. Sounding like wild animals. Malik wouldn’t let up. I started to push him away, but his grip got tighter. His hand was buried deep in my waist. Each finger pressing me close to him. He had to let up at one point, right? When he does what should I do? I am going to face a whole kingdom with a wild beast by my side. He pulled away and patted my cheek. Malik grabbed my hand and we turned to the people. He lifted our hands in victory and let out a war cry. Everyone stood and started their own beastly cries. They were truly monsters!