She sat on her throne, alone in the chamber that was her power, and might well soon be her grave. The revolution had invaded and was now in her royal city. Her husband had been slain two days past and with His Majesty’s demise there came a weakening of the already weary troops. With her death the usurping would be complete.
She had sent away her ladies-in-waiting, not wishing their blood on her hands. Perhaps they would be able to flee, or would be spared. And so there was no one to comfort her as she let her tears flow. Who would dare call it weakness at this time even if there were witnesses?
They were trying to break into the room. A large bang hit against the great barred doors and made everything shake. She swallowed, took a deep breath, and smoothed her skirts. Her hands shook. As calm as she tried to appear, she was still the queen, it was all false. Her heart hammered in her chest and if she did not focus on breathing she would pass out.
She was going to die. She and—
The doors burst open. A swarm of bloody soldiers filled the room and she saw the bodies of her guards on the floor behind them. They seemed to expect more here and for a moment looked around before all turned to her. She raised her chin and stayed seated on her throne, her pearls catching the light, and crown high on her brow. The man in command began to walk to her, not sheathing his weapon. Finally she could not stand it and cast her eyes down to her lap—she knew his face, he had been one of her guards years ago before civil unrest turned into civil war.
At the voice all in the room obeyed. The queen looked up to see a boy standing in the broken doorway, his hand was outstretched and commanding the men, even the captain. He was young, fourteen if a day, the queen thought, and yet there was blood on his clothes. Had he held a dying friend, or caused a spraying wound in another?
“Father has fallen,” he announced, and with that the queen knew who he was. The young lord, son of the rebelling nobleman, she had thought him too young to have come with his father and their men to this last stand.
In reply the men turned and bowed to him, many falling to bent knee including the captain. The boy seemed surprised but quickly shook himself of the feeling, nodding and drawing himself up to full height.
“You will end this immediately. Any more death after this moment will be considered murder. We have won. Go spread the word. Now.” Weapons were sheathed, or dropped, and the group of men that would have killed her left without giving her another glance.
He saw her then. His eyes widened again in surprise, but he tried to school his emotions after a moment. The time he would have spent being taught decorum was instead dominated by harsh war.
He walked through the room to her, stopping before her throne and bowing to her from the waist. “My Lady Kore.”
“Lord Aidoneus,” she replied.
He straightened, wincing, and for the first time she wondered if the blood on his clothes was his own.
“For the sake of our kingdom,” the boy said, “my father began this war against the king. We have slain kith and kin. But now he and His Majesty are both beyond this world. We no longer need shed blood or sow hate. I will be crowned in the upcoming weeks. To ease this transactions and help our people would you do- do me the honour of being my wife?”
She blinked at the boy. She was twice his age. In another life he could have been her son.
“Of-of course,” he continued, stammering but not pausing, “you will need time to grieve—” And you time to grow, she thought, “—nothing shall be forced upon you.”
She finally stood and stepped down from the dais. The relief was apparent on his face and even a small smile touched his lips. He made to speak, but instead swayed dangerously, and more of his clothes began to stain as blood continued to seep from an unseen wound. She rushed to catch him.
I know very little about this story, but this scene has been in my head for quite a while and I finally got to writing it down. I’m sure there will be some changes in the story proper once I let myself work things out in detail.
I wanted to play with age and gender and expectations here- the older woman and young boy, yet he is the one who is more mature and hardened while she has had a relatively easy life as queen. The age gap is extreme, inappropriate even, save for the historical/fantasy setting.