It’s been a while since I’ve written a chapter of the Golden Queen. I just felt the urge to write some fantasy. 🙂
The Golden Queen – Part 6
The news came in three days’ time. The city of Prost fell deeper under its cloak of shadow, no one doubted the reason— Dark Magician Yulos had joined the other side.
Tillesia woke from a lonely slumber by messenger. She roused the camp for an impromptu meeting. The first spoken words would be the most important.
The high council urged to call a private meeting— she ignored them and took her place atop supply boxes in the center of camp.
“Good people of the Order, a dark time has fallen upon us. Despite this, we must not become the monsters we seek to eradicate. Our focus has not changed: we will spark a campaign of suppression, not an inquisition aimed on genocide.”
The high council muttered dissent, but the people of the camp were hers. They stared up at her wide-eyed and sought clarification.
“It is no secret the people who accompanied me to Prost, did not return. The darkness seized their hearts. It fuels my decision. The Dark Magician Yulos has fallen for this temptation and no doubt seeks to claim this power as her own.”
The council members whispered amongst themselves. Denouncing Yulos is a necessary step to win them over. Tillesia took a deep breath. “We must not engage Prost directly, as doing so will only swell the numbers of our foe. Instead we must slowly pick away at the resources our foe has available.”
A young page raised his hand. All eyes fell on him.
“Speak, if you have something to say.”
Those around the boy cleared away, giving him room to be seen. He was a skinny boy of seventeen— one who reminded her of Fennrick in so many ways.
“My Queen, who is our foe?”
Tillesia glanced to her council, who shook their heads. They would want her to suppress the truth. However, she was Queen, not them.
“Our foe is but a young man, one I knew well.” She put a hand over her heart and cast down her gaze. “I failed him as I have failed you all, but I plan to make amends. Make no mistake, we face a newly arisen Dark Lord.”
The crowd broke into frenzied whispers. Bishop Irras approached. “Your Grace, this is madness, why would you—“
Tillesia raised a finger, silencing him. “If we are to inspire the Order we must do so with the real threat. She let the bedlam fester before she raised her arms to reclaim order. The crown hushed and took in her calm confidence. She stepped down from her perch and walked amongst her people.
“The rise of a Dark Lord is a dire day. Yet, how it impacts us comes from our ability to react. Finnrick is the name of our foe, a boy wronged by the Usurper. He brought justice to Prost, but fell to another evil altogether. I know, trust and love Fennrick.” As a friend. “He is strong of will and should we only strike him down, we cast away the ally we have in him as well.”
The Bishop clenched his jaw. He was powerless to contest her.
“The reason my company turned to him, does not come from the evil in their heart. All men have darkness within them. Instead, they were lured in by the goodness he holds. His cause is just— his methods are not. We must show him the error of his ways and seek to inspire him to be the means to contain the power of a Dark Lord. Fellow members of the Order, hear my plea. We must cast aside the temptation of revenge. We must allow Prost to stay as it is and target the true evil at hand.”
“The Dark Magician Yulos,” Bishop Irrias said. “Should she tempt this Finnrick he will come to the height of his power.”
Tillesia nodded. She hated the idea of giving him what he wanted, but it was a matter of give and take. He accepted the compromise, confirming it with a smile. I’ll let him think he’s getting exactly what he wants.
“From this day forward, we will consider Finnrick the new Lord— nay— King of Prost. Should he treat his neighbors with respect it will exist as a beacon of hope that the great evil will not rise again. We need a way to lure out his Queen from her darkened cage.”
A man stepped from the line of counselors, Advisor Blaser. “A bold idea your grace, but may I request proof of his good intention? I would take a handful of messengers and offer the branch of peace myself. Should something happen to me, it would be reasonable to call it an act of war would it not?”
The other advisors nodded their support.
“A fine idea,” she said. “It is imperative you go without arms.”
“Not a problem,” Blaser said. “I am a merchant by trade, not a soldier. Leave it to me to forge this alliance you seek.” He bowed and took his leave.
Tillesia regarded the others. “Until then, I will prepare for my coronation— assuming I retain your support.”
The members of the Order lowered their heads and fell to their knees. They spoke in unison. “Long live the Golden Queen.”
She smiled. “Lye guide us and give us strength.” She played her move, now all she could do was wait for Yulos to do her part— prove her wrong and show that she could contain the darkness better than Finnrick. It wouldn’t be a true victory unless she could wrest that power from him and revert him to the simple boy Tillesia knew him to be.
It’ll be tricky convincing him to give up on me being a part of that life. She retreated to her ten and tied up her hair. A shadow appeared on the entry flap.
“You can come in.”
A pretty young woman stepped in. In some ways she reminded her of Yulos, minus her inherent mischief, of course. Tillesia lingered an admiring gaze a bit too long.
“I’ve come to help you, my grace.”
“H-help?” Tilesia said, regaining eye contact.
“Any queen needs a handmaiden. This camp is squalor for one such as you.”
Tillesia smiled. “I don’t know. I find it quaint. I am no lordling. Only a woman to which the light saw to grace with a blessing— or a curse. What’s your name?”
“Avivi, if it pleases you.”
“I have no use for a hand maiden, Avivi. However, I can always use a friend.” Tilliesia patted her bed. “Are you any good at braiding hair?”
She nodded and took the spot next to her.
Tillesia straightened running her hands through her hair. “I’m also afraid I despise formalities, while you are here, there will be no ‘your Grace’. My friends call me Tillie. You may call me Tillie.”
“If it pleases you, Tillie.”
She smiled back at her. “See? That isn’t so hard. Mind if I call you Vivi?”
Vivi gathered Tillie’s hair. “Are you upset? You think highly of Yulos, do you not?”
“How do you…”
“Lady Yulos asked me to keep an eye on you and to warm your bed.”
How very like her. “I welcome your company, but I will have no need of bed warming.”
“Lady Yulos will be angry if I do not fulfill my duties.”
“I have bigger problems than her anger, Vivi.”
“Then…” Vivi sidled close, slipping her hands under Tillie’s breasts. “…allow me to shoulder your burdens, my queen.”
Tillie gasped, realizing all at once what was happening. “Yulos?”
She nodded kissing her neck.
“You would stoop to possession?”
“Taking a break while Finnrick sleeps. I tired him out.”
Tillie scowled. “You certainly move fast.”
“Always have, always will. I heard your speech, so I am your true enemy now?”
“I can explain.” Tillie said, cautiously aware of Vivi’s wandering hands. “Stop it, not here.”
“Oh should I have possessed a strapping young lad instead? We wouldn’t want rumors to start that the new Queen prefers women.”
Tillie moved away her hands and slid off the bed. “It’s not your body , Yulos. This isn’t right.”
“She won’t complain,” Vivi ran hand along the outline of her curves. “She’s my disciple. What’s mine is hers, for now. I saw you looking earlier, don’t deny it.”
“I’m just— strained. Of course I looked, besides I sensed you before my mind realized it was you. You cannot fault me for this. Besides, you seduced Finnrick, how shameless could you be?”
“I haven’t laid a hand on him—yet. He’s fiercely loyal to you. You left a strong impression on him. His attitude will change once he learns what power he can claim by taking me as his bride. All I need to do is lie a little. Men always fall for the bit about needing a child for a dark ritual. To be fair, it’s not a lie. It’s just, they are the children.”
Tillie moved to the tent, glancing around outside. “You cannot be here. Abandon her body before I force you out.”
“Such a spoil sport. Just for that, I’ think I will have some fun with him. It may be difficult for you to rid yourself of him as a result.” Vivi’s eyes glazed over and she wavered. Tillie hurried over to her, catching her at the shoulders.
“I—“ Vivi blinked. “Where am I? Lady Tillesia?”
A sinking dread welled in Tillesia’s stomach. Yulos will make good on that threat. “What did she tell you before she possessed you?”
Vivi’s eyes widened. “Ah, I’m so sorry. Please don’t throw me out of the order, it’s just—“
“Tell me.” Tillesia narrowed her eyes. “I won’t ask again.”
“She told me not to panic when I found myself in bed with you. I had no choice! She forced me to swear to the contract.”
How very like Yulos. “Rest easy, I will help you. An exorcist will purify you. The process is painful, but you will be free of her. Do not answer any questions posed by the inquisitors ask and do not drink anything I do not offer you directly.”
“Thank you, your Grace.” Vivi swallowed back a lump in her throat.
“I will help you, but you need to help yourself as well. Speak details of this to anyone and I will kill you myself.”