Standing alone like a warrior preparing for battle the Queen peers out the window at the spectacle before her. Her men who were assigned to her service since she became Queen all those years ago pledge allegiance to a new leader, the woman who murdered her husband. If she had any tears left to cry she would but truth is emotion left her the moment her husband died ; from that moment on her heart had turned to stone. The queen without emotion they would call her, a visible shell of her former self but how could she show how she really felt when that woman had stole her one true love to exact a ticket to the Autumn Throne? There was nothing she could do but stay chained to this iron tower, where the pretender’s guards and women surrounded her to stop her escaping. As if she would ever do that anyway when the only person that was worth escaping for was already dead? She knew that it wasn’t healthy to wallow in events best forgotten but sometimes she thought that if she never let ambition get hold of her, her husband would still be alive and this tower would be home to the murderess who claimed her Autumn Throne instead. To pass the time she gazed at portraits of all her lost loves, her children dead, her husband murdered, her sister drowned. She had noone left and intent on torturing herself further she settled into the confines of her mind and into the deep hollows of the past.
She had dreamed about the Autumn Throne since she was a little girl, knew that it was her destiny to continue her mothers legacy as Queen but it was a few years off yet. Her mother was still young and she was only eleven, by the time she would come to the throne she would be a grown woman, she was just a child still. But as fate would have it, destiny interceded and took her mothers life before her time. Her mother was just 42 and noone knew the circumstances of her death but her and it was a secret that she would take to her grave. No one could know the truth and for now the secret had been locked away in the hollowed cavities of her mind. Still at the age of 18 she was alone and afraid, with no one to guide her and teach her how to rule. She took to her new role with gusto, her people were counting on her and she wasn’t going to mess up her chance to continue the legacy of great rulers before her. The Autumn Throne had been ruled by her family for a century now and she wasn’t planning to feed her throne to the vultures that were circling. Becoming a queen made her become an adult and with no one to rely on but herself she made damn well sure that her subjects sat up and took notice. She may have been young but she was no fool.
In time the civil unrest between her subjects had dissipated into a faint murmur and she was secure in the knowledge that her rule had become a success. By the age of 22 she had brokered peace with the neighboring Queens who had been at war with her family for decades and at the age of 23 she found her one true love, the man who would become her prince consort until the end of her days. He was handsome, virile and passionately in love with her. Within months she became pregnant and as she came to her full-term, the whole court rejoiced at the prospect of the babe being born into peace, rather than the savage wars that had permeated the Autumn Throne for centuries. Deeply in love and blissfully content she settled into her new life as mother, wife and queen, showering her husband and child with bountiful gifts. Her family wanted for nothing and she would reward them with precious treats that their hearts craved. Her husband was a little older than she but even as she saw the deep-set wrinkles create cavernous marks across his once handsome face she loved him more and more each day. He might have been older but he had the heart of a youth and made her feel alive even when she entered her fourth decade on earth. She was forty now and supposedly wiser but she felt giddy, drunk on the poison of love.
For years the dissipating murmurs of discontent had been growing ever stronger until she could ignore them no longer. She had been oblivious and her subjects had become jealous of her public devotion to her husband and their growing brood of children. Because lets face it, every queen must know that family comes second and sovereignty comes first. But still she took no heed, dismissing it as petty talk that would amount to nothing until SHE came along. She was a sculpture of beauty, large blue eyes framed by dark lashes and long thick hair that cascaded like a waterfall down her back. Men fell at her feet and for the first time she realized that she was no longer beautiful. Time had been a cruel mistress and her face was marked with scars of age, she knew that it wouldn’t be long before her subjects sought a new object of affection. Gradually her husband, old enough to be this young thing’s Grandfather stopped coming home and she was forced to accept that SHE was the cause of all this. She had no proof though so she kept silent for the sake of preserving royal dignity. Her children were young adults now and had settled into their roles as Prince and Princesses, the last thing she needed was scandal to affect their futures. It was the youngest, Matilda who came to her with the news, ‘Papa is having an affair Mama, I saw it with my own eyes, under the royal staircase no less’. She needed not say no more and I felt the air leave my lungs and deprive me of oxygen, so it was true, I was right.
That Bitch had wormed her way into my husband’s affections and there is nothing I can do but sit and wait for the man I called my husband to come home. She is just a pretty toy and everyone gets bored of toys, or at least so I thought. At the two year mark, my husband and Prince Consort sought divorce told me he was in love with someone else. ‘She is young enough to be your Granddaughter’ I cried trying to make him see sense. But he didn’t listen and now he is dead, all because he left my side to be with that pretty, vain girl. Once the court had approved our divorce and I was consortless, she plotted with other Royalists to remove me from the Autumn Throne and succeeded. She manipulated my staff and turned them against me, told them to turn a blind eye while her people kidnapped me from my very own bed. I struggled against their pincing grasp but age had left me fragile of body and I was powerless to resist. They locked me up in the tower, tied me to the iron shackles that had become my home. “Where are my babies” I cried, they were gone too soon. That girl had become a woman and in that transition had murdered my children and she took great pleasure in telling me the gruesome details. How they thought it was my command that they die so this bitch could take my throne. They died hating me and a little part of me died inside. It was all part of her plan to claim the Autumn Throne as hers, this commoner, this pretender thought she could do my job? Hah, give over.
But she did and used my ex husband to get the throne. When he had served his purpose she had him killed , made me attend his beheading. Took great pleasure in seeing me in pain, laughed in my face when the deed was done. I have been in the tower ever since.
Nestled in a bed of ombre leaves lies the key to the kingdom, a bittersweet reminder of love lost and gone, lives slaughtered, gone before their time. The Queens are long dead and the kingdom remains ungoverned, a wilderness of contempt and disdain for its people. Sovereignty has long been abolished and the monarchy no longer populates the imagination of our people, all that is left is keys turning to rust, lost in the mound of rich autumn leaves that circle the wet mounds of land above our feet. Question is will the autumn throne ever be regained?
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