Wednesday 1 August 2012
Sitting in the darkened cottage with the light from the fire only barely illuminating the room, she looked intently at her companion.
‘I want her dead, Francois,’ she said quietly. He nodded, and returned her gaze.
‘I know it seems obvious to say, but no good can ever come of this, Elle,’ he replied.
‘No good can come of her continuing her reign,’ Elle snapped.
Francois rubbed his face and sighed, ‘Elle, you are impossible to deal with when you get in this frame of mind.’
‘I’m impossible? I’m not the one destroying the kingdom with my monstrous attitude, and my attacks on innocent people. She must die. There is no other way.’ She took his hand in both of hers, pleading with him. ‘Francois, please. I can’t do this alone.’
* * * * *
The opulence of the palace was in stark comparison to the poverty that had befallen the people of the kingdom since Queen Josslyn had seized power. She ruled with only her own interests at heart. Her manner, terse and dismissive of those below her, had not gained her any friends in neighbouring lands. Still, no one was courageous enough to confront her, particularly not since she had executed an entire troop of soldiers because one of them had questioned her motives for an attack on a farmer and his young family.
The throne room, where Josslyn now awaited the arrival of her most trusted advisor, was the room where she felt most at home in the castle. It had been designed and built many years before with the sole purpose of keeping the reigning monarch safe. The one entrance was small so as to prevent hoards of people rushing through at any one time, and it was set so that those seeking audience with the king or queen were unable to see the throne until they had fully entered the room. This gave the guards time to apprehend any assassins before they had an opportunity to harm the monarch.
Queen Josslyn tapped her spidery fingers on the arm of the throne. She was never kept waiting, except by her advisor. She had a soft spot for him, as he had been by her side since she was a young noble woman. Josslyn heard his footsteps before she saw him. She could recognise his footfall from all others in the land. Her face lit up with delight when she finally set eyes on him.
‘There you are, good sir. You do know that I’ve had people executed for less than making the Queen wait, don’t you?’ she smiled at him as she spoke.
‘Your majesty, I am most decidedly apologetic for making you wait. I was . . . held up on business. However, I have much news to tell you,’ he replied.
‘It has been a long week, sir, and I have missed you terribly. Come, Francois, sit with me and tell me of your journey.’
Francois approached the throne and bowed his head at his Queen.
‘Stop that, you silly fool,’ Josslyn said. She bid Francois to come closer, but couldn’t wait for him to be within reach, leaping from the throne to wrap her arms around his shoulders. ‘Oh, how I have missed you, my love.’
‘And I you,’ he replied, returning the embrace.
. . . To be continued . . .