Friday, June 21, 2019

#FridayFlash - His Dragon Queen

A little longer than normal, but some sense of proper closure was needed. Because I'm not bitter that I'm better than some writers make tons of money while I languish in obscurity. o,.,o

***

Sean entered the throne room with heavy stride and heavier heart. The stench of death and smoke filled his nostrils, clinging to every breath. Would he ever rid himself of it? Could he ever clear his memory of the last few days?

Devorah remained with her back to him, staring at the massive throne at the back of the hall. The farthest walls had collapsed during the assault, exposing the throne room to the gray sky. Ashes drifted in, staining once beautiful marble.

They were thankfully too high above the city to hear the wails of the survivors below.

"In my mind, it looked different. When I was a child, all I could see was a great pile of swords, heaped together. Not even a seat at all.

"But as I grew older, saw other thrones and palaces and rulers, I began to form a real image.

"It was still enormous, but it wasn't just a mound. The body of it was slagged, all those swords melted together to make the seat and skirt of drooping metal. Great frills of the most beautiful weapons, bristling like the spikes of a dragon along the back and arms. Jeweled pommels and shiny blades and the kiss of fire, almost too big for a queen like myself."

She turned, amethyst eyes sparkling with joy, lips and cheeks flushed with passion. Devorah had too much spirit to be contained in such a tiny body, and it threatened to spill forth at moments like this. Her Tuatha blood shone at the fore; there was no mistaking her for an ordinary human when like this.

He remained where he stood, unable to speak, thoughts and emotions at war inside him. She was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen, and Sean loved her with his entire being. He feared her dragons, as any sane man should, but he also trusted her completely. Sean had always been an outcast, but Devorah accepted him for who he was, made no demands but for his loyalty.

"Now that I see the real thing, it..." She trailed off, moving closer to him, and sighed. "Would I sound ungrateful if I said it didn't live up to my dreams?" Devorah's joy noticeably diminished.

Sean frowned, his internal conflict rising up within him. "Was it worth it?" His words were sharp, heavy with grief and anger.

Devorah tipped her head, smile fading. "What do you mean, my little wolf?"

The young warrior gestured sharply at the ruined walls, at the smoke still rising from the ruined city. "That! All that destruction. Thousands of lives lost. Innocent lives, that you and your dragons took. For a fucking throne. Was it worth it?" He was shouting by the end, face flushed with his anger.

Devorah's entire demeanor changed, hardened. The young woman looked every inch an empress in that moment, eyes narrowed, chin jutting. A dragon roared in the distance, echoing her sudden change in emotions. "You're also questioning me? Have they turned you against me too?" Danger flashed behind her eyes.

Sean swallowed hard, biting back a sharp retort. This was what Tylen and Beryl had tried to warn him about. These sudden mood swings were a sign of an unhinged mind in their eyes, meant she traveled further down the path of madness by the day. They feared what a mad woman with dragons at her command could do.

He had his own reservations about Devorah. She was his beloved, but she was still Tuatha. She wanted an empire, albeit a benign one, and had already slain those who opposed her new ways. The status quo was one of cruelty and oppression, and Devorah refused to let anyone uphold it.

"Devvie," he said, voice under control once more, choking down the turmoil. Tylen had planted so many doubts, had urged him to do the unthinkable. Sean shook his head, attempting to sort himself out. "They're scared. That you won't stop. That all your words of peace and change mean nothing. Look at what you did. Can you blame them?"

She closed the distance between them, heels clicking sharply on the cracked floor. Sean lowered his gaze to avoid her hard glare, but didn't pull back. Devorah needed to hear the truth, and he needed to hear her reaction. He needed to know if he loved an evil woman, if her pretty smile hid a cracked mind.

"You call them innocent, but are you forgetting that they turned from me? They defied me, hid in the arms of a false queen. They chose to remain here even when I told them what would happen. They all chose to be my enemy."

Sean spoke without looking up. "That sounds like something your father would say. Or the first Tuatha to conquer our shores. Humans don't like having demands placed upon them. If you want to bring about change, you cannot behave like your ancestors." He closed his eyes, waiting for her outburst.

The moment drug on, quiet.

Devorah wrapped her arms around him, laying her head on his chest. "Help me break the cycle, then," she whispered. "Let's bring in this new world together."

Sean hesitated. He could reach his knife, could end her reign as the others wanted. No one else could ever get this close to her while her guard was down. He would be the hero of his people, justified for killing the woman before she went completely crazy.

But was she truly mad? One bad decision did not mean a person was irredeemable. Sean had executed a number of law breakers, had fought and killed in the name of justice. Was he insane? Was he beyond saving?

He embraced Devorah. His empress. His love. His heart knew the truth, knew the measure of this woman. She was not a ravening beast to put down because someone didn't like her. She was a young woman with a vision of how the world should be, and that meant things needed to change.

Change would always frighten some people.

Devorah wanted to bring about a world of love and respect, even if she didn't know how. No one knew how, because it had never been tried. She was bound to make mistakes along the way, but she needed a chance to learn from them.

"I love you," he whispered. "I will always see the faces of those slain today, and I will always think you killed them" She stiffened, and Sean leaned back to look at her. Devorah turned angry eyes up to him, and he laid a finger over her mouth before she could speak.

"You want my help creating your perfect world, and I will. If you learn from this. If you accept the blame for this. I will always be here for you, reminding you not to go so far, if you really want me too."

Devorah stared, eyes nearly black. Tension radiated from her tiny form, but he kept his arm around her, offering all his love. Offering the support and friendship and concern the others were too scared to give.

"I will never give up on you. No matter what," he said, kissing her forehead. "That's what love means." Sean held her tight, vowing to always be the rock she needed, from now until the stars faded.

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