Author Topic: State of Play  (Read 945 times)

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Offline Existentially Odd

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State of Play
« on: February 12, 2012, 03:02:25 AM »
As she rounded the corner, she saw him but by then it was too late to turn back and there were no doors along this particular stretch of corridor that she, Queen of the realm, would be likely to open.  She was travelling the business end of the palace, looking for her husband, and the only thing Rochelle was likely to find along this short hallway were advisors' offices and meeting rooms.  Left with no other choice, her strong chin lifted imperceptibly and she shifted her gaze off him, deliberately staring past him as she glided along the lush carpet runner, her dark green dress rustling quietly and her hands curled delicately around one another before her tiny waist.

Phinneus, the evil demon's name was - although that was his surname, she'd learned that in the eight months he'd resided in the palace.  Amongst other things.  He'd earned himself the title Advisor Phinneus in the time he'd been there, working closely at her husband's side in those early, hectic days, where she could not be.  She'd never hated anyone or any thing so purely in all her young life; frankly, she'd never even experienced the emotion until he came along eight months (or moons, as they were wont to say, here in Oberon) ago.

She tried not to dwell on it too much these days, but it was her life and her struggles had been incessant since he returned.  Things had been starting to change for the better too, when the king had suddenly died.  The first few weeks afterward were a whirlwind of action and confusion, she and Hew children doing their best to act suddenly like adults and accept their roles.  At first, they managed to share a bed - and Mayhew even surprised her by repeating their night of passion with a second, at that stage - and retain their suite in the palace, but even that soon changed.  They were moved into the senior monarchs' wing of the palace and she was forced to accept her place in the Queen's Chamber.  It was adjacent to the king's, of course, but from the night she moved in, the connecting door wasn't opened.

It took two months before the rumours reached her, for they were far more discreet this time.  Rochelle had fallen into a familiar funk, fretting because she rarely saw Mayhew except at meal times, his claim that he was busy evident in the shadows beneath his blue, haunted eyes.  She thought he was grieving his father, wracked by guilt for not seeing him more before he died, for the ugly words they'd exchanged while he lived and was doing his best to make it up to him posthumously.  She was lonely and missed him, sad when her body bled and proved that she hadn't fallen pregnant to him and not daring to sneak into his chamber because he needed his sleep so desperately.  It was obvious to everyone that he was working hard, travelling to neighbouring realms to establish himself as monarch, attending functions, holding meetings and generally taking over where his stately father had left off.

Eventually she found out that it was only part of the truth, however, that - had she ever dared to try opening the door that remained closed between their bed chambers - she would not have found her husband sleeping in there anyway.  Phinneus was the man Mayhew had told her about, the one he'd once loved more than her, the one he apparently still loved... and chose to sleep with, instead of her.  It broke her heart.

One night, she actually packed a bag, saddled a horse and tried to run away  She wanted to just ride away back to France, but the guards at the Oberon gates stopped her and delivered her, hysterically sobbing and completely inconsolable to Captain Frederickson's door.  He listened to her tale with grim lips and very little comment, though he consoled her gently and convinced her to return.  She was not just a princess, she was sixteen now and a queen; if her husband didn't have the grace to honour her station then she needed to show him what true regal action was and force him to acknowledge the true jewel in his crown.

Thankfully, Mayhew didn't find out about that moment of late-night weakness, very few people in the palace did.  After a few days of mourning and solitude, Roche made up her mind to do exactly as the Captain bid her.  She would be the best queen she could be - the queen that this fine city deserved to have - and damn her husband to the pits of Hell for overlooking her.  God, she was sure, was testing her to strengthen her, to teach her the lessons her mother had warned her life would throw at her, to show her the steel she had inside.  She realised she would never be great, never be a mother or the woman she'd grown up envisioning she would be without trial and challenge to harden her.  As a sword was bathed in flame before it cooled and hardened ever stronger, so too was she in this marriage she found herself in.

There were more than a few weeks where her love for Mayhew faltered, but she eventually righted that and was able to smile at him, to be herself with him (without imagining him doing unspeakable things with that man), to better him in her mind, at last.  She insisted upon taking up some of the duties he was burdening himself with, telling him that it was keeping him from her and she missed him, that she would see his work halved so that their time together could be doubled and she played the gracious host to what felt like thousands just to have the chance to stand at his side and smile.  The land was heating up as the spring melted into summer and she allowed herself to be enchanted with the excitement of the Tournament of the Corn and all the feasting that plentiful harvests wrought.

About a month ago, her prayers were finally answered.  Their time meeting during the days had increased, mealtimes with Hew had become amusing, fun-filled affairs and one night, without preamble, he simply followed her back to her chamber when it was time to retire and he didn't go to his own bed.  Nor to the demon's.  It was the first time she'd slept properly in seven months and she woke up feeling lighter, happier and entirely enthused, even though they'd done nothing but lay beside one another all night.  His smile in the morning set her heart alight and she fell more deeply in love with him than ever.

He'd chosen her.

Each night thereafter, he'd slept with her and it was like it had been just before the king had died.  Tenderly, they re-learned one another's bodies, with caresses and kisses that increased nightly.  Hew's tenderness with her was a stark contrast to his distance, to the cruelty she'd once known from his lashing tongue and it seemed to her that he was apologising.  Slowly, progressively, he made up for every night he'd gone to Phinneus, for ever turning from her at all and he worshipped her body by night as he attended to her thoughts and conversation by day.  A week and a half before, they'd started making love again and each night it had got better, more thrilling, more passionate.

So, no, she wasn't going to look at the filth that was Phinneus now, as she walked inadvertently towards him, for she'd battled the ghost of him since the day she was married and she was certain she'd won over the real thing now.  Hew didn't have time to go to him any more and she knew for a fact that he'd stopped being advised by his 'advisor'.  He was nothing more than a leech sucking the castle's assets dry, not invited to meetings, not considered educated enough to be worthy of listening to.  He'd been the king's favoured companion for a good five months and likely his lover for that whole time, too, but he was out of favour now, yesterday's newsflash burned out, last week's flowers turned dead and brown.  She didn't even know why he was still here.

As he came towards her, Phinneus felt much the same emotion as the queen; hatred.  He didn't look through her though, he was staring straight at her stupid, doe-like blue eyes the whole way down the hall, sneering at her primly up-swept hairdo and her 'big girl' clothes - she was nought but a child.  A bitch in heat who'd done something - threatened something, he was certain - to get Hew back to her side.  He didn't believe for an instant that Hew had voluntarily left him... but his hold on the boy had slipped.  He knew that much.

He also knew it had started about three moons before, when he'd stopped getting visits, when his comments in chamber meetings were ignored or he got those looks.  Like he was stupid.  Like he was a fornicating imposter who had no right to be there, amongst their hoity-toity asses.  Like they were too good for the likes of him - him, what got down on his knees when some of them had a hankering for it, took it up the ass when others had the thirst and arranged pretty young things to take his place when the rest were horny and incapable of doing anything about it for themselves.

Oh, they owed him, they all did.  Hew, at least, had paid his debt, had given him a fancy home that had caused the jaws of his useless family to drop, had clothed him in finery and paid him a fortune for doing nothing much at all.  Still, he hated that the king had turned from him, had stopped listening to him and, worst of all, had begun looking at him like those fat prick hypocrites did.  He'd been here long enough, though, that he had dirt on every one of them and none of them could evict him without their castle of sin crashing down upon their heads.  None of them.

This bitch, though... she was perfect.  Little miss sunshine and light, untouchable and loved by everyone.  There were no allies nor any strings he could pull when it came to her (or the red-headed bitch ex-captain, but she was far less of an issue for him) and it left him seething.  So much so, that he couldn't hold his tongue when the time came.  As he moved to pass her, as their shoulders came perfectly into line, he spoke, a single, muttered word beneath his breath - one that he'd had to go to great pains to learn and perfect, and one delivered with the perfect heaping of churlish hatred that he felt for her.


She stopped dead in her tracks, still staring straight ahead but her jaw clenched, horror washing through her.  She sensed his foul gaze upon her and it made her feel just as soiled as the word he'd used for her (the likes of which she'd heard perhaps once in her life and would never dare let past her own innocent lips).  She swallowed, her face flushing and the pinkness spreading all the way down to her exposed décolletage while she mustered the courage to speak to him.

He wasn't worth her time, she knew that and he was grinning at her now, aware that he'd unsettled her, that the gauntlet had been thrown down when they'd been nothing but polite strangers (and opponents) all this time.  Now they were enemies, with that one word spoken, and she was compelled to show him exactly the steel she was made of, for as much as he didn't deserve a response from her, he also didn't deserve to think he'd won with his disgusting opening strike.

"Speak to me again like that and you will learn exactly how much of one I can be," she told him, her lovely, girlish voice stern and (thankfully) unwavering, her accent less pronounced but still giving the unpretty words a flattering taint.  With a blink and a slight intake of breath that lifted her chin and her shoulders even higher, she then strode away from him, not looking back, not caring what he thought and somewhat hopeful he would drop dead on the spot.

Alas, she knew she would not be so lucky, but she hoped all the same.
Jeanne D'Arshan DavidKerr GalvinOwen HarperIndianaDominic KahoTau LeanderSamuel TaylorFrederigo Tripada

«~Infusco Past

«~Oberon Castle
Lam Dinaris PhinneusQueen Rochelle

Aarik Cathmoor