Queen Adelia was furious. Not only had she and her husband been insulted by Jyla, but they had been judged and made a fool of at their own dinner table.
Her husband, her King, sat down roughly in his seat. His face drooping with exhaustion he rubbed his eyes and forehead. And in doing this Adelia realized he had no idea how she was feeling. How dare that bitch Jyla speak to us in that manner, she thought, who does she think she is?
She then turned her rigid head to her husband.
“I… cannot… believe YOU.” She whispered. And he raised his head staring forward,” You let that woman come into our home, sit at our table, and spit on us with judgment?”
“Adelia please” He tried.
“No, there is no Adelia please. I am sickened at what I have seen just now. You have truly crumbled as a man. To let a woman speak to you like that, and tear you and your principles down. Not only does she disrespect us but she disrespects this house and our children!” She starts to raise her voice.
“Adelia.” He tries again. This time looking at her.
She stands screaming, pointing her finger in accusation, “NO! I AM TIRED OF HAVING TO BE THE WOMAN WHO RUNS THE KINGDOM! THIS IS YOUR JOB! YOUR TASK SET TO YOU BY YOUR FATHER!”
“AND I HAVE FAILED!” He bellowed standing tall and proud. Her breath caught in her throat instantly.
“I have failed! I have failed my father and I have failed my house and my brothers! My children are fat pigs who do nothing but sit around this house in the darkness. They have no skills, no hand for a sword and no mind for a Commander and Chief! My son… My son with rather stroke his cock from his bedchambers then find a woman to do it for him. And my wife… my queen, is so blinded by jewelry and false friends she cannot see that everyone around her is laughing. LAUGHING!” He screams to her, his body now hunching, his fingers curling. This is the first time he has spoken his mind in a long time.
“I am sick and I am tired of hiding from the public for fear… fear that my Kingdom will see my carnival of a family and overthrow my power. And I am tired of hiding from the truth. Because that woman, Jyla, has done more for us than we have ever done for ourselves.” He pauses taking a deep breath.
“She has spoken to our faces what everyone else is too afraid to say. Its true, I sat at the back of the Army while my brothers defended my honor. And I did banish my brother, I banished him because I did not want my crown and my ruling tainted by my father’s mistake. But Heath wasn’t a mistake.”
He looks to Adelia and stares for a while. Then moves closer, taking her hands in his.
“There is something I must tell you. Sit.” He says softly. Angling her chair for her he matches his to her direction and takes a deep breath.
“My father wanted us to marry, just as yours did. But I… did not.” He sighs carefully,”There was a woman, out in Charimstende in the farmland to the North. That little town… oh what was the name?”
“Lundale.” Adelia said lowly. Her heart began to pick up speed, her stomach clenching in a knot.
“That’s right. Lundale. Her name was Anne, she was the daughter to a farmhand, and when we arrived we had stopped to stretch our legs before entering the city and going… too you.” He rubs his thumb over hers staring down at their hands,”And I met her, and like wildfire I was in love. I had asked to stay a day to gather my thoughts and my father agreed. But in reality I wanted to see her.”
“That’s why you were a day late.” Adelia remembered, vomit pooling at the back of her throat. She was starting to feel lightheaded.
“That night hand been the best night of my life, and I had promised her I would return to see her again. And if things were meant to be we would marry, and she would be Queen.” He confessed.
Adelia began to feel sweat at the back of her neck, her anger warming her from the inside to out.
“Well I did come back, two years ago… I came to her when my belly still clung to my hips and my arms held their muscle. And I spoke to her as I had the day I met her, and she was almost the same as then too. But as I talked to her I noticed she wasn’t looking at me the same, so I poked and prodded til…” He takes a deep breath.”Til she told me she would never love me, for I was a tyrant. That my reputation had preceded me, and that she could never be with the likes of me because I was not an honorable King. And I had rode home enraged at her, wanting to kill her. That she would choose a fat rancher to lie under instead of a king made no sense to me. Until only a few months later I looked at my reflection and saw myself. Saw a man less than that of a dog. And it has been haunting me. Well I am done, I am done burying myself under my failures as a King, as a father, and a husband. I am willing to fix this I…”
“You cheated on me.” She spoke softly.
He stopped, staring at her, then she looked in his eyes.
“Mother of your children… Queen to your throne…” She waited. Then she slapped him in the face hard. He stared back at her shocked.
“Adelia I…” She slapped him again.
Then again… and again, and again, and again!
He fell back in his chair, sinking down into the crevices as she beat him down screaming and crying. Then she stopped, she stared down at him. The tears running down her cheeks and dripping as one from her chin. She noted everything about him in this moment. How he stared up at her like a whipped dog. How his arms curled up in defense, his fingers shaking. His mouth curled into a whimper and the redness stinging each cheek. His back now flat against the cushion where his ass was placed and his legs bent to keep him from sliding off the chair completely. She noted it all, and then… as coldly as she could. She spoke.
“Look at you now.”
And then she walked away, up to her chambers to sob and flail about the room. She would bellow out into the air her curses and damnations. She would beg for her father to take her back, to take her home away from this Kingdom of lies. Most of all she would curse Anne. Curse the vile woman of not telling her, of not sending word or anything at all of her husbands deceit. And then, when she was done she would lay herself to sleep.
That would be a later time, for tonight was still young.
She looked now, out upon her Kingdom from her chamber window. Staring out upon the various homes, chapels, and then down at her stables. She watched them carefully, knowing Jyla and her horse were well clear by now. But there was something she felt there, something wrong.
Adelia lent down lower staring down into the only chamber she could see within. She watched the horse, it was Delilah’s horse Paulie, and found something wrong. Paulie swayed strangely, his shoulders knocking against the wooden walls of the exterior. Bang, bang, bang he went. She started to feel fear wrap its cold arms round her when the horse suddenly stopped. It then sprayed putrid liquid from its rear and dropped its head down to vomit out of sight. And Adelia caught sight of its dripping mouth as it gave a pained scream and fell over.
She then turned and ran, past her guards who followed behind frightened, and down the corridors and many stairways til she was out in the cool night. She then ran her soft slippers through icy wet grass to her stables. To Paulie she went and when she opened the stable door and went right toward his stable, she found him dead. His eyes a rotten white. His nostrils dripping a fierce black glob of liquid. His teeth rotten and small.
She turned her face away gasping for breath.
The guards froze and then insisted she step away…
“Step away from the sickness.” One had said.
Step away from the sickness, the words rang like chapel bells in her skull.
Then she thought of Jyla.
And the ringing stopped.