“Are you going to kill me next,” Kazzim asked. He was never more regal than he was now, even as I must have appeared never more ruthless and frightening. In his gaze I saw reflected the fears and doubts of every inhabitant of the Fortunate Island.
“No,” I said softly as one of my waiting women attached the diadem and insignia of High Lady of the Island,”Morgienne was the only one left that was complicit in this. You were cleared, as the others who were not are already dead.”
“You destroyed her name,” ya Anessa,” he said, “consigned her to the Second Death from which there is no hope, no esca – .”
“I consigned her to what she deserved,” I cut him off gently,”Tell me, were you testing me by speaking her forbidden name now, inciting sedition – ” I paused and fixed him with a harder stare now, ” or were you merely forgetful, old friend,” I asked.
“It was you who said her name,” Kazzim corrected, “not I.” He knew quite well that he could get away with such impertinence with me. He also was well aware that I needed him now to solidify my power base. “The succession was clear, but everyone knows now how it happened.”
“But they do not know ‘why’,” I said, “They do not know that my mother was one of how many priestesses who gave her youth and her life to her so that she might continue? She thought she was the bridge between the Sidhe and Humanity.”
“You would have inherited -”
“After how many centuries would that have happened?” I cut him off waving my waiting women away from me. One scurried and tripped over her own skirt spilling her headlong onto the stones. I did not even look down at her as I came toward him, “How many young women need die? How much further would we sell ourselves in servitude to that woman in the name of her ambitions for something she could never have?” Each step punctuated each point until at last I was close enough to feel the heat from Kazzim’s body coming through the heavy silk brocade of his garments, “How much blood would the throne be soaked with so that I could wallow in the carnage that she created?” I spat.
Kazzim nodded his old and dark head, “I understand it,” he replied, “but there are those who will not. They fear your Halfling blood, ya Anessa. Whatever carnage that was wrought will now be worsened. They know that the war between Humans and the Fae will now come.”
“Of course it will come, Kazzim,” I said, “because now that the former High Lady is dead, she cannot simply hand our island and us over to Prince Itet as part of her dowry.”
Kazzim reeled back with a horrified look on his face, “What?” he was incredulous, “What are you saying, Faelyn?”
“I am saying that our former High Lady had every intention to making us a vassal state in return to become Itet’s bride, ” I gave him a death’s head smile, “She wouldn’t have survived the year with him – and you and I everyone here would have been subject to Itet.”
“But there would have been unification!” Kazzim wailed, “the Kingdoms would have been united and now there is war….war coming!”
“Yes,” I said simply. “War is coming.”
Kazzim did not understand, and few did at the time of my ascension that sometimes war is the lesser evil against a peace that would enslave. Even though he would be forsworn among the Sidhe, to someone like Prince Itet, it did not matter. He would use every one of the catspaws at his disposal in order to appear as if his Unseelie hands were kept pristine. Now the plan was upset. My foster mother was dead, Itet would not receive the dowry that he had been promised in the preliminary negotiations between my foster-mother’s emmisaries and his. It was no secret that though technically Prince Itet and I were kin, there was no love lost between us. I would never negotiate for such an alliance so the Fortunate Island would fall into what he must have imagined as his entirely deserving lap.
There may have been those among my people who may have misunderstood what I was doing. But by doing it, the Fortunate Island retained its sovereignty, and I kept them free and autonomous even after the Fae Wars. I do not know that this makes me what some would call ‘great’. I never stopped to consider that what I was doing was for greatness at all. I do know, however, the uses of Power and how to insure that it continues and grows. Greatness, Power, Sovereignty, all of these are fickle things – but while I hold them, I surely intend to wield them.
Muse: Fanny Fae / Faelyn
Fandom: Original Character / Folklore / Mythology
Word Count: 811