Soundtrack: Best I’ll Ever Be (Acoustic) , Sister Hazel
Today is brought to you by a writing prompt courtesy of our friends at The Figment. They just opened a brand spanking new website with a link to the forums. Join us for some creative fun! Also a brief shout out to Mia Sutton, foundess extraordinaire, you can check out her blog at The Chronicles of Chaos. You rock socks Mia, thank you for all that you do…annd with that being said, on with the show!
“He would be proud of you, you know.” Alexandra Jade spoke on gentle tones. Dawn was flirting with the horizon when Christiana presented herself at the Sorceress’ chamber door. By the disheveled appearance and the tired look in their Queen’s eyes, Alexandra suspected they would have a great deal to talk about when she noted the arrival was with the Queen dressed for a morning ride.
Christiana Morningstar was more comfortable on horseback than anywhere else. When the woman arrived, Alexandra took note of the weathered pants and coat that framed Christiana’s figure. She made short work of dressing for the occasion and, soon enough, the women were on their way. As they traveled, Christiana relayed the nightmares she was experiencing. “Two hands reaching for me out of the darkness….in the course of the dream I am both afraid and reassured. The nightmares have been recurring every night since we returned from the south.”
The explanation brought them to the current moment and the very words Alexandra provided in response. “I would dearly love to tell you that I had a clear response for you, Christi but the truth is I do not. I can only guess.” Her lips thinned to a thoughtful line as she thought of what to say. “I think they may be cause by the stress of the throne and what you fear most about ruling.” Alexandra understood the pressures of the throne better than perhaps anyone within the palace.
When Christiana slowed her horse, Midnight, she wheeled to look at her friend. “Devin.” As Alexandra nodded, she cursed. Her brother, through marriage to the woman riding beside her, was intended for the throne. A poison no one could understand or combat took his life and left Christiana to rule in his stead. Many of the realm’s nobles whispered about her competence. The whispers were enough to shake the most confident ruler. Twins in their realm were rare. Twins among the royal houses were more so. All their lives she and her brother occupied each other’s minds with a bond gifted to twins by Fate.
Even now, Christiana reached for him out of habit. When she hit the wall where his presence once existed, it was an aching, painful reminder of what she had lost. “Christi.” Alexandra interrupted her thoughts on patient tones. The ebb and flow of the woman’s emotions were understandable. “The answer is never as easy as it seems. Forgive yourself.” At the Queen’s puzzled expression, Alexandra smiled and continued. “You are alive. You are achieving the dreams he would have wanted. You have nothing to be afraid of. You have not failed him now, or ever. We could not save him.” Alexandra reached across and grasped Christiana’s gloved hand.
“Have you forgiven yourself, Alexandra?” Pain flashed in Christi’s azure eyes as she shot the question back. In a way, the Sorceress’ serenity piqued her anger. “How did you learn to let go of his expectations? Of losing him?” That anger brought tears and when Alexandra grasped her hand, Christiana’s tightened on the reins. Long ago, Christiana though she had laid to rest this mutual pain but now, the feelings surfaced.
“I have. I fight to live out the dream he would have wanted for our realm. So have you.” The anger struck Alexandra as harshly as a physical blow. Thank the Light two layers of leather lay between them. Direct contact with Christiana would be far more forceful. The touch also encouraged the natural clairvoyance that was a part of her family heritage. “I learned with time. Your blow was so close, so fresh. Forgive yourself for surviving, my Queen. Devin would have long ago. You have long since lived up to and surpassed his dreams. The court’s whispers be damned.” Alex felt the tension leave her friend as she spoke and was saddened to see the tears dripping from Christi’s lashes. When Devin Morningstar was killed, Alexandra lost a loved one but Christi lost a lifetime companion. A sibling she had warred with, laughed with and grown with. “Come on, let’s walk.”
The two women slid from the saddle and led their horses. Rain would be on them soon but perhaps a good soaking was what they both needed. “You have accomplished what he only dreamed of Christi. You brought us together. You taught us through your patience and grace what it was to lead. Those hands in the dark want to forgive you, pushing you to move forward. That is what you fear.”
Heartache choked Christi’s throat as she responded. “And what if I forget him?” Alexandra’s laughter, though warm and not unkind, snapped Christi’s head up to look at her friend.
“Never, my dearest. Not in this life or any other will you forget one so beloved. The Light would never allow such an atrocity. You will always see him in your memories….in your children’s faces. Believe me.” Alexandra shook her head and chuckled again when the woman’s auburn brow perked at mention of children. “I have not seen clearly, my Queen, but the Morningstar line does not end with you.” Thunder cut their conversation short and, soon enough both women mounted their horses and began the journey back to the palace. Alexandra only hoped her consolation was enough to soothe the woman’s worries.