There once was a queen far more ruling than any others. Never a sign of weakness in either mind or body; confidence and courage were her virtues. With a level of mercilessness previously thought woman incapable of, she quickly put down any opposition that grew zealous enough to tempt her hand.
On a day much like many others the Queen sat in her court room attended by a servant. A loud scramble of shouts and feet rose outside the door. The court doors were flung open and a procession of few men entered. A figure drug behind two men from the village strode next to the Queen’s advisor, who always was careful to walk with the greatest air of importance wherever he went, regardless of what he was doing. Today, however, it was not forced. Whatever the occasion for his sudden visit, he felt was of the upmost importance.
“My Queen!” He proclaimed as he stopped before her. “I bring the gravest news. This thing,” He turned and pointed to the, what she could see to be, creature, slumped between the two men. “I learned to be terrorizing the local towns, spreading false rumors about the crown. After many nights of hunting we finally cornered and captured it.” All the men looked quite proud in this moment. “We ask that you justly punish this wretch for his crimes against the throne.”
The Queen looked upon the figure brought before her. Stockier than most men, his hair hung in grey tendrils past his ears until they just brushed against his shoulders. His skin also appeared grey and worn, not through age but through abuse and neglect.
“Daemon,” She addressed him. “Do you have a name?”
At first there came no answer. Impatient, her advisor struck the being across the cheek, which brought forth “No, I lack such things as identity”.
“Have you done what you are accused of?” The Queen asked next.
“Yes I have.” The creature answered this time without prompt.
“Then it just lies as to why you would perpetrate such things. I rule over simple people with simple lives. Their greatest wish is to live peacefully the way they always have. My one duty is to make sure that happens. Why would you desire to disturb our way of life?”
“I came into this world seeking nothing but companionship from my fellow creatures. But I found nothing but spit. Shall I not then hate them who abhor me? I will keep no terms with my enemies.” The thing spoke in a steady voice, though he avoided all gazes and kept his eyes down.
“But tell me, how am I an enemy? Surely I have never met your before nor have I objurgated you in any way uncalled for in my rule. Why then do you target me?”
The creature shifted uncomfortably. “You are the ruler of these people. If they treat me poorly, you would surely do the same.”
The Queen tilted her head. “Simple words from a wise man.”
Alarmed, her advisor scoffed. “Your majesty, you would call such a creature wise? This vile thing could never even hope for wisdom.” And again he leaned forward and struck the monster.
With keen eyes but a keener sense the Queen observed this. She thought for a moment, a small, telling smile spreading across her lips. She sat up rail straight with the greatest of ease.
“All men hate the wretched.” She spoke, keeping her eyes on the hunched figure before her. “Am I not considered wretched by some?” She turned to her servant, who remained by her side. “Boy, do you consider me wretched?” Under her steady gaze the young boy quaked and could not answer. “Do you see?” She turned back to the others. “Surely the most wretched of all creatures am I, to garner such fear from even those who follow me. How then should I proceed? All I have condemned to miserable deaths I would consider wicked and evil, but above all bad; deserving of such fates as I have set down. But not wretched; never wretched.” The Queen rose and descended the few steps setting her above the room. “Life, unfair, seeming only to breed disease of the human heart; its significance is not lost on me, and therefore I will defend it where I see fit.”
At this the bowed figure raised his head. Others turned away at the sight, but the Queen did not shy away. She found herself oddly drawing into the monster’s intricate features, some gentle, others sharp, molding together into something which gave off a genuine sense of misinterpretation. “You will not die today, or any other day. You will live as long as I surely will.” Touching his shoulder, the once despised rose from his position and followed the Queen out of the court, unburdened from his previous bonds brought on by humanity.
*Note: Back from poetry with a vengeance! Can anyone guess what this is inspired by? It’s a classic novel written by a woman…