Well, the creativity juices have been flowing on Valqis, and I figured I would share what I have written with you. This has been written in starts and stops over the last three weeks, so I welcome any and all criticism that you have for me. And fear not, followers of Randolph, he is not gone, I am simply contemplating what to do to get him out of his latest sticky situation.
Now, without further ado, Valqis: Reborn!
Maria nods and bows and quickly hurries out of the room. The queen waits for the door to close before she gingerly walks to her dresser and reaches for a set of prayer beads and begins to slowly chant a prayer to the Most High Diety for strength. She is on the third recitation when a knock is heard and she quickly puts the beads down and turns to the door. "Who wants to enter the queen's chambers?" she asks. "It is the midwife, your Highness. I understand that your child is wanting to enter the world tonight?"
"Yes," the queen responds with a hiss as another contraction wracks her body with pain. "I am afraid he isn't going to wait much longer. Please come in." The midwife enters the room, with Maria trailing a few steps behind her.
"Milady, I am here as well if you need me," Maria advises, staying in the corner of the room in the shadows.
"Thank you, Maria," the queen says, as the midwife takes her hand and leads her to the birthing chamber that had been constructed just off the queen's chambers. The midwife instructs the queen to lay down on the bed and spread her legs so that she can look and see where the queen is in relation to giving birth. The queen gives no objection, but instead quietly lays down on the bed. The midwife pulls the queen's robe up over her knees and nods her head in agreement. "Milady, you are correct in your assessment. It appears I arrived just in time. Your child will be here in a matter of moments. I need for you to push now as hard as you can." The queen complies and strains, letting out a scream as she pushes with all her might until her strength has given out.
The midwife reaches out and pats the queen on her left knee and the queen jerks back in shock. "How dare you touch me? You have no right! Don't you know that I could have you thrown into the deepest, darkest dungeon for the remainder of your days or worse for what you have just done? Why would you even think of doing such a thing?"
Maria hears the queen's tirade and pokes her head into the birthing chamber. "Milady the queen, may I say something on the behalf of the midwife?"
The queen considers this for a moment, and states, "You may, but do so at your own risk, as anything you say will now be putting your own life at risk as well."
Maria steps fully into the doorway and curtsies. "Thank you, your majesty. I am sure that she did not mean anything by touching you other than to assure you that you were doing well in your birthing and that was all. She did not mean to cause any unjust or undue problems. Is that not right?" The midwife nods and Maria continues. "Now, I believe you need to finish what was started as the child will not deliver itself, no matter how regal you are, so you need to listen to what the midwife has to say to you."
The midwife bows her head before the queen and speaks. "I apologize, milady. I was not aware that there was a protocol for touching and will request permission should I want to do so again. Now, I am starting to see the child's head beginning to show and need you to give me one more hard push and we should be through with the delivery process. Push, NOW!" The queen takes a deep breath and pushes again. The pain of the delivery causes her to let out a blood-curdling scream resulting in the windows of the palace rattling on the level that the queen is located on. "Milady, you are doing wonderfully, and you may take one more break, as the head and chest of your son is out and we just need one more push to finish the delivery. But you may rest for a moment, if you should wish." The queen nods weakly, and the midwife gets up and walks to one of the windows of the circular birthing chamber and looks at the crimson orbs hanging in the sky outside. The midwife shakes her head sadly before speaking again. "It is a shame that your son has to be born under the Warrior Moons, milady. I am sorry."
The queen's eyes are filled with rage and she screams for her guards. They are inside the room in an instant, swords drawn, looking for the threat to her majesty. "What is it, your highness?"
"I want this woman taken from my presence and tortured until the rising of Ropos, then beheaded for treason."
"Treason, milady?" the head guard repeats. "I am not sure that I understand."
"Oh, so now you dare to join her in her treasonous activity? She means to state that my son will not be a suitable king simply because he is born under the Warrior Moons. I want her out of my sight immediately and the church physician brought in to finish up the botched-up job that this woman no doubt has performed on my son." The guards, not wanting to cause any more trouble, quickly grab the midwife and drag her from the birthing chamber, the midwife screaming epithets and protests all the way out the door. When the door closes behind the last guard, the queen turns her head toward Maria and motions for her to come closer to her than her position in the corner. Cautiously, Maria moves towards the queen, cowering in fear as she moves. The queen, sensing Maria's fear, motions her over quicker, stating, "I mean you no harm, child, or I would have had you hauled off with that vile thing that you had brought in to deliver my dear sweet child. I need you to bring the cleansing oil from the church and reconsecrate this room before we allow the church physician in to bring my son into the world. Nothing bad can happen to him if the room has been consecrated. Now, GO!" Maria bows and runs from the room, and the queen lays back on the table, breathing as deeply as she can in her delicate state, inwardly cursing herself and wishing she had asked Maria to bring her the meditation beads in her dresser drawer to help calm her nerves and hopefully keep her son where he is until the physician returned. Oh, well, can't call her back now, just need to remember my meditation chants until she and the doctor return.
The queen has just closed her eyes and begun the first meditation chant, when a sound of rushing wind and water fills the entire chamber. She sits bolt upright on the table to see what is causing the disturbance and sees the king's chancellor, Putana Ahriman, standing in front of a sideways whirlpool of bluish-green fire. "Putana, you have no right---" she begins.
"Oh, that is where you are wrong, Elizabeth, you and I both know that I have every right to be here for the birth of my sons."
"YOUR sons?" Elizabeth snaps back, her voice growing more irritated. "You have no proof---"
Putana cuts her off with a wave of her hand and a mumble of a spell. "They have been crying out for me since you had your first birthing pain, but I was not able to get here until now. They know their father, and wish for him to deliver them, not some quack church physician." Putana walks over and pushes Elizabeth down harshly onto the bed, and shoves her robes up to her waist. "Ah, yes, there is one of my boys. Don't squirm, this will only hurt your mother for a moment." Elizabeth tries to scream, as Putana draws a ceremonial sacrificing blade from his belt, but the scream catches in her throat. He slowly slices into her belly and helps to guide the child out the birthing canal, and places him in a fold of his robe before reaching inside Elizabeth and pulling a second child out as well. He holds the secondborn aloft for a moment and turns him to face his mother, a sneer growing on Putana's face as he lowers the child into another fold in his robe. He looks at Elizabeth one final time and raises the blade high above his head and drives it into her chest. Elizabeth looks on in horror as he withdraws the blade and plunges it again, carving into her chest cavity. A moment later, Putana reaches in with his right hand and pulls out her still beating heart and raises it towards the heavens. "Your life for theirs, that's the way it works, my love. I am sorry." Elizabeth's hands go to her chest and she. . .
. . .wakes up screaming on the birthing chamber bed, her eyes searching the room for Putana or his portal, but not seeing either. Instead she sees Maria on her knees in a corner of the room chanting a consecration chant and two wetnurses standing at the ready for the church physician to deliver her son. All four of them stop what they are doing when Elizabeth screams and Maria is on her feet in a moment and at the queen's side, looking at the queen in concern. "Milady, are you okay?" she asks.
"Where is Putana?"
"With his Highness, last we saw him. Why does milady ask?"
"I want the guard doubled around this room and no one enters or exits without my written permission. Is that understood?"
Maria looks on, dumbfounded, but nods before bowing and running out of the room to execute the order.
The church physician gazes at Elizabeth with a semi-concerned look. "Is milady the queen ready to deliver the next King of the Hinterlands?"
Like what I wrote? Hated it? Eh? Drop me a comment or an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Til we speak again, remember, two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left.