Reader warning: Contains some female self love, read at your own risk
Alexandria had been worrying from the moment James left, but it has been too long for him to be gone in her opinion and fear is really starting to set in. Everyday she meets with people from around the kingdom in the throne room and in the afternoon Alexandria meets with Liliana, trying to repair the rift between them and keep the grief stricken woman in the loop. Alexandria enters Liliana’s room, carrying a tray of food “Mother Liliana? Are you here?”
“Alexandria?” The woman calls from her darkened bedroom “Is that you sweetest child?”
“Yes, Mother Liliana, I’ve brought you food.”
“Oh thank you, sweetest child. Come here, come by me.” Alexandria sits on the edge of the bed, Liliana looks at her and smiles.
“You haven’t been eating Mother Liliana,” Alexandria scoops up some food and offers it to the weak woman, Liliana turns her head away.
“I’m not hungry right now.”
“You need to eat, Mother Liliana.”
“I am not hungry, Alexandria.” Liliana emphasizes every word but her usual fire has vanished with the death of the former king.
“Please Mother Liliana? For James?”
“James? Has he returned?” She attempts to sit up but Alexandria pushes her back down.
“No, no Mother Liliana. He is coming home soon, but you need to eat.”
“I’m not hungry.” Alexandria lifts the spoon to her mouth but the woman turns away.
“Mother Liliana, please.” She sighs and pulls the spoon away before setting the tray aside. “As you wish. When James returns I’ll bring him to you.”
“You’re so good sweetest child.” Alexandria smiles and walks out the room, she closes the door with a sigh and begins wandering the halls looking at the odd works of art and weapons displayed at random.
“Your Grace, there you are.” Ella runs up to her, panting softly.
“What is it Ella?”
“Men are returning, but there aren’t many and the king is not among them.” Alexandria’s eyes widen.
“Bring them to the King’s Study.” Ella nods and rushes off while Alexandria walks to the study, she opens the door and sits at the desk, a few minutes later the surviving men enter.
“Your Grace.” They nod to her and sit down.
“We were attacked at sunset. They came from no where and ripped us apart. We tried to get the king out but they shot him with an arrow…” They hang their heads “We could not save anyone and just managed to flee.” She sits back in the chair and sighs.
“The king is most likely dead, Your Grace.” Alexandria nods and calls on a maid, when the woman enters she is told to tell the queen the news.
“What is the next course of action?”
“We have to avoid panic.” Alexandria says firmly. “Keep the news to yourself till I can find a way to save him.”
“Your Grace with all due respect, if he is with the enemy he is in danger. You must act now.” She looks around unsure of what to say to them.
“Well… Bring him home?”
“Is that a question or an order?” Her eyes dart around the room and she nervously plays with her wedding ring.
“Oder. Bring him home.” the men nod and stand up, hobbling out of the room toward the barracks. Alexandria looks at Ella and let the facade drop.
“Good job, Your Grace.” Ella praises with a smile, knowing full well her queen is only acting to avoid more responsibility. Alexandria smiles and walks out of the room followed by Ella heading up the queen’s room, as they reach the stairs the maid Alexandria had sent up minutes before comes running down nearly crashing into her.
“Your Grace! Oh Your Grace!” She wails “Lady Liliana, she’s dead!”
“What?” Alexandria stammers “How? When?”
“I-I don’t know, I had to have a guard break down the door and when we entered she was dead!” Alexandria pushes the maid off of her, leaving her to cry on the stairs and rushes up there, stepping into the room to be met with suspicious glances and whispers. Alexandria ignores the glances and whispers to the best of her ability.
“What happened here?” She asks looking at the royal healer called in to see to the former queen’s body.
“She is hugely underfed, Your Grace.” The healer frowns and looks at her. “Why is she so underfed?”
“She refused to eat. I brought-” She looks to the side table where she had left the tray of food that morning “Wh-what? Where is it? I brought her food! I left the tray on her side table!”
“There wasn’t one here when I got in here.” A guard glares at her, Alexandria straightens and looks at him her features haughty and defiant.
“Are you calling me a liar?” The guard stands straight, hand going to the hilt of his sword.
“Regardless of what he is saying,” the healer cuts in “The fact remains that Lady Liliana is dead, it appears to be from starvation, and you are the only that seems to know she refused to eat.”
“Ask the cook!” Alexandria shouts, the healer sighs.
“Your Grace, please calm down, no one is accusing you of anything.”
“I am.” The guard eyes her “You’ve heard the rumors, whose to say she didn’t put a hex on our great king.”
“Excuse me?” Alexandria looks again at the guard.
“You heard me witch.” The man snarls “Convenient that barbarians are in the west, the royals are dead, and you’re left in power, no?”
“How dare you! She is your queen!” Ella shouts stepping between Alexandria and the man. “You must show her respect!”
“Get out of my way woman, you think I’ll hesitate to cut you down with her?” Ella hesitates but remains standing.
“Do your worst, it’ll be war if we die.”
“Not when the sickness is going around.” The guard steps into Ella’s personal space, towering over the woman. “And when we torch your bodies there’ll be no evidence that I slaughtered you heathens.”
“Enough! All of you!” The healer shouts, stepping between the guard and the maid. “No one is accusing any one of anything, no one is being called a witch, and certainly no one is going to kill two unarmed women, understand me?”
“I understand,” The guard steps back “But I’ll not adhere to your words healer. Word travels fast little queen, if this was witch craft you best run back to your mommy and daddy as fast as you can.”
“I should take your head.” Alexandria says thoughtfully, the guard laughs.
“Go ahead! I’m not afraid of death.”
“Fine, off with his head!” No other guard reactes. “Did you hear me?”
“Aye, we heard you.”
“Then take off his head!”
“I will not go against my liege lord.” The other guards nod and the instigator through back his head laughing.
“Oh where are my manners?” Alexandria looks at him, annoyed and confused. “I am Sir Erik Eastland, liege lord of the guard, sworn to serve the Adderdale Royals. Born and raised within the great Castle Eastland over looking the the crossing from your little home to this great land. So you see little girl? These men don’t move without my permission, and if you wish for my head be prepared for a rebellion, as my family is very rich, very powerful, and very loyal to the Royals laid to rest and the great prince lost in the west.”
“Well Sir Eastland take yourself out of my presence before I consider the cost of wiping your family out of history.” Alexandria gives him a pleasant smile but her voice is cold and calculating “Because as you very well know, the people from my ‘little home’ hate you and would gladly come to my call if I were to turn against you.”
“Your little home hasn’t the money or the bodies to fight me, little girl.” Sir Eastland smiles as Alexandria’s face turns red “I’m surprised they had enough to pay your dowry without your mother having to whore herself.”
“E-excuse me!” Alexandria stammers her anger evident.
“Did I stutter? I said,” he clears his throat “I’m surprised they had enough to pay your dowry without your mother having to whore herself.” He speaks loudly, slowly, and clearly, over emphasizing the words to make sure what he is saying as clear as possible while Alexandria fights to control her anger and regain her composure.
“Well if anyone would about their mother whoring, it would be you, Sir Eastland.”
“Funny you should mention my mother, you should ask your father about his brother’s first and last meeting with my mother. We can send his pickled testicles back if he desires them to buried with the rest of his body, if you’ll pay for the messenger of course.” Alexandria stares at him.
“My uncle isn’t dead.”
“No? Are you sure?”
“He went missing.”
“Ah, so you didn’t find him, well I am sorry to be the one to tell you but the Eastlands killed him. Pulled his limbs from their sockets before staking him in the flood plain to drown.” Alexandria’s face goes pale and horror is evident “Oh but don’t worry, I’m sure he bled to death long before he drown, my father had him castrated and left to bleed out.”
“You… You’re a monster!”
“In human flesh, yes I’ve been called that. I’m so glad you noticed, perhaps you’ll see why I am a better friend then foe.” He looks to the healer who looks ill “Healer, did my little story disturb you?”
“Ah the… only a little, Sir Eastland.”
“Perhaps you should sit down, don’t want you to pass out.”
“Yes, perhaps your right.” A guard brings a chair over to the healer and the man sits down. “If you’ll both excuse me, I wish to examine the body without the bickering of Your Grace and you, Sir Eastland.”
“Of course, please excuse me.” Sir Eastland pushes passed Alexandria and Ella followed by his guards, when they have all marched out of sight Alexandria takes a few calming deep breaths before turning.
“Let me know what you find.” The healer nods “Ella, come along.” Ella turns and follows Alexandria as she walks out of the royals rooms and toward her own before coming to a complete stop. “Ella did those men leave?”
“I don’t know, Your Grace.” Alexandria whips around and begins running to the front, dress rustling and heels clicking as she sprints as fast as the heavy fabric will allow.
“MOVE! Make way! Please! I must get through!” People part for her, confused some followed her while others go about their day, she bursts into the gravel front lawn, panting and sweating, the men are gathered and nearly ready to leave. “S-stop… Just… Give me a moment.” She pants. “Don’t send the army,” she straightens, still panting, “Send a messenger, if James is in their camp our army could lead them to murderer him. One messenger with a message from me…” She stops and realizes she does not have anything to write on. “I need paper! Ella get me paper!” Her maid stops trying to catch up and turns back.
“Yes Your Grace.” Ella rushes inside and quickly fings paper, a quill, and an ink pot. “Here you are, Your Grace.”
“Thank you.” Alexandria takes it and presses the paper against the wagon side “Ella, hold the ink, you stupid cow.” Ella bites her bottom lip and holds the ink, the quill is dipped words written and the ink allowed to dry before Alexandria rolls it up, secures it with a ribbon from her hair, and passes it to a messenger. “Give this to their chief, we will negotiate for the king here on our terms and if he does not agree to our terms, we’ll take care of him. He is to be brought here alive.”
“As you wish, Your Grace.” he takes the message.
“Run up the white flag, move fast and get out of there quick.” He nods, only a handful of men leave that night, Alexandria sits in her living room looking at the medical report made by the healer with a frown tugging at the corners of her delicate mouth.
“Is everything alright, Your Grace?” Ella asks, setting a cup of tea on the side table.
“Yes Ella. It seems that the queen ingested poison, they found the tray of food hidden in her dresser, and questioned the maid that found her. Apparently the queen killed herself to join Father James in the after life, and she started the rumor that I am a witch.” Alexandria sets the notes aside and picks up a small sealed envelope “Oh and Sir Eastland sent a letter, open it for me?”
“Of course Your Grace,” Ella takes it, opens it, and reads it a loud “Lady Alexandria, forgive my leaps in logic from this afternoon, the death of Lady Liliana had left me very distressed and I misspoke. Yours Sir Erik Eastland.”
“Oh… Well I do not want to start a fight with the liege lord of the guards so forward a message of acceptance and forgiveness for me.” Ella nods and sets the letter aside, going to the small writing desk she carefully pens a letter while Alexandria reads and rereads the notes from the healer’s examination of Liliana’s corpse.
“Here, Your Grace.” Ella holds the letter out, Alexandria takes it and quickly reads over it before signing her name and returning it.
“Thank you Ella, you’re so good to me.” Ella gives her a patient smile and blows on the ink to help it dry, when it is dry the maid folds it and seals it with the royal blue wax and seal.
“Shall I send it out tonight? I’m sure he’s still at the palace.” Alexandria nods and sighs softly, Ella sends the letter off with a messenger before turning and finding her queen staring longingly at her husband’s chair. “Is everything alright, Your Grace?” she asked softly.
“Hmm?” Alexandria looks over at her maid.
“Is everything alright?”
“Oh, yes I supposed.” the queen stands and goes to the fire, staring into the flames. “I just wanted my happily ever after, Ella. A peaceful life well taken care of and loved.” Ella joins her by the fire. “I want my happily ever after Ella, why did this have to happen?”
“I don’t know, Your Grace.” Alexandria sighs dramatically.
“Whatever god in power must hate me…” Ella gives her an unseen fond smile “Its the only explanation, first the sickness, then Father James dies, now the queen, and James is missing… That is the only reason I can see.”
“I’m sure that is not the case, Your Grace.” Ella assures her gently. Alexandria steps away from the fire and flops down.
“I hope they find him soon.” Ella walks over to her.
“Come, Your Grace, let me get you ready for bed.” Ella nods and stands up, walking with her maid to her room, the process to undress is simple, with Ella’s help. The dress falls away followed by her underclothes, stockings, and corset; her night gown is pulled over her head and she sighs before crawling into bed while Ella pulls the bed curtains, leaving the one beside her queen open about three feet to allow for light in case Alexandria is not going to fall asleep immediately.
“Good night Ella, I’ll call on you if I need anything.”
“Yes, Your Grace, sleep well.” Ella turns and walks out, closing the door behind her before exiting the set of rooms reserved for the king and queen. Alexandria waits for to hear the outer door shut before setting her book aside and closing her legs tightly, squirming some and gasping as the friction teases her in the right way.
“Damn you James… Why did you have to go…” She whines, gripping the bed sheets as she continues to squirm and bring some relief to herself. She releases the blanket and starts to lift the long skirt before stopping and thinking back to every lesson she had on sex. Only your husband may touch you. A lady does not touch herself. The act of lying with ones husband is not for pleasure, pleasure is sinful. Sex is for reproduction, not for pleasure. Pleasure is sin. Her hands tremble, gripping the fabric hard as she fights with herself, her most intimate treasure is full of desire to be touched and to be filled, but everything ever taught to her told her it was wrong for her to fill that void that is left now that her husband had been captured. Finally she seemingly makes up her mind, pulling the long night gown off and tossing it to the other side of the bed, laying down in the center of the bed, the scent of her husband enveloping her as she closes her eyes and begins to gently explore her body. She closes her eyes and runs her hands softly over her breasts, noting how soft her skin felt, she her fingers ghost over her nipples causing them harden. Blushing at her body’s reaction she runs her thumb over them and shudders, she softly rubs them making her treasure throb harder for touch, slowly her hands glide down her body, she parts her legs and her soft fingers trace her pearl making her gasp as she softly brushes it. She quickly finds a pace that works for her, building herself up before she slows down making herself whine, she stops suddenly and readjusts so she is sitting against the head board, legs spread wide. Biting her bottom lip she hesitantly slides a finger into her wet core.
“O-oh.” she closes her eyes as she pulls it out and pushes it back in, her hand working her pearl, keeping her close. “Oh god… please…” She adds a second finger and moves them faster moaning her husband’s name loudly as she falls into her joy, pulsing around her fingers and moaning wantonly. When the pulsing stops she pulls her fingers out and blushes realizing she is unprepared for any clean up, slowly she slides from bed and makes her way to her bathing chamber, glancing around making sure she is uncaught in her sordid act. She sets the bath running and sinks into the warm water, letting it wash away the physical evidence of her self love while trying to sort out the pressing guilt she now feels deep within her.
She sits in the water till it turns cold, she stands and dries off before padding back to her room, pulling the dress over head and laying back down, looking at the painting of her and James that hung beside the door. “You’ll forgive me, won’t you?” She whispers softly “If you were here I wouldn’t have… This isn’t my fault.” the painting does not answer her but she smiles, knowing her husband will forgive her and makes a note to visit the church and repent the next morning. She closes the bed curtain after lowering the lights, curling up she pulls James’s pillow to her chest and holds it close, a great sense of loneliness pressing on her as she fights for sleep.