A Continuation from Escape: The Child Born of Strife
Pride limped into the doorway, his prosthetic limb clacked against the stone floor every second step. His chest held up high. A cloche tray held in proper bar-maid fashion and an unmistakable spring in his hobble. Today is going to be a great day. He approached the seat and he knee bowed before, on his good knee – obviously.
“Oh saviour of the people, the Monster-slayer, our champion of history and of the future, the desire of the kingdoms’ heart, our Nurturing Breast- most nourishing, the Bloom of the East, the Great General and the True Uniter, I approach thee. Madam Shoshanna, I humbly present to you the head of Maria Longworth, the former leader of the rebellion,” Pride said, as he open the cloche to reveal battered and bloodied head. “She will plague you no more”. He laid it at her feet so that she may bask in its gruesomeness.
She adjusted herself in her seat with bubbling glee. “Really?!” she almost chortled. Her hands almost clapping with excitement. “I knew you could do it, I knew you could do it”. Exactly the reaction that Pride was aiming for. Perhaps, he thought, the dark days are now past her.
As though she suddenly remembered the company that she was in, she re-composed herself, sat back straight and crossed her legs and gave a composed cough, “And the child?” With shame in his voice, “Alas, the child escaped”
“What do you mean ‘escaped’?!” she stood with virulent suddenness and shouted. That vein on her forehead ready to pop again. “How does a mere suckling escape?”
“W-with Lydia, ma’am. We could not pursue into Bridesgate.” he stammered, “We did all we could but-”
“But you were incompetent,” she said slowly, malice laced in her voice, “that’s what! You lost me the two people I want the most and you bring me a consolation prize. Does your ineptitude know no bounds? You bungling fool. Do you realise what you have done?”
No, the dark days were not behind her. This was supposed to be a great day.
She picked up the head by the hair and held it high so it was level to her face. It rotated slowly, pivoted at point which she held it. The dirt and smidges of congealed blood pattered on the floor. As it turned, she went on, her eyes fixed on Pride, “Time and again, I have given you a chance to prove yourself and you have squandered it each time by letting Lydia get the best of you. Look at you, you wretch. If I did not know you better, I’d say ever since he got the best of you, you are avoiding any confrontation with him”
“No, ma’am, I would never-”
“Cower in the face of my greatest enemy?” she raised an eyebrow as if to mock him. “You do know cowardice is treason, right?” she stated matter-of-factly.
Pride did not like where this conversation was going. “I pledge on my honour I am faithful to the Matriarch. I plead thee, spare me and you shall have Lydia’s head at your feet by sundown tomorrow,” oh, how he loathed to grovel. Not whilst the men watched.
Susanna did not reply, she stood there face-to-face with the decapitated head, and for a moment, a wave of doubt crossed her face. Intently, she looked at the face upon the head. She cupped her left hand to the head’s cheek, her thumb rubbing the lips gently as she leaned her face in towards it. Even an idiot could smell the fresh face powder off this head. Susanna paused for a moment and with all the strength she could muster, threw the head towards Prides face. He dodged it, but only by a whisker.
“Whose head is this?” she asked gently”
M-Maria’s, ma’am”“Is it?” she probed
Doubt enveloped him. “I am certain” the tremble in his voice betrayed him
“Did you kill her yourself?”
“We found her head in the forest, I assumed our forward party had -” he had to pause. She had raised her palm and he knew best not to talk when she became like this.
“I will have someone’s head today.” she stated as she headed toward the door to the inner room. The first handmaiden wrapped the gown around her shoulders and two more spread petals before her feet. Another sprayed the air with rosy scents in her wake. As she crossed the doorway, she stopped, turned her torso back to face Pride, with her feet still in stride. “Yours will have to do,” she said as she disappeared into her chambers.
To Be Continued…
So I’m a poet (https://throughthewindow.ink) and recently I’ve been telling stories. I enjoy stories more when they are shared in person. I’ve heard that I have acceptable stroy-telling facial expressions.
PS: In case you are wondering who this is. It is I, the dude from Twitter @Chagwesha.