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Chapter 22

The summer seemed to pass in a series of a few days rather than months. Every day was filled with something new. Some days Dolra found herself doing absolutely nothing, which was utterly relaxing but others were filled. Events starting from the rising of the sun to the early morning of the next day. It only made sense that she didn’t notice the first signs of pregnancy. Upon first finding out, and having a doctor confirm it, she was utterly shocked. She hadn’t realized it was a fertile time for her, she hadn’t gone through a fertile spell for nearly four decades. After the shock wore away, Dolra wasn’t quite sure what to think. She had realizes early on in her marriage that at some point she was expected to produce heirs. It came with the title of Queen. Yet she never favored the idea of children, and often avoid the subject with anyone who dare ask her upon it. She had realized that coming home to Drale after her three month trip would have her coming with more than she left- she just hadn’t realize that some of it would be the form of a small, pudged stomach. The only thing she could take comfort in during the cursed time was that her pregnancy would last for almost a full year, so her gowns were only gently let out by this point.

There was a chill in the midmorning air, signaling the change of seasons. Dolra pushed on the back brim of her hat as she glanced around to her city, her home. The moment only lasted a few seconds, ending when she got into her car. The car ride was filled with the news from the radio. The newsman spoke of advance number of men and woman who had signed up over the past few months for the King’s service. Dolra ran her finger tips over her stomach, rolling her eyes. The newsman made it seem as if the stupid saps were doing a noble deed. All they were doing, besides the fact that they’re signing up to risk their lives, was lining up to train in a field. Roll around in the man-made mud and sleep in the cold. Dolra snorted to herself, thinking of an actual battle taking place.

Upon entering through the open gates, Dolra frowned at the site. There was a whole lot worth of cars lining both sides of the drive way, and people seemed to be rushing about. Her car stopped short of it’s normal spot, another set of cars blocking the path. She hadn’t seen such chaos since the news of her in-laws tragic accident- which led to their sudden departure from the world. Dolra didn’t wait for her driver to open her door, or to even fully stop the car. For some odd reason, a feeling of fear rushed through her body and she needed to know that her husband was safe. Moving up the steps, her hat falling away, Dolra pushed open her front door. Grabbing the first person she could, Dolra shook the poor maid as she demanded to know where her husband was. “The second floor war room.” Knowing he was okay, Dolra was able to regain her composure and climbed the stairs in the most dignified way. Upon entering into the war room, Dolra was met with a greater mess.

“How many-”

“What exact time-”



“We don’t know.”

“I need-”

“Is that confirmed?”

Voices came from every direction, from all the different military personal. Cain was hunched over a map at the far end of the table, two other high ranking officers with him. “Cain. Cain.” Dolra said her husband’s name a totally of five times, getting louder until the room grew silent from her voice. With the room still, Cain looked up. Before he could say anything, Dolra spoke. “What in hell’s name is going on?”

“Port Del Ray was attacked this morning. The island section of the base there is gone. As are any living.” Dolra frowned, and bowed her head. Those looking on would see it as a sign of respect, she truly only did it automatically; an action bred into her. Dolra felt pity, for the loss of innocent souls, and she felt anger for now her country truly had to go to war. A pair of hands around her shoulders had her eyes open, her head up. “I am glad to see you return home safely, and early. Go, rest. I shall join you for dinner. I have much to do.” Dolra nodded, and her husband’s hands fell from her. She gave him a small smile. “I came as soon as I heard, oh, well. I’m clearly late.” Standing in the door way, Pals looked around the room. There was much about her that shocked Dolra. The large diamond that graced her wedding finger, the hand of which it belong to resting upon her enlarged stomach, and her hair a near pale blonde and a large portion shaved off on her upper left side. “You’re pregnant.” Half of Pals’ mouth twisted in a grin as she stepped into the room. “And not only have you returned, but as are you; your majesty.” Pals bowed her head. “I would bow to you but my physical state prevents me, now I must excuse myself for I have business with your husband.” Dolra nodded, and Pals stepped around her greeting Cain. Dolra was in a state of shock. Pals had never once smiled at her before. Yes the queen had seen photos of the werewolf where a small twist graced her lips but to get one in person was unlike Pals. Perhaps it was the onset of newly wed bliss mixed with the hormones of pregnancy. Whatever the reason, Dolra didn’t care. She regained herself. Realizing the room had begun to move again, Dolra no longer felt fitting and removed herself.

Strolling the halls, servants stopped their busy work to bow to her before quickly moving on. Without even thinking upon the action, Dolra’s hands rested over her stomach. A quick glance out a window as she passed had Dolra stopping short. Returning to the window, she watched what had caught her eyes. Pals, as Dolra was discovering, was not the only one to change over the summer. Sitting hunched over, legs crossed on a stone bench, was the Blessed human. A blade in her hand caught the sun’s light, and she carved at her hand- or an object within it. But it was her physical body that changes Dolra had taken notice of. Under the near skin tight clothing were defined muscles. Her hair, which was once longer than the sun’s rays, was nothing more than a short stump pulled back on her head. Finally finishing her work, the Blessed human stood and strolled to the lake. She was tiny to Dolra at that point, but the Queen was able to see the human lift her arm and toss something into the water. Reaching down, the Blessed human picked something up and returned to the bench. Repeating herself.

A frustrated groan, near mirroring a growl from a wolf, rumbled Dolra’s throat. In angry huffs she pulled and tugged her body out of the gown that the maid had been attempting to dress her in. With a single kick of her leg the fabric went flying from her body to the air. Landing in a heap, another maid quickly rushed to get the garb and place it back into her closet. “None of these gowns fit! How is that even possible?” Like a toddler Dolra stomped her foot. Unlike all the gowns she had over her summer trip, the gown left behind had never been altered. Not made for her current shape, Dolra made sure that every maid in her room knew of her frustration. Another gown was brought to her, and with some tugging, she was able to fit within it. Glancing at the clock on her mantle, she let out another groan. She was late for the dinner party- her welcome back dinner party. Pushing past the maids, she quickly slipped on her shoes and left the room.

Upon entering the dining room, Dolra was wrapped within the life of the room. Cain sat at the head of the table, the empty seat to his right left for Dolra. To his left was Klaus, his cousin and Claudia across from him. Along with the Blessed human, who was seated to Klaus’s free side, the four held a solid conversation. Next to her was Renee, and then Theo. Across from them, and the ones they currently spoke with, was Rony and Pals. All conversation paused when she entered though, and the room greeted her. Cain held her chair out for her, giving her shoulders a gentle squeeze before returning to his own seat. “May I ask what the topic of the night is? If it is war, please do lie to me.”

“Actually, Dolra, we were speaking on the topic of the Slave Trade. It just came through town the other day and was met with protest.” Dolra nodded a thanks to Claudia, taking a sip from her glass as she did. “Well I personally see no wrong doing in it. Those people had unsettled debts. At least with their sacrifice their families are free from the harassment that the debt caused.” The Blessed human made a sour face, just slightly, and her hands moved. “She has to disagree with you my dear. And I think I might have to agree with her.” Dolra looked at her husband, studying his face. The Blessed human went on, and he translated. “Scarlet has never owned a debt to anyone. She was kidnapped from her land and unwillingly forced to Traded.” Dolra casted her eyes to the Blessed human. The human who blushed, and ducked her face away from everyone was the girl she had last seen before her summer trip. The girl in front of her, was no longer the same girl. Her face was ablaze in the passion of her feelings and she kept a steady, silent gaze on her. It was true, more than just the human’s clothing and hair had changed. She had changed just as much, if not more so, inwardly. “Well, you are just one case.” Scarlet shook her head. “During her time in the Trade, Renee and Scarlet came across quite a few others who had been kidnapped. It’s more common than we might wish to believe.” Dolra glanced to Klaus, who had his eyes casted at the table and deep in thought. Claudia frowned slightly, taking a sip from her drink. Dolra knew of her dislike for the Slave Trade, and that her cousin in law held a pitifully deep sorrow for anyone in pain. “Though off the subject, why, darling, are you translating for Scarlet? Why is not Renee doing it? It is the reason you bought her in the Trade. Is it not?” Dolra took another sip from her glass, inwardly proud of herself. “It is, but you know as well as I that I own no slaves. They are freed, and work for income within our household. I give them food, shelter and work. Many here I know send most back to their own families rather than keep it for themselves. So being that Renee is free, she is allowed to have other conversations without Scarlet in them. As is the same for Scarlet. Clearly, Renee is caught up with Theo and Pals. Why force her out of her own conversation when nearly everyone at this table can understand the basics of Scarlet’s language? I know you cannot, and thus wished only to make it easier on you until you catch on.”

About to fire back with her own venom, Dolra was stopped by the line of waiters bringing out the dinner meal. Klaus used that moment to switch the conversation, moving on to the topic of some new music he had just heard on the radio.

The dinner was divine, and the conversation kept light after the brief spat between the husband and wife. It was during the second round of after dinner drinks that Dolra finally excused herself for bed. Knowing that Theo was a sucker for a good cup, Dolra knew that Cain would be kept busy for at least a few more hours. Standing, Cain kissed her hand, but did not stand from his seat. Accepting the small gesture, Dolra quietly left the dining room.

Opening the door to her husband’s bedroom, Dolra slipped in and quietly locked the knob. She had spent a good portion of the last hour within Cain’s office trying to find the stupid folder of his notes from his lesson with the Blessed human. She refused to allow him to ever put her in such a humiliating spot ever again. She refused to allow herself to just catch on to the Blessed mute’s little hand signs. No, she was going to jump head in first. Dolra was going to learn the whole damn language without her husband’s, or mute’s, aid. Repeating such things to herself as she dug, Dolra smiled when she spotted a stack of folders in the bottom draw of her husband’s night stand. Pulling out the box that the stack rested in, Dolra opened up the first one. She was met with her husband’s graceful hand writing, and somewhat questionable drawings. She quickly flipped through the pages, once more filled with pride. Closing the folder, she sat it on the ground. Opening the second folder, she frowned. There were no notes, only photos. The one that struck her the most, mainly for the fact that it was the first photo of the pile, was of the Blessed human. She held a small group of ducklings in her hands and was beaming at the camera. Picking the photo up, Dolra quickly scanned through the rest, but they were all simple shots of the estate’s lake and land. Keeping the photo of the human out, Dolra placed the closed folder back into the draw. She kept the photo, and the first folder, out though. Taking both into her bedroom.

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