Warm Sun 42, 2449 AFD
Thunder clapped in a deafening cacophony as lightning arched gracefully across the grey, miserable expanse of the sky, their dance creating phantasmal artwork, on display for all to see and hear. Underneath this awe-inspiring show, a much humbler occurrence was taking place. Queen Victoria was giving birth on this ominous night. The birth of a child, no matter the rank or species, humbles even the glory of a storm as vicious as this.
Sprawled on her bed sheets, the young Queen Victoria, Sovereign of the Draconians, lay resting after the exhausting labor she weathered to bring her child into the world. Her onyx black scales were glistening with sweat, her golden tipped horns lacking in their usual splendor, and her tired face were the only remaining signs of the pain she’d just endured.
Even through all of this, she wore a gentle, pleased smile. Though her body lacked the normal fire that coursed through her veins, she felt that a new source of warmth had awoken in her heart. Wrapped in a warm blanket, she felt a sense of peace pass over her. The joy of childbirth seemed to cloud all of her worries.
“Twel, God of Prosperity and Fruitfulness, I thank you for this gift and the safety you have provided me in this time of growth for my unborn child. Helai, Goddess of Compassion and Warmth, may you show me how to be a good mother.” Her whispered words were a prayer to two of the Duodenaricy that reigned from their thrones beyond the stoop of death.
“M’lady,” her attendant said softly as she approached. In her arms rested the Queen’s newborn son curled tightly inside the soft cocoon of a blanket. The child rested and was blissfully unaware of his surroundings. It was nothing like the screaming infant that she had seen not moments ago. Despite not having any scales yet, his pink skin was exposed to the elements and protected only by fabric, it was easy to know this was the same child. The small golden nubs on his forehead, the anointed horns of a Prince, proved that.
The queen beckoned for her child, her arms held out with what little strength she had left, for the chance to hold the son she fought so desperately to give life to. After placing the child in his mother’s loving embrace, the attendant stepped out of the room, hoping to give her lady space with her child. She didn’t stray far; just within earshot should she be needed.
The attendant’s thoughts dwelt on the small child as she stood in the hallway outside her lady’s room. She felt such joy for her lady and her child, but it was the child’s horns on which her thoughts and anxieties lay.
The golden horns were an ancient symbol, stretching back to the first king of the Draconians, before the First Death. Helai, the Queen of the Gods looked down at him and saw him fit to rule. Crowning him not with a circuit of metal, she anointed his horns and made them like hers. Ever since children were randomly born with the same mark. Whether the horns only appeared on the strongest Draconians or the Princes were powerful because of the golden horns was unknown, it just was.
It was always a happy time when a child was born with golden horns. It showed that the child was strong; strong enough to possibly rule one day. It didn’t matter if the child was of royal lineage or not. In fact, no child of direct royal lineage, within two generations of a having an ancestor as Sovereign, had even actually been born with golden horns.
And now, for the first time in the near three millennia since the First Death, an anointed child was born to the ruler of the Draconians.
“Teribae, fetch me a glass of water.” Queen Victoria called from inside her room, “My throat is quite parched.”
Moving quickly to obey, the attendant dismissed her errant thoughts. It wasn’t her place to speculate about the Queen’s child. She was here to serve and help her majesty in every way she needed. When Teribae returned with the requested glass of water, she found Queen Victoria standing at the window to her room, her strength as an anointed Draconian showing through after the draining labor. She was gazing lovingly at the child she held tightly in the crook of her arm. She rocked him back and forth and cooed to him softly.
“Little baby slumber,
Sleep until the morning.
Sleep until the sunrise,
At tomorrow’s dawning.”
“Little child of summer,
Born in bonny weather.
May the golden sunshine,
Fall on you forever.”
Teribae smiled as she heard her queen’s words to her child. Even the queen was alike with all women. It made her appear more down to earth to see her like this.
It was only when the sound of gentle sobbing began that Teribae reentered the room, concerned that something was amiss. Maybe the Queen is still feeling the pains of child labor. Teribae thought as she hurried to her mistress’s side. A second scarier thought entered her mind and took root before she could cast it aside. Maybe there’s something wrong with the child.
“I have done a terrible thing,” Victoria confessed to her aide without prompting as Teribae helped the Sovereign back into her bed. Tears fell down her rigid cheeks, like small rivers running off a cliff.
“My humble apologies M’lady, but I find that there is nothing to apologize for. This baby is healthy, he will be a happy child.” Teribae tried to reason with her majesty, looking for some way to cheer her up.
“I gave birth to a child that is destined for a life of hardship and sadness. Even when Elvarg warned me, I still pushed. And I kept pushing. Oh, how I wanted a child. My folly shall be his death.” Victoria continued to weep, offering no further explanation. When she fell asleep from exhaustion, it was into a fitful slumber.
This left Teribae wondering who he was, and how he knew this child’s future.
She shook the thoughts from her mind and went to complete the tasks that were hers to do. It was not her place to ask such questions, nor would she tell any of what the queen had said this night.