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Kleőpĥǻ was reluctant and stubborn, but her heart melted in ways it never hath before hearing of how Chanteuse and her mother wound up in the pot of nothingness, this village, in the middle of nowhere, guarded by cold hearted troops that shoot to kill upon sight, no questions asked.

Finally, Ķleőpĥǻ extended her hands, and cupped Mama Resha’s. “Ķleőpĥǻ. We art banned from the outside world. We art never to see our power again. I am to never drink from golden goblets, young child. I am never to wear elongated metal of gold along the shape of my neck. I am never to rule again, or attend fancy balls with princes and princesses!

“I am bound to the village by thorns and spikes embedded in my esophagus, a caricature of my gold rings, the ones that once dressed my neck, three inches each, individually.

“I am so high profile, but low under the radar, that I am not even allowed leaving the village to work. If I cross the fine white line I turn to ash instantly when they fry me.

Ķleőpĥǻ was disenchanted.

Mama Resha grabbed her arms and shook her. “Ye cannot tell anyone in the village ye know of this! Σven the Σlders doesn’t know! Do ye swear?”

“Yes, Mama Resha!”

Chanteuse grinned at her, winking, it turned Ķleőpĥǻ’s stomach.

“I must finish telling ye this, for thy knowledge, since ye art so close to me and my daughter. Ђe day and the hour and the moon and the rain of the era, marking the start of that circumstance, I can remember, the day I sold my soul for my turn on the throne.

“I was in labor as the kingdom came tumbling down by heavy cannons, and the boom of the finest of Caucasian artillery. As the brick of the dome three hundred feet above me fell out of place from the thunderous band and bang of artillery.

Ђey sounded again, the cannons:



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