Thou shall not provoke
My heart was bleeding profusely. It was more than broken. I couldn't withstand the pain and fear I was passing through.
Anxiety had engulfed me, tears had overwhelmed me.
My body weakened by the excessive sobbing of the past days.
I knew I've got to be strong for my king, my people and myself but I lack the courage to, not because I dont want to but how do I face them.
More than twenty people had died right under our watch, properties had been destroyed, others seriously injured and rendered disabled for life.
How can life and leadership be this cruel to us? Barely a month on the throne, yet numerous attacks with no trace or trail.
This was my current feeling but it was obvious Troy was feeling worst.
For two days he had refused to return to the apartment. He's been away locked up in his office.
He constantly blamed himself for being absent and incompetent like there was anything he could have done to avert the impediment. This was torture on him.
He was hurting himself - he said he doubted he would ever be good a king as his father was, but I knew he was better than the former king. He was strong, powerful and intelligent with so much poise and confidence.
Each day had brought us through series of meetings yet the culprits remained unknown and unfound.
I remembered the sharp pain I felt in my heart when Troy returned back to the dinning that evening and announced our abrupt return back to the palace.
At first, I got upset with him and his thoughtless display of authority. I needed to spend more time with my parents, which he was about to cut short.
But sadly, his face was drained of all its colours which meant something serious must have struck just like during our honeymoon.
I had to ask what the problem was and then he revealed that there's been yet another fire outbreak - well it was now becoming more of an attack.
This was a bigger disaster compared to the first.
It was targeted at the capital and the palace and it destroyed lives and properties.
The former queen's chambers at Rubysite was seriously affected too, together with the Agate - the court outskirt.
Thankfully, she wasn't inside at the time of the attack and the guards were also swift in combating the fire before it spread to other areas.
Otherwise she would have died and the kingdom fallen into deeper grief and mourning.
Nevertheless some of the guards died in the process while others were badly injured.
Troy was more than furious when we got back, constantly yelling at his subjets. I understood his temperaments at that moment but honestly I'd never seen him that way. I felt for Theon because he received most of the blows.
The next morning, we visited the affected sites, it was an isol, an irritating sight to behold, much that I couldn't eat a thing after I returned and it's been three days after that visit.
That means I've practically been starving for that long.
All efforts to get me to leave my bed and also the room by Echo and Dorothy always proved abortive.
Thankfully, Adrian and Charles were stuck with Troy back at the office preventing him from acting irrationally which he had the tendency to.
However, at this point, after days apart, I knew I missed him so much and probably would be the only one to calm him down.
Yet it sounded selfish of me to act on my emotions so I decided to remain in bed dunking away the thoughts.
My entire shook, my stomach rumbled so much with the tightness of my intestines. My eyes felt heavy and swollen and though I hadn't gazed at the mirror, I knew I was a wrecked mess.
What kind of queen would lock herself away for three days when the kingdom was in mourning - maybe this was me grieving, but it felt weird.
I was supposed to be sympathising with the bereaved, encouraging them and being strong for them alleviating their pains at a time as this not acting cowardly.
Giving myself the courage, I slowly stood up from the bed and decided to shower and freshen up first. I needed my strength to be strong for everyone including my king.
After showering, I changed into a brown wrap dress with a balck court shoe, washed and curled the tip of my hair letting it fall to my shoulders and applied a mild make up to my face, properly concealing all of the dark circles that had been formed due to the excess crying.
"Ana" I called out because I knew she was by the door. She rushed in a little excited which I understood her mood. For three days I'd not said a word to anybody.
"Yes your majesty" she stopped, roaming her eyes over my body. Yea that was rude of her but I pardoned it because she was surprised to see me dressed.
"Can I have something to eat?"
"Yes your majesty" she said breathlessly excited and rushed out.
Dorothy came in few minutes later all dazzling with smiles.
"Oh my God, your majesty... it's so good to see you brightened up" she squealed, clasping her hands over her mouth.
We chatted for a while before I asked her of the kings whereabouts. She informed me of what I already knew - that he's been stuck in his office and has also refused to come out or see anyone apart from Charles, Adrian and Gauis.
"Has he been eating?"I asked, with a concerned tone.
"No" she shook her head sadly as I thought of going to him.
"Please tell Ana, the food should be for the king and I and be brought to his office"
"Okay my queen" she bowed before leaving and I found myself headed towards the kings office, with Victor following behind.
As we walked by, the guards were utterly shocked to see me but I ignored their gazes and whispers prodding forward toward my destination.
"Your majesty" Steflos, Ian and Gauis jumped to their feet appalled once they saw me.
"Its so good to see you.... in this way" Gauis cried out as I smiled warmly with a small nod.
"How's the king?"
"He's a wreck" Steflos answered right away without thinking nor mincing words and I shot him a glare.
That was rude and disrespectful to his royal majesty. He quickly adjsuted himself as Ian announced my presence.
"Your majesty, the queen is here to see you" he said and instantly the doors opened and before I could take in what was happening, strong masculine arms swaddled me and my face pressed against a very hardened chest.
Troy's embrace on me was so strong that I could barely breathe and yet for almost fifteen minutes, we stood in that position as I ignored every thought of breathing difficulty.
His face was completely buried in my hair and he kept inhaling all of me for a million times without uttering a word apart from groaning and moaning sounds.
His reactions were definitely unexpected but I loved the feelings of being in his warm arms.
My mission was accomplished after succesfully persuading him in returning to the chambers with me.
He obliged me and afterwards had a clean shave, showered and freshened up with a change of clothes looking all majestic over again.
Today was actually a good day. According to Adrian, some suspects had been arrested and they were being transported to the palace.
I couldn't wait to behold their monstrous faces and dead asses. They were as good as dead. The only reason they were still alive was to undergo trail and be condemned.
Atleast every criminal deserves to be tried before prosecution.
Apparently it's been two weeks after the incidence and rest seemed to be an understatement - an impossible phenomenon.
After returning from the three days grieving break we went on - I'm literally talking about Troy and I, we've been visiting the fire sites on a daily basis, granting press conferences in a bid to assure the people of keeping our mandate while identifying with the bereaved and giving them support in any way we could.
The royal council members of the former cabinet were not left out in coming to pay allegiance and showing their support to the king.
While some were genuinely loyal, others saw it as a means to tell the king that most of the happenings were as a result of no constituted cabinet.
In other words, Troy was delaying the process of a new council thus putting the while kingdom at risk.
In as much as I wouldn't blame them, I totally disagreed with their perception. There was no way the council would have been able to stop these attacks.
My parents also came around to show their support, besides we were all in it together. I must confess their presence kinda brought solace to me.
Everyone had been on their toes since then, extra security had been added within the palace and also in the capital especially along the borders.
Investigation of all the palace staffs were currently ongoing. The former queen had also been relocated to my chambers at Ambersite since hers was severely damaged and while it awaited repairs.
Rounding off signing on the last relief materials to be sent to some of the fire affected families, the queen mother's presence was announced.
For a moment, I was astonished and taken aback that my feet began to wobble in my shoes as I thought of all the possible reasons for her visit, right in the office.
The former queen? I still could not believe she would look for me. What did she want? She had made it clear severally, she never wanted to see me.
And though we were in the same place - the palace, I have tried as much as possible to honour her words in completely avoiding her.
This would be the second time I will be seeing her after our marriage. The first was when we returned from our honeymoon, Troy and I went to pay her a visit as courtesy demanded.
The way she vehemently insulted my very existence and warned me to avoid her at all costs if I loved my life was despicable and sadly embarrassing.
She made an open threat to my life that day which got Troy very angry and mad at her for acting that way.
Apparently, he practically had my back and supported my decisions afterwards.
Dorothy was sitted infront of me gazing at my reactions when Victor's voice rang through again.
I signalled Dorothy to take her leave and get on with carrying out my directives but she was sceptical and preferred to remain.
"Your majesty, would you be okay all by yourself?"
"Of course" I smiled and beckoned on Victor to let in the queen mother as Dorothy bowed, taking her leave.
I rose up to my feet to accord her some respect, the minute she stepped in.
Her eyes were blaring hot as she pierced my soul with them. I was certainly not in the mood for problems, so I had to play nice as much as I could, wearing a smile across my face.
"Mother.... it's so nice to see you" I spoke softly "I'm sorry about -"
"Please" she hushed me with a waive of her hands and took a seat. "Don't flatter me with those venomous words from your lying lips..... You wished I had died in that fire. Stop with the pretense.... I told you I could see through you. Remember?"
She spat with a sneer, roaming her eyes over what was once her office.
This was it. Brace yourself Aris! I mentally encouraged myself as I sat back on my seat heaving a deep breath.
"What can I do for you mother?"
"I am not your mother so don't call me that" she warned and I swallowed hard, nodding in sync and then adjusted myself on the chair, calming myself, so that I dont get provoked before her poisonous words tore my heart into pieces.
"You're destroying my son's life. You're making him incompetent and a danger to this kingdom and himself" she uttered all of a sudden.
"I beg your pardon" I huffed in confusion, with a furrowed brow.
She chuckled lightly. "Haven't you ever wondered why everything seems to be working against him since he married you? It's been one attack to the other and now, people have died" she stated the obvious as I slumped in my chair, all the colours of my face draining.
She was reminding me of what I had gone past and I don't intend to go back there, so i defended myself.
"Those were unforeseen circumstances and it's quite unfortunate but I don't think it has anything to do with me marrying the king"
"You think you're good for him. Oh please" she muttered, scoffing. "Every misfortune that has befell Doxa in recent times is all because of you......You are the reason, the people are protesting, the reason, the people are dying and the reason my son is weak" she retorted with a raised voice.
Her words hit me at the right and sensitive places, digging and cutting deep to open old wounds, I thought were healed.
I was fighting to be strong but my heart was betraying me as tears were starting to well up in my eyes. My body began to shudder at her sharp edged words.
"I knew you were evil when you charmed Eridian and he forgot himself - everything about him. But you know what, it's all glaring now and very soon people will begin to move for your removal as queen"
"Troy won't let that happen" I whispered fighting back with the tears that were gracing my face.
"And how sure are you? I know my son, he bows easily to pressure and I can tell you, that pressure is gradually building"
Her last words triggered something in me, maybe because, I knew she was partially correct. Troy was one who easily gave in to pressure even though he was trying to be more decisive now, when the probability of the pressure is too demandindg, he caves in.
He did it when I was thrown out of court. And with that, I lost my temper, slamming my hands on the table so hard that they could heard and screaming out my lungs at her. How dare she taunt me in my office?
"What the hell do you want?" She flinched backwards startled, almost falling off her chair as I rose to my feet, every part of my body shaking ardently.
"To tease me.... mock me....or humiliate me further. Dont you ever get tired? Give up woman! Troy chose me as his wife and queen and there is nothing you or anyone can do about it"
I glared intensely at her with my hands clenched to the sides of the table, pressing thoroughly and releasing all of the anger into the poor wood.
She knew better than not to provoke me further, otherwise I would have done the unimaginable and regrettable.
We stared fiercely at each other for a while as her lips curled up in a wicked side smirk. She tilted towards the table and whispered.
"Your days as queen are numbered, again. It's more than a month and there's been no news about a heir" she raised an eyebrow like a reminding me of my fears.
"The people are warming up to declare you unfit and even though you delay the process of constituting a new council, it doesnt change anything.... I'm not the one sending you away this time around, the people are" and with that she took her leave, scoffing at me.
A rush of relief flushed through my body as she exited. Collapsing back on the chair, the memories of the past came flooding my head. Would history repeat itself for the second time? Would I be thrown out of court or probably would Troy choose a new queen- marry a new wife?
The mental images stiffened my entire body. I was in between sadness and anger. It felt like I was in a state of dilemma as hot tears streamed from my eyes, wetting and soaking the white shirt I wore.
The heaviness of my heart could not be compared to the overwhelming fear I was feeling. Anxiety was causing the trembling of my body.
She blamed me for everything. Not that I expected better or different from her. It was just that every encounter with her happens to be worse than the former. Her words were poison to my body.
She was a human assasin. I literally died at her words everytime she opened her mouth to speak to me.
Again, there was no way I would pay heed to her words. Yes..... they were mere fallacies, Yet I needed to act quickly in producing a heir for Doxa kingdom so that my inability doesn't become one of my nightmares.