After what seemed like a decade, Mae woke from her slumber. She turned to see her two companions watching her closely, worried looks on their faces.
“I found her. She’s alive. Next time I know i’ll be able to say something.”
Amity shook her head, “Next time? This time almost killed you. Do you have any idea how long you’ve been out of it?”
Mae waved her hand at her friend, “I’m fine. I just need practice, that’s all. I’ll get better.” She tied to stand up, but her legs gave way, sending her back to the ground. She giggled. “A bit shaky, I guess.” Amity came over, the dog at her heels, and helped lift her up.
Mae looked at Amity, “I’m fine really. Just a couple of kinks to work out.”
“Mmm-hmmm…sure, kinks.” Amity didn’t look convinced, but she had worked out that there was no point arguing.
The three of them snuck back into the factory, and went back to the dormitory. When they got there it seemed like all the current inhabitants were crammed in there, all focusing their attention on one man who was holding court telling tall tales of adventures and impossible things. The man looked up and saw the two girls and the dog enter the room.
“ Aha! The star of our story!”
Everyone in the room turned to see who he was talking about. Mae and Amity both looked startled to suddenly find themselves the centre of all that attention. Missy surveyed the crowd warily, getting on her haunches ready to pounce.
The man stepped forward and took Mae’s hand, bowed over and kissed it.
“M’lady, “ he said with a sweeping gesture, playing up for the benefit of the crowd.
Mae, who was still pale after her recent exertions, added confusion to her look of surprise. The man started pulling her toward the centre where he had been entertaining the crowd. Her two bodyguards following close behind, watching the man with suspicion.
Once they reached the centre of the room, the man turned to the gathered masses and gestured toward the young girl.
“Ladies and gentlemen, may I present, the rightful Queen of Gildamoor. Your Majesty,” he bowed before her, again swept his arm out in a flourish. The was a murmur of voices throughout the room, then all of a sudden every man, woman and child was bent over at the waist, or dipped into a curtsey. The only ones left standing upright were Mae, Amity and the dog.
Turning red, Mae started gesturing at the man, and everyone around the room, trying to get them to stand up.
“Get up. Get up. Stop that. All of you.”
Finally everyone was back up, and staring at her with rapt attention.
She turned to the man, “Who are you? What do you think you’re doing?”
“I might ask the same question.” Hector was standing in the doorway now.
His normally pale, blue eyes were shining a deep, dark blue. The scars on his battered face seemed to be glowing.
“Alex! What the hell are you doing?” He stomped through the crowd toward the group in the centre.
Sir Alex took in his old friend, a bemused smirk on his face.
“You always were one to overreact to things. It’s a family trait I guess.”
Mae looked at them both, then back at Alex, “I’ll ask again who are you?”
“This is Sir Alex Mendelson. He was one of your father’s chief advisers and closest friends.” Hector looked like he was about to tear the man’s head off.
“What does that mean?”
“It means, Your Majesty, that I was your father’s most trusted aid in all things political. You could say that I ran the country for him.”
“Alex,” Hector was talking through gritted teeth now, and gesturing toward the crowd, “we need to talk in private. NOW!”
“Oh Hector!” Alex said. “Plenty of time for that. I just figured it was time these fine people knew why they were about to go to war.”
The crowd, who had been watching the whole exchange in rapt silence, suddenly started to rumble. “War?” “What does he mean?” “What did he say?”
Hector looked around at the crowd.
“What the hell do you think your doing?”
“I’m getting things started Hector old boy. You’ve spent too much time tip toeing and pussy footing around. It’s time for action. The girl is of age, it’s time that we got that brother of yours out of her chair. These people are just the ones to get it done. Am I right?” Alex addressed this last question to the crowd. The murmuring through grew louder.
“People,” it was clear Alex was in his element. “People, it’s time! You are all here because the pretender to the throne, Alistair burnt your village to the ground, destroying your homes, your livelihoods and your lives. Across this country, in towns, villages and cities just like yours he continues to inflict his cruelty. You are not the first to suffer from his wrath. But, if we rise up and fight we can make sure that no one else suffers the way you suffer.”
The noise had subdued, people were listening. Even Hector seemed to have cooled down, and seemed resigned. He looked on at his niece with a thoughtful, and slightly down-hearted.
“Ladies and gentlemen. This girl, who you have seen grow up in your community, who you all knew as a child, she is the hope, she is our future. She is the true heir of one of the greatest dynasties this land has seen. Her Mother and Father, King Frederick and Queen Clarissa were guardians of our country, whose union brought peace, harmony and prosperity to all. Since their deaths in a violent uprising eighteen years ago, the regent Alistair has brought misery and despair. He has ordered and overseen the destruction and torture of any who oppose him. He has ruled with an iron fist.
Amongst your number, there are those who have worked in secret, preparing for the day we would take out country back. Who know the truth. People who have not listened to the lies spread by his puppet press or been swayed by the lure of power and fortune that he has bestowed on a mere handful.
Alistair is a traitor to this country. He orchestrated the palace coup that lead to the death of his brother, and we have reason to believe that he killed his brother and sister-in-law with his own hand.
He needs the Amethyst Song to confirm him as King, but the Song is more powerful than the wishes of any mere man. It knows and sees all. It will only acknowledge the true heir when they sit on the throne. Without the Amethyst Song no coronation can go ahead, and so long as the heir is living he can not make any claim. Thanks to the good lady Beatrice, the woman you all know as Bea, she ensured that the King and Queens infant daughter- born that fateful night was kept safe and hidden so that her uncle could bring her no harm.
But, now, the child has grown into this fine woman you see before you. She is destined to be the greatest Queen this land has ever seen, surpassing even her parents and grandparents. Her reign will bring in a golden age for us all. But, first we need to help her. We need to rise up, remove the imposture and lift her onto her rightful place on the throne.
It won’t be easy. Alistair won’t go without a fight, and he will fight dirty. Many of you will not live to see the end. But, all of us need to forget about ourselves and stand strong to ensure a better future for our children and our children’s children. We need to do this because it’s right!
Who’s with me?”
The crowd stayed silent. Stunned.
“I said. Who’s with me?” First one, then two then everyone in the room started cheering, and clapping. “I’m in. “We’re in.” “What can we do?’
Alex turned toward Mae,
“My Queen, it’s time for you to address your people.”
Mae went pale, looking out at the crowd.
“No wonder your Dad put him in charge, “ Amity muttered under her breath.
Mae, stepped forward,
“Um, friends, um, all of you, um, I don’t know what to say.” She looked at her friend, then her uncle who by now was just simply concerned. He just smiled at her and nodded.
“I am still coming to terms with all of this. I have know idea how to be a Queen, much less how to lead a revolution. All of you in this room I consider to be my true family. Talk of Kings and Queens and magic, these are all new and strange, it is all of you that are real for me. Knowing that because of me, you have all lost so much, gives me pain. But, if being Queen helps restore your lives in anyway, I will happily take up my place. I will be your Queen.”
The crowd broke into spontaneous applause. Yelling and cheering. A chime was heard in the air, and all of a sudden Mae began to glow a faint mauve. The light formed a halo around her head.
Awash with the glow of the Song, her mind opened of its own accord. She felt the love of the whole world in that instant. But then she heard a crash, and her mind was filled with a cry of pain. She recognised the cry, the cry was her mother.
She turned to her friend.
“I think I just found her again.”