She accepts her new responsibility with more than a hint of hesitation. How many people has she seen elevated to this place? How many people has she helped to get here, only to be disappointed.
But I can’t be, she explained to the nominating committee. I’m not eligible, and I don’t want it.
The last king? Yeah, he lay at the bottom of the Ichthen Ravine, north of Sithon, where had been caught – depending on who you asked – with his mistress or with the husband of his alleged mistress who was his actual lover or caught in the wrong place, accused and murdered. All anyone knew for sure was that there was only one person they trusted to take care of this mess: the one statesman who said, no way. You cannot possibly give this guy authority. At the risk of her own life and career.
King Mischa let her flee the city. He didn’t care. He won, and he knew her reputation of non-involvement. In any rate, she could never be king, because she’d made one too many enemies, crossed one too many lines.
Now, with our nation on the edge of war, rival factions, scrambling for the throne, it’s time to try something different. We need to find someone no one will expect, someone everyone can hate – or love – or glare at without too much thought.
Don’t give them time to think. Just act. Step into the power vacuum and take the throne.
With firm purpose, she ascends the stone steps in her brilliant, red-gold dress.
“The king has died,” they say. “Long live the king.”
Gendered language is so much fun. There are so many words that denote gender, like king and queen, priest and priestess, actor and actress. We talk as if gender were an absolute, when gender isn’t even determined “at birth” for all people. For this story, I wanted to take an alternate angle on love for, and duty to, one’s country.