The Queen's Requiem (PART 1 of 4)
The Queen's Requiem
This story is a prequel to the heroine I have in the Cradle of Faith. I wrote it as a birthday present for my mother and I am also trying to impress someone at the same time. I don't know but I'll see how it goes. Just remember this is a SHORT STORY, not a novel. About 30 pages or so.(12K-15k words) :P
Marie Kaldon held her left arm around her enormous belly and her right arm around her husband's neck. They moved through the darkness of the forest with a half-lit moon that only illuminated the night sky. They moved as fast as her belly allowed them. Her contractions were far apart and she was tired.
Her weight did not bother Julien Hopkins. He was strong and had trained his entire life for war; that was until he had fallen in love with the witch queen of the new world. He stopped for a second, placed Marie on an old log and told her to rest. Julien backtracked for a few minutes and waited. The forest was silent. He cleared a small spot on the ground and placed his ears.
Dreadfully quiet, he thought. He peered through the forest looking for a glimmer of fire. Nothing. He smelled, he squinted his eyes and he listened but nothing. He knew they would never give up. Marie was to be drowned in holy water and burned at the stake.
He turned to go back to her and was hit with an arrow in his back. The 'Argh' was deafening in the silence. Another arrow hit the tree that was beside him. Julien fell to the ground. Whimpering in agony as he tried to get back up.
"Traitor!" A French accent muttered. "I thought you would have put up a better fight!" The witch-hunter grabbed the arrow in Julien's back and started to pull. The screams echoed throughout the forest. Two more men appeared. Clad in brown leather armor and a hood over their head. "I am the great Nicolai Remy and these two are Binny and Stalworth."
"Where's the witch you piss ass!' Stalworth asked kicking him repeatedly on the ground. "I said where is the witch, you traitor!" Stalworth drew his dagger. "I am going to enjoy killing you." He grabbed him by his autumn brown hair and leaned into his ear. "Where is the witch!?"
"I'm right here," a soft voice stated. Her left hand still around her belly.
Stalworth looked up in disbelief. His face turned white. Who would have thought an albino could have gotten whiter? It was his first contact with a witch. A living, breathing, pregnant and angry witch. He was frozen stiff like a kid that got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Binny was not afraid though. He had come to New England to make a name for himself. He drew his gold handle short sword with gold crosses etched on its blade – a gift given to him by the church for his crusade – and charged.
Marie's black hair was ruffled and wild obscuring her face. If Binny could have only seen her eyes he may have chosen his actions differently. With a swift movement of her right hand, she stopped him dead in his track, lifted him in the air and flung him against a tree.
Nicolai turned and ran into the forest for his dear life. Binny laid broken on the ground, barely breathing. Stalworth frozen scared still did not know what to do. His dagger clenched firmly in his hand.
Marie watched her husband on the ground, half unconscious and bleeding. She then stared at stalworth and smiled. She lifted him in the air and started to squeeze with her hand. Stalworth gasped for air, his hand clutching his neck. Floating helplessly, his legs convulsed like a puppet in action. His eyes were almost out if its socket.
A sharp pain ripped through her belly. She lost focus and dropped the rag doll. He also laid unconscious, barely breathing.
The most powerful witch in the new world walked over to her husband, got on her knees and kissed the hand of her king. She pulled the arrow from his back, placed her two hands on the wound and closed her eyes. When Julien opened his eyes he was face down in the dirt. He turned on his side and looked at her. She moved the hair from her face and blushed.
She leaned into him and kissed him. "Stop running away and leaving me," she said poking him in his chest. "She's coming." Marie looked down and rubbed her belly.
Julien got up without any pain. This was not the first time Marie had to heal him. He would never forget that night he finally got her.
He spent all his life in England under the training and supervision of the greatest witch hunter of all time. He moved to New England in 1772. After three years of hunting witches, his heart couldn't take it anymore. He wandered to Massachusetts and then finally to Connecticut. He bought a farm and animals and settled.
He was very handsome and always worked without a shirt. He didn't comb his hair and for some reason, he could not keep mud off his skin. He smiled and tried to be friendly but his reputation had traveled far. Further, then he would ever reach. The townspeople were afraid of him and secretly wanted him to leave. He was a bad omen of some sort.
He first saw her at the market. Walking and minding her own business. She had a small frame but spoke very bravely. Her hair was black as night and fell over her shoulder's. The way it moved in the wind while she walks captivated him. He stood there and stared until she was gone.
Marie never paid him any attention. She never looked his way when he was looking. Never smiled never hinted at least by chance that she was interested. This drove Julien crazy. One day he decided to cut some flowers and leave it by a grand old white oak tree that Marie use to go by in the afternoon and lay. That afternoon he saw her coming in the distance with the flowers. His heart tingled and he felt weak. He watched her jump over his wooden fence and walked through his animal pasture. Flowers in one hand, dress pulled up in another. The mud squished under her feet but she didn't care.
"You don't destroy beautiful things because you want to give someone a gift!" she quarreled raising the hand with the flowers. "You didn't even give them any water!" she said finally reaching him. "You don't care about nothing, do you? You just kill what you want? Take what want you! All you men are the same!"
He didn't answer her. It was the first time he saw her up close and personal. Her nose was slightly flared and her skin was light brown and smooth. He wanted to bite her soft red lips immediately. After all, he was a brute who killed witches and flowers. She continued to quarrel. About what? He didn't know. Her eyes were bright and staring into them was like staring into oblivion. He could feel his entire heart and soul being consumed by her.
"I want you," he said placing his index finger on her lips.
"You don't know me! How could you want me?" The look on her face was stern. Intimidating at best. "You want this!" she said using her hands to show her face and body.
"I know you buy food and carry for the orphan kids at St. Mary's church. I saw you get in an argument for a little girl in the market who was being bullied. I was going to hurt them if they did you any harm." He smiled.
"That's all you know how to do? Hurt people." She said as she turned to leave.
"That's all I did know how to do. Now I will only hurt people for you." He held her hand to stop her from leaving.
"Well, I don't hurt things." She stated. She stopped looking into his eyes.
"I know," he said squeezing her hand a little. "You are kind and gentle. Something I will never be."
Marie shook Julien by the shoulders. "We have to go." Julien smiled and nodded and left the memory in the past. He unsheathed his sword that was identical to Binny's and walked over to Stalworth's unconscious body. "Nooo!" Marie shouted. "We don't kill!" Julien bowed his head and walked back over to his queen. He took her right hand and put it over his shoulder and held some of her weight.
The forest was not quiet in the silence anymore. The sounds of the animals and insects came to life. The eerie hoot of an owl could be heard from up above. The old branches and twigs crackled under the feet of Julien and Marie as they made their way to the Connecticut path. The moon in its never-ending chase with Jupiter moved to the far horizon of the night sky signaling a few hours of darkness left.
They came across a wide but shallow stream. He put her on a rock to sit and filled his hand with water and gave her a sip. "They won't be that far behind." Marie was looking horrible and the pain was not helping either. Her hair was stuck to her face and the light in her dark brown eyes were faded. "If I had to do it all over again I would. I love you." He moved the hair from her face and kissed her. "I was never a boring man." He said laughing.
This was the reason she never wanted love but the god damn brute had to make it so difficult. She never wanted to be the witch queen, she didn't care for magic and the responsibility. She wanted kids. She wanted to watch them grow and she wanted to die beside her husband in their old age. But who really gets what they want in this life.
Marie got up, glanced at Julien and continued to the stream. She was ankle deep in icy cold water. "We need time. Don't be afraid." She got down on her knees and put her two hands in the air and brought them down in a circular motion into the water. She started to recite an incantation. Words Julien could never comprehend. She got up off her knees. The water droplets on her hands seemed to defy gravity. There was a blue energy emanating from around her body. He could feel her power coursing through him.
"There are men coming and they mean to kill your queen!" she announced loudly to the forest. The howl of wolves bellowed in the distance. "They want to kill my unborn daughter and your future queen. I have protected you with my life. Will you protect me and mine?" The forest erupted in animal chatter. The howl of the wolves drew closer. Across the stream, the crashing sound of trees could be heard. Two large brown bears emerged and roared at Marie. They got on their two feet and roared again brandishing their strong paws. The sky was full of life. The birds and bats flew wildly around. Snakes could be seen crossing the stream. Marie glanced back at Julien. "Time to go. Come help me cross this river."
Julien gently scooped her up in his arms and proceeded to cross. Lower down the stream a pack of wolves darted across. Eight in all he counted. At the deepest, the stream reached above his knees. He placed her back on her feet and looked at her. "If you are their queen does that make me their king?"
She laughed. "Noooo but Technically yes." She notion him to move away from her.
The witch queen dipped her hand into the stream once more. "May this fire burn any man that dares pass." The stream burst into bluish white flames that were endless. Julien could feel the heat but Marie was normal. She looked at him. The look a magician gives you when they show you a new trick. She left the fire and went to Julien. She put her right arm around his shoulders and her left arm around her belly.
They continued into the forest. A carriage was waiting on them.