The Queen of Finery was amazingly resplendent coated in her gems which adorned every inch of her. They glittered and glimmered upon her velveteen robes. Being so ostentatious a figure, she had nothing to say to those in the palace who passed her; she was too incredible in her own mind to pay attention to others unworthy of her obtaining her attention themselves. She would not bother with beings such as these.
What determined whether someone was unworthy? Well, it is saddening to say that she was always haughty around everybody whose paths she crossed because to her, normal folk – servants, chefs, cleaners, maids, drivers – were unworthy. Some might find it difficult to understand why a queen would look down upon her people. Most especially, the people who served her well, and painted of her a delicate, refined picture. Because for these others, they were always required to speak incredibly highly and well of her. In reality, the truth of the matter was that she was arrogant and undesirable, with moods so flighty they caused chaotic booms, seismic ripples, rather than being calm and assured.
Would anyone in the country willingly spend their time with her? It wouldn’t surprise you to know this – they wouldn’t waste a second with her. The only reason they spent fleeting moments in her presence was because she paid them to be there. She was so outrageous with her moods that these unfortunate souls never came to work underprepared. Before arriving, they listened to soothing, meditative music, to calm their wrought nerves from the days before, healing an ache that was positively shaking at the knowledge they’d once more be required to be with her indoors. But this Queen didn’t realise how horrible she could be; she was used to being just so. She didn’t understand that her “minions” as she referred to them, couldn’t wait for the end of the day when they’d be permitted to return home.
It was the King who had to deal with his tempestuous Queen at night, with her tales of complaints and rapid words, high strung, of how somebody, always someone, had performed a slight against her again. He would sigh under his breath, tune out from the tirades, the rants. He would wait until her breath was spent then he would roll over and fall asleep quickly, before she could find another topic to complain about – usually something petty. She’d then wander around in her mind expelling her warring words quite freely, to be easily spent quite easily. It didn’t matter that the King no longer heard her. What was important to her was the illusion of being heard.
One day, there arrived a new servant, a child of eight years old, by the name of Trudence. She was clever, kind, humorous, but had had a challenging life. Trudence was an orphan, at the age of three her parents had died in a massive train wreck, and being babysat by her Auntie Beatrice that day, she was spared that moment of sudden death. But Aunt couldn’t afford to keep her, for Trudence was an expensive child to cater for. She ate, ate, ate at every given moment, and Aunt knew not how to provide for her. Instead she decided it would be best to put her to work at the Palace, where she could earn her keep, to pay for both their meals and means to survive in this life, lest she continue taking and they both ended up on the streets. Aunt was unable to work due to a debilitating case of “Can No Longer Be Bothered”, so she was glad that she had Trudence willing to work to provide for both of themselves.
To Aunt’s surprise, Trudence took to her new role with zest. She told stories of how she’d passed the Queen in the corridors, flashing her a beaming smile, glancing into the gems that sparkled so much that Trudence felt utterly blessed. It didn’t matter that the Queen never smiled back, the fact that she was in the Queen’s presence meant everything – she was such a finely dressed woman that her efforts to avoid smiling at anyone must surely be an epic test. This palace, for some reason, gave her good feelings. However, one day, Trudence would grab the Queen’s gems, pluck one from the her swishy robes, and another from her vest! Then run away with great speed would Trudence. Her life now was in dangerous waters, she should have already known what this theft would have meant, the fate which the Queen would wish to deliver.
“Off with her head!” shrieked the Queen. “That wretch stole my emeralds, so joyously and lovingly green!” By then the soldiers couldn’t find her. Trudence was long gone, with Aunt running alongside her, as they escaped through the forest, away from their home, away from the palace walls where they would never be seen again, never found. Into a neighbouring land would they retreat, where they lived off fragments of the gems, selling each shard for fortunes on the street. They were millionaires now and it was all thanks to Trudence’s wiles. She felt not shame nor guilt for stealing from a Queen who everyone secretly reviled. Trudence had eventually realised that she was nasty, she was mean, she had too much wealth and she’d made it too obviously seen.
Regarding the robbery, she had been asking for it, Trudence believed, and this Aunt reassured her this was completely correct. And now, that the greedy untoward being would knowingly have their lives punished, eradicated, because the Queen’s effort at performing horrid actions were completely unworthy, and her motives not at all well spent. Not that these thought process was morally right, this Trudence soon realised with time, but she had spent too much time experiencing her own sense of luxury to want to return mere fragments that would be nothing to the Queen, a woman whose nose was upturned so very high indeed. Returning to that land would only end in death for both Aunt and herself, and she was unwilling to risk her life simply to clear a conscience of ill-fated morals. She’d simply have to trick herself into accepting that what she had performed at the time was a necessary action.
There was no point in reversing it because what was done was completely done. Better to focus on what positives came of this; she began to whittle away at the gems, breaking them into manageable, saleable fractions, street-size appropriate pieces.
© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.
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