Hey Parliament Monsters!
Alas, we've finally reached the end of January. Hell hath frozen over--or so it seems--and Winter continues to take it's sweeping exit with just as much grandeur as it arrived.
The witches here do hope you're staying nice and cozy as we wait for this Polar Vortex to pass. Some Mugwort and chamomile tea, perhaps, to enhance those dreams while you're cooped indoors? How about a Parliament book to keep your company... Particularly, one about a barista who suddenly finds herself thrust into a magical realm to help fulfill a Prophecy?
Two Thousand Years
Images from Alex’s life danced within her subconscious through flashes of color and light. Her parents’ home with its sprawling lawn, gravel driveway, orchards where she used to spend countless days running, hiding and climbing. Her days in school, growing up and discovering who she really was, and the friends who had come and gone because of how often she would rather lose herself in a book than play sports or join the drama club.
The only boyfriend she ever had, what she gave him. What she lost to him. And what drove her to finally move into the city those years ago.
Her life in Boston, with its small apartment and underpaid barista job. Her parents with their passive-aggressive comments and judgmental inquiries about her own life’s decisions. Crystal and her other friends made since relocating, singing and dancing for her birthday at Ned Devine’s in Faneuil Hall.
She dreamed of the Crown Prince and she remembered his touch. She dreamed of the banished twin and she remembered his fear. She dreamed of the Queen Empress and she remembered her name.
The Empress's gown was sewn in silver thread and inlaid with precious gemstones. On her head sat a crown of the finest gold and purest diamonds. Her feet were bare as she stepped out onto the sun-drenched terrace, her anklets jingling with every step. Her terrace had the best view of the whole of the Empire—her Empire. As she approached the railing to look out upon the gardens below her, she placed her left hand instinctively on her swollen belly, the sun sparkling over the diamond wedding ring comfortable on her finger, as her right hand grasped the railing. Before, this view would have made her stomach churn, but today she was calm, content, and glowing. As she looked out over her home, she finally felt as though there was a feeling of peace; a final, overlying peace she knew took centuries to settle. But they had finally done it—the victory was theirs. Taking a deep breath, she smiled and closed her eyes as she soaked in the sun, savoring this moment, enjoying it until the very end.
In the distance, armies were gathering on the mountaintop that overlooked their valley. The mages were restless now that they were without true leadership, and she often wondered if they ever had spouses or lovers who yearned for them in their beds. But she knew they were aware as to what was happening—what was soon to happen—and this peace, too, would be just a distant memory.
"Empress?" a voice beckoned from behind her. "It’s time."
"Just a moment," she responded, a sad smile came to her face as she accepted her fate yet again. Giving her Empire one final glance, she gathered her skirts around her and let the terrace doors slam shut. With a flash and a shimmer, those closed doors reopened, and instead of looking over a field of green, she saw nothing but blackened and charred remains of a desolate civilization.
Here she ached, felt beaten, as though all hope she had previously felt was as heavy of a weight as the dark tapestries that hung around her. She didn’t know this room, and there was something foreboding about it that made her not want to.
Attempting to escape would be futile, a voice in the back of her psyche reminded her. Defeated, she limped away from the balcony, back through the doors towards the bed within, those heavy draperies, dark and depthless, swirling as the doors slammed shut behind her.
Within, someone was waiting for her. An unseen power pulled on her, drawing her to the bed, and with no control of her own, ethereal chains lashed out, clamping down upon her limbs, pulling her with a force stronger than any she could fight, until she was secure to the bed. She couldn’t move. The harder she tried to fight against the force leashing her upon that foreign bed the tighter they held her extremities.
The vulnerability and helplessness stole her breath, and she wanted to scream. Tried to as the panic struck her fiercely, but no words escape, no sound emitted from her. As though she was in a void as dark as those curtains.
There was nothing she could do. Fear dug its claws deeper as her captor climbed on top of her. The room was dark, all light blocked by those damn curtains, so much so she couldn't see anything. Nothing but the bright red of his eyes.
Like Treyan's eyes, so similar in their shape and vibrancy, though she knew it wasn't him. In her mind, she knew these were the eyes of those who betrayed the Empire.
He whispered into her ear."This will be my greatest triumph."
The scenario felt too close, too real.
Alex woke with a start as she bolted up in bed and let out a blood-curdling scream.