The Queen

Anisha Bodapati

A mystic hunting trip portended doom upon a pitiful king;
A sow turned to warrior at arrowhead, wounded yet living.
The fierce eyes that had enchanted him would become the eyes of the queen:
The kingdom, the castle, the King’s heart - she sat in a throne: The Magical Queen.
The King, she heard, was reckless and ruled with no thought and no rules,
She could not say a word for he saved her from death by his arrow’s wound.

The wrath of an enemy struck the king to his death on the battle ground,
The queen, she tutted at his fate and walked into the war to wield his crown.
She picked the crown of the ruler beckoning, wielded a sword on the bloody battleground,
Proclaimed herself the ruler and queen of the kingdom waiting on a sorry rout;
But the queen was fierce and fiery as a warrior that had trained for a decade or more –
In less than a heartbeat she’d slain the enemy and brought victory to where it was sworn.

“No man shall sit on the throne of this land until the end of time and world,
For a woman knows fate and luck and will use one with the other to bring victory aboard.
The castle where a man could rule is no fit for an able queen,
It is a relic of shame and carelessness so a new castle will be made.”
One and two, then three and four, to nearly ten decades the queen governed;
Men, restless and eager, set off to throw her out of the castle she made alone.

One night, the queen strode out at the peak of darkness and the moon
Towards the castle she deemed a shame, unseen by the empire, but one:
A man followed her to the relic, vast and lit by the light of the moon,
She walked in, as though she had many times before, unknown to the people’s daily lore
She sat on the floor of the worn courtroom, as the man hid behind its doors;
A creak of the stairs and a smile on her face; she reached out to a sword of gold.

She walked to the door of the room and smiled at the man - eerie and amused;
Dragged him across the room, as if to show what that night she set out to do.
She held the sword in a practiced grip, lose yet ready to swing at him,
She called out to someone he could not see but the stairs rumbled to a constant din.
He could see the queen; no, many of her from child to middle aged to elderly,
She twisted the sword in her hand and slashed at his throat before he could scream.

Blood pooled upon the floor as she twisted the sword with graceful, choreographed ease
Then touched the tip of her sword to the body, which caught fire and bellowed a smoke canopy.
The oldest queen jumped into the flames that devoured her and burned out;
On the ashes lay an infant that the queen picked up and gave to one queen of the lot.
“My time to retire from the castle is near and the next queen is to take my place.
The next six hundredth day of rule, lure a man to this castle of doom –
To the fire provide a lock of hair, unless the oldest is a hundred and throws herself into the flames.”

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