|My Captain's Lady
Author: Pied Piper PM
All's fair in love and war.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Taichi Y./Tai K. & Mimi T. - Chapters: 20 - Words: 172,862 - Reviews: 330 - Favs: 105 - Follows: 18 - Updated: 12-30-05 - Published: 04-01-04 - Status: Complete - id: 1799137
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
My Captain's Lady
Disclaimer- I do not own Digimon or anything remotely like it. I'm too poor. Oh, and remember this is Alternate Universe, so I've skewed the ages a bit. I have that power
She chose the blue gown, the one with the long sleeves to cover her arms from shoulder to fingertip. It was a little tight around her waist, she knew, but it was the only one that could cover up everything she didn't want to be seen. She also asked to have a new shawl to wrap around her shoulders. The neckline was low and she would get cold soon, as these things always seemed to go on for hours. But she should not complain. He would not be happy with her if he found out, and she was afraid of him the most when he was unhappy. The shawl could keep her warm until she could leave, and then she'd have nothing to complain of afterwards when he asked her.
Her ladies-in-waiting dressed her quickly, not saying a word. No one ever talked to her, but then, she never talked to anyone either. Thrown into a land cold to foreigners against her will, she'd refused to make friends. And now it haunted her; she was so lonely here. A part of her wanted something to change, something great and sudden, and days would go by while her hope built up inside her.And then he would do something, or the court members would say something, and she would come crashing down again. And she would remember that Hell was eternity. Nothing would change now. Nothing could.
She felt like an empty shell.
No, she felt worse. Especially when he was with her.
But she should not complain. He was in a good mood. About as good as the day they were married, and she should take advantage of that. If things went the way he liked, maybe he wouldn't call her into his bedroom that night. She was too tired.
Tired of all this.
Their fingers were cold, she realized as the women finished dressing. They could at least be a little gentler. But she knew that wouldn't change. After all these years, she still lived among strangers.
"Your Majesty," a voice called. She turned to see a servant boy standing in the doorway. "The King requests your presence."
"Of course," she replied automatically. She never did learn how to say no. Now she would have to parade herself into the hall in front of all his guests. She closed her eyes as she prepared herself for it. All she had to do was ignore them, keep quiet, look disinterested. If she even gave the slightest hint of being interested in conversation, she would suffer for it. Women are not interested, he told her before. They have no opinions, no thoughts. They do nothing unless told to, and I will always tell you what to do.
A sigh escaped her lips, and the ladies exchanged glances between themselves, no doubt thinking of how ungrateful she sounded. They stood in a neat line as she passed, the last one holding shawl she had requested. A lump grew in her throat as she approached this girl. And that's what she was, too. A girl, barely into womanhood, though very beautiful to look at. She wouldn't have guessed her to be over fifteen. And the child she was with would be born in less than two months, she suspected by the size of her.
Her eyes met the girl's briefly, just enough to see the flash of secret triumph in her face as she stared back haughtily. Normally, she would have the girl punished for such insolence, but now she carried the king's child. She couldn't do anything to her, except watch her have the child that everyone had expected her to have in the seven years she'd been Queen. He thought it was something wrong with her, after all, he'd gotten this girl pregnant and so obviously it wasn't him. She didn't know what it was. She sometimes found herself wishing she would have a child, a little girl perhaps, to play with and dress and watch over. And she wouldn't be so lonely.
But like always, fate worked against her. She would be cursed to live barren and cursed to see her waiting-in-lady bear her king a bastard son to take the throne.
She took the shawl from the girl without looking at her again; it hurt too much. The servant bowed to her when she approached him, and then led her through the hallways to the dinging hall. Behind her the ladies-in-waiting marched silently, heads turned down in proper humility as they entered the presence of the king.
The guests were sitting at a long table at the very front of the large room. There was a seat reserved for her beside the king, her husband. Her eyes casually glanced among the people, recognizing most of them as her husband's crude friends and generals. But there was one that caught her eye. He was young and clean-shaven, but he wore attire that resembled a knight's. Odd. She had never before seen a knight who did not have a beard. His brown hair matched the color of his eyes, which were focused on the king's face as he listened to his boasting. He must be the guest for whom her husband had given this feast. She remembered now. He was from the Ishida kingdom, the one across the great waters. The king of that foreign land had sent him here himself, as an ambassador and representative. Only he didn't look like an ambassador.
She averted her eyes. It wasn't her business.
The king and his guests noticed her now and they all turned to see. Of course. She was famed for her beauty, wasn't she? Her husband grinned at her; she recognized that look. He'd been drinking, heavily. Ignoring the gazes of the other men, she let go of her guide's hand and stood before the king, offering her formal curtsey as required. He stood up and reached for her, kissing her fingertips. She hated the touch of his hands.
As they both sat down and the talking resumed around them, he glanced at her. "I don't like that dress," he murmured quietly.
"There was nothing else."
"At least take that shawl off. It's not that cold."
"Of course, Your Majesty."
She heard whispers as soon as the shawl was gone, felt their gazes, and she stared down at her plate.
"That's better," the king decided as he studied her now. He handed the shawl to a servant. "Now, let's eat, shall we?"
"Here, here!" his guests roared in laughter as the meal was presented course by course.
She looked up when a servant came by to offer her some bread, but she refused politely. She wasn't hungry. Eating would mean pulling back the sleeves of her gown, and that would arouse suspicion. As she glanced at her husband, her gaze was captured once again by the stranger. This time, he was looking back at her, straight into her eyes. His face was unreadable, but he did not watch her with the same greedy look the other men did. He appeared to be pondering something. She flushed, horrified at being caught, and looked away immediately.
Late into the meal, while the wine was being drunk in far too large portions, the king finally spoke and thereby turned her cautious attention to the ambassador again. "I want you to know, Captain, that I hold your king in the highest respect," he stated loudly, words slurred.
The captain, who was still sipping his first glass of wine carefully and deliberately, set down the cup and met the king's gaze with admirable courage. Even she couldn't do that so casually, nor could many of his own friends.
"I do, Your Majesty."
"Good, good. And tell me, Captain, why would your king send a military figure such as yourself to talk peace and politics?"
"I requested it, Your Majesty." He seemed so calm, and his voice was so captivating. She found herself drawn into the conversation, though she tried hard not to appear to be listening.
"Yes. I admit I am an admirer of yours. I had to see for myself the legends of this kingdom."
"Ah, really?" Her husband was delighted. He loved flattery. "And what do you think?"
"I think there is no other place on this world like it. I am happy to have had this chance to meet you and your subjects."
How he used his words was amazing, she decided. He was planning something, and conducting his plan in an unprecedented way. She had never before heard someone talk like him. She wondered what it was he wanted from her king.
"Well, of course." The king leaned back in his chair, finishing his goblet of wine in one gulp. A servant rushed forward to fill it up, blocking her view of the eloquent stranger. "In fact, I will offer you something to prove to you the greatness of my kingdom."
She couldn't see the look on the captain's face, but he sounded as though he were smiling knowingly. "And that is, Your Majesty?"
"You may have anything of mine in this kingdom, as a token of your gracious visit. In fact, you may keep it yourself. You king doesn't need to know, and I reward courage when I see it." The rest of the guests shouted in drunken delight, eager to hear what would happen. They thought this was a game, she realized. She wondered if her husband thought that, too. Surely the captain wouldn't be taking him seriously. Unless he really was planning something.
Now the servant had moved, and she studied the captain hard. What would he want from a horrid place like this? The stranger sat for a moment in contemplative thought, as though he was weighing the possibility of his gift.
"Anything, Your Majesty?" he asked finally, straightening in his seat.
"Anything I own."
"Well, then. If you insist,"
"And I do."
The captain smiled. He had a nice smile. "The Queen."
Her heart stopped.
There was silence in the room, as the others had grown quiet in shock. The king was staring at the ambassador with a strange expression on his face. But the captain was staring back boldly, almost expectantly, waiting for his request to be carried out.
"What?" the king asked drunkenly, blinking his vacant eyes.
"The Queen, Your Majesty. You said I might have anything in this kingdom of yours. I choose her." The king looked at her now, staring, and then back at the captain. "Unless, of course, you were lying. I presumed you wouldn't in front of all these witnesses."
Still, the king said nothing, as though unable to fathom what had happened. His face was reddening slowly, either in anger or because of the large amount of wine he'd consumed. Or both.
Beside him, she was gripping the arms of her chair tightly, digging her fingernails into the wood. He didn't mean it. And her husband wouldn't let him. Even if it was an oath in front of witnesses. It couldn't happen. It would mean she was free of him- but could she ever really be? He'd find her again, just like always. And then-
But maybe this was the chance she'd been waiting for. After seven years…could it really be true? Was this really happening? Was the stranger her savior? Had God finally hear her cries and sent this man? It was impossible…and yet…
She looked up and saw the captain standing at his seat, looking directly at her with determined brown eyes. She trembled. Would she really get away, or was this just another trap? The captain was holding out his hand to her, waiting. She couldn't leave- but she couldn't stay. And the king…she looked at him now. He was starting to rise from his chair, sputtering indignation, but the dizzying effects of the wine were stalling him. She looked back at the captain, who still had his hand outstretched to her.
So she rose from her chair, her shaking legs barely supporting her. While her heart pounded in her chest and the other guests struggled to their feet in drunken confusion, she walked slowly around the table and to the center of the hall where the captain was waiting. His hand was warm and wrapped around her own shivering one to guide her quickly out the door and towards her destiny.
Unless her husband came for her again.