Author: Licorice Tears PM
Lark had been glad that Rosethorn, Niko, Frostpine, and the Duke were gone. They would never see how gentle, caring, little Sandry had turned into this monster that never laughed. Lark wished she was dead too, sometimes, when she saw those dead children on the streets.Rated: Fiction K - English - Angst/Tragedy - Words: 1,073 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 2 - Published: 04-15-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8028456
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Read and review, please? This is my first story.
Edit: It's embarrasing how horrible the first version was. I changed it some, but I was to lazy to completely revamp it, so you get the half-edited version.
She was the Duchess now. It was no longer her title, but a name, her name.
Now she never laughed. Could she still laugh?
But she never did. No, she never did.
(Never, never, never. Never say never, little Sandry used to tell her mother. Never say never.)
Oh yes, she smiled, that small, fake, manipulating, smile that her suitors believed. But was that real? Was any of it real?
Duchess Sandrilene fa Toren never laughed.
(No one dared call her Sandry anymore. No, she was "Your Grace" or " Duchess Sandrilene".)
But behind her back, in the cold prison cells under the Duchess's palace, or in the small, dismal, little villages? On the sides of the mud roads, when the poor stood silent and wached as a colorful litter of silk, expensive enough to feed them all for years, was used to carry one woman?
There she was the reason they starved, the reason their ribs showed like daggers under their shirts, the reason they lived in crumbling huts with walls mildewed with age , the reason no one had enough money. There she was the all the little children cried themselves to sleep, and parents had to watch as their children grew gaunt and thin, clothes hanging in rags and tatters.
Monster, the little children whispered at night, under their ragged blankets, crawling with lice.
But did she care?
Before, before she became Duchess, before harsh wrinkles ran over her face, and her heart turned to iron and stone, when she was still the kind, innocent, girl that was Sandry, she would have cared.
Her foster-siblings had been the first casualties of this new Sandry.
Tris, in the beginning, had asked her, in her blunt way, what in all the seven worlds did she think she was doing?
She never had the chance to say anything else, because she had been dragged away by the guards after the first sentence she spoke, and was executed in the plaza the very next day. The crowds had been quiet, so quiet. So many people believed that they were hallucinating. So many people hoped that they were hallucinating.
Daja had pleaded and begged, begged at her saati, her sister, to stop. Daja, poor Daja, had been been exiled to somewhere no one knew.
Briar was last. They had all had hope for Briar. Sandry had always had a soft spot for Briar, they thought. But this new Sandry has a soft spots for nothing and no one. Sentimental attachments were weak, this new Sandry believed. Briar was gone, and no one knew where he was. No one had the courage to find out.
That was final. No one else did anything.
Lark had been glad that Rosethorn, Niko, Frostpine, and the Duke were gone. They would never see how gentle, caring, little Sandry, kind Sandry with her laugh like fresh air, had turned into this monster.
Lark wished she was dead too, sometimes, when she saw the dead children on the streets.
We're so lucky she's on the throne, the mothers had said to their husbands, the sisters had said to their brothers. All our children will grow up safe, will grow up well.
When the Duke died, everyone had thought that Sandry would make a good Duchess. And she had, in the beginning.
Absolute power corrupted her absolutely.
In the beginning, she had still been Sandry. She had still had her laugh. Infectious, innocent, like fresh air.
Sometimes, at Winding Circle, Lark had smiled to herself in private, proud of her Sandry. For a girl born a noble, and heir of the Duke, she was the kindest of them all. Lark had bragged to Rosethorn about Sandry often.
She'll make a wonderful duchess, she had said to her. She'll be better than the Duke, she'll be the best to ever be known in history. I know she will.
But Rosethorn, ever-wise Rosethorn, had simply smiled placatingly, shaking her head.
She had been right, like she always was. But Lark hadn't believed her. Sandry would never be a ruler like her cousin, a tyrant like the empress of Namorn. She was too kind, too just.
Now, she wished she had listened.
Then she had still laughed. Her infectious laugh, like fresh air, was gone.
Now, Sandrilene fa Toren laughed like a widow, weighed down by the world and dying under it.
It wasn't really a laugh, not really.
Beggars can't be choosers, as so many would say. And oh, how many beggars there were now.
But now, now near the end?
Now she wasn't even Sandrilene fa Toren.
Now she was a monster. A clever, manipulative monster dressed in red silk, (to cover the bloodstains, the villagers said), adorned with fake blue eyes, once kind. ( Like glass, the eyes were, the villagers said. Empty and blank.)
Now the prison cells were full to overflowing. Now there was a whipping block, where everyday a defiant villager was whipped until his back was a crisscross of deep slashes, red, bloody, and dripping like so many tears.
Now the floor of the Executioner's Plaza, little used before, had been splattered with blood so many times the maids couldn't ever scrub them clean. They didn't even try to anymore.
Lark had cried when she saw how Sandry had changed. Those people had been right when they had said that absoluted power corrupted absolutely.
Lark had cried until she hadn't any tears left.
The next day?
The next day Lark died, hung by her own thread.
She was never buried, lost among the tangle of bodies already piling in the graveyard.
Before, when she had still been Sandry, she couldn't bear to see anyone being whipped, or anyone in cuffs and shackles. Before, she couldn't bear to see any starving children dressed in rags roaming the streets. She couldn't bear nobles kicking commoners or shoving them aside, the carriages not stopping, running over vagrant children.
Now Sandrilene fa Toren, Duchess, saw her kingdom, her work, and smiled.
She never laughed.