I haven't written any fanfic in a long time, so I thought I'd try a little one-shot. Written based on information in AotQ, not EH/EV (ML has a tendency to ignore previously established details, so this is my disclaimer against any discrepancies). Oh, and ML owns the sandbox.


by Jaelle17

It was on this day, eight years ago, that I married Kara— I cannot write his name. There are moments when I still feel as angry and betrayed as I did when he was revealed to be a traitor. How could I have been so foolish? And how could I have let myself be so taken by the man? I should have known better. Caryo alone was reason enough to know better.

Hulda brought Elspeth to me this evening so that I might read to her. May the gods forgive me, but I could not do it. I could not look upon her. She looks so much like her father, and tonight, of all nights—

Caryo has chided me for my neglect. I know she is right, but I don't know what to do about it. I love my daughter, but there are days when I simply cannot bear to be near her. Those days, it seems, have stretched into years, however, and now, I don't know who my daughter is, and I don't know how I managed to let things get so out of control. She is rightfully called The Brat. I know the fault is mine, but I feel powerless to change things. Thank the gods for Hulda. She may have given Elspeth an exaggerated sense of her own importance, but she is also the only one who seems to be able to calm that child. I don't know what I would do without her, given that Melidy seems to have regressed after her brainstorm.

Elspeth's fear of Companions is growing worse, and I know not what steps to take. How will she ever be Chosen if she is afraid of Companions? Assuming she is even worthy of Choosing. I don't remember the last time the child of a Monarch wasn't Chosen. Oh, gods, where did I go wrong? And how can I ever make it right? It may already be too late.

And Rolan—he's been gone for so long. It's been six weeks. It's never taken this long for the Grove Born to Choose a new Monarch's Own. We don't even know where he is. There is a rumor spreading that he is no longer even in Valdemar. Caryo doesn't know, or if she does, she won't say.

I must confess, I was hoping Rolan would have Chosen someone already a Herald. Teren or Keren would have been wonderful choices, I think. I don't know if I can bear waiting five more years for someone to sit at my side, and someone in whom I can confide—not that I could ever truly confide in Talamir. Perhaps the Herald he intends to Choose is on circuit. I've tried to make casual inquiry about which Heralds are on circuit, but I think my true motives have been discovered. I've slept little since Rolan left Haven, if truth be told. What does it say of me that I am more anxious over the next Queen's Own than I am of my inability to connect with my daughter?

What if Rolan did jump the border? What if he brings back a fourteen-year-old boy who speaks Karsite? Or worse—someone from Rethwellan who will be a constant reminder to me of my failure and humiliation?

Caryo has just told me that I am being foolish. I'm not foolish, I'm tired. This waiting has wearied me in body and soul. I wish it were over. I wish Rolan were here with his Chosen—

No. I wish I could go back in time eight years, and reject Karathanelan's proposal. But I can't do that. I can't even salvage my daughter—or myself. I sit alone in this room with no true friend in whom to confide. Oh, Caryo is there, but it's not the same. The maids who clean my chamber are happier than I am, giggling and gossiping amongst themselves. I wish I could join them. I, Queen of Valdemar. I wish I could be a young maid.

I hope Rolan returns soon.