Approximately two thousand years ago... 15 BC
Serenity sat in her chambers of the palace she had claimed as her own. She sat with a shawl around her shoulders and curled in a large, ornate arm chair that had somehow remained in tact over the many years. Serenity had her feet tucked under her night gown she wore, but they remained as cold as the night. She had turned the chair to face the double doors that lead to a balcony that overlooked what remained of the palace grounds.
The top half of the right hand door was completely missing, allowing Serenity to look at the sky and the stars held within. Whole panels had fallen out from other parts of the door, either from being slammed or barged through. The paneling that remained had pebble sized holes punched through it. The two guards standing outside her chamber had thrown their capes over the doors to cover what they could in an attempt to give Serenity some semblance of privacy.
Three tall arched windows that stretched from the ceiling to the floor stood on either side of the double doors. Planks and half crumbled portraits had been propped along the open windows, covering only the bottom half of the .
They are going to need a few more capes... Serenity mused, surveying the arched windows.
The silver haired woman had watched the Earth shine through each of the windows in turn, staring out from her bed, and then from the chair. Serenity wasn't entirely sure why her eyes hadn't wanted to stay closed long enough for her to fall asleep. She usually had no trouble falling asleep, and if she thought back onto the previous days' events she thought she would have been asleep before her head hit the pillow.
For days, from the moment Serenity had awoken to the moment she had closed the door to her bedroom she had been occupied with finalizing the details for her court, ensuring all officials were going to be present and well looked after. As well as they could be in the remains of the palace of the Moon. Serenity was also occupied with ensuring the official notices had been drafted correctly and much to her frustration, greeted officials, as she tried to moved the palace to ensure all preparations for the ceremony would go smoothly. The chatter slowed her down and she never felt she completed as much leg work as she would have liked. The constant interruptions to her work also left her with no time to look in on her soldiers, though the ones she had caught sight of seemed to have enough morale to put her mind at ease.
The encounters, the work, and the talking all left her mind spinning. Serenity was having difficulty fathoming that in several hours it would end; it would be the official end of the Twilight Millennium. For the last thousand years the people of Serenity's galaxy fought against the waves of assault from Saturn's armies as Saturn's rulers not only dabbled in, but mastered magic that toyed with people's lives and the threads of the universe.
What was even more difficult for Serenity to fathom was that the ceremony that was going to mark the end of one millennium and usher in a new one was going to make Serenity Queen of the Moon. She was going to be ruler of the Silver Millennium, awkwardly named in honour of her hair colour, making her the ruler of the galaxy as well.
Serenity had initially rejected the proposition for her to be ruler: she had only wanted to bring peace to her life, someone else could take the responsibility and the headache of politics. The rulers of the allied planets insisted, ignoring Serenity's protests that she wasn't even noble born.
"No one would know the difference!" One king had boasted.
"No one would know..." Serenity had muttered surly.
Of course every one of the noble class will know. All they have to do is see me walk and hear me talk. It's so obvious that I'm from the Craters. Serenity thought to herself, feeling her annoyance rise as she recalled the conversation. Her Generals and closest friends, Servius and Claudius, had only stood by and watched with bemused expressions. She could have killed them where they had stood.
Her thoughts wandered to her family, Serenity couldn't help but wonder if they would be proud of her? She was the last of the Craters to survive. All others had been annihilated during an attack from the armies of the Earth, commanded by Saturn.
What would they think of me now? I'm going to be Queen tomorrow...
At the time of the attack Serenity had only been fourteen-the youngest of half a dozen children, daughter to peasant farmers. She had been spurned to seek justice in spite of the anguish and shock of seeing the bodies of her family and fellow villages scattered before her. She had felt in her bones that her family, her people, and her galaxy had been in need of justice and she would be the one to uphold it.
It had taken another fourteen years to accomplish that mission and not without great cost. She had lost friends and allies at her refusal to learn the dark magic that had twisted Saturn. Serenity had maintained that one couldn't always fight fire with fire: there wouldn't be anything left to fight for.
Serenity shifted slightly in her seat and looked around her room. The torn canvas paintings, the crumbling walls, the cobwebs in the corners, and the blood stains on the floor were records of only one room's tragedies. Serenity half wished she had made a point of setting aside time to clean the room but she felt her head spin as she thought of the countless years of destruction to her beautiful planet and the galaxy. The last ten years certainly had seen the most vicious battles between Saturn and the rest of the Galaxy. The silver haired woman couldn't help but wonder what had it all been for?
Had it been worth it? Had she chosen the right path? Should she have followed Uranus and Neptune by making allegiances to Saturn instead of enemies?
Serenity let out a long sigh, convincing herself that it was too late and irrelevant to question her actions now: she had done what she had thought right in those moments and now she must face the consequences with the rest of the galaxy watching her.
It was all for peace... and justice.
The words had always sounded so foreign on Serenity's lips. Peace was something she had never known in her lifetime but was something she had always been striving for. Did she have any right to use the word?
Other feelings of inadequacy continued to swirl in Serenity's mind as the sky became light around her. It wouldn't be much longer until a maid would entre her room and help her tie her hair together and climb into the prettiest dress she had ever laid eyes on. Serenity only agreed to the dress at the urging of the remaining Elders of the Moon and the encouragement of her most trust worthy generals and friends, Servius and Claudius. Though Servius's judgment she often questioned when it came to feminine things. The Elders all said something along the lines of it would help solidify the image that Serenity was going to be Queen of the Moon, and subsequently, the galaxy.
Serenity was sure most people would find it difficult to believe that she was going to be Queen of anything given her surroundings. Not that she knew anything about how kings and queens lived, or what they did, or what they were supposed to look like. Serenity only had a vague notion that they simply looked pretty despite closely collaborating with many Kings and Queens: none of them looked mystical or ethereal to her. Servius and Claudius had laughed at her when she had said she was going to polish her armour and wear that to the upcoming ceremonies. Servius had told her the Elder with the longest beard nearly bit off his own tongue at her words.
The silver haired woman had conceded in the end to wear "something pretty" so as "not to raise more questions about her ability to lead" for the Moon's newly formed court. Serenity had the inclination to ignore those comments but the Decimus, Crispinian, the youngest and least influential of the Elders had told her to listen carefully to what the people in the court had to say, "It is not because you want to please them, or that you should begin to care exactly what they have to say, but knowing who you will anger will give you insight as to what the repercussions of your actions could be."
Serenity had tried to follow the Decimus's advice but she found she felt constantly trapped and could get nothing accomplished. Serenity decided she would carry on as she always had: achieving and upholding peace, no matter whose feelings it hurt.
One of the soldiers outside the balcony cleared his throat, bringing Serenity out of her thoughts. She became suddenly aware of exactly what time is was and began to steel herself for what the day was going to bring in the new court of the Silver Millennium. Serenity's hand flew to the knife belted to her waist when a knock came to her door.
"Queen Serenity?" a quiet but hardened voice called out.
Serenity breathed a sigh of relief and dropped her hand from the knife at the sound of her seamstress's, Cima, voice.
Serenity stood up from the large-backed chair and called out a reply, "Come in."
The silver haired woman yawned and stretched, trying to work out the stiffness that had settled into her back. She heard Cima push aside several planks of wood and rotted curtains that served as the door to her chambers from the rest of the palace. Serenity turned to look at her seamstress to see her stoop into an awkward curtsy.
"Come now, Cima, I'm not a queen yet." Serenity said.
"Close enough." Cima replied, straightening, "I hope you won't be saying that to people once you actually become Queen."
"If I do, I can be sure you'll remind me that I am Queen of the Moon."
"Thank you for the reminder." Serenity replied.
Cima was a few years older than Serenity, though her life seemed to have aged her much faster than others. The seamstress, also from humble beginnings, had lost her husband the previous year, who had been a tailor for Serenity's soldiers that had unsuccessfully hid during a battle. The people of Saturn had indiscriminately slaughtered him and for whatever reason fate had brought Cima to Serenity's company. She had in no time fussed over Serenity like an older sister, or what Serenity would have imagined an older sister would have fussed like. Despite the pedestal Cima seemed to have placed Serenity on, the silver haired woman considered her seamstress among her closer circle, and one of the only women Serenity had patience for.
Cima pulled shimmering sheets of white cloth from a linen bag she had tied around her shoulder. Serenity's eyes widened in surprise at the glow of the material. She walked over to Cima and tried to place a hand on the bundle of fabric, but the seamstress was swift and pulled the material away from her.
"Before you touch anything you need to take a bath." Cima said.
"I beg your pardon?"
Serenity raised an eyebrow at Cima, "You want me to take a bath. Now?"
"How? Where? The other servants weren't notified to heat the water for a bath."
"After all your years of soldiering you aren't capable of one more cold bath?" Cima asked.
"Well," Serenity started, "I think a hot bath is a small luxury I can indulge in as a woman soon to be Queen."
"Of course, my Queen." Cima replied smoothly, "Which is why I had your friend the Queen of Mars help me with the task of heating the bath this morning. She's not much of a morning person, however, she did understand the need."
Serenity admitted to herself that she was impressed with Cima's talent for coercing even the most ill-tempered people to do what she needed them to do. Not really in the frame of mind to oppose Cima, or waste a hot bath, Serenity let herself be ushered to the room in the next corridor filled with tubs. The future Queen of the Galaxy let herself indulge in several minutes of warmth and cleanliness before Cima pressed her not to take too much longer as Serenity still needed to have her hair and clothes arranged. Serenity sighed but Cima appeared unaffected. Once the two women were back in Serenity's room Cima wasted no time spinning Serenity this way and that to attach the white and shimmering cloth on her body with small golden cords.
"Where did you get this dress from?" Serenity finally asked as Cima made minor adjustments to the positioning of cords.
"I made it." Cima replied.
"You made it?"
"I am a seamstress, your highness."
"I am aware." Serenity replied, "But where did you get this material? I've never seen it before."
"That was made as well."
"With a little seamstress magic. Nothing a soldier or a queen would know about." Cima replied.
"The magic isn't even magic, my Queen, it's simply my ability. It won't get me to sit on a throne, but I can at least make the person sitting on a throne look like a queen." Cima replied as she continued her adjustments.
A frown crossed the silver-haired woman's face. Serenity felt much sadness for the woman who had lost as much. Cima finally paused and looked into Serenity's face.
With a small wave of her hand she said, "I'm not jealous. I believe there are some people meant to make the clothes while others are meant to wear the clothes. But you're different Serenity, you always have been. You do more than just wear the clothes."
To hear her name without its royal prefix suddenly sounded out of place from Cima. It made Serenity wonder if it had been a slip, if Cima didn't really believe herself that Serenity was actually going to be Queen or if it had been intentional.
Cima took a step away from her and said, "Now, have a look in the mirror."
Serenity complied, walking over to the reflective fragments on the wall. She had to look twice at the person gazing back at her. She could barely recognize the woman she was looking at as herself: her silvery hair was twisted around the crown of her head, looking like smaller versions of the golden cord that had been used to hold her dress in place. The material clung to her breasts and hips, which made her look like she had the shape of a vase while the rest of the gown flowed around her like a waterfall.
So, this is what a Queen looks like? Serenity asked herself.
"What do you think?" Cima asked.
"It looks nothing like me." Serenity replied, "Are you sure they're going to recognize me today?"
Cima laughed, "That's not quite the answer I was expecting."
"Really Cima, this..." Serenity said, gesturing towards her reflection, "this dress, the hair, it's beautiful. It's amazing, but I don't know what to do with it all."
"Be regal, my Queen." Cima said.
"Regal. Or at least that's what I've read in books."
"How am I supposed to garner any respect at court today being regal and pretty? I need to be firm and unyielding." Serenity said glumly, "I knew I shouldn't have let the Elders talk me into this dress business. This is a disaster."
"Is your armour and shield polished?" Cima asked suddenly.
"Of course. I had planned on wearing that instead."
"I have an idea, your highness." Cima said with glint in her eye.