OMG I don't know what the hell I'm doing! Actually, I'm quite sane, but still. I got this idea while trying to fall asleep at 2 in the morning, and I thought the urge to write this would be gone when I woke up . . . but as you can tell, it didn't. This is an AU (obviously) and follows the show loosely. Stuff happens, other stuff happens . . . well, I guess you'll see. Going from "Paradise Reborn" to this is weird and I wish my mind would shut up but alas it did not. So, that being said . . . enjoy the craziness that my sleep deprived mind comes up with!
Disclaimer: I do not own Wolf's Rain, and I most likely never will.
The screams of her people were unrivaled by any other.
Standing by the window to her chambers, holding the screaming bundle that was her infant son, it took all Queen Hamona had not to weep for the horrors going on below her. The fires, the blood, the howling. Human Egyptians ran to and fro among the streets littered with the dead bodies of those whom they had lived beside for so long—the wolves. She did not know what had caused this mass murder, why her husband—the Pharaoh—had ordered his soldiers to wipe out all that remained of what had once been a proud race of loyal servants under their king. Even some of their most trusted members of council had been killed, poisoned in the last meeting simply because they had the power of Khonsu on their side.
Hamona hadn't an inkling of why her beloved Pharaoh had suddenly turned on his own subjects, riding through the streets below on that blasted white steed. Perhaps the Egyptians had believed their Pharaoh was bringing news of his newborn son, but she knew better. Turning away from the window, Hamona walked further into the room, sitting down slowly on the edge of the bed where her tiny son had been born only three days prior.
"Such a terrible time to enter this world, my beloved." She said softly to the infant, running a trembling finger down his smooth, rounded cheek stained with tears. His wails ceased suddenly before picking up again, even louder than the first time. "You hear the screams of your people, don't you?" She asked the tiny prince, a tear of her own slipping down her porcelain face. "I do too."
A knock on the door caught the Queen's attention, and she stood, hugging the child to her more with a heavy heart. "You may enter."
A servant girl was the caller, a little blonde foreigner of fifteen taken during a raid in the neighboring kingdom of Sinai. Cher was her name, and while Egypt wasn't the land of her birth and she staked no claim to the fertile lands of the Nile, she was loyal to the thrown, to the queen in particular. "Oh," Hamona breathed with a sigh of relief, placing a hand over her pounding heart, "it is only you."
"I came to see how you were fairing, Your Majesty." The girl said quietly, sinking to her knees. "You have not been well since the birth of the prince."
"My only ailment is that of exhaustion." Hamona replied, sitting down on the bed once more so she was facing the girl. It was true that she had been a sickly child ever since her birth, and her health hadn't been the best in the years she'd spent married to the Pharaoh. Since the birth of her son, however, she'd been feeling rather fatigued. "My husband worries far too much."
Cher said nothing, only clasped her hands quietly in her lap and stared at the floor. But the queen saw how her pale blue eyes shifted over to the window. "Tell me," Hamona said quietly, "what do you think of what is happening outside the palace walls?"
"It is not my place to say, My Queen."
"It is best to speak when your queen demands it."
The smallest of frowns appeared on the girl's face. "I am saddened by what is happening. The wolves in my village were kind and did more than their fair share of work. I see no justice in this night."
"So, we are on the same line of thinking then."
"My husband is a kind man, or rather he used to be." Hamona stated, rocking the child slowly in her arms as his furious screams started to die away. "I love him, truly I do, but I have reached an impasse with myself."
Cher looked up, the jewels on her headdress swinging furiously at the swift motion. She was the Queen's head servant even at such a young age, for she was efficient and a smart thinker. She wore the finest robes the palace tailors could create that were a step below the monarchs of the palace. "My Queen—"
"Hamona. It is the name my parents bestowed upon me. You have my permission to use it."
"Hamona," Cher said slowly, unsure, "what are you trying to say?"
"My husband believes he is freeing Egypt from the scourge that is the wolves, but I'm certain you know that is not the truth. The wolves protect this land from the demons of the underworld. They bring no harm to our great society, but I cannot make the Pharaoh see reason."
Hamona got to her feet, staring lovingly at the drowsy infant in her arms. The peaceful babe was sleeping soundly in the midst of the carnage outside, practically ignoring the furious howls of those fighting for life. "The Pharaoh himself is descended from wolves, Cher. He and his ancestors have turned their backs on the gods and renounced their title as the Wolves of Egypt."
"My Lady!" Cher gasped, bringing her hands to her mouth, eyes blown wide. "Say it isn't so!"
Hamona shook her head sadly. "It is the truth, young one. No one knows of it but I and the High Priest, but thus far we have not said a word to any soul. Even now, I am a loyal consort and will not betray my husband."
"If the Pharaoh is a wolf himself, then why is he—" The servant girl trailed off, turning to look at the window once more as a chorus of angry snarls filled the night air.
"My husband believes wolves are like a plague to the nation. He himself has not been in Khonsu's graces since he was a child. I fear that once he has killed every wolf in Egypt, he will move on to the other kingdoms."
"Can you not do anything to stop him?"
The Queen shook her head. "I have tried, but he will not see reason. And that is why I fear for the safety of my son."
Cher looked at the sleeping bundle in the woman's arms. She was almost as familiar with the boy as his own mother, for she had been his caretaker when the Queen was too ill to leave her chambers. Even now, the monarch looked frail and exhausted among her extravagant robes and jewels, clutching the babe tightly to her chest. "Even Pharaoh Darcia wouldn't harm his own son." The girl said firmly, though Hamona saw the doubt in her gaze. "He is his heir, the next in line for the throne."
"But he is a wolf." Hamona said. "The High Priest said so himself in the Pharaoh's presence. The look I saw in my husband's eyes was not a good one, and I am afraid he may try to take this little one's life."
"Then who would assume the throne once he passes?"
"My husband has a plan." Hamona said tiredly, moving closer to the girl. "He will take the child to the High Priest once the sun rises on this dreadful night. They are going to take away the part of my son that was bestowed upon him by the gods."
"You cannot take away someone's ability to turn into Khonsu's messengers . . . can you?"
"They will try, and if it fails, they will slay him."
"No!" The girl cried helplessly. "Hamona, you must do something! I do not wish to see the Young Lord laid to rest on the Nile in my lifetime."
"And you won't." The woman said firmly. "I have decided to send the prince away."
She saw the shock present in Cher's eyes. "Away? Where would he go?"
"To the house of Kamiah. She was a priestess to the previous Pharaoh, though she now lives in the eastern village of the kingdom. The village in which she resides is free of wolves, so my husband would never think to go there. She has a daughter who just lost a baby, so she and her husband are going to take him in. They are to take him out of Egypt when he is old enough to survive such a journey."
"Does she know of this plan?"
"Yes, I sent a message to her yesterday. I had not expected the attack to commence tonight, so she will be receiving my son earlier than expected."
"Are you sure about this, Hamona?" Cher asked worriedly, rising from her bowed position. "What will you tell the Pharaoh? What if we never see the Young Lord again?"
Hamona smiled reassuringly, placing a comforting hand upon the girl's bare shoulder. "Fret not, my dear. I will tell my husband the child was smothered against my breast while I was asleep. My grief at losing the child should convince him as such."
Cher's eyes were blown wide. "My Lady—"
"I cannot sit idly by and allow my son to be shamed or murdered, Cher. My mind is made up, and my son will be dead to the kingdom before the moon sets in the night sky."
"I cannot and will not try to change your mind, Hamona." Cher said quietly, bowing her head. "I do not wish to see the Young Lord perish either. I only wish it hadn't come to this."
"I am young and will bear more sons before the gods claim my soul. I know I cannot send each one away, but this is my first-born, and I want him to have the best possible future. Sadly, he cannot have it here at my side." Hamona sighed, stroking her infant son's face. His dark eyelashes fluttered at the touch, his small, gummy mouth opening in a small yawn. The child had only been in the world for such a short time, but she already loved him greatly, and it was that love that was forcing her to send him away, out of his father's clutches. Tears spiked her eyes at the thought that she was protecting her son from her own husband. How had things come to this? "Cher, I wish for you to take my son to the house of Kamiah. I trust no other with this task."
The servant girl started as her queen placed the baby in her arms, placing a soft kiss to his forehead. "Me? My Lady, surely you want one of the more experienced servants to take the Young Lord. I am only on my fifteenth harvest."
"Youthfulness does not symbol incompetence, my dear." Hamona said softly. "I know you will not betray me."
Cher looked like she was going to protest more, but then she looked down at the baby in her arms. Hamona knew the young girl would protect her son at the cost of her own life, but she knew it wouldn't come to that. The soldiers were attacking the western part of the city this night, and the east was bare and vacant, the Egyptians trembling in their homes as they listened to the caterwauls of their brethren, human and wolf alike. A look of determination appeared on the girl's face, and she looked up at her queen, nodding. "I will not fail you, My Lady."
"It's Hamona." The monarch said with a small laugh. "I will forever be in your debt, Cher. I will not forget this night, of that I swear."
Cher nodded, tightening her hold on the infant before turning to exit the room. She paused by the door, however. "Hamona, have you thought of a name for the Young Lord? Should something go array I do not wish for him to visit the gods without a name."
The woman said nothing for a moment, turning to the window once more. The smoke was steadily rising over the kingdom, the darkness of the night broken by fires set by her husband's men. It wasn't just the wolves that would lose their lives tonight, of that she was certain. The innocent would suffer greatly, losing family, their homes, their very lives even. Her own son was an innocent being in this mess, and she was suffering enough for the both of them.
"Kiba." She said faintly. "Tell Kamiah that my son is to be called Kiba."
"Yes, My Lady." The girl said, and then she was gone, closing the door behind her with a resounding thud.
The Queen of Egypt stood alone by the window to her shared chamber with her husband for some time after Cher left with her son, shedding the tears not only for her aching heart, but for the pain of her people. Her husband was not a bad man. His father, and his father's father before him had just led him astray in the ways of the Pharaoh, and all of Egypt was paying the price.
Be strong and live, my son. She thought to herself as she turned away from the window once more, placing a hand on her forehead. She felt faint. I hope that one day this will all be a thing of the past and you can return to the palace where you belong.
But hope was fleeting, and Hamona didn't dare allow herself to dream that one day her husband would return to the way he'd been during their courtship, when she felt comforted by his gaze alone. She didn't recognize that man when he looked at her anymore, couldn't understand the anger in his eyes.
She laid down on the bed gingerly, closing her eyes in an attempt to block out the sounds of death from outside the palace walls. A resounding howl sounded in the distance before it was abruptly cut off, one so weak and small she knew it must have been a child's. Sending Kiba away, she supposed, was the wisest thing she had ever done.
Author's Note: So . . . you like? I don't know, I liked it, so I thought I'd pursue it just to see what would come of it. Let's see where this story takes us, shall we?