Chapter Twelve: The Reckoning
"What you did last night, I think you've done that before, you devilish minx." Reaver said as he holds the Queen from behind.
It has been six months since Reaver's last ball and all seems well between the couple. They were enjoying the view from the castle garden's balcony of Bowerstone.
"How was your trip?" He asked.
"Tedious. I can just about help this country but trying to help another region is hectic. I wish you could've come." She said as she kissed him.
"So do I." He said smiling.
"No you don't, you liar." She laughed.
She had spent some time out of Albion in a different region for duties as the Queen, which she didn't disclose to Reaver, nor did he ask about it.
"Have you completed your little pet project yet?" Reaver asked playfully. "What was it, the haven? The Nirvana?"
"The Sanctuary." She smiled. "And it is completed for your information."
"So it's ready to be christened." He asked seductively.
"We are not 'christening' it." She giggled. "It is called a 'Sanctuary' for a reason and there's no point trying to find it either. I've hid the key and so on and so forth."
"Tease." He purred. "Make it up to me." He said as he pulled a puppy face at her.
"Maybe, but not right now, I have to go but I will definitely see you later at the mansion." She said smiling.
"Ok. I love you, my lady." He said as he goes to leave the castle gardens.
She watches him carefully as he leaves. He turns back and blows her kiss; she forces a smile and waves to him. She waits until he is no longer in sight and waves over a hidden servant behind a bush. Lee pokes his head out behind the bush and nervously (and not subtly) dashes to the Queen.
"Have you got what I've been looking for?" She asked under her breath.
"I've got it and then some." Lee whispered and winks at her. He digs into his coats inside pocket.
"Don't wink at me please." She said as she retrieved what he had.
"Tough." He said winking again. "I hope you find what you're looking for."
"It's not what I want, but I think I need to find out." She said. "Thank you."
He nods in understanding and scarpers away. She then rubs her back as it starts to ache.
'I wish I hadn't thrown that mammoth of a bandit the other day…' She thought to herself as she walked towards the throne room to hear a request for the return of the book, Megafowl and other enquiries, the only normal agenda of the day.
Later in the evening, Reaver is reading a novel in the study while the Queen reads some parchment in deep thought. The atmosphere is calm with only the sound of the fire crackling and the rustling of paper until the Queen breaks the silent.
"Why did you have the arena built?" She asked.
Reaver looks astounded at her; he is at a loss for words and decides the truth is the best he is going to muster.
"I had it built as a source of entertainment for my parties. I had it planned even before we were married, before I even came back to Albion in fact." He explained.
She laughed bitterly and shakes her head.
"I guess I'm not a hero after all." She said hollowly. "A hero would never ignore such an awful truth for a blissful lie. I can just about live with the fact that you have to continue the sacrifices just so you can live to be with me but to kill for entertainment?! It's too much!"
"My lady, it was entertainment for my guests." Reaver said exasperatedly.
She laughs again.
"You don't do anything for anybody. Everything you do is for you; it was for your entertainment." She said. "For example, when you grew bored of Samarkand for not living up to your standards and for your own demented amusement, you tried to kill Garth."
"Where did you hear that?" Reaver asked.
"I've been watching you while gathering information about you this whole time!" She shouted. "The way you treat everybody when I'm not around, it's monstrous. I even went as far as another region! I had travelled out there on a rumour and I traded my diamond of sorrow to one of the locals who had stumbled upon your book." She pulls out a book from a drawer and throws it towards Reaver. He picks it up as he slides towards him and looks at the cover of his autobiography. He tosses it on his desk without a second's thought.
"But that's not the only gem I've found." She continued with anger. "I've had some servants dig up more dirt about you." She waves the parchment she was reading previously in his face.
"I hired you to build an industrial future for Albion. I entrusted that job to you." She shouted. "You stole the whole area from someone else in a hostile takeover!"
She moves in close to Reaver and on instinct, he draws his pistol at her and shoots. She quickly dodges the bullet. Reaver seems surprised at himself for making an attempt on taking his wife's life but his eyes showed no remorse as he keeps his aim.
"Shoot me." She said quietly as she stood up. "Go ahead, shoot me."
Reaver breathes heavily but he stays still.
"I know you want to. I can hear it in your blood." She said spitefully. "That's what you do best. If you can't have it or if you don't like it, shoot it. You are still the typical Reaver…"
"What do you want from me?" Reaver said. "I've never claimed to be anything more or less than what I am. I am not that boy from Oakvale. He no longer exists! You should stop chasing ghosts because I am Reaver!"
The Queen groans as she puts her hands through her hair.
"I am not chasing a ghost." She said in frustration. "I did fall in love with Reaver. This Reaver! I did fall in love with you. But I've been stuck in this fantasy world for so long; I lost sight of the man the rest of the world has to live with." She sighs, rubs her eyes and looks at Reaver in the eyes.
"I did fall in love with the man in front of me. But you're the wrong man for me. You may as well shoot me for being such a fool. So go ahead and do it."
Reaver doesn't pull the trigger.
"Shoot me!" She screams with tears in her eyes.
He tosses his gun away and skids towards her feet. There is a tense silence except for the clock ticking, the flames flickering and the heavy breathing as they calm their emotions.
"I do not feel the need to apologize for being who I am." Reaver said.
"I agree." She said nodding. "You shouldn't have to apologize for being you but I can't live with myself knowing the true nature of the man I married."
"What do we do now?" Reaver asked.
"I… I think I'm leaving you." She answered. "I can have a clearer conscience and you can have the freedom you long for…"
Reaver is never the one to beg.
"I'll have a few servants send your things to the castle." He muttered stoically.
She nods as she holds back the tears. She hands him something before she kisses him goodbye.
"Maybe you were right." She said softly as she walks towards the door. "The boy from Oakvale is dead." She looks at him with sorrow "I hope he finds solace one day."
When he hears the distant thud of the door close, he opens his shaking hand to look down at his mother's locket and the wedding ring he had given her. He tosses it across the room and goes to pour himself a generous portion of brandy and sits down. He looks at his auto biography and muttered to the book,
"I should put you back where you belong."
This may be the end of Reaver's and the Queen's marriage, but there is still a lot to uncover. The next few chapters or so are mostly new character introductions but they're going to become regular.
This chapter may not have made much sense because I was just trying to bring out any reasonable clauses that might horrify the Queen enough to end their relationship.
I hope you enjoyed it, thank you to all you lovely people who are still reading ALY and have a good week! :D
Character's and locations belong to Lionhead Studios.