BE THAT OF QUEENS
The Queen of Hanseti-Ruska, 1741
“My dear Tsarina, come. Sit on your papej’s lap,” Her father poised, peering at his daughter from across the room.
She was limber, if not incredibly lanky, for a girl of twelve. Her limbs were willowy, almost to the point of emaciation. Yet, despite the uncomeliness that came with her frame, her eyes met her father’s with matched fervor; the fervor that blossomed innately in those of her exalted line – that of the proud Carrions.
He once claimed her eyes were a gift; the eyes of champions; the eyes of a Queen. Perhaps, she believed him and the others at the court of Nova Horos, the Capital of the Aeldinic Heartlands.
She resigned to sit on his lap, his supple arms embosoming her as they peered into the kindling within their hearth. “Tomorrow, we leave for Reza, Kochy,” Fyodor noted, caressing his daughter’s chestnut tresses, bussing the crown of her head gently.
“Will the King like me, papej?”
“Da, my daughter, for vy will be his queen.”
“Your Majesty,” A servant beckons, bowing steeply before the Carrion in her passing. She’d reciprocate his greeting in kind with a nod, maneuvering her way through the halls of the Palace Ekaterinburg with swiftness.
Halting at a door, she inspires, promenading through its threshold.
“Mama!” exclaim the twins in unison, bounding forward to embrace the aging woman. Grinning and mirthful, Milena furled her arms around them, muttering her salutations to either Barbanov.
“Now come sweetlings. Let us find your siblings.”
Milena Ekaterina, 1722, by Anaïs of Poiteaux
Disembarking from the yacht, Milena inspires breathily, her smile ever-growing. She surveyed the desolate shores of the unnamed lake, fingertips brushing idly over her center. Starting forward, she’d hail the twenty-nine-year-old Adrian de Sarkozy. They’d lock eyes, grinning whilst clasping hands. She’d do the same with his younger sibling, Henry, soon thereafter retiring to the latter’s flank.
“You’ve arrived just in time for court, cousin,” Duke Adrian comments with a flourish of his hand, eyeing the teenaged youth. “Henrik shall escort you. Do make us proud, young Carrion.”
The trek to Reza was a curt one, yet arduous; the landscape taking its toll on any other. Yet, Milena was determined and so, she arrived to the city’s gates alongside her cousin in a quarter hour’s time.
Immediately, the girl garnered glances from the peasantry. After all, she did not fit in, donning Aeldinic fabrics and utilizing a gait emulating a sort of pretension.
Soon thereafter her arrival to the Palace Prikaz, court began, and all present rose for King Andrew. The proceedings ensued, and suddenly, a herald announced: “All petitioners of His Majesty’s Court, make your way before the dais.”
Everything was still, the present courtiers not prompted by the beckoning. However, Milena resolutely looked to the Lord Henry, and sashayed forward, softing anterior to the throne. She was surprised by what was before her -- a boy, of onyx hair, and unmistakable karovic blue eyes. He was limber, presumably just flowering into adolescence, yet rapped his fingers against the throne in a manner that could be likened to an aged monarch on his last limbs.
And so she knew, through her training to be vulpine, effortlessly graceful, it would be easy to deceive this boy. She had done so in the past, of course: plastering on her visage the semblance of confidence, of charisma; if only they knew, that on the inside, this was but the mere ploy of a child grasping for her father’s approval.
Traipsing into her room, the woman bellowed out an exhausted breath, squaring her shoulders. Brushing her fingertips against the furred fabrics draping over her bed-frame, she frowned.
The room had always been empty. She hadn’t seen her husband in years, it seemed. The war had kept him preoccupied, and her jaded. She was understanding however; Such is a king’s duty, she told herself.
Letting her mind not succumb to revelry further, Milena clicked her tongue, fingertips that had been gripping at the bear’s hide abruptly rising from the surface. Louring, she breached her balcony’s entrance, finding solace in the sunlit humidity arising from the lake, her own namesake.
What had her actions done, she wondered, to warrant the admiration of her people -- to have her family’s homestead and residing lake, a pillar of Haeseni resilience, named in her honor? She had only done her GOD-given duty; what was demanded of a Royal Consort; what had been taught to her from an early age.
She was not given much time to contemplate on the thought.
Hands, brash and ruthless, furled around her throat, carelessly thrusting her frame, nearly buxom after three pregnancies, against the stone baluster.
The court was solemn with her entry. Her husband had taken absense, and she, now mother to the Crown Prince, aspired to pursue a more active role in her husband’s court. To her surprise, however, the Lord Palatine -- Konrad Stafyr -- sat on her husband’s throne, hailing the Kingdom’s subjects as though they were his own.
She frowned, simultaneously reclining into the chair beside him.
Overlooked, perhaps forgotten, but most certainly ignored.
“Such is my fate,” she thought, “and I shall not endure it without rebellion.”
Milena gagged, clutching at her throat.
She looked to the person blankly, lilting her chin.
“Do it, then. I’d rather die a Queen than a dowager. Such is a fate much too dull for me, and even at my age, one does require some excitement,” She quipped with sardony, guffawing incredulously.
The blade her assailant carried was shallow, at first, and a burgeoning pain seared through her. Periodically, it continued -- each merciless thrust distancing her further as carmine seeped into her dress thoroughly, leaving but the vestiges of its former craftsmanship.
She thought not of her children, nor Maya -- her protige; she thought not of her people, nor Arianne of Kaedrin (who she relentlessly tried to be rid of, perhaps out of fear of being her better). Not even the war that poised a threat of the livelihood of Haensemen. At this time, the woman who had devoted nearly sixteen years of her life to her people, thought of herself.
Her near-lifeless body knew little pain at the end. The fall from her tower was swift and instantaneous; graceful, even, in a manner pertinent to a Queen.
“Yet if I’ve learnt anything from my time in the capital, it is that we must cherish the moments we can. I cherish that moment, even if I must return to a grimmer reality moments later. I advise you to do the same, Queen Milena. We cannot pour our hearts into each waking hour, for they will only fall subject to the pains of rulership.” - Duchess Mariya Barbanov to Queen Milena posthumously, 1736
BE THAT OF QUEENS.
Milena Ekaterina Fyodorovna
Queen consort of Hanseti Ruska
So, here it is! My PK post. I just want to thank everyone who made Milena such an incredible character to play. Her development has been insane, in my opinion, and that was only furthered by the incredible community I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and serving. That being said, I do want to take a step back from everything, and focus on myself for a little while. It wouldn’t be fair to leave a character so dear to me in the air, so I gave her a fitting end, and hopefully, a fitting ode to her life. peace x