A Harem Fantasy Ch. 11

bymadam_noe©

My fair haired lover cried out with my and then he began to move as Markal held me aloft, one arm banded across my waist, the other leaving his hand free to tease me. I galloped to the climax and cried out as loudly as any other in the harem rooms.

For long minutes we tangled and twisted and the God and Goddess came to us, building my strength. When it was over I collapsed in a different kind of exhaustion, and slept. Lucius joined us at some point and surrounded by three warm bodies I slept, and dreamt of past Queens and all the tribes my people.

Not once did it feel wrong to call them my people.

***

The maids prepared me well for the coming ceremony. The queen was grieving. Mystrike was dead, and it seemed, impossibly so, the queen had truly loved her. She was retired to her private rooms, no one was allowed in, not even Marxim.

I would be called upon to address the crowd, officially the successor, and perform the ceremony alone. As the queen had demanded privacy, I was now in effect the ruler. After my nap I had been cleaned and taken to the meeting chambers. There dark knowledge had been imparted, and my head felt heavy.

Drought had claimed much of the southern lands and the Caldorean religion and its temples was claiming a huge portion of the meager crops. While people were working to death and starving, the food was sent to Caldor so the rich could live well.

A tale as old as time according to history, but for a young successor contemplating taking rule by force it presented a definite problem. To feed the common people I would have to take away the high standard of living the nobles enjoyed in Caldor. Without their support I would never survive rule.

I found myself seeking Lucius' advice without thought for another. That I hadn't thought of Cassipe startled me, but I had already found Lucius in the gym, listing heavy stones and training with the other men of the Harem.

When I appeared all had bowed to me, it was a strange feeling. Lucius had walked with me and we discussed. The Queen was in mourning officially for two weeks; I had that time to come up with a solution. In the end, nothing had been decided, and I knew it was for the best.

I was being over-made for the ceremony now. Youth was not my ally so my hair was piled atop my head, my eyes lined with kohl and dark, smoky lighter kohl above. My lips were reddened by crushed berries mixed with beeswax, which inflamed them slightly.

I was given a gold necklace that came from my shoulders in solid style and climbed up my neck, and when my heavy earrings, gold and lapis, hit it a clang rang out. The circlet in my hair was larger as was the diadem around my arm. The presence of so much heavy gold was to proclaim my status to one and all. Not as much as the queen wore, but close.

Even my sandals were inlaid with gold, crisscrossing and wrapping up my legs in a showy display. My dress was simple and white, but gold ribbons bound my narrow waist, crossed at my breasts, supporting them, holding the deep-v on the neck closed.

Halfath summoned me and the ladies of the harem who followed me as I climbed.

Marxim, who's position equaled Lucius' now, entered abreast of my consort. Marxim wore simple dark robes belted tight. Lucius wore white robes, like my own, his hair cleaned and shone like spun gold beneath the torches. His sandals were thicker versions of mine and he smiled at me as if we were totally free.

Everyone took their places and looked down, as if I were the queen. Even her "private stock" knelt in fealty. "Rise," I called and did not bother to explain. They would know my ways were more gentle than the queen's soon enough.

Marxim walked Lucius to me and I nodded to him. He was still weak from healing me but thankfully the queen's last decree was that as I became steward her commands stood, so he would be excused.

I took Lucius' hand and we stepped to the balcony to thunderous applause.

I raised Lucius' hand high and he stepped closer, a source of warm strength I appreciated. I thought of all my lessons at the hand of Callie Marlowe, and at the knee of Cassipe. I had chafed at them as a youth desiring freedom but now I was glad for every long lesson.

I motioned for quiet and both Lucius and I braced our hands on the wife railing.

"My people," I called. "You may have heard the news but today, one of the harem tried to kill me. In the fracas one our great queen loved perished as well as the assassin and the queen is in mourning. I am my consort shall greet the moon for two weeks and I shall steward this land for the queen.

"In one weeks time there shall be a ball at the palace I invite you all of noble birth to."

Over the applause I heard Lucius' sharp intake of breath as he stiffened. Had told no one but it had been swimming in my mind. I turned back and saw Marxim and Cassipe smile, and I knew I had made a good decision.

"The notices shall be posted upon sunrise tomorrow, but tonight we must call forth the moon!"

When we turned the smiles of all there shifted Lucius' look from concern to satisfaction and he squeezed my hand. I walked him to the dais, ordered Marxim to anoint him, and had Morganna loosen the straps on my dress.

We greeted the moon with love and passion and grand cheers. As the moon shone brighter than it had in recent memory the harem was ordered to celebrate with the same abandon.

I took Morganna and Lucius to my bed and over and over we took one another. At long last I slept peacefully with no outcry or painful demands from the queen who was truly sequestered. Soon I would take my first true step to rule, my enemy dead, my queen absent, and my harem loyal to me.

Now I had to secure the fealty of nobles, whose world I was about to destroy.

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