Evading Dragons, Part Seven: The Queen of Arlington
Here comes the queen
The crowd parted, and a man in a blue jacket with metals going down the front and the back went to the center of the room. The crowd then encircled him. He raised his arms, and the crowd went silent. Lee Took Hester’s hand and moved closer to him. The crowd started to clap and stop their feet in a clap, stomp, and clap rhythm. The man yelled as loud as he could, “here comes the queen.” He spoke with the rhythm of the clap. He went on saying, “here comes the queen. For all those that have business with the court listen, your majesty is what you say when she allows you her attention. Here comes the queen.” The crowd started to chant, “here comes the queen” in the same tempo as the clap. Then the man that started the clapping yelled, “stop.” He pointed to a doorway and said, “your queen is here.”
The crowd parted making an aisle from the door to the center then to the throne. As they parted, they all took a knee. Soon the group found they were the only ones left standing. Wanting to fit in they took a knee as well all except for Jennifer. A woman walked through the doorway. She was tall with ebony skin and long white and purple hair. She was wearing a dress made from white leather with a pearl iridescent and fur trimming that could only be dragon skin. She put her hands part of the way up as two men came on either side of her and picked her up. They put her on their shoulders with her supported between the two. The two men carried her to the center of the room then to the throne. The men eased her down then they took a knee. She sat on the throne then turned to the man in the jacket covered in metals and nodded. The man yelled, “now her royal highness Sasha Jones the Third, Queen of Arlington is in the house.”
Take a Knee
The crowd came back to their feet and a line formed before the queen. Some people just took a knee and said something the group couldn’t hear then they left the queen. The procession went on for about ten minutes until the queen pointed at Jennifer and said something to the man in the jacket with all those metals. He stepped down, and the line went to the side. The man walked to Jennifer and said, “you and your kin. Come and address the queen as she addresses you.” At the platform to the throne, the queen asked Jennifer, “when I entered why didn’t you take a knee?” Jennifer said, “it’s nothing personal I just didn’t know if I would be able to stand back up.” The queen smiled then laughed a little saying, “that’s a good answer. As long as you are here, you won’t have to take a knee.” The Queen cocked her head as she stared at Jennifer then she asked, “mother just how old are you?” Jennifer said, “somewhere around ninety-six but I am not that certain. All of the people that were there when I was born are long dead now.” A murmur went through the crowd. The queen pointed to the man in the metal covered jacket and said, “Jacob here is the oldest in my kingdom at fifty-nine. Very few make it so far.”
Sharing a Tub
The queen told them she wanted to have a private conversation with them, so they should stand by and wait for her to finish her duties. She turned to Jacob and told him to take them to a room where they could wait for her. She also instructed him to give them comfort. They were taken to a room with a large sunken pool like a bathtub. On one side was a table with cheeses, fruit, and bottles of a red and yellowish liquid that Jennifer called wine. Jacob said, “strip and get in the water. The queen will join you soon.” He then left without another word. The group looked at each other than at the bath. In one form or another, each of the group has been in some state of undress with another. Traveling like they were made privacy difficult, but they never bathed together before. The spot was the first in the water with less to take off. Jennifer said, “well children I guess you will learn just what age does to a woman’s body.” With heads turned, and eyes averted all except for Jennifer who glared they found their way into the bath.
Out of some instinct, they left the step by the door open. The doors opened, and the queen walked in with two women behind her. She put her arms back, and the two women pulled the robe she was wearing off. Everyone in the group would later say that the queen was the most beautiful woman they had ever seen. She took two steps into the water then stopped so one of the women could take the wig she had on off. Underneath the wig she had her natural hair tied up in tight cornrows. She stepped down to the floor of the bath then sat down to where the water just touched her nipples. She put her left hand up, and one of the women brought her a glass of what Jennifer called white wine. She sipped the wine then said, “now tell me your story.”
Can they trust this Queen?
Kingdom of Soldiers
At the end of their story, Hester told the queen that they were on their way to the graves of the fathers then north. The queen nodded then asked, “you are going north with winter coming? Have any of you ever seen a true northern winter?” No one said a word. She said, “first you will run into the gangs around the dead city of Baltimore then you will run into the Steps who are cannibals that catch and eat anyone on the old trails. That is unless you run into the migrating dogs or the white winter demons. If you somehow make it through all that, then you run into the dead coast and the city of light.” Hester asked, “city of light?” She said, “the old times called it New York, but not much is known about it because none that go ever come back.” Spot sat in the water up to his mouth. He looked at the others than to the food on the table. He got out and went to it. The queen said, “it’s hard to believe he was raised by dogs.” He then knocked an apple off the table and chased it across the room until he caught it and started to eat it off the floor. She then said, “OK I can see it now.” The queen told them how her ancestors were the ones that guarded the graves of the fallen soldiers. That when the armies of man fell, they stayed in the shadows and made their kingdom on the grounds.
So is that all there is?
Lars got out of the water then came back with two dragon’s teeth. They were the largest of the teeth. He handed them to the queen who seemed shocked to see them. She said, “we haven’t seen such teeth since the time of my father, and you killed it” Lars just nodded, so Val told her the story of how he did it. The queen held out the teeth and said, “you must keep them. The teeth will act as a pass for you to make it to the coast. Being a demon killer makes you a person of honor among my people as well as the others along the way.” She told them that they could stay two days then she would provide them with provisions for the cost of seven of the smaller teeth. Hester did the math and knew they were overpaying for what she was providing, but he also knew not to say anything. The queen stood up and walked out of the tub. When she got out the two women dried her, then put her robe back on her, and she left. Helena asked, “so is that all there is?”
Out in the hall, the man named Jacob said to the queen, “we should sell them to the human dragons. It would go along way to protecting the kingdom while allying with a new up incoming power.” The queen said, “not in the kingdom. If they fall pray on the road or in the graves of the fathers, then so be it.” Two days passed, and it was time for them to go. The queen said to Helena, “stay and be with me.” The two were in bed naked and in each other’s’ arms. Helena thought about her friends and this woman. She had to decide whether to stay here and maybe find happiness or go on and maybe find nothing but death and misery. The queen said, “stay.”