Shadow Queen


There is a power in trees deeper than that of kings, a power in the gnarled and reaching branches, in the winding of ancient roots. The elders said that there were trees yet living that had known the world before the coming of their people, with axe and fire and nations gleaming in their minds.

They whispered these things still to Aeslinn as she walked between the standing stones, thick with moss, towards the two twisting thrones. In her white dress and crown of woven flowers, she looked like a dove surrounded by vultures: the elders in their drab robes of office, their faces dour.

Tonight was her coronation, held by torchlight in the moonless dark of the woods. The faithful were gathered, masked in shadows, paying homage to their new queen, committing treason against the other. To even be here was a death sentence, unforgivable treachery.

Aeslinn didn’t worry.

When the kingdom fell and all the fortresses of stone fell to ruin, the forest would be waiting. Crooked roots would burst through straight roads; boughs heavy with leaves would make canopies for windswept throne rooms.

Their kingdom was for a moment. Hers was forever.

Word Count: 195

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Thanks to Susan for running the challenge and Fandango for providing the prompt photo!

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