Image: Luis Royo
Frederick could feel his father’s glare on his back, his mother’s worry. Neither would approve of the woman he was marrying today. Alas, they were dead. He was king now, and he knew that the woman standing beside him would be useful. It was not a beneficial union, according to his advisors. Elane was not a noble, she was not a political asset. Few would even consider her beautiful, her long chestnut hair untamed, her features angular, her body too thin to be considered lovely, but those icy eyes were piercing and her lilting accent mesmerizing.
Frederick was not a fool. He knew Elane did not love him, probably resented him, but after what he had witnessed last week, he had no choice. He had been at the summer manor, walking through the parched fields, when he had seen her on the ridge. She raised her hands to the sky, and clouds began to form, dark grey against the blue. Then she had whirled round and round, chanting in a language Frederick didn’t understand. And the rain had begun, that simply. He casually asked the overseer about the woman, learned that she had almost been burnt at the stake, until the farmers had taken a stand. They were afraid of her, no doubt, but more afraid of the rain not returning, the sun not shining. He was king. He ordered her to come to the palace, to be his bride. Through her, he would control the weather, starve his enemies, flood the river in front of invaders.
Elane could not refuse the King’s commands. She would be his wife, she had no choice, but she was much more dangerous than Frederick could even imagine. She had her own plans and ambitions, and being a well-dressed slave was not one of them.
The young Queen gracefully walked out of the room. She had given her excuses to those assembled to offer their condolences at the death of her husband. How unfortunate, they said. He was so young. The storm came out of nowhere. He had no time to react before the branch came crashing down.
Dottie at Tink’s Place has a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge that I’m enjoying. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate you post your story on Friday – 350 words, give or take. I actually almost didn’t post one today. It was a busy week, but I like the idea here, if not necessarily the story.