For Those Who Still Care

December 8, 2011
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Tirana awoke to a pounding on her door, an uncomfortable awakening she had learned to get used to. She rolled over and closed her eyes. She had been having the most wonderful dream. The pounding continued, and Tirana gave her quest up as a lost cause. It wasn't the first time she had had this dream, but she never saw the end. It didn't matter though, she knew what happened. The dream was a memory, long lost without hope of revival. It was a dream of Old Earth, of her life before.
Some days Tirana wished she could forget what had happened, forget who she had been, forget what she had done. She had tried to bury her past and for the most part she succeeded. Only one person knew who she had been before, and she didn't intend for anyone else to find out.
*Pound pound*
"My lady if you do not arise soon I will have Raymond break down your door"
Stephanie's polite call brought Tirana back to her senses. You are queen she reminded herself. You have to act like a queen, look like a queen, rule like a queen' the last traces of her dream were chased from Tirana's mind as she called "I'm on my way Stephanie". The Queen hastily threw on a soft silk dress and carefully clasped her necklace around her neck. She was fingering her pendant when she came out of her room.
"My lady you mustn't fuddle with the Voimsus overmuch, let it hang where all can see. Let them see the power you hold"
The power I hold Tirana thought, as she walked from her chambers down a rich dark wooden hallway to her Grand Hall. When she reached the opening of the hall there was a rustle of silk as every servant in the room knelt or curtsied. She looked around at the bent heads and lowered gazes and thought; they needed a leader, not a tyrant. Not an all-seeing power to control them. They asked for a leader and they got this. Yet they are happy. They do not see the unrest; the strife their lives are ridden with, it is hidden…
“My lady”
Tirana was awoken from her thoughts by a deep voice near her shoulder. The servants were going about their business; Stephanie was nowhere to be found. Tirana turned to the speaker and found Raymond, one of her chief advisers looking into her eyes with concern. Of all her court and friends Raymond was the only one who dared look her in the eye anymore. Tirana appreciated his courage for doing so; not many had the will to hold the gaze of a person who could kill them with the lift of a finger.
Raymond was different, however. He had worked hard to gain her trust, and he had been a powerful man on Old Earth. Tirakikit knew the benefits of having him as one of her advisers, but there was something unsettling in the way he acted. He seemed to take for granted that fact that she wouldn’t dare hurt him, as if he was the man behind the success of her kingdom. It was as though he was the king and she was just a pretty façade for people to bow at. He hadn’t even been with Tirakikit when she colonized New Earth, he had appeared later. She had always assumed that he had been hiding in some other safe area. Still, the benefits of a smart advisor outweighed her qualms, especially due to the fact that they had no basis of fact.
Raymond took Tirakikit’s arm and led her into the throne room with a bit more force than necessary. She took her arm back and walked the rest of the way on her two feet, with Raymond trailing behind. Without a word, Tirana faded and Tirakikit sat on her beautiful throne and pointed at the smaller stool next to her for Raymond. He sat down, still looking quite concerned for her well being.
“Raymond if you give me that look one more time I’ll think you actually care” Tirakikit said with a teasing lilt in her voice. Raymond bowed his head, but still replied “My lady, you know I would only ask because I care for the health of my Queen.” He looked up into her eyes, and those two bright blue orbs told a completely different story. A story of devotion, of caring, of trust. A tale of trust, understanding, confidence, adoration, respect, sympathy, kindness. Tirana had seen a look such as that before, a look of such tenderness she knew her heart would melt if she looked much longer. Once she had looked too long, as she looked into the eyes of another. She had seen the way him looked at her, and felt the same for him.
Tirakikit looked away. She could not, would not be pulled into that trap again. He was gone; the memory meant nothing. He wasn’t coming back. She reminded herself; leave the dead with the dead, they won’t come back to you. She wiped her cheeks and took a commanding pose in her throne as Raymond’s commanding voice rang out “Let the Complainers’ Day begin! Let all those who have a complaint with Queen Tirakikit, her governing policies, or has any area of concern come forth and bring their words to their Queen!”
Raymond’s voice hardly had time to echo around the room before a stream of people came pouring in. Some were looking for settlement of debt, some for reasons of why their land was not producing as well as last year. Some came with thanks or gifts for Tirakikit, tokens of gratitude for helping them survive. Most complaints were easy to handle, and Tirakikit grew weary after an hour or so. Her only sources of excitement were the rahulolematus and Raymond's jokes every few complaints. Raymond had a very dry sense of humor, however, and most of his jokes were at Tirakikit’s citizens’ expense. The rahulolematus were those of Tirakikit’s court who didn’t think she was running her country quite as well as they would like. They didn’t know what it took for one person to take care of thousands.
The day was barely half over. Tirakikit had not had anything to eat. Her poise would not show her weariness, however. She was still as erect and attentive as she had been when the day began. It was through this stoic appearance that Tirakikit had been dubbed ‘Queen Heartless’ by some of her less content subjects. There were always those who wished for something more; a better Queen, more money, better living conditions. Tirakikit knew this, and she knew how to deal with malcontents.
These were different, somehow. They got under her skin and found every weakness they could. There weren’t many, but they dug as deep as they could. Their leader especially bothered her. He could find a crack in a flawless surface and dig into it until nothing but the crack was left. He actually reminded Tirakikit of herself before the explosion. She had been a fair hand at breaking someone down, given the proper time. She had rarely used her gift then, now she uses it to break down prisoners and lowlifes who had broken her law. There was no one who could resist her special form of torture. Not anymore, at least. There had been one, but he was gone. Buried beneath years of indifference and a few feet of solid rock.
“My lady?”
Tirakikit was torn from her reverie once again, this time by her best friend Tabitha. Tabitha and Tirakikit had been friends for as long as Tirakikit could remember. Even before the explosion they had been close. Their friendship had only been strengthened when Tirakikit had saved Tabitha and so many others by taking them into her hideout under a layer of solid rock. It had been Tirakikit, with Tabitha’s help who had kept everyone calm and reassured them while their world exploded above them. Tabitha and Tirakikit were not the only ones who had let people into the cave. David, a close friend of Tirana’s had brought as many people as he could as well. It was only Tirana who the people thanked, however. After they got out of their cave and saw the terrible wreckage that was then Old Earth they pleaded with Tirana to help them build a new world. Tirana agreed, on the basis that Tabitha would help. She wanted to include David in the bargain, but he was no where to be found. Tirana never saw him again. And so Tirana became Queen Tirakikit and Tabitha became her best friend and Head Advisor.
“My lady?!”
Again Tabitha called Tirakikit back from her thoughts. She was invaluable in that regard, and many others besides.
“I am sorry Tabitha; the rahulolematus were getting to me again. I can’t help but feel as though they are somehow connected to David... Perhaps they are searching for revenge. He would be king if he hadn’t...”
“Tirana, I’m sure that if David had not died in the caves he would not have led this country any better than you are. And I am just as certain that he would sweep you off your feet and carry you off to be his Queen if he was, just as I know you wish he did.”
Tabitha was the only person who still called Tirakikit by her first name. She was also the only person close enough to Tirana to know that Tirana had loved David for as long as they had known each other. She was not close enough, however, to know that David had loved Tirana just as much. That was one secret that had died with him.
“Shall we have lunch?” Tirakikit asked, trying to change the subject.
“Yes, lets. These rahulolematus are getting on my nerves, not to mention the sappy looks Raymond keeps giving you. We can both use a few moments out of this mess.” With a wary look in Raymond’s general direction, Tabitha and Tirakikit slipped out of the Grand Hall. By the time they reached the kitchens they were giggling like giddy school girls. Tirakikit could already feel the weight of the day slipping off her shoulders.

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