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A Mask Shattered
I wrote this novella because I've wanted to see a writing like this ever since I was younger. I've always been interested in supernatural abilities and how the world would benefit by it, as well as how normal everyday people would react and treat these people. It's a peek into the social justice and societal stereotypes aspect of our modern world, which is appropriate since the two main characters are POCs.
The sound of heels on marble echoed off the walls outside, alerting Maura of a presence on it’s way to the throne room. The promising clack meant someone was coming to interrupt and rescue her from a meeting that never failed to drag on, whether it be a dispute on land ownership, or the stealing of another’s spouse. The Grand Door slowly creaked open, groaning loudly throughout the silent hall, as Maura perked up from her slumped position on the throne.
An old woman peeked her head around the oak doors, her face full of disgust and annoyance. Her presence automatically brought the room temperature down ten degrees, as she brought an eternal winter with her everywhere she went. Maura shivered and slumped back into her seat, deciding this woman was worse than the paused discussion.
“Sybil,” Maura adjusted her posture on her throne, as the old hag was seen as a woman to respect.“Anything to report?”
“We found 4. Milo didn’t want to execute until we had your input, but I insisted it was what you would desire. Was it not?” the woman smiled menacingly.
Maura’s mood immediately shifted. She ushered out the citizens holding her captive in the meeting, as it was unfit for her subjects to listen in on her most important task. Her life’s work.
“Sybil, summon Milo, will you? I need a word with him” Maura’s tone turned cold. She thought back to her mother.
The Queendom of Ovrodor had been previously looked after by her mother, the late Queen Eve, who was adored by all and adored all. Eve led independently with no husband, and while that was against tradition, she paved the way for all single rulers in the country. She was the true embodiment of a natural born leader, and was as just as she was merciful. So when she died at the hands of a necromancer, her queendom mourned.
Maura had been the most affected, being her only daughter. She had become a social recluse until recently, stepping up to take the throne after the 5 years of no guidance from government. When she ascended to the throne, her first order of action was a genocide against all necromancers, who had been living harmoniously in the queendom previously. Human citizens had quickly accepted the new agenda with enthusiasm, which unsettled the necromancers and led them to flee the kingdom to go into hiding.
This didn't stop the townspeople, who instead of hunting animals had begun to hunt the necromancers. They didn’t care that the queendom grew poor, hunting necromancers had become their new sport. Maura felt no remorse, and had become blind with the desire for revenge. So much so that she neglected all diplomatic relationships between other lands.
Maura was disrupted by her thoughts with a resounding boom. Startled into turning to the Grand Door, Maura was faced with a bashful looking Milo, prompting to roll her eyes.
“Good afternoon Milo,” Maura sighed, brushing her black hair behind her ear.
“Sybil tells me that your slight streak of resistance has returned. Is there a reason as to why you are so blatantly resisting my orders and hesitant with the murder of those…… those……,” she struggled to find a word to fit her anger,“absolute demons.”
Milo gulped. He watched a single tear, almost invisible, trail down from under the Queen’s smoky red facemask, worn to be immune from revealing her emotions to her subjects. It worked most of the time. This was the only glimpse into her humanity visible. Otherwise no one would be able to tell that she was broken, rather than being fueled by rage. There was a time once where she had her full trust in the necromancers, some even being her closest friends. But where her eyes used to be full of love, betrayal had made a home.
“Have you finally run out of excuses? Or are you just going to stare?” Maura accused. Her voice was shrill, but she held eye contact nevertheless.
“Your Highness, please accept my apology. I just thought it wrong to act without your say in the matter,” Milo reasoned.
“You already know my stance on those filth, do away with them,” Maura’s eyebrow twitched. “One more slip up, and who knows what will happen to you.”
“Yes, of course my queen,” he rushed.
Sybil escorted Milo out of the throne room, still wearing the same lifeless smile.
As the door creaked shut, Maura became painfully aware of how alone she was once again. She let her guard down slightly, and slowly leaned back against her throne. A deep sigh reverberated in her chest. She needed a spar session, something to get her mind off all the politics.
Sitting up, she stretched up like a cat and straightened out her gown. As she strode quickly away, she noticed a small tear on the shoulder of her gown.
‘No matter,’ she thought. ‘Malinda could mend it.’
The door slammed behind her, leaving the throne room empty, with little sign she was ever there.
Maura sat at her mother’s feet, mask on her lap, braiding her billowing raven hair. They were in the Queen’s private garden, a garden that only the Royal Family had tended to. The day was tranquil and that brought Maura peace and ease, the hustle and bustle of palace life could be forgotten for an hour or two. At only seven, she had the responsibility of oozing elegance everywhere she went, making sure to uphold her mother’s good name. But now, she could relax, soak in the sun, and forget about the already incredible weight on her.
Her mother turned to her and arose, Maura’s black eyes following her, confused. She stuck her hand out, and gracefully hauled Maura up into her arms. She stared into her mother’s eyes and smiled, and began snuggling into her chest and inhaling, trying to remember her scent. She didn’t know when the next time she would get to have one-on-one time with her. Maura’s hair was pushed behind her ear, the red bow she had been wearing previously long discarded, when Maura threw herself into the field prior. A small “I love you,” is swept up by the wind from her mother’s mouth, in their native tongue. She leans in to kiss her on her forehead.
Maura wakes up in a cold sweat. 사랑해, I love you, echoes in her mind. Head in her hands, she sobs.