The Silent and Worthy Queen

By J. Speer

There once was a beautiful kingdom admired from near and far.  A wise King and his graceful Queen presided over the kingdom.   It prospered marvelously.  The King and Queen had one daughter who was known to be comely.  She was also genuine.  She was benevolent, kind, and gracious to all as she learned much from her mother and father.  The empire, this particular kingdom, was magnificent.  The walls and citadel of the keep glimmered in the sun like crystal clear diamonds.  The serfs were treated respectfully.  They were as happy as a serf could be in Medieval times.  They labored in the fields, they worked the smithy and stables, and the kingdom’s guard trained to protect and serve the royalty with heartfelt allegiance.  All was calm and peaceful in the kingdom which had faced years upon years of blessings and prosperity and as a result, had lowered defenses.  These defenses were deemed unnecessary.  The kingdom networked well with other nearby kingdoms.  The diplomacy and tact were the utmost level of politeness with mutual admiration. 

The King and Queen fell ill and passed on.  The young daughter, who had been well trained, ascended to the throne.  She was educated in the arts.  She also knew mathematics and knew well how to manage and run a kingdom.  Yet, she was timid and unsure of herself.  She was also prone to romantic fancy about love.  The kingdom continued to prosper, however, under her gentle and shy hand. 

Several suitors came and went from the palace, each seeking the hand of a young Queen.  One day, a charming, outspoken suitor entered the kingdom with much pomp and circumstance.  He wooed the heart of the young Queen with apparent ardor and fealty.  The young Queen was cast under the spell of his charm.  She loved his humor.  They were wed with much fanfare.  The kingdom rejoiced that day.  The new King wanted an abundant feast for the wedding.  Wine, ale, and Meade flowed.  Music filled the air of the great hall.  There was laughter and dancing.  The young Queen and King appeared deeply and passionately in love. 

Years came and went.  To her great sadness, the young Queen was unable to produce an heir.  Eventually the King began to become less interested in romantic love with the Queen.  Meanwhile, the King dominated the throne room discussions regarding the state of affairs for the kingdom.  The advisors, who previously had consulted the young Queen, now looked to the King to run the kingdom.  Soon, the young Queen learned that the King had some previous unspoken of debts acquired in his own kingdom.  Due to her great love for the King, she agreed to let her kingdom shoulder the burden of the debt which was eventually repaid but with great cost.  As the years passed, the kingdom began to fall into slow disrepair and decline.  The King and Queen acquired more and more debt and the accounting books were beginning to seem mismanaged significantly.  The Queen continued to work behind the scenes to maintain the kingdom and she consulted with some of the advisors in the shadows but her power and influence were no longer effective.

 The King loved to hunt, especially for wild boar.  He was often away on hunting trips and invited huge entourages of guests from his kingdom to this one.  They also went with him on the hunting trips.  They wined and dined into the early hours of the morn, feasting on all the food stores.  The young Queen played gracious hostess to the entourages but she was often met with rudeness.  As the years passed more and more, the King’s treatment of the Queen in front of others could sometimes be cruel.  He also flirted with the housemaids and servants to the shame of the Queen.  Over time, he would come in to her bedroom chambers very late at times or leave very early in the morn.  The young Queen questioned this behavior but chose to keep the peace. 

Nearly a decade passed.  The walls of the kingdom were not being upkept.  The rocks had fallen in at several key spots.  The archers and soldiers were no longer training diligently.  The servants were treated harshly by the King and his entourage.  The serfs toiled heavily in the fields without much relief to provide more food for the great hall. 

One night a band of marauders raided the serf huts outside the kingdom.  Again, the marauders returned to pillage and take what they liked.  These mysterious robbers only came at night in quick surprise to stealthily steal.  After they had pillaged what they could outside the kingdom gates, they began making surprise attacks within the walls of the kingdom.  The military advisors investigated these occurrences but there was no definitive trace of the marauder camp.  Also, they could not determine how the robbers were entering the kingdom until they discovered that possibly someone from inside was letting them in.  But who was this person? 

The combination of the outside attacks on the kingdom and the financial disparity were causing strife in the throne room.  The King demanded that the guard keep diligent watch and determine the name of the traitor at the gates.  In their bedroom at night, the Queen and King spoke of kingdom matters privately.  The Queen was becoming distressed.  Also, she was no longer young.  Nevertheless, the King spoke often of his great love and admiration for her.  They made love often and held each other through the night.  The Queen loved the King despite her reservations sometimes.  She chose to overlook things. 

One day, the Queen was visiting the fields to check on the workers and resources.  She encountered the guard stopping and accosting an unusual wagon of gypsies.  As this was a Christian kingdom, the soldiers demanded  that the gypsies were not wanted and must leave immediately. 

The Queen watched the gypsies.  One woman in particular turned to her.  Their eyes connected.  The Queen felt pulled by the mysterious gypsy woman.  She walked forward.  She was Christian but something in her felt that it wasn’t right to deny them access.  She granted the gypsies entry to safety behind the kingdom walls.  The gypsy woman slowly curtsied and inclined her head to the side, looking speculatively at the Queen. 

She said quietly to the Queen as the Queen passed, “Thank you.”  She paused and then added, “The scales of justice are imbalanced.  It will be up to you, my lady, to return them to order.  I do tarot card readings.  If you should feel so inclined, my lady, please contact me and I will read for you.” 

The gypsy wagon slowly lurched forward through the gates and into the kingdom and the gypsies walked barefoot and brazen in through the gates.

That night, the feasting and carousing continued.  The King sat beside the Queen and he was raucously drunk on ale.  He was flirting with the wench who brought him ale to the table.  The Queen was preoccupied that night and she no longer wished to play hostess to ungrateful guests only there for her husband.  She sat in silence and reflected.  She surveyed the great hall and all its brazen debauchery.  She felt sad.  She felt exhausted.  She watched the King yell at one of the servants and she no longer intervened anymore.  She just excepted it as part of her new life.  She was mentally exhausted. 

The King did not come to her bed chamber that night.  The Queen contemplated the piercing brown eyes of the gypsy woman she encountered on the road outside the gates.  She considered the message, “The scales are imbalanced.”  She wondered what the strange gypsy woman meant.  Her curiosity got the better of her and she called her servant. 

“I need your help to do something discreet for me,” began the Queen looking at the servant for a nod of acceptance.  “Please go to the lower quarter.  Find the gypsy wagon and bring the woman with the brown eyes and brown hair to me.  You will recognize her by a red skirt and green blouse with brown leather belt.  She wears a rose quartz pendant necklace.  Now, go please and swiftly.”

The Queen waited patiently in the antechamber to her quarters.  After thirty minutes, the servant returned obediently with the beautiful and mysterious gypsy woman.  The woman wore a glittering brown and purple flowered veil. 

“I was waiting for your invite,” said the stranger.  She curtsied once more.  “We did not come to this kingdom by accident.  We were drawn here.  Compelled to come.” 

The shy Queen watched the beautiful gypsy.  She did not speak much but motioned to the gypsy to come forward and sit at the table.  When both women had sat, the Queen softly said, “You suggested I do a reading…….” She hesitated.  “I have never done a reading before.” 

“The brown eyed woman leaned forward intently.  “You have much cause to do a reading.  I have much that I can share with you…………if you are prepared.” 

The Queen glanced cautiously to the door.  She worried she would get caught.  In this Christian kingdom, tarot card readings were highly suspect and considered almost like witchcraft.  But the Queen wondered about the astrologers, the Three Kings of the Bible……..she wondered if there was some legitimacy to this.  The Queen quietly nodded to proceed. 

The gypsy woman slowly revealed three separate decks of colorfully decorated cards.  She placed stones she called crystals on the cards.  She lit a nearby candle and called to the Universe and the angels for guidance.  She paused as she saw the Queen’s eyes wander to her rose quartz pendant.  “Ah yes, my lady, you are drawn to this stone.  It calls you.  Your archetype is the lover. You make your decisions with your heart.”  She paused dramatically as she commenced to shuffle the decks. 

“You see, my Queen, I already know you.  I know of you from what I have heard……the disapproving rumors of your kingdom in decline……………..but” she said as she began to place the cards onto the table, “I know you as well.  I know you are a beautiful abundant being.  I know you have known luxury.  I know you are particularly headstrong……or rather, I should say heartstrong. You are pulled by your emotions almost to your detriment.   I know your secret longing is for stability and happiness……….and I know that you are not truly getting that, are you, my lady?”  The gypsy drew a card and placed it on the table.  It was an image of a hanged man. 

“But….I also see something coming……..something transformational in your future…….something life-altering………” she pulled a dark tower card from the deck.  “You will face a major decision.  The fate of all your kingdom will be involved in this decision.  You have two paths; two options and you must choose wisely.”

The gypsy continued to pull cards, “I see that you are not following your intuition, my lady.  I see that, in fact, you have not followed it for some time.  I understand why, my lady.”  And with this, she overturned a card from the second deck and placed it down on the table pushing it slowly towards the Queen.  The Queen looked at the card silently.

“Deception, my lady.  You are reading the card right.”

The Queen looked up and her eyes met the knowing eyes of the gypsy.  “Yes,” the gypsy said quietly.  “It is no mere coincidence or ineptitude that leads your kingdom to decline.  You have been deceived……I believe a good word for it would be……. duped.”

The Queen said nothing but waited for the other cards to reveal themselves.

“You see, my Queen,” and the gypsy pulled the next two cards.  They showed two Kings.  “Your King of Wands is, in fact, a King of Swords………..and there is a third party involved………..but I see, that you as of yet, do not know this third party………..this is a twin flame to the King of Swords, they are connected intimately.” 

“Yes, you see the connection is very strong…….so strong, that the one opening your gates to theft is in fact, this King of Swords…..” 

The gypsy paused and her fingers tapped the remaining cards of the deck. 

“There is more to know here, but I cannot reveal it as the universe expects you to use free will to determine your path.  Continue on as you have…….” And with that the gypsy pulled the death card.  “Or, know your worth and the worth of your kingdom and be brave.”  And the gypsy once again pulled a card.  The card depicted a chariot.  “This second card indicates you must travel.  Your choice, your majesty.  Entirely yours.  Choose wisely, my lady and my friend.  The fate of your kingdom will be determined by your decision.  Thank you, for allowing my family entry into your kingdom.  I was drawn here but I did not know whether to do a reading for you until you proved your worthiness.  Do you understand, my lady?  Know your worth.  You have forgotten this.  You must reclaim it to move forward.”

The gypsy woman smiled and blew out the candle.  She gathered the decks of cards and placed them into her hidden satchel and then promptly secured her veil.  She stood up to go and walked to the door.  The silent Queen watched her.  The Queen was alarmed by the reading but also felt it confirmed certain obvious suspicions she had not wanted to see.  Her jaw was set.  She remained emotionless.  The gypsy woman went to the door and as she opened it, she offered one final suggestion.  “Follow your intuition.  What you are dealing with here…….is a long con, a treachery beyond what you could have ever imagined without my help.  My people will leave here tomorrow.  If you choose the chariot, you will find this third party.  Your intuition will lead you to her.  May the Universe be ever at your favor.”  And with that, she was gone. 

The Queen pondered the words of the gypsy.  She pondered the two cards.  Death and the Chariot.  Death and the Chariot.  Death and the Chariot. 

The Queen arose and called her servant again.  The loyal servant arrived promptly, though disheveled and tired.  “Help me to dress quickly.  I will need a dark cloak to conceal myself.  Go to the stables and secure three horses.  Bring the horses and my most trusted advisors, Sir Harold and Sir Gregory with you to the tunnel.  You know the one.  The secret passage out of the keep.  Make certain you arouse no attention.  This is imperative to the future of our kingdom.  The utmost secrecy must be maintained.  Do I have your word you will follow my commands?”

“Yes, my lady,” said the servant and she hurried to dress the Queen and do as she was bidden. 

At the entrance to the passage, the Queen waited silently for Sir Harold and Sir Gregory and the three horses.  When they arrived under the cover of darkness, all three alighted their horses and went down the tunnel.  Sir Gregory held a pitch in his hand to light the way.  As they left the kingdom, the Queen took the lead quietly.  “Follow me,” she said firmly. 

They rode under the cover of darkness, into the still night.  They crossed streams and valleys and into the woods.  The Queen did not know for certainty where to go……she only knew that the King ventured out into these lands from time to time with a few of his entourage to go hunting.  She remained silent and kept leading them on and the faithful knights followed. 

Before daybreak, in the darkness before dawn, they were drawn to lights in the distance.  Human lights.  Lights of an encampment and as they drew closer, they became abruptly aware of the danger.  It was the marauder camp.  They found a secure place in the woods near the stream to perform secret surveillance and they set in to watch the robbers. 

It was quite a large encampment of many tents but one tent in particular, stood out to the Queen.   As she saw the occupant of the tent, she shivered knowingly.  It was a woman.  A beautiful woman dressed in men’s clothing.  She was lovely and had an air of authority about her.  She was ordering others.  They continued to watch the camp as the sun rose into the sky.  The camp had men, women, and children.  The Queen was aware that there were innocents in the camp but she also reasoned that these too, were duplicitous in the actions of theft of her kingdom.  She grew angry but remained silent.  The only emotion she expressed outwardly was the gritting of her teeth and jaws in a tight clamp.  She watched as did Sir Harold and Sir Gregory who were equally angered. 

They watched the camp for quite a long time but finally, at close to noon, the beautiful woman separated from the encampment.  She strode purposely towards the woods and stream with a pot in her hand.  They surmised that she was going for water.  They drew back deeper in the woods to wait.  The Queen signaled to Sir Harold to go forward and kidnap the woman.

The woman reached down to fill the pot with water from the stream when the strong vice grip of Sir Harold closed abruptly over her mouth to prevent her from alerting the camp.  “Shhhh,” he said and he dragged her forcefully back to the others into the woods.  He placed a dagger at her side to demonstrate to her that resistance was not wise. 

When the two women encountered each other, the Queen watched her silently and inquisitively, questioningly.  Meanwhile, the other woman, upon recognition of the Queen, instantly became defiant and struggled.  Sir Harold and Sir Gregory held tightly to her now and Sir Harold pressed the dagger deeper into her side until it drew blood.  She stopped but her eyes showed great contempt. 

“Who are you?” said the Queen.  There was no answer only contempt.

“Who are you?”  she repeated.  This time the woman spit at the Queen. 

The Queen then motioned to Sir Gregory who accosted the angry woman. 

“Why are you here?” asked the Queen again.  No answer. 

“Why do you invade my kingdom and steal from me?”

“I take that which is rightfully the King’s.” said the woman. 

“No,” said the Queen quietly and now deadly, “It is not the King’s……it is mine.  Tell me who you are or we will slit your throat.”

Sir Harold raised the dagger to the woman’s throat and drew blood once more.  The woman was still angered but there was lingering doubt in her eyes mingled with a slight fear. 

The Queen said quietly and without emotion, “It is what you deserve considering what you have done to many of my own people. I say again, tell me what I want to know.”

“You have no heir,” said the woman spitefully and wickedly.  “Your kingdom is falling apart.  There’s nothing you can do to stop this.”

“Stop what?” asked the Queen in a low and determined voice. 

“We’ll take everything from you.  You’re weak.  You do not deserve what you have.  Soon your own throne will be mine.  Your kingdom is nothing now.  You are nothing.” She spat at the Queen.

The Queen resisted the urge to slap the woman.  Instead, she chose to keep her wits about her.  However, she moved forward and stepped down hard on the foot of the other woman. 

“I know already of your treachery.  You may think I am a fool but you will find, I am quite resourceful.”  And she stepped down even harder and twisted her boot hard into the sandaled foot of the woman.   

The Queen continued, “You have been robbing my Kingdom for years and your accomplice is the King.”

At this, the woman’s eyes widened a bit.  “I know that he opens the gates for you,” said the Queen menacingly.  “Soon, those gates will no longer open.”

The woman spat back, “He comes to see us often.  He hates you.  He tells us all laughingly of your great stupidity and ridiculous ardor and emotions.  You are crazy.  He doesn’t love you.  He never loved you.  We conspired.  We made this plan together to weaken your kingdom to the point that we will take it over and he will depose you.  You have lost everything.  You are weak.  You are defense-less.  Your kingdom will be ours.  I have known him long, long before you ever knew him.”  And with that, the woman fought back hard against the knights who knocked her out cold on the ground. 

“Bring her back to the kingdom,” ordered the Queen coldly.  “We will deal with the encampment later.”    

 They rode hard back to the tunnel of the keep and as they entered, they grew more and more quiet.  The knights who were loyal to the Queen due to their oaths before, had newfound fealty and commitment to their mission.  They felt compassion for the Queen who merely rode silently on ahead of them into the tunnel.  Her only visible sign of duress was a clenched jaw, a tick that showed in her cheek.  Her eyes had become like slits as she reflected upon years and years of mistreatment against her and her people at the hands of these manipulators.  She rode on in silence. 

The robber was put in the dungeon.  The Queen and the knights parted ways but she informed them that she would need their help again soon.  She told them to be ready for the call.  The Queen returned swiftly and stealthily back to her chambers where she remained for most of the day.  The carousing and recklessness continued in the great hall on into the night.  This time, when the King summoned for the Queen to join him at his hand, she sat very rigidly and silently in her chair.  She eyed everyone in the room with sudden new awareness, fresh eyes, and she was both saddened and deeply betrayed by their actions.   They were part of the deception too.   

But when the King attempted to accost one of her servants for spilling a drink, she snapped at him. She locked eyes of fire directly at the King.  The occupants of the room were suddenly shocked by this new behavior, this irritability.  Her King looked at her in bemusement. He took another sip of ale while watching her and then concluded for the others, that “the Queen must be in her menstruals.”  The great hall broke into drunken guffaws.  The silent Queen looked forward and said nothing. 

“I will be leaving on the morrow, to go on another hunting trip,” he informed her dismissively.  He sat down and held her hand lovingly.  She looked down at it but remained silent.  She noted he nodded that night at another one of the new wenches in the great hall, and she knew she would be alone later.  She sat in stony silence as the ruckus around her continued and the minstrels played their lilting music.  She then excused herself for the night and slowly walked down the rock hallway alone.  She did not smile.  Nor was she sad any longer.  

She walked past the chamber where her late father and mother had resided.  She opened the door and walked inside.  She walked over to the fireplace mantle and lifted some mementos from the wooden slab.  She perused then for a while.  Her eyes got sad.  She looked around the chamber and then she walked out.  She walked to the balconies and looked out over the kingdom…….out over the lands, the hills, the valleys, the serf huts, the fields…  She looked at the broken ramparts, the disheveled rock walls.  There were no guards at the gates, no sentries on the broken walls.  There were no archers.  There was nothing but the community below…….the many houses, the people, her people…….the ones who relied upon her and her leadership.  She looked back in contempt at the great hall and the bellows of laughter.  She looked ahead at the starry night sky and drew a deep breath. 

“The choice is yours,” she heard the gypsy woman say.  “There are two paths, two options.  You must be brave.  Follow your intuition.  The scales of justice must be balanced.  You know what to do.”

The woman in her, the archetype of the lover in her, began to softly cry.  She regained her composure and looked out once more at the night sky. Follow my intuition, she thought to herself.  Follow my intuition.  Follow my intuition.   She looked ahead but in reality, she was not looking at all at the sky.  She was contemplating something quite heavy on her heart. 


She went back to her chamber.  She called the servant again.  “Bring me Sir Gregory and Sir Harold immediately and once again, with the utmost discretion.  I will wait in the antechamber.”

The servant went out and nearly bumped into the King and the wench from the Great Hall.  The King was slovenly drunk though and failed to recognize her.  “Excuse me,” she said quietly as she skirted to the side and continued quickly down the hallway.  The Queen watched the drunken pair head down the hallway stumblingly until the door closed.  She was neither angry or sad.  She was cold.  Completely cold. 

When Sir Gregory and Sir Harold returned to her antechamber, they made swift plans. 

The next morning just before dawn, a small contingent of the military guard walked to the dungeon.  They took the marauder woman.  They blindfolded her and led her to the courtyard where the King, who likewise had been rudely awakened out of inebriated slumber in the wench’s room, was now standing as well with a blindfold over his eyes.  He was breathing hard as he did not fully know for sure what would happen.  The woman recognized the man beside her, perhaps out of some connection, even though their blindfolds were on.  An advisor stepped up to make the short proclamation of high treason against the Kingdom and its inhabitants with the sentence of death.  The Queen watched silently from the balcony.  She did not smile.  In fact, she looked sad.  But when the blindfolded woman touched the hand of the King and he returned her slight embrace comfortingly, the Queen lifted her head slightly.  She watched them.  She felt the wind on her face.  She watched and the advisor watched her.  And then she gave a slight nod. 

When the deed was done, she didn’t smile.  She didn’t blink.  She didn’t cry.  She gritted her teeth.  A slight tick showed above her jawline.  She then turned and walked away.  She had previously ordered the military guard to round up all the members of the entourage and the wenches that had consorted with the King.  The advisor proclaimed the entourage were guilty of conspiracy against the Kingdom and theft.  The wenches were not sentenced but berated for disloyalty. Their hair was chopped at the nape. Some hung their heads in shame much as they had shamed the dignity of the Queen in the past. The guilty were then led to their prison cells within the dungeon and placed under heavy guard.     

One hour later, the Queen stood on the balcony in the wind.  She looked out at the masses of faces from the kingdom……tired, haggard, and weary.  All the people were assembled, young and old.  And she addressed them. 

“I have done an unforgivable act.  I have failed you.  I have failed this kingdom.  I have let in a saboteur and along with him, robbers and thieves.  I have let them in with my own hand.”

She paused.

“The King is dead.  He was executed for high treason this morning.”  She watched as the shock registered on the faces of the assembly.  All were quiet before she continued.

“You have worked hard.  You have been loyal.  You have been steadfast.  You did not deserve this ill treatment.  You did not deserve lack of protection from mistreatment.   I do not ask for forgiveness.  I do ask though now that you follow me, once more even though I do not deserve it.  I ask that you follow me into battle for justice.”

She looked at Sir Harold and Sir Gregory.  They nodded at her encouragingly.  They both knew that whatever they had faced at the hands of these people, it was not as severe as their own Queen had faced.

She looked at the assembly.  “We have located the camp of marauders who are exploiting our Kingdom.  They are the ones who have mercilessly pillaged and ransacked your homes and left your own countrymen for dead.  I ask that you march with me into battle against them.  This will not be easy.  I am asking every man of able body to step forward who is willing to one last time, swear allegiance to the Queen and march with sword or pitchfork against our enemies.  I will appoint Sir Gregory now as the Chief of Military and Sir Harold as the new Architect of our fortifications.” 

“We have grown defenseless.  This is unacceptable.  From here on out, we will train and we will learn to fight.  We will put archers on our walls and soldiers in our city.  We will build trebuchets for the ramparts and solid defenses for every corner of the fortifications.  We will rebuild together our walls and make them higher and stronger.  And I swear to you, that any marauder who dares to attempt to enter through our front gates again will be met with a bubbling cauldron of hot oil dumped on their heads.  We will consider the feasibility of building a moat and even a drawbridge.  And I swear again to you, that you will never again worry for the safety and security of your homes and your loved ones.  But today, we must fight.  We must fight with every inch of our beings.  And so, I ask you today, to step forward if you will go to war against the marauders who nearly destroyed us.  There is a reckoning at hand.  An injustice which must be righted.”

The Queen finished.  Sir Gregory and Sir Harold stepped forward as did a few of the servants of the keep.  The Queen continued standing on the balcony and the assembly did not move…….at first.  A man pushed his way to the front.  He was a serf.  “I will step forward.”

“Aye.” Said another man as he stepped forward.

“Aye.”  Said yet another and another and another until many of the assembly were now standing before the Queen. 

“We go to battle,” she said. 

The entire Kingdom worked hard that day and into much of the night.  Some began rebuilding the broken ramparts.  Some worked in the smithy gathering together as many weapons as possible.  Some worked on archery.  They strung bows and gathered together arrows and practiced.  From the courtyard, could be heard the clash of steel upon steel as they trained.  They also rested.  Food was gathered and passed out.  Horses were prepared.  And within the throne room, the Queen and her advisors sat in council strategizing. 

In the middle of the night, the army set out on horse and foot.  They walked silently together, some with sword and armor and some with pitchfork or axe.  On the faces of every person, however, there could be seen a steely resolve to avenge a severe wrong.  They attacked the sleeping encampment at just before dawn.  The Queen stood in the woods in her dark cloak.  She watched alone as even Sir Harold and Sir Gregory had joined the fray, even leading the charge.  She watched in silence as the tents were set aflame and the camp was pillaged just as their own Kingdom had been pillaged mercilessly so many, many times in the past.  And when the flames grew higher and she could hear the screams of the dying, she did not flinch.  She watched in silence.  They all were duplicitous to evil and they all deserved retribution.  Then she turned as it burned.  Only the children were rounded up afterwards.

The army returned to the Kingdom.  It was not a happy victory but it was a just victory.

It took a very long time for the Kingdom to heal.  The people worked together endlessly.  The council of advisors and Sir Harold and Sir Gregory assisted the Queen.  She carefully and strategically planned every decision for the merit of the Kingdom from there on out.  The castle walls were refortified better than ever.  The defenses were meticulously maintained and the military was on alert for all signs of deceit and danger. 

The Queen never married again.  She would never relinquish her power again to another man.  She knew her worth and she would never lose sight of that again.  Never again.  She took discreet lovers from time to time but always guarded her heart.

In time, the Kingdom returned to its former glory……. even perhaps better than before.   All within the Kingdom had learned a very valuable lesson about complacency, naivety, and misplaced trust.

In the end, the Queen had proven to be quite a resourceful woman after all.  She was forever grateful to the astrologer and the Universe.    At night, the silent and worthy Queen walked the ramparts herself, checking on her soldiers and archers.  She looked up at the night sky and even smiled.     

(This is the end of the story. If you have read all 10 pages and made it to the conclusion, thank you and I appreciate you. Now I have an added bonus for the reader…….the true meaning behind the story. This work of fiction is the story of France during World War II. The Kingdom represents France. The Queen is the spirit of France, Notre Dame. The King is the occupying government. Sir Harold and Sir Gregory are the Resistance. The marauder camp is the Nazi Regime. And the gypsy woman represents the people hidden and protected within France’s borders who also secretly assisted the Resistance. I hope that you enjoyed the story and might even go back now that you have the knowledge of the hidden meaning and go re-read the story. Please leave any comments or questions you like although I do prefer constructive criticism. Thank you and have a good day. May the Universe be ever in your favor.)


A Cloistral Comedie

by Janea Speer

Chapter One

In the mid-eve moonlight of midsummer amid the mountains of Moldavia, high in the belfry of a monstrosity of a monastery, sat a family of mice munching the most marvelous Muenster cheese and musing over the daily menials of the monks below. These monks made money by maintaining milk cows, whose milk they sold to Mr. Muscovin, the village manufacturer of such mouthwatering morsels like marzipan macaroons and marmalade madeleines. Mr. Muscovin’s merchandise garnered global attention and appraisement.

The mice mused over the monks’ meal administered earlier, how each enjoyed watching the master chef’s main course served of meatballs marinaded in marchand de vin sauce, mince pie matched with veal marsala, marrow beans, and diced manzano peppers with a smidge of mustard and to complete the magnificent meal……a hardly miniscule selection of peach melba, maple bread pudding, and mint mousse covered in mocha meringue.

On this most momentous of meal occasions, the monks had been joined by Monsignor Mikhail Munson, a man reportedly rumored by some to have risen from modest means, most handsome, and well-mannered. His looks were perhaps a mixture of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, a heritage that had remained mostly a mystery.

To his minor misfortune, Mikhail had gained the flattering yet recently rather miserable, most earnest and arduous attentions of the middle-aged humble-faced maid. In fact, even this morning, while polishing the marble tiles of the main foyer, the old maid glimpsed upon him once, twice, and three times or more. Her name was Martina and she had freely fallen madly smitten in amour. Once more, Martina was maddeningly determined in her mind to stay that way.

The mice attested that afternoon they saw her make sweets for the Monsignor. She also remembered and reminded the Monsignor of his mid-afternoon meeting. She mussed over the cleaning of his apartment quarters most methodically and that evening, Martina brought marigolds in a pot to his office. The mice mimicked and mocked her most earnest expressions, eagerly betting whether next there would be mums or minature roses and if the roses would be Mr. Lincolns or Matadors.

Despite these measures, Monsignor Munson felt most assuredly that his main focus must always be upon the monastic mission…………and yet……in his innermost thoughts and memories behind the facade of ministerial work, the marriage preparations, the many many baptisms, the myriad of confirmation ceremonies…………..behind this all, one could find a lingering and one might say even somewhat lustful mesmerizing moment………..a memory of musk from a certain town mademoiselle whom, for her part, never missed an opportunity to make a magnificent appearance in his quiet confessional after mass on the first Monday morning of each month.

These magic moments delighted the mice who managed to eagerly eavesdrop on the many woes and wiles, the guilty going-ons, the passionate pleasures of mankind as well each Monday morning after mass. They found this mannerism among these monolithic mammals…….this mournful whispering of wickedness from one human to another behind a closed curtain………the mice found this funny, rather remarkably raconteuring, and interestingly entertaining.

After a human murmured, the Monsignor generally motioned hand movements absent-mindedly. Sometimes, a man mentioned gluttonous and gargantuous meals partaken or perhaps, mean-spirited pranks performed. Sometimes, a woman stammeringly spoke of love lusted and lost only to be replaced next by another less worrisome woman with regretful racy remarks of riches reaped rather repugnantly. Run of the mill rumors and such………these were voyeuristic voyages of fun and fancy for the mildly entertained mice.

The mice often mimicked the mannerisms of the mainstays, the men and women who appeared as always mentioned the same bothersome behaviors with apologetic addiction. The mice would fall into fits of fun at the appearance of Andrei the Alcoholic with his after morning ale induced arse acoustics. There was Felina the forlorn and furry-lipped female fussing and forever fine-tuning her contrite confession or Vladislav the slovenly sleep-deprived schemer of steamy seductions. Vladislav, of his own volition, vied for the vestal, the virginal, and virtuous with a veracity quite vivacious and nearly volatile. Refusal, resistance, rejection, even running away remained out of the range of compassionate comprehension for this irreprehensible rakish rogue. Many a conquest had been conquered and cast aside by the incorrigible cad. His persistance paid off and all passionate pursuits eventually ended in ennui, resistance resultant in reluctant resignation until the next tantalizing target taunted and teased Vladislav. His confessions were concise and seeemingly not nearly contrite nor compassionate to Vlad’s victims. Rather, Monsignor realized this confession was more like a careless celebration of criminality to a confined comrade. The monks, for their part, depending upon their demeanor, were either captivated or captive to concern.

And as always, there was the mysterious mesmerizing mademoiselle, the yen of secret and seductive yearning for Monsignor Mikhail who sat upright most rigidly and abruptly aware upon her arrival, clumsily clearing a cumbersome cough.

If you queried one of the riveted rodentia in the room, he would delightfully detail and descrive the mademoiselle, the maiden, in these terms: hair the color of Camembert, skin silky soft like baked Brie, cheeks colorful as cheddar cheese wheel wax, eyes green as Gorgonzola, elegant eyelashes as brown as Brunost, luscious lips lovely as Port Wine and Pate. She was both breathtaking and quite breathless, speaking softly and sensuously in her eager yet innocent enticement of the Monsignor Mikhail, leaning lightly towards love engagingly and entreatingly. The witty and willing wordplay witnessed by the mice combined with the uncomfortable concealment of obvious obsession amused the mice most avidly who also leaned in, hushed and hungry for humor and hilarity.

Monsignor Munson had a friendly following, a female fan club among the mice. These foppish foolish femme fatales were also quite taken with the tempestuous trampish tales of voracious Vladislav. They often giggled gayfully and grinned at each other while gazing over the ledge of the hole above, eagerly entertained by the events transpiring on the tiled floors below. The scenes seen there played out persistently like a salacious soap opera.

Other monks of the monastery amused the mice as well. The blustery and bold butcher, the cheerful crew of chefs cooking in the kitchen with their agile associates, the apprentices. Then, there was the gaggle of gregorian gardeners who tended turnips and tomatoes. They labored lovingly over leeks, lettuces, lovely lumps of potatoes, parsley, parsnip, corn and cucumbers, broccoli, and butternut squash. The elder exploratory monks also gathered wild woodland items. In the forest, they forraged for fruits, fished the field streams, picked pine nuts, or hunted and harvested mushrooms in the marvelous middays of March through middle May.

Meanwhile, inside the monastery every morning, amid legions of ledgers labored Jurgson, the meticulous mindful manager of money, accounting for all assets, listing and labeling liabilities, examining expenditures, preparing payments for purchases, and as almost always accruing active above-par profits. By each breakfast, this brilliant bookkeeper could be found buried in budgets or balances, busily bearing oversight to this oft overlooked occupation with diligent degree of duty. Jurgson was the journalistic juggernaut, the cornerstone, the cog in the wheel, always writing up, writing down, or writing off……the unsinkable, unflappable, unstoppable, unleveraged, under no conditions under the weather underwriter. Jurgson was the masked master of the monastery, the manager of most everything. Simple and succinctly spoken, Jurgson was the money man. Without his lofty leadership, all labor would be lost, liquidated.

Joyless Jurgson witnessed the whimsical workmanship of the writers in the adjacent wing with a slight sum of sinful inevitable envy. Those monks did meaningful and masterful work manufacturing illustrious illuminations on manuscripts for individuals at an almost indescribably extravegently exuberantly even outrageously over-the-top price. These monks’ detail work was delicate, delightful, and dedicated, earning the ears of the attentive aristocracy. Lords and ladies placed purchase orders frequently for their handsome handiwork, gracious gifts for baptisms and births, communions and christenings, marriages or ministry work.

A portion of these priests penned proverbial pamphlets. Some paperwork prohibited passionate premarital propositions. Others championed the choices of charity, chastity, and Christianity. A cursory consideration of the combined contents would reveal that tithing proved to be the truly treasured topic.

There was here, Theodore, the thoughtful scribbler of scriptural studies. His wealth of writings wittingly reflected the theological thoughts and theories of Thomas Aquinas. His essays were entirely devoted to divinity of the Trinity and tributes to the triumphant Triumvirate.

Clearly, however, his companion, Janus, was best described as a dreamer. He wandered through his days most willingly in wild worlds of wonder and innocent imagination. His half-hearted help was easily distracted by daydreams. Often times, on many an occasion, hidden underneath his handiwork sat a secret story scribbled in stolen ink. Thoughts of thespians and powerful playwrights overpowered his senseless senses…..the spectacle of the stage lingered loftily in his cloudy circuitry. Hindered by his humble guard in appearance alone, he often fled to the fairy world, to the Twilight Realm of regal Titania. He imagined the heroics of Herculus verses Hydra, of pernicious Puck, of Phoenix the firebird, of Pegasus riding the romantic winds on widespread wings. He loved the legends of the Lemures haunting amid hidden Roman ruins. He thought of Turks traveling across treacherous tides journeying to the Jinns, ancients arisen before Adam, earthly entities essenced with enlightenment. He considered the ceaseless castigation of Cain pursued and persecuted by the relentless raven that quote with neverending “nevermore.” He dreamed of dragons amid darkness of distant depths, sea serpents arising from the abyss to shipwreck sailors, and guessed at the gravelly gruff voice of the Gryphon. These forages through fantasies filled the youth’s yonder days beyond the drudgery of duplicating designs delegated to drawing table. If one glimpsed or glanced, perusing into his private paperwork beneath the pile of diligent designs, you would foray into his foremost fascination for the moment, the mythological mysteries of exotic Egypt.

You see…..sadly, our secret Shakespeare, Janis was juggling between dreams and drudgery dutifully due to following his father. The framework of his future had been forecast. As the second son in a series of sufficient senatorial statesmen that were perfectly political polished, the younger brother was bound and buried under the woeful weight of the family reputation. This stoic self-sacrifice was suspiciously expected of the earnest lad who loved the theater thoroughly. His forays into fancy would be repressed most rigidly by a father for whom libidinous lasciviousness among the ladies was legendary.

On the day of poor Janis’ departure to the dreary and dark path of disciplined monstacism, his dear mother, a woman wearily well-hardened to weeping, was witnessed mourning most wimperingly. Her eldest son would follow most fool-hardedly in the father’s footsteps and she feared that the future of her free-spirited Janis would forever be stifled and stymied in stern studies of scripture.

So it was with good motherly guidance and generous gifts of gold that Janis found himself arriving in the artistic arena of the most Medieval monastery of Moldavia. His mother assumed this would be an affiable arangement, this avenue of artistic expression for her most beloved and blessed son of sons. On his first day, amid mounds of illuminated manuscripts, Janis sat stupified by the mastery of it all. Apprenticed quickly, he adhered to the arts and arose most rapidly through the ranks to an illustrious illustrator position. He was mentored by his fellow named Frederick.

Janis found a fast friend in Frederick and another artist, Jorge. Frederick designed with delicate fingers. He labored long and lovingly over each line, adding details at his desk and showing the simple boy how to brandish a feathertip freely. Jorge, on the other hand, was gregarious, good-natured, and given to generous gulps of grape wine tasting resulting in an equally generous waistline. He was generally a jolly fellow unless harried by hangovers which he had half-often. With great gusto, he could call together comrades from cell within cell of the medieval monastery to partake in a mere parlay, a performance of jests, jokes, and jigs. He favored this frolicking fun and frowned with less fondness for the enduring of engaging yet endless activities of artwork.

At this point in the story, I am apt to point out the pivotal protagonist of the play. You may ask, “Is he not mindful Mikhail, the man mired by mysterious amour? And what of wandering and whimsical Janis or dearly dedicated and diligently determined Jurgson? Are not their tender turmoils and lingering longings prompting to purposeful prose? Alas, although arguably they are agreeable additions to this silly story, these characters’ fortunes are not fated to be forecast for tonight.

No, not at all. The one who occupies center-stage quite unceremoniously, the central cortex to this cloistral comedie, is none other than a negligible and not nearly noteworthy, nine year old orphan new today to the most medieval monastery of Moldavia. His name is Nigel.