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Hand of Death chapter 2

Tayler burst into the throne room, her white and gold robes fitting her perfectly as she looked at the men and women of the Council.

Osiris gestured to an empty seat, waiting for his daughter to take a seat.

“Thank you all for coming,” he started, looking around the table. “This meeting concerns my daughter and her coronation as Queen of Tene.”

“I think I speak for all of us when I ask this,” a man with brown skin and glasses said. “How can we be sure she’s able to rule?”

“She’s half-human,” a woman piped up. “Will her powers affect her?”

Osiris frowned, his gold eyes glancing at Tayler as she sat up straighter. “Her heritage has no bearing on how her powers work. Just know she is of my blood and is capable of ruling.”

The meeting continued, Tayler quiet unless spoken to directly. She left the throne room, still quiet as Wren was a constant presence behind her.

She entered her room, turning the light on as Wren went to her own room. She laid on the bed, a frown on her lips. The Council mainly spoke about her than to her, wondering if her human life would interfere with her duties. She pulled out her phone, texting her aunt Oyen that the meeting was over. She put her phone down, deciding to shower and change. She got out the shower, drying her hair as someone knocked on the door.

“Yes?” she called, pulling on an oversized shirt and shorts.

“It’s me,” Subira said, smiling as Tayler opened the door and hugged her. Tayler’s mother was tall, dark skinned with curly hair and dark brown eyes.

“Mom,” Tayler said, pulling away as Subira held a container out. Braaibroodjie.

Tayler smiled, taking the still warm container and opening it. She took a slice of the grilled cheese out, eating with fervor. “Thank you,” she said in between bites of the sandwich.

“I made it without the onions, just how you like it.” Subira said, walking further into the room and sitting on Tayler’s bed. “How are you doing, sweetie?”

“Good, the meeting we had was over pretty quickly. School’s going well too, and I graduate in May.” Tayler said, sitting beside her mother. “I, uh, might’ve caused a power outage at school yesterday so we might get a few days off until it gets fixed.” She continued, checking the school’s website. Yeah, they’d be out for a week.

“Oh,” Subira hummed, standing up and taking the now empty container. “Did your dad say anything about it?”

“It was an accident. I was washing my hands and Wren was talking to me and I wasn’t paying attention.” She mumbled, sitting down to let Subira twist her hair. “He just said that accidents happen.”

“And they do, but with power like yours, you need to be more careful.” Subira replied, hugging Tayler after she finished twisting her hair. “I’ll let you go back to sleep, you have another meeting with your dad tomorrow.”

“Okay,” Tayler said watching her mother leave and close the door behind her. Tayler checked her phone, noting that it was 10 PM.

She got up, and went next door, pushing Wren’s door open.

“It’s just me,” Tayler said, slipping into the room and closing the door.

Wren sighed, letting go of the dagger’s hilt, putting it back underneath her pillow. “Princess,” she rasped, searching for a shirt in the low light. It didn’t help that the carpet was dark. “What are you doing? It’s late,” Wren continued, pulling a shirt on before turning the lamp on.

Tayler shrugged, dark brown skin seeming golden. “Couldn’t sleep,” she answered, sitting on the edge of the bed. “Can I ask you something?”

Wren huffed, sitting beside her. “Of course, princess, even though you woke me up,” she answered, rubbing her eyes.

“Sorry, you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”

“It’s fine,” Not that she’d go back to sleep anytime soon. Did dead people even need sleep anymore?

Tayler shifted, undoing one of the twists her mother did earlier. “How did you die? I mean you don’t have to answer, it’s just that every single time I visit, people just end up telling me and I got curious so–”

“Car accident,” Wren answered, cutting off her charge’s ramblings before they got too long-winded. After all, Wren had made peace with the accident itself, just not her father. She glanced over, meeting Tayler’s gaze. “It only happened because of my dad and. . .” she trailed off, suddenly unsure how to continue. “It was a stupid argument, we didn’t see the truck.”

“It’s not stupid if you lost your life over it,” Tayler replied, dark brown eyes gold at the edges as the lamp flickered and thorns from the roses Wren recently cut flowed from the vase.

“I’m alright,” If being dead and in a castle counted as such. Wren watched as Tayler slowly breathed, confused but unprotesting to the fact that the girl had a vice-like grip on her hand. The lamp stopped flickering and Wren needed a new vase.

“Sorry, I just,” Tayler paused, her eyes a pretty dark brown again. Not that gold looked bad on her. “I should head to bed, there’s another meeting tomorrow.”

Wren nodded as Tayler stood and left. She sat for a moment longer before casting a wary glance at the black thorns brought forth from Tayler’s magic. Wren almost wondered how hard it was to control and, judging from how tired Tayler had gotten, whether it affected her too.

***

Osiris went to his daughter’s room, knocking on the door. She was late to the meeting. Tayler opened the door, a notebook under her arm as she looked at her father.

“I know, I know, I’m late.” She said, walking past him to the throne room. “Wren and I were talking last night and I lost track of time.”

“You and Wren are close,” Osiris mused, smiling as Tayler’s face warmed. “That’s good, I was close with my bodyguards before they passed on.”

“You were?”

“Yes, naturally. Helping them pass on was difficult but it needed to be done.”

“Do you think Wren would want to pass on?”

“I wouldn’t,” Wren spoke up, stifling a yawn. “I’m happy here,” she continued, falling behind the two royals. “And it’s my duty to look after you, I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

“Thanks, Wren,” Tayler said, pausing as they reached the throne room.

Osiris set a comforting hand on her shoulder, opening the ornate oak door. Would the Council speak about her again? How would Wren react? Was Wren even alright enough to be in her father’s presence?

Tayler looked at her bodyguard as she stood at the far end of the room with the other guards. She seemed fine, but. . .

“Princess Tayler,” a brown skinned person said, walking up to her with a smile. They were wearing Council robes. “It’s an honor to finally meet you, I’m Wendy,” they said, kneeling briefly.

“Same to you,” Tayler said, taking her seat as Osiris called the meeting to start.

The meeting felt the same as last time except the Council spoke to Tayler this time. Asking her whether she’d be able to fulfill her upcoming coronation matters while she graduated. Tayler shifted in her seat, opening her mouth to reply.

“I. . .will do my best to make sure Tene and it’s residents are taken care of,” she said looking around the table. “As your queen, I can’t deny my people things they need or ask for. As death, I will do my best to ensure there is balance.”

“Well said, Princess,” Osiris replied, smiling. “Now, we’ll move onto the matter of your coronation and set a date. Since you’ll be graduating in May, I think it’ll be a good time for your coronation to be in June as well as get you acclimated to Tene and it’s inner workings.”

Tayler nodded, turning her attention to the man that snorted. Wren’s father.

“I’m sorry, Your Highness,” he said, brown eyes landing on Tayler instead. “Acclimation to Tene would not be a problem if she was raised here. I know her human heritage may cause problems, but must we really push her coronation back for something as simple as graduation?”

“The queen and I will be attending her graduation, so it isn’t that simple, Councilman Wei.” Osiris replied, his voice clipped. “I do not wish to stress my daughter out with her coronation.”

Tayler looked back at Councilman Wei, folding her hands together. “My acclimation to my home should be simple enough, I just have to stay here.”

Wei sneered as Wendy piped up, “With all due respect, Princess, did King Osiris not tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

“To take the crown, your human life must be sacrificed.” Wendy informed, glancing at Osiris as Tayler cleared her throat.

“I wasn’t aware of that,” Tayler said, brows furrowed. “If you’ll excuse me,” she continued, getting up and leaving the throne room.

Wren followed, quiet for a moment as Tayler kept her back to her. “Princess?” Wren asked, cautiously reaching for Tayler’s arm.

Tayler turned, her eyes gold as she clenched her fists. “Why didn’t he tell me?” she asked, her voice becoming one of many as thorns burst from the back of her white and gold robes embedding into the walls on either side of her. “Why?” she yelled, tears streaking down her face as Wren came up to her, wrapping her arms around Tayler and hushing her. “Did you know?” Tayler continued, the many voices softening into just hers after a moment.

Wren rested her chin on the top of Tayler’s head. “No, Princess, I didn’t,” she answered, holding the now weeping girl in her arms. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” Tayler mumbled, loud enough for Wren to hear as her eyes kept their golden hue but the thorns receded. “I just. . .would you do it? Sacrifice me?” Tayler asked, sniffling as Wren wiped her face.

Wren pulled away, a frown on her face as she wiped away a stray tear with her thumb yet didn’t take her hand away. “Princess. I’d do anything you ask of me, except that.”

Tayler swallowed, closing her eyes for a moment before opening them again. They were brown. “I figured as much,” she said, giving a watery smile. “thank you for coming after me.”

“Of course, Princess,” Wren said, hearing the door to the throne room open then close.

Wren turned, clasping her hands behind her back as Councilman Wei walked out and saw them. He frowned, looking at Wren. Wren looked back, moving in front of Tayler, blocking her view of the Councilman. “Did you need something, Councilman Wei?” she asked.

Wei’s frown deepened. “I wanted to speak with the Princess. Alone.” He eventually said, looking past Wren at Tayler.

“As her bodyguard, I’m afraid I can’t let you do that.”

Wei narrowed his eyes. “It’s merely a matter of business, that’s all,” he replied, moving past Wren. He kneeled briefly in front of Tayler, continuing, “If the Princess allows me to speak.”

“You may,” Tayler said before Wren could reply.

“I just wanted to apologize for my. . .less than admirable behavior in the meeting.” He said, grabbing Tayler’s hand and pressing his lips against it.

Tayler’s face warmed at the action, knowing he was only showing respect and nothing else. “It’s alright, I. . .my father just neglected to tell me this news.” She said. “Is the meeting over?”

“Yes, I was just heading to my room,” Wei replied, standing up. “It’d do you well to not speak for the Princess, Mingyu. It’s unsightly.” He said, turning to face Wren.

He left at that moment, leaving Wren and Tayler in the hallway. Wren looked away as Tayler looked at her, asking, “Who’s Mingyu?”

“No one,” Wren answered, walking past Tayler to go to her own room.

Tayler watched Wren leave, turning to head back into the throne room. She need to speak with her father.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in All Stories, Coming of Age, Fantasy, Fiction, LGBTQ+

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