Sci-fi / Fantasy · Young Adult

Topaz: The Sandar Saga by Suzy Stewart Dubot

Everyone in the queendom was anxious. Her Majesty had not taken her medicine.
The main subject of conversation, albeit whispered, was the possible effects once all the ingredients from the month before had left her body.
Was she going to wrinkle or shrivel? Would she change into another creature or worse, would she die?
That thought provoked any number of arguments, because she had not yet married and, consequently, had no child to succeed her. As an only child, there were no direct descendants to step into her place, either.
Some seized upon the hypothetical occasion to propose a state with an elected elder or leader to govern them. Others wanted to look deeper into the family history to find a family member to inherit the throne, following tradition. Some were even aghast that the queendom’s future was already being discussed while Her Highness was still alive.
“Do stop fussing, Angela,” the Queen said.
“I will let you know if I suffer from dizziness or a headache,” she added as she smoothed back a black curl that had escaped her circlet. She wore only the simplest of crowns for informal wear.
“If you must know, I feel exceedingly well. I would go so far as to say that I feel better than I can ever remember feeling. I want to dance!”
Angela paled.
Surely this was the surge of energy some people were known to have just before they died?
She didn’t know if she should go for help or stay close to the Queen in her last minutes. She decided to stay as she would never forgive herself if the Queen were to die alone.

-o0o-

Later that evening, the Queen had insisted on dining in the Great Hall with all her Ministers and courtiers, and after the meal had ended, demanded that the room be cleared for dancing. That put paid to all the rumours circulating that she didn’t have long for this life. Angela had made her fears known prematurely and they had spread like wildfire.
The next morning, Angela had crept into the Queen’s bedchamber expecting that some catastrophe awaited her, but she was surprised to find that the Queen was already up and reading a book. Later, out of curiosity, she glanced at the cover to see what had taken the Queen’s interest so early in the morning.
It was a work entitled ‘The Latest Developments & Proposals in Political Science.’
She had no idea what that meant, but it looked serious.
“Come, your Majesty, you haven’t even had your breakfast and you’re reading something that looks very complicated,” Angela scolded gently.
“You’re right Angela, I find I’ve got quite an appetite this morning – for everything.”

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