Author Topic: Alanna Anaris ~ Time Has Passed Me By  (Read 672 times)


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Alanna Anaris ~ Time Has Passed Me By
« Topic Start: October 08, 2013, 02:41:05 AM »
Sent 2013-10-06 around 22:00 server time

About a month ago

Alanna eases herself slowly into her chair and pulls the stack of correspondence forward on the desk in front of her. "So, let's see what the esteemed Grandmistress is blithering about..." she mutters, picking up one of the letters. As she does so, however, her elbow accidentally knocks into an inkpot, sending it clattering to the floor. Fortunately, it is empty, but Alanna curses and sighs as she pushes the chair back and painstakingly leans down to pick it up. "Cursed thing, making me scrabble on the floor—ah!" She gasps in sudden pain as her back cramps with the unaccustomed stretching.

Nearly an hour later, she is finally able to fully straighten out on her bed with the help of Isella. As she limps back over to her desk to resume the interrupted attempt to handle diplomatic correspondence, she growls, "By the Gods, I'm getting too old for this..."

* * *

A couple of weeks ago

The knock at her door awakens her from a sound and restful sleep. She is about to call out to ask who it is, when she hears the door open, and Isella and a couple of ladies' maids she doesn't recognize (or, wait, was that one her new one who started last month? It gets so hard to keep them straight...) scramble into the room. "Empress, you're awake!" Isella says somewhat breathlessly. "Are you all right? You've been expected in the audience chamber for the past hour!"

This brings Alanna fully awake. "The past hour? Why, what time is it, Isella?"

"An hour before noon, Empress!" her aide replies.

"An hour before—why did you not wake me two hours ago?!"

Isella looks away, her face registering embarrassment. "Well, I...I've only had to wake you a few times since I started in your service, Majesty, and I fear that I...I did not think that you would need it. But I suppose with the meetings late last night, you—"

Alanna waves her to silence. "Very well. Get my clothes ready, and quickly; I'll not keep them waiting any longer!"

As the two maids scamper to obey, Alanna sits up and tries to swing her legs over the side of the bed, but finds her muscles protesting lethargically. "Really?" she mutters, so quietly that Isella can barely even hear her. "I stay up till an hour or two past midnight just one night and my body won't get moving without bitter complaints by nearly noon? I really must be getting too old for this..."

* * *

This morning

Isella sets the tea down and turns to leave, but Alanna calls after her, "Isella, can you bring the reports from last night? I'd like to get started on them as soon as I've had my tea."

Isella turns back to her, a hesitant, almost embarrassed expression on her face (though that doesn't seem to mean much, since that's the expression she's almost always wearing). "Majesty...I brought those in ten minutes ago. They're right there, waiting at the back of your desk."

Irritated, Alanna looks where Isella indicates, ready to deny that there's any such thing there, but she sees that her aide is, indeed, correct. Though a flash of anger and exasperation flashes across her face, she keeps her voice calm as she replies, "Of course. My apologies. Please make sure that everything is ready for this afternoon's inspection of the granaries."

After the door shuts behind Isella, Alanna pulls the reports over to her and sighs sadly, shaking her head. "By the Gods...if I can't even remember what my own poor aide has already brought me, maybe I really am getting too old for this..."

She stands and looks out her window, the window with the best view in the whole city. In the foreground rise the lower towers of the Palace, with the spearpoints of the guards on the Palace wall winking in the sun. Beyond them, she can see the mansions and gardens of the nobility who make their homes here in Askileon. There is one garden she always particularly loves to look down on—it is entirely walled off, so the only people who can ever see it are those in the mansion that surrounds it on all four sides, and those high enough in the Palace above it that they can look down over the wall. It has a beautiful floral clock, with different flowers in bloom at each hour of the day, and there are children who play in it that Alanna has watched grow from toddlers from her high vantage point. Beyond the noble section of the city, the window looks down on a district of warehouses and sailors' inns, and then on the harbour, with hundreds of masts rising to the sky in echo of the towers and spires on the hill above. And beyond that...the sea, stretching out from here to Giask, which, on clear days, she fancies she can see the highest towers of.

"My city," she murmurs. "My people. My realm...but are they truly mine anymore? The Lurian Hegemony is a glorious jewel, and a mighty empire, but it is not the Pian en Luries I once ruled, and loved. Though I am once again respected, and even loved by some, rather than being vilified by all at the behest of the usurper Koli and his supporters, I am still a relic of the past. There is none but me remaining here that can remember the reign of Kaennji the Sickly, the dukeship of Proslyn, or the founding of Shadovar, and precious few who can recall the strife within Pian en Luries caused by Katayanna, Zile, or even Gwendolyn Elorie and Loathin."

Alanna closes her eyes, sighing, and touches the memories of those times—the good and the bad both. Then, opening them again, she draws the curtain across the view, and turns back to her desk.

"Perhaps it is time," she says, a tear glistening in one corner of her eye, "to think of passing on for good the burden of holding Luria together, and standing for Luria against the world. Perhaps it is rest."
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 08:15:07 PM by Anaris »
Timothy Collett

"The only thing you can't trade for your heart's your heart." "You are what you do.  Choose again, and change." "One of these days, someone's gonna plug you, and you're going to die saying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"  ~ Miles Naismith Vorkosigan