A Queen's Ascension - Justice: Part One
This is the sequel to the original series A Queen’s Ascension. It is advisable that you read that one first before this one, but it is not necessary.
"It is with both great sadness and joy that I accept this crown today.” Prince Frezon announced to the huge crowd of Neopets, a mixture of ordinary civilians and esteemed nobles, who were watching his public coronation intently. “Princess Amira’s shocking, unexpected death at the hands of her sister Vyssa will never be forgotten. I know that Amira will be watching this right now, comforted by the knowledge I will lead the kingdom of Sakhmet with a fair and powerful hand.”
There were murmurs amongst the crowd at this comment, with many wondering precisely who this prince was that would suddenly be their king, and others questioning how they were going to cope with the fact Amira was gone and Vyssa was the criminal responsible.
It had all come as an immediate shock. Everyone knew that Princess Amira was supposed to have been crowned as Queen of Sakhmet this very day, but fewer knew that in order for this to happen she had to find a suitor who would rule alongside her. An old Sakhmetian law that had been put in place to establish the security of the original king’s heir to the throne, his son, had remained. For there to be a Queen of Sakhmet, there must be a King. Princess Amira had been notorious for her rejection of suitors and this continued even when she was made aware of this law.
Despite her advisors’ advice, she continued to steadfastly refuse potential suitors, rejecting them even without consideration eventually. She experienced a dramatic change in personality which seemed almost bored with the whole situation and offered her support for Prince Frezon to take the throne. This had remained private knowledge, only known to those who worked in the Royal Palace. No one wanted to let the public know Princess Amira had basically given up her right to the throne.
As Prince Frezon stood outside the palace looking down at what were to become his subjects, he could not help but grin. He was an intimidating Desert Lupe, scarred from the many battles he had undertaken in his younger years to rescue his home city of Khamtef. He was the handsome younger brother of Queen Sankara, who ruled over Khamtef and was banished from Sakhmet for assassinating King Coltzan III. It had been her plan all along to crown Prince Frezon as King of Sakhmet and today, her plan was coming to fruition.Little did the people of Sakhmet know this most hated queen was actually among them in the crowds right now, hidden under a cloak, waiting for her brother to announce her arrival. What she had planned for so many years was actually happening. She was giddy with excitement.
For Prince Frezon, under the strict instruction of Queen Sankara, had tricked Vyssa into poisoning Princess Amira, making sure in one fell swoop that both sisters were out of the picture and out of the way of the throne. He did not want there to be any threat to his kingship and had succeeded in the most devious way possible. Now the crown of Sakhmet was his, and his alone, and it was finally his coronation today.
He stared out at the crowds of people formed around the base of the steps of the palace. The markets had all been closed for today and it seemed everyone had come out to witness the crowning of the new king. It was going to be a strange sight for everyone that their king would not be a King Coltzan; stranger still that it would not be Queen Amira. No one considered the possibility of a Queen Vyssa – everyone’s perception of her had changed dramatically from hearing the news of her culpability in Amira’s murder. She had gone from the spoilt little princess to full blown criminal, and perhaps it said a lot about the city that while the people were in immense shock, they were not fearful that the last link to the original line of the throne had been lost. Queen Vyssa, it seemed, had never been seriously considered by the people as an option.
“Princess Amira was a beautiful, talented young Neopet. I’m sure she would have been a great queen to you all. I know that Sakhmet will continue to thrive in her memory. Her sister, Vyssa, will appear in front of the Sakhmetian Court next week, which I will be heading as judge. She will pay for what she has done to the shining star of the Lost Desert.”
At this, Frezon’s words erupted a great cheer from the crowds. People were beginning to believe that perhaps Frezon was not a bad solution, and in fact he was going to be a great king. He stood above them all in such a confident, proud manner that it was hard not to feel safe. And justice was to be delivered to the traitor Vyssa.
It would usually be at this moment that the senators would come out with the orb and sceptre to place into the new king’s hands. Instead, and to a few elderly members of the crowd’s surprise (who could still remember the coronation of King Coltzan III), large Grarrl guards came out, suited in heavy armour that was unlike the usual Sakhmetian guard dress. They stood on either side of Prince Frezon, who remained standing in front of the great throne of Sakhmet, which had been brought outside for this grand ceremony to be held in public.
Sitting atop the great steps in stands built just for this occasion, a couple of metres or so from each guard, were powerful figures from all across Neopia. Queen Fyora of Faerieland had sent Aethia the Battle Faerie to represent her. She was sitting cross-legged with her arms folded, but her face held a warm smile. She was next to Jeran of Meridell, who seemed more interested in the two swords she always carried around with her than the coronation itself. The stands were full of these famous, influential individuals. Sitting closest to the guards was Queen Nabile, who had been sent to represent King Jazan and Qasala. Her face, though she was trying to remain composed, certainly held a composure that was transparent at times, revealing worry and discomfort.
The Neopet in charge of the coronation changed with each one, and was usually a representative of the Lost Desert. They were selected by the council every time before, but in this case Frezon had made the decision.
“To oversee this wonderful ceremony, I have selected a person who has guided their own city to greatness within the Lost Desert. They are strong, and noble, and brave. They have been misunderstood. But they should be forgiven, and the past forgotten.” Frezon announced, his voice carrying across the huge crowd. The nobles and royalty in the stands exchanged looks with one another.
Everyone believed this to be King Jazan. Even Nabile was beginning to look confused, knowing for sure she had left him behind in Qasala.
A Neopet hidden under a hooded cloak began making their way past the guards and up the great steps. The crowds became silent, watching, waiting. As the figure reached the top, they turned around to face the crowd and dropped their cloak.
“Sankara!” Nabile gasped out loud, unable to help herself.
The crowd also reacted with horror. Even the younger generation, who had never seen Sankara in their lives, gasped in astonishment as they had heard the story. This was the same Sankara who had poisoned their King Coltzan III. Jeers began being shouted, boos began echoing across Sakhmet.
Prince Frezon raised his hands and, eventually, silence fell. “I am aware this is a difficult revelation for you all to take in. You all found it in your hearts to forgive King Jazan for his actions. I am only wishing the same for my sister, who has brought Khamtef so much prosperity, saving it from certain doom. She has changed her ways. She is a proud, respectable queen in her own right now. She wishes no harm to Sakhmet; indeed the opposite. She wishes to see it flourish. As her brother, I am the first to forgive her for what she has done. I hope you all have good in your hearts to do the same.”
This received disgruntled murmurs from the crowd, and frowns from the nobles. It would certainly take a long time for any of them to even consider forgiveness, but for Frezon, at least this was not more shouting and booing.
Queen Sankara had been standing with a neutral look on her face this whole time. Seeing her stood there was disconcerting for some people. She and Princess Amira looked remarkably alike, though Sankara’s hair was rich ebony whilst Amira’s was more like hazelnut. But they were both beautiful, both Aishas, both wore similar clothing. It was hard to disconnect the two, and the crowd found themselves warming to Sankara despite everything, just because she felt like a connection to their lost queen.
“Thank you for accepting my presence here, people of Sakhmet,” said Queen Sankara, “and understanding the changes I have gone through as a person. I am different now, and I understand fully that what I did here was wrong. I have no excuses. I was selfish. But I will stay here for a while so that I can make things right. Thank you again.”
A few younger Neopets clapped; the older generation still needed more convincing.
“With that, we shall begin the coronation!” Frezon declared.
Queen Sankara went into the palace and emerged with the crown of Sakhmet, walking slowly towards Frezon before stopping in front of him, her back to the crowd.
“Frezon, is your Majesty willing to take the Oath?” Sankara asked solemnly, beginning the Coronation Oath. Sakhmet was silent, listening.
“I am willing.” Frezon answered.
Sankara continued, “Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the Neopets of Sakhmet of the Lost Desert and Neopia, and of your Possessions and the other Territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to its respective laws and customs?”
“I solemnly promise to do so.”
“Will you to your power cause Law and Justice, in Mercy, to be executed in all your judgements?”
“You may sit in King Coltzan’s chair.” Sankara bowed her head.
Frezon sat down slowly, enjoying the moment. He gripped the sides of the chair and sat with his back straight up against the back of the chair. The guards placed the orb and sceptre in his hands as Sankara walked behind the chair and raised the crown above him.
“I now pronounce you King Frezon I of Sakhmet.” Sankara announced, and she placed the crown upon his head.
The crowd applauded, the nobles and royalty applauded (although Queen Nabile’s claps were a little muted) and King Frezon I finally allowed himself to smile. He was king. He had done it.
Sankara smiled too. He was king, she thought. Her plan was going well.
To be continued…