A Queen's Ascension - War:Part Twelve
"I have always dreamed of becoming your queen, ever since I was a little girl.” Princess Vyssa announced to the huge crowd of Neopets, a mixture of ordinary civilians and esteemed nobles, who were watching her public coronation intently. “Perhaps some of you will remember when I was declared heir to the throne by my father shortly before his death. Understandably, my father was not expected to die so soon after this – and I was but a child. It was then that Amira was declared heir. Princess Amira was a stable and peaceful ruler; she would have been the same as a queen. An old Sakhmetian law created at the time of Sakhmet’s origin prevented her from becoming queen without a king beside her. Because of this, Frezon was able to manipulate his way into the palace, and control her using a potion.”
There were murmurs amongst the crowd at this comment, with many realising that all their questions were finally being answered.
“At the time, the palace was unaware that this was Amira under the control of a spell. 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.” Vyssa paused, for a moment hating herself and the advisors and senators for not realising sooner that something was clearly wrong, that Amira would never have done this. “Too late, I realised that this was not the sister I knew. With the help of my friend Tomos, as well as King Jazan and Queen Nabile we went out and searched for a potion to cure Amira of whatever this affliction was.”
The crowd were listening to her every word, in awe of the story. She knew how important it was that the people knew the real story, that they shouldn’t be kept in the dark.
“But we were tricked ourselves. Thinking we had found a kind potion mistress, we brought back a potion for Amira. The potion mistress was Frezon and Sankara’s mother, Morgana. The potion caused the death of Amira. I…” It was still a struggle to say it. “I gave that potion to Amira, thinking it would cure her. But it – didn’t.” Her voice was starting to break and she had to take a few deep breaths. “I will never forgive myself for my actions. But we were tricked. And Frezon knew this, as did Sankara. It was all part of Sankara’s plan. Both Amira and I were out of the line of succession.”
As she continued the story of how she had ended up here, Vyssa felt like a huge weight was being lifted from her shoulders. It felt so good to tell everyone the truth, to let everyone hear it and make their own judgements from it. She could feel the crowd’s support and she had never felt such relief in her life. They were still going to accept her. It really was going to all be okay.
Sitting atop the great steps in stands built just for this occasion, a couple of metres or so from the guards, were powerful figures from all across Neopia. Queen Fyora of Faerieland herself was sitting in one of the seats, next to Jeran of Meridell. Princess Terrana, dressed in her armour, was a radiant figure. The stands were full of these famous, influential individuals. Sitting closest to the guards was Queen Nabile and King Jazan. Her face, though she was trying to remain composed, certainly held a composure that was transparent at times, revealing pride and happiness.
Finishing the tale, Vyssa took a deep breath before continuing to talk. “To oversee the coronation, I have selected someone who helped me during these tough times. Without them, I would not be standing where I am right now. They are the bravest Neopet I’ve ever met, as well as quick-thinking. A lot of the ideas that helped us along the way came from home. No one deserves this position more.” She announced. Her nerves had long since dissipated; this speech needed to be heard. Everyone needed to appreciate him.
In the stands, King Jazan and Queen Nabile exchanged a knowing glance. Jazan’s arm was around Nabile, holding her close, and they looked peaceful and happy. Nabile, hearing Vyssa’s words, was looking particularly pleased, growing excited at the thought of her friend.
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, realising how similar this picture was to Frezon’s coronation, when it had been Sankara under that cloak. That seemed like a long time ago now, long before her tyrannical reign. As the figure reached the top, they turned around to face the crowd and dropped their cloak.
“Tomos!” Nabile shrieked in joy, unable to help herself.
The crowd also reacted with elation. Cheers erupted, reaching unbelievable levels of volume. Tomos stood in his normal attire – Vyssa had explained to him that a new outfit would be designed especially, one of great extravagance and display, but he had noted the current financial issues with the Sakhmetian Bank and felt his own clothes were a better reflection of himself. Vyssa, who had ordered the elaborate gown she had on now, had felt very guilty at these words, promising herself this was her last vain purchase for good.
Vyssa raised her hands and, eventually, silence fell. “Thank you for receiving him so well. I know that our story has certainly been floating around, turning into something of a legend, of which I am very grateful. But I often hear of myself – or indeed Frezon, or Sankara.” At those names, there was a distinct feel of uncomfortableness around the crowd. Vyssa carried on. “I do not want their names to be forgotten – I certainly don’t want myself forgotten! It is important for history, and future generations, that we never forget what has occurred here. Indeed, because of this, one of my first duties as queen will be to appoint an official historian, from the end of the reign of my father, King Coltzan III, to the de facto reign of my sister as Princess, to King Frezon, Queen Sankara and my coronation. This historian will be from Brightvale to avoid as much bias as possible. I am also commissioning a painting of my coronation to hang in the throne room, which will be opened to the public for tours during mornings.”
Before she could carry on, the crowd had begun cheering once more, appreciating what she was doing. It was something she felt very strongly about, keeping an accurate record and history of all that had occurred in the past twenty five years.
“Thank you.” She said. “I promise to be a stable ruler, and ensure a lineage that will avoid the succession crisis we have had these past few years. With the law on female succession gone, this will never happen again. Now –” She turned to Tomos. “This is who I wanted to talk about. This is another name I do not want forgotten. Tomos will feature majorly in this History of Sakhmet and the Lost Desert, because if it weren’t for him, and King Jazan, and Queen Nabile, Sankara would still be your queen right now.”
She continued, discussing Tomos from the day she had met him, to the events leading up to her coronation right now. Pride shone from her voice and it was clear to everyone how much he meant to her. At the end of her speech there was a huge round of applause, leaving Tomos to feel quite embarrassed, but happy.
“Thank you for that speech, Vyssa. And for receiving me so well, everyone,” said Tomos, “and understanding all that has happened with such good grace and patience. But Princess Vyssa diminishes her own importance – without her, I would have just been some random Lupe with half decent ideas that never came to fruition. She was the driving force behind everything, she was the one who sought to change things for the better.” Next to him, Vyssa was blushing. “Thank you again.”
“With that, we shall begin the coronation!” Vyssa declared hurriedly.
Tomos went into the palace and emerged with the crown of Sakhmet, walking slowly towards Vyssa before stopping in front of her, his back to the crowd.
“Vyssa, is your Majesty willing to take the Oath?” Tomos asked solemnly, beginning the Coronation Oath. His voice was slightly hoarse from nerves of remembering the speech correctly. Sakhmet was silent, listening.
“I am willing.” Vyssa answered confidently.
Tomos 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.” Tomos bowed his head.
Vyssa stared at her father’s chair for a moment, then sat down slowly, in slight disbelief. She sat with her back straight against it, then let out a breath it felt like she had been holding for a long time. She was sitting on the throne. She was about to be crowned queen. Part of her was unbelievably excited, another part was unbelievably nauseous. The guards placed the orb and sceptre in her hands as Tomos walked behind the chair and raised the crown above her.
“I now pronounce you Queen Vyssa of Sakhmet.” Tomos announced, and he placed the crown upon her head.
The crowd applauded, the nobles and royalty applauded (King Jazan and Queen Nabile’s loudest of all) and Queen Vyssa finally allowed herself to relax, just ever so slightly. She was queen. She had done it. She had done it!
Tomos smiled, practically stretching from ear to ear. She was queen, he thought. Everything was going to be okay.
Vyssa looked out at the crowds of people cheering and celebrating. Most were clapping and joyfully calling her name, others were dancing in little groups and the children were playing, simply appreciating more friends for the day. Everyone was happy. She could feel the positive energy throwing itself at her, making her feel both humble and proud at the same time. These were her people now. She was their queen. It had finally happened. Everything she had dreamed of for so long had come true.
Her eyes were suddenly brimming with tears. It had taken a lot to get where she was now. Had it really been almost two years since Amira’s death? She could scarcely believe it. Sakhmet, and indeed the Lost Desert, had endured a very tumultuous time, but it had gotten through. Amira would have been proud. And Vyssa realised, as tears began to fall from her face that her sister would have been a really good queen, too. It didn’t matter that Amira hadn’t wanted to do it – she would have done it, and she would have done a brilliant job. Perhaps she had simply been trying to protect her.
The crowd, beginning to notice her tears, stopped its celebration for a moment. Neopets stared up at Vyssa first with a look of confusion, and then one of understanding. To Vyssa’s amazement, one by one each Neopet in the crowd joined hands and held them up to show her they understood she was mourning her sister, and that they were still mourning her too.
Tomos put his hand on her shoulder gently. He didn’t need to say anything. Vyssa looked at him and found herself smiling. Mimicking the crowd in front of her, she took Tomos’ hand and held it up into the air. Behind them, Nabile and Jazan and the other esteemed nobles were doing the same thing. Queen Fyora was holding hands with Jeran, who was holding hands with King Roo. It was a great moment of solidarity, an acknowledgement of all the Lost Desert had been through and the help it had needed too. There was cheering from the citizens once more.
“We did it, Vyssa,” Tomos said quietly, so only she could hear. “Look at what we have achieved. For your sister, for your father. For Sakhmet, the Lost Desert and Neopia itself.”
She squeezed his hand gratefully. “Thank you, Tomos.” She murmured. “You have done so much for me and given me so much. I would not be the person I am today without you. You were my first real friend. No –” She stopped, and sighed. “That’s not quite right. I did have a friend before you. But you were the first friend I thought I had. I was young, and naïve, and I didn’t get to appreciate all that my sister really did for me. But I can do that for you.” With that, she hugged him, leading to more cheers and calls of a jokey manner from the crowds.
As they broke apart, Tomos looked serious. “I know Amira knew how you really felt about her. And I feel the same way about you. Thank you, Vyssa. You are going to be the queen that this city really needs. The bad times are gone, and we can look to the future now.”
“Yes, we can.” Vyssa agreed. She reached up tentatively and touched her crown. She still couldn’t believe they had done it, beaten Sankara against all the odds. “To the future!” She shouted.
The crowd echoed her. “To the future! To the future!”
“To the future!” Tomos cried.
“To the future! Long live the queen! Long live the queen!”
Within the royal tomb, a great red light was shining, growing stronger each second. It was a sight unseen by everyone, each guard positioned at the coronation. The usually lit candles remained dark, smelling faintly of smoke. But the red light lit up the entire room, rendering them useless. It was coming from Princess Amira’s necklace, sending off heat as well as rays. If anyone had been listening, the sound of a distant humming could be heard, deep and constant, almost comforting. After a few minutes of this intense brightness, it suddenly stopped, plunging the room into darkness once more. The necklace was normal. Everything was as it should be.
Until, seconds later, Princess Amira opened her eyes with a gasp.
To Be Continued In: A Queen’s Ascension – Sisters!