Queen Euphonia

The story goes that Queen Euphonia, the ninth queen was so beautiful and so wise that each of Vanaprimax’s children attempted to seduce her. They did so not because of their father’s directive, but because of her incredible allure, which transcended that of any human they had witnessed before.

Onosang, who watched her, at first, from afar, fell in love with the way she observed the world around her. A mere glance told her everything she needed to know. She learned faces and surroundings with equal ease. When she walked through a room, she gave the impression that she knew the location of everyone and everything within it, without having to spare them a second glance.

She moved with an assurance Onosang had never seen in a human woman. It is said that he envied her, for though he had two and nine eyes, her grasp of what she had seen gave the illusion of surpassing his own. He wished for her to bear his child, a child that would see the world with her skill and his power.

Yet when he tried to enter her court, she saw him, and knew him for who he was. The nobles of her court allowed him entry, believing his guise and accepting him as a foreign ambassador, yet Euphonia never fell prey to his deception. She questioned him, probed him, and, finding his story lacking, banished him from her home, never giving him the chance to meet her carnally.

Sophonalia heard of Euphonia from her brother, and, disbelieving that a human could be as beautiful as he described, vowed to witness Euphonia for herself. Sophonalia entered the Queen’s palace in the form of a humble servant, a young man with ice-blue eyes and a muscled body covered fine skin.

It is said that, when her eyes fell upon Euphonia, Sophonalia gasped. Sophonalia, who treasures beauty above all things, fell in love with Euphonia on sight: the strong line of her jaw, the grey-violet of Euphonia’s eyes, her sonorous voice, the perfect curve of the Queen’s breasts, the soft lushness of her lips — all this, and more, drew Sophonalia to her as surely as her brother before her.

For months, Sophonalia labored in the Queen’s palace, working up trust, so that she, as a beautiful young man, could draw close to the Queen. Yet when she found herself in the Queen’s bedchamber, naked and waiting when Euphonia came to sleep, the Queen only laughed at her and turned her away. Her ploy, said the Queen, was far too transparent, and her body and face too beautiful to be believed. She had known Sophonalia the moment she saw her.

Kiraimorvid, amused at the failures of his siblings, promised them that he could do better. He needed only breath upon the Queen, and she would fall prey to a lustful desire for him. To that end, he killed the singer in a band of travelling minstrels, and entered her palace wearing the man’s face. He sang for the Queen and her court. With every breath, he unleashed passion into the air, inflaming the desires of nobles and servants alike.

To his surprise, she joined him in his song, and her voice was strong and pure and full of just as much passion as his own. By the end of the last verse, it was he who loved her, for it seemed to him that it was her song, and not his breath, that brought the nobles to tears over their performance.

As the other nobles paired off, coasting on the fumes of Kiraimorvid’s breath of passion, Kiraimorvid attempted to persuade the Queen to join him in her bedroom. She took his arm in hers, and thanked him for his performance. It is said he regarded her in shock as she explained that she had not had such fun in years, then casually dismissed him, with a wink that told him that she surely knew his identity.

Volphyret, it is said, hear her brother speak longingly of the Queen’s song, wishing that he could hear it but once more. He said it was sweeter and lighter than birdsong, and that no mere avian could compare. Intrigued and oddly angered by his insinuation, Volphyret went to Queen Euphonia’s palace as a homeless petitioner, a young woman with a dirty face and simple, handmade clothes.

On the first day of each month, Euphonia listened to the woes of her people. Volphyret waited in line until she could speak to the Queen. When it came her time to speak to the Queen, she told Euphonia she had long admired the Queen’s grace and beauty, and had heard that the Queen had a lovely voice which lent itself to song. She asked to hear the Queen sing.

With a smile, he Queen obliged her, and the same song which had entranced her brother drew Volphyret to Euphonia as well. Yet Volphyret, among the dragons, had never been the best planner. When Euphonia asked from whom Volphyret had heard of her voice, Volphyret had no good answer, and truly, her designs contained no end which resulted in her bedding the Queen. She left believing that the Queen had recognized her as one of her kin, if not exactly which one.

Talonile discovered the Queen not by word of her siblings, with whom she rarely communicated, but through the Queen’s own actions. Ever daring and unafraid, Queen Euphonia set sail across the Dragon Sea, an act that saved her months of travel time in visiting another ruler but which her advisors assured her would ensure her death. The Dragon Sea, even in Euphonia’s time, was full of Talonile’s kindred and known to be home of Talonile herself.

Talonile rose from the depths ahead of Queen Euphonia’s craft. Euphonia’s crew quailed and shook at the sight of the dragon’s face, larger than their ship by several times, but Euphonia walked to the bow and demanded to know what the dragon wanted. Impressed by the Queen’s boldness, Talonile promised that she would allow the Queen to pass without harm if she allowed Talonile to bed her. If not, Talonile would destroy the craft and all of its crew.

Euphonia, it is said, smiled at Talonile, meeting her eyes. Talonile fell in love with her bravery, for no human had stood against her with such aplomb in all the centuries of Talonile’s rule over the dragon sea. Euphonia refused Talonile’s invitation, and told her this: that if she killed Euphonia, she would meet with the ill will of at least four of her own siblings, whose heart the Queen was sure she had taken.

Talonile allowed her to pass, and convened a gathering of her siblings. Five, now, had failed in an attempt to seduce the woman. Casting their bodies aside, for a time, they met in human form. Onosang, Sophonalia, Kiraimorvid, and Volphyret spoke of Euphonia with voices full of respect and ardor, confirming what she had told Talonile. This further cemented Talonile’s impression of the woman.

To none of their surprise, Krrgotst had never heard of the Queen. He rarely involved himself in human affairs, and he had as little to do with humans as possible, leaving his siblings to do the work of their conversion while he focused on animals and plant life. He did agree that, for a human, she sounded appealing, and so at the urging of his siblings, he assented to at least meeting her.

Essalam knew of her, as he knew of all the humans across Draevum in positions of power. Her assent to power intrigued him, as did her decisions and her statecraft. He, too, agreed to approach her, if only to gain knowledge of an influential figure for inclusion in the Diamond Library.

Ivresaiad had heard of the Queen in his carousing about the kingdoms of man, though he had never entered her court. The thought of competing to seduce her intrigued him, though his siblings assured him that was not what they were doing. Nonetheless, he insisted upon it, labeling it as a game they must play together as a family. His demeanor soured his siblings to him, and they looked on him — and themselves — with disgust thereafter, though they did not change their path.

Hierosal, when it came his turn to speak, revealed that he knew the Queen well. In fact, he claimed, he had been a part of her court for years, in the guise of an advisor. He loved her already, for her grasp on her country was firm, and her laws were just and well-established. His guidance had been light, for she had a firm grasp on what she wanted to do as a ruler, and she achieved the goals she set for herself without need of his aid.

Onosang, Sophonalia, and Kiraimorvid questioned him heavily: Had he known of their efforts involving the Queen? Why had he not revealed himself to them earlier? He told them he hadn’t wished for them to interfere with his ambitions regarding Euphonia and her country, and that it seemed to him that each time a dragon came into her court and failed, it only served to hide his presence further, since he had been so long amongst the humans in the Queen’s service.

Hierosal’s siblings grumbled, but accepted his explanation. In return, they forced him to be the point of entry into her court for his three remaining siblings. Krrgotst, Essalam, and Ivresaiad posed as Hierosal’s human family members: Krrgotst as his sister, Essalam as his brother-in-law, and Ivresaiad as his nephew, all of whom, in the tale they spun, had been displaced from their home and now came to live with their only remaining family.

The Queen took note of the change in Hierosal, once his family came to live with him. She asked why he seemed so dour all the time, a question which he deferred, fearing that if he gave an answer too close to the truth, the Queen, with her strong powers of observation and deduction, would see through their lie. He hated the game his siblings were forcing him to play, for if any one of them revealed themself, it was likely that all of them would be revealed.

Krrgotst placed himself among the women of the Queen’s court, who, as the traditions of the time dictated, amused themselves with womanly pursuits: painting, flower arranging, sewing, calligraphy, and knitting. The Queen occasionally joined them, though to Krrgotst it was clear that she did so to maintain a social connection with the women, and not because she took particular joy in such tasks.

Krrgotst fell in love with the Queen’s body and her bearing, but not because of her grace or her beauty. She was a strong woman, with a full bosom, and of good health. Her grace, which Sophonalia loved, came from power. She would, Krrgotst believe, make a caring, nurturing mother. But Krrgotst waited to make his move.

Essalam found a place among the Queen’s loremasters, who taught the children of the nobility and the servants who resided in the castle. He loved her for creating the position, for though he had seen tutors in the past among a ruler’s servants, rarely had he seen a structure which allowed for their education to be as broadly accessible. Children of even commoners who worked in the Queen’s palace were sent to the loremasters during the day for instruction.

Ivresaiad ruined the ploy for all of them. Always outgoing and rambunctious, within the first two months of his residence in the Queen’s palace, he allowed his powers to seep free from his body in the midst of a banquet. It is said he was struck by the beauty of the Queen’s smile as she drank from her glass of wine at the head table, and that he knew he could wait no longer to make his attempt.

His power washed through all those present in the banquet hall, intoxicating them and weakening their coordination and their inhibitions. He approached Euphonia brazenly, whispering in her ear that he had been watching her since he had arrived in the castle, and that he couldn’t constrain his desire anymore.

Frowning, the Queen looked down at her wine and saw that she had consumed less than one full cup. Yet her head felt clouded and foggy, and she very nearly let assent escape her lips. She stopped herself, stood, and announced to those gathered that there was yet another of the dragons present in her home.

The servants panicked and fled. The nobles gasped, following behind them. The Queen, and her guards, drew their swords. Ivresaiad laughed at the idea that these humans, with their simple blades, could harm him, but to his surprise, Euphonia laughed back at him. She chastised him for his stupidity in attempting to seduce her, and she called out to his siblings, who she now knew must be dragons as well.

Ivresaiad attacked her. Her knights lept to defend her, but she shouted for them to leave her be, for she wanted to face him on her own. Ivresaiad’s exuberance took over him, and he struck at her with blow after blow. With each blow she parried, and each swipe of her sword she landed in turn, he grew more fascinated by her. His siblings looked on: Essalam in disappointment, Krrgotst in bemusement, and Hierosal in righteous fury, for his brother had destroyed a plan years in the making.

Just as Ivresaiad would have struck the finishing blow, Hierosal struck him from behind, with a sword taken from one of the Queen’s own guards. He slew Ivresaiad’s human avatar, banishing him back to his own body. Then he departed, dragging his siblings with him and leaving Queen Euphonia injured, but alive.

The Queen recovered, and throughout her reign and beyond, people told the story of the Queen who attracted, and spurned, the dragons.

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