This week’s flash fiction is about Dairdra and Orian from the Throne of War series. Enjoy!

~~~

Dairdra ran her fingers through the inch of warm water in the tub, watched the hot water cascade from the tap. How long had it been since she’d really enjoyed life? And how long had it been since she’d laughed so much in a day? With a man, no less. 

She’d thought the part of her that could enjoy a man’s company like that was long dead. After all, it hadn’t made an appearance since Crypt’s death four years ago. She’d resumed her duties as Queen and had taken onto her shoulders the role her husband should’ve had, and no one had questioned the pieces of her heart that were missing. Some days, those pieces, which were firmly planted in the Second Life when Crypt died, warred with the pieces of her heart that were still solidly attached to this world. 

No one had pushed her to pursue a match in the first year or so, but now everyone kept hinting at it, kept introducing her to different eligible bachelors. Why not? She was old enough to wed and finally hand over her extra duties to someone fit to shoulder them. But did she want to?

Not particularly. The reasons for that were a jumble though. First, she didn’t want to marry after losing Crypt. Her insecurities and fears of losing any new lover were too great. Second, she wasn’t sure if she would be happy taking the more traditional roles a Queen took, and she was certain that few of the men she’d met so far would be happy if she wanted equality in ruling the kingdom. 

But now all of those reasons were in a tangled mess at the bottom of her heart. Orian–the dark-haired, blue-eyed devil–was the man responsible for shaking her foundations and causing her to question what she really wanted. He had brought to life parts of her that she thought were well and truly dead. Somehow, though, he had done the impossible and had raised her battered heart’s hopes. 

She pulled her hand out of the bathwater with a groan. Claudius would love this. He’d be ringing the wedding bells with no further ado if she told him Orian had caught her eye. In fact, she was fairly certain her head councilor had been just waiting for her to take a shine to the prince since his arrival four months ago. Of course, if she was to allow Orian the chance to publicly court her, as he’d requested, she’d have to get the Council’s permission, and that meant informing Claudius.

She shook her head and began to strip. Well, it was an issue that would have to be dealt with eventually. She needed a partner and someone who would help her shoulder the burden. The crown was a heavy, lonely duty, and though she loved her people dearly, she was finally ready to admit that she wanted someone beside her. Just so long as that someone didn’t think she’d be happy with being demoted to silent supporter and mother. But she was fairly sure Orian wasn’t the sort to react to her that way. And if he was, she could always kick him back through the Gate he’d been sent through.

That was it, then. In the morning, she would tell the Council she intended to give Orian a chance. Sighing, she settled down into the bath. Until then, she would let the warm water soothe her troubled mind and her fearful heart. No sense in losing a good night’s sleep over this.

~~~

I hope you all enjoyed it! If you have something you’d like to see or a character you want to see more about in the flash fiction Friday posts, feel free to leave the suggestion in the comments or send me an email! I’m always open to hearing what you all are interested in reading.

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