#4-"The Council Of Five Queens"©

Crown Princess Skoriana made sure everything was in order in the Fifth Queendom, then placed her husband Crown Prince Tempae in charge. She had waited as long as she could, but a Council of the Five Queens could not be delayed any longer. She flew to the Royal Palace and found her Mother, Queen Skoria. Skoria said: “What can I do for you Skoriana? It seems you never come to see me any more unless you want something!” She answered: “I am sorry Mother, but you are right. It is time to hold the ‘Council of the Five Queens’. I have waited as long as I can, but we must meet now. I will send a Larinna to each of the other four Queens, and have Ambassador Carpenter pick them up with one of his shuttles. I wanted you to know what is going on, so you will have time to prepare. The council will be in five days!”

Queen Skoria said: “This is the first time a Princess has called a ‘Council of the Queens’. Or does this mean that you are taking my place?” Shoriana replied: “No Mother, you will remain Queen until you are ready to step down. I will be taking my place as High Queen of Dracorma, as you know, I must stand before the five Queens to do so. I will have more than enough to do, without taking your place as well.” Skoria knew this day was coming, but she had hoped Skoriana would wait until it was time for her to become Queen of the Fifth Queendom. She said: “I think the Queens will cause problems and refuse to come if a Princess calls them, I will send a note with your Larinna requesting this council.”

After she had her mother’s note, Skoriana went to her private tower and gathered her Larinnas. She said: “Well sisters, the day has finally come. Esilla, go to Ambassador Carpenter and hav him take you to each of the four Queens, show them this note from Queen Skoria, and bring them back with you to the Royal Palace!” Esilla took the note and left for Porterville. Then Skoriana turned back to the others and said: “I have taught you enough for you to begin teaching the people. Be prepaired to leave with each of the Queens after the council, five of you will go to each queendom.” then she turned and left.

When Esilla reached Carpenter’s office, she said: “Ambassador, Princess Skoriana requests a shuttle to pick up the four Queens. We must leave immediatly, we will go to Queen Tamar in the First Queendom.” He said: “There is a shuttle ready for the Princess’ use, come with me Miss.” When they reached the shuttles Carpenter went to Captain Black and said: “Black, get in your shuttle, we’ve got a trip to make!” He asked: “Where to Sir?” Carpenter replied: “Isinn Bay, Queen Tamar’s Palace.” Shortly they were in the air and headed north. On the way Carpenter asked: “Miss, can you tell me what this is all about?” She said: “My name is Esilla, Ambassador. I am gathering the Queens for a ‘Council of the Queens’.”

Carpenter quietly said almost to himself: “Just when things were going so well, I was afraid this would happen. Well Princess Skoriana has helped me more than any of the other Royals ever have, we can only hope she will do as good now as Dracorma’s High Queen!” Esilla layed her hand on Carpenter’s and said: “Ambassador, why are you worried? Princess Skorianna is a very wise and powerful woman. This council is only a formality, she is really High Queen already!” He said: “Yes Miss Esilla, I know that is true.”

Late that afternoon they arrived at Isinn Bay and walked the short distance to the Palace. They were met by a servant who after seeing Esilla’s note from Queen Skoria said: “Queen Tanar cannot be reached this evening. You must wait until morning! Come to the kitchen, I will see that you are given dinner and a room for the night.” They followed the servent and sat at a large oak table. Shortly a couple servant girls brought a dinner for them that was fit for a Queen. When they had eaten all they could, they were shown to rooms on the second story overlooking the bay.

The next morning they were called to stand before the Queen and King in their throne room. As they entered the throne room, Captain Black and Ambassador Carpenter waited near the back of the room as Esilla walked forward to stand before the Queen. Captain Black stood staring at her, she was the most beautiful Dracormian woman he had seen. He wondered if there was any way he could be allowed to continue seeing her, he thought she looked as royal as any of the Princesses.

Queen Tamar said: “What is so important that you have been sent to speak to us?” She said: “My name is Esilla, I am on of the Larinna Princess Skoriana has been training. I have been sent to bring you to Queen Skoria’s Royal Palace for a ‘Council of the Queens’. We are to travel to Dooneh Point and pick up Queen Siphon next at the Royal Palace of the Third Queendom.” Tamar thoght for a moment and then said: “You should have sent word of this council. Since Queen Skoria has never calleda concil without good reason, I will come! Go back to your ship, I will come as soon as I can.” With that, she and King Karnur stood up and walked out of the room.

When she reached Carpenter and Black, Esilla said: “I am glad that is over, let’s get out of here before she changes her mind.” They walked back to the shuttle and sat down. As they waited for Queen Tamar, Black handed Esilla and Carpenter a cup of coffee. He said: “I think you handled yourself like a Princess, Esilla. Skoriana has taught you well. Has she been teaching you ladies to do all of the strange things she can do?” Esilla replied: “Yes Captain Black, that is what she has been training us to do, so we can teach others in the other four queendoms. She calls us her Larinnas which seems to be a word for ‘Teachers’.”

After a few cups of coffee, Tamar came walking up talking with King Karnur. As she entered the shuttle, he turned and went back to the Palace. She said: “Okay Esilla, let’s get this over with. I don’t have time to be running all over Dracorma!” Captain Black lifted the shuttle up to a flying altitude and headed westward to Dooneh Point. They would reach the Third Queendom’s Royal Palace by noon, if Queen Siphon didn't give Esilla any problems he would be able to reach the Fourth Queendom at sunset.

Captain Black landed his shuttle near the castle, and walked in with his passengers. When the servants saw Queen Tamar they bowed low and the head servant asked: “Queen Tamar, what can we do for you?” She said: “We need to see Queen Siphon, now!” He replied: “Yes my Queen, I will do my best,” then sent one of the others in search of Queen Siphon. Returning he asked: “Who are thse folks you have brought with you Queen Tamar?” Ignoring Carpenter and Black she said: “This is Esilla, one of Skoriana’s Larinnas. She is the reason we are here.” Esilla answered the rest of his question: “This is Earth’s Ambassador Carpenter, and the captain of Skoriana’s shuttle, Captain Black.”

Hearing that Tamar was waiting to see her Siphon left Vorset in charge of settling the peoples complaints and went to see Tamar. As she walked in, she saw Carpenter standing there and said: “What are you doing here Carpenter? Who said you could come here?” Esilla said: “I did! Princess Skoriana and Queen Skoria sent me to bring the Queens to a ‘Council of the Queens’. Ambassador Carpenter is providing our shuttle. With the High Queen’s permission, I will bring whomever I wish with me!” Siphon turned to Tamar and asked: “Well Tamar, what do you have to say?”

Tamar walked up to Siphon and quietly said: “Siphon, Skoria has not called for a council without good cause, that is why I agreed to come. I believe it is best that you come along too. It is Skoriana who is really calling this council, you can bet she is going to place herself as our High Queen. You just heard Larinna Esilla call her ‘High Queen’. Going to this council is the only way we can speak up at all.” Siphon looked at each of them, and then said: “You are right Tamar, okay, I wll come too.” Turning to the servants she said: “Go tell your King I must leave with Tamar. I will be back when I can, the queendom is in his hands until I return.”

Before long they were back in the air and headed for the Fourth Queendom to pick up Queen Celan whose Palace was on the shore of the Stright Of Sarteck. It was getting dark when they landed, and walked into Celan’s Palace. She had received word of their coming and was waiting for them. As they entered Celan said: “Welcome Siphon, Tamar; come with me, we shall feast tonight and talk of business tomorrow!” They followed Celan into a large dining room where Prince Tancor, Princess Mina and some of the Fourth Queendom’s Duchesses and Dukes were already seated. As the three Queens walked in everyone in the room stood up, to have three Queens at once was more than anyone had seen, and a good reason for a feast! This one lasted late into the night.

Duchess Sifeena and Duke Karton of Grett, Duchess Listah and Duke Mentarr of Sarteck and Duchess Coranna and Duke Horan of Lepora were there as was Princess Mina who had been spending time with Prince Tancor, which is how Queen Celan knew in advance the Queens were coming. Mina was closer than a sister to Skoriana, and knew what she was doing before anyone. Now that Skoriana was taking her place as Dracorma’s High Queen, Mina knew it was time for her to talk with Prince Tancor about their marriage.

She turned to Tancor after they were seated and said: “Honey, you know what this ‘Council of the Queens’ is about. It is time we began prepairing for our marriage.” He smiled and asked: “Shall we announce it tonight in front of the Queens? You know how much I have been longing to hear you say those words. Now we really have a reason for a feast!”

She thought for a moment and said: “If we do, we have to go with them and tell Queen Skoria and my Mother. Skoriana knows I have been waiting until she took her place as High Queen, she needed my help too much. I had no choice but to wait until the Larinna’s were ready.” He answered: “We have the time, there is nothing in our queendom that the Duchesses and Dukes cannot handle until we get back!” Mina nodded and said: “Okay Honey, when they are through tryig to figure out what is going on, we will announce our marriage.”

It took a while, but finally the Queens decided the council must be Skoriana claiming the title of High Queen, or touble with the earthmen. During a period of silence, Mina took Tancor’s hand and stood up. Celan asked: “Do you have something to add Tancor? You have been very silent tonight, except for your whispering with Mina!” He replied: “Yes Mother, but it is Mina’s place to make this announcement.” Still holding Tancor’s hand Mina walked over to the large marble fireplace where they could easily be seen by everyone and began: “As you know, when Skoriana was returned to her rightful place as Crown Princess, Queen Skoria and King Tarrak adopted me and I became Second Princess of the Fifth Queendom with full title and authority at Skoriana’s request.”

“Knowing this day was not far off, I searched the queendoms while traveling with Skoriana for a Prince. Tancor is the Prince I have chosen, and he is willing. We will announce our marriage and be married at the council, but it is only right that Tancor’s own queendom be the first to know. Queen Celan, do you have anything to say against our marriage?” Celan slowly stood up and walked over to Tancor. With tears in her eyes she said: “My son, this is truly good news. I am so happy for you. I was beginning to wonder how long it would be before you announced who our next Queen was going to be. Mina, I have nothing against your marrying my son. I have grown to love you like a daughter during your stays with us.”

Duchess Coranna said: “Well it seems we finally have a Crown Princess. You were always welcome Princess Mina, personally I have been hoping you would become our Crown Princess. This night is going to go down in history as one of the greatest in the Fourth Queendom’s history!” Queen Celan walked out of the room and returned with a beautiful gold crown. As she walked up to Mina she said: “It is time for you to exchange crowns Mina, here is the proper crown of our Crown Princess. I should have guessed what the two of you were whispering about, you have chosen well Mina, and as for you Tancor, you could not find a better young woman than Mina!”

As Mina and Tancor were returning to their seats, Duke Mentarr stopped him and asked: “Tancor, I am happy for you son, but where is the Fourth Queendom going now? Can you tell us what is going on?” Tancr returned to his seat and then said: “Duke Mentarr, I know your qestions need to be answered, but until I speak with Princess Skoriana I really don’t have the answers. I am not as close to Skoriana as Mina is, but I know she will only make Dracorma a better place for all of us. Tomorrow we leave for the council, when we return we should be able to answer a lot of questions we have all been asking. We will have our own council when we return.”

Early the next morning the Queens, Tancor, Mina, Carpenter and Black boarded the shuttle and continuing west headed for Lintet Bay to pick up the Second Queendom’s Queen Dessaranna. By this time word had already reached Dessaranna and Gartok, so they were waiting for the Queens shuttle. It was not yet noon when Captain Black landed the shuttle near the Palace, the Queens flew ahead to the Palace, but Mina, Tancor and Esilla chose to walk with Carpenter and Black who being wingless had to walk.

When they reached the Palace, they found the Queens talking away with Dessaranna and acting as if King Gartok wasn’t even there. Mina and Tancor walked over to Gartok, Mina said: “It has been a long time King Gartok, it is good to see you again.” He replied: “Will you tell me what this is all about Mina?” She said: “It is time for Skoriana to ake her place as High Queen. She has called a ‘Council of the Queens’, I don’t think they are too happy about it.” He smiled and said: “I thought that might be the case, Dracorma is in great need of a High Queen like Skoriana. It has ben far too long since we had a High Queen I am glad to see that Skoriana is ready to take her place, bring her my greetings Mina.”

Mina asked: “I know that often the First and Second Queendoms are ignored by the others, is there anything you would like Skoriana to know?” Gartok said: “Our Queendom needs something more than fishing villages, too many of our people keep moving to the Third and Fifth Queendoms. If Skoriana can think of something to help us bring our people back home I would appreciate it.” Mina said: “I will speak to her for you King Gartok.” By this time the Queens had finished their little conference and it was time to head for Skoria’s Palace.

On the way back, Esilla sat up front with Captain Black. He asked her: “Esilla, are the Queens going to give Princess Skoriana problems?” She softly laughed and said: “They may try, but it won’t last long. Skoriana trly is a High Queen, these Queens may be powerful women, but Skoriana makes them look like little girls.”

Since no one could hear him except Esilla he took the opportunity to ask: “Esilla, I know it is against Dracorma’s laws, but is there anyway I could see more of you? I know we are different races, but I am not asking to marry you, just to spend time with you!” She turned red and said: “Captain Black, I think we will be seeing more of each other without doing anything. This shuttle is going to be made into Skoriana’s private shuttle, and with the service you have given to me on this trip, I will make sure you stay her captain. I will be traveling with Skoriana often and sometimes taking care of business for her. So if you really want to see more of me, just don’t say anything and I think you will get what you want.”

As they were landing outside of the Royal Palace, Esilla said: “Captain Black, take Ambassador Carpenter back to Porterville and then return to the Palace with your shuttle. You will be returning the Queens to their queendoms and taking the Larinnas to the four queendoms as well.” He replied: “As you wish Esilla, I will refuel the shuttle while I am there.”

Esilla, Mina, Tancor and the Queens walked into the Palace where they found Skoria and Skoriana waiting for them. Skoria sad: “Welcome my Queens, I am glad to see that all of you made it. It will still be two days before our council, our servants will show you to your rooms, then you can do as you like.” Tamar replied: “I don't see any reason to wait, we are all here and I want to get this over with!” When the other Queens agreed with her Skoriana said: “Very well, we will hold the council tomorrow morning. Make yourselves comfortable for now!” When the servants had led the Queens away, Skoriana turned to Skoria and said: “Well Mother, I told you they would come. Now we will see if they can accept what must be.” The Queens stayed to themselves that evening.

After Black dropped off Carpenter, he prepared his ship for returning the Queens and transporting Skoriana’s Larinnas, then he flew the shuttle back and landed near the Palace when he entered, Black found Esilla with Skoriana, Tempae, Mina and Tancor. As he walked up he asked: “Mind if I join you?” Esilla motioned to a chair next to her and said: “Of course you are welcome Captain Black!” Skoriana smiled and said: “So this is the famous ‘Captain Black’. I hope you understand Captain, that you are only here because of Esilla’s opinion of you. the shuttle you are piloting is going to become the High Queen’s Royal Shuttle. If you prove yourself worthy you will remain our captain. You will also become the first earthman to live on Dracorma who is not under Earth’s authority!”

Black looked shocked as he said: “Princess, I had no idea I was going to be leaving Spaceport Authority and coming to work for you! Will I be working for the Fifth Queendom? Or the High Queen?” She said: “The High Queen, you will work under Esilla. This does not change the fact that you are still an earthman, you are not to touch our women, or for that matter our men either, I saw what some earthmen do when I lived in Porterville! If you want a wife, you will find one among the earthwomen. If we aprove of her, you will be allowed to marry her and she will come work for us also.” He looked over at Esilla and saw a little smile, he knew she wasn't talking and yet he heard her say: “I told you it would work out if you kept your mouth shut!”

He turned back to Skoriana and said: “Your conditions are acceptable Princess, I don’t see any problems. Shall I call you High Queen from now on?” Skoriana said: “If you are going to be my captain it is time to drop the titles, my name is Skoriana. Do you have another name? Or shall we call you Black?” He replied: “Yes Skoriana, my first name is Karl. Most earthmen have at least two names.” She said: “Okay Karl, plan on packing your belongings and bringing them here to the Palace for now. Tempae, it is not going to work for Dracorma’s High Queen to be here in the Fifth Queendom’s Palace. We need to build another someplace. Do you have any ideas?”

Tempae said: “There is only one place I know of that would allow your new Palace to be like its own Queendom that is Arillian Island in the north-east corner of Illtur Dukedom. It is small, but very beautiful.” Skoriana said: “Good enough Honey, use as many people as you need to get it built quickly. Now is there anything any of you need to say tonight?”

Mina took Tancor’s hand and stood up. Then she said: “Sis, now that you don’t need me so much, Tancor and I are going to get married after your council.” Skoriana smiled and said: “That is good Mina, it is time the two of you began preparing to be the next Queen and King of the Fourth Queendom. I will leave time for your announcement tomorrow at the end of the council. If there is nothing more, Tempae and I will go to our room for the night, and see the rest of you tomorrow after the council!”

After Skoriana and Tempae had left, Karl asked the others: “What is going to happen now?” At first no one spoke, then Mina said: “Well, this is going to be the beginning of a new age for Dracorma. Once the Larinnas begin teaching the old ways to the people, we will be on our way to becoming the people again we once were. As for the earthmen, that depends a lot on what Ambassador Carpenter and the earthmen do. But you will no longer be with them unless you choose to return. Skoriana has given you a place among us no earthman has ever enjoyed before!”

Karl replied: “I understand that, I will do my best not to let you down. The governments on Earth, need Dracorma too much to refuse the few things High Queen Skoriana has requested. I don’t believe there will be any problems from Earth, But I do wonder what the Queens are going to say at tomorrow’s council. Unless you begin training pilots, more earthmen than myself are going to have to be allowed to travel freely outside of Porterville. The Queens are not going to like that. A shuttle needs more than one man. At least one more man must be allowed to join me.” Esilla said: “I understand Karl, do you have someone in mind?” Karlsaid: “I would rather train a local, Esilla you are my first choice, but we should train several, since you are being given at leat two shuttles and there should be at least two able to pilot each one.” Mina said: “I don’t know about Esilla, but you will have the co-pilots you need. It is getting late and tomorrow will be a big day. It is best we all go to bed!”

With that she and Tancor stood up. The others also got up and headed to their rooms. But as Esilla passed by, Mina stopped her and said: “Watch out for Karl, he seems like a nice guy for an earthman. But he is going to get himself in trouble if he continues to fall for you!” Esilla smiled and said: “I will talk with Skoriana, I know it has not been allowed in the past, but I rather like Karl too. He may be an earthman, but he has treated me better than any of the local men have. We will see what Skoriana has to say, I think she will allow it.” Then they continued on to their rooms.

The next morning Skoriana and the Queens gathered in Skoria’s great room after breakfast for their council. Everyone else, even King Tarrak, Mina and Tancor knew enough to stay clear while they had their council.

For a while they sat there saying nothing, then Skoria said: “Well we might as well get this over with. Do any of you have something that needs to be brought up?” When they just continued to sit there Skoria said: “Then the council is yours Skoriana!”

Skoriana stood up and walked to a place where she could see all of the Queens. Then she said: “You all know it has been far too long since Dracorma has had a High Queen. It is also time we became the people again that we once were. I am your High Queen! Are any of you willing to dispute this?” She looked around the room at each Queen, but except for Skoria, who was really proud of her daughter, the others would not even look up at her.

So she said: “Tamar, speak up, what do you have to say!” Then Tamar looked up at her and said: “What can I say? Would it make a difference if I felt it was time for Dracorma not to have any more High Queens? Do as you wish it will change nothing in my queendom. I am Queen in the First Queendom, and my word is the law!”

The others nodded in agreement, Skoriana turned to Dessaranna and said: “Your turn Dessaranna, you are going to do more than sit there and nod!” She turned red but looked at Skoriana and said: “Dracorma has been just fine without a High Queen thinking she can order us around. But I have seen enough of you Princess Skoriana, you will do as you wish, and seem to have the power to force it on the rest of us.”When Siphon just sat there Skoriana asked: “Am I going to have to order each one of you to speak? Very well, Siphon, your turn!” Siphon replied: “I am against a High Queen but if you have the wisdom, knowledge and power required of a High Queen, I will not appose you.” Skoriana turned to Celan and said: “I know how Mother feels, what about you Celan?” Celan was the only one to look up with a smile: “I welcome you Skoriana, we need someone with your wisdom to help deal with these earthmen. we have also fallen far from what we once were. Maybe your Larinnas can help teach our people to be true Dacormians again?”

Then to the other Queens she said: “What is wrong with you? Skoriana has already proven herself to each one of you. Wake up and welcome her as the High Queen we all need!” Then Skoriana said: “Mother, would you like to speak?” Skoria looked kind of sad as she said: “It is as I expected, not since we had a High Queen has there ever been agreement among us. I was afraid of what your stay among the earthmen might have done to you. But you have already proven yourself a true Dracormian Queen. You have also shown all of the wisdom and power required of a High Queen. So I also welcome you Skoriana. This is more than a mother could hope for.” Then she started to laugh and turned to the others: “That's rght I am proud of my daughter! And why not? I thought I had lost her forever, now she is High Queen. This is a great day for all Dracormians.”

Then she stood up and held her hand out toward Skoriana and said: “My daughter, the High Queen of Dracorma!” Skoriana walked over to her and said: “Mother, I am sure that my stay with the earthmen did change me. But it was for the good of Dracorma. I know them from the inside, I saw the side of the earthmen they would rather Dracormian’s didn’t know about. I am also proud of you Mother, you have been a good Queen for our people! Now since the rest of you didn't have any business that needs to be discused, and you have nothing to say about my taking my place as High Queen, we will move on to happier things. Celan, would you like to go let Mina and Tancor know we are ready for them?” Celan stood up and said: “Thank-you Skoriana, I will bring them in.”

She found them not far away with the Larinnas and Captain Black. She leaned close and quietly said: “Skoriana and the Queens are ready for you.” Mina and Tancor got up and walked with Celan back to the great room where the Queens were waiting not knowing what Skoriana was going to do next. Celan sat down next to Skoria, while Mina and Tancor joined Skoriana in front of the Queens. Skoriana said: “Go ahead Sis!”

Mina began: “Dracorma is changing, and Skoriana no longer needs my help as she did in the past. It is time to move on, and I have chosen this time to announce whom I have chosen for my husband. Tancor, Crown Prince of the Fourth Queendom and I, will be married after this council. It is time to begin helping Queen Celan with the queendom,” she turned to Skoria and asked: “Do you have anything against this Mother?” Skoria shook her head and said: “What are you girls trying to do? Wasn’t it enough to have Skoriana take her place as High Queen? Now you tell me Tancor is going to be my son-in-law! Well at least you only bring me good news. I have nothing against this Mina, it is news I hve been waiting to hear for a long time. Welcome to our family Tancor!”

One look at Skadi and Celan, and there was no doubt that they were happy. But with this news even Tamar and Dessaranna brightened up. Unlike Skoriana and Tempae’s wedding, Mina and Tancor’s wedding was small with just the Queens, Larinnas and other palace folk attending. Knowing there was little they could do the Queens did their best to forget about Skoriana taking her place as their High Queen, besides, inwardly each had to admit it was only right. She was a true High Queen after all. No one felt like talking about business, and the only real business was Skoriana taking her place, which had to be done before the Queens.

Skoria called her head servent and ordered a royal party for that evening in Mina and Tancor’s honor. She also got the preparations started for Mina’s wedding. With thr council over, the other folks began to come in and congratulate Mina and Tancor. Tarrak came as soon as a messenger found him and told him the news. Now not only was his daughter High Queen, his adopted daughter was Crown Princess of the Fourth Queendom.To think that not very long ago, he and Skoria were looking for a Duchess’ daughter to adopt having lost their only daughter.

Skoria gave the people a little time to talk with Mina and Tancor before sending them to get ready for their wedding. With that out of the way she took Tarrak, Skoriana and Tempae aside. When they were alone she asked: “Now that you have taken your place as High Queen, what is next? Are you going to turn this into your Palace? Or do the two of you have another place in mind? And what are you going to do about these earthmen?” Skoriana smiled and said: “Do not worry Mother, I have thought about this too. It would not be good for the High Queen to be here in Father’s and your Palace. We have chosen to build a new Palace for Dracorma’s High Queen on Arillian Island”

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