The dank air of the Royal Mausoleum forced Pirouette to hold a scented handkerchief over her nose and mouth. She’d come to pay her last respects to the late King. It was against all protocol for the new sovereign to attend the funeral of his (or her) predecessor. In fact, it was against protocol for a sovereign to attend the funeral of their spouse or their children. In short, a reigning King or Queen was forbidden from attending any funerals whatsoever.
As his last true kinsman, however, Pirouette felt obliged to offer some token of her memory of him and gratitude for elevating her from relative obscurity to Queen. Their bloodline was made of the thinest of thread. One of the old King’s grandfathers had been Pirouette’s great-great grandfather. To make the connection even more tenuous, they were related through different wives of this common ancestor; thus, their kinship could be defined as half-first cousins twice removed.
As her eyes moved from one sarcophagus to another, she felt an uneasy feeling, a sinking sensation at the pit of her stomach. Her eyes met those of a carved image of a Queen who’d reigned well over a century before her. It was as if the long-dead Queen were looking right at her. She looked familiar, as if she’d met this older Queen in the flesh at a recent ball. Feeling light-headed from this attack of déjà vu, she reached out for Abigail’s arm to steady her. Ever-ready to assist her mistress, Abigail Hoffenhoff whispered into her ear, “Does Your Majesty need a chair?”
“No, thank you, dearest Abby. Just point me to the proper tomb and I’ll leave my flowers there.”
“Do you think it really matters which tomb gets your flowers?” Said Abigail in a hushed voice.
“I suppose not. Here.” She left the flowers in the hands of the woman with the familiar place.
I will pray for you.”