The Monarch

She was, above all else, tired.

The rain was coming down again. It seemed like it always rained, these days. The monarch sipped her tea and stared out at the yard, where the ravens were dancing in the downpour. The ravens had always danced there. Soon, her son would visit, and she would have to have a long-postponed conversation with him. She found herself exhausted at the very thought.

It was the reduction that did it. When her children had ruled over the planet and her empire had stretched over continents, she had never felt tired. When the world itself had been much smaller and she’d had only her little island to rule over, she’d never felt tired.

She stood, although the form she was wearing now protested. She had not gotten this old in a very long time. It suited, however; the aging body’s exhaustion matched the tiredness she felt. She felt the rain in her joints and in her soul, and it never stopped raining.

It had been bright and shiny when she was young, shiny and small.

The world had grown, and she had grown with it; her empire had grown, and she had stretched herself over the planet, sending out children, sending out bits of herself to the New World, to India, to Africa, to Australia. Very little of that had come back; she found herself small again, small and old in a huge and juvenile world.

The monarch paced. This was the fortieth form she’d worn as Monarch, and the transitions grew harder every time. More people knew her with this face than had ever known any of her other faces – perhaps more people could recognize this face, this Elizabeth, than had known all of her other monarch faces together. Not just her face, but Charles’ face and mannerisms, and William’s and Harry’s.

She allowed herself a small smile. Leadership changes you. Thus they had been saying for centuries. People would notice that the new King shifted uneasily under the mantle of leadership. They would notice he seemed different – more somber, perhaps, or older. They would make up a story that suited.

The Queen chuckled to herself. There had been the time where they’d said she was a body-snatching demon, and tried to burn her at the stake. That had been awkward, to say the least. It had taken some fast talking and serious footwork to get out of that with a viable heir left to become.

And now… and now… Now she was laying plans and readying herself to move on to a new face, and the rain would not stop coming down. Something was wrong, seriously wrong.

“This is my country, damnit.” The Monarch punched her own leg, sensible frock and varicose veins be damned. “This is mine.” She raised her voice to shout for her secretary. “Anna! Anna, get in here.” The rain had been falling for three weeks straight. It was no more natural than the Monarch’s endless reign was. “We’re going to save my country.” Again.

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