Rowena of Aether

Champion against Champion

A twelvemonth was how long they had all been married to their Hyperionite husbands. Rowena was now married to Acinonyx, Crown Prince of Hyperion. Her sister-in-law Eithne was now her cousin-in-law, having been married to Ascanius, Acinonyxs cousin and next in line for the throne, something that Eithne found herself most enjoying even if the marriage had been a forced one. Pasiphae, younger sister to Taurus Minor, was now Acinonyxs stepmother, wife of Leo of Hyperion, which she enjoyed just as Eithne enjoyed her situation. Scholastica, Exiled Princess of Leto, had been married to Laomedon, High Priest of the Sun God. Xe-tian had been married to Silvius, second-in-command to Pardus, Leos firstborn son who had been stripped of his title. That left Hilda, a girl about Rowenas size and build, who alone had been left unmarried.

Though she was a princess, Rowena was a prisoner, trapped not only in Hyperion, now under siege, but in a loveless marriage. Lupus Khan and Shah Shahbaz had offered Leo a chance to free all of the abducted women and the imprisoned men, but the Hyperionite King stated he would return Rowena alone and even explained that of the imprisoned men, Itzcoatl and Scholasticas brother Alboin were dead and Falcos mentor Achilles had been sent into such a shock that he might as well have been dead.

Instead, Leo had returned Hilda and so, there she was: Rowena, the Last Queen of Aether, a Princess and Prisoner of Hyperion. She was eighteen twelvemonths of age and stood at a height of five feet and six inches. She was a slender young woman with light skin, large reddish-brown eyes and red hair that was long and straight. She was fairly attractive with an honest face, a cute mouth and a good pair of legs. Back on Aether she had been called ”the comeliest gentlewoman in the palace ”, an exaggeration of course, one that continued in Hyperion, with it being said that her mouth was the cutest and her legs the best. Now dressed as a Hyperionite woman, her attire consisted of a long sleeved, ankle-length, shapeless white dress with blue cuffs, hem and neckline, a black drape with white tassels that was draped over her right shoulder, wrapped around the waist and then had two ends tied together, a white veil worn on the back of the head and went down to the waist and finally, brown shoes with curled, pointed toes. Her only pieces of jewellery were her triangular golden earrings.

They called her ”Rowena of Hyperion ” now. An appellation that she abominated. She was not Rowena of Hyperion. She was Rowena of Aether!

Sitting with the others women she had been married alongside, Rowena watched as Eithne proudly held up her and Ascanius infant son Aeneas with his ruddy skin, red hair and dark-green eyes. Pasiphae then held up her and Leos infant son Brutus just as proudly and Rowena looked at her half-brother-in-law with his skin that was between olive and swarthy, his bluish-brown eyes and dark brown hair. That left Rowena, Scholastica and Xe-tian, unwilling to be touched by their Hyperionite husbands and so without children and that was how they liked it, for they would prefer to have children by men they truly loved rather than men they had been forced into marriage with.

Soon, an argument erupted between Eithne and Pasiphae, a recurring one about which of their sons would ascend to the throne. As Acinonyx was Crown Prince that put Brutus as second in line for the throne with Ascanius as third and Aeneas as fourth, yet even then the siege could have claimed both Acinonyx and Ascanius and children could be frail. Rowena could only wonder if cousin-in-law and stepmother-in-law were plotting to make sure their sons ascended to the throne.

Rising to her feet, Rowena said: ”Scholastica, take Aeneas, and you Xe-tian take Brutus. Let us leave this scene and keep the children away from the evil of their matriarchs. ”

Scholastica and Xe-tian both did as instructed and so did the three women depart for a different part of the citadel with the little princes, all while Rowena dreamed of her one true husband Falco and hoped, prayed he would return from the Earth Bulls realm.

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