Quick mention: I'm not sure how invested most people are in the Bookmark story, but ThePro made a thread to help write it over at forums. Feel free to contribute any thoughts or ideas.
Five minutes left. Karyn had an hour off her busy schedule, and lost most of it getting back to the tree-palace, bullshitting some assignment to get rid of Edea, and finding somewhere to just fucking sit down and breathe. Searching for such a space was much harder than it should have been; the beautifully decorated passageways winded and intersected which such dizzying indecision that Karyn found herself growing lightheaded. Her painfully slow walk made this passage even worse.
Well… The queen didn’t really walk, so much as methodically swing the massive pendulum she had for hips from one side to the far other, somehow to the effect of vaguely sauntering forward.
No longer distracted by the countless tasks she had to plow through, Karyn was only just now growing aware of just how absurd her mannerisms had become. Yes, from the neck up, a beautiful-yet-impenetrable fortress selfishly keeping any emotions from escaping. But from the neck down? She was a Brazilian Samba dancer. No motion was wasted—every step, every gesture, every damn twitch played a role in showing off her curvaceous form, no matter how much Karyn tried to reel it back. Oh, and she tried to reel it back… if not for the lusciously exaggerated movements that humiliated her to no end, then for how much they slowed her gait—her queenly buttocks almost spent more time moving horizontally than actually forward. And if the pacing wasn’t enough of an issue, her amble of a walk made it near-impossible to escape whoever wanted to speak with her. And she was the queen. Almost everyone wanted to speak with her.
The servants were great. They wouldn’t dare waste her time, going as far as to clear away whenever Karyn approached—bowing their heads, apologizing for any inconvenience, they made a whole thing of it. But the stupid nobles kept halting her non-progress for increasingly vapid reasons. Karyn wanted to tear out her meticulously crafted updo.
Alright, alright, the younger ones weren’t so bad; just mildly annoying at worst. They all dressed like they were at a renfaire-Rocky Horror Picture Show hybrid: half-naked and looking completely ridiculous. This was a hilariously welcome contrast to the tone of Karyn’s morning. So they had that going for them. The interactions were even respectfully brief, the beautiful young men and women seemingly wanting nothing but the queen’s acknowledgement—not unlike fans wanting a quick selfie with some celebrity they ran into.
If only they’d just stop talking about how old she was.
“I can only dream to grow older looking as splendid as Your Majesty.” Said a quivery young woman, either too intimidated to meet Karyn’s stone cold gaze, or too distracted by the unfortunate mountains stuck to the her royal chest.
“I know very little of Tyr from long ago. May I humbly ask for Your Majesty’s personal experiences?” A scholarly sort; fittingly wearing oversized glasses. Way to subvert expectations, author.
“Your Majesty’s centuries of wisdom are a blessing to both Tyr and her populace; I am humbled to stand in your presence.” This one was the worst. The speaker was exactly Karyn’s type, and here they were treating the supposed-queen like she was old enough to be their mom. Bull. Shit. Karyn was eighteen, Goddamnit!
Queen Serephina didn’t look a day over thirty-five; she wasn’t old—elf-bullshit notwithstanding. But the age change was really starting to wear on Karyn's nerves, especially with the side-characters bringing it up every other minute. She was never a vain person, but she was really starting to miss being young.
If it was just the youthful elves with their innocent banter, the faux-queen might have tolerated it. There was just one problem: the other camp. The age group that Karyn was shoved into—“the mature elves,” with the stupid hair and dresses that couldn’t decide which place or time period they were supposed to be from—sucked.
Queen Seraphina was, well, the queen, but her equally overly-attired counterparts treated her with a genuine camaraderie that Karyn very much did not want to be part of. They were all vain and condescending, inviting her into unwilling dialogue that the writer seemed to think was typical of middle aged women. This included gossiping about the younger elves, complaining about the younger elves, or talking about how they were just so much better than the younger elves.
At least with the younger elves, Karyn could keep walking when they came up to her; they’d just follow along. But the moment Karyn had the misfortune of making a wrong turn, finding herself in a group of the older ones?
“Your Majesty! It is truly wonderful to see you. Care to join our little chat?”
Her feet—suffocating in the confines of the world’s most uncomfortable high heels—came to a screeching halt, fixing Karyn in place like a curvaceous statue bolted to the floor.
Leave me out of this. Please. I just want a nap.
“Lady Chastia of House Velhem? It has been ages. I can remain for only a briefest of moments; but please, do tell me of your excursion to the Frost Elf capital.”
And there she was, trapped. Just another bewitching elf woman. Sure, Karyn stood out as the only one with a ridiculous physique—even standing in place, her body positioned itself to stick out that cursed bosom and derriere as much as possible—but they all stood at the same size, wearing the same fashion, talking in that same unbearable accent. And of course, the conversations kept drifting to the same topic.
The younger generation. The one Karyn identified with, being a Goddamn teenager and all. But screw that, they were gonna complain about it.
"Hey there, fellow pointy-eared milf. What’s the scuttlebutt on those darn elf-millennials?"
No one in real life is like this! Stop acting like I’m one of you!! Who wrote this shit? And why would anyone publish it!?
The queen, thankfully, rarely spoke during the discourse, maintaining the same air of composed professionalism as always. That is, until the topic of their own children came up. It was then that Karyn, for the first time, witnessed a crack Seraphina’s ice-cold facade.
A twitch in her left eye. Nothing else, not a single thing. But when “Lady Chastia of House Velhem" began complaining of her son shirking his duties as a nobleman, Karyn noticed the minute action; she was barely paying attention to anything else, after all.
What the hell was that?