“The Blind Queen’s Daughter” by Scott Huggins
(Originally published in Hides the Dark Tower.)
The heavy mauls swung inward, the only thunder in the soft morning rain. The priests watched, trembling. The small man from Arabia stared hungrily at the widening hole.
The bricks sealing the cell shivered, and Amren watched his father’s jaw tremble under the blow. Tremble as it never had in two desperate battles. Not even when the men of his auxilia fell about him in desperate retreat had Amren seen Sir Bedwyr’s face show fear. Until now. And the Roman Legate looked on, sneering.
The brick fell inward under the final blow, and only gelid, tomb-like darkness crouched within. Perhaps she is dead. How long had she dwelt in this three-windowed cell, sealed up in brick, lest her anchoress’s vows of solitude prove, like her wedding vows, too weak? Since before my birth, nearly twenty years ago. How could she but die, if she had not gone mad?
But from within the cell, a scraping of feet echoed, and a shape emerged, its dark cloak held fast about by two alabaster hands. Amren’s breath caught.
Stiff with age she moved, her stiff hands veined like marble. Reached up. Removed her cowl.
“Bedwyr,” she said. “It has been long.” Amren sucked in his breath.
The rain caught in the raven-dark hair like glass beads. They glowed in the whiteness of her skin. Her eyes were the gold of a summer dusk. Rich, dark gold shot through her hair in strands, as well. Gwynhwyfar. The White Enchantress.
Scott Huggins grew up in the American Midwest and has lived there all his life, except for interludes in the European Midwest (Germany) and East (Russia). He is currently responsible for securing America’s future by teaching its past to high school students, many of whom learn things before going to college. His preferred method of teaching and examination is strategic warfare. He loves to read high fantasy, space opera, and parodies of the same. He wants to be a hybrid of G.K. Chesterton and Terry Pratchett when he counteracts the effects of having grown up. When he is not teaching or writing, he devotes himself to his wife, their three children, and his cat.
About the Narrator:
Matt Dovey is very tall and very English and most likely drinking a cup of tea right now. He has a scar on his arm that he can’t remember getting, but a terrible darkness floods his mind when he considers it. He now lives in a quiet market town in rural England with his wife and three children, and despite being a writer, he still hasn’t found the right words to properly express the delight and joy he finds in this wonderful arrangement.
His surname rhymes with “Dopey”, but any other similarities to the dwarf are purely coincidental. He is the Golden Pen winner for Writers of the Future Volume 32 (2016), was shortlisted for the James White Award in 2016, and has fiction out and forthcoming all over the place; you can keep up with it at mattdovey.com, or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.