I am the queen of the planet Zala, and by all rights, everything here belongs to me. Including saviors who fall out of the sky. No matter what else you may have heard about him, that includes the man history has decided to call Ulysses.
It is true that when he came we were in the grip of the tyrant Reeve. Those were dark days for my people, and for me, obviously, the rightful ruler living in the times of a usurper. I survived only because I chose to humble myself. Rather than cower in some rat hole, I agreed to be Reeve's consort, his lover...so that when the day came, I could stab him in the back. Which is exactly what I did.
There are those among my people who celebrate me as the Purple Crown of Lagercrantz. Ballads have been composed and grown, as I understand it, quite beloved over the years. Yet I relish none of it so much as the time I had with Ulysses. He was unlike any man I had ever known before. As an unwed sovereign I experienced pressure for years to accept a mate, and yet there was never one equal to the task until Ulysses. He was truly magnificent. Of course, he claimed that his heart belonged to another, a woman on a distant world he claimed to have come from, another life. So far as I was concerned, this meant nothing. And in truth, for a time, it slipped from the mind of Ulysses as well.
I prefer to remember it that way, and many of my subjects do as well. There are countless stories about our relationship, some of them quite a bit fanciful, I am forced to admit. No matter the truth of his origins, Ulysses did eventually leave Zala, to where I could not care less. I still have the memories, and the hope that one day he will return.
Does great beauty truly fade? I find myself looking into the mirror and hoping that it does not, increasingly...
"But this is not the story," says Kindly.