It had been roughly 19 years since the night Arus had lost both it’s rulers. It was a time that was both tragedy and a blessing, for on the heels of death, came the birth of their new hope. Their new princess. But it would be some time before the child would be grown, and able to take up the reigns of leadership. Until she reached the age of ascension, others would have to rule the regency.
It fell to the Heir Apparent guardians to shoulder the burdens of the Kingdom. After all, who better to see to affairs of the state, then the former King’s Royal advisor, Coran? He had studied all the ancient texts of Arusian government, could even recite many of the laws by memory, and was known to hand down fair judgments. He knew how to uphold tradition, and would make a fine tutor to the young princess, teaching her the knowledge, the tools she would need to be as great a leader as her father!
And for the role of the feminine outlook, it fell to the late Queen’s best friend…a woman who many had forgotten she had a real name…falling into the habit of calling her by the nickname, Nanny. She took to educating Allura in the ways of princesses with an almost zealous fire in her eyes. She filled the girl’s head with etiquette lessons, making sure she knew not only how to be charming and well behaved among their own people, but according to the customs of the various visitors from their neighboring planets.
She placed great emphasis on beauty and material things, though that fell on deaf ears. The princess preferred to go out and play with boys, and in her elementary years, she had earned the nickname of the tomboy princess. She tried to shirk her music lessons, rolling her eyes at their attempts of teaching her how to project a royal image when out among her lessors.
Allura had a wild spirit, but it didn’t mean she was a spoiled child. She was sweet mannered, and almost always courteous, winning over almost all who met her. Her lovely disposition would serve her well in the coming years. For you see, the alien tyrant, King Zarkon of Doom, upped his attack on Arus with a vengeance. Coran, asserting his powers of regency insisted they fight back, a shocking move, for everyone believed that Zarkon had been the one to kill King Alfor. By rights of the duel, the planet should belong to the Drule. Or so they believed…
Only two people were still alive to tell what really happened that day. And neither were talking. When Zarkon learned that he was being blamed for the death of Alfor, he had sent everyone out of his throne room. How he had laughed in the empty room, his eyes brimming with wetness, as he cackled over this lucky turn of events. He didn’t care how it happened, or why, but he was all to prepared to reap the rewards fate had dumped into his lap.
Everyone thought they knew what had happened that day. The wretched lizard king had sliced off Alfor’s head, leaving the body a broken mess in a glade. Coran had gone out to search for the King, the Queen having need of him. He had returned to the castle alone, his horse carrying a heavy burden. Alfor’s body…and in his satchel, he helped up the lifeless head, tears streaming down his face, as he cursed Zarkon, cursed any Gods who had witnessed this and not stopped Zarkon’s hand.
The people thought perhaps it was fortunate the Queen died in her sleep. She never had to awaken and learn of her husband’s body being defiled so. They would join each other in Heaven, and watch over their kingdom from their lofty perch.
And so, before Allura had even been baptized, she had attended her first funeral. Over the years, as the war dragged on, forcing the people to retreat to caves, living like animals, she would mourn countless others. Thankfully her people never thought of betraying her, of turning her over to the monster, in other to get some modicum of freedom. Instead they selflessly helped her, at times going hungry so the child could eat and grow stronger, leading the enemy soldiers away from her, even willing to die rather than reveal her whereabouts.
And what of Voltron? It had been destroyed, split into five pieces, their locations unknown. Coran had tried to pilot the machine in Alfor’s stead, but it had rebuffed him, it’s movements awkward and jerky, constantly crashing into the ground. Rumors whispered that Voltron would not be forced into use by anyone but one who had Alfor’s blood running through their veins.
The people were only living in hiding for a few years, when new saviors arrived. They called themselves Space Explorers, and they had just escaped from Doom. They, with the help of the now grown princess, would revive Voltron, put the robot back together, and fight off Zarkon. In a way, it worked. They were able to come out of hiding, get back to their lives. Though they now lived in constant fear over what would happen if the princess was to die before a heir was born.
As of late, the heir issue was the princess’ most pressing problem. It was quite something considering she had to constantly argue over the right to participate in battles, plus train hard, and fight off the advances of Zarkon’s handsome son, Prince Lotor. Previously her people had been too worried about survival to give much consideration to her marriage prospects, figuring there was still plenty of time. But now, as the time of ascension approached, and she continued to reject one suitor after the other, they were getting desperate. Her guardians were ready to take the decision completely out of her hands…
“Well what about Prince Throkmontem?” asked her Nanny. “He looks nice.”
Frowning, Allura looked away from the text she was studying to glance at the picture. “He looks arrogant.”
“You’ve said that about the last seven photos I’ve shown you.” Nanny shook her head, brown curls bouncing. “You should really reserve judgment until after you meet them.”
“I think I have proven myself to be a good judge of character.” replied Allura. “I’ve learned to go into these meetings not expecting much. It leaves a much smaller space for disappointment.”
“Hmph!” Nanny’s lips were a thin line of disapproval. “You barely even talk to them.”
“No, I don’t. Because they usually cannot stop talking about themselves!” Allura rolled her eyes. “I cannot imagine being stuck with a pompous braggart for the rest of my life!”
“Well then maybe King Arity of the Teligene Clusters would be a better match.” Shuffling through the photos, the woman found his picture.
“NANNY!” She cried, face flushing, as she looked at the gray haired, wrinkled skin man. “He’s OLD!! You cannot possibly–”
“He’s RICH.” corrected her Nanny. “And he doesn’t look like he’s got long to live. If you’re lucky he might die on the wedding night. Then you won’t have to put up with his talking. And if you’re really lucky, in addition to his money and empire, you would conceive a child. Bring it to term, and you’d never have to get married again.”
“…” Allura stared at the woman before her.
“…” Nanny broke out into a smile. “Oh luv, I’m only kidding. I wouldn’t really make you marry him.”
Allura breathed out a sigh of relief. “You had me going there for an instant.”
“Well we do have to put on a show of appearing to consider him.” Nanny sighed, once again looking through the pictures. She had yet to find a male that was so aesthetically pleasing to the eye, that her young charge would be overcome with lust, she would not bother to think up a good protest against the marriage. “He’s over 150 years of age, has already outlasted three wives, and yet that still hasn’t been enough for him. He decided to send in an application to you.”
Allura shuddered. “If I had to marry someone like him, I just might prefer Throkmontem.”
Nanny smiled, that had partly been her intention, to scare the girl into choosing someone other than King Arity. “Well then, how about…”
“Nanny, no…” Her hand reached out, holding down the pictures. “No more. Not today…” Or next week, or the week after, or even a month from now.
“Allura, if not today, then when?” demanded Nanny.
“You’ve already managed to put this off for three years.” Nanny hand her hands over her hips. “You’re 19 years old child, you have to be married by the time you turn 21.” She sighed. “There’s a very small window of opportunity here. We have to have enough time to have a proper engagement period. The people need something to rejoice over, attend celebrations and parades for.”
“We could have a parade without my getting married.” Allura said sullenly.
Nanny ignored this. “And do you know how insulting it would be to the groom in question to have to rush through a ceremony, because you couldn’t decide until the last minute?! This must be a big event! Royals do not have quickie marriage ceremonies.”
“…” Allura kept silent, cause she could think of one prince who would be willing to do just that.
“Allura!” The older woman took her by the shoulders, resisting the urge to shake some sense into her. “You can’t put it off much longer.”
“Don’t you think I know that?!” The words exploded from her lips, she angrily breaking free of the woman’s grip. She stood, the book dropping to the floor. “You and Coran have been pounding these facts into my heads over and over again, keeping me from my studies in order to meet with wanna be suitors.” She was pacing back and forth now, fingers curling and uncurling into fists. “Suitors of all ages, from pimply faced teens, to young men who are still wet behind the ears, to shifty eyed rakes, to the roaming eyes and groping hands of men old enough to be my father.” She shuddered. “Or grandfather!” Her eyes looked as turbulent as a stormy sea. “I’m tired of all these dress fittings, and advice on how to snare a man! I just want to have some fun!”
“Fun?” Nanny arched an eyebrow. “You can have fun AFTER you’re married. Until then, your life does NOT belong to you, but to your people.”
“And if you do not make a choice by the end of the night at the suitor’s ball, Coran and I will make the decision for you.” Nanny smirked. “And you will be forced to go through with the wedding.”
“But that…that’s not fair!” protested Allura.
“What’s not fair, is putting your needs above that of your kingdom.” Nanny retorted.
“If I wanted to be forced into marriage, I would have given into Lotor long ago…” Allura muttered under her breath.
“What was that?” Nanny asked, reminding Allura just how sharp the woman’s hearing really was.
“Nothing.” Allura said weakly.
“Good.” Nanny said, her tone sugary sweet. “Now…in addition to pictures, I have some reading for you.”
“But I’m studying some of our laws…” She was actually looking into the laws to see just how iron tight this marriage thing really was.
“TCH. You don’t need to concern yourself with that.” Nanny shook her head. “Child, your husband will do the ruling, while you relax.”
“What?” Allura frowned, not ever recalling hearing about this before.
“Here…I have some light reading on your desk.” She pointed out papers stacked several feet high. “It’s got photos of your potential grooms, some likes and dislikes, breeding background, it won’t do to let the Arusian blood be polluted by bad genetics, and most important of all, a list of their monetary assets. Perhaps if you can’t decide on a face…” She reached down to snatch up the book Allura had been reading, intending to put that distraction out of the way. “Something in there will catch your eye.”
“Great…” Allura said, looking disgusted at the papers. Suddenly an alarm went off red lights flashing throughout the castle, horns blaring.
“Tch!” Nanny scowled. “Another robeast is on the loose?!”
“Yeah!” Allura said happily. “Oh Nanny…” She tried to keep the glee out of her eyes, but it was impossible. “I’m so sorry…I guess I’ll have to look at those papers later. I’ve got a war to fight!” And she hitched up her skirts, and ran out the room. Nanny a boiling pot of barely repressed rage was left looking after her.