She hadn’t expected to get much sleep, the girl so nervous she thought her fears would keep her up all night. Add to the fact she was in a strange environment, in a bed that was not her own, and it was ground for a sleepless night. And yet, she had passed out almost immediately upon laying down, Allura drifting into troubled dreams. It seemed even in sleep she could not escape her fate, Allura remembering the kiss her husband to be had forced on her.
Never had she been kissed in such a matter, the old Drule shoving his tongue into her mouth. She had been too shocked to react, and that had saved her, for if Allura had gone with her first impulse she would have surely bitten Zarkon.
Instead she just stood there, skin crawling as he placed his hands on her shoulder, clutching at her through the cape’s fabric. She had been able to feel his sharp tipped claws through the heavy material, as though no barrier existed between them.
Everything about the kiss had been distasteful to her, from the feel of Zarkon’s fat lips smashing into hers, to his possessive touch, and his tongue wiggling about her mouth. He hadn’t even had the grace to do this in private, and she had felt the eyes of the guards and her entourage on her. It had been a relief when he finally pulled back, and though she had not managed to smile at him even part way, he had been satisfied.
The memory of the kiss haunted her dreams, Allura knowing that soon the King would take more from her than just her lips. And she’d be powerless to stop him, his bride and his property, Zarkon having every right in the world to use and abuse her as he saw fit. She woke up with a gasp, not quite screaming and heard voices in the rooms outside her bedroom.
Thankfully they had not heard her awakening sounds, Allura wanted a moment to herself. She stared at the bedroom, eyes barely noting the fancy adornments and pleasing aesthetics that surrounded her. This would be her first and most likely last night sleeping in this room, Allura knowing it would be required of her to attend to her husband in his chambers.
It wasn’t the way they did things on Arus, and Nanny had acted suitable horrified on Allura’s behalf. On Arus, the king and queen kept separate apartments, the husband being forced to beg for his wife’s affection. The queen held all the power, the right to deny her husband’s desires. On Doom there would be no such rejection of Zarkon, Allura shivering as she realized this apartment would be hers only during the day.
Her nights would belong to her husband. A part of her had known that, but she had thought for some small reprieve, thinking him an old man who would not make use of her body too often. Her hopes had been dashed with the arrival of the ladies the King had appointed her, four young Drules who were of noble birth. Their clothes alone outshone Allura’s attendants, the Drule females not shy about displaying their wealth be it in expensive fabrics, or layering themselves with many bracelets and necklaces.
The Drule females had sniffed haughty to see Allura wore no jewels, clucking their tongues in disapproval. Nanny had glared right back at them, hardly impressed with their noble backgrounds and fancy clothes. To Nanny, the Drules were all the same, savage barbarians who had invaded their peaceful kingdom.
Nanny was horrified when Allura translated the Drule females words, the princess dull with shock as she was told of the sleeping arrangements. The King expected her to stay by his side, to sleep and have sex with him. Nanny had gone red faced at those words, shaking her head and shouting refusals. She kept insisting they do it the Arus way, that Zarkon should come begging for Allura’s time.
Allura had wisely not translated Nanny’s demands, knowing the woman’s mouth was liable to get them all in trouble. It was perhaps fortunate that Nanny did not know enough Basic to be understood, and the woman couldn’t even manage the most simplest of phrases in Drule. It gave Allura the chance to censor what Nanny had to say, and she loathe to think what would happen if the woman took it upon herself to seriously learn the languages.
There was five chambers in all, Allura’s bedroom being the largest. On either side of her room, was two smaller chambers, bedrooms for her entourage. The Drule females had been less than pleased by the fact that they would have to share space with the Arusian ladies. They had apparently been expecting only two per room, and now they had to crowd in seven people per two bedrooms.
Not surprisingly, a divide was initiated, the Drules taking one room, the Arusians the other. Allura would spend much of her time trying to translate between the two groups, Nanny and the Drules trying to out do each other when it came to bossing the other side around. Little work was done in unpacking Allura’s belongings, the main chamber that doubled as sitting room crowded with trunks and suitcases.
Finally Allura had given up trying to play overseer to her attendants, announcing she was going to bed. And now she was awake, and dreading dealing with her ladies and their squabbles. But more than that, she was not looking forward to preparing for her wedding.
“Allura?” Came Nanny’s voice, the woman knocking on the door. “Are you up child?”
“I’m up Nanny.” Allura called out, holding back a sigh. She was already shifting off the bed when Nanny pulled open the door, one of the Drule females squeezing in past her. Nanny made a face at the raven haired female’s back, angry that the girl was intruding on her time with Allura.
“Princess…” The female was bowing, but her eyes were on Allura’s face, attentive. “We have your bath warmed and waiting for you.”
“Um…all right.” Allura said, allowing the female to tug her out of the room. Nanny followed close behind, Allura being lead into the bathroom where the other three Drules waited. They were dressed in white robes, and looking expectantly at Allura. The princess blinked in surprise, having a bad feeling that they were about to insist on helping her bathe.
“Um…” Allura began, finding the raven haired Drule whose name she was sure was Meleenia, was moving to undo the laces of her nightgown. “I can do that myself…”
“Oh no!” protested Meleenia in Basic. “This is part of our ritual. We must bathe and prepare you for your husband.”
The words simply made Allura uneasy, the girl giving Nanny an uncertain look, as though the woman could save her from this. Nanny seemed to guess what was going on, she began angrily arguing with Meleenia, a sight that should have proved comical since both sides did not understand the other. Anastasia and Geneive came out of their room to see what was going on, their eyes widening to see the shouting match Nanny and Meleenia were engaging in.
The voices escalated in volume, Allura fearing the guards would come to check on the disturbance. She ended up interjecting herself into the argument, Allura reluctantly allowing the Drules to have their way. Nanny seemed to sputter in anger, flouncing out of the room as Meleenia smiled in triumph.
The Drule was quick to strip her of her nightgown, clicking her tongue over the childish looking garment. Allura tried not to blush, allowing Meleenia to help her out of her undergarments and into the bathing pool. The three Drule females immediately disrobed and joined her in the pool, and Allura found there was not one spot on her that went untouched.
The Drule females were thorough, using scented soaps and shampoos, and massaging oils into her skin. Meleenia explained they were anointing her with oils and herbs meant to bring good luck to her marriage, and promote a happy future with her husband. Allura kept quiet, thinking it would take a lot more than just oils to make her happy with Zarkon.
The bathing took nearly an hour, and Allura was positive she was turning into a prune when they helped her out of the pool. A robe was given to her, along with slippers and a towel for her hair. And then she was brought back to her bedroom, the Drule females working to dry her off. The attendants from Arus entered the room, and it was Nanny’s confidence that kept them from fleeing, the woman glaring a challenge at Meleenia.
The Drule females did not depart, but allowed Nanny and the two girls from Arus to attend to Allura’s hair, curlers and an iron being brought out to primp Allura’s mane into thick ringlets. Soon the Drule females brought out her wedding dress, and Allura couldn’t help staring at the powder blue garment. It would be form fitting, clinging tight across her curves, the material loosening enough around her legs to allow her to be able to walk without difficulty.
It had a long train, one that would drag behind her for several feet. But the train could not compare to the veil’s length, the clear material would trail down from her head to several yards behind her. It would fasten over in place with pins and a simple gold crown, and the veil’s shorter side would be brought to cover her down to her shoulders. She wouldn’t be allowed to show her face until after she was sworn to Zarkon, the veil would lend an air of mystery to her looks.
“I think it’s terrible.” Sniffed Nanny, glaring at the blue dress. “Not even letting you pick out your own gown.”
“They do things differently here, Nanny.” Allura replied, wiggling out of the robe in preparation to get dressed. Panties and a strapless bra was given her, silk in fabric, but otherwise plain in their whiteness.
“What does a man know about picking out a woman’s clothing?” Nanny demanded. “It’s not even the right color for a wedding!”
“Who are we to say if it’s right or wrong?” Allura asked, leaning on Meleenia for support as she stepped into the gown. Geneive helped pull it up Allura’s body, and Anastasia vied with one of the Drule females for the honor to lace up the back. Allura had to hold her breath, finding the dress was snug, almost indecent in the way it clung to her body like a second skin.
In the corner of the bedroom, sat the cage with her mice friends, the little critters looking agitated at being confined for so long. Allura had regretfully explained to them they couldn’t roam free just yet, the Drule females holding an unnatural fear of the rodents. There had been much screaming and looks of contempt when Cheesy and the other three mice had been brought into the apartment.
Allura had tried to explain that they were harmless, disease free, and most importantly of all, her friends but the Drule females seemed to purposely misunderstand. Allura didn’t trust that there would be no accidents if she allowed the mice free reign in the apartment, the girl preferring to keep them locked up than allow a cruel fate to befall them.
If this had been Arus, the mice would have had the whole castle to wander, and they would have been an integral part of the ceremony. But this was Doom, and she reminded herself that her ways did not reign supreme here. She held back her sighs, and sat when urged, Nanny coming up behind Allura to pin the veil in place. She
actually slapped Meleenia’s hands away, Nanny claiming this honor for herself.
In the mirror Allura could see Meleenia scowling hatefully at Nanny’s back, but the older woman was oblivious. She gently placed the veil on Allura, and fitted the crown in place. A few pins were added, and Allura found herself gazing through gauze. It was just cloudy enough that she would need assistance in walking, Allura fearing she would stumble into a wall or even worse a person.
Once the veil was in place, there was not much to do, Meleenia leaving to speak with the guards outside the apartment. In an hours time her escort would arrive, the men dressed in black armor, that was laced with white threads, and held blood red leather beneath their chest plates. She’d later learn they were dressed in the colors that signified a wedding was about to happen, or a funeral.
An argument would break out between her ladies, the women all wanting to carry the end of Allura’s veil. It was finally decided that a Drule should do it, because they would know better what was expected of them during the ceremony. It didn’t mean that the other six women were left behind, they too would attend the ceremonies, but at a distance.
A pretty Drule female with her white hair braided into a complex bun was the one chosen to help carry Allrua’s veil. Her name was Freyja, and had to stand way behind Allura in order to not wrinkle the veil. With Freyja behind her, Allura and the guards began traveling through castle Doom. Allura felt her nerves increasing, she was glad for the veil that blurred her face, it kept her expression hidden from nosy eyes. It didn’t stop her hands from turning damp with nervous sweat, or her heart from beating too fast.
She didn’t know where they were taking her, and Allura was surprised when they arrived not at the throne room, but the hanger area inside the castle. An open roof cruiser was waiting for her, Allura being escorted inside, along with Freyja and the rest of her attendants. The women were forced to squish in the front seat, Allura left to sit in the back by herself.
It was explained to her that they would be driving to the temple where the actual wedding would take place. It was implied that several ceremonies would occur, and Allura wondered just what sort of religion the Drules practiced. She found herself wishing she had quizzed someone, Prince Lotor or one of the many helpful soldiers onboard the flagship, about what was to happen.
Instead she was riding blind, almost literally as she sat stiffly in the back seat of the cruiser. It’s engines hummed, and with a smell of brunt ozone, it took off at a leisurely speed, the cruises leaving through the hanger doors, and out into the wilds of Doom.
To Allura’s surprise, there was people outside, and they cheered when they saw her cruiser. She couldn’t understand everything they said, but knew they were wishing their king a long and happy marriage. It was quite a contrast to the reception the impending marriage got on Arus, her people mourning it and her, fearing she would die before getting a chance to return to them.
Confetti was thrown, the sky seeming to snow with the colorful pieces of paper, and as they passed each group of Drule citizens, the people began to follow the cruiser. They followed it all the way to the temple, Allura spying a pyramid shaped building that was decorated with banners. A blood red carpet extend out it’s main doors, the cruiser pulling up besides it.
She was helped out of her ride, Freyja hurrying to take hold of her veil once more. A guard took Allura by the arm, and led her into the temple, and she found the inside was dimly lit, and crowded with Drules. In the darkness, all their eyes seemed to glow as they looked at her, lending an eerie feel to the proceedings. All the way in the front of the temple, was a huge pool of water, deep enough in places to drown a man.
She shivered at that thought, clinging gratefully to her escort’s arm as she was led down the carpet. Past the pool, was a stone platform, elevated close to the ceiling. There was steps leading down into the pool, and Allura realized with a start she was expected to cross it to reach the platform. She started to hesitate, unsure of what to do, knowing her long dress would surely dragged her down in the water.
The guard kept dragging her forward, and the closer they got to the pool, she could make out the figures standing on top the platform. King Zarkon and his son, Prince Lotor, along with a woman garbed in the sheerest of silk. There was nothing left to the imagination of the woman’s body, even her most private spots were exposed. No one seemed to care, their eyes were all for Allura, who was too busy wondering why Lotor and Zarkon were not wet.
She got her answer soon enough, there was stepping stones in the pool, somehow secured in place so they did nothing more than dip slightly when a person’s weight was put on one. Allura weighed a lot less than Lotor and Zarkon, the stones barely reacted to her feet upon their surface. Freyja crossed the pool with her, the female confidant as she held Allura’s veil.
She was still unsteady as she crossed, Allura having difficulty seeing through her veil. She somehow managed to not fall into the pool, nor did she slip as she climbed the steps up to the platform. Zarkon was waiting to take her arm, ushering her over to the scantily clad woman. A whisper in her ear from him, had her informed that the woman was a Drule priestess, and Allura’s eyes widened in shock at the thought of a holy woman going around so naked.
She couldn’t follow much of the ceremony, the priestess speaking too fast in Drule. She seemed to be reciting prayers, hands clasped together as though she was begging the Drule God to bless this union. Incense was lighted, and the heady mixture had Allura growing unsteady, her eyes and limbs feeling heavy. She actually swayed in place, Zarkon tightening his grip on her to keep her from tipping over.
She didn’t know what was in the incense to make her react that way, but Allura didn’t like it. Nor did she like the possessive way Zarkon held her arm, his thumb caressing the inside of it. He kept looking at her, and before she had met the King, she had always thought looks were harmless. Not Zarkon’s! The man seemed to undress her with his eyes.
The fact that he would do so soon with his hands had her shuddering in distaste, Allura aware that Zarkon felt the shiver go through her. He leaned in to whisper in her ear, his fangs grazing against her. “Are you cold my dear?” He asked, and she said nothing. “Don’t worry, I’ll soon be warming you up.”
She felt ill at the very thought, Allura fearing the combination of the incense and his words enough to make her want to vomit. But somehow she held back that urge, grateful she hadn’t had breakfast yet.
The priestess was still chanting, and now she turned to the altar behind her. A fire burned in the center of the altar, and to its side lay several items. Allura couldn’t make out what they were, not in the dark, not until the priestess lifted one and drew near. Allura gasped in horror, recognizing the thick blade she wielded. She didn’t understand it’s purpose, or why Zarkon was forcing her hand to turn palm up.
Not until the priestess suddenly slashed out with blade, Allura unable to hold in her panicked scream. Laughter seemed to erupt at her cry, and she could hear Nanny and the Arusian girls shouting. Blood was welling out thick and fast from her palm, and Allura stared in dizzy astonishment at the red liquid. She was even more astounded when Zarkon lifted her hand to his mouth, the King parting his fat lips to let his tongue come out and lick at her hand.
That was enough to get her shivering in disgust, her voice failing her as she wanted to scream. The urge was even worse when Zarkon greedily fastened his mouth around her wound, his fangs digging into her as he began sucking at her blood. And all the while he stared at her, eyes looking perverse with desire. He made obscene noises as he drank her blood, reveling in the taste of her.
She began trying to hold in her revulsion, a dry gag escaping her. And then Zarkon was releasing her hand, and offering his to the priestess. Allura’s own eyes widened, they couldn’t mean for her to drink the Drule’s blood, could they?
The priestess was merciless, slashing open Zarkon’s hand. The woman said something to Allura, but all the princess could do was shake her head no. Zarkon seemed to sigh in disappointment, but locked their bleeding hands together, pressing the wounds against one another. She didn’t understand why, would never be able to forget the feel of it even after she learned it was one way to ensure she mingled her blood with that of her husbands.
Ideally during the wedding, the groom and the bride would drink of one another. But allowances were being made for the King’s all too human bride. Allura was hardly grateful for that, fighting not to faint, terrified that if she dropped down and interrupted the ceremony, they would start over from the beginning. Her head began to pound, Allura wanting this nightmare to be over with.
Zarkon grunted, and the priestess spoke, gesturing for them to pull apart. Lotor approached the King with gauze, and began tending to his father’s wound. Freyja had let go of Allura’s veil, the length of it descending down the platforms steps to trail it’s tip into the water, and took to bandaging up Allura’s hand. She wondered if the ceremony was over, but the priestess continued to drone onwards.
Ceremonial wine was poured into an oddly shaped mug that sat on the altar. Allura and Zarkon took turns drinking from it, and it wasn’t until the princess had her turn that she realized she was drinking out of a hollowed out human skull. She nearly dropped it at that point, the wine already in her mouth. All kinds of thoughts raced through her head, Allura wondering just who the skull had belonged too.
The ceremony would continue, and soon it became apparent why the pool was so deep. Humans, slaves by the look of their ragged clothes, were brought forth by the King’s guard. The humans were shoved into the pool, the Drules holding them down until they drowned. Allura couldn’t handle such mindless cruelty, and was hardly reassured when told it was Zarkon’s choice of sacrifice to offer up to the Drule Gods.
She learned the sacrifice could have been anything, but that the Drule Gods valued lives the most. Many of the Drules didn’t like to sacrifice their slaves, but Zarkon chose to show off his wealth in killing his strongest and most healthy slaves. She also learned the bodies would be stripped of their flesh, their bones harvested to make holy artifacts, such as the skull mug they had drunk out of.
At last the time came for the vows to be exchanged, the priestess pulling double duty by speaking in both Drule and Basic. She looked directly at Allura when she asked the princess to honor and serve, and above all obey her future husband. Allura felt the eyes of the assembly on her, felt Zarkon’s threatening squeeze on her arm, and blew out a breath.
She spoke the words of submission, going down on her knees before the King. He would not be returning the honor, merely grinning down at her, expression lustful. She took his hand, the one that had not been cut, and pressed kisses over his knuckles. “I, Allura of Arus, do solemnly swear to uphold my vows to you. I submit to all things where you are concerned. Your desire is my desire, your happiness is my happiness. I am nothing without you, and everything that you allow.”
The words were without inflection, Allura neither bold nor sorrowful as she said them. She spoke as though dead, staring not at her husband, but at his hand which she still held.
The priestess then urged Zarkon to speak, the man practically purring as he said the following. “I, Zarkon of Doom, do take you Allura of Arus as my lawful wife and property. I will rule over you with a stern but merciful hand, and guide you to serve me better.” He was reaching for her veil, tossing it back to reveal her face to him. Her back was to the gathered crowd, she could whispers as they hungered for the chance to see what she looked like at long last.
He reached for her hands, and with a might jerk of his arms, hauled Allura to her feet. The priestess came forward one last time, this time with plain gold rings in her hands. Zarkon seemed to take great pleasure in placing the ring on his bride’s finger, smiling and chuckling. He held still for Allura to do the same to him, though she kept her face an indifferent mask.
Once the rings were in place, the priestess stepped back, her voice pronouncing them husband and wife for all to hear. The gathered Drule leapt to their feet, thunderous applause ringing through the temple. Zarkon turned her to face the crowd, and they seemed to grow even more wild at the sight of her. Allura just felt like crying, and she nearly burst into tears when Zarkon drew her in for one, lingering kiss.