The binding ceremony at the temple was but the first of the many events planned for her wedding, Allura being taken from one celebration to another, her husband’s hands on her nearly always. She still felt shocked to think of Zarkon as her husband, and with it came a dull sort of terror as she realized she was bound to him for life now. She knew enough of the Drules to know they did not divorce, not in the conventional sense of the word. It was only through death, either hers or his, that they could be free to marry another, and though Allura was decades younger than her husband, she feared he would outlive her.
Especially with the casual way he killed people, Allura watching horrified as the king not only ordered deaths, but at one point joined in on the killing. She had barely known what to do, watching as her husband joined men younger than him in what was the famed arena of the Drules. He was almost gleeful, transformed from lecherous old man to a being of strength and power. It had sent ripples of fear through her, watching the ease in which Zarkon killed his opponents in the arena’s pit.
The people of Doom had gone wild at their King’s performance, cheering in approval as he slaughtered man and monster alike. He all but bathed in their blood, his fine garments ruined by it, leaving a sickening stench to his presence, one that had Allura trying not to retch to smell it.
The arena was yet another test of her strength at remaining composed, Allura sitting there with a numb expression on her face as she watched the Drules fight and kill. Even the King’s son, Lotor, took part in the fighting, though he was careful to keep the blood and gore from splattering all over him. She also noticed that Lotor was not needlessly cruel, effectively dispatching his opponents at his quickest convenience.
Not Zarkon, who seemed to live for their torment, playing a cruel cat and mouse game where he left them wounded and begging for mercy. A mercy he would not grant them, and Allura reminded herself that it could have very well been her own people who would have been toyed with, if not for her sacrifice. The knowledge that she was keeping her Arusians out of the slaves pits, and away from the arena lent her some strength, Allura relieved she could make a difference to their lives.
Even that was almost not enough for her to maintain her outward calm, Zarkon returning to their booth, with a garish set of presents for her. A dead gladiator, some odd mix of alien that was neither human nor Drule was brought back, and Zarkon made a show of presenting the body for her inspection. She could only stare, not even mustering a polite smile as she looked over the body.
And then to her horror, Zarkon began to dig his sword into the alien’s chest, brutally carving out his heart. She obeyed the harshness of her husband’s command, holding out her hands though she wanted to scream. Zarkon, grinning a malevolent smile, deposited the slime covered heart in her hands, and it was then she thought she would faint. Especially when he covered the top of the heart with his hands, squishing it between them as the Drules cheered.
Somehow, the heart was thrown into an open flame, another offering to the Drule gods. No one gave her a towel to wipe her hands off, and Allura had to fight not to rub her hands on her fine wedding gown. Zarkon remained covered in blood, making no attempt to clean any of it off, not even his hands, She kept staring at one particularly large stain on his suit in horrified fascination, trying to distract herself from everything going on around her.
Eventually, the spectacle of the arena drew to a close, and by that time the blood on her hands had dried to a reddish brown color. She had to take Zarkon’s arm, a thing she was loathe to do, but at least his sleeve was dry now too. The entire wedding party followed them to the parked cruisers, her husband’s hands on her waist, lifting Allura into it’s back seat.
Those hands of his lingered for longer than was appropriate, and then Zarkon was joining her in the back. He sat right next to her, the side of his body pressed against hers, and she could not see a way to inch away from him without insulting her husband. She endured, a frozen half smile on her face, aware that behind this cruiser were others, Lotor in one, and Nanny and the other ladies in another.
They rode to the city capital, Zarkon all big grins as he waved to the crowd of adoring people. Allura gave half hearted waves as well, listening to the roar of the crowd, and seeing them toss flowers at the cruisers. The streets were flanked on either side by the military, the Drule soldiers keeping the people back from rushing the cruisers. Allura looked away, instead studying the way the city had been transformed, all flowers and balloons and a never ending shower of colorful confetti raining down from the roofs of the buildings.
It was so different from the cities on Arus, the buildings thrice as tall as anything her Arusians had ever made. They looked as bad as the castle, as though they were carved straight out of rocky mountains, rather than built stone by stone. The city had a cramp, claustrophobic feeling to it, the buildings nearly leaning on top of one another. They were all colored in black or dark grays, and only the white lights strung over their frames broke up the gloom that permeated the city.
Eventually the little parade would end up in what was the city’s main square, a platform built there and waiting for them. Three large view screens were situated behind it, they would air live feed of the wedding party, and amplify the words spoken. It wasn’t just the capital that would be privy to this event, she learned later that the scene was being air lived across all of Doom, a fact that would have made Allura even more nervous.
On the platform she was ushered, and it was there that her husband began to make a speech, grinning, and covered in dried gore. He droned on for a good twenty minutes, pausing at times to pander to the excited crowd. They would cheer even more enthusiastically, leaving Allura to wonder if there was anything Zarkon could say that wouldn’t earn their approval.
When her husband’s speech was over and done with, he invited Allura up top the podium. She moved less confidently than she’d have liked, Allura knowing it was time for her to make her first address to the people of Doom. She opened her mouth to speak, and staring at those grinning faces, she went blank for a moment. The crowd seemed to stir, restless at her long pause which only increased her nerves.
It was her husband who came to her rescue, Zarkon cracking a joke about his wife being overwhelmed. The gathered Drules seemed to laugh at that, and it bought her the time needed to compose herself. Swallowing nervously, Allura gripped the sides of the podium as though it was her one life line in this dark city of laughing faces. “People of Doom….I am most honored to be standing here before you.” She had said, a bland smile plastered on her face.
Her speech started off slow, but as she found her words, her confidence grew. She began to talk about how she hoped to serve the empire, how she wanted to be open and accessible to her new people. She thanked them for their warm, and enthusiastic welcome, asking them to continue to journey with her as she learned all about their world and their customs.
She spoke in Drule, and that too was met with their approval, and no one seemed to notice how careful she was to avoid saying how she felt about being forced to marry their King. She certainly didn’t praise him, or thank any Gods for the wedding, but Allura still managed to ingratiate herself to the people by her humbleness and desire to be of use to them. Her speech gave them hope that she would not be some overbearing, tyrant queen looking to force her own beliefs on them.
Her speech was also shorter than Zarkon’s, but no less powerful, her words earning heartfelt applause by her new people. When she finished, Zarkon guided her away from the podium, taking the time to whisper praise in her ear. “You did well.” He had said approvingly. “You’ve won them over with your charm and your smile.”
“Perhaps.” Was all she allowed in return, thinking it would take a lot more than words and pretty looks to truly gain the people’s devotion. It would take action, and self sacrifice, Allura ready to work to help Doom to be better in whatever ways she could. She had been hoping to throw herself into the work, if only to keep herself distracted from the person she had married.
After the speeches, the wedding party piled back into the cruisers, riding through different streets of the capital. She and Zarkon barely talked during the ride, the King too busy preening for the people. Allura thought she’d go blind from all the flashes going off, the Drules wanting to commemorate the moment with pictures for their private collections.
Thankfully, they were at the end of the public visits, the cruisers returning them to the castle. She found it hard to think of Castle Doom as her new home, Allura likening it more to a prison and Zarkon her jailor. If he’d allow it, she’d spend as much time away from the castle as she could get away with it, Allura sure she could find somewhere on Doom to be her private haven.
Or at least she hoped too, Allura thought, holding in a sigh as she sat at one of the many banquet tables squeezed into the grand throne room of Castle Doom. It was the first time she had been inside Zarkon’s throne room, and she was awed by how immense in size it was. The sheer number of people that fit in, even with all the tables taking up space, left her staggered, Allura remembering how modest in size the throne room in the Castle of Lions was.
Zarkon sat to the right of her, and their table was right in front of the dais that led up to the throne. Their backs were to the dais, Zarkon and Allura facing the crowd of nobles that sat seated not only at their table, but at the table spread through out the room. She didn’t have a clue towards the names of anyone, other than her husband and Lotor, Allura feeling lost and woefully out of her realm of comfort.
A feast was spread out on each table, and though she was starving, Allura was hesitant to eat. There still had been no chance to clean her hands, and her husband stank of blood and sweat. She felt nauseous and anxious, worrying about how long this banquet would last, and what would happen once it was over. People kept standing up to give long winded speeches, including Lotor, wishing the newly wedded couple good fortune, luck and happiness.
Every speech was followed with a toast, and Allura feared she was becoming drunk on the wine she was forced to drink. Thankfully not out of skulls this time, the cups small works of art, gold and jewel encrusted. She had been astonished when she first saw the cups, thinking it was more wealth held in one hand than many of her people had seen in their entire life.
Another person was standing, a woman in brown robes that hardly looked fitting when compared to the wealth displayed on the other attendees’ garments. She had a screechy sounding voice, and though she smiled, Allura was sure the woman did not mean it when she congratulated the King on the fine match he had made in his marriage. Allura would later learn this woman’s name was Haggar, and that she was the high witch appointed to the court.
Haggar was also a keen admirer of the King, holding unnatural lusts for the Drule that were not returned. It was no surprise she hated Allura, having formed an opinion of her long before they had met. But for public appearances, she smiled and simpered, playing up to both king and his new queen.
Apparently Haggar was speaking too long, the King’s hand was on Allura’s leg. He started by touching her knee, than sliding his claws high up her leg, until he was groping her thigh. Allura had jumped at the touch, and then held herself absolutely still, not betraying what was happening underneath the table.
With shaking hands, she lifted her goblet to her lips, Allura drinking deeply out of nerves. There was a subconscious desire she had, the girl wishing she could drink herself to oblivion so as not to remember her wedding night. She almost spilled her drink when Zarkon leaned in to her, nuzzling his lips against her ear. “I think it’s time you excuse yourself from the feasting.”
“Yes…” His fangs grazed the curve of her ear, and then she heard a deep inhale, Zarkon breathing of her scent. “Go now. Make yourself even prettier and wait for me in my bed chamber.”
She wondered if she paled at that request, but Allura nodded graciously. “Very well. If it is what you command…”
“It is.” Zarkon said, doing one last squeeze of her leg. He stood when she did, making a show of kissing her good-bye. The nobles laughed at this, and a few made innuendo ridden comments, surely thinking she would not understand even half of what they said. She understood enough, Allura feeling sick to hear it, and looking around miserably at the smiling faces.
Only Prince Lotor looked as ill at ease as she did, the girl realizing he had been watching her through out the night with something like pity on his face. She tried to smile for him, but it came out a grimace, Allura wondering why it couldn’t have been Lotor she had been forced to marry.
Guards came to circle around her, Allura being escorted past the tables and out into the hall. She felt dizzy and unstable, needing to lean on a guard for support as they walked her through the many corridors that led to the King’s apartment. It seemed to take forever to reach it, the motions of walking slow, Allura watching herself from a distance.
But at last they arrived, and the guards took up positions outside the door, the message of their presence obvious. They were there not only to guard her, but to make sure she didn’t attempt to flee. She wouldn’t have tried, Allura positive there was no safe place for her in the castle. Not so long as she wanted to avoid her husband’s affection.
With a shudder she entered the room, and nearly collapsed in relief to see Nanny and the girls from Arus. The Drule ladies in waiting were also present, and the group of seven converged on her, ready to comfort and get her ready. She endured their attentions, being helped out of her gown, the heavy crown at last allowed to leave her head. Once just in her underwear, she came back to herself, long enough to cry urgently for soap and water.
Nanny was already on it, having noticing Allura’s blood stained hands, the older woman leading her to the bathroom. Somehow she managed to be alone with Allura, the other two girls keeping the Drules out of the room. It was there that Nanny began to speak quietly as she scrubbed Allura’s hands clean.
“You know what is expected of you child?” She asked, and Allura nodding, catch sight of her pale face in the mirror.
“Yes.” She was weak as she said it, wondering if her words were slurring from all she had had to drink. “I’m to…to do my wifely duty, and sleep with my husband.” Sleep was too mild a word for what was expectated of her, and Nanny sighed.
“This is not what I would have chosen for you.” She said, carefully seeing to the grime under Allura’s fingernails. “I would have seen you marry if not for love, than at least someone who wasn’t old enough to be your grandfather. And an evil tyrant no less, who takes perverse pleasures at the sufferings of others!”
“I know Nanny. But there was little choice in the matter for me…Arus was at stake…”
“And he would have taken you anyway if you had refused him.” Nanny grumbled, not meeting Allura’s eyes. “He would have raped you like the savage he is…at least this way you have the rank and respectability a Queen affords you. Though I’m sure it’s cold comfort on this night….”
“Nanny…” her voice broke on a hoarse cry, Allura tearing up. “I don’t want to be with him. Not tonight, not ever…”
“I know child, I know.” Nanny looked up, and she seemed as at a loss as Allura was. “I can’t begin to know how he’ll treat you. I can only hope he will be somewhat
gentle given your virginal state. Whatever you do, don’t try to fight him. No doubt he’d like that, and take it as an excuse to hurt you further.”
“I won’t fight.” Allura sniffled. “I accepted him as my husband…and so I must submit to him in this. But I’ll take no pleasure from it…and Gods willing he will be quick about it, and leave me be for the rest of the night.”
“Gods willing.” Agreed Nanny, and then Allura began to openly cry. “Oh child…” Nanny cooed, and pulled Allura into her embrace. That just made Allura cry even more, the girl shaking as the woman petted her hair. Nanny began to sing an Arusian lullaby, trying to console her when she was beyond comfort. The older woman’s own voice began to crack on some of the notes, Nanny almost crying as well.
A knock sounded on the bathroom door, Geneive’s apologetic face appearing in the crack of it. “Those…other women are getting restless. I can only keep them away for so long….”
“They will wait for as long as we want them to!” An infuriated Nanny said, face becoming composed in her anger.
“It’s fine..” Allura said, pulling away and rubbing at her eyes. “They’re only trying to do their jobs.”
“There’s no use putting off the inevitable.” Allura told them both, and opened the door to step out and greet Meleenia and the other women. They were frowning, but their sour dispositions faded when they saw their Queen, the women hurrying to surround Allura. She was taken into the bed chamber, and there was a gown laid out on the bed. It was colored pure white, the silk looking virginal until the dress was held up.
The nightgown would be another form fitting outfit, pulling tight across her breast and her bottom. It also tapered in close to her legs, defining their outlines and making it hard to walk even with the knee high slit on the right side. Spaghetti thin straps would hold the gown in place over her shoulders, and underneath all she wore was plain silk panties.
Her hair was combed out, and brushed, neatly arranged on her shoulders. The Drule females fussed over her, putting powder on her cheeks, and scenting her with some kind of sweet smelling perfume. Meleenia stepped away to light candles, and the room filled with some kind of incense that had the effect of making Allura grow more alert rather than tired. She didn’t like that the smell chased away the high of her drink, didn’t like that she no longer felt on the verge of collapse.
At last all the preparations were done with, the bed covers turned down, the pillows fluffed. Nanny went to hug her, and whispered in her ear. “Be strong child.” Allura could only nod in return. She didn’t trust herself to speak, frightened she would start to cry, break down bawling like a baby. She didn’t want them to leave her, any of them, not even the Drule females, but knew they couldn’t stay.
With despair in her heart she watched as her female attendants filed out of the room, the door being left open so she would be able to see when her husband arrived. She didn’t know what to do with herself, and thought her legs might not be able to support her enough to pace the length of the room. Ultimately she decided to sit on the edge of the bed, hands on her lap, fingers fidgeting with the delicate silk. Allura closed her eyes, and concentrated on her breathing, trying to ignore the scent of the perfume, and the incense.
She was trying to find her center, in a desperate but futile attempt to sink into peace. But it would continue to elude her, Allura frantic and recalling the kisses Zarkon had forced on her. She almost broke down crying, and she nearly screamed when she heard the outer chamber’s door slam open. Her eyes opened, and met the gaze of her husband, the King closing the door behind him with a backwards kick.
Allura didn’t know what to say in the moment, should she greet him, would her words even be heard over the frantic beating of her heart? Zarkon stalked into the room, never take his eyes off her, and she remain rooted to the spot, even as she knew she should at the very least get up and greet him.
She noticed he hadn’t taken the time to clean up, he was still covered in the dried remains of blood. She felt ill at the thought of being embraced by him while he reeked of death, and didn’t know how to fix the situation to her advantage. Would he be infuriated if she suggested he take a bath? She didn’t know, and her eyes widened as he began unbuttoning his jacket.
Those claws of his were dexterous, nimbly opening buttons without pulling them free of the garment. He was already shrugging out of the jacket when she thought to speak, Allura blurting out an apology. “I should be doing that.” She had no idea where the words had come form, and for an instant Zarkon seemed almost as surprised as she. Then he smiled, and gestured for her to come closer.
“Very well wife. Attend to me.”
Dull with dread, she somehow stood, taking shaky steps towards him. He seemed to drink in her approach, actually licking his lip as he watched her draw near. Her trembling hands began undoing the buttons of the shirt he had on, and she noticed that there was a blood strain near the left side of his waist. She stared at it, and felt Zarkon’s eyes on her, Allura pretending not to notice as she opened the shirt.
She gasped when she realized he bore a fresh wound, the cut jagged and nasty looking. She knew she should appear concerned, Allura grazing her fingers just above the wound. “You were hurt…” He seemed to shiver at the touch, and she moved to pull back. Zarkon’s fingers locked around her wrist, keeping her hand trapped against his side.
“A minor injury during my fighting in the arena.” He grunted back.
“I hadn’t realized…” Allura said, and felt ashamed at the thought she had next, wishing he had gotten a more fatal an injury as to leave her a widow on this night.
“It’s of no concern.” He told her. “I doubt it will even leave a scar.”
“Oh…” She tugged on her arm, offering up a lame excuse. “I need to finish getting off your shirt.”
“Leave it.” Zarkon ordered, and began leading her towards the bed. She didn’t quite fight him, but her feet were unwilling, Allura dragging them as she moved forward. He dropped down to sit on the edge of the bed, still holding her wrist captive as he gazed up at her. “You are very beautiful Allura. But then you know that, don’t you?”
“I…I’ve been told before I am pretty…” She began, but he interrupted with a snort.
“Pretty doesn’t begin to cover it. If you were simply pretty, I would have taken you and your planet without all this trouble of marriage.”
“And I am grateful to you for granting me my honor and seeing to my planet’s needs…” Allura told him, and he grinned at her.
“I’m sure you will prove just how grateful as the night wears on.” He tugged her closer, so that she stood between his spread legs, and only then did he release her wrist. But he quickly moved both hands to her hips, holding her there as he studied her in her silk nightgown. She tried to stand as still as a statue, unsure of what if anything she should do. His smiled widened, and his eyes gleamed. “So beautiful…..so pure….so untouched…” He laughed then, as though privy to a joke she would not understand. “And all mine.”
She said nothing to that, mouth going dry as his hands glided up the sides of her body. His eyes narrowed, and he hissed at her, voice commanding and urgent. “Say it wife! Commit to me that you belong to no other…”
“You know I don’t…” Allura said bewildered, and his fingers tightened on her waist. “I belong to you, and you alone.”
“Yes.” Now he purred, eyes showing satisfaction. “Just me.” He had her pressed against his body, and she could feel the unmoving hardness of him, and the strength in his hands. The strength enough to kill as she had witnessed earlier this day. Certainly enough power to hold her down if she fought him, and that thought made her tremble violently. He seemed to smirk at the shaking she was doing, even as he began running his hands all over her body.
“I’ll be the only one to ever see you this way…” Zarkon told Allura. “The only one to ever touch you, the only one to ever love you.” His hands cupped her breasts, and gave her harsh squeezes, Allura biting her lip to keep from crying out in pained revulsion. “Your tastes, your sound? All for me…” He let go of her breasts, and glided his claws up to the thin straps of her nightgown. She should have known what was coming, should have been prepared to go naked in front of him. And yet it still took her in surprise when he sliced open the straps of her nightgown.
The silk immediately flopped downwards, sliding smoothing down her body to crumple at her feet. She gasped and felt ashamed, both at her nudity and the pleasure that shown in her husband’s eyes. She went to cover herself, and he grabbed her wrists, forcing her arms out to her sides, so he could look her over in leisure. Her breath came in short gasps, and Allura knew she was turning red all over.
She couldn’t keep from cringing when he tucked her in close, his claws digging into her wrists a moment before he began bowing his head to her breasts. Like his kiss, this was unexpected and unwanted, Allura’s skin crawling at the feel of his tongue slobbering over her skin. She didn’t want this, didn’t want him to try and do anything to give her pleasure. She just wanted the act to be over with, and had no idea that Zarkon was beginning what would prove to be a near endless night of debauchery and torture for the young Queen.