Always A Queen

Ezra Azra


© Copyright 2024 by Ezra Azra
Painting by Edward_Henry_Corbould at Wikimedia Commons.
Painting by Edward_Henry_Corbould at Wikimedia Commons

It was early evening, a few days after Prince Hector, heir to the throne of Troy, had been killed in battle in the war between Greece and Troy. The war was in its tenth year. Prince Troilus, next in line to inherit the throne, was Hector's brother.

Because Troilus had never expected his brother to die before him, he felt free to engage in secret romances with non-royal women, all his life. To his credit he always took precautions to be not like his Father, King Priam, who, so far, was Father to, virtually, countless illegitimate children in Troy and beyond.

As well, and to his credit, and, again, unlike his royal Dad, Troilus was monogamous in his improper romantic affairs.

There were rumors about his elder brother, Prince Hector, being well on the way to being like their Dad.

Whenever Prince Troilus he felt it was time to end a current affair, he would give his victim enough gold to provide her a comfortable living, forever.

At the time of his brother's death, Prince Troilus was in a clandestine romance with a commoner young woman named Cressida.

When his brother was killed in battle, Prince Troilus knew he had to start planning a romance with a royal-blood aristocratic woman who could be Queen when they married. He had arranged a last assignation with Cressida, at which time he planned to let her know when and how he would be sending her gold.

He expected no difficulties. The disappointment and depression a paramour might have sincerely experienced, initially, had always been completely and instantly healed when Prince Troilus had mentioned the amount of gold reward he intended to pay.
He expected Cressida would be no different from all those others.

They met at their usual place and time. A bench in a park one dark evening. As usual, they arrived promptly from different directions, both heavily disguised.

They sat together on the bench; she leaning into him; he with an arm around her, and the other under his garments across him in the front, for them to be able to hold hands. To passers-by, he and she were an ordinary normal pair of lovers. Their conversation was mostly in whispers.

The death of Hector had thrown the Palace into turmoil.

-I am depressed he's gone. He was a god. His passing can't bode well for you and me, Cress. Especially because it means that I am now my Father's heir.

-Troilus, there's Hector's son.

-Astynax is a child. He will not be allowed to rule while there is this war. None will oppose me should my Father die.
-When first you said you loved me, you declared there would be no objection to our marriage because you were not the heir to the throne.

-My Cressida, when Troy defeats the Greek invaders, I, as heir, will have the power to change some of the rules of inheritance. We must end this relationship now so that in the future when I choose you to be my wife, it will seem to be that I am being noble and generous to a non-royal ordinary citizen of Troy.

-Troilus, what little knowledge of this war I have, I have from my uncle, Pandarus, my only living relative. He says the war goes ill for Troy.

-It's been a long war, Cress. Too long. All lengthy wars have ups and downs, my love. Recall the axiom, my love, 'Sometimes we cannot help but fall; the glory is in rising wiser every time we fall.'

They sat in silence, a few seconds. Cressida spoke softly.

-Troilus, you could be killed in combat.
-Now that you're heir, are you not allowed to stay away from battlefields?

-Cressida, Prince Hector died in battle alongside ordinary Trojan soldiers. For a Prince to die in battle alongside ordinary soldiers is, in most respects, a greater honour than living to become king.

-He was married, Troilus. And he left an heir. Should you be killed, I'm left without hope.

-Until we marry, my love, we have to keep our love a secret, that, were I to die before we marry, perfect beauty ever yours with the gold from me, will guarantee you will be loved again.
-My Prince, thank you. Were you to die, our secret by itself won't be enough to help me live. Not even all the gold you intend to grant me. I'll need some possession of yours to hold, as I hold you now.
-Then let us here exchange possessions.

He moved to remove his ring from his finger, but she placed a hand gently on his to stop him. She took off a cord from around her neck. At the end of it was a ring. She separated the ring from its cord. She placed the ring in the palm of her hand, and offered it to him. He took the ring. He recognized it immediately, stretching his hand out to show a similar ring he was wearing. He was mystified.

He put the ring back into her palm and gently folded her fingers over the ring.

-Cressida, my love, my father, King Priam, gave a ring like this to every child of his when they were born. Engraved.
-I know, Troilus. On such a night as this, this very place, before this bench was here, Prince Hector told me when he gave me this ring. A long time before he met Princess Andromache whom he married.

-You and Hector-----?

-Were secretly betrothed, my Prince. He said it would, forever, have to be our secret because the King would not allow us to be wed. Dear Hector wanted children, nonetheless. He said his father had so many children out of wedlock. Troilus, I cannot remember the number of times I refused Hector a child, out of wedlock, with him.

Troilus took off his ring and slipped it on her finger.

-My love, now you have two rings of betrothal from two Princes. Before the next full moon, we will be married in secret. From here on, I will not leave Troy for the battlefield. When this war is over, win or lose, if my Father is alive and will not accept you as my wife, you and I will leave Troy. If my Father dies and leaves me King, you and I will be King and Queen of Troy.

That promise made sense to Cressida because of a prophecy she was told by her late Mother. Cressida was the only child of her Trojan parents.

A few days before she was born, her Father fell in battle in service to Troy years before the present war against the Greek invaders.

Cressida’s Mother knew that without a husband to help her, there was little chance she and her child would survive beyond a few days during that earlier war. And so, her Mother had offered her yet unborn first child, daughter or son, to almighty God Poseidon who had built the walls of Troy thousands of years ago.

In response to the Mother’s offering and prayers, almighty god Poseidon had appeared to the Mother, and had informed her that her child would be a daughter who would eventually become a queen; and Poseidon gave the unborn daughter the name of Cressida, which means “always a queen.”

Troy was defeated. King Priam was killed in the last battle. Prince Troilus was killed, defending the fallen body of his Father in the palace. His Mother, Queen Hecuba, was sold into slavery in Greece, as was the late Prince Hector's wife, Andromache.

Astynax, Prince Hector's only underage son and only legitimate child, was brutally murdered in sacrifice by Greek soldiers, to their gods.

Virgin Princess Cassandra, one of many sisters to Prince Troilus, was taken into slavery to Greek king, Agamemnon. He took her back to Greece where she and he, on the same night, were murdered by King Agamemnon's wife, Clytemnestra.

Cressida, because of her stunning beauty and fabulous gold wealth, was not taken into slavery. Instead, King Stamos, among the Greek invaders, honorably married her in Troy, before taking her back to his island kingdom in the Mediterranean sea. They lived long and prosperous lives. They had no children.

Before she left Troy, Queen Cressida buried two royal rings somewhere, secretly.

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