Sometimes names are just names. Sometimes they are symbolic. Sometimes they’re more than that.
Thomas was thrown to the stone floor at the base of the steps. Despite his shackles he struggled to his knees, refusing to lie there complacent. He raised his bruised face defiantly and curled his lip, though that made the blood flow afresh.
“Thomas Daniel,” he said proudly. He was named Thomas for his grandfather, a great hunter, and the family of Daniel had long served the rightful king. “Who are you?”
The woman sat on the throne atop the dais regarded him with brown eyes that were filled with distaste. “I am Queen Ameris, ruler of the House of Conrí.”
“I recognise no queen,” he said. “I serve only the king of the Fells, the one true ruler.”
“You are in my domain, whether you acknowledge it or not,” she said, leaning forwards. Her hair, white and grey despite her relative youth, brushed her knees. “And you have committed a grave crime.”
He scowled. “The wolf? In the Fells, they are vermin to be killed on sight.”
Ameris stood and paced slowly down the three steps to stand over him. “In my domain they are protected, as all well know. The penalty for killing a wolf other than in defence of self or brethren is death.”
Surely she jested? That these superstitious pretenders revered animals was common knowledge, but that they would kill a human over the death of a filthy predator like a wolf was unthinkable.
“Then you are a fool, as well as a false leader; and worse, a vile spectre of womanhood to sit upon a throne,” he spat. Queen? Back home she’d know her place – it would be at his feet, the opposite of this twisted charade.
She closed her eyes for a second and when she opened them again her irises were the same icy blue as the wolf he’d killed.
“The name of this House is not merely symbolic,” she said.
Thomas tried to speak but no words came out in his terror.
She flicked her index finger against her thumb and now he saw that a claw, rather than a nail protruded from it. He broke out in a cold sweat as she used her other hand to cup his chin and lift his gaze. He could not help but stare into her inhuman eyes.
“Any last words?” she asked.
Neither further scorn nor pleas for mercy could form on his paralyzed lips.
“Then I will carry out the sentence.”
She drew her claw across his throat and he knew no more.
Originally written for the 30 days of fiction meme, prompt #18, the name “Thomas Daniel”
CONRÍ is an Irish name meaning “wolf king” – http://www.behindthename.com/name/conri10