Queen of Swords
By: Anne Boleyn
Writing Prompt: Yes
Date: 15th Apr 2022
“A lady can hardly build an empire without a proper blade,” said the queen, brandishing an arming sword in her right hand. Her grip slid, pinky upon pommel, before she extended her arm and the blade as one, swinging it up, then arcing back down. The downward motion left a diagonal slice in a watermelon sitting on a nearby table. A face; bearded, bloated and bifurcated; had been sharpied onto the melon, topped off with a round-brimmed Tudor bonnet. The top half slid off, toppling to the floor bonnet and all, to land with a wet smack. Anne’s elbow relaxed, the blade sliding back in front of her as she cleaned off the melon remnants with an oiled cloth. “How cathartic,” she said to herself. She looked at the camera, eyelids heavy, a nigh postcoital bliss overtaking her, towering black and white updo threatening to topple at any moment.
Then the queen’s tone shifted back to the mercantile. “And that’s why I, Anne Boleyn, First of Her Name, Queen of Queens and Debated Ruler of Brooklynshire choose Broad-Swords for my melee weapons. Female owned and operated, Broad-Swords smelts, hammers and forges only the finest in medieval melee. From swords, daggers, maces, flails and everything in between. They can restring longbow quicker than I can put an arrow through the eye of a Frenchman.”
A voice muttered from off-camera. The queen narrowed a single eye in response, then stress-sighed. “Suppose that’s incorrect to say now. Let’s go with, put an arrow through a target designed to look like a French, if you please. That’s Broad-Swords in Queens New York, hashtag Anne-sent-me to get fifteen percent off on all online orders. Behead your spouse before they behead you – with no finer sword than Broad-Swords. Off Jamaican Avenue between Starbucks and Chipotle.”
The proprietor of Broad-Swords in Queenshire insisted on paying the queen in conceptual currency. Anne glared at her, unmoved by terms like direct deposit, Paypal and Venmo. Throat drying, Anne scratched at her neck scar, then jabbed her index finger toward a rack of weapons. “Pay me with those.”
The owner of Broad-Swords, between Starbucks and Chipotle, looked back at the rack. Her eyes danced over the gleaming metal, the swords and daggers, maces and flails. “Okay,” she said.
A duffle bag of weapons slammed down before the camera, the chain of a flail spilling out onto the wooden floor. Anne sat behind it, her carriage boots off to one side, barefoot and cross-legged beneath an abundantly petticoated gown in plum and primrose. Her hands rummaged, cracked nails tracing across the wooden handle of a dagger, ornamented in alexandrite. She seized it, both hands gripping the handle as she brought the blade within an inch of her right eye.
“I could keep going, of course. Plunge the blade through my eye, the juices therein, straight on until brain. Save you all the trouble of doing it yourself, Calamitous Dickson. Take my own initiative in removing Anne Boleyn from this strange, woebegone time she finds herself in. Save the FIGHTing for the FIGHTers and disappear back into sweet oblivion until I wake back up on that dour May morning for a second helping of decapitation. Oh, the fatalism.”
Anne’s fist closed around the dagger, and sent it silently screaming to the floor, blade digging into the wood with a lifeless thud. It wobbled for a moment after she released it, before her hands again went rummaging, this time closing on the handle of a mace. She cradled the spikey head like it belonged to a newborn baby. Then she took the handle and gave it a practice swing.
“But hardly a respectable way to meet Dickson, Champion of Empires, Calamitous in Nature, Molotovian in Temperament. A living torrent of fire and misery given woeful sentience and determined to rend asunder all that I, myself, have built. Tear me from the FIGHT ring and send me spinning back into the void. That simply won’t do.”
She let the mace swing like a pendulum and then drop into the floor alongside the dagger, the spikes causing it to tilt upon entry so that the handle sat at an angle. Her fingers drummed on it, before returning to the duffle bag.
“Distance won’t do either, of course. Tempting as a flaming arrow might be. As the old saying goes, there’s nothing quite so mortal as a grey feather.”
A shortbow was taken from the bag, hardly as imposing as the queen’s longbow, but in much better working condition. She set it behind her, next to a leather quiver stuffed with wooden arrows tailed in pigeon feathers, grimy from the streets and skies of New York City.
“Yet again, no. For a battler who lives by the guillotine, one might suggest an ax. But as something of an expert on the subject, I find them inelegant and unwieldy in the art of beheading. As you can see, my own results speak for themselves.”
The queen held up a lock of black and white curls that had become untwined from her mountain of hair and were obscuring her neck. They revealed the scar where her head and body once parted centuries earlier, a perfectly straight line of pink all the way around her otherwise pale neck.
“Axes make for such messier work. Nothing more exhausting than chop-chop-chopping through bone and meat, all the while your executee gurgling for you to get on with it. Take it from me – if you want something done right, lop someone’s head off with a fucking sword.”
Removing the same arming sword from her Broad-Swords ad, Anne admired her reflection in the gleaming steel, pondering her words.
“Well, lopping my head off could hardly be considered something done right in a historical sense. No matter. Not to sound like an ultra-boomer, but really, I think modern society has gotten too far away from beheadings and their more positive aspects. What say we give them a reminder, Sir Dickson? Light our weapons of choice on fire and make for a couple of human molotovs the likes of which FIGHT has never seen, until one us lies scattered across the canvas in bloody, burning bits. I do hope you’re game. But be forewarned – my blade is sharp.”
The queen pointed her sword to the camera, pushing the blade through glass and circuitry, until it cracked and collapsed into nothing.