The Pillar Queen
Previously, I wrote about unique, individual “pillar characters” who appear in multiple stories across the storyworld and fulfill important structural roles within the world itself. Below is one such character from the Empire of Venom & Silk storyworld.
Alanna, Queen of Zira
Since the day she was born, Alanna was groomed to take the throne of the city-state of Zira. Her tutors filled her mind with history, science, and economics. The generals taught her military strategy. And her father, the king himself, taught her how to play the sometimes-cruel game of politics in Zira-Shun.
When the invaders attacked, Alanna’s father send Zira’s army into the field to try and hold them back. Alanna quickly realized that they had no chance. They would be wiped out, and Zira would fall as Ahbiz and Namzi had fallen before them. Alanna tried to convince the king to recall his troops and negotiate a truce with the spiders, but he refused to listen. So she killed him.
Upon seizing the throne, Alanna parlayed a peace with the invaders. It was more efficient for them, she pointed out, to have the rulers of Zira-Shun provide them with the food and slaves they needed, rather than to hunt for such assets themselves. Alanna swore fealty to the spiders. As proof of her loyalty, she offered her younger brother to serve as host for a telepathic “rider” spider in order to be a conduit between her and her eight-legged masters.
Today, Queen Alanna never leaves the palace grounds. She meets with nobles and mediates between them and the spiders, but has no qualms about sacrificing any number of commoners to keep the spiders satisfied. She’s done the math. She knows what she much do to keep her city and its territories from ending up like Namzi-Shun.
Alanna is a detached and dispassionate queen. While she values her subjects, she values them as resources to be cultivated, hoarded, sacrificed, and spent for the good of the realm. She is thoughtful and logical. She never rushes to judgment, or allows herself to be swayed by passions–neither her own nor others’. While those around her may quietly question her methods, none can deny that they have kept Zira-Shun alive (and its rulers in power) while the other realms have collapsed into chaos and anarchy.
Role: Queen Alanna is the “face of the conflict” between the humans and spiders of Zira-Shun. She is literally the face of the corrupted aristocracy who have betrayed the rest of humanity in order to preserve their own lives.
Quote: “Our esteemed friends have informed me that they need another hundred bodies for a project in Ahbiz. After midnight, send the collectors into the lower levels of the city and bring me whoever you find sleeping in the gutters there. If there are not enough street-sleepers, visit the hovels. Drag them from their beds if necessary. Try not to kill anyone. We may need them next month.”
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