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Astor knew from the moment he was appointed king there would be no other woman for him. Fulfilling a promise from his past to protect and keep her safe, he claims Lyra as his wife and queen. When she routinely skirts the rules and defies his orders, he realizes he will need to take his feisty wife in hand in the way the Cassians have done for centuries.
But when a plot for revolution follows the new queen and the secrets they're both keeping become exposed, will Astor be able to convince his rebellious queen that they are on the same side or will Lyra's trust come too little too late?
His Rebellious Queen is a sci fi romance about love, trust, and starting over.
The windows shook as another explosion sounded. Lyra eyed her sister, Vela, as the younger woman put the finishing touches on her hair. “We won't have to listen to this ever again, I can't say I'll miss it,” Vela commented, looking her over in the mirror before going back to her makeup bag.
Lyra looked around their outdated home. It was the house they had both grown up in and it held so many memories. A lifetime's worth. She would have to take the good memories with her and leave the rest behind. Another explosion, this one louder than before. The walls quaked with it instead of just the windows.
The sisters locked eyes in the mirror. Neither wanted to say what they were both thinking: Would they even make it out before it was too late?
“Are you sure you're all packed?” Lyra asked for the millionth time.
“Packed and ready as I'll ever be. Besides, Astor assured us we wouldn't have to bring much. He says the castle has all we'll need,” Vela said, the color coming back into her cheeks as she spoke about their new future.
The castle. Lyra could barely believe such a thing was happening to them. Vela advanced on her, swiping at her cheeks with the blush brush. “Please, anymore and I'll look like I'm trying too hard.”
Her sister raised her eyebrows as if to say she was already trying too hard. Lyra stood and smoothed the lace overlay of her dress down. The boning of the dress dug into her ribs, a snug fit as it was tailored for her petite mother and not for her. She and Vela were thrilled to find it amongst their parents' things in the attic. There was nowhere to buy a proper wedding dress on Earth nowadays, luckily her sister was good with a needle and thread and even figured out how to get the yellowing stains off the white material. It looked a little worse for wear, but Lyra felt like they were involving their mother in some way by resurrecting the dress she had married their father in.
Had they still been alive, would they have approved? In an impulsive moment of self preservation Lyra had accepted the marriage arrangement to the Cassian man, sight unseen. She had received a very official looking letter in the mail, of all things, their regular mail had stopped months ago. She and Vela assumed a messenger had delivered it. She would have thought it a mistake but it was addressed to her, in her full legal name.
Only to be read by the intended addressee- Lyra Avalon
It has been decreed that you shall wed Astor, the newly crowned King of Corvis (a subcolony of Dendera).
Through marriage you will become the legal queen and thereby fulfill the manifest that each colony will be ruled by a Cassian and a former Earth dweller.
Instructions to follow.
The instructions did indeed follow and she arranged, through the palace liaison assigned to her, to bring her sister with her. A meeting time was set up and Lyra was informed she would be wed as soon as she arrived on Dendera.
So many other questions had gone unanswered, but she couldn't pass up on the one glimmer of hope to get her and her sister away from the life that would surely kill them. The Great Downfall had begun on Earth and all inhabitants futures were uncertain. Anyone looking to escape faced loads of paperwork and red tape, other planets just didn't want to take them in. Not that she could blame them, they had not done such a good job keeping their own planet safe.
Dendera had been the one planet that was still accepting residents of Earth, but many citizens balked at sharing the planet with the Cassian people. As far as she knew Cassia was in a similar state or disrepair. Her father had been in charge of Cassian relationships in their area on Earth, but since his passing she did not think anyone had taken up the post.
A governing system had been founded on the newly inhabited planet, and drawing conclusions from the letter she received, they were trying their best to integrate the two races smoothly.
It couldn’t have come at a better time. Their best plan up until this point had been to blindly follow Vela's revolutionary boyfriend, Rand, into an uprising. The whole situation had left Lyra uneasy from the beginning, so the letter from Dendera and the offer to get a one way ticket away from Earth for her and Vela had been almost too good to be true. She'd jumped at the chance, maybe too eager to marry herself off to some man she had never met. It could all be a hoax, an elaborate ruse to lure them away from their home. She knew Vela had the same thoughts, but neither of them had voiced their concerns. Walking into an uncertain future was better than trying to survive here on Earth with the planet dying around them.
The sounds of yelling and screaming came in through the walls from the street in front of their house. Vela's knuckles went white as she gripped the handle on her bag. One overnight bag that was all either of them packed, they didn't have much left in the way of possessions. “Any minute now,” Lyra reassured her. Her sister smiled back, her eyes crinkling at the corners. She looked tired and on edge, making her appear far more mature than her twenty years. Lyra hoped that once they got settled on Dendera they could both relax into a new life.
“I bet you he's hot,” Vela said, a wistful grin sweeping across her face.
Riots were breaking out in the street and instead of fearing for her life, her sister was thinking about whether or not her future husband was hot. Typical. “That doesn't matter to me,” Lyra sniped. But she sent up a quick prayer that he only had two arms and all the other proper appendages. He wasn't from Earth after all, he could be some kind of subhuman life form. The Cassian race were generally beautiful, but she worried that one reaching so far as to save a few Earth dwellers from their squalor just to gain a wife might have a major defect.
“Really? Well I hope for your sake he's hot, and nice, and rich! But he has a castle so that's a good start,” her sister persisted.
“I don't understand the castle thing. I know the Cassians are starting a new society on Dendera, but what's with the castles and the royalty? It's like we're going to some medieval kingdom,” Lyra added.
“Not to mention the arranged marriage.” Vela raised her eyebrows. “Actually, are you certain he isn't traveling from the past and taking us back with him?”
Lyra thought about that. Would she want to be whisked back to a time long ago, or rather live out her days here on present day Earth? Something about the dashing knight swooping in and saving them from high atop his trusty steed sent shivers down her spine. But to live in medieval times? She didn't think she could do it.
The yelling grew louder and she was about to suggest they wait in the main living area when a brick shattered the window. Vela let out a blood curdling scream as the block of cement came to rest on the floor beside her feet. A ball of fire followed the brick's path and without thinking Lyra grabbed her sister's arm and pulled her from the room before it became engulfed in flames.
Running to the back of the house Lyra thought about their best course of action. The front door thumped as if someone beat against it with an object. Unrest had developed when word had got out that she and Vela were to leave for Dendera. Protesters had been circling their house, making it difficult to remain inside without fearing for their lives. They could not flee or Astor would never find them. But what happened if their attackers got in before Astor got to them?
She gripped Vela's hand as smoke began to fill the house. Just then the back door burst open and both women shrieked in terror. A large hulking form of a man filled the door frame.
“Vela! Come on, babe. We have to get out of here!” It was Rand, Vela's man of the moment. As far as she knew Vela had not spoken to him since she informed him they were leaving for Dendera. Rand was in the camp that they should not be forced to mix with the Cassians. Lyra had never been his biggest fan but since he had come to save them he just moved up a few notches.
“You came for us!” Vela pulled her toward the door. Lyra scooped up her bag and tried to gather her dress in the same hand as they walked through the smoke hazed house.
Rand eyed them from the doorway, looking from sister to sister. “Babe, I'm sorry. I'm on my bike. I can't take you both.” He reached out and pulled Vela's arm, forcing Lyra to drop her hand. “She'll figure something out,” he said to Vela, nodding in her direction.
Her sister pushed against him, “I'm not leaving her here!”
“Babe, don't freak out�” His words were cut off by glass shattering and another projectile being launched through the front windows. An object the size and shape of a can of soda fell at their feet. “Shit,” she heard Rand mutter before the object started emitting smoke.
Before she could react, Lyra's arms and legs grew heavy and she sunk to her knees. Vela hit the floor in front of her, her body sprawling out at odd angles. Lyra collapsed beside her. Her eyelids were too heavy to keep open, but she watched Rand rifle through Vela's bag and take something before he scurried out the door, leaving her and her sister behind. Outrage coursed through her that he would leave them to die, these were her last thoughts before the world went black.
~ ~ * ~ ~
He would make it on time. There was no other option. Astor slammed his fist against the dashboard of his shuttle as he hurtled through the Earth’s atmosphere. Against the express wishes of his advisors he had set out on his own to collect his new bride from her dwelling. He had the sinking feeling since this morning that something wasn’t right and he wasn’t going to sit back and wait as Lyra’s life hung in the balance.
They had not met yet, at least not properly. He remembered Lyra as a young girl. He was certain she probably had no recollection of him, but he had promised her father he would watch over her and her sister. He was not about to back down on his word.
It felt like a lifetime ago that it had all been their parents' burden. Now the burden fell to his generation and he felt like an old man. Cassian and Earth relations had been strained, especially since The Great Downfall on Earth. But a system was quickly put into effect, trying to meld together the two societies of people who no longer had allegiance to their home planets. Falling back onto an amalgamation of systems that had worked in the past, a royal hierarchy was carved out. It was decreed that a Cassian and an Earth dweller would take over each colony equally. In order to do this they would be a King and a Queen, which resulted in arranged marriages. He agreed the System was somewhat flawed�an attempt to start a new society on outdated plans did not seem like the best idea. But once he realized that since his father, Thelan, had been a high ranking official and a leadership role could fall to him he lobbied for his position and secured the title of King of Corvis. He felt the only way to make a difference would be changing their minds from the inside. When it came time to name his queen, he worked to get Lyra's name put into the mix. He’d be able to protect her that way, and he knew he wanted no other�the promise to her father or not, he knew he could have no other. She would not have been the first choice of the committee, but he he could be very persuasive.
Using his shuttle's mapping device he zeroed in on the Avalon dwelling. His heart lurched in his chest when he saw the home almost entirely engulfed in flames. He could not be too late. Hastily landing his shuttle behind the house, he disembarked and caught a glimpse of a figure in the shadows. Had she escaped? He shone a light in the figure's direction and was dismayed to find it was a man, he had something in his hand. Possibly a looter. The man glared back at him, fear flitting across his face as he connected with his gaze. He turned, hopping onto an idling motorcycle and speeding off into the night.
Astor had no time to give it a second thought, he could feel it in his bones that Lyra was still inside. Grabbing his dagger from his boot, he slipped it into his belt for easier access before making for the back door of the house. It stood ajar. "Lyra!" he called into the darkened abode. He heard no answer, just the sounds of the fire consuming the property. He pulled the neck of his tunic up, trying to cover his nose and mouth as he stepped into the dwelling.
He didn't have to search long, two females lay sprawled out before him, just feet away from the exit. As he approached them his vision began to swim. The smoke in the house was tinged with some sort of chemical, he could feel it trying to take hold of his body. The women were no match for the chemical reaction, he centered on his training as an interplanetary warrior to keep his mind clear and fight the effects.
He stooped down, grabbing one of the women about her waist and hoisting her up over his shoulder. The second woman wore a white dress, he knew instantly it was Lyra and not her sister. He bent to gather her up as well, balancing her sister's weight as he pulled her from the floor.
Pulling the two sisters to safety he laid them carefully on the ground beside his shuttle. They were far enough away from the burning building that he could assess them without fear of further harm. He watched, panic filling his chest, as each woman sucked in fresh air, eyelids fluttering. They were coming back. Breathing a sigh of relief he didn't want to waste anymore time. He began settling them into his shuttle, hoping they would rest comfortably as he strapped them into their seats. He was already flying his craft away from their dwelling before either of them started to stir awake. He was sure they would both have questions and he hoped by the time he got them back to their new planet he would have some answers.