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The Cerulean Queen by Sarah Kozloff

The Cerulean Queen by Sarah Kozloff

Author:Sarah Kozloff
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates


The last pages of the Chronicle of Queen Cressa were filled with Sewel’s account of the attempted assassination, her flight, broadsheet reports of her mustering of the Allied Fleet and her battle against the Pellish pirates. Sewel closed the volume with two documents: first, his own eyewitness account of the day the Dedication Fountain temporarily ceased to flow, signaling Queen Cressa’s death; second, a copy of “The Lay of Queen Cressa” that Matwyck had commissioned upon her death.

One of the things I’d most like to do, Cerúlia said to the dogs, is get the real story of my mother’s last five years and her defeat by the Pellish. My uncle Mikil would be the best source for that information. Then I will order this lay rewritten—deleting all the tired clichés. My mother’s life was heroic enough without embellishment.

Whaki lifted his head and stared at her, indicating that he was paying attention even though he couldn’t follow the import of her words.

Though her bravest act transpired in a little cottage in Wyndton one rainy night, an act for which she will never get the credit she deserves because it was a private loss, not a public battle.

The dogs got up and paced around, ostentatiously sniffing at nothing, and suddenly Cerúlia too wanted to leave this room, so crowded with history and ghosts—this room that one day would hold her own life, trapped within vellum. But just out of curiosity, she opened the volume about Queen Carlina.

This slim book was different. Carlina’s chronicler was not so assiduous—fewer pages were in his or her handwriting. Also, it was filled with Carlina’s own drawings, which were all of animals. A rabbit nibbling in a vegetable garden. A raccoon scratching its back. A cat sleeping in the sun. Each animal was named, and Carlina had written a phrase about its personality. Interspersed among the pages she saw many pictures of a small pig, white with black splotches, with shining eyes and an upturned nose. Captions, in a childish hand, said, “Muffin likes peas,” “Muffin is my best friend,” and later, accompanying a sketch of a Cici-sized pig, “Muffin rooted up the herb garden today, and Mummy was very mad.”

Midway through, when the queen had grown older, she had drawn pictures of people, but she had drawn them to resemble animals. A councilor looked rather like a mule. A suitor resembled a crafty fox. She gave her consort the features of a bull.

Cerúlia laughed out loud, but she was also disturbed. Carlina’s Talent had blurred the line between humans and animals.

Was she happy with a bull for a husband? And she draws her daughter as a piglet. A darling piglet, but a piglet just the same.

“Ciellō is right,” she said out loud to the dogs, startling them awake. They looked at her with their ears pricked up. “You are dogs—all right, yes, lovely dogs, my wonderful dogs—but dogs just the same. In many ways it is easier to get along with you than to sort out messy relationships with people.



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