Ash fell from the sky like snow, blanketing everything that it touched. The city was silent as Sunspear burned in the distance. A black coffin was taken to the Hall of the Foreseen. Men, women, and children wept as they saw their former Queen's body being taken away for the last time. In place of Maven now was Vandresa. She stood tall, watching over the entire city from the Tower of Esses; once a prison for the worst of criminals, now transformed into a suitable place for Her Majesty to live until a new palace was built in her honor.
"Your Grace, the new army is training in the courtyard. I swear to you that from what I have seen they will be much more suitable than Maven's Dragon Guards." Evanora said, looking down at the funeral procession.
"How long did it take," Vandresa paused, looking over at Evanora, "for her to finally succumb to the darkness?"
"It took Dragonsbane being thrust into her heart three times." Evanora replied.
"But how long?" Vandresa asked again.
"After we stabbed her multiple times it only took about ten minutes for her to fully bleed out." Evanora replied, smiling at the thought.
Vandresa walked swiftly back into her bedchambers, her black lace gown gentle caressing the floor. Waiting for her at her bed was Maven's brother Tywin. He knelt as she walked in, then kissing her hand. Tywin stood before her, freshly shaved.
"Tywin..." Vandresa said, staring into his deep green eyes.
Vandresa ran her hands down his arms and then placed them both on his chest. She titled her head slightly to the right. She shivered as Tywin gently kissed her neck, then running one of his hands through the opening of the lace gown.
"Take me like you did all those years ago." Vandresa said, her breathing beginning to become heavy.
"Vandresa. Vandresa. VANDRESA!"
Vandresa jumped a little when the captain of the ship woke her up. "It's time to take you to the Keep."
Vandresa stood, looking once more at her now blonde hair. She took one breath in and ran her hands down her dress, brushing off some dirt. "Very well. I am ready to make this truce."
Tywin slowly opened Maven's chambers which had now been locked off for everyone except a few handmaidens and her family. Her chambers were kept shut and dark, except for some candles that were supposed to radiate heat. As Tywin walked in, he was hit by a wall of heat. His sister looked just the same as she did when he last visited her.
"Maven you must wake up. It's been over a week now, your people need you. When will you ever wake up?" Tywin asked as he sat on her bed, near her body.
Tywin pushed her bangs to the side and then kissed her forehead. "Rogan rules over the Kingdom for now. He will make an excellent ruler when he comes of age. I, of course am overseeing him and he consults me and Jareed whenever making important decisions. You would be proud of him."
For a moment, Tywin thought he saw her trying to wake up, but then that glimpse of hope was gone. Once more she lay there as still as a rock. Tywin shook his head and then walked out of her chambers, shutting the door behind him.
"Maven, soon this will all be over with. Don't worry." Esses said.
"But my children and my people, they need me!" Maven said looking at the large window that overlooked the Throne of Dragons.
"Maven, you have learned how to live with your abilities now. You will be fine, trust me. All you need to do now is sit upon the throne." Esses said, then looking at the throne.
"That's it?" Maven asked.
"Yes. Once Elisif and Ulma finish reconstructing the Crown of Ember." Esses said.
"The Crown of Ember?" Maven asked.
Esses laughed for a moment and then smiled. "Ah, yes. I forgot you were unfamiliar with the Crown. When Queen Ulma, the first Queen of the Southern Kingdom realized her extraordinary gift, she decided to have a crown constructed for her and all her descendants. The Crown of Embers, by the time I came to power was now a legend. At the end of Elisif's rule, the Crown was lost. Many believe someone went into the Hall of the Foreseen and took it off of her statue. Now, the Crown of Embers does have a certain power to it..." Esses said, trailing off.
"What sort of power?" Maven asked.
"Well, I don't quite know. Ulma never told me, but it's supposed to give you great strength. I never wore the Crown of Embers. I wore the Crown of Everlasting Peace, or so that's what the people called it." Esses said, smiling at Maven.
"Everlasting Peace?" Maven asked.
"I was Queen Esses, Queen of the Southern Kingdom, Queen of the Vale, Champion of the Faith, and the first monarch to attain the title of Keeper of Everlasting Peace." Esses replied.
Esses started to continue her story, until the doors opened and Ulma had the sword and the crown. Elisif followed behind her with the bulky ember colored cloak that all the Dragon Queens wore during their reign.
"It is time." Queen Ulma said, motioning for Esses to come over.
Maven looked over at the throne, trying not to smile. "Maven, come now child." Ulma said.
Maven turned on her heel, now standing in front of Ulma and the other Dragon Queens. Her hands were beginning to shake as she slowly approached the five Queens. As she got closer to them all, she felt a warmth overcome her. Smiling, Maven now approached the Dragon Queens slightly faster, and she wasn't shaking.
"Esses, she resembles you. Did you ever notice that?" Ulma said.
Esses stood there, looking at Maven, observing her closely. "Oh..." Esses said, realizing that Maven was a descendant of Esses her self.
Maven stood before the five women now. Ulma asked her to turn around so Elisif could place the cloak around her. Maven felt strangely warm and safe now with the cloak on. Maven started to breathe heavily in anticipation of the Crown of Embers being place upon her head. Finally she felt a something on her head.
"Now all you have to do is climb the steps." Ulma said while trying to hold back a smile.
Maven slowly walked toward the throne. Every step that she took she felt a little more powerful. As she approached it, figures started to appear. She looked around at all the people that were staring at her and clapping. It was the spirits of all servants and families of the former Dragon Queens. When Maven arrived at the steps of the throne, her parents and Jonathan stood before her.
"My Queen." Jonathan said, as he knelt down.
"My Queen." Bormir and Lya both said in unison as the bowed before their daughter.
Maven slowly walked up the steps, each step feeling like a milestone. When she was at the throne, she ran her hand across it. "It's perfect." She said to herself.
Maven turned around and sat in the throne.
"Welcome Queen Maven Landen, Queen of the Southern Kingdom, Queen of the Vale, Defender of the Faith, and Protector of the Vale." Ulma's voice resonated throught the hall.