Description : The Heir
I COULD NOT HOLD MY breath for seven minutes. I couldn’t even make it to one. I once tried to run a mile in seven minutes after hearing some athletes could do it in four but failed spectacularly when a side stitch crippled me about halfway in.
However, there was one thing I managed to do in seven minutes that most would say is quite impressive: I became queen.
By seven tiny minutes I beat my brother Ahren into the world, so the throne that ought to have been his was mine. Had I been born a generation earlier, it wouldn’t have mattered. Ahren was the male, so Ahren would have been the heir.
Alas, Mom and Dad couldn’t stand to watch their firstborn be stripped of a title by an unfortunate but rather lovely set of breasts. So they changed the law, and the people rejoiced, and I was trained day by day to be the next ruler of Illéa.
What they didn’t understand was that their attempts to make my life fair seemed rather unfair to me.
I tried not toplain. After all, I knew how fortunate I was. But there were days, or sometimes months, when it felt like far too much was piled on me, too much for any one person, really.
I flipped through the newspaper and saw that there had been yet another riot, this time in Zuni. Twenty years ago, Dad’s first act as king was to dissolve the castes, and the old system had been phased out slowly over my lifetime. I still thought it waspletely bizarre that once upon a time people lived with these limiting but arbitrary labels on their backs. Mom was a Five; Dad was a One. It made no sense, especially since there was no outward sign of the divisions. How was...