I don’t know how I’m going to get out of this. It’s not the first time I’ve had that thought, but it’s also the first time I’ve been brought here, before Her. So, uh, we’ll see how long my luck manages to hold out.
The guards brought me before Her, and I immediately was stunned by the elegance of the throne room. Gold and wood and carefully placed gems throughout. I never thought I’d end up here. And surely not like this. I was small-time. Smuggling small things here and there. Nothing worthy of the Queen of Creation’s notice.
I’ve spent most of my life on the edges, the fringes, called out here and pushed out there, but always had a place to land or a way to spin my work as less dangerous or less illegal than it was in actuality.
But Her? She was the most well-read monarch that’d ruled the galaxies for generations. She would see right through me.
“Conor, welcome,” She said, Her dark skin shining as She gestured broadly at the court, “I’ve been waiting for this moment.”
“Yes, no one has quite so persistently needled away at My work, Our work as you. No matter where you find yourself. You just keep at it.”
Her tone was difficult to read, I was caught between thinking this was begrudging admiration and frustration. But She was clearly in control.
“Why, thank you.”
She narrowed Her eyes and looked at me sharply, “Your persistence and dedication is admirable, but your cause? Empty. You rebel for rebellion’s sake. What guides you? Why do you do what you do? You could be so much more.”
At this point, She was standing, Her powerful frame imposing. She walked toward me and looked me in the eyes as she asked those last questions, turning away with pain at Her last words.
“But you and your queendom are everything. What choices do I have beyond joining and reacting? All life is is the powerful acting and the disempowered reacting.”
“Ah, that is a reductive and binary view of the world, yes,” She responded, still turned away from me, “But does acting in direct opposition to the voice of the powerful mean that “They” have any less influence over your life than when you did precisely what They directed?”
I paused, before pressing on, “The powerful must be resisted. At all costs. Don’t try to frame my resistance as your continued influence. I am free.”
She looked at me, eyes fierce, but weary.
“You’re wrong, Conor,” She said firmly, the quiet power of Her voice striking deep.
She began to enumerate the support for Her position, laying out an intricate and stunning argument. But I knew I was lost from that simple, unrelenting rebuttal.
“We need you. We even need your opposition, to challenge and to push us, to prevent the powerful from taking advantage of those less powerful. We need true, inspired resistance, none of this purely reactive, reductive self-serving behavior.”
“Really? But how?”
She came toward me, placing one hand on my shoulder, our eyes locked.
“Now, Conor, I cannot tell you how. You’d simply be listening to the voice of power, the Queen of All Creation, and that just wouldn’t do. You have to carve that path out for yourself, though I’m sure we’ll be speaking again.”
She turned from me, waving Her arm and snapping Her fingers.
Her guards gather and start to escort me away.
“Wait, where are you taking me? She needs me. You heard Her…” I protest.
“Giving you purpose, where you had none, that was mercy. To turn you loose without trial or efforts at rehabilitation? That would be neither just, nor merciful. You participated in breaking Creation and now must work to heal Her. But others shall give you the first framework for you. They’re taking you to await further insight into your case.”
I tried to protest further, but came up short every time I tried to think of something to say.
“Go. Give the people Hope, that’s what rebellions are built on, after all. I bring steadiness, comfort, and care to the people, but cannot provide Hope, you must do that. Without hope, we stagnate. Go and do wrong no more. Spread hope.”
Stunned, I let the guards guide me out of the throne room. She saw right through me. Could I really be more than a reaction? Could I have a purpose? Could I give people hope? I committed to try.