The Queen Mother smiled.
Unlike previous Queen Mothers, she did not powder her skin or paint herself marble white.
The queen did not wear makeup of any sort. Instead, she spent the hours that other queens took getting ready on a flower bed.
Which is not to say she was inelegant. This Queen Mother wore brocade corsets colored with the blood and sterilized piss of those she tortured. Her scale dresses were made from wafer thin bone strips from those that didn't live through her tortures. Three outer dresses a year she commissioned from, frankly, people knew not where --one of this Queen Mother's many, many secrets.
Which is not to say that all Queen Mothers haven't had secrets.
All Queen Mothers have secrets.
"Let's talk about the word Plethora," the Queen Mother said. She said, prim, straight, a series of infinite straight lines that created the illusion of softness, of curves. A lie of curves created by the straight and narrow splinters of her deceased displeased (as she called them.)
The man, mid-forties, a hunter wiry and bloody. Grunted. "Dunno what a Plethora is." He spat blood on the Queen Mother's face.
Without blinking, using a bare hand, she wiped the spit gently from her cheek and lips. The Queen Mother smiled and wiped the bloody spittle on the side of her dress, as she did so, her thumb pad opened up, sliced on the thinness of the bone scales.
The Hunter watched as the queen picked at the scales, slid the scale under her nail. Her face passive, the Queen Mother sawed slowly at the connection between her nail and the flesh beneath. "I have ten finger nails," she said. "I have ten toe nails. So do you, for now." She whipped her hand at the hunter's beard, and traced a circle on his forehead with her blood. In the lower right, she put a small dash. She said, "And now," and drew an "N" Over the Q on his forehead. Then, On the cardinal points, she traced with her own nails intricate runes that spread then smoldered "Now, sir, you will feel what I feel."
She smashed their noses together as hard as she could and they both shattered, and she reeled, blood spurting hanging in the air, stretching like snot from a child's sneeze, like a traveling baby spider, her blood arced and connected to the runes drawn on the hunter's forehead.
The Queen Mother smiled. The hunter panted and smiled, too.
"Well then, the Queen Mother said, and bit a chunk of flesh from the thick of her thumb.
The Queen Mother