She wasn’t always evil, and her name wasn’t always Vitrollia. There was a time before The Darkness came when she was Queen Victoria and I was her daughter. We lived in what came to be known as Willowert Forest, but back then it was a kingdom called Red Rose.
Mother named it after the Rose encased in crystal nearby. It stretched from current Roonwit to the Starry Isles, far to the north. Red Rose was full of centaur extremely skilled in the use of magic and all sorts of fae and elementals. Red Rose was a beautiful place in those days.
Queen Victoria built her kingdom in company with my father, Notus the god of the South Wind, who was the bringer of the late summer storms. Father worked to make sure the citizens of our home were always happy and safe; When he wasn’t taking care of our people, he brought the storms to nourish the forest in which we dwelt.
Mother was responsible for instilling our values into everyone, and making sure those who lived in the kingdom discovered their powers, be it philosophy, communicating with the spirits of the wood, or astrology or even being attuned to the realm in such a way that they could use magic. Once a gift was established, she would personally pair each student with a mentor who was blessed with the same gift. Everything was perfect in our home until the outsiders came and ruined everything.
They stormed our country side, chopping down trees and using them to build their homes. This action was strictly forbidden by Queen Victoria. The trees were living beings. Nature as a whole cared deeply for us and gave us shelter if we asked or when we needed it. There was a balance. We cared for each other.
But the outsiders… They didn’t care. They cut down every tree in their path, whether they used it or not. They killed our plants and flowers, and built stone paths where lush greenery once resided. They ravaged the forest without a thought of us, or any who lived and loved within our lands.
The citizens of the kingdom complained about the outsiders to Mother and Father. Father sent his guards and one of the Keepers of Peace to meet with the outsiders about their actions, and try to get them to see reason, perhaps even assimilate into our society. Those who were sent, never returned.
Several days passed and more complaints of the outsiders continued, so Father went in hopes of negotiating peace. That was the last I, or anyone ever heard from my Father, the South Wind.
Many more moons passed with no word from Father, the Keepers of Peace or the guards, Mother, as I knew her, ceased to exist.. With each passing day she grew angrier and angrier until the day she left me. On that day, she kissed my forehead and told me she had something to take care of. She said she wasn’t sure if I’d see her again. Then she turned… and just walked away.
Our home slowly went from a peaceful idyllic place to a horrifying place of waking nightmares, death and destruction. Queen Victoria had no intention of simply driving the outsiders away. She wanted them to regret ever coming to our kingdom. She intended to kill them all, and had, but once every remnant of the outsiders had been destroyed, she didn’t stop.
Her reign of terror grew and grew for many years, Trolls and nightmare creatures roamed the plains where we once played and danced. Our kingdom was destroyed, except for a small area that had been sealed off by Zephyrus to protect the waterfall.
At one time there was a portal beyond the waterfall that lead to the inside of Mount Pelion, the home of the Spring wind. Father put it in himself, in case there was ever an emergency and we needed to hide. This is where I grew up while mother… Vitrollia, as she came to be known, reveled in her reign of terror.
My mother was such a loving centauride before the darkness, but as Vitrollia, she was ruthless. I never knew the full extent of how far she’d taken things, but I’d occasionally hear whispers through the wood about how Vitrollia murdered all who opposed her and forced the rest into servitude. It was never easy to hear the stories about her. I refused to believe them for a long time, but I watched her one day. It was the day I found out I could stare at water and see people… I watched her slaughter a family. They dared to simply exist in her presence and she killed them.
Not long after that I started studying healing magic. But after several conversations and teenage tantrums with Zephyrus, I was also forbidden from ever learning damaging magic. Truthfully, I never wanted to learn it anyway. I was always worried that if I did, I would succumb to the same fate that befell my mother. I didn’t want to be anything like what she’d become.
As time seems to operate differently in the home of the Zephyrus than it does in the rest of Centauria for some reason, I have no idea how long the darkness actually lasted. But when it was over and I could go back to my original home, I was much older and the world outside of Mount Pelion was much different.
The darkness was gone, there were less people and even fewer animals. Some of the ‘taur who remained there seemed relieved the waking nightmare had finally ended. There were others, though, who seemed to carry an air of shame with them. I assume they were the ones who followed mother. There was also a new Queen, a young centauride named Julala, crowned by the Gods themselves to act as a leader for those who remained.
In the months since her claim to the unseen throne, the country has been rebuilding. More and more ‘taur return with each passing day, it seems. I remain the Princess in what is now known as Roonwit, and I have become one of her Listeners. My job is to be an ear for those who belong to the Ancient Order of Centaurs. The one to whom they can talk to when they need to express their feelings and thoughts.
I’m still getting used to being around these people, and I understand they’ve been through a lot, but listening to everyone’s opinions of my mother is difficult… Afterall… I am my mother’s daughter.