This is based off of Macbeth, obviously, from the haunted dinner scene. This is a one shot, but I will be adding more chapters to this to make a thread of all I've made for the subject of Macbeth. I hope you enjoy!
His footsteps echoed unnaturally on the marble.
You could hear it throughout the manor house, where no life stirred.
Crickets chirped outside the windows, owls called out in the forest as the hounds in the courtyard bayed in harmony with the mournful cries of the wolves under the full moon.
No flames flickered on the torches in the wall sconces; all the servants had been excused for the night to lose themselves to merriment.
Zane stared at the patches of moonlight dancing among the shadows on the floor, lost in thought.
He remembered the morning clearly, though it felt now as if it had happened a fortnight ago.
King Duncan was dead, and the princes were missing, so the title went to the next person in the chain of command.
General Macbeth, hero of the recent war against the rebels.
He had made a decent name for himself, and was quite popular among the peasantry whom he had saved.
It was the day of is coronation, to be held in the evening, followed by the coronation banquet.
Many looked forward to it, and were excited for the revelries to follow.
Zane's heart held no excitement, only sadness, regret, bitterness, and anger.
He saw her eyes, bright as the stars in the sky, sparkling like honey in the sun, flashing with anger, her full lips drawn back in a snarl over her perfect teeth, white as the pearls set in her gown.
Her voice, usually as soft and rich as buttermilk, and as temperate as a spring day was shrill, trembling with anger, "NO! THE ANSWER IS NO! YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IS I SHOWED MY FACE THERE! YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF PEOPLE KNEW WHAT YOU HAVE ASKED OF ME! THE ANSWER IS NO! IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!"
He stopped in his tracks, staring out of the window to his left, up at the moon and thousands of stars.
Zane could still see the hem of her sky blue dress jumping as she dashed up the stairs, showing her ankles. He had stared after her wistfully, heartbroken, watching her hair, dark as shadows, sway across her exposed back as she slammed her door.
The smell of her perfume had lingered for a while, hanging in the air like a blanket, fogging his mind with thoughts of her.
Zane swayed slightly on his feet in front of the window, eyes closed, remembering the silkiness of her skin, the clarity of her laughter, and the sweetness of her songs.
He breathed in deeply through his nose. There was no scent of delicate flowers here, only the deep, heady scent of pine, wet earth, and musk.
He shook his head.
No reason to get lost in thoughts when they would only make the aching in his chest worse.
He started off again briskly, mind firmly set on the four-post bed in his room.
Then, he heard it, barely audible over the sounds outside.
Someone was singing.
Zane stopped, staring around himself wildly, trying to find the source.
It was a mournful tune, even though he could not understand the strange language that the words were being sung in.
He walked slowly down a hallway, the song getting louder. The chasm in his chest grew larger as the hauntingly beautiful melody swirled around him, increasing his feelings of loneliness and regret tenfold.
He stopped in front of an ornate oaken door. It was ajar, and he could see that a candle was lit inside, as the fire cast light onto the floor. Zane felt the song pulling at him gently, as if the singer was begging for a companion.
He pushed the door open softly, stepping inside without a creak. He looked up to the window, bathed in moonlight, a candle on the table near the seat.
And he saw her.
As soon as his eyes fell on her, all his anger and bitterness disappeared, replaced by adoration and love.
She wasn't facing him as she sat, leaning against the window, one knee crooked up, and a foot dangling off the side of the bench, swinging slowly.
Her skin was as dark as fertile earth, her petite, lithe frame draped with silver silk, tight enough to cling to her body and accentuate her curves, but loose enough to flow around her gently like a brook in the woods.
Her hair, dark as midnight, was as tightly wound as the petals of a newly opening rose, and smelling just as sweet.
Her scent lay heavily in the air: the smell of the roses she loved to tend, the scent of the ink and paper of the books she cherished, the soap she used, pine and laurel, and the oil of the flowers in the garden that lay on every fabric in the room.
Zane breathed deep again, inhaling the intoxicating scent, leaning against the door frame, gazing at Zamora with love in his eyes.
The final few notes of her song drifted through the air, and she leaned back against the wall with a sigh.
He smiled, then gently rapped his knuckles on the door frame.
She turned to him with a start, nightgown swinging wildly around her, hair falling into her face.
"ZANE!" she yelped.
Zamora looked almost overjoyed to see him, leaning forward as if she was about to fling herself into his arms and bury her face into his tunic.
She stopped short, hair bobbing around her face from the sudden change in momentum, arms dropping down from reaching out for him to wrap themselves tightly around her torso, eyes falling to the floor, her beautiful features now uncertain.
"Zane…" She cleared her throat nervously, "I thought you weren't going to be back until tomorrow afternoon."
He stayed leaning against the door frame, watching her softly with a smile, "Well, plans change. Would you believe that I missed you so much that I decided to walk out on a royal coronation and ride home all alone just so I could see you and hold you in my arms again?"
She frowned at him, but he could see the beginnings of a flush in her cheeks, and the tip of her mouth was twitching.
"If I am being completely honest with you, no. I do not believe that you would walk out on a royal coronation to be with me. I mean, not unless you have a death wish."
He smiled at the ground, throwing up his hands, "All right, you've got me. I didn't walk out on the coronation."
"So why are you here?"
He got off the frame, stretched, and sat at her table, motioning her to sit with him.
Zamora frowned, and eyebrow creeping up her forehead, but she took up the candle and set it between them, sitting gracefully across from him, back straight, shoulder squared, head high with her hands in her lap, staring him in the eye deadpan, encouraging him to continue.
"So? What happened to make you return to the estate so early?"
"Well, I could have still stayed the night in the city. It was late when everything happened, so I could have gotten a room somewhere and returned home in the daylight. But I missed you more than I thought anyone could ever miss someone and decided to ride back that night to make amends."
Her expression softened a bit, but she still furrowed her eyebrows at him, "You're not answering my question Zane…"
"All right, all right!" he shifted in his seat, leaning forward on the table, "Everything went fine at the coronation itself. Everyone was abuzz and excited. The nobles pulled out all the stops to look good for the occasion. And between you and me, they fell very short of accomplishing that goal."
She let out a short exhale of breath through her nose, and Zane could see a glimmer of amusement in her eyes.
"I'm pretty sure the women had more makeup than face, and their dresses were so large they required a bench for themselves!"
Zamora giggled softly under her breath, a delicate hand going up to her mouth.
"And the men, it was like they were attending a funeral: all dark colors, grim, serious faces, sharp outfits. And they all looked almost exactly the same. At least the women had some variety."
She was smiling now, leaning forward to be closer to him, "And what was the king like?"
Zane paused, "Well… he's kind of built like me, and you know, the muscular build. He's a bit shorter than me, and his hair is a lot darker, kind of like yours. He's got, you know… clean beard. It's not really bushy, or big, but its, you know, nice."
"You don't seem very happy describing him." She smirked playfully, "What? Worried you've got competition?"
He snorted, clapping a hand to his mouth as he shook with suppressed laughter. Then a chill dripped down his spine.
Was she not joking?
Her eyes glimmered in the candlelight, her chin leaning on her hand, a smile playing on her lips as she watched him squirm.
She was waiting for his answer.
"… No. I'm not terribly worried. The king has a wife, and from the rumors I've heard he is not one to… fool around with… others. And judging from his taste in décor, and his wife, you wouldn't exactly be… his type."
"Mhmm." She leaned back, "You speak like a man choosing his words carefully, so as to avoid injury."
"Relax. You have nothing to worry about. I doubt the king would look at one such as myself, and I would have no interest being a king's concubine, especially if he's married" she crossed her arms in front of her one the table, meeting his eyes calmly, "Tell me of the queen. I've heard rumors that she barely steps outside, and so no one knows what she looks like."
"Well, she certainly looks like one who has spent her life inside. She pale, almost gaunt. She has very thin lips, and dark, sharp eyes that seem to see right through you. Her hair is long, dark, and straight. It looked very thin, as if you could hold the ends of it and many hairs would fall out. She has the air of one who seems sickly, but is hiding their true strength. She had a… a dark aura. She looked strangely triumphant."
"Well, why wouldn't she be? She just became queen."
"Yes, true, it just gave me chills, like she had… had…"
"…No soul. Like she wouldn't care if everyone in that room except her and her husband had dropped down dead."
"That's really your impression of her?"
"I know I seem crazy, but something about her makes me feel like she's, I don't know, done dealings with evil spirits. She just… doesn't seem... I don't know. Human, I guess?"
Zamora nodded, "I think I get it. But if everything went fine at the coronation, what happened?"
"I honestly don't know how to describe it. Everyone was getting seated for the feast, the king walks in, cool as you please, then just freezes, staring at the end of the table."
"I know. Then he starts shouting, yelling, screaming, and acting all hysterical. I distinctly heard him say 'Don't shake your head at me, it wasn't my fault'."
"What in the world?"
"I don't know. He kept yelling, then his wife went up him and led him out of the room. She came back, told everyone that he had episodes like that all the time, and then told everyone to go home."
"If the king just had a mental breakdown, barely an hour after becoming king… that can't be good news."
Zane nodded, "You're right. I'm thinking we should lay low for a while, get a judge of the situation."
Her eyebrow shot up, "We?"
"Umm… sorry. I forgot that you… sorry."
Zamora shifted in her seat, "Well, anyways, I think you're right. We should lie low for a while, maybe even leave the country for a while."
"What excuse could you give a king to leave the country?"
"Well… maybe… just an idea here, maybe going on a… honeymoon?"
"A… a… what?"
Their eyes met over the dying candle, before hers darted away shyly. Her hand shifted gently across the table to him, and he cupped it in his own.
His words were barely audible, spoken on a trembling breath, "Zamora? ... What are you… suggesting?
"That, maybe… I've… had a change of heart, and if you asked me now… I… might… say yes?"
Her eyes stayed focused on the table top, "I can't remember a time where we were away from each other for so long… and it felt even longer because of how we… I, left things off. And it gave me a chance to think."
He brushed a hand delicately across her cheek, sweeping the hair out of the way, the creaminess of his skin contrasting to hers in a startling manner.
"I… don't think I've ever felt this way about some… ever thought I could feel this way about someone. I always thought your kind… were cruel, and harsh, living to make the lives of my people hell. But… you've… proved me wrong."
She took a deep, shuddering breath, "You kept me with my family, and you've treated us all kindly, even going as far as to free us and to…" she gulped, "Make me… your…" her face flushed, "Umm… you've… given us so many chances and opportunities in your household, many more than others would have. And I… love you for that. So… if you asked me again, my answer would be yes."
Zane put his hand under her chin, lifting her head up to meet his eyes. He stood, making sure their eyes never left each other. Kneeling on the wooden floor next to her chair, holding her hand, gazing deep into her eyes, glowing in the candlelight, he took a deep breath.
"Zamora… will you… marry me?"