February 19th, 2009


LJ Idol - Week 21 - Getting Involved

   I awake in the predawn hours while it's still dark, with a panic. I know what I have to do. I urgently hope it's not too late, springing to my feet.

   I steal quietly out of my chamber. Across the hall I am greeted by the emblem of the Napoleonic Empire. Previously it had been the emblem of the Merovingian kings of France, but I think nothing of this -- I'll see it thousands of times a day throughout the royal residence. Right now I have something I need to do before everyone wakes.

   I creep down the halls. I duck into my sister's chamber, and am out again quickly and quietly just a minute later. I'm feeling a rush of adrenaline; my sister's feeling the rush of a tenth of a gram of poison.

   I quickly make my way toward my next target. Servants are beginning to stir. If I encounter any of my siblings after they've already awoke, it could be ... messy.

   I arrive at the opulent entrance to another sibling's chamber, and unsheathe a long straight blade before entering. If caught by one of my sibling's supporters I probably wouldn't be so lucky -- the blades they'd use to exact revenge on me are barbed and tend to rip a gaping hole in one's abdomen. But if I work fast and effectively only my supporters and I will be left.

   Halfway to my next target I run into one of my brothers in the hallway, looking half-asleep and fuzzy-headed. He's useless though, and could never be king. So I continue on my way. I'd like to say I wasn't born blood-thirsty, this is just politics.

   One by one I visit my remaining rival siblings. I am fortunate, I find them all asleep; and they are unfortunate-- I leave them never to awake.

   My success assured, I begin to send the prearranged signals to my supporters. They know what to do, and they will do their part to set our plan in motion. I make my way towards the balcony, already servants in the know are making way for me in deference. I see one of my dead sisters being carried down the hall without ceremony.

   By the time I appear on the balcony, there are already throngs waiting. The sense of change is in the air. Change you can believe in. The crowd is murmuring and buzzing with gossip. I reach the edge of the balcony and lean over the side, and all eyes turn to me in anticipation. I spread my wings, and take flight. With a great buzz, the crowd follows.

   I hate the non-sequitur "this is for LJ Idol" notices people include, but this week we are actually required to note if we're writing about "getting involved" or "flying." This is about "getting involved," clearly. (=

Additional Notes and Explanations
   The "Emblem of the Napoleonic Empire that had been the emblem of the Merovingian kings of France" is of course the honey bee.
   When the "super-organism" that is a bee colony wants to reproduce, about a dozen regular larvae are fed "royal jelly" (really just a different mixture of proteins made from the same stuff as regular honey, I'm told it tastes like marzipan) which leads them to develop into queens. The first queen to hatch proceeds to kill all the others and then leaves with about half the colony's bees in a swarm. This is organized via pheremones.
   The reference to barbed or straight blades is to stingers of course. Queen's stingers don't have barbs -- worker bee stingers do, and it causes their abdomen to be ripped open when they sting*, leaving the stinger behind. And the workers do sometimes "reject" a new queen and kill her.

* Though actually they can lethally sting other bees without plunging the stinger in deep enough to engage the barbs, so bees can and do fight other bees without it being a "kill AND be killed" situation.