When heaven's Rose Bloomed on the Beach
by The Enigmatic Big Miss Sunbeam
And Jean-Luc's screams echoed through the stone walls of his great castle, over the moat, even into the deeps of the surrounding trees.
Father Odo looked up. He was alone in the forest, his pale hand extended in the early spring chill, and a tiny bird, its eyes alert as stars, rested there.
He had been afraid of this moment.
Father Odo knelt by the stone bier, full of nervous prayers for her soul.
The king was raging, insane with grief, his face flushed and damp, his eyes red as blood.
"Your God did this to me! Oh, what I wouldn't give to see your cheat of a god face to face! That would be the day. I assure you I would be victorious." Then he flung himself on the satin of her shroud. "My darling wife, my darling, my darling," and he shook with sobbing. Beside him sat his jester, Mr. Data, his pale face rigid with sorrow.
The king's guard looked at each other. The potent and bottomless wrath of King Jean-Luc had won them everything, gold and women, power and pride; it would not do to have such a powerful king weaken.
Odo thought for a moment. "Good Sire, Her Majesty, your daughter, the Princess Deanna, is coming to bid her mother good-bye. Let me assist you at that moment. Perhaps I could remind her that her mother now awaits her in Heaven." He hesitated. "It would be a great comfort for a young girl like that."
Jean-Luc threw his head back. "Heaven, oh, what has Heaven to do with me? From this moment forward, I forswear your God; His immortality is not enough for me." Then his kingly face collapsed.
His daughter entered the room.
The king's wails grew.
She knelt before Jean-Luc, and, soft as a dove, said: "Father, my mother would not want us to feel this way. There is much to live for in her memory."
He looked up, but he appeared not to have seen her. Then he turned to his guard, "Miles, Worf, gather the rest of the gallóglas and find me a woman identical to our beloved Queen. I WILL have eternity. On my terms."
"Not this one at all, Worf, although she tastes as sweet as a queen," and they laughed together.
It was the third time the gallóglas had brought in a line of beautiful wide-mouthed women, their long dark curly hair mangled with dew, their eyes black as raisins, a harem even the greatest king would envy.
"Your Majesty? This are the fruits we've plucked for you."
Jean-Luc slumped on his throne. He glanced at the group briefly and then away. "Give them to the footsoldiers. Men who are blind enough to accept these pretenses."
Miles lifted his eyebrows at Worf and they exchanged a tiny nod.
Suddenly there was the patter of satin slippers on the stone steps of the throne room. "Father, please, I implore you! Stop this!"
Jean-Luc sat back in his throne; his head lifted and he pulled at his embroidered tunic. "Indeed." Then his voice softened. "Deanna, come to your father."
She smiled and walked to him. He put out his hand and brought her closer.
The court was silent.
"Oh, can it be?" Jean-Luc said; his voice was a whisper, but it rolled out like thunder.
He turned to his motionless court. "Sometimes even a king has lapses. I have been searching far and wide for the perfect blossom to adorn my life. And now I find that blossom has already bloomed on my own walkway."
He took Deanna's white hand: "Yes, here's the one I want. The very model of the queen."
Father Odo spoke. "Sire, you are disturbed by bad dreams. I know you do not mean to suggest . . . "
"How can a father's love for his daughter be wrong?"
Jean-Luc turned to his guard. "Worf, Miles, I have made up my mind. Look at her, is she not the model of the queen?"
No one moved.
Then he let go of her hand, and, looking her in the eye, he began to run his hand up and down her wide thighs; she could barely stop the tears. "Father, you are not well," she begged, "you are quite distracted by your grief."
"Not so distracted that I don't know what I want." He abruptly knelt before Deanna. "I am very pleased by the woman you have become. Very very pleased." He moved his hands to her broad hips. "Most darling of children, do not be afraid. I will treat you as I treated our queen." Then he put his hands on her soft breasts and groaned.
But he did not move. "Odo, you worthless mouse, prepare the vows and bans."
The king stood up and wiped his hands. He seemed quite rejuvenated. "I shall start a line of ever young queens; Odo, tell your God that I seem to have stumbled onto immortality quite by accident."
"Mr. Data, I will married soon, and I want a most royal wedding. Prepare your greatest sporting!"
"Sire, this is not sporting. It is a grievous sin."
The peasants who had always loved the queen now avoided her castle.
And made the sign of the cross as they passed its great gate.
One change was the death of the queen. The other was the decorative addition to the gate of Mr. Data's head, chopped of for disobedience and stuck on a pike.
"Only a fool would refuse the king," King Jean-Luc said and Worf and Miles nodded.
"Garak, a man, even a king, may talk frankly to his tailor. I want you to make my daughter's wedding dress."
"Make it one that sets off every one of Deanna's charms. That snow-white bosom, her lyre-shaped hips, the waist so narrow a man's hands can span it. Make it clear why I have chosen her."
"Make a dress for her that would inflame Christ Himself."
"Yes, Sire. But it might take time."
"Fair enough. It wouldn't do to rush into this."
"They say you dance like no other."
"Dance for me."
She smiled a slow smile; her eyes were knowing. "The last time I danced I was condemned to death. I am afraid."
Jean-Luc swallowed. This woman was remarkably seductive. "You were damned for bewitching, not for dancing."
"It is said that I bewitch when I dance," and her smile grew slower and broader.
Jean-Luc was seated in his great throne, but at that he turned first to Miles lounging to his left and then to Worf standing alert at his right. Then he leaned forward. "I'll be the judge of that. Dance."
And she did, at first slowly and hesitantly and then more rapidly, twirling amidst a rainbow of colored clothes and her eyes were closed and her breast was heaving and she hugged herself as if she were her own lover.
And then she stopped.
Jean-Luc blinked. He seemed to be awakening from some dream.
"Why did you stop?"
"I was wondering if my dancing pleased you." And her lips parted; she had a beautiful curved mouth.
"Yes, actually, very much." He breathed in. "I command you to teach my queen-to-be everything you know."
She kept smiling at him.
"Do that, and I might let you die of . . . natural causes."
"Thank you, Sire."
"You are an amusing wench. What's your name?"
"Sire, I cannot perform marriage ceremonies during Lent. Our faith teaches us . . . restraint during this sacred time of the year."
Jean-Luc shrugged. Beverly was sitting at his feet as he dined. "Then we'll wait til after Easter. I can honor that petty superstition. It doesn't matter; she is already mine, you hear me, mine. Every fragrant and willing inch of her." And he wiped his mouth on his ermine sleeve.
Worf led Deanna to the ballroom.
"In here," he said, not looking at her.
She stepped in. Only one other person was there.
"Princess, I'm supposed to teach you to dance." Beverly's voice was not unkind. Then she turned to Worf. "This isn't a spectator sport. You'll see dancing soon enough."
He lifted his eyebrows and shut the door.
Beverly regarded her pupil.
"If you please, watch me dance." She began spinning across the floor, and soon enough she was by the sumptuously curtained walls. Then she stopped. "You said you'd help me," she said to the air.
The princess was taken aback.
Then one of the curtains opened and a tall bearded man stepped out. "Princess," he said and made a low bow.
"Prince William!" she cried.
"We have heard of your father's terrible plans, even in my distant kingdom. I will save you."
Suddenly there was a clatter at the door. "Later," Prince William whispered and withdrew back behind the curtain.
It was Worf at the door. "O'Brien said I needed to stay with you."
"Very well," Beverly sighed. "The lesson will continue."
It was remarkably cold for May, but the court was merry.
Miles and Worf had put themselves in charge of apportioning the ale and women, and the drunken footsoldiers were enjoying their new playthings.
The King was drunk too, working himself up into a honeymoon mood.
"Dance, damn you, dance."
And Beverly danced and somewhere in the dance her exertions so inflamed her that she opened her blouse, and a keen and discerning eye would be able to see the rosy tips of her full breasts.
The court was humid, breathing.
The king was particularly jovial. He leaned over and whispered to Miles: "I told the dancer I'd let her die of natural causes, and so I shall. Wall her up after my wedding night. Somewhere where I can't hear her scream."
"Aye, Sire," said Miles.
Then: "Deanna," he roared, "I'm almost ready! We will have a night to remember! I will be there anon!"
Father Odo stood by the door. Deanna was sobbing as Garak made the final adjustments to her wedding dress. "You really are extremely pretty. Your shape is exquisite."
"I would this were my winding sheet," she cried.
"I'm sure that can be arranged."
"Father Odo, pray for a miracle!"
Garak left; as he opened the door, they could hear Jean-Luc calling: "Deanna, your King comes for you. You will be crowned tonight as Queen of my heaven. I am ready, I assure you."
Deanna was near fainting.
Suddenly there was a disturbance at her window. "Princess," a voice said.
They turned to the window.
It was Prince William. He made the sign of the cross and bowed towards Father Odo. "Hurry, both of you. A set of horses are below, and a regiment of my guards will meet us at the shore. We sail for France at dawn."
"Why would you risk your life that way?"
"I cannot be party to such a sin." And he gazed at her fair angel face and picked her up in his arms.
Down the hall, Jean-Luc was still calling: "Deanna, I have been made ready. Wine. Dancing. Fine victuals. I am ready as the full moon for the final satisfaction. You will very soon know the delights you were born for. My sword wants its new sheathe."
"Surely it would not hurt to feed the princess at yon gypsy wagon," Prince William said. "She grows so pale."
When dawn came to the shore, there were three figures outlined against the horizon, Prince William, Deanna, and Father Odo.
When they heard horse hooves, Prince William said, "I told you my guard would come. We'll cross the waters soon, and you will be free."
She looked at him adoringly.
Father Odo had bowed his head in prayer, but he was still a keen listener. "I know that voice."
And before they could react, the horsemen were upon them.
It was Jean-Luc with Miles and Worf.
Jean-Luc dismounted. He had eyes only for Deanna.
"You are just as your mother was," and he smiled a morbid and ghastly smile. "My pleasure will be soon."
And he reached out and brought her towards him. Prince William cried out, but Worf grabbed his arms.
"King, how did you find us?" he cried.
"You greedy fool. The gypsy caravan liked your coins and wanted more. I satisfied them when they satisfied me."
Jean-Luc's eyes were fevered, and he lifted his proud head. "Do not fear me. I will make you love it," and he brought her close, just a sigh away from his lips.
"I don't want this," she whispered. "And Mother would not want this." Then the waters held their breath.
Because something, some angel thread that ran through her voice, reached out and touched that singular part of Jean-Luc's soul that was left, and he looked at her with wild eyes.
"I am mad, oh, I am mad," he cried, and he drew out his sword and ran it through her heart.
Her chest exploded like a rose and bloomed with blood and she fell to the ground.
Jean-Luc turned to his men, as pale as if it were his blood; he looked a million years old. "I had no choice; if she had lived, I would have had her. I had no choice."
Then he turned his sword on himself and his body crumpled beside hers.
There was a silence before the sea rang as with the voice of a thousand angels. O'Brien fell to the ground on all fours: "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned," and, blood-spattered as he was, he made the sign of the cross.
"Cease your babble," whispered Father Odo. Then louder: "We have witnessed a miracle." And taking the sword from Jean-Luc's cold grasp, Odo stabbed the earth where it made a cross in the sand.
The waters were silent once more.
Odo knelt then, as did Prince William and Worf. "Almighty and Everlasting God," he said, "preserver of souls, who dost correct those whom Thou dost love, and for their betterment dost tenderly chastise those whom Thou dost receive, we call upon Thee, O Lord, to grant Thy healing, that the souls of Thy servants, at the hour of departure from the body, may by the hands of Thy holy Angels be presented without spot unto Thee. Amen."
And the waters resumed their singing as their twinned souls began a slow coil up to heaven.