Para Bellum [1/1]
Grown up Lieutenant Duckling for @seastarved ‘s Fantasy Pretzel Week! Rated M for violence, descriptions of injuries, and character death. Because that’s where my mind goes, I guess. Thank you very much to @katie-dub and @zengoalie for their beta help at different stages, and to all my Hub fam for being the best.
Day Three: Prompt: Co-workers AU in the Enchanted Forest.
The birth of Crown Prince Leo of the Enchanted Forest had been met with rapturous joy, both by his shocked parents and by the kingdom he would one day rule. A dozen banquets were held in honour of the babe before he could do much more than mewl at his mother’s breast, a hundred ships launched in his name before he could speak it.
And his sister was probably the most delighted of all.
As Crown Princess, Emma had taken little pleasure in the intrigues of court - or of courting, for that matter - always far more at home with a weapon in her hand than when writing letters of diplomacy. For twenty eight years she had managed with a sort of grudging acceptance of the role life had bestowed on her, and then, at what felt like the eleventh hour -
Snow White had borne a son.
And Emma was free.
She casts a shrewd eye over the Royal Dockyard, watching as men swing from the rigging of the larger ships and cast lines to others waiting below. It’s alive, this place, alive with thousands of men rushing about to see to their duties, alive with the creak and groan of the wooden hulls as they sink and rise with the tide.
It makes her feel alive, too. All her dreams of adventure are set out before her on the crystal waters. This is her chance to be seen, not as some coddled princess, but as a woman with fire and determination in her very soul. A chance to prove herself. A chance that matters.
“Are you quite certain about this, Emma?” her father asks, two steps behind her in a uniform much like her own except for the row of glittering medals pinned to his breast. “These men are hard men who live hard lives, they may not take easily to a woman giving them orders.”
“They don’t have a choice,” Emma says mildly, though her eyes narrow slightly. “If Leo had not been born, I’d have been their Queen. Seems to me accepting a woman as Admiral shouldn’t come as too much of a strain.”
“As you wish.” says her father, reaching forward to lay a hand on her shoulder. “But I should be more comfortable if I knew you had a solid board of officers behind you.”
“I have a cutlass,” Emma says, turning to her father with a raised brow. “And I know how to use it. If that should not prove to be enough of an encouragement I’ll be sure to let you know.”