Elizabeth's Sole Escape
Dreamed 2017/7/29 by Wayan
I'm Queen Elizabeth the First. I'm young, I'm beautiful, and despite my epithet "The Virgin Queen" I have lovers--whoever I wish. And a court the ages will remember.
But the politics in this timebranch aren't what dreaming-I, inside Elizabeth, recall from history books. Here, one group of plotters escaped my vigilance.
They've suborned all my guard and enough of the court to leave me, one day, defenceless. They plan to rape me--gang rape. So much for the Virgin Queen. And then execute me, as my father Henry so famously executed all those wives. Revenge? Are they from the families my father crushed?
As I hear them battering down the door into my royal suite, when I know they'll take me, I reach for a vial of quick poison.
Though I'd rather take them with me, I haven't got the resources. My guards, my courtiers, my lovers, my armies... all melted away.
One quick draught...
NOTES NEXT MORNING
The attack began that morning. Persistent shakes, low fever, inflamed joints all the next day. My fragile body's as infected with saboteurs as Elizabeth's court; and requires equally close, ruthless vigilance.
By minding only what I love, not what I fear, I set myself up for a coup.
A MONTH LATER
I'm reading Sam Kean's book The Violinist's Thumb, on rare genetic syndromes. The title comes from the violinist Paganini's bizarre condition, today called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. But... I have all the markers! Rubbery skin, ultraflexible joints. Slow healing, scars common. Weak muscles. Gut problems--misdiagnosed as celiac disease. Reflux. Tend to be musicians or dancers.
How flexible? Bend your pinkie backwards 180°. Touch your left thumb to your left forearm. Touch your toes and keep going till your palms are on the floor... Congratulations! You're either a yoga fiend, a circus contortionist, or you have EDS. You win musical aptitude (and often Asperger/high-functioning autism), weak cartilage leading to dislocations and huge bruises, late-life arthritic flare-ups resembling migraines, and a high risk of aneurysm and early death. Yay!
Now my dream, in which I was probably attacked for my father's sins, looks a bit different--it challenged my assumption that my illness is due to infection, hinting at a hereditary cause. And today, it looks like that's true.
A YEAR LATER
I've further researched EDS and it's pretty clear my initial flash was right. I probably have hypermobile EDS, a type whose genetic cause (and cure) are unknown; for now, I'm on my own. As with Elizabeth, ruthless vigilance is all that keeps me alive.
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