I was marched into the bedchamber. It was huge, a cross between the sort of royal apartment you'd see at Versailles and a neglected sepulcher. The room was vast but the furniture was clustered in the center of it, leaving the walls and corners hidden on woolly darkness. The silk wall coverings were mildewed and rotting; cobwebs hung from a giant unlit chandelier overhead, By far, the grandest thing in the room was the bed, a massive structure with posters that thrust heavenward like spires on a church. The bed curtains were great waterfalls of fabric, red velvet lined with gold satin and trimmed with braided swag. It was then, with a jolt of horror, that I realized this was the bed I'd seen in my nightmare. The coverlets were thrown back, as they'd been in my dream, revealing a woman astride a man like a succubus, their flesh tones stark against blindingly white sheets.
The queen. She was tall, almost painfully slender, and luminously white, as though lit from within. Her face was fiercely and coldly beautiful.