The Wronged Queen
My name is Dexter Jared Peterson. I am 26 years old and I live in New York City. In the last seven years I have lived as 11,577 different people.
I’ve been in wars before, been shot at more times than I care to remember and even nearly been hanged twice, but none of this compares to the terror I felt when I awoke today. It is still possible to see tendrils of smoke rising from Camulodunum in the dawn mist and I think I can even make out what’s left of the temple from here.
The Romans who came too late to relieve what they considered their capital in these lands are mostly dead. The rest fled along with their cowardly commander after we routed them on the field. Whether the stench on the morning breeze comes from the city smouldering on the horizon, or the huge army gradually waking around me is impossible to say.
That army took Camulodunum apart one piece at a time, destroying every building in its path and murdering everyone they came across. Impaled on spikes, hung or merely burnt within their own homes, whatever form of death was closest at hand was employed. Even the crucifixes were put to good use. Men. Women. Children. None were taken prisoner. All died even though not all of them were Roman. What kind of monster slaughters even their own people without mercy?
Apparently me. Or at least the person whose life I just jumped into. It seems I lead this army. My mind is filled with thoughts so alien it scares me. The thought of ethnic cleansing is bad enough, but the fact it comes from the mind of a woman is the bit I find truly disturbing. The idea that a woman could take such pleasure from the suffering of others is something that never crossed my mind before. I worry that I will get driven insane by the thoughts of this savage beauty (or at least completely forget my own identity) before I can leave this life.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” doesn’t even come close to describing this intelligent woman hell-bent on revenge. I honestly have no words to convey the true horror of what is going through my- her -head. I also never thought it was possible to be this afraid, and certainly not of a woman. I have no idea how long I am going to be in this body or how I might escape it, but I don’t think I will find peace until I can get out of here.
I wish I could find Alexandria, but this army and its retinue is nearly a hundred thousand strong already so it would be like searching for a needle in a haystack. You see, it’s not just the horror of the situation I’m in that scares me, but also the realities of the body I’m in.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is that this is also the first time I’ve been a female and that’s a change which frightens me on its own merit.
I’m hoping Alexandria can help me understand it. More people are arriving this morning to join the army now that the victory news is spreading. It looks like we’ll need to head to Londinium and plunder its trade riches in order to keep them fed. And raze that city as well, so the Roman disease it promotes cannot survive there. With that knowledge, the obvious conclusion is that it must be time for me to make a proper effort at getting up so we can get moving.
As I brush my long tawny hair out of the way so I can refasten my torc, I know that Boudica will not rest until every trace of Roman influence is completely eradicated from the land and she can rule freely as Queen of the Iceni once more. It seems that I am going to witness events through her eyes, and not just her memories, whether I like it or not. I can only pray I have the stomach to survive the experience, but I’m not sure I will ever be able to truly understand or come to terms with the idea of genocide on the scale she is planning.