In response to Today You Will Write Writing prompt #156 Dynamic Duos
W.P. # 156 Dynamic duos. You are writing a story, who is the friend or foe of your main character? Who will engage him/her? Spur them on…
Ezaria took a deep breath: she felt the same way now as she did on the day she entered the city. She’d laid her plans the best she could but so far nothing had worked. Her four accomplices were demanding some measure of result but she hadn’t had any to offer. Tonight though, she’d been called to the King’s apartments. And although she’d tried to be alone with him for months and kill him, she was scared. She’d seen what he was capable of; she’d noticed he was a clever man and she wasn’t sure she’d developed her deception skills to a point that she could face him. She didn’t need to pretend for very long but still. So she was just as scared tonight as she was on the day she entered the castle. The three months spent at court didn’t feel nearly enough to face the man who’d destroyed the worlds. Yet, she knew that spending a year here wouldn’t get her more ready than she was now. She might as well be done with it if she could.
She breathed in deeply one more time and reached for the door to knock.
“Come in,” his voice called just as she was about to do so. She reached for the knob but the door opened before she took hold of it. She’d known he had magic but if he could read her mind, she was in trouble: her own gifts weren’t strong enough.
She entered the room, which was almost as large as the reception all. The place seemed to be divided in three: the farthest one had wooden panels, which – she assumed – hid the bed, much as in her own room. The others seemed to hold a reading space with plush chairs and a smaller receiving space where she stood and met the king’s gaze. She dropped and performed the triple obeisance as she’d done so many times since her arrival and remained on her knees.
“Stand up Lady Ezaria.” He whispered, the command easily heard in his tone. She’d found it fascinating that he never had a herald announce his arrival or that he’d never raised his voice yet managed to always be heard. “Look at me.” He ordered.
She did and gazed into eyes of grey mist with a storm threatening in the back. And she suddenly understood. Like her, he’d grown as a ward to the Guardians. He might even have been initiated. That was how he knew about the worlds. Shielded as she was, she knew fear. He might recognize her too.
“Your Majesty,” she said to cover her fear.
“So Ezaria, you have been at my court for a season now,” she nodded. “You are part of it and yet you haven’t really mingled. I heard no man has had the pleasure of your company yet. Surprising considering most of my courtiers are – dare I say – promiscuous.” Ezaria blushed. She was in way over her head.
“You were raised as I was.” There, she was caught. She stepped back but he reached for her faster than she could move, holding her chin and forcing her to meet his grey eyes. “In the old ways.” She bit her lips.
“You’re of the old lines, aren’t you?”
“Yes, my Lord.”
She dared not lie about that. He let go of her, understanding shining in his eyes.
“I thought…” he paused. “You’ve come here to seek revenge.”
He didn’t seem at all bothered by the concept. In fact, he stepped back and opened his arms wide. “If you’ve come to kill me, do it Ezaria. I’m unarmed and no guards are around. Though I’m certain you know you wouldn’t make it past the doors. Do you truly want your line ended?”
She didn’t know how to respond. But maybe she could use this. The price to pay might be higher than she’d expected.
“I’m not unknowing my Lord. You’re protected from mortal weapons. And I’m not ready to die yet. Not for an inheritance my father never intended me to have in the first place.”
She put as much bitterness as she could in her voice. That was the truth even though she’d never resented it. She was meant to serve, her sister to inherit. But they were all dead. And since they were, they hopefully wouldn’t mind that she used some parts of her story to further her plan.
“Ah… so you were the child promised to an alliance. Maybe with my family?”
She shrugged. Her father never once mentioned where he wanted her to marry once her years of service were done. And she’d never told him she wouldn’t come home. She could regret not to speak with her father but not today.
“My father never bothered telling me. I’d have known on my wedding day.”
“I didn’t realize Lord Seramis was so set in the old ways. My father said he was someone to trust. He would have loved an alliance with your family.”
Since his own father had been the first to die at his hand, it was no surprise her family came next.
“Who knows?” He said with a smile. “Maybe I will finally do something my father would approve of.”
“You don’t even know me.” She said before she could stop herself. She paused, biting her lips. “Your Majesty.”
He took her hand and led her towards the table. She hadn’t noticed dinner was served.
“True and yet I do. Because you’re the only person in this court with blue blood like me. It’s written on our skin.”
She was nothing like him. He had torn the worlds apart. She was trying to pull them back together. But if he sought familiarity she could get closer to him. It would make the rest easier maybe.
“I don’t know that we’re the same. My Lord Kraken rule the world. I’m the last of a forsaken line.”
“A royal line. Like me. Robbed of our rights by the gold skin and the Guardians of Perth.” Shock must have shown on her face because he continued. “You haven’t heard of them of course. I’ll explain to you one day. Maybe. Let us eat.”
So maybe not familiarity, maybe loneliness.