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For She Was Above Them

“Anyone else?”

Her voice echoed in the ensuing silence. Booming despite her slight stature. She smirks, teeth flashing from behind her dark skin, and continues her descent, boots falling like thunderclaps on the stone steps. One of her raised hands continues to flicker with magenta light.

A man, clothes still smoking, lays crumpled on the marble floor at the bottom of the steps. Trembling, he grits his teeth, managing only to rise up on his forearms. He flinches, violently, as her boots fall before him.

She drops her hands, swiftly planting a foot on the hand that had been inching towards his empty scabbard on instinct. The missing blade gleams above, in the hands of a member of the King’s Court.

“Stand down.” She orders quietly, pressing firmly, drawing a muffled cry from the guardsman’s throat. He stills, bowing his head in submission. The woman huffs, stepping away and turning to address the rest of the people.

“Does anyone else question my abilities?” She asks, steely gaze sweeping over the crowd. Murmurs break out, curses and venomous words are breathed, some even daring to throw glares and sneers at her, but no one rises to the challenge. Not even the Lord the guard belongs to.

They know. Despite what her appearance might suggest, despite her gender and race, despite how beneath them she should be, the proud people are not completely stupid.

Higher above, past his personal court, lounging unbothered on his golden throne, the King meets his servants eye, and smiles.

Below, the woman returns the smile, magic fading. She steps off the man, pivots on her heel and marches back up the steps, cape fluttering behind her.

With a wave of the King’s hand, the festivities renew, and the people push this incident out of mind. Still, the King’s chosen smiles as she takes her post at the his side, pleased with the nervous fluttering of those below that remains even as the night goes on.

Perhaps this time they’ll learn. But if not….

Her eyes flicker, catching the gleam of one stormy eye. He smiles, flashing teeth like the quiet predator he is.

Well, neither of them have ever been particularly bothered by bloodshed.

———————————————————————————————–

Later, the guard who had been so vocal and his Lord meet with the King, apologies spilling from tight lips. Even more impressive are the praises the Lord sings, not the words themselves, for anyone could see it killed the nobleman to say them, but the fact he was saying them at all.

The woman raises a brow, face half-hidden by shadow. Her eyes flicker with magenta light, but she makes no move.

The King smiles, and though it is kind, his eyes are piercing. He accepts what they both know are meaningless words, extends thanks for such ‘kind’ praises and turns from the man.

Once out of sight, he falls back to walk beside her, and she sees the plots already spinning behind grey orbs.

No one is surprised when the Lord is suddenly and violently knocked from his perch.

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