They dragged her into the throne room. Kyarina’s first conscious thought was that her helmet was missing. It was just a basic protective device but carried magic and personal enchantments. Without it her flamming hair fell across her shoulders unbound and she felt exposed. The guards released her and she struggled briefly to rise.
Kyarina stood tall and erect, a warrior in every sense of the word. Her elaborate armor dented, carrying huge rents from blows of sword, gauntlet, and arrow. With her helmet gone, the scar was once again visible.
It had been given her by the overlord of her village when she was but a maiden. She had refused his brutish advances and in retribution, he had her bound in the village square and had slashed her face from hairline to chin, then had thrown her, hurt and bleeding, to his soldiers to be taught to respect her betters.
But, Kyarina had survived. The village healer with the help of a witch had saved her and restored her health. Since that day, she had been Kya, a warrior, fierce and defiant. She was a mercenary and an excellent one at that. Her squad would be looking for her soon. “Good,” she thought, “let them come. They will tear this piddling little kingdom apart.” She smiled at the thought.
A fanfare began, subtle but commanding. Kya felt the blow to the back of her knees and allowed them to buckle when the guards pushed her down. She raised her head a fraction and looked about her, sizing up escape routes. Her sword and daggers were gone, as was her bow. The guards, however, had been none too zealous in their search. They had missed her shurikans and the quills in her leather wrist guards, enough for a warrior of her caliber to fight her way free. Her mouth twitched with a hidden grin, “the fools,” she thought.
The entire room dropped to kowtow to the emperor as he entered, except Kya. She stood, fierce and proud, uttering not a sound. Let this aging peacock come, a quill to the throat killed an emperor as easily as a man. He moved with grace and ease through the gauzy curtain that surrounded his litter as it was lowered to the ground. His feet never touched floor, but went straight to the dais surrounding his throne. Kya stole a glance and was shocked at what she saw. He was young. He was beautiful. Classic lines of the royal face, almond shaped eyes of an undefined shade, somewhere between golden amber and steel, straight raven hair pulled back in an elaborate que. He turned as he reached his throne, looking directly at Kya, and he winked.
Kya had always been rather reticent before royalty. They didn’t intimidate her but she felt out of place. The assembled throng gasped when the Emperor left his platform and came to stand directly in front of Kya. What was this all about? Kya felt almost nervous, almost. The Emperor spoke loudly in a well modulated tone to the surrounding crowd. “Leave us now, I would have words with my sister from another land.” He made a shooing motion and the crowd quietly exited. Two of the guards stayed on. Kya deduced that they were probably oath bound body guards.
“What do you want of me? and where are my helmet and weapons?” Kya demanded.
“Do not fear, they will be returned” the Emperor spoke softly for one of supreme authority.
Kya looked deep into the amber steel of his eyes and decided that perhaps he would not die today, perhaps she would hear him out. She waited.
He looked a bit less sure of himself as he continued. “I need your help.”
Thanks for stopping by! ~Peace ~JPP