The King sat on his throne, dull grey eyes staring down at the young man kneeling before him.
He was barely a man, more of a boy than anything. A fresh face among the battle hardened men that stood poised on either side of the throne. The guards were always ready for a fight, spears raised high.
"Stand up," The King called out, and the boy stood to his feet. "What is your business here?"
"I have a letter for you, your majesty."
The boy's voice did not waver, he was without fear. Bright blue eyes met the King's and everyone gathered around began to whisper. The King's expression remained passive but the highly decorated woman to his right looked amused.
She wasn't a Queen. The King had no Queen.
The King nodded to the woman and she stood up. Her footsteps were light, even with the heavy furs and gold chains that she wore. The woman almost floated down the steps.
As she neared the boy, he could see just how heavily decorated she was. Though most of the stones she wore were rubies and other sorts of dark red stones, there were sapphires and jade stones as well. Despite the fact that this woman was not the Queen, the King still kept her heavily decorated. Her long hair looked to be spun out of gold.
Outstretching her hand, she gave the boy a smile. The messenger boy placed the letter in her delicate fingers. The woman gave him another smile and placed a jade stone in his hand, pressing the cool surface into his hot palm. She closed her hand around his briefly and he could feel sparks of what felt like magic.
He shivered and her smile only widened before she turned around and floated back up the steps, opening the letter and inspecting it before giving it to the King.
The King turned his dull grey eyes onto the letter, face not changing as he read it.
"It's a threat."
All eyes turned onto the messenger boy who looked shocked to hear the news. All the murmuring stopped and the guards were poised to pounce onto the boy.
"It was not the messenger who wrote it, my dear." The woman murmured, her hushed voice sounding urgent.
"No, it was my father."
"Yes, so please don't punish the messenger."
She laid her hand on the King's shoulder and he flinched slightly, eyes betraying his otherwise calm exterior. Her hand moved up and stroked his face, turning him to face her. The King gave her a rare smile and she smiled in return.
"Please, spare the boy."
He nodded and turned back to the messenger.
"Were you given this letter directly by the sender?"
"No, your majesty."
The King looked back at the woman briefly before nodding.
"Alright, you're free then."
The woman smiled and rested her hand on the shoulder of the King once more.
And the messenger was escorted out by the guards, free to go forth as he had done so before.