Author: craziebabe45 PM
On Cyrene's 17th birthday, she is Presented to the court for Selection to obtain one of the most honored positions in the realm, Affiliate. What she finds is a world she never dreamed of entering full of unanswered questions, scandal, and intrigue...Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Drama - Chapters: 9 - Words: 17,216 - Reviews: 63 - Favs: 25 - Follows: 51 - Updated: 07-16-12 - Published: 05-12-12 - id: 3021929
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Note: The characters, places, situations and events of this story are developed materializations of my imagination and therefore belong entirely to me. Distribution of this story is only permitted with my written consent, and any use of the aforementioned factors must be approved of also. Please do not steal; I shouldn't be punished for your lack of originality and dedication.
By: K.A. Linde
On an uncharacteristically dreary May morning in the capital city of Byern, a mixture of white, blue and grey intermeshed across the sky with a dull, bleak, stifling penetration about it. Cyrene peered out the second story window of her childhood home and frowned deeply at the seasonal storm.
"It feels like a storm," she grumbled to her younger sister, Elea. "Do you think it's supposed to be like this all day?"
She pulled herself away from the textured glass window, and admired herself in the carefully preserved, generation-old standing mirror in the corner of the room. Her slender figure was evident in the folds of her crimson dress. Chocolate brown hair fell in ringlets down her back accenting the even curve of her heart shaped face.
"How am I supposed to know?" Elea responded cattily, eyeing Cyrene's dress with envy.
"I don't know, but it better not rain. Not today, of all days," she said swishing her dress around as she turned towards Elea.
"You'd know better than I would. Your weather predictions are far superior to mine," Elea responded, creaking open the window pane to better assess the ever-darkening sky. "It looks dreadful out there. I'd count on rain tonight."
Cyrene allowed her vivid blue eyes to drift back out the open window. Even from the distance she could smell the crispness of the damp air and pressing humidity against her pores. Elea dabbed at her face and promptly closed the window. "Of course it would rain on the day of my Presenting."
"Oh stop complaining!" Elea swat at Cyrene dismissing her concerns. "Just let me fix your dress," she said walking over to her sister, and gently tugged on a misplaced hem at the bottom of her dress.
"Thank you," Cyrene said, satisfied with the state of her appearance.
"Why do you get to wear red?" Elea pouted.
"Because it's my birthday," she snapped back, and then added more soothingly, "and you look fantastic in green."
Elea's smile brightened her whole face. "I do, don't I?" she said, advancing towards the mirror to stare at her own reflection. She was more than a head taller than Cyrene; her face still round with youth. Her hair, which flowed in unruly waves just past her shoulders, was the same dark shade as Cyrene's, and the entire family had matching baby blue eyes.
Cyrene rolled her eyes to the ceiling at Elea's vain remark about her appearance. "Hey, none of that!" Elea cried poking her finger in Cyrene's direction. "You're seventeen now. No more eye rolls."
"You're my sister. I can still roll my eyes at you!"
"Well, don't let mother see you do it. I think she's terrified that you might do that in front of King Edric," she said swooning at the mention of the young King of Byern.
Cyrene smiled at her younger sister's reaction as she remembered her own interactions with the King. She had met him only twice in her seventeen years, and on the most recent occasion, she had nearly fainted. The King had stood so tall and regal in the palatial surroundings on the day of her sister, Aralyn's Presenting almost two years ago, and Cyrene's young mind had not been able to handle the eminence of the proceedings. Now it was her day of Presenting, and she had no idea how she would be able to stand in front of King Edric and the rest of the court, let alone speak. Her mouth grew parched as she considered the immensity of the situation.
"Oh Cyrene, I didn't mean to scare you," Elea cooed, grabbing her hand and lacing their fingers. "Aralyn did just fine at Presenting, and you will do even better."
Cyrene blinked several times and tried to refocus her thoughts away from the negativity filling her mind. She put on a brave face for Elea, channeling the confidence that so often came to her. "Of course I will. Aralyn was even more nervous than I was, and she managed to get through the entire proceeding flawlessly. I just hope Rhea is feeling as confident," she murmured, concerned that her best friend's shyness might be perceived as weakness at court.
"Don't worry about Rhea," Elea told her, stringing a neat ribbon of pearls around Cyrene's slim neck. "You have enough to worry about without worrying about her as well. There," she said when she clasped the necklace together. "You look beautiful."
Cyrene smiled at her reflection in the mirror. The pearls set off the rest of her dress perfectly. Elea had such an eye for the small details. Cyrene typically would have left her neck exposed. The right side of her hair was pleated around her head forming a crown to the opposite ear. Soft netted pearls, matching her necklace, were woven into the design. The crimson dress adorning her body was made of the finest silk and interwoven at the bust with more cream pearls. Hiding under the silken layers of fabric, Cyrene wore velvety gold slippers purchased only last week from a traveling merchant all the way from Bienco. Her parents had spared no expense to make sure she was suitably dressed for her Presenting.
"Thank you, Elea," Cyrene said, pulling her into a fierce hug.
"Cyrene! You might wrinkle your dress," she chided, attempting to back out of the embrace.
"I'll miss you," Cyrene said grasping her even tighter to her body.
Elea chuckled. "You arrogant girl, you don't even know if you'll be Selected into First Class."
Cyrene pulled away from her sister. A characteristic look of mischief twinkled in her eye. "If Aralyn can be Selected into the First Class, and as an Affiliate no less, I find no reason that I couldn't easily be chosen."
"You and Aralyn are very different people," Elea said biting down on her bottom lip.
"Precisely. Why would they want two of the same kind?" she asked, arching an eyebrow.
"Oh, get moving," Elea commanded ushering Cyrene out of the bedchamber. "You and your lofty ideals. Aralyn didn't believe that she had a shot of becoming Affiliate, and you practically believe you will be the next Consort by night fall."
Cyrene and Elea descended the spiral staircase to the large open foyer where their mother, Herlana, awaited them. The years had been good to her. She was practically a mirror image of her daughters, but with poise that could only be acquired through age and the grace of a Queen's Affiliate from the previous reign. "Girls, you look stunning. Both of you. Though I do say, Elea, I'm glad you still have another year. You need to get over that gawky awkwardness you still possess to have a chance at First Class. Luckily, Cyrene never underwent that or else I would be more nervous about her," Herlana muttered unabashedly.
Elea's cheeks colored in embarrassment. She had grown to a surprising height in the past couple of years, and was having trouble adjusting to the changes that accompanied such a growth spurt.
"Thank you, Mother," Cyrene said redirecting the full weight of her attention.
"Well, you're not out of it yet," she said eyeing her daughter up and down. "Why your father ever approved that harlot red color on you, I have no idea. You'll be the only one wearing something so tawdry."
Cyrene kept herself from smiling at her mother's frankness. If she was up in arms about Cyrene's attire, then she must look beautiful. Otherwise Herlana would have been ushering her back upstairs for a wardrobe change. "I'll stand out then."
"As if you wouldn't already at your own Presenting," she huffed. "I guess you'll have to do. Now, do you remember everything you must say?"
Cyrene gulped back her moment of fear. "Yes, Mother. The very words I must speak have been etched into my brain since infancy."
Herlana rolled her eyes at her daughter. And she wondered where Cyrene got the bad habit! "You'll need to watch your mouth," she directed her, "but as long as you know the proper things to say, then I think you'll do fine, dear. Where is that husband of mine?"
"I'm right here," Hamidon called entering the foyer. He was a bulky man of medium height with a stern, self-important air about him. He had a small stack of letters in his hand and he was thumbing through them. "Ah, here it is," he said extracting a cream envelope from the mix and handing it to Cyrene.
"What's this?" Cyrene asked taking the envelope in hand. She read the address of the royal castle listed on the front of the envelope, and her stomach dropped in both fear and anticipation. Her Presenting card had arrived. Aralyn had received such a letter before leaving for her Presenting ceremony, but she had refused to share the contents when Cyrene and Elea had badgered her about it.
"You are not to open it until your Presenting. It just arrived from a castle official only a short while ago, which is our cue to leave. Are the Gramm's here?" Hamidon asked his wife.
"They've just arrived," Herlana said, gesturing to the carriage that pulled up in front of their household.
"Perfection," he said wearing a pompous smile. "Shall we depart ladies?"
Her mother and father paraded out of their house and as Cyrene was about to follow her, Elea threw her arms around her older sister. "Who is going to tend the garden?" she croaked.
"What?" Cyrene asked attempting to pry herself out of Elea's grip.
"I'm certain to kill everything without you here."
"Just remember to water everything," Cyrene told her with a disbelieving giggle. "Really, Elea, you're only going to miss me because of the garden?"
"Ladies," Herlana snapped as they stalled in the foyer.
The girls jumped at their mother's voice. Elea rushed out of the house and into the awaiting carriage. Cyrene trailed behind the group into the overcast morning holding the letter in her hand as if it was the answer to life, and to some extent it was. She brushed her index finger against the green royal seal stamped against the opening to the envelope. Keys to her future lay underneath the decorated, script 'D' on the seal, and she was both unbelievably tempted to tear open the letter and terrified to even hold the thing. Her stomach knotted as the anticipation of her Presenting grew.
"Cyrene, over here," she heard someone call in front of her. She glanced up to see three, magnificent, horse-drawn carriages standing before her. The carriage her family was seated in was clad in an interchanging pattern of blue and silver diamonds, the color of Cyrene's house, while the Gramm's two carriages were striped in orange, brown, and gold to match their house colors. She had almost forgotten that Presenting rules did not permit her to ride to the castle with her family, and the Gramm's had brought a second carriage, in which Rhea was demurely seated, for that purpose.
It was uncommon for more than one First Class household to have a child Presented, but Cyrene and Rhea had been born on the same day and had been best friends since. Courtiers of the Second and Third Class celebrated their Presenting on the same day in honor of Byern's emancipation and an enormous party was thrown throughout the city.
Cyrene clambered into the carriage seat beside Rhea forgetting propriety in her anxiety to reach her friend. "Rhea, can you believe it's finally here?" she asked reaching out and grasping her hand.
Rhea shook her head, the stick straight wisps of her honey blonde hair brushing against her back. As usual, Rhea immediately turned to the business at hand. "Did you get your envelope?"
The carriage pulled them forward through the inner city of the capital. Towering stone mansions lined the streets as they traversed the First Class quarters and headed for the immense castle carved into the side of the Taken Mountains.
"Yes. Here's mine," Cyrene said swapping envelopes with Rhea. Nothing appeared any different on the two letters other than the name and address printed on the front. They were even written in the same scrawling hand.
"Do you think they say the same thing?" Rhea asked, pushing back the striped hanging curtain, securing it around a bronze hook, and holding the letter up to the open window. She narrowed her eyes attempting to sneak a peek at the contents inside. However, the clouds obscured much of the natural light, and she pulled the vital document away from the open window. The last thing she wanted to happen was for it to be snatched out of her hand by an oncoming breeze.
"Probably," Cyrene remarked. "Everyone gets one after all. The court would have to have someone writing out individual cards for everyone in the kingdom if they were all different. I couldn't see them wasting valuable resourcing like that on a Presenting card."
Rhea agreed. "Yeah that's true."
Cyrene didn't even know if what she was saying was right. She was just blabbering, attempting to reconcile the letter with what she knew of the Presenting ceremony and alleviate her and Rhea's fears. "Besides how would the court know something specific about every single person in the realm?" she asked further. "Maybe all the First families in Byern, but what about Second and Third families? What about all the families in other cities?"
"I hadn't thought about that," Rhea admitted, but she was clearly thinking about it now.
"King Edric must have the resources," Cyrene admitted, "but why would he bother?"
"I don't know Cyrene. Once we open ours, we'll compare them," Rhea told her constructing the plan with a weak smile. "So, what do you think they say, then?" Rhea asked handing the letter back to Cyrene.
Cyrene shrugged her petite shoulders. "I have no better guess than you do." The girls had considered a number of scenarios as to the contents of Aralyn's letter. Most of them now sounded daunting and for Cyrene to speak of them would likely only cause Rhea more stress. "I suppose we will find out shortly."
Each girl held their letter tightly between their fingers as the carriage bustled along.
"I suppose we will," Rhea squeaked.
Cyrene nodded her head, and still holding Rhea's hand firmly within her own, turned back to the front of the carriage as they drove through town.
The inner city of Byern housed the highest nobility and their families. Citizens of the First Class could choose to live within the inner city walls or venture to their country homes farther removed from court life. Some even chose to live in outlying cities to receive the royal procession when they toured the kingdom.
Second and Third Class families lived nearest their occupational craft. Second's were prone to martial involvement as well as careers relating to and assisting with the Guard services. Third's were a mix of craftsman and merchants of all sorts and performed other essential functions to support the kingdom. A large mix of both groups lived along the second tier of the city walls, farther down the rocky foothills of the capital city. Additionally, Seconds tended to travel to Byern's borders along the Keylani River, and many Thirds traversed the land for mercantile purposes or lived in remote villages assisting in the daily function of life.
The roads through the inner city of Byern were cobbled, and the two girls jostled lightly in their seats as they rolled higher and higher toward the castle ever-looming on the horizon. It was a near impenetrable fortress forged from grey and black limestone carved out of the mountain. More than half of the castle was hidden in the heart of the Taken Mountains while what remained visible was a glorious edifice with high peaked towers, railed arching bridges, and intricate stone masonry that had withstood more than a thousand years of wear. The sight of the sky-high towers had been a fixture throughout most of their lives, yet the grandiose structure always managed to elicit gasps of awe. The girls gazed up at the impossibly tall barred doors as they approached the castle.
"Do you think we'll make First Class?" Rhea whispered as she stared up at the formidable entranceway.
Cyrene looked at Rhea whose ever present pallid complexion had only turned more ashen with fear. The touch of rouge on her cheeks couldn't even hide her waxen appearance. "How could we not?" she asked with a false sense of confidence. Luckily, she still had Rhea's hand clutched within her own to prevent them from shaking.
"What if we don't?" Rhea asked her light brown eyes wide with concern.
"Don't even think about it Rhea. We've been together this long…" she let her thoughts trail off. She couldn't even imagine the possibility of life without Rhea. She knew that the chances of children from First Class households being placed into a lower Class was unlikely, but she had heard of it happening. Only last year, a girl from their own neighborhood had been placed into the Third Class. Cyrene shuddered at the thought. She had worked and studied too hard to spend the rest of her life reaching for something for which she already felt entitled.
"You're right," Rhea murmured, reassuring herself as much as Cyrene.
The three carriages were swiftly escorted through the gates, transporting them into a lush garden paradise. The royal grounds were covered as far as the eye could see with flourishing trees, brightly colored flowers, acres of fresh green grass, and even a slowly trickling creek with a stone bridge. Birds chirped over head as the carriage rattled forward through the sprawling garden. The drone of city life was all but obscured in such a natural habitat.
A footman descended the castle stairs and opened their carriage door to assist them as they stepped down. Cyrene dropped Rhea's hand as she exited before her. She tilted her head up regally as she placed her gold slippers onto royal land. The corners of her lips turned up as years of etiquette training took over. Before she took more than two steps, a gentleman presented himself to her. Graciously accepted the arm of the awaiting escort, she allowed him to direct her inside. Rhea followed behind on the arm of another escort. She and Rhea's family had already entered the castle and, as she remembered from Aralyn's Presenting, were being ushered into the Grand Hall to await King Edric.
Cyrene allowed her escort, who she noticed was a rather handsome man, to lead her away from her family and Rhea. She had not realized that they would be given separate rooms or else she would have said good-bye or good luck. She pushed the thought out of her mind. There was nothing she could do about it now. Rhea would have to fend for herself.
They walked through several hallways before the escort spoke. "Are you nervous?" he asked calmly as they turned right down another passageway.
"No," Cyrene squeaked surprised that he would even ask her. Wasn't it impolite to ask someone if they were afraid especially right before her Presenting? It just made her stomach churn harder as she followed him down a small flight of stairs.
"I was afraid too," he said flashing her a charming smile.
Cyrene dipped her head not wanting to admit how terrified she really was. This was the biggest day of her young life. It was a daunting task that she must go before the entire court when she had only been within their walls a handful of times. She was afraid that if she spoke up about her own fears, she would not be able to go through with her own Presenting. There was so much uncertainty and it was eating at her.
"This red suits you," he said changing the subject and fingering the crimson material.
"Thank you, my lord," she responded, looking back up at him and noticing again just how handsome he was. He had light hair falling over his ears, a quick smile, and flashing, devious green eyes. His shoulders were broad and she could feel his muscular arms through his green and gold ceremonial garb, which consisted of a long-sleeved over-coat, high-collared silk shirt, and crisp black pants over his polished boots. He seemed like someone her brother would get along with, which instantly made her like him even more.
"Please, call me Gereon," he said dropping the title to which he was entitled for a more familiar approach. He continued forward, traversing a maze of castle walls, as he directed her to her Selection room.
"Of course, Gereon," she said smiling up at him coyly as they turned another corner.
"It's not as bad as you think," he tried reassuring her.
"Anyone can say that from the other side," she responded petulantly.
Gereon chuckled softly in the dim lighting. "That's the truth, but I'd watch that tongue of yours. While I seem to fancy it, I'm sure King Edric would not."
Cyrene's eyes darted back to the floor. She was supposed to be submissive, but such an approach had never really worked for her. Plus, he had said he liked her sharp tongue! "My apologies."
"Are not necessary," he said completing her sentence with a smile. "It was just a bit of advice."
"Well, thank you."
"You're welcome," he said as they approached a door that opened into a small antechamber. "This is where I leave you, unfortunately"
"Thank you again, Gereon, for your assistance." Her smile was ever present, and she couldn't help fluttering her eyelashes up at him.
"If it were me," he said leaning in close as if he were about to divulge a secret, "I would make you First Class in a heartbeat." Cyrene's cheeks colored with both embarrassment and excitement. "Save the first dance for me," he said with an improper wink before departing.
Cyrene was dizzy from the many twists and turns, and was certain she would never have been able to retrace her steps, but she was also light-headed from the exhilaration of Gereon's comments. She knew he was a member of the High Order by the King's symbol, a green cursive 'D' for the royal house of Dremylon surrounded by a backdrop of gold flames, embroidered into his ceremonial attire, and he had requested to dance with her before he even knew if she was an Affiliate, or even First Class. As she entered through the broad stone door Gereon had left in front of, her heart thudded wildly in her chest the anticipation growing.
The room she entered reminded her of the harems she had read about through ancient histories of the reign of the Vailus before Viktor Dremylon secured Byern, freeing the realm from their oppressive rule. Richly colored curtains and tapestries hung across the walls. Several nooks were covered in cushions in various shapes and sizes with long hanging drapery that could be released from hooks to encase the alcove. The carpet was thick, and from the look and feel of it through her soft slippers, could have provided a year's worth of meals from the Laelish Market. An artfully constructed mahogany table sat against a wall with an ornate silver pitcher and several crystal glasses resting on top.
Cyrene walked over to the table and placed her Presenting card down before glancing into the pitcher. Water halfway filled the pitcher, and she poured herself a glass. Before she could place the cup to her lips, a rustling of the carpet behind her made her jump and turn around quickly to see who was approaching her. She nearly dropped the glass as she shrieked in surprise. Carelessly placing the expensive glass on the table, she rushed across the room and threw her arms around the girl standing before her. "Aralyn!"
Aralyn wrapped her arms around her little sister and held her tightly to her. "It's so good to see you," Cyrene gasped out.
"It's good to see you too. I've missed you," Aralyn said pulling Cyrene back and holding her at arm's length to examine her. "Why you are positively gorgeous! Did father suggest this color?"
"Of course," Cyrene told her. Her eyes were alight with excitement. Aralyn was of average height with chestnut hair piled on top of her head. She almost exclusively wore a severe expression, but today her bright blue eyes were alight with joy at seeing Cyrene. It had been more than a year since they had last been together, as Aralyn's Affiliate duties kept her occupied in the far reaches of the world.
"It will surely stand out," Aralyn said with a look that only she could make showing neither approval nor disapproval.
"Where have you been? Tell me everything!" Cyrene commanded eager to hear about her sister's exploits. Cyrene knew so few people who had traveled to cities beyond Byern. Or if they traveled, the furthest they had reached was Albion or Levin, and both cities were still within the kingdom. Her parents both refused to discuss their time as an Affiliate or in the High Order under King Maltrier. She had ransacked her parents' libraries at an early age and read histories of all the lands, but she was certain that reading and experiencing the locales were different.
"I didn't come to discuss my travels with you. I came to make sure you were prepared for your Presenting," Aralyn said evading her inquiry. "Do you have your letter?"
Cyrene turned around and extracted the letter from where she had left it on the table. "Here it is," Cyrene said holding the letter in her hand. She hadn't even realized her hands were trembling.
"You don't have much time before they are going to call you. I came at the Queen's request to be your Advisor." A small smile played at her features. "I couldn't miss my little sister's Presenting."
Cyrene had so many questions. Why had no one told her that she would have an Advisor? Did everyone have an Advisor before they were Presented? Did they send Aralyn because they were afraid she may not measure up? She held her tongue though and awaited Aralyn's instructions.
"What you read inside that paper may be spoken of to no one until after your Selecting. Once you have been Selected, you may speak of it to your other citizens in kind as well as King Edric, Queen Kaliana, and Consort Daufina, but know that they may not hold any answers or could even lead you astray," Aralyn spoke directly as if she had memorized this from a script.
Cyrene's heart was palpitating at record speed. She had heard nothing of this. She had read nothing of this in any of their histories. Could such a secret be so well guarded that not one person had ever broken the rule and confessed the contents of their letter? Had she just overlooked any mention of written instructions or written materials during the Presenting?
"Do you understand?" Aralyn asked searching her face.
No. How could she possibly understand? She had no idea what Aralyn was talking about or what her card could possibly say. Did she have the same inscription as anyone else or was it specific to her? She prayed she became an Affiliate so she could ask Aralyn all of these questions.
"Cyrene, do you understand?" she demanded more sternly.
"Yes," she whispered.
"Very well. After you read your letter, proceed to the far door, and wait for an official to open it for you. I believe you know what to do from there. When you are given the signal for dismissal, return to this room to await your Selecting."
"Will you be here?" Cyrene blurted out.
Aralyn shook her head. "No, Cyrene. You must await your Selecting alone." Cyrene glanced down at the letter within her hands and then back up at Aralyn. She could feel her eyes welling with tears as terror over took her. So much was happening that was out of her control. "Oh come here," Aralyn said pulling her into a hug. "You'll do just fine."
Cyrene dabbed at her eyes being careful not to ruin her tenderly applied make-up. "I know. I know," she murmured nodding her head.
"The waiting is the worst Cyrene, but it will be over soon," she consoled her. "Now, I must go. Read your letter. Wait at the door. I'll see you on the other side," she said ominously. Aralyn placed a peck on both of Cyrene's cheeks and then quickly departed the room.
Cyrene watched her leave, a weight forming in the pit of her stomach. It was judgment day. Suddenly the small piece of paper in her hands felt like a heavy load she had to carry. Aralyn had been so vague regarding its contents. Cyrene had no idea what to expect, but she could wait no longer. The last thing she would want to happen is that door to open before she had completed Aralyn's instructions.
Turning the cream envelope over, she tore the royal seal back from the parchment and pulled out the letter. On the front of the card, the royal crest was stamped in shining gold. Sighing heavily to herself, she flipped the card open and read what was written inside.
What you seek lies where you cannot seek it.
What you find cannot be found.
The thing you desire above all else risks all else.
The thing you fight for cannot be won.
When all seems lost, what was lost may be found.
When all bend, you cannot be as you are.
It was gibberish, just a series of riddles! None of it made any sense! What was she seeking? She had no clue. The only thing she was seeking at the present moment was a position as an Affiliate next to her sister. Yet that made no sense, because she could easily seek that position. Was what she was seeking the same thing she needed to find? And if it was, how could she find something that she couldn't seek and that couldn't be found?
The second part was slightly more straightforward. But what did she desire? Again, all she could consider was her desiring the First Class and becoming an Affiliate. She didn't know how becoming an Affiliate would risk everything else in her life. Plus, the sentence about the thing she desired seemed to have no connection to the next line about fighting. She wasn't fighting anyone. Byern had seen peace for over a hundred and fifty years; she couldn't imagine a battle, and she had nothing else to fight for besides the love of her lands.
The next line made even less sense. She felt pretty lost right now, but she hardly thought that was what the line was referring to. She had lost minor things before – necklaces, hair ribbon, even books – but she had never truly felt a depressing sense of loss. In fact, her life had been full of much joy. Both her parents were alive and well. She had two wonderful sisters and an attentive older brother. She had been raised in a wealthy household in the First Class and had been given a first-rate education. Was she to lose something…everything? Was this even the right piece of paper?
She reread the final line once more, and tried to puzzle out the hidden meaning. Who was bending? Were they bending in will or was the description more physical? Neither made sense as she had never had to force someone to bend to her will nor did she envision anyone bending to her in any way. But if people were bending, in some way, how would she lose herself? That seemed the most troubling part to her. She didn't know how she could possibly be something that she was not.
Cyrene had no more time to contemplate the cryptic message as the door in the far wall began to creak open. She stuffed the card back in the envelope, placed it on the table, and then dashed to the far wall. As soon as she reached the entrance, the doors had finally opened all the way and standing before her was the royal court of Byern.
Author's Note: Thank you for reading the first chapter of The Affiliate. I certainly hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to follow me on facebook or goodreads under the name K.A. Linde. Check out my profile for links. I look forward to telling Cyrene's tale!