|The Night Queen Trilogy
Author: Krystal-Ann Melbourne PM
At the age of fourteen, Iladen-Amaya is convinced that she's the last living descendant of a race that the rest of her world believes is a myth. Growing up surrounded by thieves and killers, Maya has nowhere to go and only a vague idea who she is or what she's capable of until she's confronted by Dominoe, a human stranger who knows more about Maya than she does. Updates Every DayRated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Romance - Chapters: 77 - Words: 108,613 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 13 - Updated: 05-24-13 - Published: 02-02-13 - id: 3097666
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
May 10th, Year 644
Madeline Adaire, Age 18
Ayres Cliff, Riel
Madeline watched with quiet fascination as an ocean of clouds raced through the sky in front of her, chased as if on the breath of a hurricane. The air felt light and crisp. The sun breathed warm and gentle. The fields stretched open before her as welcome as a carefree morning until they reached the edge of their little paradise where they quickly shrivelled and died, derelict in the ashes of the realm's most southern kingdom.
"This place was named for my father's family," Adonis commentated from beside her. "To date, it's the only place in Riel known to allow things to grow. I do hope it's to your liking. Would you enjoy some more apple?" He passed her a small sampler plate which she politely accepted. The whole afternoon had been unusually formal between them. It made her just a little on edge.
Roughly thirty feet away from them stood a ring of guards, silently keeping vigil for their young emperor's safety. Not even a simple picnic could be complete without a small entourage to follow them. Of her own people their was only two: April, an older woman employed to be Madeline's lady-in-waiting, a service which Madeline only made use of in public situations when she was most expected to, and Tabetha, the ambitious younger daughter of a nobleman whose name Madeline honestly couldn't remember. Tabetha was of Madeline's own choosing, a surprise to both Adonis and the smaller court. Openly she was labelled as a second serving lady, much to the first's despair, but privately she served as both a spy and a messenger, retrieving information that Madeline herself would have difficulty acquiring. She was paid most generously for the task.
At the moment, Tabetha sat a short distance to Madeline's left, contrite and innocent for all appearances. She'd already advised Madeline to the purpose of that afternoon's picnic several days before. Something so trivial hardly made good use of Tabetha's talents, though. Adonis's intentions were obvious; Madeline could tell them just by watching his expressions. She'd learnt to see everything he was thinking.
Another minute and Adonis excused himself formally with a bow, "If you could just pardon me for a moment..." Then he walked somewhat stiffly over to where Naeem stood watching them both throughout the affair, his gaze as disturbingly emotionless as always.
"I've had word of your father, Madam," Tabetha whispered carefully from beside her.
Madeline snapped her head around at the news. "He's been found then?" she asked, allowing her composure to slip for just a moment. All eyes were still on Adonis.
"He's been living in a small river town in eastern Kanaya. Master Joseph is the man responsible for finding him. He wants to know if you'd like us to bring him to you. Discretely, of course."
Madeline thought about it for a moment then, "No, I think I'd rather you not."
Tabetha couldn't hide some of her surprise, not from Madeline at least. "Then... what would you like us to do?"
"Kill him," Madeline answered simply, "I have no interest in my father. I only needed to be sure he wouldn't come back to try and claim me, circumstances being what they are..."
"Of course," Tabetha acknowledged dutifully, reaching a slim, gloved hand out for a coconut tart. She nodded in Adonis's direction just as he started to head back to them, a delicate red box held in his hands. It was the culmination of the last few months of effort, Madeline supposed. Adonis had worked hard to single-handedly increase her social status as much as possible. In such a short time she'd been promoted from his friend to one of his advisors and, most recently, to an ambassador for the ghost population. At the age of eighteen such a thing was completely unheard of. There remained only so much more for him to do.
"I suppose I should start calling you majesty soon," Tabetha said slyly.
"Yes, I suppose you should."
© Copyright under the Canadian Intellectual Documents Office
Jan 24th 2011