Let me know if you like it and I'll expand it into something longer.

"Give us a prophecy." The audience laughed, their voices joining in a babble of sound. The girl was pushed into the limelight, her dark eyes wide, pale hands fiddling with one another. She looked about herself dazedly, as though shocked to be the sudden source of entertainment. The King raised his hand to her, a signal to do as she was bid. She breathed deeply, veiling her eyes with her lashes, a hand at her navel.

"There is a place," she began, her scared voice falling into the steady pattern of long forgotten storytelling. "There is a place where two rivers twist in unison, separated by a bank as thin as paper and as pearlescent as metal as the water boils between the two. There is a place where three moons light the sky, their faces filling the night glowing white and pink as girls and men dance with their hands intertwined. There lies a castle, its shining walls bright in the setting sun and with honeysuckle and roses whispering their fragrance on the wind." She paused, her eyes unfocused, body swaying to a rhythm only she could hear. The room was breathless, their eyes trained on the girl with the hair like smoke.

"Go on." Someone murmured, more to themselves than with any intention of making contact.

"There lies a castle. A castle, a castle." Sweat dewed on her smooth forehead. The seductive red of her low hipped, ankle length skirt clashed with her sudden pallor, the gold chain with its single dangling ruby that clasped her waist shivered with her erratic breathing.

"A castle. A castle, its shining walls bright…. Inside the castle lies a room. Inside the room lies a girl, her hair a wisp of spun gold tumbling with gifts of guilt. Combs and jewels fall from her at every turn of head, arms and neck so heavy with jewels she tires and drags her feet."

"What does she look like?" Another voice piped up, quickly hushed. The girl turned her sightless eyes towards the speaker, full lips quivering with effort, held immobile by whatever force excited the viewers.

"Her hair is a wisp of spun gold tumbling with gifts of guilt. Her face is pale and smooth as an opal. Her skin is cake-warm and her voice is honey. But she is scared-" The girl gasped, sliding slowly to her knees as tears flowed down her raw cheeks. Her voice changed, deepening to the rough dialect of a man. "She is death."

She keeled forward, and spoke no more.

The hushed audience stared first at her, then at the figure with the shimmering crown behind her, his face like thunder.

"Take her away." He snapped, big hands forming fists at his sides. Guards leapt forward, big men with roughly hewn features, and carefully, gently, one lifted the half-naked girl into his arms. The rouge painted on her face was gaudy against her pallor, the bustier pushing her breasts into half-moons garish as she slept like a child.

Her eyes flicked open, and a long, lonely wail emitted from her as sharp as a scream, before she jerked upright in the guards arms.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, my lord, I'm sorry-" She babbled, throwing herself out of his grasp with a sudden show of strength one would not expect. She dropped to the floor, her head low, her hands open in submission. "I have no control-"

"I said take her away." The king roared, knocking a goblet of wine from its perch. Several watchers jumped. Any sport in the room had dissolved. There was only cold expectation. The queen had half stepped back into the shadows, her grey eyes wide in her smooth opal shaped face, wisps of golden hair escaping the combs that studded its silk. No one could take their eyes from her.