Sara the Fallen
They kneel and I’m so overwhelmed that I can hardly breathe. But I mustn’t show them how much their acceptance truly affects me, how close to tears I am at my victory and their subsequent positive reaction.
I turn and find Caden kneeling along with everyone else, grinning up at me. I smile back, feeling a weight lift that I didn’t know I’d been carrying around. This is it. We’ve won.
“Oh good lord!” A voice gasps behind me. I turn around and see Minit standing in the doorway, along with four others; two men and two women. The men are dressed in identical rich brown tunics and the women in gowns, made of the same material as the men’s tunics.
Each of them are resplendent in their finery, the women powdered and pink and sparkling with their jewelry. The men’s fingers are fat with rings, their stomachs rotund, their hair slicked back with oil. They are, in a word, repulsive; corrupt. They are also the royal council.
“What has happened?” one of the male members roars, storming forward, the other three scurrying close behind him. The crowd stands and parts, scattering out of the way, averting their eyes from the council. Caden quickly stands and comes to stand beside me, hand on the hilt of his sword.
“I have defeated the false king in a duel for the crown.” I state, staring the man down
“False!” he blusters, face turning red.
“Yes, false!” I reply. “I am Ayers. Youngest son of King Jaimes.”
“That is simply not true!” One of the woman members exclaims, face blotchy with anger. She steps forward to stand beside the male member who had initially spoken, crossing her arms in front of her ample chest.
“The entire royal family was killed. There were no survivors.” She sneers.
“I can vouch for him.” Minit says, stepping forward, followed closely by Massers.
“My name is Minit. I was Prince Ayers’ nanny from the time he was born up until the massacre. I woke and heard the commotion. Massers and I used the servant’s tunnels to sneak him out.” Minit explains.
“We cannot accept the word of two mere servants!” the man says with a derisive sniff.
“You don’t even look like the prince! He had dark hair with hazel eyes. Not yellow and blue.” The woman pipes in, the two silent members nodding their agreement.
“Minit paid the spellcaster Mione to change my coloring.” I say. The man shakes his head.
“There is simply no way to prove your identity.” He says, voice low with anger. “Guards, arrest this man. He has killed your king!”