Fierya had been counting down the seconds till she could make her escape, unimpressed by the string of never-ending courses. Finally, sugared fruit tarts and sweet warmed cider were placed before each person.  She looked down at her plate wishing she could enjoy the treat, but instead Fierya started the conversation, “What are your plans for me?”

          He picked up his cider with a careless gesture and sipped at it thoughtfully. “Let me begin somewhere else Fierya. You are without a doubt my daughter, one need only look at your eyes to see that, and you most decidedly have power.”

          “But why does this mean she must be your responsibility,” Haddie cut in. “I am sorry to be the one to say it, but it does seem questionable that your bastard child appears only in time to usurp your legitimate heir and be sent to the Phlox.”

          Auria could almost feel Haddie’s fingers upon her strings as if she was no more than a puppet, but she could not help responding. “In three short years I am to be named Queen Heir, and you would find me hard pressed to give that up.  Father, it is all I have ever learned, I do not know how to be anything else.” As quickly as the words dried up on Auria’s lips, tears welled in her eyes, which she unconsciously wiped away.

          “We’ve been through this,” Fierya said exchanging looks with both Auria and Dronocum, “I want nothing from you.”

          “Then why are you here?” The hate in Haddie’s voice colored each of her words.

          Fierya pivoted in her chair to take the white-haired women on face to face. Drono tried to break their eye contact with a wild but unfortunately useless gesture. “Have you something to say to me girl?”  A half-smile played across Fierya’s face, but her eyes were empty and unforgiving. “I’m not like you.”  The words were simple but they seemed to hang upon the air heavy and full of meaning causing the smugness to fall from Haddie’s face as if she had been hit. However, before she could say anything Fierya continued. “How did you ever get those snow-white locks? I wonder?” The way the words rolled off her tongue left little to no doubt that Fierya did more than wonder. “And, why suffer the humiliation of being the Queen that wasn’t?  I am nothing like you, and you will do well to remember it.”

          The silence that followed rang with the same finality that Fierya’s threat had. “Enough! Fierya?” Dronocum was torn she now had answers to the questions which often kept him up at night, but this had to end. “You are my daughter and shall be named as such on the same day Auria will be named as my heir publicly, in four nights.” The King then spoke to Haddie, “I shall escort my daughters to their room and then will receive my Lady-Consort in my suite.” He rose stiffly but without hesitation, and holding an arm out for both girls left supported by their youth.


          At the sound of the main door swinging shut one of the young men who had carried the large serving platters entered the dinning room, but when Haddie’s wide eyed glare meet his curios gaze he nearly ran from the room.  Haddie shook with unreleased rage. 

          Her chest heaved and spots danced before her eyes when she was finished with her outburst, but she managed to make her way past the thrown dishes, spilt food, and broken glass to the door with deft grace at immediately odds with her surroundings.  She leaned against the strong oak door for but a moment regaining her composure before she made her way to her rooms not his.  Whether or not he knew it he had chosen, and wrongly.

          In her own suits the women shied away hanging on the walls very awear of her mood and disposition.  “Tell the King I’m indisposed,” the command cut through the air like a horn blast sending the women in a hundred different directions while she went to her boudoir shutting and locking the door behind d her.
         “Stupid Drono…just sitting there and letting that whore-spawn…talk to me…like that!
How dare she think she knows anything…about me…me!
I am queen…in all but name…how dare she…cross me!”

          Each exclamation was followed by the ripping sounds of Haddie shedding the formal blue gown from her person.  Finally, she stepped from the ring of ruined fabric making her way to the large hanging mirror.  Bathed in only the moon light her elaborate hair coiffure shone and sparkled so like her desired crown making Haddie smile slyly.

          “Dangerous game your playing, bastard.  The last one who thought to best me lost more than she bargained for.”