by Aimée Laine
His ROAR of anger shook the wall behind me as a sprinkle of shattered crystal rained down upon my head. His favorite red stained the perfectly smooth plaster in unbalanced lines. I expected the replacement, set at his right, would surrender to the same fate momentarily.
In fear, I focused on the goblet, watching the red liquid’s undulations within. The radiated tension alone shook the sideboard on which it rest.
“Again,” he commanded.
In deference, I knelt. I wanted not to perish in recounting the scandalous tidings.
“I confirm the prince is alive, your majesty.” I closed my eyes quickly in anticipation.
The chalice missed my head by mere centimeters.
As the King’s private messenger, the confines of the castle protected me. Nevertheless, my role embodied danger.
His jeweled fingers flexed into a clenched fist as he bellowed, “How is this possible?”
“The women, your majesty. They sheltered and cared for him.”
“For fifteen years and we knew not?”
I ventured to stand, my hands at my sides, head bowed. “Yes, your majesty, you were not aware.”
“And now this Cenhelm, this boy, this prophesied ruler of MY kingdom makes his way?”
“Yes, your majesty.”
“Then we shall prepare for his arrival.” The venom of hatred laced the upturned corners of his mouth. Preparation for capitulation or death I expected.
I restrained any change in my visage. To reveal would be to brandish my own confidences.
For the messenger oft knows more than he discloses.