Beyond the door of her chamber, decorated only with the barest of necessities and an old, worn piano, feckless voices assaulted each other over whose luck would be poor enough to greet her. Standing before her window, she kept herself apart from the world, her consciousness rising with the moon hidden behind careless clouds. If only for a moment, she let her mind wander, drifting through in the semi-darkened sky that never wakes. The stupid sun remained in its place on the edge of the great sea’s horizon, as if it could never remember whether it was supposed to set or rise. One of the more foolish guards announced himself before entering.
“Captain, there’s been a breach,” he reported. The voice brought unwelcome disruption to her meditation. The Captain of the Guard let her gaze rest upon the streams of shimmering crimson flowing along the castle’s exterior walls. She exhaled as its essence continued to suffuse into her blood. She turned to her subordinate. “Where?” she asked. The guard described the incident in detail. Draped in a mix of moon and sunlight gleaming through the window, the captain’s leather armor revealed the feather and thorn pattern etched within it.
The captain approached her subordinate, now at his knee, and extended her left arm toward him. Her callused fingers remained outstretched, waiting. “Draw our sword,” she commanded. The guard trembled as he drew the captain’s weapon from her hip and handed it to her, hilt first. She scoffed at his quivering. The rapier’s blade soon found itself licking the guard’s neck, eager for a taste. “Where is the thief?” she asked. The guard replied with the only place a person could hide outside the castle as his response. She flicked her wrist, drawing blood from the guard’s neck. “Do not forget what little mercy we possess.”
She sheathed her sword and returned to the window, looking beyond the walls to the hobbled-together dwellings of the Sticks. The only place that could sustain those no longer welcome in the castle. She could see faint traces of citrine-light rising from a shack within its bounds. Her dispassionate voice barely broke the silence. “Assemble in the courtyard and prepare to move. Do well and we’ll inform the king. Fail…” Her gaze drifted toward the dangling bodies near a cliff outside the castle walls.
She paid no mind to the sound of her subordinate scurrying from the room. She looked back to the golden essence rising like a weak fog from the Sticks—the essence no other than herself and the king ever seemed to notice.
An intrusive thought shut down her senses as a vision of a memory played itself in place of her consciousness.
Maybe you’re not as wicked as you think. A female voice spoke to the person whose memory had entrapped the captain. The only difference between shadows and light is whatever blocks the path. So stop being so damn stubborn and let me help you!
The smell of manure in the farming fields returned, along with the bright of the moon and the sun. The bustling noise of the townsfolk outside interceded once more. Whatever or whomever the vision was, it had faded. The captain scoffed, hawking a loogie out the window as she headed for the courtyard, slamming the door behind her.