Tuesday Tales is a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their WIPs based on word and picture prompts. Today’s prompt is address, and the snippet is from a work in progress temporarily called by the heroine’s name, Shale. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.
The ornate doors opened to reveal a black bearded guard hurrying toward her, burly hand clasped around his sword handle. Shale’s heart pounded in her ears. Her voice came out raspy. “It’s me, Kashid.” Thank the goddess Nicholai wasn’t here to be taken. She prayed he had made his way to the necromancium before it was too late. She held out her hand toward Kashid, palm up.
Kashid looked her up and down before reaching out a finger to touch her warm flesh. “It is you. Forgive me, Lady. I thought perhaps the evil udug had returned.” He slid his weapon back into its scabbard and maneuvered a quick 360. “Where is Prince Nicholai? The queen desires that both of you attend her.”
She bit her lip, casting her mind about for a plausible explanation of Nicholai’s whereabouts. She had to give him time to find what they needed. “We were accidentally separated. This place is like a maze, with all these tunnels. I wouldn’t worry. It may take him a bit, but he’ll remember the layout of his childhood home. He’ll undoubtedly turn up at any moment.”
“Then if you please, allow me to escort you unto the queen’s presence.” Kashid motioned to another guard who had appeared. “Remain here as lookout for the prince and deliver him to the Throne Room when he appears. Come, if you please, Lady. I shall show you the way. As you say, the tunnels within the royal house can be confusing, even dangerous.”
Yeah right. His gracious courtesy masked a stoic and immutable loyalty to Queen Puabi. She wanted to plead exhaustion and retire to her chamber, but the consequences of not obeying the royal summons were too dire to consider. Her only recourse was to go with Kashid and hope the queen didn’t make one of her renowned “to the pit” proclamations.
She moved alongside him as he began to walk. “Kashid, I’m still confused about what to call the queen. I have heard her called beneficence, holiness, most high, and a myriad of other titles. I certainly don’t want to insult her with my ignorance. Can you tutor me as we go?”
“Lady, as consort of the powerful Dragon Ruler, the queen boasts a thousand names. Since you are a foreigner, there is only one correct way for you to address her. When speaking to her directly, you must say, “Your Great and Holy Beneficence.”
She peered at him. Was he telling the truth, or was this a trick to get her out of the queen’s well bewigged hair?
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Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance