Samantha Lee’s Picture Choice: Both
I look down at the ring she wears and barely resist the urge to snarl. It is true that Savannah wears many rings, including one with a small cameo of some goddess of the dead and another formed like a coiled snake. It's only one, however, that commandeers my interest. "You've wed."
Oblivious to my reaction, she smiles, her joy and contentment a virtual beacon. I want to slap her. "I have. Spur of the moment thing in Vegas. We were married by Elrond!"
"I beg your pardon?"
"It was a Tolkien themed chapel," she explains. "Tru thought it would be ironic or cheeky or something. I thought it a bit...cheesy, but it was worth it to see Tru in an Aragon costume."
"How lovely for you both," I tell her, hoping the words sound more sincere to her ears than they do to mine. "I must admit to being a bit surprised; I had thought you were talking things slow."
She gives me an incredulous look and laughs. "Slow? Malika, it's been over two hundred years. Any slower and we'd start moving backwards!"
I clear my throat and cast about for some plausible reply. "Yes, of course, by mortal standards, an eternity. By our own, however, it's not even a drop in the bucket."
"And if we were to wait for that bucket to fill, Mal, we'd be waiting a true eternity. Besides, we're already Mated. The wedding was only a formality. No big deal."
I sigh and relent; to push harder would be to incite suspicion and what's done is done. Savannah may be powerful, may be ancient, but the intricacies of spellwork still elude her. To time, two centuries is nothing. To magic, the bond of marriage is like an open portal, entwining the life of my Queen with that of her lover, now husband. My spell, my plan would never work now, not without putting Savannah at risk as well.
Drat it all to Hell and back.
"I wish we could have had a proper wedding, of course," Savannah nattered on. "One with guests and cake and feasting...perhaps one day if I ever regain what I've lost we'll renew our vows and do it right the second time around. Anyways, Mal, what was it you wanted to see me about?"
I sigh, my hands tied. I needed to return to the library, to the books, and find a new means of undoing my Queen's lunacy and folly before it disgraced us any further. It was my duty, after all, and my purpose. I could not and would not fail.
"Oh, Barnabas threw a shoe, is all," I told her, gesturing to indicate her favourite stallion. "The smith is coming in a few days and Barnabas ought to fine but I thought perhaps it prudent to have the horse stabled until then."
Savannah glances from me to the horse and back again, her expression confused, her eyes intent. In a blur of motion, Savannah is suddenly beside Barnabas. With dark, blood hued hair and honey-tanned skin, she stands out in stark relief next to the white horse. With a snort, Barnabas lowers his head and condescends to be pat by his mistress. After a moment, Savannah shrugs and concedes the point. "As long as he and the others are happy and healthy, Mal, I defer to you about their care. You know that. Anyways, if that's all, I have to be off. Honeymoon. You understand. I'll see you later."
She leaves and I sigh, happily dropping the glamour of the stable girl. Precious, pretty little princess, always making my work so difficult.
I hope she appreciates all that I do for her.
And all that I will.
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