THE STARS WITHIN - YA Fantasy Feb 15, 2020 17:33:34 GMT -5
Post by heatheranne on Feb 15, 2020 17:33:34 GMT -5
Everyone attending the coronation ball tonight—especially the young and eligible women—are dressed to attract. Or at least to stand out. If I stand out, it’s for the wrong reasons. My dress is a few seasons out of fashion, a little loose in places, too tight in others. The color drab among the garden of brightly colored gowns.
I’m not here tonight to gain favor with the close-minded young king. I came in search of magic. My fingers grip my skirt to avoid pressing a hand to my bodice and feeling the crush of parchment hidden there. Torn from a journal centuries old, it’s the closest thing I’ve ever found to an actual Summoner spell. And tonight I have the chance to try it. If this foul guard would just let me go.
A dozen Royal Guards line the base of the stairs as a barrier to check for Summoner piercings before letting anyone through. The air feels thick with the press of bodies and this guard stinks of the sausages sold for a coin on the streets, of garlic and grease. His eyes slip down the length of my borrowed gray dress.
I don’t mind his silent judgment of my clothes; it’s his assumptions about my heritage I fear. Is he wondering who among my ancestors gave me such dark hair or does he notice that my skin is a shade off for an Emberian?
He checks my left ear, motioning for me to brush my hair out of the way. I submit without complaint and without fear. My ear has always been flawless.
My eyes catch on a young woman beside me, waiting for her turn to pass the guard’s inspection. Her hair is pinned up but decorative ringlets curl around her ears in a poor attempt to hide them. She wears no earring, but a tiny crust of cosmetic is caked on her piercing. It’s peeling slightly. No guard will be fooled.
My heartbeat quickens out of sympathy. I want to warn her. If only I had a pocket mirror to offer. Instead, I offer a silent prayer to the goddess on her behalf.
Finally, the guard steps back with a lazy, “Have a good evening, miss.”
In the end, it’s always my lack of piercings that reassures any doubts. As if we were born with them. As if none of us could possibly escape such a mark.
Gathering my unimpressive skirts in one hand, I turn to the girl with a smile, “Your hair is lovely. I wish my hair would curl like that.” I pull a strand of my own hair against my ear.
She gives me a polite half-smile. I don’t think she understands. The guard is busying himself with the next attendee, so I take a small risk.
“There’s a bit out of place, though. Here. May I?” I reach up to the locks brushing against her ear. She flinches, her brow crumbles. “It’s all right,” I whisper with what I hope is a reassuring smile.