She crossed the room, marble floors and columnated ceiling far above. Light piercing from above. Tapestries covering the walls.
She knelt at the prescribed distance from the throne and stared at her scarpins.
‘The Lady Carinda, My Lord,’ announced the Grand Harlequin.
His Majesty must have glanced sideways as the boots of the Guard marched toward her. Tips of spears surrounded her stopping just short of puncturing clothes and skin.
‘The Lady Carinda has been targeted. What may she proclaim?’
That Grand Harlequin enjoys this far too much.
‘Please, may I beg His Royal Lordship one moment? Please?’
An ant, small and dark green, scurried across the floor and onto her right foot.
Perhaps today is a good day to die…
It proceeded to wander over her foot, back onto the floor, and thence to her gloved hand. Wandering up past her wrist it found her bare skin and began to sting.
Waves of heat washed up her arm and down into her fingers. The tips numbing. Shoulder aching.
Such a tiny, feeble thing. One swipe and it’d be smeared over the floor. Let it be known Our Royal Majesty does not keep the Residence free of vermin!
Staring at her shoes, the marble floor, that infernal ant, droplets began to fall from her face.
‘My deepest gratitude My Lord. I…’
Hold steady! Not your first ant bite!
‘…wish to plead coercion. My actions were my own but were not taken free of consequence to privilege.’
I mark you now, Grand Harlequin!
The ant wandered up her arm to her neck and began its second attack.
‘Names,’ said the Ordained Lord of All Realms.
‘I… may only speak for myself, My Lord.’ The Lady Carinda fell sideways onto the floor as the ant crawled onto her scalp.