Continuing a scene from my first book, Ghosts of Innocence.
Shayla has stolen the identity of a newly-appointed senior public servant, and infiltrated the Palace in disguise. She has already fallen foul of her new boss, Mabbwendig ap Terlion, Master of the Emperor’s Domestic Household, but has since kept out of Mabb’s way while she establishes herself in her new position. However, she’s decided to face Mabb on her own turf - in the cavernous staff dining hall.
“Master of Circuses” is the Shayla’s official title in the Palace hierarchy.
The diminutive figure of Mabbwendig ap Terlion, Master of the Emperor's Domestic Household, appeared in a doorway near the far end of the hall. As she took her seat in the center of the top table, one of her Heads of Staff leaned over and whispered in her ear. Eyes turned towards Shayla.
Mabb smiled, slow and predatory. "So, Master of Circuses finally graces us with her presence." Her eyes glittered in the light streaming from windows set high in the wall behind Shayla. "Methought our company too poor for Her Provincial Highness."
Muted laughter swept the room; angry warmth crept up Shayla's cheeks. She remained silent, but half-stood and bobbed her head in Mabb's direction. The minimal show of deference would not be lost on the Palace functionaries.