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 previously fallen foul of her new boss, Mabbwendig ap Terlion, Master of the Emperor’s Domestic Household, and is confronting her again in the cavernous staff dining hall. Mabb has been tormenting a series of unfortunate individuals among the hundreds of people crowding the hall, and has just called on a member of Shayla’s staff to sing to the crowd.
A young woman at the next table stood. Shayla's eyes narrowed. She recognized her, a clerk from Colin's staff. Her red skin and rounded features suggested a Traplinki provincial, like Brynwyn.
Even from where she sat, Shayla could see her tremble. Tanya faced the head table, tears welling in her eyes.
"What? New Master of Circuses not taught you to sing yet?" Mabb shook her head. "Sad times, how she make spectacle fit for Emperor when own staff not sing?"