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. She called on a very reluctant member of Shayla’s staff to sing to the crowd. Shayla rescued Tanya from humiliation but in turn is expected to provide entertainment. She instructs one her colleagues to find an operatic piece to play on the public address system.
A lieutenant sitting nearby in full ceremonial regalia leered at her. With a murmured "Thanks," Shayla leaned over and relieved the startled soldier of his short sword. She held it in her right hand, appraising the balance. The gleaming weapon was anything but ceremonial. With her left hand, she drew her own knife.
Shayla strode to the center of the hall, and nodded to Bo. She stood, barefoot and head bowed, with the blades crossed over her heart.
The first chords of the aria filled the room like a distant lament carried on the wind across a wilderness of ice.
Shayla slowly slid her left foot up to her thigh, while spreading her arms wide, blades outstretched.
The Ashes of Home, sequel to Ghosts of Innocence, is now available!