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Nina of Bypress
Every inch of Nina’s stance showed that she was a warrior. She held in one hand a slender long sword, whose silvery light flickered in the dim torchlight. Her other hand was gripped tightly around a small glowing sphere, pale and soft like phosphorus. The warrior girl plunged her sword forward, this way and that, as though attacking an unseen danger lurking in the shadows surrounding her. The torch grew steadily dimmer and dimmer. With each moment of light came a swish of silver blade, every attack more vigorous than the last. The flame gave one final flicker and died. In the moment of complete blackness, the sword ceased swishing and all that could be heard was Nina’s own breath, heavy with exhaust.
Suddenly, a blinding whiteness spilled out from a spot on the ground where a shattered sphere bottle now lay. The light revealed several large dark shapes, which quickly melted away into the eerily elongated shadows they cast. Now grasping her sword with both hands, Nina stood tense and ready for another attack. She relaxed in an instant, however, when a low laughter echoed off the stone walls around her.
A slender man who stood a good foot taller than Nina emerged from a heavy wooden door which had previously not been there. “My, my! Looks as though someone’s been working hard…” The smirk he now wore on his face could almost be heard in his next words. “Lady Nina, our lord has summoned for you. I am to bring you to the dining room at once.” The man clapped twice, and three torches on each wall of the square room sprung to flame, casting warm gold light. Steam rose from the pile of glass that lay on the ground, and the pale glow quickly faded away.
Nina whipped a lock of blue hair from her eyes as she spoke. “Thank you, Galion, for your message.” Her tone was curt and formal, but the smile which lingered on her lips betrayed her emotions. She turned to face Galion, who could now see the blade which rested in her hands.
Nina wore a plane green tunic which sleeves stopped right bellow the nook of her elbow. A brown belt was clasped around her waist and held a light brown scabbard, which she effortlessly slid her sword into. The tunic was a far from modest six inches above her knees, but the worn black leggings she wore underneath made it clear her tunic was worn for ease of movement in battle, not fashion. Brown lace up boots begun just below her knees, looking well-worn but sturdy. They made a soft pitter patter as Nina followed the slender man out of the room and down a narrow hall. His long, silvery hair swished behind him, but everything from his posture to his deep and enriching voice said he was no older than 30.
Galion came to a halt in front of an archway which appeared to be at the end of the hall. Billowy red fabric hung from the cracks of stone forming the archway, and stopped a mere 2 inches from the ground. From beyond the curtain, Nina could hear the muffled chatter of what sounded like a party. Galion stood unimpressed, with his arms crossed, studying Nina. He broke the silence with a forced cough and gestured towards the curtain. “After you, Lady Nina.”
As she pushed aside the fabric and stepped to enter the room, warm light and jovial sounds washed over her. She stood unnoticed, observing the party. Lord Gryfith and sat a few feet away, engaged in a deep conversation with a young girl who tittered nervously at the grand gestures he made with his hands. Beyond him where more lords and ladies of notable names. “He’s invited the entire senate to witness this, has he?” she called back to Galion, but he was not there. Realizing it was most definitely better he had not entered, she walked forward several paces.
The fanciful party was clearly on its last legs of decency, as empty bottles where piled up on almost every table. The royal occupants of the room seemed to be overly-warm, and had cast their cloaks and hats all onto a meager hat stand which resembled more of a clothing tree under all of the weight of outerwear. Laughter erupted from the far end of the room, where several young men were eagerly showing there amusement to a joke an ancient looking gentlemen had told. Nina stood rooted in her spot, so far unnoticed by the party. The eyes of one large older lady fell onto Nina, and let out a gasp. The man she was conversing with turned suddenly to see, and his eyes bugged outwards with fear as he also spotted Nina. One by one, the room gradually fell quiet as people noticed her, standing small and out of place.
Although the occupants of the room wore similar styles as Nina did, tunics and leader, they where all adorned with fanciful golden and silver trinkets that glittered in the torchlight. Men’s crowns and brooches shimmered this way and that, while the ladies gaudy necklaces and earrings adorned with precious gemstones held magnificent beauty. The room was silent now, the royal partiers all staring at Nina with varied expressions of disbelief and uncertainty. Smirking at this, Nina stepped forward to the nearest table and gave a gracious bow. “My Lord Gryfith, I report to you as ordered.”
Lord Gryfith stood suddenly. His kingly appearance outshined all other nobility in the room. His deep wine colored tunic was embroidered with gold thread, and underneath was thick leather armor. The circlet which he wore on his head appeared modest, but at closer glace one could see it was etched with intricate and beautiful designs, spelling out runes in an ancient language. When he addressed Nina, his voice clashed against her with such force, several onlookers shuddered. “Nina… “he began. “ I believe we all know why you have been called before me today. Since the time of your parent’s death, you have
acted out against me. You have disobeyed my word, and as king…my word is law. I have graciously given you second chances, time and time again. You continue to disappoint me and go against my wishes. Your acts of treason are no longer forgiven. Your treachery has cost us dearly, and it must be stopped.” He paused here now, letting the echo of his voice die out. Nina stood unblinking in her spot, unaffected by his words. She’d known this would happen, and his attempts to frighten her where not working.
“Nina Gryfith, I hereby banish you from my kingdom. You are no longer a citizen of Bypress, and from hence forth, any interaction with my land or law will earn you punishment of death.” Lord Gryfith stopped now, smiling madly at Nina. He signaled two guards, who came and stood next to Nina uncertainly. She ignored them and stepped forward, and while the king gave a panicked look to the frightened guards, Nina merely kneeled before him with her head bowed slightly. In a steady voice, she spoke. “Lord Gryfith… I accept your charges. But hear me out! Your hold on the thrown is unlawful. The crown that rests on your head does not belong there. By my life or death, I will remove you from this world. Your so-called rulership”, this she spat out with venom, ” will come to an end under my hands.”
Nina sat by a gently flowing creek, deep in thought about today. Ever since her father, the rightful king of Bypress, had disappeared, his brother had treated Nina with discontent. The mention of her parents in his pompous speech made her blood flow with anger, but she knew it was on purpose that he said this. Lord Gryfith had murdered his own brother. The rightful king. Nina’s father. But only Nina knew this, for she alone could see the treacherous glimmer in Lord Gryfith’s eyes as the next day he spoke that the king was dead. She remembers the oath she took, then and there, to restore the crown to its former glory, and to rid Lord Gryfith of his head. He had probably guessed this, and his plan to outlaw Nina was a poorly though one. She would find the evidence. She would prove her innocent and Lord Gryfith guilty. Above all else, she would have revenge.