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By Steelshade All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

The King's Ball

The marble pillar she rested her hands upon was smooth and cool, a delightfully welcoming combination to her overheated fingers. She closed her eyes, shutting out the sight of the high-ceilinged ballroom. Gently, she rested her forehead against the pillar, relishing in the cool sensation spreading across her skin. Even with her eyes closed, she could still see the swirl of colors on her eyelids. She could still hear the swishing of gowns, the timed step of the dance accompanied by the orchestra. She breathed in deeply through her sensitive nose, taking in the smells of cologne and perfume and wine. As much as she enjoyed the King's balls, she couldn't help but think of the training routine she'd be missing tonight.


She looked up, her head still resting against the marble pillar. A well-dressed Common Elf stood before her, a cool expression on his face as he stood politely with his hands resting behind his back.

"Are you well, my lady?" the Common Elf asked. Enphyra's bright eyes gazed up at the man with a charming light as her thin lips curled into a smile.

"I am, thank you, Amoreus." He flashed a smile as he closed his eyes briefly, giving a nod.

"I was concerned. You looked like you might have been ill." Enphyra gave an attractive chuckle.

"I was taking a brief respite from the dance, I am quite well. Perhaps too much wine, though." Amoreus' polite, political smile morphed into a sincere one as he looked down into Enphyra's face. Her eyes shone, as this did not go unnoticed.

"Amoreus," she murmured as she looked coyly away from him, "Would you like to dance?" Her bright eyes travelled up to his. He gave a low chuckle as he met her gaze.

"That's quite informal of you, my lady."

"I think our relationship is beyond such formalities," she breathed, giving him a devious smile. The Common Elf took a small step back before bowing deeply, a wave of his musk permeating her senses delightfully as his blonde head came close to her abdomen.

"I accept," he whispered on his way back up. Enphyra accepted his outstretched hand, the touch of it causing her to feel light. He led her gently onto the ballroom floor amongst the other dancing couples. Amoreus pulled Enphyra against him, and the pair of elves joined the swirling dance. They moved as one, with the perfection of ballroom dancing that both were bred to do. Together, they admired each other's skill, admired one another's touch. They danced for hours.

Enphyra stood at the wine table, Amoreus at her side. Both were sipping glasses of Pinot Noir, indulged in conversation with the King of Lae'yera, and two of his military advisers. The king was a Common Elf and the two officers were humans.

"We have nearly perfected these transporting devices. They will prove deadly in the wars, I promise you, Amoreus," the king gave a smile as he nodded in concurrence.

"My captain is right," he said, "If we have the right specialist." On this notw, he smiled toward Enphyra, who humbly returned the look. Amoreus raised his blonde eyebrows.

"And how do these transporters work, my king?" he inquired. The King gestured to the human officer beside him, who smiled proudly.

"We have developed an intricate device of magic and technological ingenuity, really. Two devices, a portal and a receiver. Do you know what makes conquering a city the most difficult, my lord?" he asked knowingly. Amoreus had the familiar, political expression on his face as he answered, "What?" with a slight smile.

"The seige. Our device will eliminate this. If we are able to get a receiver beyond city walls, into the heart of the enemies' defenses, we can transport armies upon armies right into the premises. Do you follow, my lord?" he paused to ask.

"Yes, but, how do you plan on getting this receiver beyond enemy lines?" Amoreus asked logically.

"A very good question," the officer said, obviously having explained this concept to many people. "This receiver would need to be taken and placed strategically by a Lae Elf, with their gifts." Enphyra's eyes were trained on Amoreus, watching his reaction steadily. He hid his astonishment well, but she caught the flash in his eyes.

"That is quite an impressive concept," he said before looking at Enphyra. "With all the Lae Elves nearly extinct, it would be a useful advantage to be able to utilize the powers of one on our side." Amoreus gives Enphyra a discreet wink.

"Yes," the king commented, "Enphyra has been training very long with us." She gave a slow nod in agreement before taking a small sip of her wine. Amoreus hummed in reply.

"Sounds dangerous," he mused blankly. The king gave a warm laugh as he clapped Amoreus on the back.

"Our Enphyra is very impressive. I don't think harm will come to her, rest assured."

The conversation and the night soon dwindled, and Amoreus led Enphyra to the castle's east gardens. The couple strolled in silence through the beautiful hedges and flora, the golden sunstone decorations alighting the night. Enphyra's arm was entwined gracefully in Amoreus' as he led her to the center fountain. With aching feet and legs, the couple sat side by side on the edge of the fountain. The sound of running water and the singing of the spring insects filled the cool night air. Amoreus took Enphyra's pale hands.

"I am happy to hear the success that has come upon you and your endeavors," he said softly, his face a mask. Enphyra narrowed her emerald eyes briefly as she gazed at Amoreus.

"No need to talk to me that way here, Amoreus. It just shows me that you are worried," she murmured tenderly. He sighed deeply, tightening his grip on her soft hands.

"Of course I am," he breathed, almost inaudibly, "What you're getting into is very dangerous."

"I'm not getting into anything. I'm already in. I know full well, my dear," she reassured him with a small smile, leaning into him.

"I'm not sure how well I will handle this when we are wed, Enphyra," Amoreus murmured as he rested his head against hers. She chuckled softly.

"Trust me. Love me," she replied softly.

"I do," he whispered, resting his face in her soft platinum hair, taking in its sweet smell. Enphyra pulled back gently to rest her slender hand against the side of his square jaw. She gazed tenderly into his sea-blue eyes.

"I love you, Amoreus. It will be alright." He moved his own hands to cup her face, caressing her smooth skin until his fingers were lost in her cascading white waves of hair. He leaned forward, placing his lips gently on hers. Enphyra closed her eyes as she kissed Amoreus back, with equal tenderness.

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1. The King's Ball
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