Andria hesitantly stepped foot into the chapel. Her footsteps echoed. Though she was only here days ago, she felt as though this was her first true visit back. Among the statues, said her note. That was here: she stepped toward the altar at the center of the hall, surrounded by pews and the statues of her ancestors, each of them crafted out of gold.
Straight before her was the statue of the majestic King Alargon. Approaching him, she gazed straight into his ruby eyes.
Then, behind her, there were footsteps.
A figure stepped into a slip of moonlight, donned in a cloak. Andria clutched her gown, startled. “Who are you?” The words left her with a measly breath of air.
The cloaked man stood ever still. Andria furrowed her brows.
“I demand to know who you are,” she pressed.
“A friend, Milady,” proclaimed the shady figure. The lilt in his voice identified him as Aramorian. Andria cocked her head and laced together her fingers.
“As you've already informed me,” she began, holding up the slip of paper that donned his neat handwriting. Andria approached the man with caution. “But I’d expect any friend of mine to place more trust in me. Unless you are scared, Sir. Are you?”
She looked up and down his body before reaching for his hood. She could only peek so far to see the man’s mouth before he snatched her hand and let it go—revealing a glimmering ring in the shape of a lion: a ring that could only belong to a man of the King's Court.
In Andria’s eyes flashed a taste of fear. She jumped back, gathering her skirts in her trembling hands. However, the man gently raised his palms.
“I am not here to harm you.”
“Then what are you, a spy—?”
“I speak to you on my own terms, Milady.” He stepped closer. “I have come to warn you.”
“Warn me,” Andria scoffed.
“Aye. There are men of your father’s Court who wish you gone.”
“I hardly call that news, Sir.”
“They hope to hurt you—scare you into their submission. Then, once you marry, you shall be simple to manipulate.”
“They underestimate me, then.”
“They do, Milady, but perhaps you underestimate them no less.” The cloaked man took one step closer. Andria froze. “Take care whilst wandering alone, Milady. Even in disguise. Do not leave the castle, and do not accept their gifts. You are a target—.”
Andria pushed past him.
“I thank you for your warning, but I’ve heard this all before.” She stormed away.
“After your disobedience tonight, Miss,” the man persisted, “the Court desires vengeance.”
“Do they? Then let them try and take it. They’ll be snatching at smoke.”
“I have nothing with which to pay you, Sir. I suggest you never write me ever again.”
“I can help you, Milady.”
“Show me your face, and perhaps I will be more inclined to believe you.”