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Cate Eliot

United States

About me: Published poet and writer. Artist. Avid Christian. Lover of words. High school student. Big sister. Cat whisperer. Introvert thinker.

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Hello there! I'm Cate Eliot. Just a teenage writer looking to make her way in the world. Check out my sites at Figment.com and Fanfiction.net under "Cate Eliot". I'm open to all feedback--good or bad.

Kaya Grace

November 8, 2015

“You mean you’re leaving?  At a time like this?” Kaya demanded in such a tone that the entire Council froze.
Vitalini Gail leaned forward in her chair and placed a firm hand on her friend’s wrist.  She cast a discreet eye at the commanding man at the front of the table and shook her head slightly. 
A strand of blonde hair fell off her shoulder and in a flourish she reattached it to her elaborate bun.  The bun only represented the rest of her intricate costume.  Her average looks were accentuated by sumptuous and beautiful outfits. 
“Yes, Kaya, I’m leaving.” 
Queen Edessa had aged ungracefully in the years following her husband’s death.  Her chestnut hair had become tasteless and was worn away from her face in a plain bun, secured at the base of her short neck. 
Her cheeks had lost its rosy pallor and she had taken to wear constant black, dulling all features almost beyond recognition.
Her hazel eyes bore into her daughter’s blue ones and there seemed to be a quiet, but fierce struggle over power.  It was the younger of the two who won and spoke again. 
“We’re approaching upon the Hallows ceremony and you’re going to leave us undefended?”  Kaya’s voice was violently calm, such a frightening and powerful paradox that no one seemed to move, for stuck in place.  It carried through the library, rustling sheets of parchment and volumes layer on shelves. 
“This kingdom needs a queen, not an absent crown!” 
The others at the table watched the argument like a joust, seeing which would overcome the opponent and deliver the final blow.  They knew better than to interrupt.    
“I am leaving, Kaya Grace, and that is final.  I will return before the moon begins its next cycle.  Until then I expect you can look after your kingdom until my return.” 
Kaya shot her an incredulous look and open her mouth again only to be silenced with a sharp kick in the shins.  Vitalini smiled charmingly at the rest of the Council.  The queen continued with the meeting without further comment.   
Vitalini was recognizing the signs of a bubbling fight coming.  Kaya’s temper was a fiery dancer that could keep dancing until the wrong moments hit and that dancer would spontaneously combust, leaving everyone in a large proximity charred and burned. 
Kaya wasn’t aware of what was said at the meeting after her mother’s abrupt and rather sudden announcement of departure.  Her mind where it was inside its own labyrinth was alone and quiet. 
The twenty one that sat on the Council stood as the queen did and began to file out in a rustle of wooden chairs and parchment.
The library that normally had a warm and secure feeling began to grow colder and colder as the people seemed to suck out the heat with them as they left the room. 
Vitalini hesitated before giving her friend a kiss of the cheeks and then left, leaving only five others with her friend.  There was going to be an uproar, and for the sake of self-preservation Vitalini did not want to be anywhere close when it started. 
“Kaya—”
The young woman cut her mother off by abruptly rising to her feet and discarding the chair as she walked gracefully away from the table. 
She wore a navy blue gown with much less adornments than Vitalini’s.  The sleeves of the dress passed the middle of her hands, showing just the fingers of her hand and a single blood red stoned ring on her left middle finger.
The cuff of the dress and the waist ribbon were embroidered with silver knotted patterns.  The thread looping in and out of one another until even the seamstress couldn’t tell where the knot began and ended.  The dress was not low cut, but had a quiet neckline and a hung down on the floor, concealing any legs and feet. 
“Kaya, I—”
Edessa began to speak again, but Kaya moved away from the company and took the few paces towards the lone window.  Her steps echoed throughout the silent hall, quickly and briskly. 
“Kaya Grace, let your mother speak,” the man sitting at the head of the table spoke finally and firmly. 
Tolen Hunter was a stout man with heavy shoulders.  He sported a clean shaven face and fair chestnut hair like his sister.  He was slightly round around the middle, but had strong looking arms and legs.  He had a sophisticated, expensive tunic on, with lots of small and delicate pockets, which he never used, and a gold pocket watch dangling from his cloak pocket. 
His eyes swept over the scene judgingly.  His eyes hard large pupils are were almost dark to the point of being unable to distinguish them from the iris.
Kaya fell silent, but the look in her eyes became spark, dangerous.  Edessa made a move for her daughter.  Her hand reached out for her daughter’s pale, papery cheek, but stopped short. 
She dropped her hand to her side.   
“I’m needed in Arvum, Kaya, my home.  Jaston said he would only need me for a few days and then I would return here.  It’s not an option for me not to go,” she added softly. 
“What about your home here?  What about the kingdom you’re sworn to protect?” Kaya interjected acidly, not looking at her mother. 
“Kaya, this is your kingdom,” her mother said brashly.  Her tone was no longer soft, pleading.  They had become urgent and panicked.  “Mine by marriage, yes, yours by birth.  These are your people, Kaya Grace.”   
The daughter made no reaction and leaned on the windowsill heavily, as if the thoughts pulsing around the room were weighting her down like Atlas and the sky.
The others in the room shifted uncomfortably.  A man with bright eyes and porcupine spiked hair stood in the shadows.  A girl stood against the door, boredness dripping off her face like hot candle wax. 
Neither made a move to speak.
Somewhere in the distance a loud booming chiming rang thrice.  Tolen stood jerkily.  He laid his hands heavily along the tabletop.    
“Sister, it’s time for your departure.  You can continue this conversation upon your return.”
His tone left little room for argument. 
There was a short and heavy silence.  The room seemed to still with unsaid and unspoken words. 
“Should we say goodbye now, mother?” Kaya spoke finally, not looking at her. 
With a heavy breath, she suppressed the flood of emotions the sentence had caused her and turned to face her mother’s eyes. 
There was a slight wind rippling around the room, almost unnoticeably crackling with magic. 
“You are not going to die, child,” she spoke softly. 
A single colorless tear dripped down her age kissed cheek.  Kaya watched it fall without expression.  She kept her face blank and unresponsive.
“Goodbye mother.” 
Tolen put a firm hand on his sister’s shoulder and led Edessa away towards the door.  He cast Kaya a dark look and the doors slammed shut behind them with a single echoing boom as the heavy wood hit the stone beams.
Kaya turned back to the window and leaned her forehead against the cool glass.  She could see a bit of the lower town from there.  It had once been her favorite spot in the castle, her own secure world, a peek hole into life outside the seemingly endless glass between her and the rest of the world. 
She watched the little boys playing with their wooden swords and the tiny girls play their games with rope and their handmade dolls. 
Just the same she could see her hazy reflection in the glass.  Her curly, dark hair.  Her tempests of blue eyes.  Her cheekbones high and noticeable.  Her small nose.  Her soft, nude colored lips. 
“Princess?”
“Yes?” she answered the kneeling servant, not tearing her eyes away from the children and their happiness. 
“Your trap for the thieves has been triggered.  The guards apprehended them in the lower town church.  They’re awaiting your hand, majesty.”
“It seems your kingdom is calling, Kaya Grace,” Julius Castor spoke finally.  From his position in the shadow he didn’t see the shadow of a small and tragic smile that graced her lips. 

::

Ana Kae’s eyes glinted off the sunlight like Tiger Eye stones just mined from a cave as she sprinted away from the palace guards. 
Her tall and lanky body protested the long journey that had taken them on the traveler’s road.  Her chestnut hair was cut short and flew back like a banner as she sprinted.  Her breath came in large puffs.  Her tanned cheeks flushed with pink for the exertion. 
The air around her was hot and sticky though the wind was crisp, showing signs out autumn’s swift hand.  She could hear the other around her running as well. 
The lower town was bustling and a far bit cleaner than the last town they had graced.  The streets, though smaller in size, were swept clean of dust and vermin. 
Lines of market vendors were set up selling fresh fish, newly knit clothing, and an odd assortment of knick knacks.  Young children played in the street with ropes and stones, singing little tunes to their steps. 
Smaller boys masqueraded as stately knights with their wooden swords and play horses.  This seemed like a peaceful town, she mused, as spun away from the guards and between two thatched houses with a familiarity only gained by experience. 
The priests had been an easy target, perhaps a little too easy, she mused as she turned down an alleyway.  Her bag of priceless relics hitting her thigh with each step. 
The twins, Phe and Phan, followed closely behind.  They were being chased by another set of palace guards, who seemed to be much more in shape than the band of thieves.
“Oi!  Shortie, can’t catch me,” Phe, or was that Phan, Ana could never really tell, jeered as he threw their own bag of valuables to his brother. 
Both had identical looks of excitement and mocking as they melted into the back of the group.  Their bleach blonde hair hung it long unkempt clumps and their faces were still dirty from the journey from Avrum.
Their red tunics and black pants were patched and fraying as they ran the other direction, laughing heartily as the guards sped after them. 
The guard’s black and gold armor glinted in the setting sun as they shouted at the running pilfers.  Ana laughed as she heard the guard chasing her hit the side of one of the houses and collapse in a clanking jamboree of metal armor. 
Her joy was short lived as just as she turned back towards their camp, two heavy arms caught her around the waist and she crashed heavily into the dirt road. 
She crumbled into a pile and struggled to get up.  Her blue tunic was caught around her legs and the leather bag was tangled in her arms.
“I’ve got you now, little thief.  The Princess will be most pleased,” the man grumbled with an ugly smile. 
Ana managed to turn her body over with a grunt and the squabble lasted seconds as he pinned her down after a sharp kick into his shins. 
Dirt, grime, and sweat gathered on both their faces and the Ana’s hair and face became as ragged as ever.  She looked up into his ugly and disfigured face. 
It was as if he had come out of his mother the wrong way—feet first and had the merely the remnants of a head left.  One ear held itself taller than the other, one eyes sagged slightly below the other. 
He had reminded her often of the fairy tales she had heard as a child, always been the frightening and ugly monsters who used to eat small children and ravaged those who opposed them, which at the moment was her. 
Ana reminded herself that the monsters were always dead at the end of the stories, but it brought no relief to her as she coughed her lung up, trying to elevate the pressure she was beginning to feel.
“Well done, soldier,” another voice said and a younger, attractive man walked into her line of view.  He was about her age, she remarked looking up at his features.  His hair was orange and cut short on his face with a familiar military cut. 
His eyes were fox blue and he wore more shapely armor with a bright gold medal hanging high on his silver chest plate.  His face was long and slightly pointed as if someone had pinched it and stretched it much too far. 
Despite this, he was overall a lovely sight after the ugliness of the first officer she came in contact too. 
“Put her with the others.  The Iron Princess will be pleased with our work,” he continued looking down at her features with distaste. 
She was hauled to her feet and marched towards the others in her group.  A white hot panic seized her as she noticed not one had escaped from the guards. 
The redheaded officer followed them closely, looking over them for the first time as a whole.  “Ah, the Eyes of Night,” he mused, “it’s interesting to see you all together.  What a prize to capture the most well-known group of thieves across the twelve kingdoms.” 
Phan jerked away in his shackles and spit in the guard’s general direction.  Ana noticed his brown eyes were turning black with bruises. 
The red head just laughed.  “Princess Kaya Grace will be pleased that her simple plan to trap you worked so flawlessly.  Come along now.  I’ll introduce you to our lovely dungeon accommodations.” 
They were wet and cold, Ana noticed as she was thrown into an iron block cell.  Murdoch and Climber were tossed in behind her. 
The others went in the cell across from them.  “You’ll all be enjoying your stay, now.  We’ll go and inform her majesty of your arrival.  Welcome to Sisera.”

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