The Queen was troubled. Dressed in her shimmering silver finery, she wore a frown and furrowed brows, long fingernails tapping an impatient tattoo on the arm of her extravagant throne. Her messenger was late.
She knew that he bore important, urgent news, but his journey had taken far longer than she had expected. She feared the worst, knowing that many of her enemies lurked in the villages and woodlands on the fringes of her kingdom. If they had recognised him, they would have killed him for sure.
A squawk woke her from her reverie, and the Queen sighed deeply at the sight of her raven swooping through the grand palace doors. He alighted daintily on her crystal sceptre, ruffling his wings and cocking his head, beady black eyes fixed on the piercing blue irises of his mistress.
“So?” she breathed.
The raven cawed and crowed a succinct response. The Queen’s stony…
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