The doors opened slowly. Through them came two men, the biggest men I’d ever seen. They were at least a head taller than himself and bulkier. Between them they led a woman, each holding one of her arms in a hand that appeared to be able to wrap twice around it. She was blindfolded with a slavehood, but she wore the long flowing dress of a Lantan noble, with rubies at her neck and wrists. She threw her dark hair over her shoulder and listened, seeking. She was calm.
“Well, Leah, are you more, shall we say, agreeable than before?”
At the first word, the woman stiffened “Agreeable, Elana? Agreeable? I’ve been kidnapped from the very courtyard of my home, hooded like a slave and brought here to I know not what and you expect me to be agreeable?”
“When I command, girl, you’re always expected to be agreeable. And in your case penitent. Oh,” she said as the woman tried to interrupt, “not for what you just said, though your words were for one speaking to her queen. Rather, I speak of earlier, of a few days ago.” She smiled evilly. “When I invite you to my bed you’re to consider it an honor, and a command. You’re to come running eager, to please your queen. You do not send a message declining the invitation.”
“Toran will hear of this,” Leah said angrily. “He’s a man of power my queen, and you cannot dare to anger him too far. He has the ear of the Council of Nobles, and of the generals. He-”
“He’s out of the city,” Elana said sweetly. “I sent him on an embassy to Casselle. A long one.”
Leah seemed to shrink. “He’s gone,” she said hollowly.
“Strip her,” Elena commanded.
“No!” the noblewoman screamed, but the huge men paid no heed. They bound her arms behind her. She writhed as they held her for the Queen.
She cried out in surprise, in dismay, as they tore her dress down to her waist.
They tore her garments away as if her struggles weren’t happening.
Warrior of the Altaii Jordan, Robert