Aleria

This is the beginning of a piece I have been playing around with.

***

What crawled into your clamshell and pissed all over it?” Ryker swam over to her, his powerful purple tail pushing him forwards.

Marlowe paused in her path towards the palace, looking him over as he effectively blocked her way. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean, Captain,” she said, her golden eyes daring him to prod her any more.

Ryker smirked, crossing his arms across his broad bare chest. “You aren’t your usual…chipper self.”

This earned him an eyeroll, and Marlowe stretched her long maroon tail out, trying to work out some of the soreness. “Today I’m wearing a lovely shade of ‘I slept like shit, so don’t piss me off’,” she told him, narrowing her eyes at him. “Don’t you have an army to train?”

A bark came unexpectedly from Ryker, and he shook his head. “Marlowe, I hate to tell you this, but you wear that shade every day.” He chuckled again, then backed out of her way. “Don’t worry, it looks good on you.” The Captain gave her a flirty wink, before swimming off in the direction that Marlowe had come from.

She sneered as he passed by, then continued towards the palace. Not only did she sleep awfully and was feeling the effects of it, but she had been called to a meeting with the Queen, which was terrifying in itself. For years, she’d been the personal guard of the Prince and Princess, sixteen year old twins. As she swam forward into the palace, she was rethinking the past several days with the twins, trying to pinpoint any moment that something had gone wrong. What could she have done that would cause the Queen to call her forward? She’d started some combat training with them and allowed Claire to be a little more brutal with her brother than she probably should have, mostly to teach him self-defense. They’d snuck out of the castle and Marlowe allowed them to think they were alone, and she’d followed them to watch them play in the wreckage of a sunken ship. Still, even as she listed all of these things in her mind, she couldn’t figure out what would be bad enough to earn herself a meeting with the Queen. Marlowe neared the throne room and nodded to the two guards standing watch over the broad doors, who nodded back and opened the doors for her. The room was long and empty, which held minimal surprise to her. If this was to be a sentencing for something she’d done wrong, surely the Queen would have a witness present?

Marlowe bowed appropriately before looking up at Queen Qo’oral. “Your Majesty,” she said in her usual monotone, trying not to convey the nerves that she felt by standing here in front of the Queen. It seemed like nothing to follow the royal twins around every day and to be the head of their security, but their mother was a completely different beast all together. She was thin and lithe, her long glittering silver tail curled beneath her as she sat delicately on a throne of elaborate carved coral. Her lavender hair hung straight down her shoulders, a crown perched on top of her head. The Queen lifted her finger to her lips, silencing Marlowe, and she nodded down to the deep green seaweed wrapped around her torso. An infant was nestled on his mother’s chest, sleeping peacefully tucked into the seaweed.

“You wanted to see me?” Marlowe asked, her voice lowered so she wouldn’t wake the youngest Princess up.

The Queen nodded, giving a sweet smile. “How have you liked working with the twins, Marlowe? I hope they haven’t bored you during your duty.”

“Your children are far from boring, Your Majesty. They have a way of…keeping me on my fins.”

A soft chuckle escaped the Queen, and she nodded, seemingly understanding. “They are quite characters, aren’t they?” She sat up a little straighter, which only made Marlowe recheck her posture and stand a little taller in front of the Queen. “You’re aware of Kelo’s retirement?”

Kelo was one of the elder guards, who had started training Marlowe when she was old enough to hold a spear. It was surprising to most of the guards that he would be retiring now. “I am.”

“His position for the past few years has been organizing the care of Prince Gabriel. He has recommended you for his position. I am inclined to agree with him.”

Marlowe froze. “Me?” she finally stammered, looking at the Queen with wide eyes. “Are you sure? I’m not exactly good with children of that age.” Mostly she liked the teenaged Prince and Princess, she could watch them from afar and teach them to fight and not worry about breaking their delicate bones like she would a three year old.

Queen Qo’oral stood from her chair, her long tail flicking from side to side in the cool water. “You’ll start tomorrow, Kelo will show you the ropes before his retirement. I’m sure you’ll do fine.” With those parting words, the Queen nodded a good day to Marlowe, who bowed, and swam off to go to her next appointment.

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