Xura MaelinMature

The dark hall extended as far as she could see. Xura sat somewhere near the middle on a padded settee, her scarlet silken dress pooled around her feet. The Prince and the King spoke together nearby in hushed tones. Two guards stood on either side of the settee, watching Xura carefully. Every so often snatches of the hushed conversation wafted over to Xura.

"Blasphemy... Against all tradition." That was the King.
"That's what you get for taking a country girl," The prince snapped.
"This is what I get for letting you study outside of these walls."

Xura's mind traveled over the events of the evening. It was the night of her 21st year anniversary. 18 years ago she had come to the planet, promised to be joined with the Prince. The ceremonies would last seven days before the two would be together but the Prince had come early. Recently back from school in the outer reaches of the Stardom. The King had held a feast to celebrate and begin the ceremonies, on the 7th day they'd be joined. Xura remembered getting ready, her long ebony hair braided into an elaborate design, the dress brought in and draped around her the slashed sleeves joined with gold cuffs at the shoulders elbows and wrists. It was gathered at her waist and neck with more gold.

"Never should have left you alone!" The King was saying. The Prince puffed up.
"I will not be blamed for this!"
"You will take responsibility for your actions!"
"She asked for it!"

The feast had been spectacular, there had been fruits and meats from around the galaxy. The wine flowed freely and everything shimmered. Xura had danced or the royals, showing her skills as training. They had been pleased with her performance and she was given an honorary seat near to the Prince. The evening had been wonderful. Later as Xura was being prepared for sleep, the Prince had come to visit. He dismissed her handmaidens and took Xura by the arm, leading her to sit next to him on her bed. One of the maids must have called the guards because the next thing Xura knew she was being brought to this place, waiting for her fate to be decided.
Hadn't she done everything right?

Xura stood up, the guards immediately snapping toast tension, weapons pointed at her. The Royals turned to her. Startled, she took a step back.

"I wish to return to my chambers, " she said shakily. She began to walk down the hall, her bare feet making no noise on the stone floor. The Prince called after her.

"Stop! I order you."

Xura stopped.

"Father, you see her insubordinance. She must be--"

"Silence my son." The King spoke softly, the Prince became mute, his mouth moving in vain to make a sound.

The King walked to Xura's position. "My dear, you've gotten yourself into a troublesome place. Something needs to be done."
"Sir, I only want to serve."

"That is no longer possible, my son--" The king trailed off. "My son has created this, but as the Prince, he cannot be held accountable for this. The price must fall on your head."

Xura hung her head.

"You must Go now, Go and never return."

Compelled by the King's voice Xura began to run, the King stopped the guards from following her with a wave of his hand. She ran on through the palace, not knowing where she was going only that she couldn't stop. She found the Palace Hangar and clambered into a royal evacuation pod. She pressed the giant blue button in the center of the controls and strapped herself in. The rocket shook as the engines started up, the ceiling opening above her. The pod launched upward, Xura looked out of the window as the Palace receded, stretching far into the distance, it's oceans and forests disappearing forever.

The End

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