Victoria wiped her face with the palm of her hand. Her other hand circled around a concealed knife. She resisted the urge to drive it through Harold's chest when the beggar changed ,cleaned himself up and became more recognizable. She pursed her lips and followed begrudgingly behind Harold.

“You look homely Victoria,” Harold noted.

Victoria played with the dagger in her hands, weighing her options. How bad did she really need Harold's help? Harold noticed the gesture, quickly he whipped around and disarmed her. “You are also very careless.”

Victoria narrowed her eyes. She pushed past the many barriers of Harold's mind, straight for his free will. Give it back, she thought.

Harold smiled. “Oh here you should have this,” he said reaching out the knife to her.

Victoria returned his smile and reached out her hand. Harold pulled her in closer and held his knife out of reach in his other hands. “Wrong Victoria, my shadow magic out rules your holy magic. You are no threat to me,” he pushed her back away and sheathed her knife in his holster.

Victoria's eyes went to the sword at Harold's hilt. Her fury only deepened when she recognized the personal engravings on the handle. Victoria stepped in front of Harold blocking his way. “That is my father's sword. You have no right to it!”

Harold side stepped her. “In my kingdom we take the fallens' swords as a reminder of our victory. It is a token of honor.”

“You speak about honor, yet you stand before me an exiled man,” she spat.

Harold's hands coiled into fists. He offered her a long cold stare. “You know nothing of my struggles.”

Victoria leveled her gaze. “And you know nothing of mine.”

“How would I Victoria? You ran away with a warlock and gambled a child, our child, that you kept secret from me for five years. Tell me what kind of Virgin were you? What kind of mother are you now to my daughter?”

Victoria didn't often resort to violence, but could no longer contain herself. She pulled her arm back and flung her fist at Harold's jaw. He reeled back from the impact.

Victoria stepped in front of him. “I'm going to find better clothes, so it doesn't appear that I am a slave in your company against her will. Again,” she said venomously.

At a local shop Victoria bartered with a seamstress for a clothing with her persuasion. The fabric was a smooth velvet, that would keep her warm while traveling at the night. The fabric was tighter up top, with sleeves that flowed out at the wrist. The skirt flared at the waist. Victoria felt far too grungy to dress just yet. The seamstress took pity on her disheveled state, and lead Victoria to a room where one of the servants had pitched a bath.

Victoria scrubbed the dirt away from her skin and hair, and let the servants comb and untangle it. “Please hurry,” Victoria whispered she was anxious to get Rowan back, though knew the girl was in no immediate harm. If anything she would be honored as the prodigy child she was. Rowan was the product of holy magic and shadow magic. A gift of light and dark. The girl's powers would have no boundaries.

Minuted later Victoria's blonde hair was braided down her back, and she had the comfort of a new clean garment against her skin. The dress gave her a boost of confidence, she stood straighter and tilted her chin, in the arrogant way that the royals had. The facade would make her a more permissible figure in society. She would have less trouble getting what she wanted and finding out information about the high warlock.

Victoria left the seamstress shop an hour later. Harold stood outside. He was brooding, she realized. When Victoria looked at him, she realized he was cross with her. “Well let's go we need to get a move on.”

“And what do we suggest we do Priestess?” Harold asked, mockingly.

Victoria stared past him. “We march back into the Nevelock and get Rowan back.”

Harold laughed sarcastically, “Oh yes I am sure it will be that easy.”

The End

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