The room was exquisite; long, twisted roots formed a throne in the centre of the back wall blooming with vivid golden flowers and dancing the sunlight off onto the walls in criss-cross patterns. Attached to the other walls were paintings from our most famous artists and rolling bunches of colourful flowers creating a natural atmosphere. No matter how beautiful the hall might have been, I could no longer feel comfortable in its surroundings. Guards sloped around the room, subtly readjusting their positions so they could be closer to our queen and keep me in their line of sight.
Queen Millani sat upon the throne, her posture straight and acute to the biological shape of her body. Her golden hair had lost most of its radiance, soon to turn grey I was sure, but her blue eyes were still intensely aware of everything that was going on. Fluidly, she rose so her sky blue dress fell to pool at her feet as she silently floated towards us, her gaze fixed upon Elendil. Her nobility comforted him, he was more at ease with women than he was men, especially the one holding him. Only too happily, he went to her outstretched arms and settled comfortably on her hip.
Something stabbed my heart as I realised the picture was not dissimilar to those I had of Elwyn. I gasped and stumbled.
Queen Millani's guards were instantly upon me. One twisted his hand into my stomach and I fell down as one forced my shoulders forward so I was pressed against the floor and two more yanked my arms backwards and above my head. I screamed in pain as fire seared up my limbs. They yanked me to my knees, holding my arms behind me and Lorcan had his thick fingers holding my chin still. Elendil was struggling against Queen Millani so a guard took him, restraining my son though it pained him to do so.
"Stop it!" I gasped, "Elendil, peace, my son!"
Another hand made contact with my stomach.
"Stop the violence!" Queen Millani roared, her voice shaking.
I spat out a mouthful of blood from my broken teeth. My son kept still, his perfect face creased in utter pain at the sight of me. A sob escaped me. The door behind me opened.
"Please-" I began, then Lorcan towered over me and raised his other hand, I cringed from the action.
Then a shadow appeared before me so I looked up to see a small woman holding Lorcan's hand where it had started to fall; I could see the terror and awe in his eyes. Who the woman was I had no idea, but she had stopped him from hitting me.
"You would not dare to go against my mother's wishes, would you Theron Lorcan?" Her voice was sweet, musical, knowing.
"No, Princess Eddia." He lowered his arm.
"I thought not." She bounced lightly over to stand beside her mother where she looked at me.
Princess Eddia? My she had changed so much since I was last in the Palace of Branches. She was no longer the child I had once shadowed, training her when her mother would not allow it. Sympathetically, she smiled at me. My heart thudded in response. I did not know what to do about it, Elwyn was the only one who had ever gotten that reaction out of me. She was wearing a very light green dress with golden embroidery over the waist and neck line, her hair, golden like her mothers, hung in ringlets to her waist.