The formal ceremony had already happened; she had knelt before the Queen's throne to swear words as old as Alexandria, and felt the familiar tap of blunted steel on her shoulders. It was strange to repeat the words so soon after she had first sworn them, but she rather thought this Queen would require more honorable service than the last one had.
Garnet stood by the window, in a simple shift rather than formal court wear. She had set aside her crown, and her hair gleamed dark in the lamplight, a striking contrast to her skin.
Beatrix had already sworn loyalty to the office, as a general of Alexandria. Now she crossed the room on quiet feet and sank to her knees. Apart from when she had made her oath of office, she had bent her knees to no one.
"What is this?" Garnet sounded a little amused, a little concerned, and mostly perplexed.
"I would like you to accept my oath of loyalty," Beatrix said.
A frown creased Garnet's forehead. "I already did," she said warily.
Beatrix shook her head. "That was a general's oath to the Queen. This is mine...to you."
Garnet turned completely toward her. "Very well," she said, though she still looked somewhat confused. She held out her hand.
The oath was an old one, actually Burmecian in nature. It had been used by close confidantes—or, sometimes, consorts—of the monarch. The oath had a cadence like poetry, and the rhythm felt correct when she spoke the words aloud. This was the right thing to do.
When she was done, she started to rise, but Garnet's hand on her shoulder stopped her. In a clear, soft voice, she recited the other half of the oath. Beatrix had not expected that, had not even expected Garnet to know the oath. She felt dazed as Garnet made the same vows: to defend, to protect, to honor, to cherish.
Silence fell around them, and Beatrix got up slowly. "I didn't expect that," she admitted.
Garnet smiled. "I know," she said, and stood up on tiptoes to kiss her.
Beatrix thought, again, how lucky she was to have a Queen who was also a friend and a lover.