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Free and Young

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A red servant falls to her death and is reborn as a silver girl. Her blood should have puddled on the arena floor, dripped down the future princess's skin. Instead, only her clothing flaked off. We all burn black.

How strange, they whisper, they wont let us near her.

Fortune comes calling when the betrothed seem to fall in love. They take walks in the moonlight through the gardens. They brush hands at dinner. The walls have eyes and mouths that titter and gossip outside their lord's bedroom. The couple seems to wink knowingly at their adoring audience.

Love or lust? In Norta, both is discouraged.

Tiberias Calore VI lost his head. The favorite delivered the blow. The second glows like he swallowed light. How could he not beside his love? The coronation is barely over before that girl pulls him into a kiss.

Did you see the Queen's face? That girl nearly dropped dead. I think I saw tongue.

The Queen dies in her sleep. Her black heart gave up in grief. Or was it blacked by grief? Or was it cooked? Death follows Maven's reign. The crowd holds its breath at the wedding. Only the coldblooded would marry now. The court isn't sure if it approves, but it is entertained. They dance with chaste palms.

Bets go around the room for how long they'll disappear into the honeymoon suite. The first bet of its kind. Calores aren't known for their passion. Another way he resembles his mother, perhaps.

She redefines beauty in the royal court over time. Pale cheeks are replaced by rose. Tight braids become loose, wild curls. Dresses are freer, heels lower. Flashing eyes and fierceness overcomes quiet backstabbing. Laughter is at the tip of the tongue.

Jewels disappear from lapels. Who needs one when the most important jewel is here on his arm.

We might as well be Reds.

The weirdest part of all? Their happiness. Through shortages, the Scarlet Guard, hunger strikes in the northern warehouses, and the return and fall of Tiberias Calore VII, their course is true. Their babies are the fattest in the land.