Broken glass and paperwork littered the floor of the Queen's study. Her attendants lined the wall, their expressions a practiced blank. Her hands were planted on the desk, her eyelids fluttering.
"Fetch Sir Algernan." The words weren't directed at anyone in particular, but the Queen knew the servants were listening. "We had an agreement and he just broke it."
She paced to the window, her fingers itching to rip away the dress. To snatch up the dagger hidden there and join her soldiers that would soon be marching.
Play the part.
Just a little longer.
"Out," The word was barley a breath of air, barely a tick in her clock. The servants scrambled to follow the order.
The various servants' doors clicked shut and her breath rushed out before she could tug it back in. The Queen wound her red curls back behind her head and turned to the mirror behind her desk.
It masterfully crafted, as everything sent from her brother was. Though it was hung on the wall, it could easily reach the floor and stand just fine on it's own. The metal work around the edges was curved and looped to make some sort of design, but the Queen had never picked out anything noteworthy. Was that a raven in the top left corner? A chain of goblets strung along the side? She could never tell.
Counting her steps, she paced back and forth front of the mirror. Wall to wall and back, three times.
... 25, 26, 27.
Meeting her own gaze in the glass, the Queen placed her hand on the mirror and sharpened her mind.
Black mist rolled in behind the glass, like window looking out in the middle of a storm. The Queen pulled her hand back as it began to soften beneath her fingertips.
"Oh, Charlie!" she sang, some of the tension in her shoulders already coming undone.
White eyes glinted out at her from the shadows in the glass. "I thought we'd agreed not to call me that," a voice drawled.
The Queen crossed her arms and planted her feet, standing her ground. The eyes seemed to smile at her.
"Look, I know you're kind of busy running your own kingdom, but I really need your help. Your armada-"
"Is it that Algernan fellow?" The Charlie's eyes glinted with that annoying I-told-you-so look. "I told you not to give him-"
"Yes, yes, you were right, I was wrong." The Queen waved him away. "Will you help me?"
"Hmm." His eyes glinted. "What can you give me?"
The Queen pretended to pout. "I would think I wouldn't need to give you anything. I am your sister."
A faintly human outline emerged from the shadows on the other side of the glass. "Don't flatter yourself," Charlie told her, leaning on his twisted staff. "We merely share a mother."
The Queen huffed a curl out of her face, leaning back against her desk. "The people of my realm can't do much about a sorcerer from yours," she prodded him.
Charlie knotted a hand in his white-streaked-black hair. He dropped it with a sigh. "Fine." He snapped his fingers and a figure crumpled to the floor next to the Queen. "She's innocent, try not to ruin her, too. And I'll expect payment in those delicious little truffle things you have."
And with that, her brother receded back into the shadows until only his eyes remained and even those winked out, like fallen stars. The black mist pulled back, rolling and swirling until the Queen stared back at herself, her haggard reflection.
She rolled her eyes- Charlie and his dramatic exits -and knelt, placing a hand on the unconscious girl. The sorcerer-hunter. The knight. The warrior.
Her breathing was gentle, like the flutter of a butterfly's wing. Like a feather.
The Queen rolled the girl onto her side. And laughed.
Her brother had sent her a six-year-old girl.