Morrigan liked skipping down the hallway. Her hair was still in its bun so it wasn’t swinging, but her skirts were, and that was fun. She was legally an adult, and she shouldn’t find these things as fun, but she couldn’t imagine that there was anything wrong with acting like a little girl from time to time, especially over such little things like skipping in hallways. After all, Morrigan had a very interesting childhood. Things tend to be interesting when prophecies and the like are made about you when you’re less than a year old.
Morrigan knew that there was very little that was certain in her life from a young age. But there were a few things that she was painstakingly certain of. Even as she spoke, she knew that about half the world loved her, wanted to see her exalted on high, a new powerful ruler for the kingdom. The other half of the world wanted her dead, or at the very least locked away forever because of the potential that she possessed, and the way that could be a threat throughout the kingdom, potentially aiding the kingdom’s enemies.
Morrigan had been seven years old when she was first brought in front of the king, charged by a handful of members of the high council that were declaring her a potential enemy. She waited silently and listened to these men declare that her magic was stronger than any human beings should be allowed to be. That something evil or untoward must have happened to create what she was. The final argument was that if the king didn’t lock her up now, then he would come to regret it as she came of age. She can remember that day clearly, easily. She supposed that any seven-year old taken away from her parents and forced to go in front of the king would remember the day fairly clearly. She had been asleep, resting after practicing and perfecting a spell that should have been several years over her experience. So she was standing in front of the king and all his court in a blue and white sleep dress that had at one point belonged to her big sister, and her hair in two black pig tails, tied up with dark red bows. For one stupid moment, Morrigan thought about how no girl over the age of five would be caught dead out in public in bows. But when she realized that it was literally on the line for her life and freedom, her concern for her reputation at home disappeared, and Morrigan spent the entire meeting staring intently at her toes while four grown men listed in all the ways that she was evil. She didn’t even look up when the men finished their argument and insist that the King make his decision on what to do with her.
The only other child in the room was ten years old, the King’s only daughter, Princess Quinn. She rose after the men’s argument, and demanded to speak to her father. She approached her father, and whispered–loud enough that Morrigan and her accusers could hear her, but the council and the court as a whole couldn’t hear her. The phrase she presented to her father was small and simple, and made all the difference. Princess Quinn told him, “Father, she’s wearing bows. She can’t go to jail or execution wearing bows.”
King Andreas start to laugh. The men who brought in Morrigan shifted uncomfortably, already starting to come up with more arguments that they were muttering to the king. He silenced them with a wave, and in his booming voice called, “Morrigan of the Thread, please come forward.” Morrigan looked up, and walked up so she was standing even with Princess Quinn. She pulled into a low curtsey the way she had been taught, and then, for the first time in her relatively short life, looked the king right in the eye. When he spoke next, his voice wasn’t booming or regal or any of the things that Morrigan expected in a king, but instead kind and soft, much like her own fathers could be. “Morrigan, dear, are you scared.”
“Yes, my lord.”
“Of what then?”
“I’m scared of not going home. Never getting to see my family again. Of not getting to practice anymore.”
“You like magic, dear?”
“I’m good at it, sir. And my mother tells me that if I work hard and really dedicate myself to it, then I’ll be able to help people someday. My daddy says that if I can make the kingdom a little bit better than it was when I was born by the time I die, then I will have achieved what I was supposed to on the earth.”
“Do you know anything about politics?”
“I’m not sure what that means.”
“Now, Morrigan, this is a very important question, and I need you to answer me completely honestly. Do you think you can do that?”
“Of course, my lord.”
“Have you even been told to hate me? To stand against me? To do anything to harm me or my family?”
“No. Never. My father tells me you are everything a king should be. My mother says you’re wonderful, and kind of cute too, but I shouldn’t tell my father that. Princess Quinn is gorgeous, and going to be a wonderful Queen someday, and frankly I’m a little ashamed that she’s seen me in my nightdress, and I hope that if I ever meet her again that she won’t hold it against me.” When Morrigan looked up at Princess Quinn and saw that the girl was studying her, Morrigan suddenly became embarrassed of her bows again. She blushed, and looked to the ground.
The King laughed again, and rose to his feet. His voice was back to the deep official tone that Morrigan was used to hearing call out over the balconies. “The girl is powerful. There is no doubt about that. Has anyone among us not heard the rumors about Morrigan of the Thread, and what exactly she might be to this kingdom? However, I do not think there is a bone in her body that would easily allow her to rise up against anyone who is genuinely doing good, like I truly believe that I am. Even still, members of my counsel appear to have genuine concern over Morrigan’s teaching and upbringing, so my official decision is that her teaching and up bringing will be done here, in my home, in my castle, under the careful eye of my favorite teachers and my loving daughter. Does anyone object to my plan?”
No one ever objected to the Kings plans.