(Please be aware that this story is completely unedited, entirely pantsed. Hope you can manage to enjoy it anyway. :p )
Change Comes Unnoticed
So sayeth the prophecy of the Roarendell, which to this day remains hidden in the vault of the Citadel. Should it be made known before its fruition, all shall be lost.:
She had been led into the fortress from the servants' entrance. It was unceremonious and undignified. Elundriel didn't mind, but she didn't understand. While she cared nothing for ceremony whatsoever, she was aware that the King did.
She cared for little these days. She forgot how long ago she had ceased to care, but it had been several millennium. For five thousand years, she had been the mage to the Kingdom of Oaren. For five thousand years, the great egg, the spawn of a dragon, had been protected by the Oarenites. Endless war had made them incredibly powerful, savage, and cruel.
So accustomed to war were they that not a single person of this generation had a word for 'peace'. The concept of 'peace' was death--for that was the only moment in which any Oarenite would find such a thing. "All who protect the seed die as the greatest hero who ever lived." From the moment of birth and ever onward, children were taught that they lived but to serve the protection of the dragon's egg... the seed. Of course, no one believed it was really a dragon's egg anymore, no matter how many times Elundriel had reassured them that, indeed, the embryonic form of a dragon slumbered therein. For, they said, eggs do not take five thousand years to hatch. None knew how long it did take them to hatch, but of course, not five thousand, six hundred twenty-four years.
Elundriel had been summoned many times to the Fortress of the Kings. Always it was to remind the people that she existed. Always she had been informed weeks in advance that her presence would be required. With tremendous pomp and ceremony, she had been marched through the streets on a palanquin, carried by six brawny, half-naked warriors. They had all, no doubt, fought for the privilege in some sort of combat. All these people did, both men and women, was fight.
Yet, here she stood in the vast marble receiving chamber, alone. No pomp, no ceremony, merely being hastily dragged out of bed amidst the whispers of her maid. "Danger" and "lack of courage in the night" had been mixed in with conspiratorial whispers that Elundriel couldn't make out. What sort of nonsense was this? The other word that did not exist in Oarenite was 'fear'. There was merely an expression of 'lack of' with regards to courage, favor, or other desirable warlike attributes. There was no disparagement, for fear was, of course, natural and to be expected. It was to be fully disregarded, however. It was to be seen as a temporary lack, not as a state or emotion in and of its own right.
Unease slithered through her as the King's door opened and he slowly made his way into the room. Once, he had been a chipper, friendly boy. Now, he was old and ragged. He would be murdered soon; that was the way of Oaren. For all that he was as warlike as any Oaren, he had also been kindly. The kingdom had prospered under his iron fist. He had been the first, in five thousand years, to end a number of injustices which had permeated the culture from the start.
He sat down tiredly on his throne, motioning her to one of the foot cushions, meaning she was allowed, for the first time in her life, to sit in the presence of the King at Court. Feeling a frown touch her brow, she mentally smoothed her face back to impassiveness. Dropping into the shallow curtsy that was all that was required of her, she greeted him, "My King."