The queen sat by the fire and hummed softly to her son, rocking his cradle softly. The king, delighted by a boy, had yet disapproved of her choice. A ridiculous name, he’d said. Not fit for the heir to a kingdom.
And yet she’d had her way. She always did, now. Her father had sold her, and the king had locked her in a room full of straw and threatened to kill her, but that was over, all over. She was the queen who had spun straw into gold, and if there had been another in that tower room, if there had been promises made, that had been before. She was the golden queen and could do no wrong.
They burst into the room, an angry swarm of king and advisors and guards, and the imp. The imp stood alone with uncanny grace, skin dusky, eyes only for her. He raised his hand, and a hush fell, the kingdom’s great men choked to silence on their own choler.
“It is the third day, and your last chance.” His voice was like smoke and forest honey. “Can you guess my name?”
She met his eyes for a long moment, the months of waiting and knowing and powerlessness all boiling to the surface, plain on both their faces. Then she smiled, and reached down a hand to touch her sleeping son. “Rumleskaft.” The king reared back as if bitten. She could see the imp smiling out of the corner of her eye.
“You have me.” He made a half bow. “What is your wish?” His golden eyes were knowing.
She gathered up the baby in her arms. He opened his eyes sleepily, and a flash of gold showed through the brown before he gurgled happily and closed his eyes again. “I wish to leave this place.”
A deep bow, then she was in his arms. “As you desire.” Rumleskaft touched the baby’s cheek, then wrapped the darkness around them and swept them silently away.
This week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge called for 33 to 333 words on the third definition of the word GRACE (noun):
b : a pleasing appearance or effect : charm <all the grace of youth — John Buchan>
c : ease and suppleness of movement or bearing