Beyond Duty

By Bounty Hunter Lani

The courtyard was peaceful as always, yet there was something bothering her about it. She was sure she had heard some type of noise, but upon looking around, she saw nothing. She took her hand off Save the Queen and relaxed. She walked across the stone ground to the dock, her footsteps producing a perfect rhythm. The water flowed silently beneath the stone walk. Entry to the castle was closed for the night and her regiment would make sure it stayed that way. There was nothing for her to worry about, but she could not stop the uneasy feeling in the atmosphere.

She walked slowly over to check her reflection in the water. Her hair fell across her shoulders gracefully, long and golden brown. She only had one crystal eye to behold, the other had been lost to duty, but she didn't let the flaw restrain her presentation. She hid it well. Her full pink lips curled without a smudge and her uniform was clean and smooth. But with all this physical beauty, she was still unhappy.

She sighed heavily. But why was she sad? She should be greatful! She was blessed with skill and was the queen's right hand! She commanded the most feared army in the land, but the stars couldn't out-number the times she wanted to cry when no one was watching. She always told herself that she couldn't cry. She must be strong---cold. Her job called for it. She couldn't question the queen, though she did secretly; a thousand times a minute. There was so much thinking, yet nothing could be done.

She sighed again and turned to go. There was much to be done inside the castle. But as she headed back across the courtyard, something caught her eye. A small piece of paper lye on the ground, blowing gently in the breeze. What could it be? Trash? A threat? As she walked closer to it, she saw writing come into focus. Yes; it was some sort of letter. A note to someone. She picked it up between her manicured fingers and began to read it.

The sweet words rolled off her tongue as she muttered through them. A love letter? Who had left this? Was it for her? She read the last of the words again. Someone wanted to meet with her at the dock. But she was at the dock! Where was he? But no, this couldn't be for her. How could she think that. But no one else was around. Surely it was for her.

A tear welled in her eye. Could a man actually have feelings for her other than fear? Never had a man shown her any regard, only to back away from her warmth in fear! She was beautiful, but she was cursed with duty. Many men had died by her hand and when men looked at her they felt afraid. They admired her from afar, but never would come close. She had become accustomed to this behavior, but to think that someone actually had enough gumption to meet with her in person! Her heart was filled with joy! She smiled. Her heart fluttered nervously and her stomach twisted. It had been many years since she had felt this way!

Years ago she had loved someone. He was smart and strong, but there love was stained with blood. It killed her deep inside to do what she did, but it had to be done. The law was the law, and her duty to the Alexandrian army was more important than anything. His father had to die, and his family must be imprisoned. It was not in her power to deny what was right by law. He had cursed her and left her to rot inside her heart. Soon after this was when her heart froze. She had convinced herself that she had done the right thing and had committed no wrong by what she did. Deep inside her chest the icy winds blew and made her feel nothing, even when killing the most innocent foe. If they were not with her, they were her enemy.

All she really wanted was love. She pined for someone's care! Was it too much to ask to have someone show her affection? She even found herself jealous of the new queen! Queen Garnet had a man who loved her, yet she was naive. They were apart. The general wanted to scold the young queen and tell her to run to him and confess her love, for it would prove to be too late soon. But that also was something she would not do; not unless she was asked.

Now, clutching the letter in her hand, she came to a desicion: She would wait here for him. Her life's happiness depended on it. She would wait for the writer of this letter and try not to be so cold. She would open her heart and mind. Then perhaps she would finally find love: a meaning to life beyond the call of duty.

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