"What alarm?" She stood up and hurried herself with putting the mugs back into the kitchen. Amarisa didn't move, she didn't have a weapon, she had nowhere to go and the plan that she wouldn't have considered a day ago was starting to take shape in her mind, the pieces fitting together, the words turning like clockwork in her head.
"The moment I arrived you put salts in the fire. I'm not an idiot, they change the colour of the smoke so somebody will see it and come running. How long until they see it and get here?" She tried to calculate it. From the castle, on horseback, it couldn't be more than twenty minutes. It all depended on how quickly they would of noticed the smoke.
"You're worth a lot of money." Maye emerged with a sword in her hand, aiming it at the princess with shaking hands that wouldn't of convinced a child that she actually meant any harm. "Since your parents died I've been out of a job, and times are getting tougher now."
"Why not make them easier and help me take the country back?" She hadn't meant to ask, but there was no harm in chit chat while she waited for the generals to arrive.
"I'm not interested in helping the rebellion, I'm interested in staying alive and supporting my ma and pa." Maye took her seat again, with a glance towards the closed curtains. Now the fire was gone so was the comfortable lighting and the lamp casted long dark shadows across the room, splicing Maye's face in half.
"Rebellion." Amarisa tried the word on her tongue and like the sound of it, the promise of violence and change, murder and peace promised in the same word was beyond appealing to her. "I think that's exactly what I'll start."
"Why not just let the country carry on, go back and marry your prince, live in comfort, leave my country alone!" Her words were meant to make her angry she knew that, but she was amused and a little baffled at the notion of a servant girl who was handing over a ruler proclaiming this her country. "Why do you have to be queen?"
"Because it's my right." Was out of her mouth before she'd thought about it. "Because I owe it to my sister to make this better, because if not me then who?"
"You aren't the best one for the job, you're a kid, not a ruler." Maye argued and she resisted pointing out that Maye too, was seventeen.
"Because I have suffered far too much for far too long to not come out on top." She stared into her eyes and saw exactly what she had been hoping for; fear. "Because I am the Queen, and I will take back my throne."
Outside, there was a clamour of movement and horses, she heard the metallic sound of swords being drawn and the all too familiar shout of men calling for her blood.
She turned back to Maye, who was looking less scared now and more smug that she'd seemingly won. "You've just killed everyone in that castle, trust me they will all die because of what you've just done. And I could kill you without using too many muscles and certainly without any harm to myself but I'm going to leave you here to rot, and watch the damage you've caused. Have a nice life, while it lasts." Smiling like a serpent she rose, ignoring the clothes she wore and her short dark hair, and threw open the front door.
"Amarisa Loratho Grekcen Builotini, you are under arrest for treason to out rightful Queen, Her Majesty Carletta Cotain of the South." There was a faint cry of long live the Queen as Amarisa's eyes adjusted to the darkness.
A man in generals uniform stood close to the door, a wind blowing his long cape around him like a red swirl of leaves around his person, his helmet under his arm. Behind him there were at least twenty horses and rider, some she recognised, some seemed to young to even be serving. They all had their swords drawn, ready to fight if needed.
"I'll come quietly." Amarisa told him and he bowed his head in what she might of even considered respect in some weird way. She held out her hands and someone stepped forward, rope in hand, and bound her hands together, not tightly but enough that it rubbed when she moved.
Hands gripped her arms on either side and led her to a horse attached with what looking like leather fastenings to the generals, and lifted her onto it. She tried not to shiver now the blanket was no longer wrapped around her shoulders, and she tried to not let herself fall into grief of the story she'd just old, the story that she was leaving here to rot and die, along with Maye and the weak girl she had been when she arrived.
As the General walked past he whispered, so quietly that she thought it was the wind, "Long live you, your Majesty."
She felt a flutter in her chest, something she had pushed down all her life, it was the anger that came with not having a choice and the hope of one day having one. She would have one, no matter what she had to do to get it. It may of gotten lost in the wind, but she whispered back an almost inaudible, "Thank you.".
Her horse bucked as they attached a flag to the saddle, a flag that flew high. The Builotini family crest, a black and white wolf facing each other on a background of red and green, to represent blood and peace. The wolves were serenity and chaos. Amarisa felt the heat as they set it on fire and cheered.
She smiled to herself, because they didn't know that Builotini women were built in the fire, they didn't know the fires she had escaped and the flames she had started. These people had no way of knowing her past with the Mistress, her training and her captures. They had no idea who they were bringing into the castle, they all assumed she was the same girl she was at eight years old, and that would be their greatest destroyer; underestimating her.
The final piece of her plan fell into place as the fire raged on.