She is a powerful Lady, having risen amongst her patriarchal society, defying the odds of the rules of succession which favor males, to become the ruler of one of the most wealthy and powerful land holdings in the kingdom. An owner of vast holdings, hundreds of swords sworn to her cause. Servants do her bidding, slaves toil for her. She travels in a litter, born on the backs of slaves. She holds the power of life and death in her hands. At a young age she has accomplished this, being barely twenty years of age.
She has advisors, a few she looks to for wise counsel. She enjoys the company of fewer still. She has love, perhaps, for her ancient wet nurse who raised her when she was little. For her wizened tutor who taught her when she was young. For her sister who she will protect fiercely. But the love of a man she has not known. Why would she? She rules over men, thousands fear her. She has no need for a husband to obey. And though she would be within her rights to take a slave to bed for her pleasure, she has no need for such carnal enjoyment.
Until, one day, a man, a barbarian captive is brought to her. A prize from the wars against the barbarians in the West. This man was captured, after he had smote four of her best men to the ground. He has been brought by her soldiers, expecting her to humiliate him and then kill him. A cowardly barbarian who would allow himself to be captured instead of the honorable end of taking his own life. But, there is something about this man, something that makes her spare his life. "Reduce him to the humiliation of slavery instead of an easy end to his life" she tells her followers. Yet, secretly this man intrigues her. This foul barbarian of strange customs and manners. This man who does not simply bend the knee to her. Who has no respect for her status or station. Who does not believe that her authority stems straight from the moon god and thus she is not to be questioned.
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