Isola the Fair was the oldest and palest of seven sisters.
Much to his misfortune, her father, King Malik the Good, had failed to produce a male heir, just as he had failed at everything else. History remembered him as one of the kindest, most generous kings the country had ever known – a reputation which, to Isola, was a sure sign of weakness. A monarch’s role was not to be warmhearted, but to be obeyed. Feared. Or – what was it they were calling it these days? Ah, yes: respected. A soft heart could never bring you respect, only a long line of footprints all over your very expensive clothes. And Isola’s were always golden. And very, very shinny.
Once a month, for an entire day, the Queen would grant her people the generous privilege of her precious time. They would come from all over the kingdom and form a never-ending yet orderly line at the gates of the palace. Lords would claim favors, farmers would ask for protection and Isola would listen to every one of them while doing her best to be as just and intimidating as she possibly could, always making sure her petitioners were well aware of the immense boredom they were putting her through.
Every once in a while, however, the Queen would be forced to hear a new case before the month was done. This would happen only when a serious crime had been committed – not by some poor country man or the usual outlaw. Severe crimes were those where the perpetrator was a nobleman. You see, men and women of high rank would disregard most laws in order to guarantee their titles or, better yet, to elevate them. Everyone knew they did it – it came with their role in society. You weren’t, however, supposed to get caught. That was when trouble started.
That was when you had to face the Queen.