Author’s Note: This first draft section has been cut from my upcoming Steampunk anthology. I hope it gives a taste of the characters involved. I don’t think it needs explaining.
“Yellow is such a pretty colour.”
Grace eyed the daffodil that protruded from Sir Belvedere’s buttonhole.
“Yellow is the colour of cowardice.”
“No, sir, it is not.”
“I have seen many things on many battlefields most too terrible to recount. However, one thing I can say with assuredness, is the colour yellow is associated with the worst in each.”
Sir Belvedere’s eyes blazed from beneath bushy eyebrows. He stared into a cold nowhere, one his beautiful companion could only imagine in nightmares.
If it bothered Grace, she did not show it. Instead, she poured a cup of Earl Grey and placed it before the giant of a man.
“Thank you,” said he through gritted teeth.
“My pleasure,” the angel returned.
“How much longer will your father be?” Belvedere enquired. “Her Majesty was most specific.”
“You are certain? If ever this infernal war is to end, we need him.”
Grace took a sip from her cup and set it back down with a chink of China on China.
“My father lays flowers on my mother’s grave. He shall return shortly.”
“So you say, but there are no roses to lay in April.”
“Yes, so I say!”
Grace stood so suddenly that Belvedere almost fell out of his chair.
“My father lays daffodils on the anniversary of her death. He has done so every April of every year since the day she died in childbirth, my birth. This is how I shall remember yellow, not as some act of wartime desertion.”
Belvedere was quick to his feet, his hand slipping to the flower at his chest. “War taints a man, Grace and for this I apologise. I see war in everything these days. Everything. Please, accept this flower and my condolences.”
Belvedere passed Grace his buttonhole and turned to leave.
“You said it was most important that you wait?”
“There are more important things.”
“But, Her Majesty?”
Belvedere hung his head and whispered, “I wear the daffodil for her as your father lays his for your mother.”
“But, Her Majesty is not dead?”
“Isn’t she, Grace? Isn’t she?”