When a swan moves, it seems to drift effortlessly as a sailing ship, delicately folded wings as pristine white sails, while in all actuality the swan's legs are furiously churning paddles. Such effort to keep up that façade of ease, of grace, of beauty.
To the cursory eye, the repose of Renata Vermillion held in it much the same manner. Perched on a luxuriant armchair, coolly surveying a battlefield of black and white marble, the way she always did when expecting someone for a game.
It was little moments like this, a guest behind schedule or a stranger who fancied himself undetected, that her thoughts drifted to more turbulent waters, the thrashing legs beneath the gliding swan. Her face, impassive as that of a china doll, remained void of tells. Her lashes made little golden crescents against her features, red eyes drawn behind their curtain. Unseen.
In retrospect, there had been too many mistakes. Of course the bonded servants who had left with her parents that day had been the