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I sat with my back pressed against the wall and watched the guests arrive.

The finery was, as usual, dazzling. The women wore dresses made from the most sumptuous materials, dripping with enough jewels to buy me twice over. The men, no less impressive, no less colourful, strutted like peacocks in their finely tailored suits.

I was, of course, almost invisible in my plain grey dress. Just as I should be.

I watched them gather and gossip as I sat still against the wall. They paid no attention to me. Why should they? I was just furniture, after all.

The servants swept past me with the first dishes as the guests took their seats. The cooks had outdone themselves; everything was a feast for the eyes and the nose, and from the expressions of the diners, for the taste buds too.

I pressed my back against the wall, sat still and paid attention.

One of the guests was looking at me. Not through me, not past me, but at me. I didn’t meet his gaze, but I noticed. When somebody notices the furniture, I notice them. He wore a long silk crimson jacket; against his pale skin and dark hair it put me in mind of an old fairy tale from my youth.

He waited until the dessert course was on the table. Typical. Take advantage of my master’s kitchen and his generosity as a host before you turn your hand against him.

All except two of the guests froze, motionless. A woman in a gaudy turquoise wig was frozen with her head thrown back in laughter; the gentleman across from her was frozen with his spoon halfway to his mouth. It was quite the gruesome tableaux, but I didn’t have time to take it all in.

The man who had looked at me was on his feet, moving towards me. His accomplice, a man in a subtle grey silken suit, was moving towards my master. The light flashed off something metal in his hand.

For the first time in almost four hours, I moved. With a flick of my wrist, I sent my sharp little dagger flying from its hiding place under my sleeve. It found its mark in the centre of Grey Suit’s forehead. Before he hit the floor, I had ducked a clumsy blow from the man in red and retrieved my long blade from the floor under my seat.

“GUARDS!”

I smiled and levelled my sword. The spell was released and my master was on his feet. Obviously Grey Suit had been the mage.

To my surprise, the man in red put his hands in the air and winked at me. “You’re good,” he said. “I thought I’d at least take you out.”

“I am Untouched,” I said quietly, as the guards ran in and took hold of him, “In more than a few ways.”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: This is essentially a background idea for a fantasy world I’m developing; where magic exists and a select few are Untouched by it.)

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