Title: For Queen and Country
Fandom: Queen's Thief: A series of books following the adventures of Gen, a very unusual, but skilled (and lovable) thief whose plot twists you will NOT see coming. (Extra note: This story contains spoilers for "The Thief," but not the big fat honking one at the end.) I don't own anything of any real value!
Taunt: My fandom starts with the letter Q, and that's good enough for me.
When the agent of Attolia approaches him, Ambiades is wary at first. To go into the employ of a nation that is more or less an enemy is treason by every definition. To be discovered would be fatal, as treason is always punishable by death. He has seen men hanged, standing beside his father in the Royal Plaza. It is not a pretty way to go.
When he entered his apprenticeship with the magus, one of the most important figures in the Royal Court, he took an age-old oath to serve Monarch and country to the best of his abilities. To betray his country would also be to betray his oath.
But the idea is in his head now, and he finds himself considering it further, looking at his own situation and what his life has become as opposed to what he is stalwartly convinced it should be. He is the grandson of a duke, after all, and he never forgets it. And yet his life, to his mind, is in ruins.
His father, though of the nobility and in a position of power, has nothing of any value at all.
He has been forced into an apprenticeship with a magus, into an art for which he has poor talents and even poorer interest.
He is constantly shown up by the younger apprentice, one who will one day hold lands and power, but whose gifts are far greater than Ambiades' own.
In short, Ambiades realizes that he cannot win either way.
When the magus tells him of the mission to take a poor thief (a useless excuse for a being, in Ambiades' own opinion) and go to steal Hamiathes' Gift to secure Sounis' place as ruler of the kingdoms, he makes a decision. The Gift is something that the rulers want and will pay handsomely to get, and thus is the key to everything he wants.
When he again meets the agent, Ambiades accepts the offer of the Attolians, and the first payment that comes with it.
The first thing he buys for himself is a tortoiseshell comb, which he places into his hair just before they take the miserable thief and leave Sounis to journey in search of the Gift. The comb is an extravagance, to be sure, but he is confident that there will be plenty more where that comes from. He will see the Gift into the hands of the Attolians.
For Monarch and country, after all.
It has just taken him a while to realize that the oath he took never explicitly stated which Monarch and which country. And a Queen is just as suitable a ruler and just as much a monarch as a King.