No gold shall ever grace my brow, she says softly, but I am a queen in my own right. Dark eyes flicker with mirth, a smile settling into the corner of thin lips. What glory is there in taking from those who can offer no tribute, who will work all their lives and have nothing but calloused hands and tired eyes when it ends? No, I tax from those who think themselves untouchable. A nod of explanation, tawny hair falling over slender shoulders. My people are those overlooked. Our sigil is an empty coffer and our borders are drawn by picked locks and lighter pockets. The smile widens. No gilded clothes will fall over these shoulders, but all the same I bear a cloak made of the finest shadows, beautiful enough to make a king weep. Aye, I am a queen, she says one last time, fierce and proud and soft, and as strong as any.