“I wish they weren’t there at all,” Padmé replied, to which there wasn’t much to say. They all agreed with her at least a little, though not all of them dared say it.
“Gotta go," Rabé finally said, "I’m on.” The dancers always were first onstage in an ancient Passion Play like the one they were performing tonight.
Padmé heard the chatter of the audience die down, and the music start. She was on right after the dancers, so she left the crowd of actors who had gathered in the grove, out of the audience’s sight, and moved to the edge of the arena. She would enter descending through the audience. Before her cue, she stood just outside the reach of the stage’s lights, where the dark night kept the audience from seeing her.
She could see them, however, and her eyes could not help but seek out the two envoys. Probably they were the two figures on the end of the aisle she was to come down, right in front of the stage, in their typical black cloaks and hoods. She supposed they really wouldn’t be too much of a distraction, provided they kept quiet.
The prologue was over, and the dancers were clearing off the stage. All lights had faded, save that which illuminated her aisle.
“I have never understood the King,” Padmé started, stepping into the light. All eyes in the audience were on her.
“All know he is prone to such fits...” Step, step, step. She’d rehearsed it countless times, carefully timing her words and steps so she would reach the stage at the right point in the monologue.
Though all the audience looked at her, she kept her eyes focused on the stage, until she came to the front of the aisle. Then she looked down, intending to glance at the people on either side of her.
Her eyes met those of one of Emperor’s envoys, who had removed his hood.
Like the eyes of all the envoys, they were an unnatural golden color, one that unsettled Padmé in her soul. She couldn’t look away; they were so intense. The face they were set in was burnished, hard, framed by golden hair. He looked the same way Padmé felt: caught in some strange spell.
Time froze for a moment. Then nearly twenty years of professional training kicked in for Padmé, and she turned away, hoping noone else had noticed anything, and finished her speech: “I know when I express my concerns to him it is all the people of this city who speak my words.”
The Palo, who was the King in question, came in. She felt a little better then. Besides Palo being one of her closest friends, no longer being alone on the stage was always a relief to her.
“Princess of this city,” he started as the lights came up, and most of the eyes in the arena moved from Padmé to him. But Padmé knew one pair had not. One pair which she thought she might feel on her for the rest of her life.