Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight

A Chapter by Aianarie (INACTIVE)

Chapter Eight


 

          That night, I dreamt, which was unusual for me.  It was a curious dream that I would often think of for a long while after.

          It began with Isaiah and me as children.  We were bounding across our family’s fields, searching for dragons to slay.  My brother had his wooden sword, and I had a slingshot fashioned out of a perfectly-formed tree branch.  We ran and ran, the wind dancing through our hair and clothes.  Little Xenia bobbed along behind us on her chubby toddler legs.

          As a child, nothing made me happier than to play “Heroes”.  It’s such a simple time of one’s life.  A time when the world outside of your own doesn’t exist.  There is just your beautiful fantasy, untouched--untainted--by the cares of reality.

          In the dream I tripped and fell, and started to cry.  My knee was bleeding profusely, having been struck by a sharp rock.  Isaiah came to my aid immediately.  He wrapped my knee up with his handkerchief, soothing me with his humming.

          The scene changed.  Fast-forward ten years.  It was the day of my armoring.  Although less than a week ago, that day felt so far away.  I saw the smiles of hundreds of people, many of which I had never even seen before in my life.  I saw my family.  I saw Clemenstra, even, back in the shadows of a tree.  She was turned away from me, but somehow I knew it was her.

          I locked eyes with Arica Song.  Her piercing gaze made my forehead damp with sweat and my knees weak.  But there wasn’t anything malicious about the oracle’s stare.  There was only sorrow.  A deep, almost sympathetic sorrow.

          She could look at me no longer, and turned to Sean, who took her arm and lead hear away, but not before looking back at me with a similar expression to that of his betrothed.

          For a split-second before the next scene, I caught a glimpse of a dark-haired girl.  She was quite lovely.  There was something very pleasant about her…but I knew not what it was.

          The next scene was perhaps most puzzling of all.  The world was white save several autumn trees, the falling maple leaves, and Sebastian’s warm skin.  I tried to call out to him but no sound would come out, so I walked over to him instead.  In his hands, he held his crown.  He completely ignored me and walked away, into the blank white that lay out before him.  I chased him, but I couldn’t seem to catch up.  With every step I took he seemed farther away.  I stopped, overcome with emotions.  Sebastian turned, acknowledging me at last.

          ‘Felicity…my beautiful autumn girl.’ he said, his voice his echoing throughout the chasm.  In the dream I remember my heart hurting because I wanted him to speak to me with his voice, not his mind, to make sure that it was still there.

          He looked sad now.  I turned away as he began to speak again.

          ‘I love you--'

          My eyes shot open at that moment.  I was awake.  I was surrounded by complete darkness.  The room was pleasantly warm, the bed underneath me soft.  I could hear crickets humming outside and the gentle sound of the windmill turning.  I had no notion of time, but Sebastian was still awake behind me; I heard and felt him sigh against my back.  I lay as still and silent as a statue.

          “I love you.”  Sebastian said, or whispered, rather.  I felt his lips move against my spine, and it made me shiver involuntarily.

          I closed my eyes.  This was still a dream.

          It was all part of a dream.

 

I woke up very early; just after the sun had risen.  I sat there for a while, just staring at Marrowÿn’s dowdy rooftops outside the window.  Sebastian snored lightly.  I looked back at him, my heart aching.  I didn’t know exactly how I felt about anything.

          I wanted to reach over and touch him, but I refrained from doing so.  I was just a girl.  A commoner.  He was the Prince of Ancantha.  I was just a beloved stuffed animal, there so that he could sleep peacefully.  I got out of bed without a sound and made my way downstairs.

          After I had put on my riding clothes and armor, Sebastian came down the stairs, fully dressed and ready to go.  Something glinted on his forehead; it took me a moment to realize that it was his crown.

          “You’re so loud.”  he said, grinning.  I didn’t answer.  I was too pre-occupied with lacing my boots.

          “Are you angry with me?”  he asked, after a while of watching me.  I finished with my laces and sighed.

          “No, I’m not, Your Majesty.”  He winced slightly when I said it.  “--Of course not, Sebastian.”  Suddenly he stooped down and kissed me, full on the lips.  Maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised, considering I had just slept with him, but it caught me completely off guard.  My mind was a jumbled up mess.  And I hadn’t a clue what my stomach was doing.  It was the first time I had ever been kissed, and it was lovely.  My lips melted into his; a steady, romantic rhythm.  A warmth bubbled up inside of me, light and frothy, reminding me of champagne. 

Sebastian was on his knees, his gloved hands on either side of my face.  I didn’t know what to do with mine, so they rested helplessly on my lap.

“Good morrow, Your Majesty!”  called Oliver’s voice from outside the door.  Sebastian pulled back, not too quickly.  He gazed at me with a look that made my insides pinch before he stood to open the door.

“Your Majesty.”  said Oliver, bowing.  “The horses are all ready.  Shall we be off?”

“My horse!”  I squeaked, remember Talia for the first time since she had ran off in the forest.  I sprung to my feet.

“Oh, your tan mare?  Yes, we’ve got her.  No need to worry.”  said Oliver.  Corr and Dansk had come up behind him.  I was very relieved that I hadn’t lost Talia.

“Let us return to Ancantha, then.” said Sebastian, looking bemused.

 

The trip took the whole day; we arrived at the Southern gate three hours after nightfall.  We had ridden quickly and had stopped only once to eat lunch.  We didn’t have any run-ins with werewolves or elven assassins, thank God.  I started to wonder to myself why I had even tagged along in the first place, and felt embarrassed for it. 

          After leaving our horses with the stablehands, we went to the castle and were greeted by Basque and Jasper.  Oliver, Dansk, and Corr said good night to us and took their leave.  I was sad to see them go.  I wondered if I would ever see them again.

          “Welcome back, Your Majesty.”  said Basque.  “Thank the heavens for your safe journey and your timely return.  And Lady Felicity, too, of course.”

          “Yes, thank you.  We are very tired.”--He turned to Jasper--“Lord Jasper, see to it that Lady Felicity has one of our finer rooms, preferably on the fourth floor.  Have Evangeline tend to her.”  He looked at me then, taking my arm.  He planted a kiss on the back of my hand.  “Good night, my lady.”  And he gave up my arm to Jasper.

          “Lord Basque, come with me.  There is much to be discussed.”  I heard Sebastian say behind me.

          “My lady,”  said Jasper, snapping me from my reverie, “It is wonderful to see you again.  How did your first mission as a Royal Mercenary go?”

          “It went well enough.”  I said, not wanting him to know the details of my trip to Marrowÿn.  “It is an honor to serve the Prince.”

          He noticed the cut on my collarbone, and looked slightly perplexed.  He graciously put his hand in the dip of my back to warn me that we were approaching a staircase.

          “Are you badly hurt?”  he said, sounding a bit too concerned.

          “No, no, not at all.”

          He smiled at me then, a new thought coming to his mind.  “The Prince has rather taken a liking to you.”

          I smiled brightly to hide my blush.

          “It is no secret that he has fallen for you, my dear.”

          I sighed.  “Perhaps.  Maybe I am in love with him too.  Maybe that is what compelled me to go after him--good Lord, listen to me.  Going on with fantasizing like a ten year old girl.  Do forgive me, Lord Jasper.”

          “No apology necessary, my lady.”  he said, extending his odd smile.  “It is nice…to see the Prince so happy.  That happiness may not last long, you know?”

          “What do you mean?”

          “These are dark times, my lady.  The future is most uncertain.”  I realized that we had stopped walking; we were now in an ornately fashioned hallway.  “Well then, here is your room.  I shall fetch Evangeline and she will join you shortly.  Now, if you’ll excuse me--good night, Lady Felicity.”

          “Good night, Lord Jasper.”

          The moment the door shut behind me, I fell to my knees, unable to stand any longer.  I cried.

          What had I gotten myself into?  For years I had trained in the way of my people for one thing--to be a mercenary and to make a difference in the lives of those all over the world.  Ever since I was a little girl, I had dreamed of being a fearless warrior, strong, intelligent, and free.  Travelling throughout the Sister Lands in search of adventure.  And after the day my armoring, that dream had become closer than ever.  And now all of this.

          I was not suited for court life.  I was not fit to be a proper queen!

          …Then what was I doing?  I could not blame Sebastian.  This was my fault; I let this all happen, because of my stupid fairytale heart.  I was playing a dangerous love game with the Prince, and I had to get out before it was too late.

          I looked up, my eyes blinded by tears, and I noticed a mirror in the corner of the room.  I hadn’t even bothered to survey my new surroundings.

          Walking over to the mirror, I dreaded what I would see.  Myself.  A confusion of a girl trying to grow up.

          Knock knock.  I turned abruptly to answer the door.  It was a maid, a very beautiful one, with dark hair and eyes, olive skin, and a lovely heart-shaped face.  Her hair was pulled back in a way that accentuated her cheekbones and gave her a fierce look.  She made me think of a fox.

          She curtsied to me.  “Evangeline, my lady.”

          “You may call me Felicity if you wish.”  I said.

          She smiled in a diminutive way and entered the room.  An enormous pile of fabric was draped over her arm.  She laid out a nightgown on the bed, and hung up a gown on the edge of the mirror.  Her movements were swift and concise, reminding me of my mother.

          “For tomorrow.”  she said, patting the gown.  I rolled my eyes when she turned back around.

          “I’ll ready a bath for you, my lady.”  she announced before disappearing into the bathroom.  Covering my face with a hand, I sighed heavily.  At that point I didn’t even want to change, I just wanted to get under the covers of that ridiculously pompous bed, sleep, and never wake up.

          “Lady Felicity!”  Evangeline called.  I reluctantly went into the bathroom, where the maid helped me undress.

          I had to admit, the hot water felt wonderful against my sore muscles.  Evangeline had put some sort of oil into the bath that made the water smell of flowers.  It was not an overpowering scent.  I liked it.  It made me think of the rose gardens in Turleín, a place that I very much liked to visit whenever my family and I were in the city.

          Evangeline floated rose petals on the surface of the water with her long, delicate fingers.  I watched as she did so.

          “Tell me if you are getting very tired.”  she said in a low voice.

          “Mm-hmm.”

          She began to brush my hair in long, even strokes.  If she found a tangle, which wasn’t often with my straight hair, she picked it apart effortlessly.  Finally satisfied, she twisted my hair into a knot and pinned it in place.  All along, she hummed an Eastern tune that I was unfamiliar with.

          “You ready to get out?”  she asked.

          “Yes, please.”

          She stood and got a towel.  I noticed while wrapping it around myself that it too smelled of flowers.  They spared no luxury here in the castle, apparently.

          Evangeline guided me to the bed, where she slipped the nightgown over my head.  She went back to the bathroom for a moment and returned with a bottle of something, and proceeded to rub the lotion on my arms, legs, and feet.

          I felt silly, being spoiled like this.  Like some aristocrat’s prissy daughter.

          “Surely I’m not the only one who gets this sort of treatment.”  I said, trying to sound serious.  Evangeline laughed.

          “Only you, Lady Felicity.”  And she winked at me before continuing what she was doing with my feet.

          Finally, my pampering was over, and Evangeline rose and curtsied to me.

          “Good night, my lady.  I hope you sleep well.”  She turned to leave, but stopped.  “Oh!  I almost forgot.  This is for you.”  She reached into her apron pocket and pulled out a little envelope, and held it out to me.  I took it and examined it.

          “Who did you get this from?”  I asked.

          “From one of the ushers.  It’s unmarked; I know not who it is from.”  she said, looking a little perturbed, “…Good night, my lady.”

          And she was gone.  I locked the door behind her.

          I sat on the bed and stared at this little envelope.  I couldn’t help but think that it was poisoned or charmed, or something, but I pushed those thoughts out of my mind.  How silly.  Why would killing me be of any importance?

          I thought of the elven mercenary, and the thought annoyed me.

I opened the envelope and unfolded the piece of paper.

          Dearest Felicity,

                   Meet me at midnight.  West wing, fourth floor, room 1.

                    Respectfully yours,

 S. M.

 

          The handwriting was very nice.  S. M.  Sebastian.  What was his last name?  I strained to remember anything that I had read in the newspapers.  Melrose.  Sebastian Melrose.

I wanted to cry again, but no tears would come.  I couldn’t meet him!  I couldn’t.  I couldn’t make him love me any more than he already did.  No matter how much I wanted him to.  I held the paper to my face.  It carried a trace of his cologne.  I inhaled the scent ruefully, and then returned the paper to its envelope.

          If I stayed here, he would come looking for me.

          I opened the armoire and found a simple walking dress and cloak.  Tucking Sebastian’s note in my bodice, I went out into the hallway.  When I passed through the throne room, I heard low voices coming from the western meeting room.

          I knew that I shouldn’t have, but I went over and tried to listen.  The door was left open, oddly enough.

          Maybe I wanted to know if Sebastian was in there.  Maybe I just wanted to hear his voice again.

          But it wasn’t Sebastian.  Actually, I couldn’t tell who it was.

          “--were ordered to kill her.  You expect to receive payment when the job was not done?”  The voice was saying.

          “She was not a criminal.”  said another, even deeper than the other, “She did not deserve death.  You know of my ways.  My morals.  You should have known that I would not kill her in these circumstances.”

          “Pft.  Fine.  I will find someone else to do it.  Begone.  I have no use for you anymore.”

          “Very well.  My services are no longer available to you.”  I heard movement towards the door, so I turned and got away as fast as I possibly could.  I left the castle and went out into the night.

 

I went to the inn.  It was surprisingly quiet.  There was only a small group of men at a table in the corner.

          You were ordered to kill her.  I swallowed at the thought.  I knew they couldn’t have been talking about me, but somehow, I thought that they were.

          That elven mercenary I ran into within the forest.  It all made to much sense.  But why would someone in the castle want me dead?

          I sat at a table, pondering these things.  A waitress came up to me and asked if I wanted anything, and I ended up asking for a glass of water.

          I sat in silence for a long while, until I noticed Sean emerging from the stairwell.

          “Sean!”  I said, approaching him.  He noticed me and nodded. 

“Felicity.”  he said.

Realizing that he was fully armored and had a pack slung over his shoulder, I frowned.  “Where are you going?

“Come with me.”  he said.  We went outside the inn and onto the street.  “Arica had another premonition--a vision.  It was a violent one, and it’s left her ill.  I just received the message from your mom.  I’m going back to Araelia.”

“Now? B-but it’s too dangerous to travel at night!”  I said, trying to keep my voice down.

He shook his head.  “I have to go to her.”

I looked down at the cobblestone underneath our feet.  “I understand, but--“

“Take care of yourself.  And that brother of yours--don’t tell him, if you can avoid it.  I don’t want him to worry.  If he asks, tell him I got a job and I had to leave immediately.”

“Lie.  I’m not so good at that.”  I said.

He smiled at me.  “Later, Felicity.”

“Wait.  What was so violent about the premonition?”  I asked, holding his arm.

“Clemenstra.”  he said with a sigh.  He seemed lost in thought for a minute.  Without another word, he walked away, headed towards the northern path out of Epsilia that led to the Mistlands.

I watched him until I couldn’t see him anymore.

“Clemenstra.”  I repeated.  The still night whispered around me in response.

Shivering, I went back into the inn.

 

 

          



© 2012 Aianarie (INACTIVE)


Author's Note

Aianarie (INACTIVE)
This chapter unexpectedly came out quite long (3,066 words!) xD This is a very important chapter, it's where the storyline begins to converge with that of my main series, The Otherkind. ...I hope you all enjoy it!

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Featured Review

Wow. This chapter is fantastic. The dream scene was very interesting and entertaining; and quite prophetic, I believe. I love how this story is connecting to OK. Puzzle pieces are starting to fit together!

I really like the character Evangeline. Both here and in OK, too. You write about her in such a way that makes me think that she will play a much larger role in the future-am I right? :-)

This chapter really makes me excited about the rest of the story. So much has to happen still, and I can't wait to see how you handle that. Good luck with chapter 9!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Aianarie (INACTIVE)

9 Years Ago

Thank you for your wonderful (as usual!) review. ...Concerning Evangeline, you might be on to someth.. read more



Reviews

A very entertaining chapter. I like the strong description in the chapter. Allowed reader to understand situations and her thoughts. I like the way she was treated. Thank you for the excellent chapter.
Coyote

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

What had I gotten myself into? For years I had trained in the way of my people for one thing--to be a mercenary and to make a difference in the lives of those all over the world

Now that is something that you do not expect to come to the thoughts. This is very good. Parts of me would like to know if your thinking of something to the effect of a graphic novel because the imagery, dreams, chambers, everything.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow. This chapter is fantastic. The dream scene was very interesting and entertaining; and quite prophetic, I believe. I love how this story is connecting to OK. Puzzle pieces are starting to fit together!

I really like the character Evangeline. Both here and in OK, too. You write about her in such a way that makes me think that she will play a much larger role in the future-am I right? :-)

This chapter really makes me excited about the rest of the story. So much has to happen still, and I can't wait to see how you handle that. Good luck with chapter 9!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Aianarie (INACTIVE)

9 Years Ago

Thank you for your wonderful (as usual!) review. ...Concerning Evangeline, you might be on to someth.. read more
oh my....I was seriously holding my breath the whole time wondering what would happen! This is an AMAZING chapter. i just LOVED it. Cant wait for the next chapter!!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on September 8, 2012
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Aianarie (INACTIVE)
Aianarie (INACTIVE)

Eugene, OR



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