A chance meeting between a prince and a peasant results in consequences that will not only change their lives, but also the kingdom.

Cover by Zillah Designs.


33. Chapter Thirty Three: Samera

      The Goddess was punishing me. That had to be why everything was going wrong.

      I was stood at the edge of the frost covered forest wrapped in my warmest clothes. My tears had frozen on my cheeks and I was shaking from the cold.

      I had returned to the lower town to find that I no longer had a home; a family had moved into my father’s house. Myra had managed to save some of my belongings and I was staying in Omer’s room for the time being. Kale had framed my father for murder; as soon my father had found out what Kale had done to me he had refused to work for Kale anymore which Kale hadn’t liked. So now my father was in prison and it was possible that he was going to be hanged. Then I had received even worse news. My brother, Menul, was dead. He had been killed fighting to keep his people safe.

      I hated it because it was my fault; the Goddess was punishing me for falling in love with Khyber.

      “Samera? Where are you?” Myra’s call made me jump and I hurried back to her house.

      “Your lips have turned blue!” she gasped. “Come, sit next to the fire.”

      Muttering my thanks I did as Myra said and warmed my hands and feet.

      Myra moved behind me and stroked my hair. Tears sprung unbidden to my eyes as I remembered when my mother had played with my hair.

      “The winter will soon be over and things will get better,” she told me. Myra sounded so sure and I wanted to believe her but I couldn’t. “Before long Omer will return to us and the two of you will marry.”

      The thought of marrying Omer made me nauseous but I nodded in reply to Myra’s words.

      “Are you warm now? We’ve got work to do.”


      Weeks later as winter neared its end Prince Khyber visited the Church of the Divine Goddess. The King was with him. I caught a glimpse of Khyber and my heart skipped a beat. Closing my eyes I gave a shuddery breath. I couldn’t let him see me. If he did then I probably wouldn’t be able to stop from throwing myself into his arms.

      “Samera, could you please go to my chambers.” The Head Priest sounded worried and was wringing his hands.

      I did as he asked to find that someone was waiting for me inside. It was the King. I curtsied clumsily and kept my gaze on the carpet. My hands were trembling so I clasped them together in front of me. The King was a tall man with shoulder length grey hair. He was silent as he regarded me. Eventually he spoke.

      “My son must be mad to have fallen in love with you.” His voice was filled with such contempt that I had to bite my lip to stop myself from crying. “It cannot go on any longer. He has become defiant and it’s your fault. You have poisoned his mind. You must tell Khyber that you do not love him. You must end it. If you do not I will make sure that you lose your place here and end up in a brothel. Do you understand?”

      “Yes, Your Grace,” I stammered, unable to prevent tears from flowing down my cheeks.

      “Good. I will send him in.” The King paused on his way to the door. “Remember what I said, peasant.”

      The moment he was gone I shakily walked over to a chair and lowered myself down into it. A sob escaped my lips and I pressed a hand to my mouth.

      “Samera?” The sound of Khyber’s voice made my spirit soar but then I remembered what I had to say to him.

      Getting to my feet I was nearly knocked over when Khyber threw his arms around me. I squirmed in his grasp and Khyber released me.

      “What’s the matter?” he asked brushing a tear away. Khyber’s grey eyes were confused. “Why are you crying?”

      I knocked his hand away and forced myself to stand tall. I took a deep breath to calm myself before saying. “Khyber, there’s something I need to tell you.”

      “Of course,” said Khyber cupping my head in his soft hands. “What is it?”

      “I... I don’t love you. I never have. I lied to you. I used you.”

      Khyber looked as if he had been punched in the gut. “What? No, that’s... that’s not true.”

      “It is,” I whispered, unable to meet his gaze.

      “No, why would you say that?” He was crying and his breathing was erratic. “Did my father make you say it?”

      Shaking my head I whispered. “No, it’s true.”

      “If it’s true then look me in the eye and say it.”

      I lifted my eyes to meet his. “I don’t love you. It wasn’t real.”

      Khyber’s shoulders dropped and he stared at me, his face expressionless.

      “I’m so sorry.”

      Turning away from me, Khyber left the room. I sunk to the floor clutching my chest. I sobbed as pain lanced through my heart. Khyber was gone now. I had lost everyone I loved.


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