Oraca

Katherine Ravencry is the changeling child of a sixteenth century king and a beautiful queen of a powerful immortal race. Despite the powerful blood that runs through her veins, Katherine is not important. Until her father is murdered and the civil war breaks out. Katherine discovers that she does, in fact, have a purpose in life that is more than being betrothed to a powerful nobleman. She must fulfill her destiny. Else everyone that she loves will be in danger.

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1. The End

Let us begin with the end. This is not the conventional way of things but my life has never been conventional by any means.

My name was Katherine Ravencry and although the blood that ran through my veins held importance, I did not inherit any more than the lowly kitchen cats did. Growing up in an age where fame was all what people respected and worshipped, I highly doubt that anyone cared about my existence. Through blood, I did possess a certain dose of respect. More than the kitchen cats did anyway as I did not have to endure daily torture by fleas and broomsticks and my only purpose in life was certainly not to catch and kill rats. My purpose in life, in some respects, was worse. I was born and raised to carry on the powerful blood line by betrothing a much older man with equally as desirable blood.

I am about to face Death as someone else entirely. I am Oraca, but I will soon lose my power along with my life. Although I am not at the hands of Death just yet, I know that I will be soon. I can smell it. Currently, I am hiding from Death, but no one can escape. As soon as Death is overwhelmed with the need to get you in its vice-like grip and slowly squeeze the life out of you, do not expect to be shown mercy. Death wins every time.

I curl up against the cold stone wall and shut my eyes. Salty tears escape my eyes and run down my filthy cheeks. To say that I am humiliated would be an understatement; too many lives depend on me yet I am bawling like a child. I roughly wipe the tears away and sniff. Attempting to cheat Death comes first; self-pitying can wait until later. That is if I am even granted with a future.

I do not lift my eyes even as the heavy key grinds in the lock. From the painful groaning of rusting iron, I know that the heavy door to my cell is being pushed open. I close my eyes when a guard pulls me roughly to my feet; I do not want to see my emaciated, tortured neighbours. He pulls me by my shackles, therefore making them pierce my skin. I try to stifle a whimper, but fail.

“Stupid witch!” He pushes me and I fall blindly into a wall, hitting my head. “Not so powerful now, are you?”

Fresh, hot liquid leaks from my temples and slithers over my newly prominent cheekbones. The guard grabs my shoulder to yank me to my feet. A popping sound. Agony surges through me and I bite down on my lip to fight back a scream. I taste copper, but this is a small price to pay in order to keep my dignity intact. The guard, however, does not seem to notice what has happened and continues to guide me out of the dungeon.

Light penetrates my closed eye lids and the stench of burning flesh makes my stomach roil. Slowly, I open my eyes and choke back on a sob. Standing only about six feet away is my brother, Caspian. I cannot believe that this is him. His hair had been hacked off and one of his beautiful emerald eyes is drowning under a sea of purple and blue. His ragged clothes hang off his gaunt body. No matter how successful my imitation was, I could never be fearless. No one, whether they be mortal or not, is fearless. But, by god, Caspian certainly put on a good pretence. My brother is at Death's mercy, yet his face is as composed as ever. He does not look at me, but at Death. He is not afraid, or at least he does not show it. He has not seen me but there is only a matter of time until he does.

The guard throws me to the ground. I stare at the mound of wood ahead of me.

“Katherine,” Caspian's whisper contains emotions from shock to relief; from happiness to anguish. “What are you doing here?”

Despite everything, I laugh. Quiet at first, but when I realise that I don't care, I throw my head back and laugh at the louring sunset. I laugh at the non-existent god. The mob raise their voices, a mixture of excitement and hysteria.

“The little witch is calling upon her master!”

“Let's see if you're still smiling when you're burning in Hell!”

The priest says something but I block it from my mind. He is probably telling the twisted onlookers that my brother and I have sinned and are Satan's spawn. How hypocritical. I know for a fact that many innocent people have suffered excruciatingly slow and painful deaths today and many days before as a consequence of his lies. I am pulled to my feet and pushed forward, but I lose my footing and hit the ground once more.

“Leave my sister alone!” Caspian yells and two guards restrain him. “If my hands weren't bound I would kill you, you pathetic coward!”

I am the first to be tied to the wooden pole. The sounds of laughter and curses rises. Caspian is shackled to the stake.

“Don't worry, Oraca, we will be fine,” Caspian's voice breaks at the end, sending a rush of anxiety through my already trembling body.

I try to take deep breaths to control my nerves, but two guards hold their flaming torches high. I fight the temptation to close my eyes because I will never be a coward.

I greet Death with a smile.

 

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