Varvana's Power

Scarlett Evangeline- just like any other teenage- has many secrets, except Scarlett's are a little more... dangerous if they were to come out. When her friend Henry gives her an envelope with an invitation to a secret competition at the king's castle, she finds out that it's not quite what she seems. Scarlett can control people's minds, and as she comes here she thinks she may have an advantage. But as she soon finds out, they all have powers, and the reason they are entered is to determine the new queen. Scarlett and her friends are forbidden to have any contact with anyone outside the castle, but she finds out the secrets the competition is hiding, she feels herself drawn closer than ever before to Henry. And with a king and a goddess planning to sacrifice one of the girls, the winner, she is terrified of what may happen. Welcome to the nightmare.

P.S. For people who want to know how often I'll update, I'll try to every two or three days. :)

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2. Chapter 2

I woke up the next morning, the thoughts from the night before the only thing I could concentrate on. I practically jumped up when my mother knocked on the door, and came in without being invited. She proceeded to pick out a gown for the day, a dress the color of spilt blood, with a black lace bodice. My mother held it up to her own frame and proceeded to almost dance around the room happily, light on her feet. My mother was a dreamer, someone who is unhappy with her lot in life and was constantly looking for more than she has. But she loved my father and claimed to love me although it is quite obvious she wanted a girl who would be coddled. But I wasn't like that; I only acted the part of my mother's sake.

She appeared suddenly at my bedside, fingertips whispering over the frame of the wood, as if trying to memorize the feel of it. She then shook her head sharply and the smooth lines returned to her face, setting it back into the emotionless mask she required herself to have. She knew that someday soon she would lose me, but she thought I was destined to be married. In actuality she never expected me to disappear in the middle of the night. I stepped foot out of bed, sitting up and staring at the dress my mother had placed beside me on the bed, like every other day. I didn’t bother to groan, knowing my mother would pretend not to hear it, and would almost roll her eyes at the display. Almost.

I got dressed quickly, requiring the help of my mother with the laces and the ties and all of the strings that were required to be adorned on dresses. It made no sense to me; with the bottoms that boys wore being so much more functional than the things I wore. I didn’t understand why I had to wear dresses at all, with trousers and pants being much easier to move freely in.

Moving over to the vanity on top of my desk and taking a seat before it, I studied myself in the mirror. The high cheekbones of my mother and the almond shaped eyes of my father stared back at me, eyebrows raised in what looked to be comical concern. I cared about my appearance, just not as much as young woman my age do. I had no patience for the ritual of hair pulling in the morning or at nighttime; it was just too hard.

My gaze moved to my slightly grey-haired mother standing behind me, almost a carbon copy of myself in body structure. Almost as though my mother knew my exact thoughts, she began to slather layers of makeup onto my face, though I didn’t use my ability even the tiniest bit to convey my message. It required skin to skin contact to be effective, anyway.

“Scarlett, would you object to having a smaller sibling, particularly now that you will be married in a few short Seasons?” my mother asked, almost anxious for an answer, as though my opinion was important in the matter.

The question caught me off guard, so much I almost fell from my chair. I snapped back around to stare at my mother, sure or at least hoping she was joking. But she had never cracked a joke in her entire life, as was not the way of a proper lady. I allowed myself a glance at her mother’s stomach, that looked the same as it always did, if not a tiny bit larger and rounder. Cocking my head, looking like a dog in the process, I wondered to myself if it was true. Could my mother possibly be pregnant, after years of trying and failing, only to succeed right when I had made the decision to leave? After being determined that my mother would try to replace me, my proof was dead in front of me.

“Why would my opinion matter to you? You never brought it up before, Mother. Why would you now?”

My mother smoothed down the locks on my head, though not a hair was out of place, and put a comforting arm on my shoulder. “Do not worry; you will always have a special place in my heart. There is nothing I can do now, except wait, for I am already with child. You should rejoice at the chance to have a smaller sibling.”

Eyes widening in shock, a blank expression moved over my face, and I pasted on a smile similar to my mother’s. “Of course, Mother, as I am overjoyed. I worry though, with the stress of my upcoming wedlock, that it may become too much for you to handle at once. Are you sure you do not want to extend the engagement, as to put the baby's health at risk?”

She laughed as though the thought had not occurred to her, willing the problem away with a simple whisk of her hand. She was not worried at all and neither was I, simply trying to find time to get out of it, like I had been since I was promised to Augustus. I had to at least try to act normal to avoid suspicion. My mother had no idea of what was coming, if anything, because I played my part well. My mother simply thought that I was suffering from nerves, cold feet if you will, and was only wondering about what my future would hold.

“No, child. Do not be foolish.” She put the finishing touches on my make-up, and checked her own reflection in the mirror, before waving at her daughter to join her as she walked down the hallway to where breakfast was waiting.

My father was waiting for us at the table, stern look in place on his face. I could practically hear his scowl across the room, and his displeasure of having to eat his food cold. His foot was tapping under the table, impatience building almost every second. My mother and father’s marriage was arranged just like mine was to be, but with much happier results. The two were close in age to each other, and they were relatively in love, or what passed as love.

“Where have the two of you been? You know I’ve been waiting here for you two delinquents for almost twenty minutes! What have you been doing? Dillydallying?”

My mother rushed forward and took her place at the table, me much slower to follow. One of the main rules in the household was that we weren’t allowed to eat until everyone was present and grace for the Goddesses was said. Once it was, we all dug in, using the proper silverware and napkins at the proper times, of course. That went unsaid in my household, whether I was five or fifteen. They treated me, at times, as though I were that young, only allowing me responsibility when it came to nothing.

My mind wandered during the meal, thinking that this would be my last breakfast. This would be one of the last times I would see my mother’s smiling face or my father’s stern one, that I would never see if my younger brother or sister was like me or completely different. If they would follow my mother’s instructions, like and yet unlike me; or if they would be rebellious. This pregnancy was almost enough to make me change my mind about going to the castle and living out my dream. I knew I would be facing a lot of lasts today.

Eventually, I was broken out of my almost-trance when my father stood up suddenly and turned to leave, claiming to be late to work. He was a builder, helping to construct and plan new buildings for the town. It was an important job, one that paid well, but my father wasn’t one to flaunt his money, preferring to save it for what he deemed important, which wasn’t much.

Later that night, when my father returned, we converged for the evening meal, which was earlier than usual. I had managed to slip passionflower based solution- one that makes someone sleep- into each of their dishes when I made their plates. Once the ingredients passed through their body, they were harmless, the only effect making someone extremely tired. I had a supply from Henry, because otherwise our late nights would be in danger of being discovered. We ate in blessed silence until my mother interrupted it with a loud throat clearing sound. My father looked up at her in almost disgust, but she had his attention and mine by then.

“I would like to make the toast for tonight, if that is all right.” She held up her glass of wine to my father’s and they clinked them together. “To our great children, the one who is coming and the one we already have. May the Goddesses bless them for many generations.”

With that, the meal ended and I went up to my room to “get ready for bed”. In reality, I had to get ready for my nightly training with Henry. I was able to stay up all through the day and almost all night because I had never really developed the ability to sleep. Henry thought it was a side effect of my gift, that I fed off the energy of others, draining it in the process. He also thought that it was the same energy coming off from people that allowed me to 'persuade' them do to as I pleased, as though the energy of my body meshing with theirs caused some kind of a reaction.

I focused on memorizing the look of my room, all of the times I’d spent there, while I waited for the snores of my father to fill the house, usually taking only an hour or so once he settled down. Soon, they vibrated against the walls of the house, and I braced myself for what would be my last glimpse of my room. I grabbed my cloak, the papers from the secret compartment in my desk, and closed the window behind me softly as I exited.

I almost wanted one of my parents to wake up, to create some commotion, so I didn’t have a chance to leave, but I got a quiet getaway instead.

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