STILL NOT SURE ABOUT THE VOICE
Later on in the evening, I lay on my bed awake listening to the sounds of the crashing waves on the wooden surface of the ship. I may not admit it, but I amj scared of the fragility of the walls and the fear that the sea could engulf me at anyt given moment and any given time. So I watch the candle burning in the corner of my room with caution and anxiety until the wax and wick give way and I am led into black.
I wonder why we dream. Why us petty humans dream. Why do we see what will never exist. Why do we breathe lives and loves that’s only purpose are to cherish us in the folds of darkness. I’ve always loved to dream, to escape from the world and its conflicting flaws. It was not ideleness as Uncle was always quick to point out, but rather a haven where nothing could disturb me except me. I dream a bright dream on good occasions, where there is greenery and mountains (quite unlike the desserts I once called home). However, I never let myself be truley overwhelmed for the certainty for I require the certainty and stone to lean on. At the inn I would wait for the night, hope for the night; it was all I could look forward to in a menial and mundane lifestyle. I hated hiding from the men who would look at me like that and I hated the world in itself for being so goddamned inhumane.
Sadly, the dream fairy does not visit and so I lay on the cold wooden frame still, imagining a world like the ones in my subconscious. I can smell the pine trees and the grass and the snow...
“Argh.” Says a voice, interrupting me.
In the space of a few seconds I stand on the bare floorboards with the small dagger in my right hand aimed at a throat and a stricken match in the other. In the glow of the light I can make out a man with a grey piece of cloth wrapped around a strong jawline and a set of striking wide brown eyes lined with khol, with tufts of mousey hair sticking out. The man’s tunic is loose and rugged with a set of pouches at his hips and a long sheathed sword tucked in.
“Who are you?” I sneer, pushing the dagger to make the person aware of the threat I would pose. I guess I was a threat. Not much though. The only defence my uncle had taught me was to defend a roast from the burning of the fire, even when I asked him to teach me he simply shrouded me off and changed the subject.
I take a step back, befuzzeled by the bizarrely feminine voice that spoke. Perhaps I jumped too quick to conclusions, I think, as I take in the stranger once more. But before I can take the time to carefully study each limb and eye, the stranger jumps through the window and straight into the growling sea.
Pulling my hair into a quick braid I drop the dagger and climb out of the window with the intention of finding the stranger. But there is no sight of the person, not a single drop of blood or scream in the sea bed. Nothing.
The next morning I asked one of the older maids who came to my rooms to change the sheets, of the Stranger. She looked at me as if I was a blank wall l, though I did not take that to heart as I had been staring at her like one for the past few days.
“What? What, stranger?”
I waited for the Stranger that night but they did not come. Neither not the night after, nor the night after that. And so I forgot, like everything else, I forgot.
“Madam, there is to be a ball tonight. The owner of the ships will be there and he asks for every paying man and woman and child to attend. There is to be a grand feast and it is to be marvellous as it is every-year with dancing and jolliness and beauty. I heard the cooks aquirred a... Madam. Madam?”
The servant girl looks up at me, catching on to the fact I was not listening to her long and tedious tales of what happened outside my comfort. Her lips purse and for a moment there is a rather awkward silence which I have no motive of changing.
“But you will not go, will you? Coward. If I had the gold to pay for such a luxurious trip I would use it to my full extent not stay cooped up in my room ruining my eyes with thick books and numbing my hands with tapestries.”
I stand up and walk towards my satchel as she cowers.
“Madam, sorry. It is not in my right to judge you, Madam. Please forgive me,” she stammers, head down low, tucking the ginger hair back into her bonnet.
Realizing the hostility in my simple movements, I let out a smile and sigh. It would not kill me to go. And she was right, it was unhealthy for me to stay cooped up in my room for the full two weeks these travels would take.
“Fine. I will go,”
She runs up to me the colour returning to her cheeks and cuteness around her eager demeanour radiating from her petite body that makes me want to let out another smile.
“Oh. Madam! I can do your hair and I call Anne-Marie to help me. WAIT! What are you going to wear madam? You must have something to wear in...”
I put my finger on her lips and whisper, “For now one of the book characters have just died after tripping over the jar that another character dropped on the pavement and I cannot just leave it like that.”
Thankfully, she gets the message.
FIX THE GODDAMNED DESCRIPTION
Uncle told me to try not to look in the mirror for the image just brings more worries to one’s head but I can’t help but look in the looking glass Anne-Marie has given to me. After three hours of the ginger serving girl whose name I have learnt is Leila, I must admit the result is quite fascinating. My jet black curls have been let loose and pinned to stay behind my ears (after a series of complaints on my part); my brown eyes are lined with a green powder to match the sea green gown I wear and the pearled mask I have upon my head (borrowed from the remains of clothes in the laundry rooms).
I nod at them and let out another smile (I have to say, I am on a roll). With my dagger tucked into my hem secretly, I am led down the grand staircase and to a feast under the stars. The orchestra play the familiar again today, dressed in priestly robes of white. I had many requests to dance, though I did not for I was a terrible dancer and would very likelily push a fair man over the walls and into the sea.
That I had learnt the hard way. A few years back when I was younger and more adventurous, I had sneaked to the socials in the night at the town nearest to us. After a single failed dance, the man was lead to the local healer and I would never should my face to those poor souls again. Uncle did warn me. I didn’t listen but today I will listen to him. I should have always listened to him.
A wave of homesickness hits me with the gentle sea breeze. Uncle was always a friend to me more than an uncle. He never told me what to do, rather advised and he played an excellent game of cards with me. I wonder, what may have happened if he were born after, nearer to me. I wonder
DONT REVEAL TOO MUCH YOU IDIOT.
But today was no time to reflect, I had promised Leila that I would be merry. So how was I supposed to be merry? A young man with a black mask walks towards me from the food tables. I straighten my back and prepare myself to say no to a request of a dance.
“Miss, would you care for a dance?” He leans forward to take my hand but to his dismay I remain seated.
“ No.” I say bluntly, “No.”
“Why ever not, miss?” He remains by me, something I was not expecting and as I search for the best way to put this, the man takes the empty seat next to me. “I have all night.”
“I can not dance,” I let out a forced laugh to try to make this more of a laughing matter than one of my anxiety. But then he laughs, really laughs and so I stare at him with my eyebrows furrowed and arms crossed on my lap.
“But you.. you?”
And then as if this change of emotions was coming with the constant change of the wind, I giggled and he did the same. We got a couple of straying eyes from other couples but nothing mattered for the servant girl was right, I just needed some air.
“Amara. Just Amara,” I say.
“So Amara, what brings a pretty lady like you to sea? No family to take you? Who is your father? Your mother?”
My breathing quickened. Mother, father. I tried to search through my head but nothing came up, nothing but a big empty void. It can’t be. How can I never have noticed that I did not know of my mother and father. Surley uncle would have told me? No it just can not be.
“I.. I don’t know. I don’t know?”