I LITERALLY HATE WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN. FIX IT FUTURE ME (THAT IS MY CATCHPHRASE NOW)
DESCRIPTIONS ON THE NECKLACE (REQUIRES MORE THOUGHT)
I nodded. “Yes. You could.” There was no point in denying the fact. He had the power in the room, he had the army and the money. I may have been Queen long ago, but he was king now. So I tried my best not to do anything with the clenched fists behind my gown and smiled, hoping it was just a phase.
Thankfully it was just a phase. He stopped and changed rather like the weather of Faecham, the furrowed brows converting into lines of worry and regret.
I was tempted to do something with that mouth of mine. To say something snarky and snide. But then I thought. I was going to be the better person, I was going to set the example. So my head nodded and I turned towards the door, getting ready to leave these echoing hallways, until Zephina rushed in.
“You idiot! Where the hell have you been! We have been looking for you for forever.” She said, hugging onto me so tightly that the breath from my lungs became laboured. Elias followed in and she released me thankfully.
The king watched us carefully, arms crossed until he realised I was doing just the same. Elias and he exchanged glances. “Amara, you may search your room. I never touched it. Elias would not allow me.”
We were led through the private wing of the castle, Zephina quite obviously gasping at the sight of the sheer amount of rubys and gold. Elias produced a key and opened a rusty lock at the end of the corridors. We must have been at the edge of the hill, which would mean that the view from the windows on this side of the castle would be even more spectacular than that in where I had come from.
I prepared myself for whatever I would see. As I took my first step in, it became clear that there was nothing special. Just dust layered upon layer of wooden floorboards, and expensive looking faded royal red bed sheets and a oak beaureau. There was nothing personal. Nothing to reveal anything about Ximena.
“My father told me you were not a very personal person.” He said as if seeing the disappointment on my face. Zephina squeezed my hand and gave me an encouraging smile.
“Elias, was Ximena close with you?” I asked, to which he nodded.
The king spoke for him, out of my annoyance, “Elias and you where the best of friends. Inseperable and so very in love.”
I ignored what he said.
“Elias, tell me then. What was Ximena like? Was she secretive?” I said to which Elias nodded once again, “What was she hiding?”
Elias looked at me sadly, “I can’t tell you. I can’t even think about telling you.”
I ‘ohed’ and examined the room once more. They were all missing something. Something very very stupid. “This is the southernmost tip of the castle?”
“Yes. The gardens here are...”
I raised my hand and he stopped. I did not need to listen to him go on about nothing. “So why is it that there are no windows? Surley it would be very stupid to not have windows on such a view?”
Zephina ran up to the wall and knocked twice, “It is hollow. There is something on the other side.”
I ran my fingers over the red brick wall, there was a notch and without thought rested my hand on it. Then the floor shook and the wall split in two to reveal a small enclosed glass room, overlooking the city and just big enough to fit the three of us.
“Now this is what Ximena was like. She didn’t need anyone’s help to do anything.” Elias said but I was too busy searching through the room with Zephina. It looked as though everything was burnt for there were ashes and soot staining what must have been a pretty room.
“Elias. Why is everything burnt?” I said in annoyance.
“He can’t speak.” Zephina blurted. Elias was right, I didn’t need his help to do anything. I could do this myself. With newfound independence, I lay on the floor assessing each floorboard for any holes or crooks like the wall but nothing came to mind. But then I looked up and saw a glittering glass chandelier and as I squinted with the sunlight, I realised there were no candles. Why would someone have no candles. This whole room was glass, like a whitewashed hospital, sterile and far from home which suggested Ximena was far too orderly and took too much pride in her cleaning. That would mean that she would have had the candles in the light besides, there were no other light sticks or lamps. There would be no point of it practically otherwise.
I reached for the chandelier by instinct using the glass chair in the room, pulling it down piece by piece and throwing it into Zephina’s ready arms. And then I twisted out the cup in which the big candle and wick should have sat to reveal a necklace. It was a silver necklace with blue crystals on its back and the shape of a dying tree on its front. Rather like Leila’s.
Ok I know my description is terrible. That can be fixed. Sorry. I hate the bit above.
“What is that?” said the king who was leaning on the doorway.
I was about to ask Elias. But then I remembered he couldn’t answer. Could he? He could never answer. That damned fiancé. It was ironic the way he had been cursed. Whatever had been Ximena’s grand plan had terribly backfired on her. The only person who could help when she was gone, would be dumb and mute. I bet she never thought she would one day regret using black witches magic to curse her lover into silence. That made me wonder: how could the Emrys make her so scared and dangerous that she couldn’t trust the man who shared her bed? If it was that dangerous then I must fix what I had done, if not to keep everyone safe, then for Zephina’s life.
“It is an amulet. From the magic lands. The xana’s amulet. But.. but it is different to those I have seen. It has a tree on it and it colder. A hell of a lot colder.” Says Zephina snatching the amulet out of my hands.
“I’m sorry I don’t think we have been introduced,” said the king with a glint in his eyes. Zephina walked up to him to shake his hand.
“The Stranger, killer of Mr Dove, Lord Gerest, Harry Borsnow, the list goes on,” Elias and the King gasped and Zephina grinned, and said in her male voice, “Come any closer to me, and I will add you to that.”
I coughed, trying to fix the gaps Zephina had just left. Silence annoyed me, it reminded me of the dark and oblivion. I didn’t like the silence.
“I think I must leave for the magic lands,” I said in my authoritative voice.
“You.” Scoffed Zephina, hand on hips simultaneously with a whisper from Elias,
“Yes, I. No buts.”
I spoke to Zephina first.
“My Stranger, you are done with owing me. Please leave. This is not your problem, this is mine.”
“Elias, I am not yours, I do not love you. I am not Ximena. Who you loved is simply a whisper in time. It is no good for both of us for you to stay... Besides, you being here and knowing everything makes me angry and frustrated. As you said, I don’t need you.”
They both said nothing that night, so I prepared for the journey, taking a hefty number of the gold and jewels without permission from my nephew. It hadn’t occurred to me that he would care. As I left on the first cart to the Ghreer (the borders between the three countries and the gateway to the magic land), I had familiarized myself with the decision I had made.
However, as with every time I had tried to leave, Zephina followed with a mighty entrance.
I was holding the long sword studded with pretty pink quart I had ‘borrowed’ from the gold reserves. It felt misshapen and I didn’t like the weight of it in my hands but it would have do. On the window came a knocking, three times. I drew open the curtains to reveal a horse with my stranger and Elias riding upon it like two assassins of the night.
Tutting, I climbed over the wood and fell onto another black stallion. “You two...” I scolded, rolling my eyes.
“A private ride for you Queenie.” Said my Stranger, laying a kiss upon my hand.
“Go back, now!” I said, though I knew it would be of no help. Zephina was as constant as the sun and the stars. I didn’t know of Elias, thought. “Elias. Go back. We have no use of you.”
“No.” He smiled, “Nope. I need to be there when you see. Just think of me as hitching a lift to the future.”
I rolled my eyes once more, this time in more annoyance. I wanted to kick that smile of his face, but it wasn’t appropriate now. Not now. So I ignored him.
“Oh just the usual. Stole some horses from the royal stables (only the best for you). Then we got caught but the king let us keep the horses. And Elias over here, actually does have a use. He can judge the stars. He is our guide.”
“We can get our way round just fine.” I said bluntly. The cook looked down, not meeting my glares.
“But Amara, you are terrible at giving directions!” moaned Zephina.
“Fine. Fine. He can stay.” I said.