“Zephina!” I shouted.
“Amara!” she shouted back.
“Oh for God’s sake, stop doing that,” Elias said, twisting on the door handle once again. When it became clear it was locked, he tried to kick it and then with Zephina and I added together. But it was stone. Thick cold stone. As I looked closer, it became visible that there were no windows, nothing.
Almost like a prison cell but with less hope.
I leant against the door, head down.
“I’m sorry. I should have never dragged the two of you into this. I was selfish.”
Zephina for once did not say anything, instead standing hands behind her back, facing the wall but Elias walked up to my sorry sight. “It isn’t your fault.”
“Get off me.” I removed his deathly cold hand, not wanting his pity. But it was wasn’t it? This was all my fault. Everything we were doing was for Ximena’s past mistakes, and as much as I wanted to deny it I was essentially Ximena. It was my duty to fix this, not anyone else. I was not going to bring Zephina to her death when I could not physically die. Wait, I could not physically die and neither could Elias.
I jumped up and begun to bang on the door, “General. We are guilty! General. Captain Woodfied, we are guilty,” I hooted as loud as I possibly could. I could see Elias looking at me questioningly through the back of my eye but thankfully he didn’t interrupt.
The handle on the door turned and in came a sneering Woodfield armed with two daggers and the General Burswlaw at his side, red as a cherry tomato. It didn’t look good on her. But then she always seemed to look like something was behind her back.
“Kill them, starting with her,” she shouted, pointing one plump finger at me. I swear I think I saw Woodfield jump when she spoke.
“Stop!” I said, “A final request. Guess who I am?”
“I have no time to play jokes and games,” she said, unnerved. I raised a hand and shaked my hand.
“Look at me. Who am I?” I repeated. Something seemed to have clicked, because she grew even redder and her eyes widened.
“Get out. WOODFIELD OUT,” she shouted as he leant back and cowered out of the room. She came up to me and pulled the copper coloured wig off of my hair to release my long black curls. I waited for her to speak. She would have known ximena. I would have worked with her a lifetime ago, she was old enough to have known me, almost 80.
But instead of the wonder reaction I was growing to expect, she pulled out the hand on her side and slapped me across the cheak.
“Don’t you dare try to be Ximena.”
I clasped my face.
“But I am Ximena.”
“And you are, how old?” she sneered. Obviously she had a point, but I wasn’t going to back down.
“Older than you.”
“Prove it then Ximena.”
I thought. How could I tell her I had forgotton. This was a stupid, foolish plan.
Just as I was about to surrender, Elias walked up by my side.
“An xana. Tristan. Yes. Tristan,” Elias breathed out quietly but it caught her attention. She froze and for a substantial amount of time I didn’t see her blink or move or show any signs of humanity as if Elias had pulled her soul out and left her to rot.
Maybe that is exactly what he did. Perhaps she had a deep dark secret that Ximena would have knwon and told her closest person, her lover. I wanted to know terribly, the curiousity biting like the snow on bare skin. I felt Zephinas breath behind my back. She was also listening. She was also just as interested.
Perhaps after around a minute she nodded gravely.
“No... How..You can’t have? Please don’t tel.” she cracked, her voice a complete opposite to what it had been a minute ago. It was as if we had swapped the roles she had been quick to define. We were now the leader and she was nothing but a hound ready to be put off for slaughter. If only she knew the real story. Nevertheless, I had underestimated our relationship and I would use this to our advantage.
“We are in a hurry. Take us to the gate,” I said in my fake queen authoritative voice, waving my arms in a way I imagined an authoritative person would do. She didn’t say another word, nodding and taking us past a number of guards without a single question. I held my head high as we walked through the hallways, noticing that everyone seemed to cower at the sight of the general. Perhaps it was that emotionless voice she used. I needed to learn how to do that.
The further in we went inside the fortress, the heavier guarded it became. First there was one guard per door then two and now ten. The last door was visibly older than the other polished wood ones throughout the area. It had engravings around it, ancient engravings with chipped burnt stone against one side and polished ice against the other. This door was the one and not only could I tell by its shape and form but also because of the sheer number of men around it from one corner of the room to the other. There were people like bats on the high stone ceilings and people on the strong stained glassed windows, perched like birds. Whatever was inside must have scared the world a hell of a lot to make them do this.
No-one protected an area, a door so fiercly unless what was inside the door had the power to destroy the world. I gulped. Whereever I was taking Zephina and Elias, it definitely wasn’t going to be pretty. We didn#t even know what to do nect, but we would do what we did best, making it up as we go along.
“Open the door.” Shouted the general from across the room. The men flinched and reach for the red doorknob.
Captain Woodfield ran in, panting heavily with a letter in his hand.
“Leave Woodfield,” snarled the general and though he did flinch he didn’t move.
“A letter General,” he said hurriedly as if he wanted the whole experience to just end.
The general turned to face him. “Now is not the time...”
“But is from the king. About them.”
“You read my letters WOODFIELD,” she spat in his face, snatching the red envelope from his hand and inspecting it’s broken gold and red king’s seal. Zephina sniggered from behind me and I was half tempted to do the same, had the impatience his actions had caused not been biting at my forehead.
You must allow Amara and her companions inside the gate on royal orders.
The general looked up at her captain and shot daggers into his whimpering eyes. “I knew this. Now leave.”
He took one last look at me, a jealous look, as if he wanted the attention the general was giving me and stumbled out of the room.