“My mother?” Vera whispered in disbelief as Bertano grabbed the frozen woman into the castle. He quickly walked to the fireplace and set her down. She shivered and shook, her lips blue and cracked. Sephrine ( )ought in a multitude of colored blankets and wrapped the Queen up tight. With teeth chattering as she tried to speak, she stared at Vera in awe and somewhat in fear. Queen Veriphina didn’t reach out her hand or try to touch her daughter, knowing about the curse and Vera was thankful for that. It had taken most of her pre-teen to teenage years to get over the hateful thoughts and feelings towards her parents for leaving her to die. The least she wanted right now was a hug from this woman.
“I…heard your name…was Vera?” She said chattering her teeth as she spoke.
“Yes.” Vera said, not sure what else to say. She looked at Sephrine and Bertano for help, but they just shrugged their shoulders. “Why did you come here?” Vera’s tone was harsh and the hurt feelings made their way to the surface.
“I know I…left….you Vera, but,” The Princess cut her mother off a( )uptly.
“Yes, you left your baby girl to die, alone. I know the circumstances were tough and unknown, but Your Majesty, how could you?!” Vera stood up now and paced the room, trying not to let her emotions completely take over. She ( )eathed in and out and settled herself. The Queen slowly sat up, wrapping the blankets around herself; the color in her cheeks somewhat returning.
“Vera she came all this way in a blizzard to probably tell you something important. The least you can do is sit and listen and then you can ask some questions.” Sephrine said, always the voice of reason.
“But, Ma, I have so many questions.” Vera nearly whined. Sephrine smiled at her daughter and hugged her tightly. A small gasp came from Veriphina. “Yes I can be touched, Queen, without someone dying. If you would have stuck around maybe you could have figured that out too.” Vera spoke with venom. Tears flooded the Queen’s eyes and she hung her head in what seemed like shame.
“Please listen to your mother’s dying words, Vera.” Vera looked at the woman again with a more softened look. “Yes, I have been ill for some time and I needed to come back and tell you some things that I hope will help. So, please listen.” Veriphina smiled and she was a lovely lady. It took away all the lines and wrinkles on her worn face and made her look young again, that smile.
“Ok, I shall listen, Queen.” Vera spoke softly as she sat closer. Veriphina looked like she was going to back away, but didn’t. “First, however, only my hands are fatal if I touch someone.” Vera held up her gloved hands. This settled the woman and she smiled slightly in embarrassment.
“Your Father and I have been separated almost since we left here. I was not aware that we had left you behind until I was in a carriage miles away from here. The King didn’t want me to know about anything, but when I said I would leave him for good, he told me everything.” She closed her tired eyes and shook her head, obviously remembering. “I learned much of my King that day. Almost too much. He had a mistress on the side that I was not aware of. He was always in my line of sight and always so loving that I never suspected anything. When I became pregnant, he said he stopped seeing her and realized what a fool he had been. Renaldo wanted to be a good husband and father and was excited. One day, the mistress came to him and said that he would pay for scorning her and tossing her aside like their relationship meant nothing. He didn’t think anything of this threat, but he didn’t know this temptress was a dark elf with powers beyond what we think are natural. When you arrived, he knew this was her doing. He didn’t know what to do and we ran away from you, our kingdom. He was so distraught that he wasn’t reasoning properly. I was so horrified by this story, that the next day I ran away from him and lived my life like a gypsy. I do not have a home and I haven’t come back here out of fear and rejection from you. But I am dying and I wanted to see you once in my lifetime and explain this small story.” She then touched Vera’s gloved hand slowly. A tear fell from Vera’s face and for once something was explained. “I’m sorry I didn’t come back for you. I guess it takes the threat of death to face your biggest regrets.”
“I don’t know what to say.” The Princess was torn and didn’t know if any forgiveness was in her heart to give to this woman. None of this curse was her fault and yet she had been left alone to suffer through it. “I don’t think I can forgive this, this abandonment.”
“I didn’t ask for it, my love. I had to come before I died. I had to see you.” She coughed a rough, hacking wet gurgle. Blood spewed from her lips and she continued. Sephrine quickly ( )ought a cloth and water to wash it away.
“Don’t go! Not yet, I’ve just met you! Please, Veriphina. Where is the King and do you know the name of this mistress?” The Queen blotted her bloody lips.
“I do not know where your father is. The name of the mistress was Trima,” More coughing ensued and no amount of cloths could contain the blood. “I am going now, I” Vera clutched at her mother’s limp body, “I am glad, I lov-“ The light left her eyes. Vera hugged her tightly and cried softly.
“I wish I could say it back,” Vera spoke quietly, “I wish I could.” Sephrine placed a gentle hand on Vera’s shoulder.
“I know you do sweetie, and I think she knew that too.” The sadness hung in the dark air and nothing could disperse it. “I’ll leave you for a bit, unless?”
“Yes please, Ma.” Vera spoke through her tears. Sephrine and Bertano left the room quickly. “Why? Why did you have to come back? I could have lived my life with my real parents here and never known what happened!” Now her anger took over and she ranted at her mother’s body as if it could hear her.
“Vera, I thought you wanted to know and maybe you can find Trima and get this curse removed.” A shimmer of light appeared before her and the image of the Queen in royal garb stood stoically. Vera wanted to shriek, but held her hands to her mouth to silence herself. “I didn’t mean to startle you. It seems I still have more to say, otherwise I would have passed on by now.” Veriphina stated simply as if nothing were strange or peculiar.
“Ok, you’re dead and you have more to tell me?” Vera stared at the glowing apparition of her mother, the Queen. She was amazingly beautiful and so elegant. Why would her stupid father cheat on her in the first place?
“Go to the forests of the Woodland Elves. They have a staff that belonged to Trima. They stole it from her when she tried destroying their home. It will have some kind of connection to her and from there maybe you can find her, but please, my little lamb, don’t get hurt.” The apparition touched Vera’s face, it tingled with an icy coldness. She back away, still a little upset and confused as to what had happened in the last two hours of this evening.
“Do not call me that. I am not your daughter in heart, you know nothing of me. You haven’t been here at all. Don’t think just because you come and tell me everything you know and die in my lap that changes anything, it doesn’t.” The vile words spilled out of her mouth before she could catch them tumbling out.
“I know and I am sorry, Vera. I only wish for you to become a normal Princess to rule my Beloved Greshire. I want it to flourish again and grow. You shall become a fine Queen.” And with those parting words the spirit left, leaving Vera to fall to her knees in sheer exhaustion from the information that had been thrown at her.
“Me, become normal? Is it possible? Should I even try?” Vera looked at the colorful walls and wondered what to do next. She stepped over to her mother’s lifeless form and ( )ushed her ( )own hair out of her face. “Mother, you sure do know how to turn someone’s life upside down.”