Vera paced back and forth at the foot of her bed. “Gosh, why did I say I was leaving? I’m so stupid; totally blew my cover. Stupid, stupid, stupid!” She yelled at herself. How was she going to escape now? Her bedroom was the whole third floor of the castle, too high up to climb off her balcony. Vera walked over to the glass doors that had been locked now and tried peering down. “Yes, far too high. Ugh!” She threw her gloved hands in the air in exasperation. Sephrine entered the room wearing clothing that covered her whole body; the only skin that was exposed was her face. Vera realized the dwarf was scared of her now, she had locked the elf up. What does a caged animal do? Attack to be free. Something inside Vera stirred, like the instinct to flee and whatever got in her way would be pushed aside. The Princess squelched that feeling away, scared of it. She was not familiar with the feeling to harm another being, but she feared if she didn’t try something soon it may not end well for her. Now was not the time to attack and Vera plopped herself on her bed as Sephrine laid a plate of food down. The dwarf looked at her carefully and slowly backed away. “Why are you doing this? It has to do with Trima doesn’t it?” Sephrine pulled up a chair with a face devoid of emotion. Vera was so confused. How could this woman be so loving and caring one second and then like this another? Was this the woman that raised her? No, this was the real Sephrine. Bile came up her throat and Vera felt ill.
“Yes. I will only tell you if you promise you won’t try to attack. I will inflict no harm on you either as long as you don’t try to fight.” Vera only nodded and tried not to sob. This was so draining and tiring. “After everyone left the kingdom, we were on our way out too. A dark haired elf with sun-kissed skin approached us at the edge of the kingdom. She told us if we went back and cared for you, the palace with its riches, the kingdom would be ours. She told us on your eighteenth birthday she would return for you and everything like she promised would be ours for the taking. How could two servant dwarves refuse? We got to live here and then keep it, what a deal! Just to take care of you." She said it so simply like taking care of her and loving her was nothing important. This infuriated Vera and that boiling feeling crept up on her again; the urge to hurt and escape. “That is the end of your fairytale dear.” Vera squeezed her hands into fists and tried to remain calm.
“You never loved me then. This was all about what you were getting.” Sephrine fidgeted in her seat and stood to leave. “No emotion whatsoever for me? How can you raise a child with so much care and not at least feel the slightest bit of love? Everything you did for me, every little detail. You let me cry on your shoulder when I felt utterly alone and comforted me every step of the way. Was it only for the money and wealth?” With every poignant question Sephrine cringed. Vera was breaking down a wall. “You and Bertano never had a child, correct? So, it was perfect even if it was only for eighteen years.”
“Shut up child.” Sephrine hissed, “We’ve come too far to just let you waltz out of here. Do you know what Mistress Trima will do if we let you go?” Vera was trying not to grin at her cleverness. This was working.
“I would assume she’d kill you. Why is she waiting for my eighteenth birthday anyhow?” Vera questioned some more pushing the dwarf’s limits.
“I do not know what Mistress plans, we were only told what to do. Now enough questions, eat.” Vera plucked at her food while Sephrine sat and stared out at the snowy day. She seemed lost in thought. The Princess wanted to hold and comfort her; she was so sad. You would think a villain would be overjoyed that their payday was coming soon. Vera finished up her plate. Noticing the princess was done, Sephrine got up and took it. Just before she left Vera spoke again.
“We could all leave together. Run away from Trima, live somewhere else.” Vera somewhat pleaded.
“The Mistress would find you. She knows where you are at all times, child.” The dwarf said softly as she left the room, locking the door behind her. Vera sighed and busied herself with kindling a fire in her fireplace. She usually was downstairs enjoying the fire, but she was stuck in her room. Sephrine did love Vera that was obvious by her demeanor when asked those questions. But the dwarf knew all these years with her adoptive child were meaningless and in the end the wealth wasn’t worth anything. Vera removed her gloves and looked at the palms of her hands; they were tingling and the veins were getting darker under her alabaster skin. Vera had learned long ago when she skinned her knee that her blood wasn’t red like it should be, it was inky black. She was colorless inside and out. Sephrine was very cautious anytime Vera was clumsy and hurt herself and made sure she never touched the elf’s blood, fearful of what might happen. She squeezed her hands into fists again and the tingling itchiness stopped. The veins still didn’t disappear under her skin and they pulsed, but it didn’t hurt. What was this feeling? Vera never had this happen before with her hands, they were normally dormant. She hadn’t touched anything living, well, she couldn’t remember. She had a tree in the corner of her room that Bertano had planted in a huge pot a couple years ago. Wondering if she should test her power, she slowly walked over to it. Before she placed her hand on it she whispered:
“I’m so sorry.” Her palm pulsed and the tree within seconds shriveled and died, its green leaves now brown and dry falling to the floor. Vera slumped to the floor beside the tree and apologized again for the meaningless death. She shouldn’t have done it, but now she knew how powerful her touch was. Pulling her gloves back on, she went back in front of the fire, staring at its licking flames as it danced. The nagging feeling of getting out of this castle was hitting her hard. There was a reason for this feeling; something bad was going to happen to her and soon. Her eighteenth birthday loomed ahead and instead of it being a happy day with vanilla bean cake as was tradition, it seemed ominous and scary. This is what she hated; the feeling of being alone, so alone. A clicking sound started from her balcony window. Vera ignored it, but it continued and more frequently. She got out of her bundle of colorful blankets to go look outside and as soon as she did the glass shattered. Vera shrieked and tried to block the flying glass from hitting her, but a piece grazed her cheek. A very tall figure hurled himself over the balcony railing, his blonde shoulder length hair whipping around his face. “Who the hell are you?” Vera was done with royal manners at this point and time.
“Sorry, love, we don’t have time for niceties, I’m sure the dwarves heard that. Let’s go.” He held out his big hand and smiled brightly, his light blue eyes sparkling. Was she dreaming? Did a handsome Prince come for her? “Are you deaf, woman? We gotta go!” Ok not a Prince. Without a second thought, Vera pulled out her satchel and headed towards the balcony. “Ah perfect, you packed. More money for Ale at the pub.”
“Oh nothing, c’mon!” Those blue eyes, Vera couldn’t resist. She grabbed her navy blue coat and pulled it on. He grabbed hold of the rope that dangled off the balcony rail and started down. She stood there and wondered if that was the only way down. “Get your royal hind end in gear, Princess.”
“Excuse me? How dare you talk to me like that! Rude!” Vera shouted at him as she clumsily made her way down the rope in her gown, trying not to look down. They were really high up.
“Shhh! The midgets will hear you!” The man said in a hushed tone. Vera was confused and baffled at the unfolding of events. “We need to get into hiding, c’mon.” He held out his hand again and Vera went to reach for it, but stopped even though it was gloved. The blonde man sighed and marched on. The Princess stopped to look back at her home. Tears welled up that she hadn’t known were coming. She blubbered and was caught in her sobs as the man yanked on her hand to pull her away, the glove came off, which frightened Vera and she fell backwards. He went to catch her but she let herself fall in case she touched him by accident. As she lay there in the pile of snow and dirt, she sobbed. “I know this is hard, but please trust me. Your mother told me to come and get you if you hadn’t left in a few days of her coming here. It’s important not to let Trima get ahold of you. My name is Lukas; I was a friend of your mother’s. She saved my life and this is what I’m doing to pay her back.” Vera got up, wiping the tears from her face. She found the glove and put it back on.
“Ok Lukas, first things first, if you don’t want to die don’t touch me.”