BY: WRITTEN (A.M.G)
The Jorah Saga
With a sharp intake of breath, Vorrell bolted up placing a trembling hand over her drumming heart. Despite her two and twenty years of life, waking up got harder every day. To be so abruptly torn from the bright lights and colors she craved was maddening. Her whole life was lived in darkness and it was beginning to weigh on her.
Reaching up, Vorrell gingerly ran her fingers over the scars where her eyes should be. She had every line, rough patch and bump of scar tissue memorized. She had once overheard her mother saying if not for the scars, her face would be fair and void of all blemishes. But Vorrell wouldn’t know, she had never seen herself. The image of herself she had created in her mind was based solely on how others perceived and described her. She hated that most of all.
Exhaling a deep, calming breath all of Vorrell’s senses stirred and she slowly began taking in the world around her. She inhaled the sweet smell of freshly baked plum bread and the savory aroma of spiced wooll rabbit and pomegranate stuffed sun crabs. Her stomach gave an approving rumble of the cooks’ breakfast choices. Mingling with the flavorful smells wafting up from the palace kitchens were the fragrant perfumes of the flaming orah roses and blue-petal midnight owls outside blooming on the ivy arched around her open terrace door.
The deep bellow of the fire crane broke the morning silence signaling that the first rays of dawn were on the horizon. Vorrell slid out of bed, her deep magenta hair flowing freely down her body stopping with a slight wave mid-calf. The coolness of the marble floor beneath her bare feet sent a small shiver through her body as she walked out on the terrace where she was greeted by a gentle breeze that brushed against her ivory cheeks and playfully weaved in and out of her hair.
Vorrell stood silently listening as Jorah woke up around her. Somewhere on the palace grounds a swarm of bees were pollinating flowers, the local fisherman were bringing carts loaded with their morning catch to market, the baker’s rolling pin was dutifully kneading dough and someone was walking down the hall to her room. She may not be able to see what’s going on around her, but she could hear, smell, and feel what others could not. As the sounds of Jorah reached her, the darkness surrounding her cleared a little and hazy, dark grey shapes and outlines formed in her mind. That was all she ever saw of the world and Vorrell was unwilling to accept it.
Inhaling the sweet scent of the flowers blooming outside her room one last time, she returned to her room and leisurely walked over to the door. Placing her hand on the large, ornately wood handle, she paused for a moment before opening it.
“Oh, you’re awake,” Vorrell smirked at the surprise in her sister’s voice. “I wasn’t sure if you would be coming. I … I umm ... I know how much you disapprove, Vorrell. But I can’t do this if you’re not there.”
“Qasette,” Vorrell reached out and grabbed her sister’s trembling hands. “I’ll be standing right next to you.”
“Thank you!” Vorrell staggered backwards as Qasette’s body hit hers bringing her in for an unexpected embrace. “I really appreciate this. And I won’t forget. Ever.”
Vorrell gently peeled her sister off of her then placed a soft kiss on her forehead. “I don’t know how you do it, Qasette. Today you are marrying a man you don’t even know and all you can think about is whether or not I’ll be there.”
Turning from her sister, Vorrell walked over to her vanity and sat down. Picking up her hairbrush she began running it through her tangled hair. “Well,” Qasette took the brush from her hand and begin brushing. “I understand the reason behind it. You and Edrenn have seen that something is about to happen and Jorah needs protection. So, I am being married to Prince Dain Raebourne. His country has the largest and most revered military power on this side of the world. It seems logical to me.”
“Logical?” Vorrell slammed her fist against the vanity. “Qasette you are nothing but a pawn. You are being used to gain military power and I …”
“You,” Qasette cupped her sister’s chin, “Are always on display and forever revered. But will never be allowed to really live. Some birthrights we have, huh?”
“Yeah,” Vorrell sighed. “You would think being royalty would be easier.” She forced a smile on her face. “Anyways, you look lovely. The most beautiful hazy, grey blob I’ve ever seen.”
Qasette’s soft, melodious laugh filled the room. “I’m not even dressed.”
Vorrell grinned. “I know, I can hear. You’re still in your nightgown. How scandalous of you to be flouncing around the palace at the break of dawn in hardly anything. What do you think your betrothed would have said if you came across him?”
Vorrell felt her sister stiffen. “It probably would have been just a couple syllables long. He is very stoic and hard to read. I’m afraid I don’t know a lot about men.”
“You’re only nine and ten, Qasette.” Vorrell replied. “I suppose that’s something that comes with time. Besides, a man of five and sixty should be stoic.”
“Five and sixty,” Qasette chuckled. “You very well know Dain is two and thirty.”
“Hmm,” Vorrell shrugged. “If you ask me he is getting the better end of the deal. We may be getting a vast army, but he is getting a sweet, kind and beautiful princess thirteen years his junior.”
As the last words left Vorrell’s mouth, a thick, uneasy silence filled the room. Vorrell sat silently as Qasette placed her brush back on to the vanity before kneeling beside her and taking hold of her hand. “Vorrell, have you seen anything?”
Confused, Vorrell turned towards her. “What do you mean?”
Qasette nervously cleared her throat. “About Dain. Have you seen anything about our life together?”
“I uh,” Vorrell took a deep breath to steady herself. “No. But every time he sees you his heart beats a little faster. I’ve heard it. It’s very loud.”
As Qasette placed a small kiss on her cheek, Vorrell could feel the smile on her face. “I better go.”
“Yes,” Vorrell squeezed her hand reassuringly. “Mother is looking for you. I can hear her. I think she is about to call for the royal guard.”
“Okay,” Qasette dropped her sister’s hand and left her room. Vorrell listened as she walked back to her rooms where she did her best to calm a rather frantic queen.
“I’ve never thought of you as a liar, Vorrell.”
“Edrenn?” Vorrell rose, turning in the direction of the Seeress’s voice. “I didn’t hear you come in.”
“I came through the gardens. Sorry to startle you.”
“Hmm,” Vorrell brushed past her out on to the balcony. “Why am I a lair?”
Vorrell didn’t need to see her mentor to know that there was a knowing smile on her face. “Sometimes omitting the truth is just as bad as lying. Don’t you think so?”
Vorrell shook her head. “No. She needed to hear something true and reassuring. So that’s what I gave her. Besides, you told me I needed to do everything within my power to make sure she would go through with this marriage.”
“I did,” Edrenn walked over to Vorrell placing a heavy hand on her shoulder. “But I never told you to lie. You’re an Oracle, Vorrell. You’re supposed to tell the truth.”
“The truth,” Vorrell shrugged Edrenn’s hand off her shoulder, “Sometimes is best left unsaid.”
“No,” Edrenn grabbed both of the young Oracle’s hands. “She deserves to know. She needs to be prepared for—“
“For what?” Hissed Vorrell as she broke Edrenn’s hold. “Death? Destruction? If this wedding happens all that will follow is blood. Blood, Edrenn. All I see is blood.”