Writing With A Backward Hand
I think it's foolish. Sirenna just announced her engagement to Rovland, crown prince of Hilania, our neighboring kingdom. Crown Princesses and Princes don't mix. They are saying that when the time comes, in other words, when our parents die, they will unite the two kingdoms into one. I guess we'll see what comes of that. In the mean time I'll make my way back to the celebration. I still believe it's foolish.
Tamira was seated with her back against a tree, leaning over and writing vigorously in the book on her lap. The tips of her fingers, all the way up to the knuckles were black with ink, and she still held the quill firm. When the quill met the paper in the book the writing turned a midnight blue, then seeped in and turned dark red. Long, wavy blonde hair was billowing everywhere and not surprisingly met with ink on the pages, as well as the hands that tried to push it away. Suddenly she snapped the book closed, watching it quickly vanish in her hands. Then with one quick motion she was standing up and in a brisk run towards the castle in the distance. Tamira brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes, not seeming to care that it was streaked with crimson.
Two kings and two queens were standing and conversing in the middle of the ballroom where a comparatively small celebration was taking place. Tamira strode in through the crowd of servants, a mild, yet slightly sour expression on her flawless face.
"Oh Tamira isn't it grand? Our sister is getting married, and to a prince! He's quite handsome, don't you agree?"
Her younger sister Raemony bounded up to her, blue eyes bright.
"His hair is too black, his eyes are too green, and upon closer inspection I believe I even spied specks of yellow. No, most certainly not what I'd look for."
She was turning to walk away when Rae popped up again and formed circles around her eyes with her hands.
"And just how did you make your 'Closer inspection'?"
Tamira turned back at her almost ridiculous looking sister to reply,
"A telescope Rae, a telescope." And with those sarcastically tipped words still hanging in the air she slipped away from her sisters' questioning.
The room was full, conversation heavy, and she was bored. Parties had never been something to enjoy, it was more of a necessary evil that popped up at unexpected intervals. It was getting to the point where she was even considering sitting down and writing how uneventful her life was when she felt a tap on her shoulder.
"I've been looking for you!"
She glanced backwards at a man about four inches taller, with rich brown hair and dark blue eyes.
He held out his hand, palm up.
"My name is Karvic, I'm Rovland's younger brother."
She took his hand, but brought it vertically down in a handshake.
"Yes, Sirenna was telling us about you."
"Oh, like what?"
Karvic smiled lightly.
"Good things, I assure you."
"And if they were bad I wouldn't care either, as long as it was true."
After laughing he changed the subject,
"How about this wedding?
She lowered her head as if pondering, then replied,
"You wouldn't want to hear what I think."
"And how would you know? Tell me and we'll see."
"All right, when the time comes that both kingdoms need a ruler is when there will be flaws in this seemingly perfect plan. Trying to join the two will prove to be more difficult than anticipated and we will end up staying in the middle for a long time, not two kingdoms and not one. This will merely result in a shallow, weak kingdom which will soon be taken over."
Karvic just stood and absorbed her information, finally snapping out a few seconds later.
"You pay way too much attention to what won't be here for some time! And how are you so sure that the merging will not go along? And you realize in that question I was referring more to my brother and your sister. But maybe you're just jealous?"
"I may be wrong in my predictions, but one thing I'm definitely not is jealous. And concerning them as a couple? I really couldn't say, but if you give me a few days I can give you my full report."
"I'm sure you could, but I'll pass. You'd just tell me how incompatible they were and how in exactly 2.35 years they will be at each other's throats."
He grinned widely, and Tamira took a few steps away, then glanced back.
"I'd better make an assessment non-the-less, for my own well being."
The time of truth has come, my father has just died and Sirenna and her husband are coming over here to start the joining of the kingdoms. It's a weird feeling, almost like someone just bumped you up a notch in rank. We're the next generation and even though I'm not queen the people still look up to me more. But if I were to choose a position in life I'd be the 9-year-old daughter of a middle class peasant. At that still innocent age I could ride my fathers horses around the countryside, free and wild with no rules to hold me. We can do much, but rewinding time and situations is not one of them. So I will have to walk my current strait path, but I feel it will begin to weave and swerve soon here. My feet can feel it in the ground.
Now was the time of darkness, and everyone was tucking in for the night in his or her apartment like rooms of the castle. A slowly flickering light was left on in Tamira's room; she was sound asleep with a book on her chest. Soon everyone, including the servants, was caught up in the grip of the night. If sleep had not yet overtaken you, you would be able to hear the sound of shattering glass.
They have been here a week now, and surprisingly everything is going better than I expected. Sirenna took ill yesterday, and today Rovland seems to be under the weather as well. But both of them being sick at about the same time is expected, they are still able to proceed as planned, it seems to be a mild illness. Karvic has also just arrived today, although I really don't understand why. He's the type that can grow on ones nerves, being everywhere you wish them not to be.
Sirenna's voice was slow and cautious, almost pressing on each word as if it could break. And then there was Rovland's in reply to hers, deep and defined, he knew what he wanted to say. Tamira was sitting at the same table, with her eyes closed and mind open to the conversation. But it was going nowhere, and she could see that her presence was no longer needed so she quietly exited. While walking down the hallways she noticed the stones on the floor, they were beautiful when you looked at them individually, but with so many of them it lost the excellence. She quickly stopped in the inlet beside a doorway and sat in the corner. Pressing her palms together then opening them the familiar book appeared along with ink. She quickly dipped the quill into the black liquid, splashing it up in the process, and scribbled down one sentence:
Finding a beauty we crave more, but in the end we find it was merely the uniqueness that gave us that illusion.
The book once again disappeared and she rested her hand against the wall to help herself up, then continued down the corridor. And there right in her path was Karvic.
"I was wondering why you ran off, just unexpected like that."
"I know what is going on, and I know what's going to happen. There was no need to stay."
"Oh, so then you know everything is going smoothly, exactly the opposite of what you predicted a few years back."
Her mouth was open in response, but Raemony then snuck up on them and interrupted,
"Karvic, there you are! The meeting is over and dinner is about to be served, you said you would accompany me."
He sided next to her and took her arm.
"Of course I did, let us go."
Would you call it a look of bewilderment, disgust? Maybe just plain ticked is a better word. Tamira certainly wasn't too thrilled with the idea of 'Them'. Storming off she whispered to herself, "Like I should care what Rae does, she's old enough to make her own bad decisions."
Well, it finally came together, there is now one kingdom where there used to be two. Raemony hasn't gone anywhere without Karvic, and she also seems to be avoiding Sirenna and Rovland. They have gotten worse, some days Sirenna can't even get out of bed and all the physicians can't say anything conclusive. I'm now wondering who would take over if the both of them should happen to die, would I be forced into a position?
Tamira was briskly walking through the corridors, avoiding eye contact with everyone along the way. When rounding a corner she ran smack into Karvic.
"Why are you even over here anyway?" She asked.
"Walking Rae back to her room."
Tamira got a disgusted look on her face and shook her head down, causing a red strand of hair to fall into her vision like it usually did. She glared at it then swiped it away. Karvic looked puzzled for a second then asked,
"How is your hair streaked with red anyway? Do you dye it?"
"In a sense I do, but not purposefully."
His scowl deepened, "What do you mean?"
How can I even be sane enough to sit and write even a little, when my sister is walking the fine line between life and death? Is writing really so soothing to me that I would write my last ever words instead of speak them?
The tears must have ceased to come at this point, sitting beside her now dead sisters bedside. Karvic and Rae were there, but not Rovland. Curtains were drawn over all the windows to shut out the sun, it was a bleak moment in time and brightening rays were not appropriate. Tamira made her book appear, slowly dipped the ink, and wrote scratchily:
Sirenna is dead. Without a doubt the same fate will meet Rovland. I would rather die first.
Raemony burst into uncontrollable tears, kneeling on the floor with her forehead to the ground. "She can't die! She mustn't be dead!"
Karvic was watching Tamira write, and it suddenly seemed to make sense, she had an Everbook, a magical type diary that can be summoned into the hands of the owner at any moment. And the ink used was also enchanted, when it hit the pages it changed from black to navy, then five minutes later would dry as a dark red, never to be erased or edited. This would explain the hair. He strode over to look at what she was writing, but seeing a shadow on her pages she snapped the book shut, it vanishing in the process.
"No one reads my book but me."
Just then the physician came in the solemn room, "I'm afraid to say this right now, but you must know. I believe Sirenna was poisoned." He paused while everyone stood shocked. "It was a magical virus that replicates a normal sickness cycle, but ends in death. The spell is usually put on an object, such as a fork or glass. Drinking or eating with it infects you. Most people call it the Crystal Virus because of it. My guess would be that one of the servants was the culprit, since they're the only ones who go near the silver room. And I'm sorry for Rovland, there is no counter spell."
Karvic rushed to the door, "I'm going to speak personally with every one of them."
But Tamira brought him back saying, "But wait, the servants don't have a key to the library, and that's where all the spell books are kept. It couldn't have been one of them!"
Stomping back angrily he scowled and began to think.
Everyone can perform spells if they know how, and usually that involves a book, also considering it was a complex enchantment you would even need a book that much more. Did Sirenna have any unknown enemies? But no one else was inside the castle…
The rhythmic sound of Karvic's boots on the floor echoed throughout the hall. He had just gotten done talking with all the servants and learned nothing. Now he was headed for the silver room, where all the dishes, crystal and silver were kept. He rounded a corner then walked up to the door, just as he was about to open it he noticed a faint red mark on the wall, and upon closer inspection it was fingerprints. Was it blood? No, this was ink.
She was sitting quietly on her bed, pondering, wondering, and trying to untwine the mystery. The door suddenly snapped open and Karvic burst in, "You did it! You poisoned your own sister and my brother! The motive is certainly there, you were wrong, and when the kingdoms were joined you didn't like that did you? Get rid of the rulers, get rid of the union, and put yourself on the throne! I can't believe I didn't see it sooner!"
Tamira jumped up to defend herself, "What do you mean! I wouldn't do anything of the sort! You have no proof that I did this, and I never wanted the throne anyway!"
"Oh but I do have the proof, your own fingerprints in red ink by the doorway."
Tamira was looking up at him strait in the eyes, furious.
"And just what makes you so innocent? You have the same motive as me, but in fact, how do I know I'm not next? With Sirenna and Rovland out of the way you would also get back your kingdom, and by marrying foolish Rae you would get both if I was no longer alive."
He was scowling, "Like I would do such a thing!"
The argument settled a bit from there, since Tamira got a hold of her wits.
"Then we are both innocent for the time being. And that leaves only two people, Raemony and Rovland."
He snapped back at her, "Rovland wouldn't kill himself!"
"But who said that both of them were poisoned by the same person?"
Karvic and I searched the library index for books on the Crystal Virus. There were only two, and both were gone. Raemony has been avoiding us, eating at odd intervals and staying in her room. Do I know what to think? No, definitely not.
Rovland just died. But I find it no surprise; there is no living without hope. Without a king or queen is this kingdom. Will it split? If it stays one who will rule?
Tamira was sitting at a long table in the library while Karvic was searching for any misplaced book. They found themselves still back here, and still trying to prove their own innocence by finding who was really guilty. A head peeked through the doorway suddenly, then immediately shot out. Tamira raced out the door and chased Raemony down. She was holding a spell book.
"It was all Sirenna's idea! I didn't do anything! I didn't!"
So Sirenna killed Rovland. Raemony just put the spell on the glass and broke it after it had done its dirty work. But she didn't kill Sirenna. Who then? Karvic? I think I want to believe him, but the arrows of guilt don't lie. Could he?
"You still haven't cleared yourself Tamira."
He was pacing around the room, very uneasy about everything.
"And neither have you Karvic. But come over here and see my proof."
Tamira patted the couch she was sitting on and waited for him. After he sat down she opened her hands, summoned her book, and opened it. After flipping sixty or so pages she stopped and pointed at the date.
"This was what I wrote when my fingerprints got on the wall."
He glanced down and read the single sentence: Finding a beauty we crave more, but in the end we find it was merely the uniqueness that gave us that illusion.
Then she flipped a few pages ahead and handed the book over, "Read it all from there on, I was just as unaware as you were. And Everbooks cannot contain that many lies, so it is true."
Karvic didn't read all the tiny cursive words on each page, but he knew in fact that she was clear of guilt, and shocked for that matter. After quickly glancing over to the sleepy Tamira, he ran. But she saw him out of the corner of her eye and chased, thinking that this was proving his guilt. Karvic ran strait to his brother's room and started ransacking it, much to Tamira's surprise. After a few minutes of searching he emerged from the closet, holding the second spell book. Her mouth was wide with shock, "They killed each other?" Karvic nodded then sat on the bed, Tamira followed. There was about five minutes of silence before she spoke, "What happens now?"
"Well, rightfully I'm the king of Hilania, and you're queen of Matarin. We would have to separate them again."
Tamira sighed deeply, "If that's the way it has to be."
"No, it doesn't."
He turned towards her and ran one hand through her red streaked blonde hair. It was slow and gentle, almost asking a question as he leaned in and rested his lips against hers. Tamira didn't move for a few seconds, taking in what was happening, but she finally found her answer. With a now quick movement she swung her arms around his neck and pulled him closer, moving her lips in a deep kiss.
In the records it says "An addiction to power" caused Sirenna and Rovland to murder one another. Ruling one kingdom for a time they both began to crave ruling two, and without the other that would be four times as much power. It may be true; with just a taste you can want more of it. But maybe all the signs were pointed backwards as they were with Karvic and I? Very backwards.
Tamira pushed him out of the way, "I'm the one writing, this is my book after all!"
He winked at her before she continued: