APHEDITIE

The night grew strong and harsh, winds blew through Ussurya like the strong winds in the Age of the Volcanoes three hundred years ago, the age where fire erupted in the lands of Maggue, and then the rocks of the volcano solidified the two continents of Chessalyn and Qerxia. On the night of the eruption, strong winds carried black smoke all throughout the east of Chessalyn, the earth beneath them shook hard that castles and cities collapsed to the ground. Fires spread and the smoke blocked out all sunlight for weeks and some never lived to see the sunlight again.

Apheditie was up all night, praying to God for the safety of Ussurya and the people from the deadly storm he had inflicted upon them.

When she completed her prayers, Apheditie got up from the bedside and drank a glass of water. She gazed at the open city beyond her balcony and watched the rains pour like a waterfall on a river; she then blew out her only lit candle, only then noticing the severity of the storm. The darkness of her room made the sky's colour stand out and Apheditie could see that the sky had a shade of blood red to it, God is angry with us, she thought to herself.

She sank into the feathered duvet and felt the coolness of the silks run through her arms like water; she was calm yet the sound of thunder sent fear through her heart. Apheditie never felt calm or relaxed when something went through her head, she could never focus on something whilst there was something else going on. The thunder stopped for a slight moment, this was when Apheditie felt her pale lids slowly shutting, until the thunder stuck again and her blue eyes widened and her heart skipped a beat.

"Oh Lord of the past and present, please have mercy upon us, oh dear Lord." She pleaded beneath her breath.

Apheditie turned to her mahogany drawers and pulled out her necklace with the figure of Azra Pex holding a pot on one hand and another pot in the other, this resembled peace and justice to the Nirvvam's whom followed his beliefs.

She wrapped the necklace around her hand and slid it under the cool pillow.

After endless hours of loud thunder, Apheditie would finally get some sleep and dream of her two passed sons.

"Rough night we just had, didn't think we would make it through…" Lady Myryll of the noble house of Adilthae said over a sip of black tea.

"Quite right Myryll, yet I don't believe my eyes, how such a beautiful morning could come whilst having a harsh storm only a few hours prior." Sigille pointed out.

Apheditie was forced to sit down with her mother and the other noble Ladies whilst they spoke about family, politics and society; of course she absolutely hated every minute of it. On several occasions Apheditie tried to withdraw herself from the conversations but her mother ignored her for weeks until she was able to attend gatherings, so Apheditie much preferred listening to a couple of old women complaining about how life is so unfair, rather than having an awkward atmosphere with her mother.

"Lord Garthumme recently bought a stack of books on Agganthian weapons with the money passed down to him by his father, rather than spend it on Lady Garthumme and the children! Shocking!" Lady Myryll said with another sip of tea.

Sigille sighed and her deep-set eyes widened by the thought of Robertte Garthumme taking his father's money and buying some useless books with it. She noticed that Apheditie had no reaction, in fact, she wasn't even looking at them, and she was mumbling some prayers under her breath, looking at the open fields that surrounded their table. The damp winds blew across them, the white linen tablecloth flapped and then settled as the wind softened.

"What say you…Apheditie?" Sigille said with a stern eye.

Apheditie was brought back to reality by her mothers summoning and fidgeted with her necklace, trying to regain her speech.

"Yes, yes, how scandalous." She muttered.

Sigille didn't seem slightly convinced that her eldest daughter was paying attention to what they were saying.

"You haven't touched your tea dear, are you well?" Sigille pointed at the white teacup.

"I'm not feeling for tea this morning. A very unforgiving stomach, unfortunately." Apheditie said whilst looking at Lady Myryll.

Sigille was infuriated from the inside, the fact that her daughter didn't even make eye contact only made matters worse.

"Apheditie you seem to be upset on several occasions. Perhaps you ought to see someone specialized…" Sigille teased as she sipped her tea.

"Yes, such a shame I cannot turn to anyone in this castle for aid except a counselor," She mocked.

Finally, they both lay eyes on each other and the once calmed atmosphere turned into a heating battleground of mother and daughter. Sigille was shocked midway through sipping her tea and she stopped immediately. Lady Myryll was also uncomfortable and her eyes twitched at the both of them. Sigille's eyes burned hot, staring daggers into her daughter.

Apheditie, of course, knew that she was folly for saying such words, but the dream of her sons on the prior night made her uneasy and Sigille just pushed her over the edge.

"I do beg your pardon ladies, I'm not feeling like myself this morning." Apheditie managed to say, yet without sincerity since she only intended on pleasing her mother.

Sigille nodded as she always did and continued her conversation about Robertte Garthumme. On the inside she was burning.

"How is he, Sigille?" Lady Myryll's eyebrows arched as she held Sigille's hand.

"I must admit, it was a harsh, harsh night, but great thanks to the oh-so-powerful savior Azra Pex, he was saved. I very much see no need for Shrinks. He is doing much better." Sigille smiled with a hint of pettiness.

Apheditie noticed the tease her mother was intending on her religious beliefs, she felt like getting up, as she mostly did, yet something inside her stopped her and told her that she must stay, and this time, confront her.

Lady Myryll then looked at Apheditie, expecting her to say something about her ill father.

"Yes, your quite right, dear mother. Azra Pex is very forgiving to those who follow him well." She nodded.

Apheditie always covered her hair with a silk shawl, to look more modest, and the wind blew it down to her shoulders, revealing a few grey hairs growing in her roots. Her mother, of course, immediately saw the faults in her thirty-eight year old daughter whom was aging faster than most women.

Apheditie quickly picked it up and placed it upon her head.

Pippy walked towards their table with a newly brewed pot, she stood on Sigille's side and offered a new cup of tea. Sigille nodded.

Pippy then went for Apheditie. She shook her head.

"Sweetie," Lady Myryll called squinting with the sun above her, "What's the time?"

"Eleven, ma'am." Pippy answered with a slight bow.

"Oh gracious, how silly of me! Lord Adilthae is to expect his mother at twelve!" Lady Myryll said while placing her napkin on the table, "I do beg for your pardon. Lord Adilthae is not very forgiving when it comes to lack of time management."

Apheditie noticed that Lady Myryll's voice went higher up at the end of each sentence. She could imagine that her annoying voice could be another reason as to why Lord Adilthae may be unforgiving.

"Why so soon, Myryll?" Sigille pleaded.

"Oh please do bid me pardon, Sigille. I've lots of planning and such little time! I shall visit soon!" She bowed as she stood up from her chair.

"Please do." She smiled.

Apheditie smiled and nodded as Lady Myryll began to make her way back to the castle and through the main gates for departure.

As Myryll's small and tiny body began to shrink within the distance, Apheditie could feel a storm in the making.

Sigille inhaled heavily through her slim nose.

"I didn't like the way you were talking to me." She told her as Lady Myryll made her way through the doors.

"I told you mother, I've been feeling ill." Apheditie said without making any eye contact.

"If you were ill you wouldn't have left your chambers now, would you?" Sigille finally turned to her with a stern look.

Apheditie looked at her straight in the eyes.

"Mother, I beg of you. Not today."

"Don't mother me. I've been humiliated in front a friend. Now you know perfectly well that Lady Adilthae has close companions with other Lords and Ladies. Shall the news of your disgraceful tongue reach them; you shall not speak to me. Ever." She said dryly.

Apheditie looked away at the descending Pippy with her tray, ready to pick up Lady Myryll's cups and plates.

"I can only apologize, mother. If you bid for me, I shall be in the library." Apheditie told her as she placed her unused napkin onto her unused plate and started to walk the same path Myryll walked.

As she made her way to the library, she noticed the door of her father's study slightly opened, a queer sight for Apheditie since the study was always closed unless her father was inside.

She sat in the emerald-coloured study like a fly amidst a castle. The mountains of parchments and books made Apheditie feel small. The very chair she sat on was massive, made from the finest Green Gold from the northern lands of Raegreen. She let her silk down to her shoulders as the sun shone through the exposed hole in the dome above.

Her father's chair felt uncomfortable for her, it made her back ache. Apheditie never had an interest for politics, but her father's study had complex parchments of the past, present and perhaps the future, all stacked in his majestic room.

She began to read parchment by parchment. Reading sent letters at the time of the War of All Wars, where other rulers and noblemen begged Moront's loyalty, parchments of traitors, revealing that they stand alongside the rebelling Fyragonians when they were pledged to King Moront. For most parchments she read them over and over again, trying to decode the messages, hoping to find the truth behind them, yet her father never agreed to answer any of their questions that concerned the war.

Most importantly, Apheditie never wanted to seek the traitors nor the noblemen's pleadings. She wanted to seek the truth of her sons' deaths, Croness and Zessus.

She swam in the parchments for hours, never to have been interrupted.

As she looked for parchments, her heartbeat increased by the thought of her two beautiful boys butchered like pigs in a slaughterhouse. Apheditie often erased the thought from her memory, but once she stepped into the study, knowing the answer is inside, the thought of it made her come to tears and rage.

Her hands were beginning to ache, she'd been searching till the afternoon and the routine began to tire her. Her pale hands began to absorb the colour of the ink; cuts ran through her like veins and an imprint of her necklace was visible on the palm of her left hand due to her strong faith.

She stopped; the will to rummage through the parchments had gone. As she picked up her silk and got up, she had a strong instinct that the dirtiest piece of parchment that stood amongst the others had something of importance. She second-guessed her instincts, looking at her cut hands, and then reached for the rolled parchment that was dull and yellow with patches of dirt. She unrolled it and began to skim through it.

To my dear friend Moront,

It is clear that times like now are dark times; the world has lost its will to hold on to peace and unity.

I must inform you that the darkness will come to those selected, you are the selected, Moront. You must obey or else the consequences will live on for a lifetime. Obey and none will be harmed. It is essential that you follow my orders, Moront, for the sake of your family and your continent.

Apheditie stopped where the rest of the parchment was torn off. She stood there confused. Wondering whom this message was from, why it was sent and what it meant. Was it of any significance? Those were questions that went through her mind. The words that mentioned that the consequences would live on for a lifetime had her thinking.

This was clearly an omen. But why was it torn? She disregarded the parchment and threw it amongst the mess that she has made. Not looking back, she walked out of her fathers study.