The inside of the palace was as it had been just a few days ago, the only difference being that now she found the excessive extravagance of it exhausting. Heading through the front of the palace and down a side corridor, Beatrice saw several other women standing near a wall with suitcases. They were all different in look, the only thing between them that they all seemed to share was that they were all exceptionally beautiful. Normally she would have had to stand with them and be subject to the scrutiny of the Mistress of the Robes, but thanks to Rhys she had managed to avoid such a degrading affair. Beatrice shuddered at the memory of it and brought a hand to her temple to rub away at the annoying thought of going through the Mistress' procedures again.
"Can I even call it a memory anymore?" Beatrice murmured to herself. All those events seemed like a far away dream now, but she could have sworn she had actually lived through all that had happened. The war, the humiliation of the nobility, the… Beatrice frowned, unable to remember the last bit of information she needed. It seemed important. She moved her hand away from her temple and once more looked over at the gathered women, trying to place them by their features and what memory remained. Her eyes landed on the most stunning of the girls first. The girl had yellow eyes so pale they were like rays of sunlight spilling through windows, with blonde hair so light it could be mistaken for white. Though none of her traits could be attributed to any region, it was the hair that gave her away. It was made to look simple but the two plaited braids had silver threads weaved through them, making it so that each time they caught the light it made it look like her hair was starched without having to powder it, and caught the eye with its glint. She must have been from Eaumarée, they were the only ones known for such threads. That or she was from a wealthy noble family.
Many others also dotted the walls with black hair, brown hair, some with the occasional dark blonde. Yet the only others that matched the Eaumarée girl were two black haired women, one with rich dark brown eyes and the other with eyes so black it felt like staring into an abyss. They would likely find themselves within the highest circles of the palace. Finally Beatrice turned her head away from the girls near the wall as the door opened. Out walked the woman that Beatrice had been waiting for. Standing in the archway made by the open door was an older woman of a stout build, with salt and pepper hair pulled back so tight that it stretched her face free of any wrinkles that she may have gained naturally, giving her an unnatural smoothness around the eyes that even the young did not have. The gathered girls quickly fell silent, nearly in unison. Beatrice brought a hand to her skirts and lifted them an inch, pulling one foot behind the other. She would lower herself into a bow at the same time she lowered her head, the hand that she had free curled into a fist that she placed at the center of her chest.
"Blessings, Mistress Ezras." came the greeting to the Mistress of Robes. Even after she was finished speaking Beatrice kept herself lowered, she had not been given leave. Beatrice only lifted her eyes so she could watch Mistress Ezras face. She held her hands in front of her, locked together by the tips while she pushed her shoulders back and maintained a straight back. Despite her short stature she managed to make it seem like she was looking down upon them all.
"Welcome to the Summer residence of Her Majesty, Queen Lucrecia Amadea, light of Perihelio. The Palace of Llamas de ámbar was built by King Vincenzo for his beloved daughter, the future Queen Marisol. It is recorded that The King decorated the palace with his own hands. Because of such care and love the King put into the Palace it is of utmost importance that you treat the ground you walk upon as holy, the walls as inviolate, and the every breath of air to take as sacrosanct."
Mistress Ezras eyes trailed across everyone still stuck in their bows. "If you understand what was said, you may rise."
Beatrice was the first to move her hand away from her skirt and clasped her hands in front of her. Watching as Mistress Ezras wiped her hands on her long yellow skirt harsh enough to fan the lower layers out so everyone could see the orange and brown beaded fabric below.
"Beatrice." Mistress Ezras recognized her and turned to gaze into her green eyes. "You've been waiting, I apologize. It must be important to interrupt my scheduled training."
Beatrice gave Mistress Ezras a smile, but not enough for it to touch her eyes as no kindness was on her lips. "Princess Isabella's lessons are covering the nobility of Eiswald later today. I was told to get paper from you, Mistress Ezras." The Mistress nodded her head
"A moment then." Mistress Ezras grabbed her skirts and turned, walking back into the room and opening a drawer.
"Eiswald?" The woman with the Abyssal eyes leaned in to one of the other girls "What would the Princess be covering that?" but it was only met with a shrug, but it was the Eaumarée girl that spoke, perhaps a bit louder than she should have
"The Monarchy has had a resurgence of power since the Imperial Princess was found." She said "Rumor has it that that the Heiress is just as bloodthirsty as her mother was, and secretly had the Primier under her thumb ever since she returned." The Eaumarée girls words were met with a scoff by one of the blondes with darker hair
"I'm serious! It's all anyone is talking about in Eaumarée"
"That's enough!" Mistress Ezras walked back out, papers in hand "Baseless speculation." She turned to look at Beatrice, holding the papers out to her.
"But what if it's not? If Eiswald really is mustering an army everyone could be under threat again!" the Eaumarée girl's voice turned to a whine.
"Enough!" Mistress Ezras repeated and let out an irritated breath out through her nose. "I'm glad you do not partake in such mindless, unintelligent gossip." Beatrice smiled at Mistress Ezras
"Of course not, besides if Eiswald was mustering an army big enough to wage another war. We would know." Beatrice took the papers and put a hand on Mistress Ezras shoulder "but, if it were even remotely would mean death to the reforms their revolution instilled." Beatrice moved her hand off of Mistresses Ezras shoulder
"Blessings, Mistress Ezras." Beatrice moved into a bow again, this one less formal and much faster.
Beatrice walked back to her chambers in the maids quarters. It was smaller compared to her old room, but the cramped dwelling made it so she needed to be tidier in turn. Fitting a single person bed and wardrobe just small enough to squeeze behind the door. Unlike the palace that was made to assault the eyes, the maids quarters were old, and ugly, and made from the stone of whatever building the royal family had knocked down in order to place their Palace atop it. Beatrice lifted the end of the mattress to pull out a pen. It was made of carved obsidian and decorated with silver rings that had been placed to hide the cracks that had formed when burrowing the hole in the center for the ink. Beatrice popped the cap off and pressed the silver nib to the paper and to test it she wrote; Rita. She looped the R and curved it into the I and turned the t into a tower. Beatrice smiled, at least she remembered how to write so elegantly. It was this skill, the cursive script that only nobility were educated in, that reminded her that everything that she had gone through was not just a dream. How could she have picked up skills like this from a dream? Beatrice began to write.
She could not remember everything, she had waited too long and everything had started to blur. Even now as she tried to remember some of the things that had happened she felt as if they were starting to fray at the edges. Beatrice tried to write down those first.
Elspeth was a traitor to Perihilio. Black hair, grey eyes.
Beatrice narrowed her eyes at the wall, pressing the nib into the paper until she felt the point stabbing into her thigh. Who was Elspeth? It was like the memory was unravelling faster as she tried to linger on it. She took the pen out of the paper, crossing out the first line and wrote down what she could as it vanished.
Elspeth, Traitor, black hair, cruel smile
She omitted the mention of her eyes, she could no longer remember if they were grey or if that grey was just a hole in her memory. Beatrice closed her eyes. Pressing the pen once more against the paper. At the moment she was able to keep her mind blank. She wanted to surprise her memories, surprise them before they could unravel themselves and vanish forever. Beatrice readied her hand. She tapped the pen once, twice. She didn't wait till three, she began to write on two. Beatrice delved into her memories like they were a rapidly draining pool and she was desperate for water, she threw herself into them. She saw a ballroom full of glittering gowns, a man in red reaching his hand out to her...and it was gone. She moved on to the next one, but already it was starting to vanish. The only thing she could glimpse from it was a candle tipping onto a curtain. She moved on, trying to find a memory that had been untouched. She delved toward memories she had not thought of thinking of yet. Her mother. She remembered a cold castle, not a palace, her mother's necklace was wrapped around the long pale fingers of someone's right hand, while their left held up a head full of sunflower blonde hair.
Beatrice took in as many details of that scene as she could. Watching the woman's peridot green eyes narrow at the necklace in her grasp before she threw it with enough force that the delicate detailed goldsmithing of the leaves cracked off and were lost to the cracks in the stone. The Emerald in the center flew even further than the gold, sliding across the stones. The memory was starting to fade, she didn't see where the emerald went once it vanished into the hallway. Instead the memory focused on the others in the room. Rhys, stripped of his military garb, holding onto Rita for dear life as two guards dressed in blue tried to pull her from him. The guards were pulling on Rita's arms so hard that Beatrice could see her shoulders trying to stretch and her arms lengthened with each pull. Beatrice could not remember what the blonde woman had said, but whatever it had been had the guard pulling a sword. It was clearly ceremonial, but it would be sharp enough to slice. That's when the memory seemed to focus on Rita and Rhys, as if she was seeing it through pinholes as her body started to move, barreling into Rita's small body and wrapping her own around it.
The Memory was painful, it was like she could feel the cold hair against her back from the cut through her clothing, and the warmth of her blood as it made her dress stick to her body. How she was still running. She could not tell, but whatever momentum she had gathered up kept her moving forward. She couldn't tell what was happening behind her, but a sharp pain went through her shoulder. Once. then twice. Five more times after that.
Beatrice stopped writing. The memory unraveled fully. What had she been remembering? It was tormenting. That much was certain. She looked down at her knees. Four papers had been used, two remained to her left, but it seemed she stopped using them. Choosing instead to continue the looping script down from the current paper onto her knee, down her thigh. Beatrice moved the fabric of her skirt and the pain suddenly tripled. Beatrice looked down at the writing on her thigh, her chest shaking with each ragged breath. She picked up one of the unused papers and started to copy the writing on her leg, wiping away some of her blood and black ink so she could get a better view.