Life After Life

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Chapter 5 - Everose

The next morning, I woke up with a splitting headache. Veryan came in very quietly and closed my curtains so the light wouldn’t bother me, she left some water on the table next to my bed and withdrew from the room. I couldn’t even bring myself to look at her, I was still thinking about what had happened the night before, trying to figure out what had been the wine and what had been real. I recalled the conversation between Hayther and Veryan before I fell asleep, I decided that was a part of my dreams and I had probably already been asleep.

Sara and Eliza came into the room and drew me a bath. They used a sage oil in the bath and it helped to calm my headache. I settled into the tub, letting the hot water caress my skin, enjoying everything about the bath. Sara started to wash my hair.

“Don’t forget Princess, you have your meeting with your new tutor this afternoon.” Eliza said quietly as she lit a few more candles. My eyes flew open, I had completely forgotten about what mother had said to me before the banquet. I finished taking my bath and got dressed into a simple gray gown. Eliza brushed my hair gently and braided it

“Your mother said to meet your tutor in the east wing library, whenever you were ready.”

This surprised me, usually my studies were done in the west wing library.

I opened my door and saw Hayther standing dutifully across the hall. I didn’t even offer him a smile, I just turned down the hall and made my way toward the library. The halls this way was decorated with more family portraits rather than famous paintings and sculptures. For some reason, I felt like this wasn’t one of my usual tutors, my heartbeat quickened, something was about to change. The paintings of all the kings and queens before my parents watched me as I walked down the hall.

I opened the door to the library, a few candles were lit, and I could see a man hunched over a book, his glasses sitting on the edge of his nose. He was mumbling to himself.

“The chosen one, the chosen one.”

I cleared my throat and his head whipped up knocking over a stack of books next to him. He pushed his glasses up to the bridge of his nose and blinked at me.

“My, you’ve grown so much.” His voice sounded young and vibrant though his body looked old and frail.

The only thing I could think of to say to this old man was.

“Well, so have you.” With this he paused, then laughed as if I had said the funniest thing in the world.

He started to mumble to himself again as he turned and started looking for a book.

“Who are you?” I asked since it was apparent he wasn’t going to tell me. He pulled a book off a shelf, shook his head and put it back.

“Me? Well I am Siel, caretaker of the temple of goddess Everose and in charge of tutoring you about her.”

I was confused.

“But I have already studied the goddess Everose. I know everything about her, I am named after her.”

I glanced back at Hayther for validation of this point, but he stood at the door like a statue. I sighed heavily cursing myself for relying so heavily on him. Siel found the book he was looking for and hurriedly walked back to the table, he waved me over.

“Yes, every child of Delgurany is taught the story, long ago the three kingdoms were United as the Emberlin Empire and ruled by a gracious King, he had four sons, but the youngest was kidnapped as an infant, never to be seen again. When the king grew old and his health started to fail, he divided the land into three kingdoms for his three sons, Rimerona, Ardelia and Carastil. His eldest son became the terrifying dictator of Carastil, King Carsten. A Goddess saw this play out and took pity the lost son who was living as a peasant in Carastil. She would come to his dreams at night and tell him he was the lost son of the Dead King Ardel. Over time she fell in love with him and gave up her immortality to help him claim his rightful place as the fourth son and his territory. With the goddess Everose by his side, King Delga created –,” I chimed in finishing the last few words with him “the kingdom of Delgurany.”

Siel finished the story and rolled his eyes. I shook my head.

“Yes, that is the story of our great kingdom and the goddess.”

Siel looked hurt for a moment, then he shoved a book in my face, nearly hitting me in the nose with it.

“This will be your first assignment, read it all, then come back and see me.” he turned away from me and went back to reading. I held the book in my hand, speechless, just staring at him.

“You’re dismissed, come back to me when you can tell me the real story,” he said, without looking up.

I grabbed the book tighter and turned around on my heels, I stomped up the stairs and left in a huff. As I tucked the book into a pocket on my dress that Eliza had sewn for me I thought to myself Does he think I am a child? Telling me that I don’t know my own country’s history! I have lived 3 other life’s! My soul was probably older than your old man!

I was so engrossed in my thoughts that I didn’t see the figure step out in front of me. Hayther grabbed my arm just before I had almost run into a man’s chest. I looked down at Hayther’s hand, the skin burning where he touched me. He released my arm and mumbled.

“My apologies Princess.” I turned to face the man who was chuckled at us and came face to face with Prince Dorian.

“Good day, Prince Dorian, I would have thought that you and your family would have already started your journey home?”

I went to walk around him, but he stepped in front of me again. I heard Hayther’s hand go to his sword on his belt.

“Now, no need to be hasty, I just wanted to say hello to Ever.” He crooned, a smug smile on his face. “We were invited by your father to stay as Royal guest.”

I stepped back my face turning red.

“Prince Dorian, I would appreciate it if you would address me with my Royal title.” Who does he think he is? I thought silently to myself.

At this he laughed.

“Are we so fast to forget last night? How you laid your head on my shoulder? Our kiss?”

My stomach sank, I had no recollection of this, most likely due to the wine. I swallowed my pride and straightened my shoulders

“Prince Dorian, it was my birthday last night, I enjoyed a great deal of wine. Please excuse anything I said and or did last night, as it was just the wine playing tricks on you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to speak to my father.”

With that said I brushed past him and made my way to my father’s study. I never looked back, but I could hear him chuckle. I knocked on the door to my father’s study. I heard a raucous of laughter coming from within. Without waiting to be let in, I pushed open the doors. I saw the king of Rimerona sitting across from my father.

“Speak of her and she comes!” My father exclaimed, both men started to laugh at this, doubling over in their chairs. My cheeks felt hot, I should have waited to speak with my father in private.

“Come here my child! Come and talk with us! I heard you and King Thornden’s son were very friendly last night, only dancing with him?” I only stared at him, no words were coming to my mind, my father continued on staring at King Thornden.

“I have invited them to stay with us, so you too may get more acquainted.”

Instantly my mind snapped into place, my father was going to betroth me to that pig, I have to stop this.

Sweetly, I replied, “Father, you do not have to do that for me. Prince Dorian and I could always exchange letters first and then become more familiar in time. I do not think I am ready for anything—.” My father cut me off.

“Nonsense! Their family will stay here,” he placed a firm hand on my shoulder as if to show support, but I slinked away from his hand and started again. “But I think when one is getting to know someone the anticipation and waiting that comes with writing letters to one another is so very romantic. I find it gives you time to find the words you truly want to say.”

This just made my father laugh more, King Thornden chuckled.

“My boy is a military genius, you’ll have plenty of time to write him letters while he’s away defending your country!” I panicked, seeing that they were not going to be deterred.

I turned around and ran from the room, not caring if I was behaving as a princess should. I ran all the way to my room and collapsed onto my bed, I started to sob, and I couldn’t stop. All I could keep thinking of was everything that had happened in the last two days. I only had a year left to try and stop my death on my 18th birthday and now it would be spent courting that pig! My cries shook my whole body, I heard the door open, but I didn’t care.

After some time, I fell asleep. I dreamt of Hayther and Veryan calling out to me, I was running from them in a dark cave, rocks kept tripping my feet and I kept falling. Suddenly I got to the edge of a cliff, I was breathing so hard it hurt my chest, villagers came out of darkness behind me holding torches, their shadows thrown across the cave walls danced and looked alive. They bore strange markings on their faces & chanted “time is up, time is up, time is up!” I took a step back and the rocks beneath my feet crumbled as I fell down to the darkness below the cliff.

I woke up startled, my breath coming fast. I looked around my room, my stomach growled loudly, it must almost super time. I rang the bell and to my relief Eliza came in and not Veryan. “Yes, princess?”

“Please bring my dinner to my room tonight. Tell my parents I am devoting myself to my new-found studies.”

Eliza nodded and closed the door quietly. I laid back in my bed, feeling the skin beneath my eyes, it was puffy and warm to the touch. I looked on my bedside table and saw a cloth and basin of cool water had been placed there. I dipped the cloth into the water and wrung it out, then I placed it over my eyes. It felt soothing and helped me relax a little.

I heard the door open lightly.

“Please just leave it on my bedside table,” I mumbled at the room.

I heard their footsteps come closer to the bed, they stopped right at my side. I lifted the cloth to see Veryan standing there over me. Her eyes were red and puffy, like she had been crying. I turned away and wouldn’t look at her.

“Ever, you need to listen to what I have to say. You never gave me a chance to explain what had happened,” she paused and then continued. “Last night, Hayther and I we weren’t—, we’re not —” she stopped her voice shaking.

I turned over and looked up at her.

“I know what I saw with my own eyes, I’m not stupid. You could have told me though, especially when you know how I feel about him.”

“He is in love with you. But don’t you think he deserves to know what will happen in a year? Maybe he can help?”

It was completely silent in the room. I could hear my own heartbeat thudding in my ears. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, Veryan was the only person I had ever told about my past lives and the vicious cycle I was in. I rasped out.


Veryan just shook her head.

“I’m not! I didn’t tell him anything! I just think you should! Plus, he couldn’t stand it anymore he had to tell someone.”

“Then why not tell me?”

“A Royal guard in love with the Princess? Do you know how much a soldier would be made of fun and laughed at? But I was trying to tell him that you love him too.” Veryan stood there. “But if what you said is true and that in a year you’ll be –.” she hesitates “this could prove to be a bad situation to get Hayther into don’t you think?”

I just stared at her completely amazed, Hayther loved me, I was in love with Hayther. My mind buzzed to the conversation I had with my Father earlier, I didn’t see how I could convince him to make them go home. Then it dawned on me I had to find my mother and convince her to get rid of The Rimerona’s.

I hurriedly explained what had happened with my father to Veryan and then rushed through the halls, to my mother’s room. I didn’t know if she would be there, but it was the best place to start. As I hurried I couldn’t keep a smile off my face. I would make my parents see that I was already in love and he was the one. They wouldn’t refuse me, I was the only heir to the throne. I turned a corner and saw my mother’s lady in waiting Merika. I ran to her.

“Merika! Have you seen my mother?”

“Yes Princess, she’s in her room.”

Elated, I grabbed her hands and spun her around

“Thank you!” I ran down the hall, Merika looked after me like I was crazy, but I didn’t care.

I arrived at my mother’s doors and didn’t even stop to knock. I busted through them and started to yell.

“I’m in love! I’m in love!”

My mother was sitting at her vanity reading a letter. She stood up quickly and came towards me, her long blonde hair flowing around her. I grabbed her hands and started to waltz around the room laughing. My mother pulled free and steadied herself.

“Everose! Calm down child! Tell me what you are yelling about!”

“I’m in love!”

“Really? With Prince Dorian?”

I made a disgusted face.

“Dear goddess no!” I paused, giggling. My mother’s smile was perfect “I’m in love with Hayther!” It felt so good to let it out there. My mother’s smile stayed in place.

“Your royal guard?” I smiled and said breathlessly “yes” my mother’s smile fell away from her face. She rushed to her chamber doors still slightly open she looked into the hallway then closed and locked them.

She came back over to me, her face was not one I recognized, the love and tenderness was no longer there.

“Mother I know he is not a prince but-” I hesitated now nervous, “that shouldn’t matter.”

Her shoulders were stiff

“Anyone but him Everose, there are things you don’t understand yet.”

My chest raised quickly now, and I felt like I couldn’t get enough air.

“But mother plea-” she cut me off.

“There’s more at stake here than just your love life. You are a princess.”

I started again now feeling hysterical.

“Mother—,” I said.

She slapped me across my mouth. My cheek stung and my eyes watered. I was so shocked I just stood there for a moment, my cheek went from the sensation of stinging to on fire. My mother grabbed my shoulders, and I flinched.

“Have you told anyone else?” Her once sweet voice now rough, I shook my head no. “Good. Everose, I love you, but you are royalty, meant to be Queen one day. You cannot neglect those duties by marrying out of Royal blood. You cannot be with him. He is not even a Delgurian. There’s so much you don’t understand”

She grabbed my chin and made me look her in her eyes.

“You have such greatness in you. Don’t forget that.”

I stepped back out of her suffocating grasp, I stared at this woman I wanted to scream at her to make me understand, to explain it to me, but she was unrecognizable in this moment. She straightened her back and smoothed her hair.

“Now listen to me.” I nodded and sat quietly.

I returned to my room and shut the door a while later. Eliza and Sara came in and saw my red cheek, without asking questions they got me a cool cloth. I held it to my cheek, while Eliza brushed my hair and Sara got my nightgown out and laid it on the bed. My dinner was still sitting on my bedside table, forgotten and cold now. It didn’t matter anyway, I was no longer hungry. They helped me get dressed and then I dismissed them. They blew out every candle except the one next to my bed. I laid there wanting to cry but I couldn’t even find the strength to do that. Eventually I drifted off, but no dreams came it was just darkness.

The next morning, I woke up as if nothing had happened. Veryan came sweeping into my room, a beautiful smile on her face. When I didn’t return it, she stopped.

“What happened?” she whispered.

“I am a princess; my country comes before my own needs. It is my duty as well as my honor to perform this task for my country.”

My insides felt on fire as I spewed out the words my mother had made me memorize. I looked to Veryan the tears finally coming, she came towards me and sat on the edge of my bed.

“I see, how very—” she paused placing a hand on my leg, “noble of you, but I can’t see that it matters much since you won’t even be here to become queen.”

This lifted my spirits just a little, I felt torn between my lives.

“I’m going to go down to the library and look around again. Maybe we’ve gotten some new books in.” She excused herself and left me alone in my room. My heart swelled with gratefulness for having confided in her, I felt like a little bit of the weight of all my past lives was now lifted thanks to her.

I took breakfast in my room, not ready to see my mother yet. Remembering the book that Siel had given me yesterday I searched my room to find it. A quick rap on my door stopped my search, a small maid entered and curtsied to me.

“Pardon the interruption Princess, but the Queen sent me to inform you that in 1 hour, you will be joining Prince Dorian for a stroll in the garden.”

My chest tightened, knowing I couldn’t refuse and wishing that I could. I turn away and the maid steps out quietly as Veryan slips in. She’s carrying a beautiful white dress with orange and gold leaves embroidered along the bottom of the dress.

“Summer is almost over and soon fall will be here, at least you get to enjoy the garden,” she says, as she tightens the bodice of my dress. “Did you find any books in my room last night? I had brought one up from my new tutor and I cannot find it anywhere.” Veryan shook her head.

“I haven’t seen anything, and there still wasn’t anything in the library. I’ll ask Eliza and Sara and let you know.”

She left my hair down and adorned it with a simple very delicate tiara. I sighed.

“Let’s get this over with.”

Hayther followed me dutifully, I’m sure he knew where we were going. I was not sure what Veryan had told him, if anything, so I let the awkwardness between us stand.

Prince Dorian was waiting for me at the top of the stairs that lead outside, my mother and father and his parents all stood around him.

“Good Morning Princess Everose,” he called as he bowed deeply.

His father smiled proudly, and his mother nodded. I thought to myself at least he called me by my formal title. I curtsied to him and took up his arm that he had extended out to me, barely acknowledging my parents or his. Hayther started to follow quite close behind us as we descended the stairs until my mother called out.

“Sir Hayther, why don’t you stay inside? There are plenty of guards in the garden, they will both be fine.”

My grip tightened on Dorian’s arm involuntarily and I thought I saw him smirk a little. Hayther’s footsteps silenced behind us and I didn’t look back as we stepped out into the sun.

I refused to talk first, but I dare not let go of his arm, I could feel their stares burning in my back. I thought back to the night of my birthday, I had remembered bits and pieces of what happened. I remembered the kiss we had shared and Hayther punching him. I glanced and saw a yellowish bruise on his cheek, he must have covered it up with something. Dorian glanced at me and caught me staring at him.

“Admiring your view Princess?”

I laughed out loud.

“No, actually seeing if Hayther’s punch had left a mark.”

With that comment his ears turned a little pink.

“No, actually I am recovering quite well thank you. Did you get everything that you wanted for your birthday?”

I sighed, exasperated.

“You know I don’t remember you being this annoying on other visits. You hardly spoke to me at all, and now you won’t leave me alone.”

Dorian just shrugged.

“I believe I could make you happy. The other night,” he paused, “was both of our faults. You had been dancing very closely to me, and I thought you were genuinely enjoying my company. If I had known you were only trying to make another man jealous I could have played along. Instead now everyone including my father, believes you to be head over heels for me and me for you. Which I am.”

He stopped to admire a white rose bush that was in bloom. He plucked one of the prettiest rose buds and turned to me.

“May I?” motioning with his hand.

I nodded, and he nestled the flower behind my ear. I looked into his eyes, they are striking today at amongst the greenery their blue swirls always changing. I caught a guard shift out of the corner of my eye and Hayther’s face came rushing back to me, I side stepped around Dorian and continued walking. We strolled through the garden with space between us, my arm no longer tucked into his. He told me stories of his training and different things in Rimerona, how the weather was already cooling in the mountains and fall was much closer for them. I was polite and nodded when courteous, but other than that I made no contributions to the conversation and he didn’t press me.

Finally, we arrived back inside, and I swear no one had moved from the top of the stairs. They all smiled at us, my father speaking first.

“Prince Dorian, I do hope you enjoyed our garden. The roses are in full bloom here.”

Prince Dorian nodded next to me, before anyone could say anything else I chirped up.

“I fear I need to retire to my room for the moment, all that walking has left me drained.” I put a hand to my forehead and tried my best to look disappointed, I curtsied and hurried towards my sanctuary. Hayther of course followed dutifully behind me, didn’t question me about the prince or anything. I quickly tugged the rose from my hair crumpling it in my hand, even though I knew Hayther had already noticed it.

Once in my room I sat at the table in my room and picked up a letter that had been left there. I opened it and read what was a thank you letter from the twin princes of Ardelia. I pondered in my head if they did everything together and if I were to have courted one, would the other have been with us? I chuckled under my breath and decided I would write to them, thanking them for their attendance.

Once the letter was sealed I left the open envelope on the table, Veryan later would seal it for me. I stood up and stretched crossing the room to one of the windows that overlooks the courtyard. I saw Prince Dorian sitting on the edge of a fountain intently reading a book. From far away he didn’t look so harmful, I still didn’t like him and would do everything in my power not to spend my last year courting him, but from a distance I could see how someone could fall in love with him. Suddenly I saw his father striding towards him. Dorian stands up quickly and it looks like King Thornden was yelling at him. Dorian seemed to be yelling back until suddenly the king slaps Dorian, in the exact spot Hayther punched him, sending Prince Dorian into the fountain while King Thornden stormed away. I gasped loudly and Hayther wrenched open the door to my room.

“What is it?” he instantly was by my side.

I took a small step away from him as he looked out the window.

“I’m sorry, King Thornden just pushed his own son, and Dorian fell into the fountain!”

Hayther chuckled.

“Serves him right.” I parsed my lips; his comment didn’t sit well with me.

“Hayther I-,” I began.

I turned towards him and realized he had stepped even closer. The scent of cedar and wood filled my senses, he leaned down so that his forehead was touching mine, I didn’t pull away even though I knew I should. My heart started to pump so fast I thought it would give out. Hayther was breathing heavy, his voice was low and horse as he asked me

“Can I kiss you?” I couldn’t breathe the moment was suffocating me. I barely nodded, and his lips were on mine. His kiss was gentle but hungry, he hands reached up to cradle my face as if I would break. He pressed his body up against mine, I felt like my entire being was on fire, every breath just fueling it.

Finally, Hayther broke away first, he kissed my forehead, and both my cheeks, my face still cradled in both of his hands. “I would have regretted it all my life if I hadn’t done that.” I just stared at him in complete awe of what I just experienced. A bell rang in the distance letting me know it was time for my afternoon studies. Hayther snapped back into guard mode and escorted me to my tutors, but I could hardly think of anything but our kiss.

When I saw Dorian the next morning at breakfast he didn’t have his usual smirk plastered on his face, instead he looked a little gloomy. I cleared my throat and before I knew it I said.

“Prince Dorian?”

He looked up at me his blue eyes more of a stormy gray today.

“Perhaps you would like to join me for a ride on our horses later?”

Our parent’s eyes all swung to him to see his response even the servants had stopped mid step. He nodded.

“Yes princess, I’d like that very much.”

I smiled and continued to eat my breakfast trying not to make eye contact with anyone.

I attended my normal classes in the morning and went back to my room to get ready. I sent a maid to fetch prince Dorian for our ride. Just as Eliza finishes getting me into my riding dress the maid returns and says

“Prince Dorian says he regretfully cannot make it today. He will see you at dinner.” I sighed in relief I wasn’t sure what had made me want to ask him to go riding, it was just playing into the plans of my parents. I looked to Eliza

“Well I am already dressed for riding, perhaps Hayther will join me.” Eliza grinned.

“I think that’s a wonderful idea.”

I opened my door and saw Jordan, Hayther’s back up when he needed to sleep or had to be somewhere else. My heart dropped a little, I wonder when Hayther had left. Still I gave him a pleasant smile.

“Good afternoon Jordan, it has been so long since I’ve seen you.”

He was roughly my age though a great deal taller than me. His long brown hair was pulled back out of his face, but one piece fell forward over his green eyes, he gave me a goofy smile.

“Well, Hayther takes this very seriously and hogs, so, I’m normally assigned to roaming the castle lawns to make sure no one is trying to get in.”

He was tall and skinny, his long arms hung loosely by his sides, he would trip sometimes on his own feet, but he had been my guard before and I knew I could trust him, he would go on ridiculous adventures with me, like sneaking into the kitchen to steal pastries while the cooks weren’t looking or helping me reach the best apple on the apple tree. Hayther never did those things with me because my safety was his top priority.

Jordan looked at me curiously and wiggled his eyebrows.

“So, Princess, what is our adventure today?”

I smiled at his willingness.

“Perhaps you’d care to join me for a ride through the countryside?”

His face fell quickly.

“Unfortunately, Princess, that is the one thing I am afraid of. Horses and I don’t get along much. I apologize Princess.”

I tried to hide my disappointment.

“No, I am apologizing for not knowing, no matter let me get changed and then we will surely find something else!”

Eliza quickly changed me into a regular dress and soon enough Jordan and I began to roam the halls.

We found ourselves in one of the rooms playing chess, I always enjoyed playing with Jordan because he would give background to his pieces. We played a few games until I heard Jordan’s stomach grumble, he looked to me.

“I agree I am hungry.” I stood up to stretch and just as I stood a breeze came through the open window and blew papers off a table I bent down to pick them up.

“Maybe we should sneak down to the kitchen and see if any of Elana’s apple pastries are ready yet?”

Jordan, in ‘his always happy voice’ said, “Princess, you read my mind!”

I laughed as he opened the door.

Suddenly Jordan made a gurgling noise I looked up at him and saw two men standing in the doorway of the library, one had his hand on Jordan’s shoulder. He pushed Jordan back and a long sword stained red came out of Jordan’s body as he fell to the ground blood already starting to seep out. I started to back up as the men came in the library, my eyes were darting all around looking for any way to escape, but they kept coming back to Jordan’s body, lying lifeless on the ground.

I heard a scream come from the down the hall both the men’s heads whipped towards the it, I looked behind me and saw the open window, I ran over and stuck my head out to see how high up I was, it was only a short drop. I turned around and the two men were rushing towards me, I hoisted myself onto the sill and jumped out the window. I landed on my feet and rolled forward.

I got up and started screaming for guards, but I saw none. In my head, I kept seeing Jordan laying there, suddenly I thought of Hayther, if he had been there, he would have — I pushed the thought out of my head needing to find help. Suddenly, I heard the sound of swords clashing. I ran around the side of the castle and found myself in the middle of a fight. Six men were fighting about four guards. There were other bodies lying on the ground, but I couldn’t tell whose they were their faces and clothing not registering in my mind.

No one had noticed me yet, so I picked up a sword from a dead guard and charged a rebel from behind, I wasn’t nearly strong enough so though I got a hit in, he turned around and raised his sword. This gave the guard who was fighting him enough time to grab his dagger and slit his throat, the rebel fell to the ground blood spurting from his fresh wound. I dropped the sword I had been holding, staring at the man who had just been killed in front of me. The guard grabbed me and shouted.

“Princess you must get to safety! Where is your guard?”


The guards face turned white.

“Hayther has been killed?”

This snapped my mind alert again.

“No! Oh, goddess no! Jordan was with me today not Hayther!”

The guard still put his head down.

“I will escort you t—” all I heard was whistle and then the guards body crumpled to the ground a tip of a sword poking out of his chest.

I was covered in blood now and the rebel who had just killed him laughed.

“We have her men! Retreat!”

He grabbed my arm and started to drag me away, he looked so familiar I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I had heard his voice before, the other three guards were strewn on the ground their bodies laid at odd angles, there was no noise.

Two of the rebels tied my hands in front of me and left enough rope so that they could drag me along, then they tied a gag around my mouth tasted like sweat and smelled like rotten fish. They started to run for the gates one of the rebels asked.

“What about our men inside?” I almost tripped and the man holding my rope yanked on it hard. “They knew the risk of coming here today, they will cause what chaos they can before they die.”

I tried to keep up, but my legs were tiring. I fell and the rebel holding my rope fell too. He got up and swore, turning on me quickly.

“You fat pig! Get up!”

He kicked me in my stomach, tears sprung to my eyes I had never been in so much pain before. As I laid there on the ground trying to get up, a rebel fell the other three looked at him, an arrow stuck out of chest. The sound of approaching horses could be heard I looked up through my tears and saw guards riding towards us, Hayther was leading them.

The guards launched more arrows and two more fell, arrows sticking out of their chest. The last rebel, who had kicked me tried to run but was surrounded by guards on horses. He was tied up and secured so he could be questioned. Hayther leapt off his horse and took out his dagger, he cut the ropes around my wrists, that were red and took of my gag. Then he took he took me in his arms and held me.

“I thought I lost you, Everose.” I still hadn’t registered that Hayther was here, he was safe. My body started to shake, Hayther pulled away and looked at me.

“Did they hurt you?” I shook my head yes, all the other sound around me became muffled and my vision went black, I slumped forward onto Hayther and closed my eyes.

When I opened my eyes again a doctor was standing above me he felt my stomach and I screamed in agony. He discovered I had a bruised rib, he administered me some medicine to help with the pain. I kept asking where my parents were, why hadn’t they come yet.

No one would answer me, I started to feel groggy and the room was starting to tilt a little. I reached out the pain running through my body and tried to grab onto Eliza or Sara I couldn’t tell who it was.

“Where are my parents?” She looked down at me with pity and took my hand from her arm laying it down at my side.

“Just sleep now Princess.”

I let go of consciousness then, I dreamt of Jordan laying on the floor of my bedroom and no matter how hard I screamed no one would come to help him. I tried to get out of my bed and I couldn’t move. All I could do was scream, so that’s what I did. Until finally my mother appeared at the door.

“Darling, is everything ok? I thought I heard you scream?”

I pointed to wear Jordan’s body laid and tried to say his name, but I couldn’t. My mother looked to wear I was pointing and looked confused, I glanced over, and Jordan’s body was gone, she came and sat on the edge of my bed, gently smoothing my hair down and kissed my forehead.

“I love you so much, and some day you will do great things. Your soul is destined for greatness.” After that everything went black and I floated in this new-found darkness never wanting to come back from it.

When I awoke again the pain in my stomach was almost unbearable with every breath. I shifted my head over and saw Hayther sitting in a chair next to my bed, when he saw me staring at him he got up.

“How do you feel?” My throat felt dry, I coughed which sent a lightning bolt of pain through my body. I cried out and closed my eyes.

“I take it not very good.”

He took the pitcher from next to my bed and poured me a glass of water.

“Here drink some water.”

He helped me sit up a little so that it wouldn’t spill down my nightgown.

“How did you end up outside?” He asked me to set the cup back down on the table.

“Right after Jordan –,”

I stopped this time the pain was mental not physical as I remembered Jordan laying on the ground.

“I had to jump out of the library window to get away.”

“I should have been there, not him. I just didn’t need to-” I reached out for his hand it was warm but rough, it reminded me that he worked hard for everything.

“Just stay here for a moment.”

He sighed but didn’t take away his hand, I closed my eyes and tried to relax.

“Everose?” I sighed and opened my eyes.

“What is it?”

Hayther didn’t say anything for a moment I turned my head and looked over at him his eyes were lowered to the ground.

“I have to tell you something very important, and I just want you to know how sorry I am.”

My heart started to beat fast, Hayther’s hand tightened on mine.

“During the attack, they made it all the way into the throne room. The king and queen were in there, everyone fought so hard, so many lives were lost, your father thought he had killed them all when one snuck up and—” he paused taking in a deep breath. “Your mother is dead Ever.”

My mind kept replaying my dream last night of my mother and of Jordan, so many had died Hayther said. I don’t know when it started but I heard a loud scream I looked at Hayther and realized it was I who was screaming. Hayther tried to settle me down but I couldn’t stop.

Finally, he ran for the doctor, when he came back the doctor gave me something that made me drowsy and everything in the world seemed like I was seeing it through a fog. All I could keep seeing was my mother and Jordan’s bodies lying on the floor, surrounded with their own blood. I lay there just staring at the floor, Veryan came in at some point and was brushing my hair, she placed cool cloths on my forehead.

When I couldn’t fight the urge to close my eyes anymore, I still laid there awake, listening. Veryan was still gently brushing my hair when I heard my father’s voice.

“How is she doing?”

Veryan answered him.

“Not very well your majesty, her rib is even more swollen today than yesterday.”

I heard the floorboards creak as my father came closer to me. “has anyone told her the horrible news?”

“I did sir.”

“I thought so, is that why she was screaming earlier?”

Hayther didn’t answer, my fathered sighed.

“The funeral will be in one week, Veryan please make sure Ever has the proper gowns for mourning prepared. She will attend the funeral even if she cannot walk.” I heard all the footsteps leave the room until nothing, but silence was left.

As I laid there I remembered my last life, I was just like Veryan, a servant in the king’s castle of Carastil. Sometimes I would go into the local tavern and listen to stories of the wars. How people’s families were broken. I’d gamble my money and lose it all, even if I won, I was just a girl, no man would say he lost to me. It was only in this life that I had realized what was going on, that I was being reborn and remembering my past lives. That what I thought were dreams were actually memories from my lives before. For what I remember I didn’t start having my fits until I was reborn as the princess, my memories wouldn’t come back to me so violently, normally something would trigger the memory and it would gently take me back. I spent my time at the castle cleaning the libraries and trying to read anything about past lives. I never found much information, there were no records of others being reborn and remembering their past lives. A lot of the books were destroyed when King Aident came into power. But as my 18th birthday approached I felt a growing fear of death. So, on the day before my birthday I decided that night to hide in one of the libraries. I didn’t realize that the king would be coming into that library with his mistress that night

I tried not to move or make a sound but the book I was reading slid from my lap and hit the floor with a loud thud. The king saw me and screamed for his guards, I was thrown into the dungeon that night and the next day, on my birthday, I was beheaded for treason and stealing from the king. All the village was made to gather and watch, I saw the tavern owner shake his head in disappointment, I begged trying to explain that I was destined to die today so I was hiding. They called me a raving lunatic. My neck was put on the block and the blade came down and sliced it clean off. I spent the next 70 years in darkness until I was reborn as the Princess of Delgurany.

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