Chapter 6: Selene
My fists were still balled, to keep my hands from shaking, as the heavy metal doors of the breakfast room closed behind me. I paused just outside the doorway, ignoring the guards who cautiously watched me out of the corner of their eyes.
I repeated the word, chanting it as I breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth. I had not missed the way the Prince had studied me. Seen me, not the facade I clung to. The King had not noticed the clarity of my eyes or how I bristled at his every word.
Slowly I felt my body begin to relax. It had been almost a week since the King sent me on the last mission, a week since my memories had slowly begun to return. Each morning the King had me eat breakfast with him and his son. Each morning I kept my face blank and emotionless as the King searched for any weakness in his control over me. He saw none.
My plan was working. It was less of a plan than a simple idea. Regain control over my thoughts and actions without the King realizing what I was doing. That was the extent of my plan. I was not even sure who I was. As long as the King believed I was under his control, he would have no reason to put that awful fog back into my head.
Each time I closed my eyes, bits and pieces of a stranger’s life floated through my dreams. Not dreams but memories. Memories of who I once was. Ever since I was a child, I had dreams of leathery black wings and beautiful amber eyes. Dreams of fairies and pixies and trolls. Now they were no longer these brief, seemingly meaningless dreams, but elaborate memories. Memories of people and places I had somehow forgotten. Some of it did not make sense. Since age 10, I had lived in the palace, yet I was having dreams of myself marrying the male with amber eyes as a full-grown adult. It was like I was starting to remember events and people from a past life. A life where I was not even a human.
The possibility that I was simply going mad had crossed my mind more than once. All I knew for certain was that I could trust no one. Not the Prince, though I saw how he looked at his father. Not the servants, even though the King regularly tortured and killed them for his own entertainment. I could easily make allies, but those allies could just as easily report me to the King for their own selfish desires.
As I burst into my room I snatched a small journal from my desk. I had never had a need for a journal, or books, or apparently pens. The thought of living for so long without reading a book saddened me more than I could explain. The small wooden writing desk, that had sat untouched since I completed my schooling as a child, was empty. As I rummaged through the desk looking for something to write with, I did not hear the door to my room click open. The light tune the maid, an older woman with greying hair and beautiful bright green eyes, made me jump. I cursed as my knee slammed into the underside of an open drawer.
The woman’s eyes grew wide as she stared at me, catching me rifling through my desk like a madwoman.
“Lady Selene,” she shook her head in confusion. Glancing between me and the desk. Unlike most servants, she did not lower her gaze but stared into my eyes. She took a cautious step forward as she studied my face. What did she see?
I straightened my body and slammed the drawer I was looking through closed.
“Go get me a pen,” I commanded her in the most uninterested and bored voice I could muster. Hesitantly, the old woman bowed her head and hurried from the room, leaving the laundry she had been carrying on the floor. My laundry.
This human had probably cleaned my rooms and taken care of me for years, and I did not even know her name. How had I lived for so long without actually living at all? Magic was outlawed and banished, yet the King’s hold on me screamed of magic in every way. However, he was human.
The elderly woman interrupted my thoughts as she quickly returned. I heard the door to my rooms open and close followed by her hurried footsteps. The woman held out her hands, presenting me with not one, but three different types of pens. I did not bother to thank her as I snatched the pens form her hands and waved her away in dismissal.
I left her to her work, as I sat down at my desk. I stared at my old journal for a moment before opening it to the first page. I had not written in the small book since I was a child. My blood ran cold at the sight of the strange word sprawled on the first page. It was written over and over again in a language I never studied, yet I knew it as if it had been a part of me my entire life.
The name pulled at something inside of me. Calling to a part of me that had been asleep for so long. The name was written in varying sizes and directions. As if I had tried to fit it as many times as possible onto the page. The beautiful characters that made up the name curled into one another, like decorative design. To the untrained eye, it looked like nothing more than a doodled design.
I slowly flipped through the small journal. I did not remember writing or drawing anything inside of it, but it was unmistakably written in my handwriting. I had drawn beautiful amber-colored eyes and large wings, like those of a bat. Some of the pages had dates, others just drawings. All the dates were from the first year I had spent in the palace. There was nothing from any of the later years.
I blinked away tears as I dated the top of the first empty page. My hand scratched out the stories and memories that had been floating in my mind for the last few days. I wrote every detail I could recall. I was halfway through when I realized I was not writing in the human language.
I wanted to slam the journal closed. To burn it, to throw it away. Panic welled up in me. What if someone found it? If they did find it, it would require someone to translate it. If this was some made-up language it would be impossible. If it was the language of the fae, it would still be impossible. They could prove nothing. It would be seen as nothing more than a book filled with drawings and doodles. Taking a calming breath, I put my pen to paper and continued to write.
As I closed the journal, I rubbed my thumb over the soft leather binding. I stood from my desk, leaving the journal where it had sat undisturbed for years. I could leave it there, but something inside me wanted to hide it.
Reluctantly I grabbed the journal and crossed the room to my large four-poster bed. Laying on my back, I scooted under the bed. Carefully tucking the journal into the space between the mattress and frame.
What do you think it means, that as a child Selene had memories of a life that was not her own?
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