The name dropped from my lips like a curse and I couldn’t help the rage that flooded my veins, my earlier tranquility forgotten. It was her fault all of this was happening, the going back in time, the lying to my best friends, the stress I was no doubt causing my dad, all of it came flooding back, with shocking clarity.
Chione’s face fell as the name reached her ears. A frown marred her face.
“I’m not Chione.” She insisted firmly. But the words were lost on me, and for the first time in my seventeen years of life, I’d cursed out loud. “Bullshit.”
I cradled my hurting body as I spoke wincing when I jostled a sore bone. That vision must’ve been a lot more interactive than I’d thought.
I pushed myself from a crouching position, so that I could sit semi-comfortably. Keeping my eyes on Chione.
“I’m serious little one. I’m not Chione. I am not my sister!”
I huffed out a surprised breath, “Okay,” I hummed out, “say I believe you and you’re not Chione you’re not your,” I paused, “sister, then who the hell are you?”
Chione’s face changed, before it had been angry, indignant even. But now it was sad, clouded with distant longing. She smiled sadly looking at her reflection in the water, before turning towards that sun.
“I’m Circe.” I stared at the woman in front of me. That wasn’t possible. This wasn’t possible! I’d already met Circe, hell I’d been Circe! How could she be Circe if Circe was back at the palace?
I felt my brain working overtime before coming to two conclusions. One I’d been Circe, and yet all I’d ever felt was her emotions for Ambrose, I’d never heard her or even wondered where she’d gone. If I could take her body, why couldn’t somebody else do the same?
The second conclusion was that I was going to have to let the woman- Circe- explain what was on here.
“Explain.” I demanded, my tone was strict, but void of the hate I’d spat at her earlier.
She looked at me for a moment before she nodded and flicked out her tongue wetting her lips.
“I suppose I’d best start at the beginning.” She said softly, her eyes shone with what I realized were tears.
“I was born to a moderately well off family, I’d had a single older sister and a younger brother. My brother Marik died young and so for the longest time it was only Chione and I, never one without the other.” A mournful smile pulled at her lips.
“However Chione was twenty summers older than I, my parents had many troubles birthing a babe after her, due to my mothers sickly body. But mother had always wanted children and father loved her enough to give them to her.”
I felt a pang of sympathy for Circe’s mother, I’d never thought of how hard it could’ve been in their time. To desperately want something that could easily kill even the healthiest woman let alone a frail, sickly one.
“That’s why my younger brother passed so young,” Circe continued, “he’d inherited mothers frail body, and didn’t last his second winter, I don’t think she ever forgave herself.”
I narrowed my eyes, Marik was the name of Circe’s son.
“That aside, Chione and I had always been close, that was until she’d fallen in love with a wicked man.” Circe’s voice took on a bitter tone, almost spiteful in the way that she spoke, but even I could hear the underlying hurt. It seemed Circe had looked up to Chione quite a bit.
“Wicked man,” I murmured, “Do you mean the Pharaoh’s Son?” I asked bravely.
Circe’s face didn’t change as she shook her head. “No, it was another man, someone who’d been damned in his own country, a man who used magick. He corrupted my sister, poisoned her mind, I’d tried to help her, but I was just a child, who to my sister knew nothing of love.”
“She shunned my words, and cast me out of her life. Only to come back to me when the man she’d followed to the depths of Duat no longer needed her. He had left her for another one who had magick much like his own. You see my mother was not Egyptian, she hailed from another land long forgotten, she often taught us of the magick that’d flourished there. Magick that my sister and I had the potential to possess. The idea of magick had never appealed to Chione before, but after her encounter with that man, magick become her sole purpose; to learn it, to understand it, to tame it.”
“My sister successfully learned magick after disappearing for some time. The time away had changed both of us. I had grown and had fallen in love, I’d been wedded to the Pharaoh’s son and and was expecting a child of my own-”
I put a hand up to stop Circe. “Wait I’m confused. You said that you’d been wedded to the Pharaoh’s son and pregnant? How is that possible, the story was that Chione fell in love with Ambrose’s father, and tried to kill his mother. And when that failed she cursed them.”
Now it was Circe’s turn to look lost. She shook her head in protest. “No, Chione had found the man from before, and had won him over when she showed him just how powerful she’d gotten. Together they would kill the Pharaoh and take over Egypt. Only once my sister learned that I was the Queen she changed her mind she tried to stop Sinbad from-”
I cut her off again with a cry of disbelief. “Sinbad? Are you serious?” Some small part of me figured I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but honestly who would’ve thought that, Chione and Sinbad would be more than partners the thought kind of scared me as I thought of his gentleness with me. Maybe it was because I look so much like her?
Circe gave me a look that only a mother could, one that showed disappointment with my constant disrespect. Blushing furiously I waved my hand to her. “Sorry, please continue.”
“As I was saying, Chione tried to convince me to leave the castle, to let them finish what they came to do, but I couldn’t,” Circe gave a rueful smile, “my sister may have chosen horribly but she was right, once you love someone you love them, you’d do anything to keep them. She was furious with me, and told me that she wouldn’t put her plan into action until after the babe was born, and that I’d have until then to decide what to do.”
Circe sighed loud and heavy. “Naturally I was horrified at what my sister had become and told Ambrose what I’d been told. We decided that we wouldn’t leave there wasn’t anywhere we could go without causing panic amongst the people.”
“The story you found may have some truth to it, how does it end?”
I blinked slowly thinking back to what the tapestry had said. “The witch had tasked a servant to poison the Queen, only for it to backfire as she had been the one to drink the poison, in her last dying breath she cursed the Pharaoh, and his Queen’s first born child to be doomed to watch his love die for all eternity never knowing and never able to stop his loves inevitable demise.”
I looked at Circe, she’d been through so much with her sister and still I could see just how much she still believed in her, how much she loved her and yet, it still wasn’t enough.
“How can you still love her?” My eyes widened as I realized what I’d said. “I’m sorry.” I back tracked. “I shouldn’t have asked that.”
Circe let out another soft chuckle. “Because we’re sisters, and no matter what we will always be. Moreover, she could’ve done worse, couldn’t she?”
I furrowed my eyebrows, confused, “What are you talking about?”
The smile on her face grew. “She’s the one who created this place.” Circe waved her hand around in a general gesture.
“This is a very strong magick, not truly an illusion, but not reality either. Chione has separated my mind from my body and so I reside here not dead, but not truly living.”
Circe suddenly looked up at the still beaming sun and smiled sadly, “it is time for you to leave little one.” I pursed my lips, and tilted my head, “what do you mean? I can’t leave yet not when I’m so close!”
Her face didn’t change and she turned to face me, gripping my hand tightly in her own, she locked eyes with me and smiled more genuine this time. “It was nice to meet you little one, tell me your name before you go.”
I let out a distressed noise confusion overriding common sense, “Rebel, I’m Rebel.” I stated firmly.
“Rebel,” she sighed her lips curling happily, “this is not goodbye Rebel, remember what I told you. And something else. Perhaps that story may have a bit more to it than you thought find it again! Goodbye!”
I held fast to her hand, “Circe!” I called out as my vision grew darker, “Circe! Wait! Circe!”
I heard nothing to answer my calls and felt nothing within my grasp, until what felt like a push and a pull overtook me.
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