"I beg your pardon?” An old woman dressed in dark robes angrily sneered at the girl before her. “Pardon granted. I would be surprised too, if I had spoken to a princess that way.” The beautiful girl stared down at her as the women cursed her bitterly under her breath. She walked away and the princess stared down at her hands. “Ashmere, was I too hard on her?” “No, Princess. You were only showing your authority.” The tanned skin man spoke soothingly. “But I feel as if I shattered part of her soul.” Eva looked up at Ashmere as they walked down the hall of the large palace. She had refused the woman’s request to free her son, after he had brutally beaten a palace guard. “Ashmere? I feel as if I am to be cursed to loneliness and betrayal.” She gazed up at him, her blue eyes clouded. He looked down at her, sadness filling his hazel eyes. “You were cursed when you were very young. Too young for you to remember. You would never find love, not for many lifetimes. But don’t worry, Princess,” he took hold of her hands, “the curse is not forever. I will always be there for you, Eva.” She looked deep into his soul, closed her eyes, and nodded.
Eva awoke with a start that same night. Bright orange and red flames licked the bottom of her bedroom door. “Ashmere!” She panicked, throwing off the bed sheets. Eva ran to her door, still in her silk nightwear. “Aggh!” A scream of pain suddenly escaped her lips as she quickly withdrew her hand from the scalding door handle. “Ashmere! Help!” Her cries were painted with pain and fear. “Princess!” The faint sound of Ashmere’s voice was like music to her ears. After a painfully long moment, Ashmere burst through the door. Eva leapt into his arms and started to weep. “What is happening?” “The Black Mist! They are invading! They have overtaken our army... there is no way out.” Eva looked up at him. She knew what that meant and her stomach dropped. Her father had given word to Ashmere before he had died; “If the Black Mist ever comes, they cannot capture Eva. You must kill her.” Ashmere stepped forward, gently caressing her soft cheek. “I have always loved you, Eva. It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a creative light. Your heart is full of kindness. I will only love you... and now a soul that once bled from the inside out, burns with a passionate rage. For it is by my hand, the your soul must leave this earth.” A tear slipped down his tanned cheek. Eva wept even harder. “I love you, Ashmere. We will be together in another lifetime.” He unsheathed the silver dagger that the king had given him. “In another lifetime.” He embraced her as they shared their first and last kiss. Her lips parted in a soft gasp as he twisted the dagger that had been embedded in her stomach. “I promise, we will be together.” She fell to the ground and Ashmere held her close. His eyes were pained and his heart had screamed for Eva. The invaders filled the princess' chambers. “NO!” The angered leader of the Black Mist wailed as he pushed his men aside. The princess lay dead in Ashmere’s arms. He looked up at them, his eyes blackened with an unmistakable rage. “You will never have her.” were the last words Ashmere would ever say, as a long sword was driven through his heart. He held Eva close as one last tear fell to the floor, mixing with the blood of the princess.