In response to week 4 of Writing 201 workshop Crafting a Scene
I’m considering turning this into the first chapter of the story I’m working on. I wrote it for the workshop but week 3 and 4 but somehow… feedback would be nice.
The mirror couldn’t lie: there was no hiding the fear in her eyes. She knew she had to though, if she wanted to survive this night. But there was no escaping that fear anymore than the memories of that day when magic started charting the course of her life.
Ezaria had always known magic was part of their world even though it wasn’t as inherent to its workings as it once was. Once only those with magic would have ruled in Givry; but magic had slowly disappeared, as lines were diluted. Those who wielded powers were rarely found and when they were, they disappeared quickly. Where to? Most people thought the current ruling line who was never particularly blessed with magic in the first place helped the disappearances. There were no proofs of that; but that was what Ezaria and Helia learned for the first decade of their lives.
That day, things changed. Her sister was sick and they’d prevented Ezaria from seeing her. She insisted: she wanted to speak with Helia. She’d been running away from her maid, Fauna, avoiding her, driving her mad. She wanted to see Helia. Why couldn’t she spend time with her sister?
“By the gods Ezaria why can’t you be a good girl for once? Why? You’re a hellion! Helia’s sick and she’s complaining less than you. She needs rest and you… You will tire her.”
“I won’t. But I want to see her. She needs me. To help her feel better.”
Her maid looked extremely sad and she sat holding her hand.
“Ezaria… You’re a big girl now right?”
“Yes.” She was almost 10 years old, of course she was a big girl. She knew how to read and count. She knew the history of the world, of the realm and magic.
“It’s unlikely Helia will get better; she caught the wasting fever.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You remember little Doardre?”
“Yes…” She did remember. He was sick for days and then he died. But… “But Helia can’t die. She’s Seramis. She’s got the best healers. Doardre. Well, he was poor. He…”
“Don’t you think your father would have fetched the best healers for his people as well?”
“No Ezaria. Unfortunately, as special as she is to you, Helia isn’t different from Doardre in any way. You have to be strong.”
“No! No! NO!”
Lightning struck in the gardens even as Ezaria’s fear of losing her sister overwhelmed her. She couldn’t lose Helia; she was her only true friend, the only one who loved her for all faults. And she had many Ezaria knew: she was proud, willful, annoying, noisy, everything Helia wasn’t. But Helia loved her: and she loved her sister more than anyone else.
“Helia! HELIA!!!” She screamed. And again. And again. Until her maid covered her ears, until her parents burst into the nursery, as lightning struck again. Until the entire room grew as dark as the stormy skies. Until somehow she was in Helia’s room. Panic receded then and she calmed down. She walked to Helia’s side refraining from running, and held her hand; she was so cold. And Helia’s skin- usually of a sparkly golden shade – was as pale as her own. When she opened them, Ezaria saw Helia’s gold flecked green eyes had turned muddy. She looked like she had difficulty breathing. She smiled though for a moment before her eyes closed again. She climbed into bed next to her sister who was so cold she might be as dead as Droardre.
“Don’t leave me Helia.”
She murmured, embracing her younger sister. She wanted to give Helia her strength so she’d get better. Ezaria remained there throughout the night: it rained, drops hammering at the windows, while Ezaria kept whispering stories to her sister. When she ran out of tales, she spoke of their adventures together in the gardens, the place where their imagination made magic happen. When she ran out of that, she told Helia about all the plans they’d made for the future. Ezaria was going to be Lady Seramis and Helia would marry one of the king’s grandson someday and be queen. Because with her golden skin she would be welcome at court and she would catch the heart of the future king with her beauty and her songs. And together they would remake the world a place of fun and music, where magic would be welcome. And they would laugh every day and invent new games for children to have fun. Once that was exhausted, Ezaria spoke of how everyone in the house would be sorry if she were gone, because she was kind and calm, because she made everybody happy when she sang, because she was perfect. Because Ezaria would be so alone without her, and nobody would be so kind to her as Helia was. Helia who helped be a better person than she was. And how much she loved her. In the end she fell asleep.