The High Queen Sorceress (complete)
Author: jessicaw

Chapter 20
chapter 20

Keara woke to birds chirping outside of her window. The shutters were thrown wide open and a light breeze flowed through the room. She smiled as she gazed up at the thin pink lace canopy. She had never felt so happy or content in her whole life. 

She turned her face to the open window. It was a bright, sunny day. Pushing back the thick, fluffy white comforter, she rolled herself out of the soft bed, parting the thin canopy with the backs of her hands.

Her wispy white night gown flowed around her and she giggled inwardly at its movement. She never had a night gown before. She reveled in the luxury of it before stepping off of the soft pink carpet and on to the cool white marble. 

She walked across the smooth floor, wiggling her toes every so often in merriment. She stepped onto the balcony and drifted over to the banister, draping both of her arms over the sides as she let out a long, happy breath. She watched the birds as they idly flew past her window. She was very high up in the palace and therefore very close to the birds. She felt one with them and grinned as she imagined herself flying alongside them through the blue, cloudless sky.

The door to her room quietly creaked open and red hair popped in followed by two green almond shaped eyes. Dana looked around the room, searching for Keara. She smiled when she finally spotted her on the porch.

She opened the door the rest of the way and silently crossed the floor, her bright blue dress skating over the smooth marble and trailing slightly behind her. She came to a noiseless stop next to Keara, also stretching her arms over the balcony and hunkering down so that she was eye level with the thin girl. 

“Good morning!” She said pleasantly. Keara turned to her, her brown eyes filled with glee. “Good morning your majesty!” She giggled. Dana laughed a heartfelt laugh. “How many times have I asked you not to call me that?” She questioned playfully.  Keara smiled and looked down at the trees below them. Their green leaves and long branches swayed slightly in the morning air, reaching out and touching their neighbors with gentle, loving movements. They looked so serene and happy, just like her.                   

“I need your help with something.” Dana said absentmindedly, watching a  black and brown bird with a bright orange throat as it circled above. “What is it?” Said Keara, focusing on Dana with full attention. She had never been asked to help with anything before. 

Dana arched, throwing her shoulders back as she spoke, staring Keara excitedly in the eyes. “I received a gift from my great, great grandmother not too long ago. She gave me a bag of ashes from warriors killed in battle. I don’t like wars or fighting, but these were good men who died to help keep others free. I want to give them a peaceful place to rest. Somewhere where there is no such thing as fighting or war. What do you think; do you know of anywhere like that?” 

Keara stuck her finger in her mouth and started rubbing the nail along her teeth, focusing on the slight pinging sound it made every time it broke free of one of the groves between them. She glanced down to the trees and then to the lush, colorful gardens below. She liked the gardens. They were such a calm and happy place. They made her feel at peace and safe.  

She grinned as she looked at Dana. “How about the gardens?” She asked, her finger resting on her lip. Dana cocked her head and squinted her eyes as she stared at Keara, surprised at the suggestion. She thought about it for a few minutes then gave Keara a big smile.

“That’s a fantastic idea!” She said. The ashes will be good for the flowers, they will help them grow and then those men will always have a happy place to be. They can intertwine with the flowers and as long as the flowers grow, the spirits of the men will thrive. It will be like each one has its own memorial!”    

“Come” She said. “I’m going to need your help spreading them out. Are you up to it?” “Of course!” She said, excited that Dana liked her suggestion. “Good!” Dana said. “Get dressed and I will meet you in the gardens!” She gave Keara a small hug and turned to leave the room, her red hair trailing after her, moving like flames in an open fire.                                                                                                           

Once she was alone. Keara walked over to the wardrobe. She opened it and gazed at all of the pretty dresses inside. There were pink ones and yellow ones with puffy sleeves. Red ones and purple ones with puffy skirts. They were made of some of the finest material in the world. Quality only a queen would wear. Some were embroidered with delicate designs, others had lacy accents. All of them were extravagant. She fingered them gently and lovingly, letting her fingers glide across them so carefully and cautiously, that she could barely feel the material, afraid that is she handled them to roughly, they would turn to ash in her grip.

 She smiled as she reveled in their beauty before looking for the plain blue dress Brine bought her. It rested in the corner; hidden beneath the opulence of its peers. She pulled it out.                                

Even though she had been provided with all those fancy gowns, she still favored the blue one. It reminded her of the man and woman, and of Brine. 

It made her realize that even though the world she had been born in and the only world she ever knew was full of corrupt and unjust people, good people still existed. She caressed it lovingly as she pressed it to her thin frame. Shutting the wardrobe door as she turned, she forgot all about the other dresses as she danced across the marble floor, imagining she was dancing with Commander Joustafix.    

Once she was dressed, she headed for the Gardens, passing several attendants as she went. They smiled pleasantly at her, both men and women alike, bowing slightly as was custom when passing others in the castle. She smiled back as she returned their bows and greetings. It was such a wonderful feeling to be treated as an equal.  

In the Gardens, Dana was sitting on a marble bench with elaborate carvings that trailed up the sides, waiting for Keara. She smiled her warm smile at the sight of her. “Such a simple little creature.” She said, indicating her blue dress and plain sandals. Keara grinned a confident grin as she waited for Dana to continue.

Dana gave her a mischievous look as she raised her finger into the air. She made a square shape and suddenly a small box materialized, floating in the air, level with her head. Keara watched wide eyed as she took a key out of her pocket and inserted it into a small metal lock on the newly formed box. It opened with a click. Inside was a small, light purple bag. She took it out and handed it to Keara.

Keara held out both of her hands as Dana laid it gently into her upturned palms. She gazed down at the bag in her hands, holding it gingerly. Dana flashed her another sunny grin then held up her long, slender snow white finger once more and ran it around the edges of the box. It disappeared almost instantly, almost as if it never existed.    

Keara blinked in amazement, her hands still stretched out with the small satchel resting in them. Her mouth was agape and she seemed to forget where she was. Dana gently leaned over and touched her chin, causing Keara to suck in a deep breath as her lips smacked together. “That was incredible!” She blurted out.

Dana laughed with pleasure at Keara’s reaction. “That was nothing.” She smiled. “Come. I want to teach you a small trick to help me spread these ashes across the gardens.”   

They walked several yards deeper into the gardens, the aromas of them invading their nostrils and sinking down into their lungs as the petals followed their progress, calling out to them with silent pleas. 

Dana took the bag from Keara and carefully opened it, dipping her finger tips into the bag as if choosing which chocolate she might like to eat first. She let the ashes touch the pads of her fingers, sticking as they made contact. When she was satisfied with the amount glued to her, she pulled her hand out of the bag and turned to Keara.

“You have to imagine that there is a gust of air to take these ashes out across the gardens, spreading them over the flowers. Once you have that mental image in your head, pretend you are the cause of that air current and blow gently on the ashes.”                                                                                                             

She held her hand out in front of her face, she eyes finding a faraway place as she concentrated. She closed her eyes and Keara could visibly she her entire body relax. Gently, she began to blow on to the palm of her hand.     

The stream of air flowed across her open palm and picked the ashes up, lifting them off her fingertips and carrying them through the sweet morning air. They drifted in the direction Dana had blown, gently floating above the flowers as they coasted further out.                                                                                    

Dana’s breath of air seemed to grow tenfold as the ashes drifted further and further away. Slowly, they started their descent, coming to rest on the flowers and their petals, sinking to the dark soil below and burying themselves in the ground.

The flowers almost seemed to reach up, calling out to the falling ashes. Almost as if trying to catch them before they hit the ground. They cradled the ashes in their petals, their colors visibly brightening as more and more of the ash landed upon them. Keara watched in awe as the last ash fell. "Now you try.” Came Dana’s gentle voice.

“I can’t do that.” Keara said, looking up at Dana with a startled frown. “I can’t do magic.” Dana smiled a warm, loving, sisterly smile.

“Yes you can. With my help you can. You have sorceresses blood buried deep inside of you. I can sense it.”                                   

“What?” Keara blurted out, stunned at the verdict. Her legs suddenly turned to jelly and she had to brace herself on a nearby chair to keep from falling.

Dana laughed a small laugh. “Tell me, how did you grow up?” Keara stared at the ground, a dark invisible cloud hanging above her head as she thought about the past she so longed to forget.

“On the streets.” She said at last. The words coming out in a shameful whisper “And how did you survive that?” Dana pushed. Keara blinked as she looked up at her. She thought about the question for a minute, racking her brain for an answer. “I have no idea.” She replied at last, frowning as she tried to remember just how she had managed for so long to evade everyone and everything. “You were protected.” Dana said at last, answering her own question. 

“How?” Keara asked, looking into Dana’s soft, loving green eyes in confusion. I though magic couldn’t exist in my world. Lauranna said it couldn’t exist there.”

“True, but she also mentioned the cow, didn’t she?” Dana asked.                            Keara cocked her head as her forehead creased in thought. “Yes?” She said, unsure of herself.  “Did Lauranna ever mention the bit about how the cow never met demise despite roaming wolves, disease or untrustworthy men?”    

“No.” Keara replied. Dana looked up at the sky, scanning the clear blue atmosphere as if searching a bookshelf for the perfect story. She smiled as she looked back down, meeting Keara’s large, brown questioning eyes.   

“Every four thousand years or so, the bridges between our world and yours aligns. This has been documented in history. We know very little about how the portals work. For instance, because of the visit my Great, Great grandmother made to your world, we know that the portals stay open for roughly two weeks. We do not know for sure if this is the exact length of time or not because we are not sure exactly when we found the portal how long it had already been open.

Most of the people here are common folk, just like what you would find on your own world. The difference is that some of them have small elements of magic. We call these people witches or wizards. Then there are others who either do not have any magic or choose not to use it. None of them have the kind of power that a Sorceress possesses.  

Thousands upon thousands of years ago, people from both worlds wandered through the portals. Some with magic and some without it. That is why we have so many people here who possess no magic at all. It is also why people like you are in existence. Some of our people were trapped when the portals closed, unable to cross back to their own worlds.

At some point and time, a sorceress or two must have crossed the bridge, gotten stuck the same as everyone else and bedded a man. Although magic cannot manifest in your world, because you have been touched by a sorceress, you are protected. Just like the cow. Even though Lauranna never physically touched the cow, she was the reason it came into existence. She touched it in a special kind of way. It is a kind of magic in a way. It wards off predators, keeping the cow safe. It has worked the same for you. At some point, someone in your family crossed the path of a sorceress.                                                             

Something else that I find fascinating about that cow is how long ago Lauranna helped it come into being. It has only been a decade or so but that cow doesn’t seem to have aged more than a few years. Tell me Keara, how old are you?”

 “Twenty five and three months” She responded. Dana nodded as if her suspicions had been confirmed.     

“You see, there is something about the magic inside of you that I find interesting. You, like the cow have the body and stamina of a much younger person. Here, common folk and those with talents alike live for two hundred years at minimum. In your world, you should only live the normal amount of time as everyone else, be it sixty or seventy years. Both you and the cow are aging in intelligence as your years dictate, however, the rest of you is aging at a much slower pace. I assume that the reason for this is the magic. How old do you think I am?” She asked, kneeling down to a small flower close to her feet and gently caressing it’s wilted yellow petals. It brightened at her touch, the shine and grace returning to its features.                                                                         

Keara began playing with her fingernail again as she ruminated on how old she thought the High Queen Sorceress was. “Well, you don’t look any older than twenty eight.” She said at last.

Dana turned her attention back to Keara, her face lighting up with pleasure. “That’s quite the compliment.” She said. “I’m six hundred and thirty two years old.” Keara staggered back in surprise, running into one of the iron chairs behind her. She clutched the sides of it as she stared at Dana in complete surprise.                                         

“How” She began. Dana cut her off. I am a Sorceress. The magic in my body floods through my veins, prolonging my life. Sorceresses were chosen to rule this world in part because of just how long we live. It is not exactly something I enjoy, but my sister succeeded the throne, acknowledging that she is nowhere near as powerful or talented as I. While she is still a Queen, she is no longer the High Queen.”

Dana sighed. “I wish she was. I don’t want to fight or make life changing decisions for my people. What if I mess up. She trailed off as her eyes took on a faraway, lost look. 

"Anyhow” she said, shaking off the thought. “Now that I have explained the magic inside of you, it would bring me great pleasure if you try that little trick I showed you.”  Even though Keara’s head was spinning with questions, she did not dwell on the subject. It was impolite to ask questions. Instead she obliged Dana and silently dipped her fingers into the ashes.

They spent the rest of the day blowing ashes over the flowers. When they were done, Dana showed Keara how to care for the flowers. How to touch them, what to say to make them grow, how to revive those that were nearing death and prolong their lives. It was the first time Dana had ever shown anyone how to cater to the extensive gardens. It was the first time she ever trusted anyone but herself to tend to them.

Near sun down, Lauranna and Cantalile appeared in the gardens. Dana’s face grew red and the air around them seemed to turn cold when she saw her sister approach. “We will have nothing to do with your petty war.” Dana said coolly to her big sister.     

Lauranna gave her a haughty look but Cantalile was the one to respond, usually brash spoken and quick tempered, she had an unusually chocolate sweet tone as she bowed and addressed Dana. “No my Queen. There will be no talk of such troubling things tonight. 

Our plan is in effect and things are going well. We were hoping to take a quiet stroll through the immaculate gardens with you and revel in the attention of our adored leader.”

Dana blushed at the compliment, quickly sweeping the redness in her cheeks away. “Yes of course. The gardens are beautiful at this time of day, aren’t they? Keara and I were just discussing the idea of her taking up a permanent residence here with me.”

 

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