The Night Wars
A full five feet, six inches of curves and delicate lines, rich brown hair and hazel eyes that change color as quickly as her moods, Auremelia is the black sheep of her family.
I was sixteen years old when I learned of my true parentage. Dressed for my birthday party and the gala presentation of myself to society, I had run to my mother’s chambers to show off my new gown. Instead of finding her in front of her own mirror making her own preparations, she sat stiff and uncomfortable in an armchair, my father standing tall and imposing behind her. One massive hand rested on the back of the chair, oddly, not on my mother’s shoulder as was usual. My father liked displays of possession and his favorite was to simply rest a hand on the possession he chose, people and inanimate objects alike. Even now, although I have stopped allowing that display on my person, I can still feel the weight of it on my shoulder… Still see the blunt cut nails, the large golden signet ring… Still feel the tender bruises left behind when he would squeeze my shoulder to remind me of who and where I was. To remind me to act appropriately.
My mother looked tired and her voice sounded defeated as she bid me to come and sit, for she had a story full of truths to tell me. A story of forbidden love, of secret liaisons. A story of a noble woman and a captain of the house guard, a fine, strong man with a lilting voice that could melt the snows off the highest peaks of the Than mountains. A story of the issue of the liaison, a daughter, fine boned and dark eyed. A child no longer who now needed to know the truths of her birth.
I wish she had never told me. Yet I am grateful, for truths are the coin of power. Knowing my own truths keeps them from the hands of others.
Titles and Choices…
Lady Auremelia Danshar, Waykeeper, Bladeborn, Sharmaid, holder of the Grant of the Red Moon. What a cumbersome thing to inherit.
Five minutes after my mother finished her tale, five long minutes where I sat gazing at my parents, well, the woman who birthed me and the man who raised me as his daughter. Five incredibly long minutes where my Lord Ebbreth Danshar, Ward of the Bay, to use his favorite shortening of the tumble of words that follow his given name, stared into my soul and took my measure as if he had never met me before and he wanted to make sure he had not just let in a snake to slither around with his precious hot house birds, before he lay that title before me.
“Auremelia,” he said, “That is your title. Although by birth you cannot claim it, I give it to you. You now have a choice to make, my daughter.”
To his credit, he did not make the word ‘daughter’ sound like a lie. I truly think that he loves me as his own, even though he has known the truth since before I was born.
“You know of your true parentage. I know of your true parentage. I choose to accept you this day, before our peers, as my daughter and rightful holder of those titles. However, you must take a few moments to think about all you have heard. Roll it all around on your tongue, explore their flavor, decide for yourself if this is the life you wish to continue.”
I sat, listening to him, my brain clicking furiously as I ran through the implications, the possibilities, the foreign concept of another man being my true father.
Lord Ebbreth, still my father in my own mind, held out his hand on which sat a small silver box. My hand reached out obediently to take it before my brain registered the action.
“Within is your signet ring. Your mother and I had it created just for you, a unique mark of your own in honor of the person you are, and the person we see you becoming.” He spoke gravely but could not or did not hide the pride in his voice. “Take it, my Auremelia. Go to your room, think about what we have said. If you choose the path of my daughter then put it on and wear it with pride to your party. If you choose another path, leave it in it’s box. All announcements will be made accordingly.”
I nodded and rose, again the obedient daughter, and somehow made my way back to my own room where I sat, lost in thought until Betha came to fetch me.
Did I put on the ring? Of course I did. To do otherwise would mean leaving behind all I knew. To do otherwise would mean breaking my mother’s heart and exposing her to ridicule. As I look back now at all the looks and recall all the offhand remarks over the years, my heritage has always been in question but was never overly examined. I suppose out of respect for my mother, for a kinder, more gentle soul never walked the earth.
As I write, I turn the heavy gold ring around and around my finger. I can see it as the tether my father intended it to be, now, as I look back. Since that day there has been many times I wished I had chosen differently, but these are my truths and these are now my paths to tread.
…..Remie’s Journal is blogged privately on Blogspot…. if you are interested in reading her full journal please drop me a line and let me know!……