I rang the bell for my other servants; I had to prepare for the ball this evening. I had to announce to my nobles that I was to meet with the other rulers. I am sure they have heard from their own spies and wish to have me find a husband. Or find a way to dethrone me.
I too had to speak to Grand Duke Florent whom my father trusted the most and who was kind to me. He was the only one I could trust to watch over my kingdom while I was away.
The day I was born was not the greatest of days for my father. He had a female heir that was as a faceless child. The seers had foretold that I was imminent and that I would rule my father’s kingdom.
My father did not approve and had them banished.
His mind was set that he would have a son to rule after him but my mother never bore another child.
She spoke of demons possessing her body and that I was no child of hers but of the demon-folk and she could not bear the possibility of another monster.
She was locked away in a tower on a cliff at the east end of Eydollon where no folk lived in fear of the demons haunting her.
My father slowly withered alone on his throne. Lost to despair for how could he bare another child with a wife who was at the edge of lunacy.
No one dared speak of the future ruler of the kingdom and my father himself denied it in his mind for even if he opened his mind to a woman to rule his kingdom how could he let a faceless child rule? Would his people trust someone with no face?
This he did not forget to express to me as I grew. He hid me from his people and only a select few knew of my existence. To the rest of the kingdom, I had died at birth.
Until it all changed when an enchantress visited our kingdom, she spoke to the king privately and soon I found myself being mentored by her. She taught me magic and told me of stories of fiery spirits that lived in a land across the ocean from Eydollon.
I had very few friends, but there had been a servant girl named Flora. The enchantress had called us to her chambers one evening. She had let us play with her beautiful scarfs and gowns.
I was a child that did not have eyes, nor a nose or a mouth but I did not need eyes to see.
It was as if I were looking through a glass window that was stained in different colours that always shifted like flames flickering.
I could see things to the tiniest detail, to a single speck of dust on my father’s clothes, to a droplet of water on a rose petal. I could see everything.
I too did not need a nose to smell for I could taste it through my skin and I could smell things from miles away if I touched the ground.
I did not need to eat for I simply touched my meal and it was absorbed into my skin like air seeping in.
However, that evening everything changed.
Flora had been dancing in a golden dress in front of a mirror, I still could remember seeing the strands of her hair twirling like the dress she held when I suddenly felt like I was falling through a deep narrow tunnel.
I could feel myself shrinking, my skin tightening all over my body and my senses diluted and minimized.
The world was different. I could now see through normal eyes, it was full of colours but flat, sounds and smells were muted, it all felt so simple, like a painting removed with all its shadows and lights.
The enchantress had passed me a mirror and I saw dear Flora’s face looking back at me and at that moment I realized I had been so befuddled by the difference in my senses I had not noticed my friend on the floor void of life and face.
I had cried for days but my father had been joyous, he paid Flora’s family in gold. Their faces was devoid of feelings, as my heart felt from that moment on.
He had thrown a party to show me to the people of the Eydollon.
Claiming he had kept me a secret to protect me.
I had stolen life and my father celebrated it.
My real mother must have heard. The maids whispered that on the same night that the party had raged, she had been laughing and celebrating in her room.
On the next day, she was found dead with a smile on her face. She had died happy knowing her daughter had a face.
My father wishing to forget the past quickly moved on and soon married the enchantress. He was content so the kingdom was happy.
The enchantress taught me the ways to repeat the thievery. Lasting three fill moon cycles. At the time I outgrew young Flora’s face, I was glad to be rid of it for seeing her face still felt like betrayal.
I expressed my thoughts to my new stepmother but she simply nodded and said, “If you truly do not wish to do it you would not. Only you can end it.”
I never spoke of it with her again, I could see her sadden each time a girl died but beside her my father smiled, oblivious to the pain in my heart.
Until one day on one of his hunting trips, he returned a changed man. He spoke to no one. He even stopped eating and locked himself in his chambers.
The enchantress told the people that he had fallen ill, bitten by an unknown creature in the woods but I knew it was something else. He never locked his doors.
My father died in a week the same night I had met Kera.
I had snuck into his room again in the morning while Grand Duke Florent spoke to my stepmother. He had looked different last night, through my tears I remembered him being bloated and blue but that morning he looked withered like a plant sucked dry. His body was sunken in, skin wrapped around his bones like moulded melted cheese.
I apologized to him in my head, for not saving him. I apologized for being a curse to him. Then I shouted raging in my head, why he could not love me.
I shouted at him for making me kill all those girls and those to be. I cried to him, for I didn’t know if I could be a good queen. I cried to him, for I still felt lonely.
(Catch Part IV of the Faceless Queen tomorrow!)