Arabesque,

Arabesque Chapter 12

2/16/2017 Laura Watkins 0 Comments

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I will be sharing parts of my writing every week (alternating between Arabesque and Persephone) as I write them (with the exception of some parts of Arabesque, which were written previously), so please be patient with any errors you may find, as these are a first drafts.

About the book

Tatania is tired of living in her sister's shadow but doesn't know about Princess Anna's dark secret. Bound by a sacred oath, Anna's struggles to live a double life that can never be her own. 
Described as "Sense and Sensibility meets Ever After with ninjas," Arabesque is full of action, romance, intrigue, and betrayal.

Since I've always been super paranoid, Arabesque was officially copyrighted in 2009. Duplication or use of this work in any other form is prohibited by law.


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Chapter 12

Anna

Ignoring the searing pain in my limp arm, I washed and redressed Henry's wounds. The gash in his leg was the worst. Already oozing puss, the ragged edges were bright red and swollen. If Henry did not get proper treatment soon, the infection spread, and he would eventually succumb to blood poisoning.

I knelt, hunched over his body, stroking his dark blonde hair as I'd dreamed of doing so often before. I sobbed, begging him to stay with me, to guide me as he always did. "Henry, you've always known what to do...how do I help you? If I leave you alone..." I couldn't admit out loud how I was failing him.

I kissed his hand, and held it against my tear wetted cheek. His blazing warmth evaporated the tears. He moaned, and shivered. His breath was labored and his eye lids fluttered with fevered dreams. I helplessly pressed my forehead to his. The comfort of his skin washed over me, as a calming warm bath.

"Henry, please," I whispered. "I cannot lose you like this...with you never knowing." I shuttered. "Henry." I brushed his hair away from his face, caressing it. "I love you, Henry." I kissed his forehead as I'd never before dared.

"Coward!" A voice hissed.

I jumped back and raised Henry's sword. There was no one.

"Anna Niala Ballenden di..."

"No!" I screamed. I didn't know how it was possible, but somehow the voice knew. I could not let that name be spoken aloud.

"You are a craven coward," the voice whispered.

My eyes darted around the abandoned room.

"Like your father," the voice burned in my head. I shook as the room spun.

"He doesn't know your secret," the voice accused. "Your own protector, your confidant. You claim you love him, yet you are too scared to even tell him your true name."

I braced myself on a chair.

"I can't..." I whispered.

"You are too cowardly to tell him of your love until he is too weak to hear your words. Like your father, you lie and manipulate, deceive and use people like pawns on a chess board."

My shaking knees buckled. I shook my head in denial.

"Pretender," the voice chanted. "Liar. Manipulator."

"It is necessary," I whispered hoarsely.

"Ah yes, the excuse of all who deceive. Just as road to hell is paved with good intentions, your lies will be your destruction, this you know. They already tear you apart."

"I have no choice." I fell to my knees.

"There is always a choice," another voice whispered like a soft breeze, barely noticed.

"No, you are a cowardly puppet, thrown into a war you cannot control. You have no choice. You can't win. They make you dance to their tune. You break your bones at their whim, deny your heart at their behest...and in their service, you have broken your own mind."

"There is always a choice," the other voice sang familiarly.

My eyes shot open. This wasn't real, yet it felt as real to me as Henry's touch. I was at war with myself, and in my weakened state, exhausted and overwhelmed, the thoughts I had strived to repress had broken free.

I was a coward. I deceived those I loved. I felt beaten, and helpless, and put upon.

"There is always a choice," the familiar voice rang out. "Even if your only choice is to be happy or sad."

I remembered. It seemed so long ago...Isabel's voice said, "No one can force us to do anything." That was right. I had chosen this life, no one had forced me into it. There is always a choice, but sometimes we don't want to think that because we don't want to face consequences that we don't like. I chose this life because I couldn't bare the alternative, but it was my choice and there was great power in that ownership.

I felt hope. Somehow, we would be alright. I lifted my pounding head, and laid it wearily on Henry's shoulder. It felt like home. I took his hand in mine, and lost the consciousness my broken body and mind had been clinging to.


I awoke in my own room with a start. Where was Henry? My aching body assured me that this was no dream. I tried to sit up and noticed wounds had been bound and tended to.

"Princess Anna," Nora exclaimed, rushing to my side. She peppered me with questions. I assured her I was well, and asked if I could see Henry.

"You won't be leaving that bed for a while, yet, Princess," Nora scolded and walked toward the door. "The king's not accustom to taking orders, but he almost took ill because he wouldn't leave your bedside. He'll have my hide for a rug if I don't tell him you're conscious."

She returned shortly, closing the door behind King Nicolas and General Ashenhurst.

The king's relieved smile shone brightly in his eyes. He held my hand and stroked my hair softly. "Anna, we thought..." he shook his head, relieved.

"Where is Henry? Is he..." I couldn't utter the words.

The king scowled, but did not answer.

"Henry will be fine," the general smiled.

"But how? We were..." I stopped, my head spun.

'We waited hours after you were expected, then left to find you," the general answered.

"It was nearly too late," the king growled, glaring at him.

"But as luck would have it, my boy had that church well stocked. It was just a matter of finding the crate with the medicine you needed. When we found you, you and Henry were both stricken with high fevers and on the brink of blood poisoning."

"Henry is going to be alright," I sighed with relief. The only thing that mattered.

"Not when I'm through with him," the king said darkly. "He was to protect you. He gave us his assurance. I should have prevented this foolish venture..." he ranted.

"Your majesty, Henry saved my life. He couldn't have helped what happened...it was my fault. I acted foolishly and caused us to be ambushed by bandits. Henry acted bravely, taking on the whole group together as I cowered. H killed the last fiend after I'd been rendered unconscious. He saved both our lives."

The men looked at me skeptically. "Well, that is most certainly interesting," the king said, eyebrows raised. "That boy claimed that you took on the band single handed, then dragged his useless carcass across the Raleran district to shelter, where you selflessly tended his wounds while you nearly bled out!"

I blushed at Henry's exaggeration. After I had rejected his love, he could have spoken unkindly...I would not have blamed him if he had recited every fault, every mistake that had been made plain that night.

"Perhaps, once they have recovered, we will get a more accurate and unbias account of the matter," said the general.
More coming soon! Read Chapter 13 here or more about my projects here.
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