“Look at me daughter,” he said. Gravel and rough, it grated on Fel’s sense of humanity. At least she could say she was human.
She stood up immediately and glared at her father. “Don’t think that a pretty dress, a carriage and a pardon to me will make me forgive you.”
Gevrid stiffened beside her. The King’s frown was magnanimously like a malevolent storm. His seven councillors chose then to step back from the throne.
The King’s loyal subjects watched from below. Their presence unwarranted, but still welcomed as witnesses. It was to them that Fel would reveal the secret of the royal family.
“You took the diamond. What else am I supposed to do?”
“Not put me in your goddamn statue garden like I’m one of them! Because you know I’m not. I’m not like them at all.”
“No?” The ice on his tongue never ceased to escape Fel’s notice. She didn’t shiver, but her hand shook. It shook enough that she tucked it into her skirt.
Angered, Fel dared to take a step closer, closing the distance between the both of them. Her hand shimmered in the folds of her skirt, the heat came, burning her hand and skirt, as the air stirred a breeze.
The breeze whistled around her and her father, gathering into a minute whirl of wind. The diamond on her neck burned with truth. Kyrinia would forgive her for her impudence. The sky goddess held those of truth in honour, and those dishonest in disfavour. If Fel was not honest, the diamond would not burn for her.
Her father would think he was honest. Being the King and the mightiest power of the land, he would assume that he was the one in the right, always. But he was not. His land, Kyrinia, and the sky goddess for whom the land had been named after recognised the rot he represented. Kyrinia was decaying under his rule.
Once Queen Mother had told her that the land was only as alive as its King. That was when she had been alive and still caring for the young Felicity. And when the King was good and kind. That was when he didn’t have his shrine of ice statues.
She died from an unlucky fate. It seems that she was always meant to die. Not even the sky goddess could save her.
When she did, the King was no longer the kind of King Fel remembered. His heart, though at first not evident to the young Fel, grew colder and harder with every passing year. At first Fel tried to talk to her father, but he always turned her aside. And she never understood.
So when she turned ten and met Dallas, she submerged herself in a subculture of female warriors and learned a mode of leadership that was so unlike her father’s kind of leadership.
It was brisk and kind and good and strict. There was discipline and justice. Fairness and presumption. Fel fell in love with that kind of leadership and as the King’s only daughter, she was the heiress presumptive. The only dispute was whether she was capable for such a role.
In the eyes of many, her desertion of her duties, due to her escape with Dallas and her girls, was seen as a betrayal and for a long time there was talk of appointing another heir to the throne. But that was long before anyone realised just what kind of power the heiress presumptive held.
The King was always powerful, having been blessed by Kyrinia. But the Queen had also been powerful too, having been a special present from another country. She had not been blessed by Kyrinia, but she had the power of Kyrinia. And so Felicity was supposed to be powerful as well. And in the beginning, she was not.
Fel had been weak to begin with and thus mocked by her peers secretly. It was mockery that could not be punished though for until Fel could find her magic, she was weaker than them, no matter how regal she pretended to be. That was why Dallas and her girls were much admired by Fel.
But when her magic came to her, through brute measures that her father inflicted on her, to prove that she was worthy, Fel changed. Dallas who had come the be a close friend recognised the change, but could not save her. It was Fel who recognised in time, the twisted nature of her father. She recognised what he’d become, and what she had become. And if anything were proof, it would the powerful diamond that hung around her neck. There was the evidence there in that diamond, that held so much power, there the truth blazed.
Fire, light, blazed forwards from the diamond, encasing father and her in an impenetrable bubble. Gevrid fell back in astonishment unable to pass through the light. Dallas and her girls surged forward, but like Gevrid were pushed back by the light. And the King’s men. The King’s men were separate and desperate to stand by their King.
As they fell away, the King stood, towering over his petite daughter. And all that watched, would watch as he stepped close to the Princess, his hand outstretched. But the moment they would remember would be the next. They would remember the way her eyes turned back, full of determination, full of hope, and yet sad. So very sad because she was going to right the future in which she lived, to save her father, and in the end, herself.
“I’m sorry,” she said, though those outside the circle of light could not hear, they saw. And Gevrid, so full of anxiety, would be seen pushing towards the light, trying once again, and again, to get to the Princess.
But by then, the Princess and the King were gone.
She was like the light, bringing brightness to the world, then dimming for the darkness before returning like day and night, she would always return.