A prince, a playmate and a pawn of royal conquest hold three distinct pasts that have shaped their present. Their stories intertwine in a tale of loyalty, love and redemption that call into question everything they've sacrificed for a better future.


1. Mother

The rich accented voice floated from a poorly-constructed clay hut, carrying a name that slipped off the woman’s tongue. “Cree.” The woman’s hands were place delicately on her curved hips, yet her face was wrinkled into an angry look. She was fuming over something, whether it is my weak stature or me having fun, though I wasn’t aware of it at the time. After all, I had been only five years of age, and my beautiful mother-caramel skin, perfect figure and long hair- was calling me inside our little house.

        I was never the way my friends seemed to be. I was never the way my mother, or should I say step mother, wanted me to be.  Dreadfully thin, I was starved by mother to keep me thin and short, though I worked harder than both my parents, making me strong, though that was not their intention. I had lost the feeling of hunger years ago, and now only knew to eat what I could scavenge, and realize that death was always knocking on my door twice a day.

        Limping to my infuriated mother, I left behind my confused playmates, and walked inside our house, sitting on my stool my parents had bought years before, for our now-dead, cat. My father, dreadfully overweight, sat on a bear skin rug, as my mother finished preparing a carrot soup. I rushed over to my mother’s side, watching her drop three drops of a red liquid, with strong odor, into father’s soup before having me carry it over to him.

        Mother served some for herself and sat next to my father, shooing me out of the door so they could be alone to talk.

        I walked around to the back of our two-room cottage and entered a small garden. This was where I had come every day, pulling weeds, watering and bringing in bountiful harvests of food I never could eat. I sat on a bench a neighbor had made for me and pulled out a box that sat underneath.

        Uncovering the lid, I revealed a crust of bread and a pouch of four coins. Nibbling on the bread, I realized, as I counted my coins, that I could buy a new loaf a bread, seeing as I was down to a crust. I had been saving for weeks: weeding neighbor’s gardens and mucking stalls at the Manor, on top of my daily duties given by my parents.

        The sky darkened, and I entered the house in silence, grasping the pouch of coins tightly in my hand. If my mother, or my father, found it they would buy my mother a broach or new blanket of some sort. No. This was for me.

        My parents had retired early, to the separate bedroom, which was completed with a feather-stuffed mattress and down comforter, drawing the door curtain for privacy. I snuck a glance at the bedroom to check on them, as I usually did. My mother, however, was not sleeping peacefully beside father, and instead was kneeling over my father, smiling, though my he was snoring. She had in her hand a shiny piece of sharp metal, and I watched, not understanding the circumstances.

 I watched as she dug the metal into his body, making his chest stop heaving.

I watched at my mother looked at me like a wild animal with bloodthirsty eyes.

I watched as she stood and stalked over to me.

Then I ran.

        I ran out of the house with tears streaming down my cheeks, clutching my pouch with the coins, and into the woods, now at the mercy of the wild beasts. My mother didn’t follow, in fact I never saw here again. I was indeed alone.  

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