Fire In Her Eyes - Chapter One.
"I am alright, it was merely an accident." I said as I fought to keep my voice steady as I pressed my hand to where the girl had touched me.
I felt my magic swirl inside me, stronger than I have ever felt it in my whole life. I could feel my heart pounding, beads of sweat on my forehead as I concentrated on bringing it under control. I couldn't fathom why this was so.
Then she came into view, her red gold hair shining in the sun as she stroked her horse. I swallowed hard as she looked my way and quickly lowered my eyes to the hem of my dress trying to regain control.
"Are you really alright, my lady?" My betrothed asked in concern.
Before I could answer him, a tongue of flame sprang from the hem of my skirts as I felt a quick rush of power. I stared at it in horror thinking I just signed my death warrant!
"Oohhh no, your highness!" A footman exclaimed as he dove to my feet beating out the flames with his bare hands.
I was too afraid to move or speak.
He stood up looking sweaty and dirty, singe marks on the sleeves of his coat.
"I believe its out now. Begging your pardon, your highness " He said as he stepped back.
"I don't know how that happened!" I lied looking at my betrothed.
No one must guess the truth! Magic was forbidden in Thortal.
"It has been a hot day. The sparks from the horse's shoes must have kindled it." He replied as he looked at my charred hem in concern.
I was only eight when I was caught by my mother stacking red-hot coals with my bare hands.
That day was the coldest I have had since my birth. Everyone said so.
The sky swirled with relentless snow. It was dark as midnight outside the palace even though it was late afternoon. The sun had not come out to play for days now. The village below us was quiet. Everyone keeping to their houses to avoid freezing to death in the monstrous cold.
My sister Melisande and I were playing before the hearth after our studies throwing tiles at the cat when the fire settled and one of the logs toppled out of the fire with a shower of sparks and hot coal.
My sister screamed and leaped back to avoid the sparks.
But something held me in place, I felt a tingle through my entire body as I was drawn to the flames. I stepped on hot coals in front of the hearth as I moved closer, drawn to the beauty of the flames.
The fire held its head up, regal and proud as it spoke to me. It glowed yellow, red and orange, so like the colours of autumn. I was entranced by its beautiful depths.
The glowing embers leaped and twirled in a playful dance as if putting on a show for me. Twinkling like stars they rose before falling back to earth in a shower of brilliant colours.
I held my hand out to it and felt its soft whisper on my skin.
I picked up a cinder that has fallen out of the hearth dying, it glowed bright in my palms again.
My gasp of delight was short lived as mother screamed and drew me out, smouldering the flames on my sleeves with her bare hands.
Her look of astonishment meet mine of fear as she saw the unblemished skin beneath my sleeves.
"Save us o Gehka!" She exclaimed, calling the fire God.
"I am alright mother."
"Did you see, magic is real! I held hot coal in my palm and wasn't burned! So the stories you tell us are real? Witches, warlocks, dragons, shapeshifters are all real? Am I magic now?"
"They are just stories to put us to sleep! The fire God was just protecting you." My too smart for her own good older sister replied before mother could.
She was everything I was not. Extremely intelligent, beautiful with golden hair and beautiful blue eyes, confident and outspoken. At ten, she already carried herself as the queen she would one day be.
I wanted desperately to be able to do something she couldn't so I looked to my mother for assurance.
With tears in her eyes, my mother made me promise not to do that again...hurt and frightened by the pain I saw, I assured her I won't. A promise I wasn't going to keep.
In the years that followed, I tried to ignore the lure of the flames but gave up trying after a time. My time alone was spent building up flames in the hearth, creating tiny tongues of fire in my palms and keeping it alive for as long as I could.
I practised throwing flames too and even set myself on fire once. One thing I learnt however, was I could not put out fire once i started it.
My future was uncertain as I was betrothed to the crown prince of a kingdom where magic was outlawed. My very life depended on keeping my ability secret. It never expected a girl with red hair threatening my very existence!
...to be continued.