Do you know the phrase ‘as your life flashes before your eyes’? In case not let Kiara explain it to you- it’s to have a recollection of the highlights of your life. Good and bad.
But she wasn’t getting any of that. Not even when they bound her body to the cross and yelled curses at her. No, all she got was her. Kiara’s gaze was focused on the trembling princess- and instead of yelling curses or sobbing or even forgiving (which would be the cruelest thing she could have done), she told a lie.
Which really was how it all began.
Kiara knew all the rules-
Rule #1 is the most important- avoid attention. Stay under the radar. Don’t go poking your nose into other people’s business. Because they might return the favor and poke their nose back right into hers.
So really she broke the rule when instead of averting her eyes and walking in the opposite direction, she got involved.
She would have walked away.
So...why didn’t she?
Maybe because as a beautiful girl herself she knew the trials of having to shake off handsy men pumped with liquid courage. Maybe because the girl herself was stunning and new and different. And no, that wasn't it. She interfered because she was angry. She has been pushed too far too many times.
She was done with sitting idle. She was a witch! She was powerful! She was better than this lousy excuse for a man!
She could save a life.
For being taken advantage of- that was death for a woman. No one will take a woman with experience. Not unless she has great power. Otherwise, virginity was part of the deal.
She could do it. The man was weak-minded and primitive, a little sorcery wouldn’t be anything worth stress.
Listen to me, foolish one, she whispered to him- connecting her thoughts to his.
The man who was currently grabbing the young shaking lady, no older than Bianca, the lady she means.
The man- who was thin and wiry boned froze, stiffening in place. Eyes glazing with a white film.
You are tired, she soothes, go sit down on that stool.
The man does.
The young lady was vibrating, staring at her, slack-jawed.
Bianca walks forward smoothly- needing to be close for the final part to work.
Softly, seductively almost, she whispers into his ear “Now, sleep. And remember nothing.”
He slumps, his forehead thudding on the bar counter.
Kiara swivels to face the lady- but she was already gone.
It takes 15 minutes of running before she finds the lady shaking- hiding under a table.
Bianca brushes back her golden braid, “Are you alright?”
The girl whimpers.
“What’s your name?” she attempts.
“W-why should I tell you?” the girl stutters, pointing her chin out stubbornly.
“Because I just saved your maidenhood,” Bianca teases.
The girl flushes a lovely pink. She had proud features and delicate soft long limbs. Her curves were proportionally pleasing and her hair looked soft and resembled the color of wet sand. She really was beautiful.
“My name is mine,” the girl insists, voice wavering.
“I’m not fey,” Bianca states, insulted “I’m a magician.”
The girl's frown slipped and Bianca fought to hide her annoyance- it was so typical. People only liked magic when it was for their benefit. For their amusement.
“I’m Bianca,” she smiles at the caramel-headed girl “and you don’t need to share your name. Just...allow me to take you home. It isn’t safe for a girl as pretty as yourself to be alone in the dark.”
The girl flushed again.
Kiara backs away from under the table and offers her hand to help up the strange beautiful woman. The girl, however, does not take her hand, her fear has been pushed away and now there was indignance and maybe embarrassment at having to be lured out from under a table. As the lady fusses with her cloak- Kiara realizes something else.
The girl was wealthy.
No, powerful. You can tell from the injured pride in her stance. Her set of shoulders had an air of superiority that meant she was used to others being the ones on the floor.
“I,” she tilts her chin and looks down at her, they were a breath away from each other. The girl was taller and more powerful looking but somehow it felt like Kiara finally met her match, her equal. “I am Princess Bianca of Esmary.”
“I curse you!” she screamed at Bianca “I curse you so that the second you feel love it will be taken cruelly from you- in flames. I curse you so that you remember the murder of an innocent!”
The judges, the jury, the priest, the townsfolk roared in response. Throwing their matches and cones of fire at her.
“I curse you so that you will forever remember me.”
A strangled throaty cry escaped Bianca, even though it was Kiara that felt the pain of being burned alive. Flames licked her skin- she has yet to feel the full extent of the pain thanks to a spell in where she turned off her nervous system. Temporarily, but it was quickly wearing off.
Being burned to death was the worst way to die.
The human flesh doesn’t catch on fire easily. Mercifully, the smoke might smother and kill her then she won’t burn alive for hours on end. So she wouldn’t have to feel as her outer skin peels off and her inner skin crumples up and the fats from her body leaks onto the floor. So she won’t have to feel as her body decomposes.
She wasn’t lucky.
Witches were made to endure all kinds of conditions.
This was not going to be a quick death.
But a girl could hope.
Where was he?
Bianca was staring at her in blind horror- her lips were moving. She was crying, screaming on her knees- what was that fool up to?
What more could she possibly do?
Only 5 seconds have passed since they lit her on fire.
“Magician!” the entitled voice of a royal stopped her in her tracks. She turned to face the flush-faced grinning royal. Her hair was in extravagant-looking braids, orchid-like flowers braided in. Her sea-green eyes were bright.
Her dress was slightly more modest than the week before but even her attempt at modesty made Kiara look like waste.
“Princess,” she curtsied.
Said girl only rolled her eyes and linked their arms together, she was beaming and talking a mile a minute. Like they were close friends- people were staring and whispering.
Kiara subtly disentangles herself and raises the neck of her cloak higher, ducking so that her long hair covered her face.
Her coven was going to kill her. Murder her, really. In a very mortifying manner.
She curtsies- the Princes was no longer flush-faced or grinning. She was scowling like a spoiled child who has been denied a toy, with hurt and annoyance “What?”
“I don’t like the attention,” Kiara offers, keeping her face and form in the shadows “I prefer to remain in the crowd. You, fair princess, attract many eyes.”
Bianca’s smile was sharklike and predatory, “What kind of magician can’t handle an audience?”
“An aspiring one.”
Bianca’s richly tanned skin pinks in embarrassment.
“Currently,” Kiara supplies, hoping to ease the princess’ embarrassment “you are speaking to a bartender.”
She nods, “Yes, so I can... I really better get going, your highness. Please, take care.”
Before she can make an escape the princess grabs for her hand “I- I order you to spend time in my company”.
So that is how she spent the day with the princess, a sunhat low on her forehead. Face tilted away from the outsider's eye- sadly that wasn’t enough to keep the news from her actual best friend.
An animal mage-
“I know, Kiara, that you are very unintelligent-”
“That’s not fair”
“Rebellious, inept little witch with no regards for her personal well-being-”
“Now that’s just hurtful”.
The man rolled his eyes. He had a rich olive complexion and beautiful exotically slanted brown-red eyes and silky black hair. He also had an obnoxious smirk and a terrible habit of nagging her. His name was Torin, whom she calls ‘Tory’. He was a goody-two-shoes with a knack for arson...usually harmless.
They were walking, side-by-side, in the shades of the trees. Nature's music played in the background and she kept her gaze straight ahead.
“She’s royalty-” he stresses “you have to get rid of her. Tell her you have a pox or something”
If only it was that simple. It would be more likely that Bianca would try and treat her at the castle. So...yeah, no thank you.
“Do you think Callis will kill me?”
“No. Maybe… probably, if you don’t fix this.”
She shoves him, “I was jesting!”
“Well, I’m not.”
Their laughter was the only sound that carried through the trees and reached the princess’ curious ears.
Being part of a coven is a tricky thing- either you were born into one or you had to go tested and trialed to prove your loyalty.
Luckily, Kiara was born into one.
Her ‘mother’ was Callis. But then again Callis as the head of the matriarchy was the mother for all. But it was no secret that Callis and Kiara shared a special bond. Not a tender love, not quite. They weren’t capable of delicate love. But a love of screaming and tears and relief and pure unadulterated joy.
It was quite unique considering how neutral Callis usually was.
Callis was a level-headed beauty- as were most witches. With pink-sunset hair and sapphire eyes. She has brought many to their knees, men and women alike, with her charm and beauty...and magic.
Callis’ specialty was emotional manipulation...most popularly love.
But Callis was quite skilled at striking other emotions such as fear into other hearts- Kiara being the living proof of that.
She could feel the tugs of fear and dread pulling at her insides and it was clear that Callis was using magic by the way her blue eyes glowed a bright light. A sign that a witch's magic is being put to use- all covens have a sign. Their coven- the Twilight Wanderers- had glowing eyes. (Other have glowing veins or blood tears- you get the idea)
Kiara tried her magic but her thoughts were muddled by fear.
The night was long- and she was forced through emotional torture as Callis tried every tactic to get Kiara to agree to go into lockdown.
Kiara just waited it out. Thinking about names and their meaning, Calli meant beauty. ‘Most beautiful’ specifically. Callus didn’t want her name to mean beauty so she added the ‘s'; to the end. Not caring that it was a boys' name.
Kiara's name meant both light and dark. People assumed she was named after the light aspect- since she was so pale and she had long light shining blonde hair and delicate facial features and long limbs and pale green eyes. But she liked to think the name meant ‘dark’. After all- she came to most in the shadows of their mind, tugging them to their will.
Yes, Callis could reduce the strongest of humanity to nothing but tears and sorrow or mindless joy but Kiara-she could attach strings to anyone and make them her puppet.
Calis dismissed Kiara- her face tight with anger and bitterness.
Kiara found herself wishing that she had the kind of quiet presence the herbal witches had. The one that would soothe Callis and bring her peace.
“You are a storm, my dear. Embrace it.”
She discarded the thought and went to bed.
“You know,” Bianca says “you might be pretty but you aren’t that bright.”
Bianca scoffed, morning light shining in from the window “I, in detail, described all possible suitors to you.”
“Very cruelly too,” Kiara added.
“And I told you that I liked pretty green-eyed blondes.”
She sets down her teacup and stares at Bianca. Bianca throws her head back in exasperation, “Must I spell it out for you?”
“If you want me to know your thoughts, your highness.”
Bianca glared “4 months of friendship and you can’t get past formalities?”
“It’s purely to spite you, your highness.” Kiara teased, glad for the change of topic “After all, is it really real if your hand is forced? You did order me to keep you company.”
Instead of getting flustered and angry like she would have in the beginning she simply tilted her head thoughtfully. Hungry eyes intent on her.
“Is that so? So your arranged fiance? Is that not real?”
Kiara stiffened in her seat, her corset not allowing her to bend in any unnatural or comfortable way. Biana had decided that no friend of hers should wear such ‘shapeless rags' and made it so that the third time they acquainted themselves Kiara would be fitted for ‘modest gowns fit for a process’ friend.’
“It’s different. I chose to befriend him. And I also chose to marry him.”
“But you don’t love him.”
"I could" Kiara states.
“Does love really matter when I can have comfort? A safe life? Good company?”
Bianca was not going to back down this easily.
“Yes,” the princess’s hands shook “clearly you’ve never been in love if you can say such things!”
She has. But love can be anything she wills it to be- it doesn’t have to be her destruction. She can make it a lesson. A lesson to accompany ruler #1.
“I’m sorry,” she apologizes “but you asked for my opinion and I answered honestly.”
Bianca clenches her jaw and turns away her cheekbones appearing in a poor excuse for a smile. Kiara returns her gaze towards the window.
Sorry angel, but just because you are a princess it doesn't mean that you get a happy ending.
Her eyes meet his- her best friend since she could walk. A beatific smile graces her face. Her beautiful blonde hair was disguised with sweat and blood and mud, no longer blonde at all.
‘Hurry’ she mouthes... not hearing her love’s screams of agony. Temporarily forgetting her own pain. All she saw was the boy she has pushed aside for a taste of love. ‘I’m sorry’ she mouths.
She watched as he notched the bow.
If she wanted she could fight her way out - take down a few men with her. But that would only give magic a bad name.
If the coven deemed it necessary she could have been gone and safe- but a rule of the coven was that no one will willingly expose themselves for another who already has. She meets angry blue eyes and smiled.
‘I’m sorry, Mother’
Their kisses were not unlike swimming into the ocean- where you wanted nothing more than to swim deeper and go further but the need for oxygen kept bringing you back up. Leaving you dizzy and disoriented and giddy and slightly disappointed you didn’t see more.
They were so wrapped up in their romance, their secret love (Kiara had sworn Bianca to secrecy) that they didn’t see the cold way the King looked at them. Or the whispering among guards. Or anything.
They didn’t think to look.
Kiara was never the type to show vulnerability. But with Bianca she did. Oh, she did.
‘My Angel’ she called Bianca.
Bianca loved it- but she didn't trust that Kiaras love was hers solely. Bianca thought that the reason she wanted their relationship to remain secret was so that she can uphold a separate romance with Torin. How stupid.
Bianca had guards tail her home- still not quite understanding the idea of loving something yet not owning it.
The guards were able to put two and two together. Luckily no one was home. Luckily, Kiara was able to send a flare into the air- warning her coven away.
Sadly that was all the ammunition needed for the guards to use force. Beating her bloody with mud and dirt, dragging her by the hair to the palace. Bianca must've had the shock of her life seeing her like this.
The guard insisted she was a witch that placed a love charm on Bianca.
And… Bianca believed them.
“Is the idea of loving me so preposterous? That a spell is the only way it could be?”
“Tell me it’s a lie and I’ll believe you.”
“You...shouldn’t even have to ask.”
Bianca looks away sharply, “ It’s not that I could never love you I just...didn’t think I could love someone this much.”
“NOW!” she screamed as the flames and the pain fully registered in her being. Wails and screams and agony tore from her. For a moment she felt the sheer pain of being cooked alive.
The second- right as maids were about to douse the fire due to the princes’ desperate orders (orders that promised that she would hang herself if not immediately obeyed). The second where an arrow pierced her dainty throat. Coloring her neck red and relieving her from her pain and suffering.
Everyone was so caught up in the quick death and comforting the ballistic princess that they didn’t notice a man with brown-red eyes set fire to a stone palace with magic fueled by anger and...heartbreak.
For he had lost his best friend.
A heartbroken mage-no, best friend, crying and igniting a palace with flames of fury.
A heartbroken princess- no, lover, screaming trying to see if there was life in a terribly dead body.
A heartbroken witch- no, mother, feeding her own fury to magical creatures around the world.
With Kiara’s gruesome death a rebellion was born.