by Dinnis Son of Gaia
My little sister left today. Not that at sixteen Ista is so little anymore. The Kapok took her to Silisea faraway to the south with only a couple of hours warning. It may be a long time before I see her again if ever.
It’s hard to see the page as I write this. The light is dim. I have lit only one candle because, of course, I’m not supposed to be in the royal library at this time of night.
Only a glimmer of moonshine seeps through the skylights, liming the books stacks and transforming them into flickering shadows looming over me. I am at home here amongst these shadows and the musty smells of parchment and ink. The normal daytime bustle of the palace is stilled in the deeps of the night. Just a soft skitter in the corner – mice perhaps that have escaped the predatory skill of the palace cats. In the distance, the steady footsteps as the guards change shift. Night creeps towards day.
Yes, it is hard to see the page. I’m used to dim candlelight – that’s not it. My eyesight blurs and wavers. Slide it, I’m too old for tears. A warrior – or at least, that is what they are trying to make of me. Ha, we’ll see.
Why should I care that my sister is gone? I lost her loyalty a long time ago when we were taken to Akrad’s castle. We clung together then like the frightened children we were. All we had left was each other – and the hope that our father would return. That monster – Akrad – turned her against me. Even after we were brought here to Tarka City of the Kapok as wards of Rokkan Kapok eight years ago, she still despised me. She seldom speaks to me now. She doesn’t want anyone to know we are brother and sister. She is ashamed to be connected to a Nolmec mixed-blood – not that she isn’t one herself but my skin is blue and hers isn’t. The only reason she deigns to notice me is because I slip her “borrowed” books to feed her hunger for knowledge.
So cold and distant is my beautiful sister, so hungry for power. Akrad moulded her into his glacial image. She was happy to call him Grandfather in the end. Yet she wasn’t always like that. Before we went to the Castle she was a carefree, spirited little girl. Always strong-willed, yes, but sweet and innocent. Her grey eyes shone in wonder like mirrored pools of rain as we roamed the northern countryside together. Her laughter shimmered like bird song. I tried to protect her from the worst of the monster’s cruelty. I did protect her but she was lost to me anyway. So what difference does it make that she is gone?
Except that we have always been together – from the moment she came wailing into the world, to be placed in our mother’s dying arms. Always the two of us. Others come and go – betray and leave us. Even if we clash like night and day, we are connected – brother and sister. Now she’s gone.
Before they left, he gave her our mother’s journal – slide it, Dinnis, get a grip of yourself. No point being maudlin about it. Of course he gave it to her, not you. Besides, it did give me the idea to keep one of my own, to collect and collate – not just my sketches – but reflections and incidents, a record. For if I don’t remember our story, who else will even though it intertwines with the stories of others?
Of course, some secrets are too dangerous to think let alone write down.
Dinnis son of Gaia
Twelfth Year in the Reign of Rokkan Kapok
© Jeanette O’Hagan 2013