Prologue

514 Words

A warm summer breeze wafted through the room as the Duchess of Angelos screamed out from her position on the soft bed. Her damp blonde locks lay plastered to her forehead, framing her drenched face as she panted in response to the demands of the nurse that kneeled at her feet. She had been through this pain before yet, as she writhed upon the soaked bedsheets, she hoped that this time would be different. She hoped that this child would open its mouth to scream, that they would draw breaths into their tiny lungs as they fought to survive in this new world.

She wanted this child to survive with everything that she had within her. She needed them to survive. She could not endure another heartbreak.

Hours passed the Duchess by as the contractions increased in intensity, her pains growing more unbearable as time progressed. But, with one final push, the Lady barely remembered the hours of unimaginable suffering she had just been through. The sheets were soaked in her blood, her limbs weak and achy, yet she could only focus on the nurse as she pulled a silent, blood-stained body from between her legs. She could only watch with bated breath as the nurse walked away from her, carrying the small, pink-fleshed new-born. Her child.

The room was silent – neither a stir nor cry piercing the humid air. The silence was dreadful, each second seemingly longer than the last as the Duchess wept for another lost soul. Her heart broke as she thought that this one, like her previous children, would not take even one breath of the desert air, would not be able to experience a mere second of this damned world.

Her worries disappeared when she heard the most beautiful sound in the world: a cry. Such a small cry, barely a grumble, but a sound, nonetheless. The Duchess sobbed in joy as the baby was manoeuvred into her shaking arms, embraced by a thick blanket.   

“A girl, my Lady,” the nurse beamed, stepping back to give her Lady a moment with her new-born child.

“A girl…” the Duchess whispered softly, tenderly rubbing a finger down the child’s cheek. At the touch of her mother, the baby mewled and stirred awake. Charming brown eyes opened for the first time, locking directly onto the watery gaze of her mother. The Duchess smiled grandly, an indescribable feeling overcoming her. Her child was beautiful, and her eyes were just like her father’s.

Time seemed to stop moving, and the rest of the world faded away as the Duchess embraced her daughter for the first time. Her exhausted heart pounded fiercely as she swept her gaze over the baby’s face, memorising its perfect innocence.

The mother knew, at that moment, that her daughter was special for she had survived when all her brothers and sisters had perished. This one was a fighter, and the Duchess knew that she was destined for something great. Something that would surpass anything their kind had seen before.

“My Arabella...”

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