The grip of the paladin’s hands around my arms tightened as we approached the doors leading to the visitation chamber. I understood the precaution; of course they wanted to protect the king from a silver-tongued Seer. What I didn’t understand was why the king called upon a Seer to begin with.
While it was true I didn’t use my powers shamelessly like others, people still knew what I could do. To many, the fact that I chose not to announce what I Saw was worse than those who asked for payment in return.
The king was sitting upon his throne surrounded by his fine cloaks, shifting and adjusting his codpiece as I approached. He was not comfortable with my presence.
I never understood Royalty.
“Are you the Seer who keeps his Sight hidden?” he asked me when I was close enough to hear.
Unsure as how to act around him, I simply folded myself into a deep bow. “I am, Your Majesty.”
“Leave us,” he said. I felt the paladin’s eyes on my back as he left me alone with the king. I silently said a prayer for him; his end would not be a peaceful one. “There is something I require of you.”
“Anything, Your Majesty.”
“I would like for you to take a look at my daughter and tell me of her future. I am deeply concerned that someone might make an attempt on her life.”
“Are you aware that you might not receive the answer you wish to hear?” The truth was never as sweet as the lie, after all.
He nodded. “I have prepared myself for the worst.”
At the clap of his hands, two doors opened to our side, the princess standing in the open space. Surrounded by the blue diaphanous fabric, her small frame seemed feeble. When she approached, however, I could see the fire dancing in her bright eyes.
“Well, what do you see, Seer?” The king asked.
“I must touch her to read her, Your Majesty.”
I slowly approached the beautiful girl, noting how her eyes narrowed slightly. As I reached out to touch her outstretched hand, I noticed how it shook. She was a talented actress, which would serve her well in years to come.
Years I knew she did not have as soon as I touched her pale skin.
I saw the same skin stained a deep red, arms jostling the body in an attempt to find a safe place to remove the wooden shaft. All the while, the sky was filled with falling white.
“What do you see, Seer?” she whispered.
I saw the same fear in her eyes that I saw in the King’s. “You are to die, Your Highness. “
The king was suddenly barreling towards me, his fists clenched. “When? How? By whom?”
“What I See can be misinterpreted. I need time to fully understand—”
“You don’t have time!” he thundered, his composure vanishing before my eyes. “Answer me now, you damned Seer!”
As I stared at the princess, whose entire body was now trembling, I prayed my quick thinking would prove true. I sighed. “I know not by whom, but she will be shot by an arrow during this winter.”
She faltered slightly, her legs straining to keep her standing. “Thank you Seer. That will be all,” she whispered faintly.
Seeing that her father had nothing more to say, I turned and left the palace.
I heard tales of how great the security around the princess had increased once the winds had changed. According to what I heard in the market, she wasn’t even allowed to leave her room. A creature such as her should not be kept in a cage. No one deserved such cruel treatment for something they had no control over.
As the pear trees began to blossom, the entire kingdom could finally breathe again. No news had reached us; the princess must have survived. Her sentence was over and the king’s focus could return to his people at last. Apparently, she was even allowed to go riding outside the palace walls into the forest.
On a routine hunting trip, I saw a deer and shot an arrow. The deer moved at the very last minute.
The scream confirmed my worst fears. I ran into a clearing, staring at the snow white pear tree petals raining down onto the princess. As I gathered her lifeless body in my arms, running towards her horse, I cursed my inability to save her.