A-Z April Fantasy Flash Fiction, Part 4. Character: Arancia
Arancia was my name, though most of the time, I only heard it whispered behind my back, by faces twisted in disgust. In the streets of the rich district of Larōbe, capital city of Terenōr, I lived off alms of noblemen and merchants when they felt generous, and stolen purses when they didn’t.
I was not born into this plight, like the other urchins on the street. I was cast into it. After I brought someone back from the dead.
“What is this devilry?” They had cried, as they saw the man, a thief whom they had just executed, walk again, as if nothing had transpired in the last hours. Upon questioning, he had pointed to me, a little girl at the time, seven years old. I will never forget that day. It was the last time I saw my family, the last day anyone wanted me around. The guards locked me into a special prison for strange children, where I quickly lost count of time. After some years, they announced I was now too old to be babysat, and turned me loose. For several months now, I was learning to survive, with moderate success.
Today seemed like another, by now routine day of begging and pickpocketing, until I heard my name again.
Spoken loud and clear, with a calm, composed man’s voice, devoid of any hostility or contempt. He almost sounded caring, or at least friendly. I turned around.
The man stood some paces behind me. His posture and fine, blue coat identified him as nobility. The sun lent a lively glow to his chocolate brown skin, that was a smidge lighter than my own. His expression was just as pleasant as his voice, though behind the surface some kind of hidden sadness lingered. I looked into his deep, black eyes expectantly.
“You are Arancia right? You brought a criminal back to life nine years ago.” His warm voice mesmerised me. It had been ages since anyone spoke to me, especially with such kindness.
“Yes, it is me.” I replied, unable to tear my gaze from his eyes.
“I am High Ambassador Perandes. I convey the he royal crown’s utmost compliments, and would like to ask you to help your king.”
My king. The one who represented the rules and laws, that had thrust me into my life of misery. Anger and bitteness boiled in me at the thought, yet I forced myself to see reason. The king had not personally commanded any part of my grief. He probably did not even know I existed until now. This was not an insult, but a chance to better my fate. I accepted, and the High Ambassador led me away, towards the magnificent palace on the hill.
I was greeted with formality and respect by the staff of the royal court. They addressed me as “lady”. They gave me beautiful, colourful dresses of silk, a luxurious room, and fine food. It felt like a dream, yet I was fully awake, enjoying every touch, every luscious taste. Some hours later, as the darkness of the night crept over the sky, the servants scattered again and the High Ambassador appeared at my door.
“Lady Arancia, the king will see you now.”