I married King Robert Con of Uthenasia when I was fifteen. I was a young Princess of a neighboring country that desperately needed political influence. I tried to fight it the first day, I didn't want to marry a thirty year old man. I wanted to marry for love. I already knew that was merely a dream, Princesses don't marry for love. He had an odd request the day before our wedding.

'Never look at another man. As long as you are married to me you can only look at me.' He said. I was confused and felt it deep in my heart that he did not trust me, even when I swore on my fathers name I would never look at another man. Three nights later he decided I hadn't done as he asked. That I had looked at another man.

He came into our room late at night. There was some business he had to attend to. I drowsily got up, expecting him to be expecting me to please him, but he didn't. I opened my mouth to say something but pain shot through my nerves. I had never felt anything like it. My nerves were alive with lightning, shooting all through my body and never stopping. He plunged his dagger into my left eye. Twice. Then he did the same to my right eye.

I couldn't scream. I had no energy to scream and beg for help or mercy. I didn't understand what I had done wrong. What could have caused him to this extreme brutality. My mouth hung open in a screaming state but never did a sound leave my mouth. I could feel him sew my eyes shut. I wanted to yell at him, I wanted to force him to stop, but I couldn't move. I could do nothing to save myself. I felt him put bandages over my eyes then... he kissed me. Laid down beside me, and held me close. As if he did not make me blind.

'Now you can keep your promise, Maria.' He stroked my golden hair. He kissed my forehead. Then he slept. Soundlessly.

Ten months later I had a daughter. I named her Elyssa. I never got to see how she looked, but Robert often described her to me as she got older. She had my hair and Roberts brown eyes. I never left our room as my eyes were healing. That was not my choice, that was his. When the bandages were removed he put a blindfold over my eyes so no one could see his stitches, no one could ever know what happened.

I loved my daughter. I caressed her cheek when she was a child, I fantasized they were rosy with color and her lips were smiling often... I truly loved her. She was the only thing I could ever want to have. She aged, but I could barely tell the difference. Only when she started talking did I know just how much she grew. I started making more appearances, and the public was glad to see I was in good health again. I can't remember what excuse Robert had told them for my absence, but they payed much tribute to my health. I barely knew them and they cared for me... I started crying, that is how touched I was.

I had Elyssa lead me everywhere. I never wanted to be separated from her for a single moment if it could be helped. My one light in my black world, even if I was not able to see her. She loved being in the garden, and I enjoyed it very much. I could smell the flowers, the trees... I could hear the birds and feel the sunshine on my skin, or the rain. I wasn't confined in a room that held nothing for me.

By the time she was four I was much more capable than when I first lost my sight. I never realized how much I relied upon that one sense until I lost it. I pray every night that I will never lose another sense. I could eat properly, though it could take some time still. I could use the chamberpot much easier now, whereas before I needed a lot of help. And I could play with Elyssa. I could not play seeing games such as 'tag' or 'hide-and-seek' but I could sit down and play with her dolls, or with hair, or even attempt to dress her myself. Often she claims the dress looks 'really bad' on her, and I am forced to believe her. There is not usually anyone around to tell me otherwise.

When she was five and six months she was murdered.

I weep every year on that day, all day.

Robert woke up and went to the door, he thought he heard a knock. He gasped loudly and cursed louder. I started to get up and ask him what happened but he slammed the door and locked it. I called for him and I soon realized he locked it from the outside. My heart stopped and dropped to the Liandara. I felt something had gone horribly, horribly wrong in the night. I started shouting for Elyssa. She was in the room next to us, there was a door between our rooms so we could easily access her if we needed to. I stumbled out of the bed and to the door and I tried to pull it open, but to my horror it was locked. She would never have locked it.

I pounded on her door and was becoming hysterical quickly. I needed my daughter, I needed to know where she was, what was happening to her... I needed to know she was all right. I sat down in front of the door and waited. I don't know when Robert finally came back, but I knew something was wrong with Elyssa when he wouldn't answer any of my questions about her. I fell silent after a time and he finally told me what happened.

'Elyssa is dead.' I inhaled so sharply I started coughing. I was coughing, and crying, and my heart broke. 'One of our own kidnapped her in the night, he was brutally forced to admit all of this, raped her and... killed her.' I knew from the pause that it was not a stab in the heart. It was much more gruesome.

I refused to think. I refused to speak. I sobbed on the floor all day. All week. I hardly ate anything. I wish I had seen the mans execution, seen his head roll away from his body. I would never have thought such a sick person existed in this would, let alone it would have happened to my five year-old daughter. Perhaps when she was older, much older, but... at that age? Finally I fell into a stupor. I attended the funeral but I could feel nothing. I didn't want to feel anything. My light had died and nothing could bring it back.


Today is the fifth anniversary of her death. I pull on my cloak, I hear the rain outside, and I tie it in front of my neck. I pull the hood on and I turn away from the window. It's not raining hard, but enough that I can hear it on the glass. Robert does not sleep in the same room as me anymore. He scare touches me. I haven't told him but... it some how feels like he is blaming me. I admit I don't want him to touch me. He's 40, I don't want an old man to touch me. He told me that when he dies I will rule, and I will rule alone. He is working on a way to make sure it will stay that way.

I feel like little more than property. Unwanted property that he will keep no matter what.

I take a deep, shuddering breath and I walk over to the door. I have waited many hours, spent nearly all of them crying, to go to Elyssa's grave. Many people come over the course of a year to give their condolences and leave flowers for her, but more still come today to pay their respects to her. I never go out when people are there. This is my daughter and I wish to be with her alone.

I open the door and the maid takes my hand gently and leads me away. It's as if I have forgotten the layout of the castle. I can't go anywhere without getting deeply lost. I must have someone help me at all times. I don't believe anyone knows the truth still. I think they believe it was some sort of illness that made me blind. That would be because of Robert's lie. I should tell them the truth, but there is no point. A revolt of some sort would solve nothing, would do nothing, except start a war.

Hall after hall after stair way after all. So many passages. So many I try to picture but can't anymore. I feel like I've lost half my mind. She leads me outside. It smells like summer, a rainy summer evening. I think I hear a cricket somewhere out here. I follow her lead, but I know where to go now. She leads me along the cobble stone path, winding to the back of the castle, to our cemetery. Tears slip down my cheeks, the mere thought of coming here always causes tears to fall, or perhaps it's rain drops?

"Your Highness, we are here." She lets go of my hand and steps away, "Just to your left. I will leave you be. Call for me when you are ready." I imagine they curtsy still but since I cannot see I can't tell if that is true or not.

I turn to my left and I kneel down. I set down the stuffed rabbit against the stone head and the white rose. I sit there and 'stare' at it. I can't think. I don't want to move. I hate feeling so useless.

"My dear Elyssa..." I try to speak but it's little more than a hoarse whisper. She would have been ten this year. I miss her more every passing day. My heart was supposed to get better with time but it's only getting worse. Every day I fall deeper into dark thoughts, wishing it had been me, not her. Wishing it could have been Robert even. I've even started thinking about killing myself to end this torment. I barely find things to do with my time. I am starting to hate living.

"Did ye know Princess Elyssa?" I jump out of my skin, but I remain as calm as possible while staying kneeling. I didn't hear this man approach, where did he come from? Hazily the promise to Robert flashes through my mind, I shouldn't speak to this man. I would stay but if there is another here...

I stand up, gracefully, and I take too many steps back. The maid didn't warn me there was a cobble stone missing, creating a hole in the ground. I gasp and yelp a bit, feeling my ankle twist in a way it should not. I feel my body fall backwards and I wait to feel the rain on my face. But instead of hard ground at my back, and plenty of rain on my face, there's warmth and something snaked around my waist. I felt few drops on my face then I was held close... to the man.

"Are ye all righ', lass-" My hood falls back and shows my crown. It fits perfectly, it rarely slips off my head. I feel him straighten me and pull my hood back over my head. "I'm so sorry, Yer Highness. I did nay... I'm sorry." I think he kneels. I want to thank him but what would Robert do if I spoke?... Surely he couldn't know I would have done such a thing...

"Thank you. But I cannot speak to men. Please pay your respects to my..." My voice catches and my throat tightens, these tears never end. "My daughter." What was an authoritative voice turned into another whisper.

"..." He says nothing at first. I mean to leave, immediately, but something about him is making me stay. I feel like he has something he wishes to ask me... or perhaps tell me.

"What is it?" I finally ask after several moments of silence. I should be leaving- No. I should be gone from his sight, from him, but my body won't listen to my mind. Not that is does that much anymore.

"Queen Maria, please excuse me awful manners, bu' how did ye lose yer sigh'?" My heart leaps and becomes pounding. No one has ever asked me that. I expected them to at first but no one ever did. I lost my sight, that's all they needed to know until Robert told his excuse. Should I tell him? No. He could be with the few rebels in the land.

"I was ill-" My blindfold is taken off. I mean to scream but he gasps before I can do anything. I don't know how my eyes look, no one, not even Robert, has seen them since.

"... An illness tha' caused ye to ha'e yer eyes sewn SHU'?" I wince. I don't know how to reply. His voice was so sharp. "Tell me th' truth, please. Ye owe it to one o' yer people."

I remain silent for many moments then I answer him honestly.

"My husband made me promise never to look at another man the day before our wedding. I promised him and I haven't looked at another man since. However, a few days after the wedding, in the middle of the night, Robert believed I had looked at another that day. He used his dagger and stabbed each eye twice then he used thread and needles to sew them shut. He made sure I would keep my promise." I can hear it in my voice, my thoughts about my husband, 'he doesn't trust me.'

"... He does nay deserve ye if tha' is how he has taken to trea'in' ye." I can hear him almost growl with anger.

"Why would you be so upset by this?"

"A man is supposed to pro'ec' his woman, no' destroy her or change her or... do this." I feel his fingers on my eye lids. No one has touched me there in ten years... It's extremely odd.

"Please refrain from touching me, and please put the blindfold back on." I feel around behind me with my right foot then I take a step back when I deem it safe.

"... Aye, I'm sorry. Tha' was inappropria'e." He does as I ask and puts it back over my eyes. "Will ye be havin' more children?"

"- HOW DARE YOU ASK SUCH A PERSONAL QUESTION! LEAVE NOW AND NEVER COME BACK!" Even as I shout at him my words mean so little when the answer is so obvious. "Do NOT ask me such questions!"

"Aye. I apologize for me audacity. I will be leavin' now, Yer Majes'y. Bu' ye should know I am wi' th' rebels, an' we won' le' King Rober' continue to rule." I can't hear him walking away. Is he still here? How far has he gone?

"- What is your name!?" I turn to my left, the way I came, towards the castle, hoping I will be following him, so I can hear his answer.

"Ye will jus' tell yer bas'ard o' a husband. I will nay tell ye." He's behind me! He's going through the peasant entrance! I turn around to follow him but pain suddenly shoots up through my ankle. I cry out and fall to my knees, banging them against other cobble stones.

My left ankle hurts, it didn't hurt before... I suppose I wasn't moving before... Who is that man? Why is he with the rebels? I don't understand why he would pay his respects to the King's daughter if he hates him... I am happy he did. The other option would be to destroy the stone. And I would have his head if he did that.

"Your Highness!" The maid comes back and helps me up, "Are you hurt? What happened?"

"I think I twisted my ankle... I will be fine with a bit of time to heal. May we return, please?" I can hear the begging tone in 'please'. It isn't like me to grovel to a maid, but I need help. And I don't know where to find it.

"Of course, Your Highness. We'll help you right away." She leads me back to the castle but my mind remains on the rebel I met. And whether or not I will tell my husband about what happened.


Authors Notes: The stranger talks with a Scottish accent, hence all the apostrophes. A few words that might confuse you are:
Ha'e - Have
Sigh' - Sight
Trea'in' - Treating
Pro'ec' - Protect

And a few 'vocabulary' words, ones that I have made up, more or less.
Uthenasia: Fictional land where the story takes place.
Liandara: Equivalent to 'Hell', or more appropriately, 'The Underworld'.

This is a VERY dark story. With any amount of luck from the Gods it will get lighter. Thank you for reading, hope you look forward to the next chapter!