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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, '12, 4:36 pm
"Shame. Shame. I've lost twice in a row. I've been humiliated. I had to recognize that I was not the unbeatable warrior I thought I were. Besides, I had to accept the fact that, no matter how hard my exterior shell seems to be, deep inside I'm just a woman, a human like everybody else, subjected to the same feelings, pains, doubts and frustrations as any other person. I am weak. I had been just a sidekick of the world-saving party. To make matters worse, I had to admit that I was powerless to control the byproduct of our glory and superiority . If it was not for them, I would have been powerless to stop our own creature from destructing all its creators. It is so embarrassing, so humiliating... I can't stand the thought of being a complete failure..."

The strong woman buried her face on my shoulders, sobbing bitterly. It was a very awkward situation for me, a frail and insignificant maid, to serve as the confessor of not only the strongest fighter in the whole kingdom, but also the ruler of us all. And I acknowledge that I have no merits for that; her choice had been completely random. I was just passing by when my princess came out of her room, desperately seeking a pair of ears to listen to her lament in silence, and a chest to be washed by her fresh tears. Maybe her choice had been bad, since my ears were not good at listening someone else problems, and my chest was neither comfortable, nor exuberant. Not even for the purpose nature had given them to me they served, as a simple and uncultured maid, almost at the end of her fertile life, had no prospects of ever feeding a child. The only desirable quality I had was that I was so shy and reserved that she would never hear a judgmental word coming out of my mouth, neither anybody else would.

After a moment of silence, which may have lasted seconds or hours, I don't know, the princess lifted her face and stared at me. I instinctively lowered my eyes, in respect, fear, and embarrassment. As I said, I was not fit to console her. She seemed to ignore my cold reaction, or pretend that she ignored it, and resumed her lament. "Mother had taught me to be strong. She said that I should be strong and powerful, in order to be free, independent. To be the ruler of our people, to conduct the Orakians to the glory, and dedicate my existence completely to this objective. Unlike that traitor, who abandoned his people and his duties to pursue the first chick who winked at him... that damned Layan harlot... damned Layan... why haven't she died drowned?"

Her aggressiveness and bitterness made me cringe. The negativity of her words sent chills down my spine. If words had power, the target of her hate would have dropped dead instantly, wherever she was. I was never curious about noblemen personal lives, but the story of Rhys Landen, the direct descendant of Orakio, was well-known among us all. I have lived those troubled days, when the heir of the strongest Orakian kingdom decided to marry a commoner, when she was abducted, his quest to find her, the ultimate discovery of her Layan nature and his subsequent abandonment of his Orakian heirloom to stay by her side. And I know well that Princess Sari's anger towards her is misdirected because of late Queen Lena's influence. The previous Princess of Satera had been secretly betrothed to Prince Rhys, and was still a suitor when Rhys jilted her in favor of Maia. Being so, it was obvious that Queen Lena herself targeted her frustration and hate at the Layan princess, although Prince Rhys was the one to blame. And so did Princess Sari.

"And... and... when I had the opportunity to teach the offspring of a traitor and a prostitute... I lost! I was defeated, beaten at my own game! I just made a fool of myself... and the one who had been taught a lesson was me. I thought the half-blood and the little Layan meretrix were no match for me, but not only they overpowered me, but also they have made me think about my actions, my motivations, and conclude that I was being the biggest fool. I, absorbed in my own selfish objectives, taking the burden of avenging mother's pride that had been hurt by the traitor, taking the responsibility of honoring all the Orakian heritage over my shoulders, I have been a blind fanatic, the last one to realize that this fight was not between Orakians and Layans, not a battle about pride, not the reenactment of the legendary Devastation War. Taking out of my pedestal, I've realized that the traitor's half-blood son was sought our aid to end a calamity that was endangering the whole mankind. Like the little Layan meretrix's father had made twenty years ago, by kidnapping the traitor's fiancée, luring him into a quest that would demand that he helped saving Aquatica dome, something the traitor would never do if he knew he would be saving Layan's lives. The damned Layans never had anything against us... it was us, Orakian, who were obtuse, who didn't want to see further than our own stupid prejudice. Can you believe that? Can you believe that?"

Princess Sari became silent again. If she was expecting an answer, sorry, but I would not say a word. The question seemed to me to be rhetorical, but even if it wasn't, I would not answer. Not even if she started yelling at me. Not even if she decided to give vent to her bitterness by beating me. All I wanted was an excuse to pick up my broom and resume my daily activities. I was sure I was suffering more than her, from anxiety, from fear. What could I say to a woman I judged to be a million times better than me? What could an ignorant lady, who never went to school, who has never been outside this city, who knows nothing about life other than how to scrub a floor or clean a window, say to the ruler of our people? I could not even count on my life experiences, for my life has been much duller than I'd like to admit.

I was worried about her state. Her lament had made me feel like I've never felt before. Her proximity sparked some dormant fire inside my chest. I was feeling compassionate, and even altruist. I wanted to help, but I didn't know how. I always thought my life would be an endless stream of futility and nothingness. Just working and sleeping. I had no friends, no love interests, not even people I could consider pals. I was always the silent maid, the one who would not ask questions, the one who would not say chatting in the corners. But I was also the maid who had nowhere to go during her days off, who had no personal interests, who was invisible to men eyes. The loveless. The bitter. The one who should earn the “Lemon Trophy” for her acerbic behavior. Poor Sari... Luckily, she was able to resist the urge to abandon all her hopes alone. So, she resumed her lament.

"Then, defeated and humiliated, I swallowed my pride and decided to follow them in their quest. Meanwhile, I've met the traitor and all those damned Layans... and you know what happened? All the distorting mirrors from the house of illusions shattered. The mirrors that made me see my mother as perfect, the Orakians as brave, just, and always right, the Layans as a traitors, liars, evil people. However, when I met the traitor, he was surprisingly excited to meet me and genuinely concerned about mother and the Orakians, for all his attempts of communicating with us were unanswered. His wife, the Layan harlot, is the incarnation of kindness, always with a tender smile, a sweet voice and a cheerful mood. Besides her terrific beauty, it is not hard to understand why King Rhys chose her over mom, because she is almost as perfect as mom was, and she treated me and cared for me as if she was a close relative of mine. Lyle, the little Layan's meretrix father, is such a brave man, ready to sacrifice himself for a greater good, that his ultimately death really made me feel sad... Why do we hate them? Why?”

I often questioned myself why people worried so much about those Layans if they had never threatened us in the last thousand years. I didn't understand much about history and those things, but I've never drank the Kool-aid about Layans being evil monsters roaming the wilderness, ready to torture and murder every Orakian who dared to go outside the safety of the cities. I've never heard about anyone attacked by those Layans. And I never bothered spending my time in useless chit-chat with the other women, to let their fake stories grow on me. But that was not important at the time. The cold lady here surprisingly understood where Princess Sari was taking the conversation. And I felt sad for her. As I've never felt that particular feeling in my life, I could not relate. But from what the others often said, it should be very hard to cope with the situation she was at that moment. We all knew what have happened between Princess Sari and Prince Ayn. Or what haven't happened.

“Why can't we love them? Why can't they love us? Why couldn't he love me? Why?" With a childish voice, the princess was sobbing so hard that he only managed to babble the next words. “The damned half-blood... He was so intelligent... so good... so kind... I... I couldn't help it... I just couldn't... deny my feelings...” Sari stayed in silence for a moment, and then resumed her plaint in a heartrending fashion. “I tried... I tried... but he chose her... he didn't love me... I did my best... I tried... why couldn't he choose me? Why? Why do I deserve to be the lonely one? The sad one? Why did I repeat the steps of my mother, competing against the unnatural charm of those Layan women? As much as I tried... he only had eyes for her... Why did I have to fail?”

Shyly, I caressed her brown hair. Bluntly, as I didn't have any experience in comforting someone else. She stayed sobbing with her head in my chest, for a long time. I don't know what happened at the time, but my mind was a bit spaced-out. I only remember that after a long time, princess Sari excused herself, thanked me, and left. I stayed paralyzed for some time more, trying to digest what have happened to me. It seemed so surreal, dreamy experience. However, it was much more than that. After a while, I was able to get my broom from the floor and walk to the room I was originally entitled to clean before she had stopped me. However, I arrived there another woman.

It may sound exaggerated, but my brief time with Princess Sari had been a life-changing experience. When she sought my help, I understood how important it is to be able to help the others when they need it. Not that I have become a very charitable person, but I started to care about the other people’s woes. When the ruler of the kingdom showed me that even a poor maid who doesn’t have anything to say can be of some help to soothe the pains that were consuming her heart, I realized that I should not stay impassive to the things that were happening around me, wasting my life alone, hidden inside my shell, waiting for the death to come and take me away. Therefore, I’ve quit my job as a maid and even left the city, seeking an opportunity to help the people who were dislodged after those battles when the Orakian android Siren razed their cities.

I’ve never seen Princess Sari again, but I hope she is doing fine. I wish I could meet her and thank her for that day. Because I know now that if this meeting had been planned by the providence, it was not because Princess Sari needed to be helped and I was prepared to help her, but the opposite. And I will always be thankful for being helped before my time was through, so that I if I were to die now, I could look back and rest assured my life had not been completely wasted. And I owe that to Princess Sari.
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