Eyes of a Prophet
Most do not remember their first days. I am not most. I have the vision of the gods, to see what was and to see what is to be. My young mother's scream was the first thing I heard, and my childish howls melted into it, creating a cacophony that shattered the silence I was accustomed to. I faintly recall the thick musk of wet straw, the metallic aroma of blood, and the sharp scent of cinnamon as my mother cradled me in her arms. I remember her abrupt intake of breath when I opened my eyes, which were not the velvet azure of most infants, but a startling gold -- wolf eyes. And then I had my first vision.
"Highness. You summoned me?" she inquired the king. She was very small, very slight. Her hair cascaded down her back, long and dark, a raven's wing laced with white strands. The years had etched themselves as lines into her face. But it didn't matter. What really caught one's attention was her eyes: a feral yellow in hue. Like my own. I realized they -were- my own.
The king nodded absently. The burden of the kingdom had just begun to drag down his shoulders. "Kisue. What do you see? What is to come?"
"I see a young ruler with much to learn, but without much patience. I see doubt and worry." I replied evenly.
"That's not what I meant."
"I know. I have told you; The Sight does not come when I wish it."
The man slammed his hand against the oak table. His voice was steel, dripping venom with each uttered word. "Make it come. You prophesized for my father, yet you will not do so for me! You stand at my side with that knowing smile, yet you tell me nothing! Secrecy and lies! If the gods choose not to speak through you, perhaps-" The words were cut short, for my eyes had become as black as my hair and I interrupted him softly.
"... and the drought will bring a horror to the kingdom never experienced before. Without the water, there are no crops, no livestock. Death and demise plunder the lands. The king's blood will flow to soak the earth, and only then will the child live."
As the unblinking eyes regained their natural color, the king rose to his feet and shouted something indistinct. I could not understand him, because the image began to fade into another...
For treason, they had said. I sat in silence, enclosed behind barred walls. The women sharing my cell was staring intently at nothing, hands carelessly drifting over her swollen belly. The drought did come and brought sorrow with it. The king, though he prayed daily to his gods, would not give himself up to save his people. And so his wife miscarried again, and again, and again.
"They are coming for me." I declared, my voice weary and stretched. My cellmate looked up sharply. She was heavy with child and smelled faintly of cinnamon...
"What will you do, Kisue?"
"I will let them come."
The silence stretched on.
"Are you not afraid then?" the younger woman asked.
"Of my death, no. My work is not yet done. So I will not die." A pause. "I will be reborn." My golden eyes landed on her stomach.
A guard opened the door, the keys jangling in his hand. Both prisoners rose and after passing through the doorway, I turned to her, pressing something against her hand.
"Care for the child well." I whispered, and followed the guard quietly.
The pregnant woman looked into her hand. I had given her the key.
She escaped that night, and found shelter in an abandoned barn. And as the Kisue, the elder, was burned for treason, I was born.
My own screams echoed through my head, and I could feel the tendrils of flames licking at her body. At my body. And my shriek was heard by none but my mother.