by Fran Jacobs
For generations prophets have foreseen the birth of the Shadow Seer, the oracle of dark visions and fallen kingdoms. But by the time of Sorron, King of Carnia, their warnings have mostly been forgotten and his name is known only to a handful of scholars. When Sorron's grandson, Prince Candale, falls deathly ill, the Seer's legends are brought to light once again by his saviour, a witch named Mayrila. She believes that Candale is the fulfilment of those long forgotten prophecies. She believes that he is the Shadow Seer...
It was hot in my room, dark and stifling. The heavy red curtains were drawn against the window in such a way that not even a bare trickle of light could seep into the room, and the window behind them was firmly locked. The healer had suggested it a month or so ago, convinced that sunlight and fresh air would actually make me worse, but I didn't know how that was possible, considering the fact I was dying.
Not that anyone would say that to my face, of course, for fear of upsetting me, perhaps, or just because they didn't want to accept it themselves, that a seventeen-year-old boy, Prince Candale of Carnia, was dying, but I knew it all the same. It wasn't a complete surprise to me either, as I'd never been particularly strong, suffering from seizures all of my life. But I'd never thought that I would die like this, wasting away in the darkness of my room.
It had all started innocently enough, with a few bad headaches and the odd dizzy spell. After I'd almost collapsed in the Great Hall one evening, my father, Prince Gerian, had insisted that I go to bed. I had gone, complaining the whole time, insisting it was just a bad summer's cold and that I'd be all right again in a few days. Only I'd gotten worse, and quickly, too, and within a few weeks I was bedridden.
Some days were better than others. On the good days I could sit up; I could even hold a conversation with someone, although it might take me a while to get my words out. But on the bad days I was unable to do anything for myself; somebody had to wash me, feed me, even turn me over. It was something I had found embarrassing, at first, but after a while, as the bad days had become more frequent, it had no longer seemed to matter. In fact, I had become grateful for the help. My strength had gone and it had taken my dignity with it, leaving me trapped in my bedroom, in my red-covered bed, at the mercy of the healers who came, and went, and failed all the while, to cure me.