She stood at the bow of the ship to clear her head, ignoring everything going on behind her. Since she’d been freed, the memories had been coming fast and without mercy. A part of her–the part that had been wiped clean–was appalled at the things she’d done over the course of her relatively short life. The other part was just glad to know who and what she was.
This time had been a particularly poignant memory from the day her brother had killed their father. It left her normally steady hands shaking and white-knuckling the banister in front of her for some kind anchorage.
A familiar voice came from too close behind her. “Miss, are you alright? Is it seasickness?”
Before she could stop herself, she had the man half over the railing with his arm twisted at a dangerous angle and a knife at his throat. She glared into his eyes–shockingly similar to the ones she’d just remembered her brother draining the life from. His hair was longer and lighter from the Sun’s rays, but it was him. She was sure.
“You. Are. Supposed. To. Be. Dead.” Her teeth were clenched so hard, she was half afraid they might shatter from the pressure. Any color that had remained in his face now disappeared. He shook his head and attempted to speak, but the knife was pressed too close to his neck. She eased up a little.
“You knew my twin. He brought his death upon himself by trying to rule the world. I’m not him. What did he do to you?”
A strong hand on her upper arm brought her reeling mind back to the deck of the ship. The Duke was glaring meaningfully down at her. Disguised or no, it was not a good idea to engage with this man. She took the hint and released her newly-found uncle. The Duke spoke quickly and assuredly.
“My apologies, Declan, my secretary has had a bit of a traumatic past. She doesn’t mean anything by it.” She bristled at being called his secretary, but it was as good a cover as any.
“Her knife sure meant something, but I understand, Your Grace. My brother ruined a lot of lives before my nephew–gods rest his soul–was able to defeat him.” He looked directly at her before continuing. “For whatever he did, I’m sorry. “
She shook uncontrollably as he sauntered back to his station, glancing back a couple times with a wary, yet pitying look in his eye. If only he knew.
The Duke shouted something and the rest of the crew got back to work. She whirled to face him and give him a good piece of her mind for not warning her about her long lost uncle, but the look on his face said she was the one about to get a verbal beatdown. The hand still on her upper arm dragged her below deck and into His Grace’s quarters where she was dumped into one of the wooden chairs.
When he locked the door and turned toward her with an angry flush across his angular cheeks, she knew she was in for it.
Excerpt from Jesimae Book II, In Ruins