“No!” The sound of the woman’s screams rend the air, overpowering for a moment; even the destructive storm outside. “No! Not now! Not now!” She cries. But there is no point to her screaming. The baby growing in her womb has decided it's coming whether the world is ready for it or not.
She stumbles into the highest room in the tower, barring the door behind her with monumental force of will as contractions wrack her body, filling her with pain and rendering her immobile for a moment.
Her water broke some time ago, and she can feel the urge to push becoming so intense she can't avoid it anymore. The floor is wet with the rain that pelts in, and she finds the driest spot she can manage, squatting down.
After several, pain filled pushes, she feels her child fall from her and to the cold stone floor. The sound of sharp cries fill her ears, overwhelming her with a rush of love and a longing to care for the tiny being she’s birthed.
“Please be male.” She prays and then looks down, choking back a sob of despair as she picks up her perfectly healthy, and active baby girl. “No.” She cries, vision blurring with her tears. Her young maid, a quick, sly thing enters and gasps.
“Is it a girl my Queen?”
“Yes.” Sobs the Queen.
“My Queen we need to hide you both! The Sorcerer has taken the castle. It will not be long before he gets here.” At that moment, the Queen feels a gush of blood between her legs. She and the maid share a look of horror between them. They both know hemorrhage after birth is a death sentence. The Queen won't be alive to see the morning.
“Lidia, I need you to take my daughter and hide her away. Never hide from her what she is, but keep her safe if you can.” The maid nods, severing the cord and pulling the girl into her arms.
“What shall her name be my Queen?”
“Reya. As I die, let it be known that the old Queen is gone.”
“Long live Queen Reya.” Whispers Lidia.
“Go now!” Lidia nods and uses the magic born to her people to make her way silently through the castle and out a back way; carrying the next Queen of Volocinia in her arms.
Reya has grown up free spirited, a Wanderer; part of a nomadic tribe. She has no idea of her origins, nor any idea about her birthright. But her world will change when she comes upon a man injured in the forest. The same man, in fact; who usurped her kingdom the night she was born.
Can a Queen ever truly deny her crown? Can a woman ever truly deny love? What about when the two are at war? Will Reya sacrifice her heart for the crown, or the Crown for her heart?