1 Chapter One

Overra stood at the cauldron adding the right ingredients. The other witches that practiced alchemy for the royals had all gone to bed."They're so lazy" she thought as she worked, a true alchemist never stopped until the work was done. But in full honesty, she didn't mind. She preferred working alone. She hated it when others worked near her. Staring down her neck. Always needing ingredients. Asking for help. But then again most of them were new to the practice and still used to the spoiled and entitled life of their nobility families. Not her. She wasn't noble, entitled, or spoiled. She had nothing at their young teenage age. Just her talent and what she had been taught

to do with it. She slowly stopped measuring the spice as she noticed the person standing in the dark doorway mutely. "What is it, my grace? Overra whispered at the queen in the doorway. The small queen had been standing there quietly observing and unannounced. "I couldn't sleep, I thought I saw your lights on," Queen Magnolia said looking around the room. She walked farther into the dark laboratory, she wandered over to Overra's cauldron. The formula was still in the early stages of being made and needing boiling. She inhaled some black smoke and immediately started to cough and grimace. Mysticism and alchemy and the like seem fake to her. Overra remembered back to the king's and Magnolia's wedding day. She had scoffed and frowned when the priests had blessed them and had a cussing fit while Overra and the other witches came forward with their predictions. She never believed in anything that she couldn't prove with her five senses. She carried bitterness in her whole being. It seemed frozen in her spine and soaked into her features. It was something Overra could never find reasons for. Magnolia walked further into the laboratory. Encroaching on Overra's station. She stopped at the cauldron and asked "Things really appear up in this? Magnolia to Overra and stared up at her, demanding an answer.

Overra turned and picked up a bottle of Alsen and began to measure. She then looked at the queen and answered blatantly "Directly no, I make a potion, add any extras needed and then I peer in and see. Like having a vision or a dream" Overra said. Then she started gesturing to the queen to sit by the large fire in her laboratory.

Well not hers really, the laboratory belonged to all of the witches who worked in the castle. But Overa was one of the oldest and most powerful. The Queen sat down in the larger chair while Overra continued to talk "Why couldn't you sleep, my grace? She whispered while opening a bottle of Sorin juice. It was obvious to Overra, the queen was pregnant. but Overra wondered if Magnolia would ask it. Since the queen, magic, and witches couldn't exist. Magnolia's entire belief system was that nothing existed that can't be proven with the five senses.

"I think I might be expecting a child", The Queen whispered, accepting the cup of juice, " I've felt it. In the mornings and nights. I've gotten sick. Craved weird things ". She stared deeper into her cup. As if it was showing a play or telling a story. Overra stood and got more juice. She refilled Magnolia's cup and set the bottle down. "Why come to me with this? Overra asked standing still" You don't believe magic and witchcraft. In us or me. Why come to me with a notion that serious. Especially at this hour? Overra said, forgetting formalities, and finally sat down across from her, wondering in wait.

"I couldn't wait until morning. Not till the Heloaonic doctors could come. I don't trust any medicals till then. I want an answer. Even a false one from you and your..... kind." Magnolia whispered half-embarrassed. She still couldn't look away from the fire. She couldn't face Overra and admit she might actually believe in her and witchcraft. Admit she was wrong about alchemy being false and just an entertainment show for kids. Like she often went on about in public places...

Overra stood up and decided then to test if the suspicion was true. " Your Grace, if you haven't noticed. I and my colleagues have often proved to be more right than anything your medical's say or think" Overra retorted and walked over to the pantry.

"Overra , could you please? Magnolia finally turned from the fire and asked her , feeling shame "Please test me". Magnolia frowned at Overra, as she turned her back to her and went to the cabinet. Back in her home country, Heloas , turning your back on a royal, especially a Queen, meant intermediate death.

" Well if you want your answer, false or not, I am the only one awake to give you it, Your Grace '' Overra said as she collected the ingredients for the pregnancy potion. She carried the jars back to her workstation and stacked according to when she'd need them to be put into the cauldron. The potion Overra had started earlier was cold and had fallen flat. Overra bent over and pulled the plug at the bottom of the cauldron so the liquid in it was poured out into the palace's pipework's drainage system. Magnolia continued to sit and stared as Overra filled the cauldron and turned it on high heat. "How exactly will you tell? Magnolia asked '' Do you drink it or something? Magnolia stood up and wandered over to the window. She looked out at the castle, all dark and cold.

Overra poured the last liquid into the cauldron and turned to the short queen. "No, I stirred the right ingredients and stood over it. Then it comes on like a vision" Overra said and walked over to the queen. "Your Grace, I need a piece of your saliva," Overra told and held Magnolia's mouth open. She scooped a spoon in her mouth and scratched saliva from her mouth. She put the spoon in a cup by the chair and carried it to the cauldron. "I also need a prick of your blood too ma'am. " Overra spoke over her shoulder then. She looked back at the book that had all the recipes and lists of ingredients that she needed. Overra calmly pulled a knife from her pocket and got an empty cup from the side table. She proceeded to pick up the Queen's wrist and then pricked her thumb. "Ah, that hurts! Magnolia gasped in pain. She was always a weakling. Hate pain and hate blood. She then tried to look anywhere then her bloody wrist.Overra caught as much blood as she could and tried not to judge the queen. But it looked humiliating for the country for it's leading lady to show pain for such a tiny cut. Overra sighed and tried to get enough blood into the cup as she could. She pulled away and let go of Magnolia's arm. Overra walked over to the cauldron and processed to pour the cup's contents into the cauldron. The hardest part was mixing everything all together while talking in the ancient alonion. Overra watched as it simmered. It started to boil more and change color. Overra started and started to see. She became transfixed and began to see. Overra watched as the cauldron showed her the future. It seems blurry and confused. Overra could see that the answer was yes. The Queen was pregnant, Overra saw after having immersed her face slightly. She saw a large moving bundle 0f an infant wrapped in golden silk. A material and color only allowed to royals. Overra also could see Magnolia eating pomegranates seeds. A fruit that exampled fertility and was a typical craving for expecting mothers in the country, since pomegranates were one of the biggest growing fruits in the country also. But it wouldn't show more. Not like every other time she had done it, this as different. It always could show the sex, face, life. "Yes you are pregnant, your grace," Overra told the sitting queen. Magnolia smiled, actually believing the witch for a few seconds before doubting.

"Are you sure Overra ? She questioned frowning."Yes, my queen, I've never been wrong" Overra told and turned to face her. Her face was covered in water and smoke. Overra stood in front of the cauldron. In between it and the queen. The queen couldn't practice witchcraft, But Overra didn't want her to try. "Thank you Overra, for giving me this hope" Magnolia stated and stood to leave. Overra did a bow, ignoring the gravitational pull of the cauldron. After seeing the queen out, Overra bolt locked the door and returned to the cauldron. The potion entranced her and showed her the truth. The queen was pregnant. But the weird thing was that the potion was changing. Potions and prophecies weren't supposed to change. Overra felt the strong gravitational pulled to the cauldron. Like a hand at her neck pulling her to it. She looked closer until her face was almost immersed. The water was grainy but Overra could see. Magnolia giving birth. The queen's heavy breathing intermixed with the screams of a newborn. Nursemaids ran around the bed grabbing towels, water, medical towels. Suddenly the queen screamed and grabbed her stomach in pain. The Head Labor Nurse handed a moving bundle to another maid and turned to the queen. Overra could tell that the Head Labor Nurse was telling Magnolia to breathe and to push. Then the Head Labor Nurse yelled that it was coming. It was almost here. Another Minor Labor Nurse came with towels, scissors and water bowls. There were two infants born. Two children. Two newborn royals for the king and queen. The brightness and crackling of the fire in the room had grown louder. Overriding the queen's scream of pain. The room suddenly was emptied of the queen, babies, and nursemaids. The fire from the fireplace seemed to grow, move and take shape in the middle of the room. It grew larger and more definite as a phoenix. The royal symbol of the country and royal family. The fire bird's eyes grew dark red in anger. Its hisses grew louder until the bird spoke the literal part of the prophecy. "Two children it will be. One of each for the king and queen. One is known in history as the strong hero of the country. Showing superiority over its sibling and tyrant father. Other the weak savage that will destroy itself and bring the king to his fate of destruction. At the intermittent meeting of the children's interwoven fate. The superior will kill the weak and then build this country into an everlasting dynasty of glory. The savage weak child will bring with it's birth nothing but destruction, war, and death. ".As soon as the red bird hissed the word death it flapped its wings and spat a spiral of flames towards Overra's direction. Overra jerked backed out of the cauldron and stumbled back from the cauldron. "Oh dear gods," Overra whispered to herself " the queen's pregnant with the baby that could end all of us". Overra didn't know who to tell. Or what to do. On wobbly legs, she walked further away from the cauldron that held the prophetic portion. It would need to be drained and cleaned, but Overra decided it could wait until morning. "What harm can a used potion do now? She asked herself finally calm, it would be fine. It was the darkest part of the night. Long past the Witching Hour, as Overra got ready for bed. In the morning she'd have an idea of what to do. About the baby. Worst comes to blows. Overra can say that she was told that both children would grow up healthy and good. Which was a half-lie? But the only prophecy that came from the potion that the Queen saw is that she was pregnant. Magnolia left thinking that was the only news that Overra saw. She didn't know about the second bit of information. She didn't need to know. Magnolia would never admit to coming to Overra on her own, being a self-proclaimed atheist on anything alchemy related. And in future times, Overra and other witches would be strong enough secure that no one would ever bring harm to the country. Overra fell asleep, plotting on how to stop the Queen's children from destroying themselves and everyone in the existence of the country's borders.

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