“That is why I like to start at the beginning. The past defines our present, and more often than you might expect, the answers to our future are hidden in our past all along.”
The woman nods, shifting her body into a more comfortable position on the couch as she stares at the wooden ceiling. Her breathing fails to slow down, and it quivers with every intake of air, like she’s liable to start crying at any moment.
“Let’s start with your name, miss,” Doctor William asks, his dried-up voice taking on a much softer tone.
“Hollyberry,” she answers, brown eyes still directed upwards. “Princess Hollyberry,” she adds as an afterthought.
“Mhm, and, how long have you been a princess?”
“Umm, all my life, I, suppose?”
“Do you enjoy being a princess, Miss Hollyberry?”
The question sends a slow-moving shock through her body as she nearly crushes the stem of her lily. Her eyes squeeze shut and her mouth follows suit, desperately trying to ward off the tears. One of Doctor William’s fuzzy eyebrows raises; the change does not go unnoticed by him.
“I, I do… did… do!” Hollyberry responds, voice fluttering in a wind that attempts to silence it. “I do, I do, I really do! Did… I, I-I…”
She loses it. Flower still perfectly poised against her chest, she rolls into the side of the couch, sobbing with her back turned to the world. There is no kicking or flailing or grasping for things to throw, only the tears, only the sorrow. When she finally finds the breath for words, they’re muffed almost to the point of being a foreign language. One, however, which Doctor Williams has learned to become fluent in.
“What, whu-what happened?! It’s, it’s all gone, why does it have to be all gone?! Where did they go? Why… Why, why would they leave me?”
The good doctor scoots his chair forwards, trying subtly to remind Princess Hollyberry that he is still there for her. “There, there, let it out, dear. Who is gone?”
“Everyone!” she wails, turning her head for breath. “The, the king, the queen, the castle, my, my kn-knight… Even, even the, the dragon, the cave! Slate Mountain! Mordem’s Fortress! Riverrun Village! There’s, it’s…! Why?!”