“Start with my parents.”
Melody, Joel, and Rhuest were sitting by a small fire that Joel had built. Colleen stayed on the edges of the light, occasionally throwing glares at Melody.
Rhuest sighed. “Your parents were the rulers of Paradisica, everyone knew them. They were well-loved by their subjects. There isn’t that much to tell about them.”
Melody looked deep into the flames. “There is when I don’t remember anything about them.”
Rhuest nodded. “Of course. Well, your mother’s name was Trewren, but everyone called her Wren. She was beautiful. Same tall, willowy build like you, but long, flaming red hair, like Harmony. You have your mother’s amaranthine eyes. Wren would always wear purples and golds and reds. They were her favorite colors. She was all passion, your mother, and she balanced out your father.”
“You have his same raven hair,” Joel added. “And ivory skin. He was always calm and serious, your mother, you, and your sister were the only ones who could ever make him smile. He always wore blues and silvers, called them…”
“The colors of night,” Melody said absentmindedly.
Joel nodded and looked at her curiously. “Yes. Do you remember your father’s name?”
Melody shrugged. “I’m not sure if it’s his name, but Cesious is stuck in my head.”
“That was his name. King Cesious and Queen Trewren,” Rhuest said softly.
“Fiery passion and Siberian sense. Those were your parents, Melody,” Joel said with a small chuckle. “You’ve got both of your parents in you, I can tell. Although it seems you might take after your father more.”
Melody looked up. “What makes you say that?”
Joel smiled. “Because your sister takes after your mother, and two of you living at the same time is a horrifying thought.”
Melody half smiled, and then looked back down at the fire. “Joel, every time I see you, something about you looks very familiar, more so than everything else here. It’s more than just a de-ja- vu feeling, it’s something stronger.” She slowly looked up. “Why is that?”
Joel looked at Rhuest. “Is it too soon?”
Rhuest laughed. “Now you ask for my opinion on something.” He shook his head. “Seeing as how you’ve already told her this much, I don’t see how much more can hurt her. Go ahead.”
Joel reached out and gently took her face between his thumb and forefinger, bringing her gaze up to meet his. “Melody, I look so familiar to you because I was the one you spent the most time with. We were best friends, and then when your father tried to make a political match between you and an Elemental, your mother and my parents stepped in. Your father agreed for your sister to marry the Elemental instead. But in order for him to say so, there had to be a replacement.”
Joel nodded. “We were betrothed.”