Doppelgänger Chapter 2

Doppelgänger Chapter 2

In the second chapter of my novel, Seraphina meets the man that will get her out of her prison.


Coming-of-age / Young adult fiction


Tia Powley (Australia)

On her seventeenth nameday, Natalya woke up and began her morning routine. After taking a leisurely bath to wash of any remnants of her long sleep, she called Sascha, her handmaiden, to help her pick an appropriate dress for the ball that day. After a pale ivory gown that brought out her deep brown eyes was selected and put on and Sascha was sent away, Natalya sank back down on her bed and thought about what Xander had said the night before.
But we can do something, she told herself. It’s just because the Werepeople are shapeshifters that only have one other form that people are so terrified of them and think they’re savages like Xander does. And they shouldn’t be.
Too right, came Sera’s voice. But the Werepeople would hate me because I can shapeshift into any form at any time. So once they heard I had passed my Final Test, marking me as the ultimate warrior even without my powers, they were afraid of what I would do in the name of our family. A mental scoff emanated from her twin. As if I owe them anything. So they came into the fortress, killed countless innocents – well, not quite innocents, but you understand what I mean – and took me. And then the leader gave me to the three men that killed so many people ten years before to try and find out why I was so different. Remember them? Memories flashed through Natalya’s mind of the three shapeshifters whose names she could not remember. One of them had a brother that had been killed in service to the king and he had not been permitted to attend the funeral. So he had taken his two most trusted friends and they had broken the laws banning Werepeople – known amongst themselves as shifters – from Nix, travelling to the castle and killing as many guards as they could, simply to see if their families would come to the memorials. Natalya had only been a child at the time, but her sister had already been whisked away for training and she had huddled in her room hearing the sounds of men fighting and dying. She still had nightmares about it. Happy nameday, by the way, Sera continued. Ready for the ball yet? Has Alexander seen you in a stunning dress and realised what a lucky man he is? Despite herself, Natalya had to bite back a laugh.
Not yet, little sister.
Shame. Seraphina’s emotion suddenly changed to worry as she supposedly heard something. I can hear someone outside of my door. They usually never come this early. I have to go. Good luck with the boring nobles. I love you, Nat.
I love you, Sera. Stay safe.


I love you, Nat, Seraphina told her just in case she wouldn’t have the chance to again.
I love you, Sera came her big sister’s reply as she heard her cell door being opened. Stay safe.
I wish, Seraphina thought to herself as a stranger looked through the open door at her; the first new face she had seen in years. Well this is an unexpected development.
“Well this is an interesting development,” she drawled as she fixed her familiar smirk onto her face, standing up in order to look at this distractingly handsome boy more closely. As new faces go, this one isn’t bad to look at. With olive green eyes signifying that his other form was some kind of forest creature – a jaguar to be exact – and with pitch-black hair and angular features, it was in fact a very nice new face. “You don’t seem that old,” she continued, realising that she was staring. “You can’t be more than eighteen or nineteen.” And it was then that she realised he was so silent because he was staring back.
“Nineteen,” he corrected distractedly, his eyes roving over her in a fashion she would have considered offensive if it was anyone else. “What have they done to you?”
“This?” She lifted up a hand, examining the scars that patterned the skin and the silver ring Nat had given her so many years ago, the one thing she had left of her old life besides memories. “Surely you’ve heard of the punishments of the Werepeople. Bronze is poisonous to us,” she mused, turning her hand over and looking at the scarred palm. “And the worst torture of all, one that has never been performed in history and has never even been named, only known as ‘The Death of Men’ is when they take a knife of pure bronze and they carve symbols and lines into the poor victim’s body, covering every inch of bare skin from the neck down with a mark that will never heal.” She laughed shortly. “It’s said in legend that the symbols mark the victim as one who can live through anything but,” she shrugged, “survival doesn’t mean much if you can’t do anything with it.”
“They performed The Death of Men?” he raised both eyebrows, aghast. “You can’t be much older than eighteen.”
“Today is my seventeenth nameday,” Seraphina corrected him, lifting her chin. The strange boy took a step towards her and she instinctively backed up a step and promptly hit the wall. “What do you want with me?” He looked at her earnestly.
“To help you.”
Well that was unexpected.
“One of the men that took you, he is my father.” Her eyes narrowed.
“Who.” It was a command, not a question. He took another step towards her, which was a mistake, since it meant she could reach him.
“Artyom.” Seraphina lunged, clutching his shirt and pulling him to her.
“Why are you here?” she hissed, baring her teeth in a vicious snarl as she thought of Artyom’s daughter. “Hasn’t your bastard father done enough to me without your help?”
“Let me go,” he said carefully. “I’m not going to hurt you.” His words had no effect on her.
“Then give me a good reason for not killing you where you stand.”
“The leader of our people, the man who ordered your capture, he died yesterday in a raid by the forest tribes,” the boy – she really shouldn’t be calling him a boy, he was two years older than her – stated calmly. “And not all of us agreed with him ordering the capture and imprisonment of a young girl. So I’ve come here to set you free.”
Free. Surely it was impossible. She didn’t know what it was like to be free.
“What of your father?” Seraphina asked, not letting any of her churning emotions show.
“I’ve hated him for as long as I can remember,” he shrugged offhandedly, as though it didn’t matter. “He’s a monster and me being his son doesn’t change my opinion of that.” Nodding, she withdrew.
“What’s your name?” He smiled slightly and she hated how much she liked the sight of it.
“Tiberius, technically speaking, but you can call me Ty. Everyone does.”
“Ty,” she repeated carefully, memories of the name returning to her. “I’ve heard your father speak of you before.”
“What’s your name?” he asked. “I know you’re actually a princess, but the world doesn’t even know you exist.”
As if I didn’t know that. As if I needed a reminder that I’m a disgrace to the parents I despise and the kingdom that I am banished from.
“Even my father doesn’t know your name.”
“Because I’d rather die than tell him,” she informed him coolly, still not entirely comfortable with this boy. “He doesn’t have that right.” A pause. “I’m Seraphina,” she stated, the first time she had said her name out loud in what seemed like forever. “But my sister calls me Sera, and since you’re the only friendly person I’ve seen in the past couple of years, I guess…I guess you can call me that too. If you want, that is.”
“Seraphina,” he repeated with another smile. “That’s a pretty name. It suits you.” He stepped forward again, producing a key from his pocket. “I think these are for your manacles,” he reasoned, looking up to where the chains rose up to the ceiling.
“They are,” she assented. “I’ve seen Borya with them before.” Memories of the lest important of the trio dangling the keys just out of reach flashed through her mind’s eye as the boy – Ty – nodded.
“Are you going to try and murder me again or are you going to let me take these off?” Seraphina gave him an assessing look.
“I’m not going to murder you just yet.”

Competition: Friendly feedback, Round 1



The reviews for this submission haven't been published yet.