T.W. Offensive Insults
Raven entered her father's office, her cheek was still burning, she knew better than to compline about the beating. Her father did almost everything to keep the peace between the woman in his house.
"Raven, good, you are here." He didn't look up from his paperwork, Raven walked to a chair that was up a set from her father's desk.
"You have requested my presence." She saw him frown, but he didn't look up. "You are going on a business trip." It was not a question, her father nodded.
"Yes, and I am sorry to say, sweetheart. But you can't come with me this time." Raven's heart stopped for a short moment.
"Why?" He always took her with him, and she was willing to beg.
"Because we are going to Staerdall, and you have heard the rumors around that place. That Mystic is a real tyrant and eyes a keen eye for beautiful woman." She nodded, that were indeed the rumors. And she completely understood that he wanted to keep her out of harms way. At least from men, but he was clearly fine with leaving her at the merci of her stepmother and half sisters.
"Please take me with you, father. I can take care of myself." He nodded.
"I know that and that is why you are staying here." She sighed, he clearly made up his mind and not even she could change that. She bowed her head slightly.
"As you wish, father." He nodded.
"I know that your stepmother is not the most loveable woman. And that she spoiled your sisters like it is nothing. But she is simply jealous."
"Jealous, is she jealous?" Her father nodded again.
"At your mother. Your mother was maybe only a maid. But I loved her dearly." Raven looked away, she didn't know her mother. She died after given birth to her. "And you are taking after her." Raven stood abrupt up, she had heard enough. She already knew that her stepmother was punching her looking acutely like her mother, she had the brushes to prove that.
"I have chores." She said, before storming out.
Raven walked through the hallway, her half sisters and stepmother were nowhere in sight. Probably busy with a lesson of some sort, something she was not allowed to see or hear. She was the daughter of a kitchen maid, a servant and as her stepmother liked to call her the whore. According to her stepmother, Raven needed to be grateful for everything she had. Raven passed the door that lead to her mother's rose garden, it was a gift her father had given to her mother when he found out that she was pregnant. Something caught her attention, a man dressed all in black and with a black mask on was sneak through the garden. Silently as possible, not knowing if the man was armed or not, she opened the door and sneaked towards him. He crouched by the pink Pearl rose bush, she saw that he took a small cutting of the plant and put the piece carefully in a leather pouch. Before sneaking towards the yellow roses. Raven knew from her father that Pearl roses were quite expensive, so stealing a few cuttings was a major crime. But she was amazed that somebody would steal something like that.
"What are you doing in my mother's garden?" She asked, the man almost jumped out of his skin. Clearly she scared him. He looked at her and he kept on looking. His light green eyes kept staring in to hers. "I am going to ask you one more time, what are you doing in my mother's garden." In the mask were three holes tow for his eyes and one for his mouth. Which opened hopefully to answer her question, but as his voice was almost over his lips. A white raven flew over them, one of its feathers came loose and fluttered towards the ground. She crouched to pick the feather up, but when she came up, the man was already running towards the wall. Raven reached towards a yellow pearl rose and picked it. If she gave him the rose, he didn't steal it. She grabbed her dress and ran after him, Raven had no trouble to climb over the low wall. She had told her father that the wall was too low, and it was an easy target for thieves. But her stepmother loves the forest view. She reached him. "Wait." she said while grabbing his arm. He stopped and turned, she held up the flower, and he carefully took it.
"Thank you." She gave him a smile and shrugged.
"It only seems fair, after all that sneaking around." She watched him smile when he put the flower by the cuttings. She had so many questions, who was he, and why was he wearing a mask? To name a view.
"I better go." He turned again, and ran away.
Raven hugged her father as tightly as possible.
"Be careful." She whispered in his ear, he simply nodded. He stepped back, made himself loos from her grip.
"I will miss you, sweetheart. I will have gifts when I return." Raven didn't want any gifts, she wanted to go with him. A change to escape this nightmare. Her father stepped into the carriage and drove away. Raven's heartbeat slowly died when the distance between them became bigger.
"Raven." Her stepmother's voice was like a whip on her skin. "Come inside, your chores are waiting for you." Raven bit softly on her lip, but slowly turned and entered the house. The door slammed shot and Raven looked at the faces of her three half-sisters who were grinning. Her stepmother had something planned, and Raven was sure she was not going to like it. "Wear this, it is more suited for someone of your station." A rag was thrown at her. "You will no longer wear that dress in my house, only when I let you out of this house, you are allowed to change in something above your station." Raven looked at the dark brown dress, which was full of holes and dirt. Where was her stepmother aiming for, not even the servants are wearing this. She lowered the dress.
"I am not going to wear that, madam. According to father, you approved the dress that I am wearing right now." Her stepmother nodded.
"That is true, I however did not approve of his choice of fabric." Raven shook her head.
"I am not my mother, madam." Her stepmother stepped forward and stroke her. This was the second time that day that, Raven fell to the ground.
"Watch your mouth, your father is not here to protect you. Go to your chores." Raven scrambled to her feet. But was struck again and again, this time by her half-sisters. "Girls, that is enough." Her stepmother didn't sound serious, just half amused. Still her half sisters stopped hitting her, and she lay on the ground until the left her.
"Miss, are you alright?" One of the old maids helped her to her feet. Raven wanted to nod, but her whole body hurts.
"Yes I am fine. You know how they are." The old maid nodded. Raven couldn't remember seeing the woman here before. But that wasn't strange, her stepmother changed servants as easily as gloves. "I am sorry, I wanted to thank you, but your name escapes me." Raven smiled at the woman, who smiled back.
"That is fine miss, if you had to remember all our names your head would spin and fall off. I am Aria Baxter-Aradia, and yes I am new here." Raven smiled at the woman.
"Thank you for your help, Madam Baxter-Aradia." The woman nodded and sighed.
"You are really a bloom between the weeds." Raven frowned, must she knew what that meant. The woman petted her on her arm. Somehow, the pain that she felt a moment earlier was gone. "Be brave and strong. Know your own mind and trust your guts." The woman turned and walked away.
Raven hummed softly during her chores, her mind was not at her task. Not that it needed to be there, she had scrubbed these floors a thousand times, if not more. Her mind was by the stranger from the garden she had met a few days ago.
Still she didn't know who he was, he left a strange impression.
"Mother says that you need to chaperon us into town." Eliana came in with her dirty shoes, leaving marks on the just cleaned floor.
"I am not done with this floor, Eliana." Raven looked up to the oldest of her half sisters, Eliana and she were close in age, although Eliana was a few weeks older than Raven was.
"You can finish it when we get back. Come on, Despiona and Lia are already waiting for use." Raven got up, wearing the rags her stepmother had trough at her. She had no other chose all her another dresses were convicted while she was a sleep.
"I need to change first, I am doubting your mother will let me out of the house, looking like this." Eliana nodded slowly.
"Yes, you are probably right, you." Eliana pointed towards a male servant. "Get one of her boring dresses."
The man ran away, and got not much later back with one off Raven's dresses.
"Here you go, miss." He gave Raven the dress, she took it and left the chamber. Glad that she could wear something else than those rages. She changed in her own little bedroom, of course her stepmother gave her the smallest room in the house. It was not bigger than a broom closets. It fitted a single bed, a chest for her clothing and a small table with a washing boil.
"He, he. That took you long enough." Said Lia quite anyone, raven shrugged.
"I am here, aren't I." Her half sisters sighed and walked out of the front door.
Raven hated this so much, her sisters walking from one dressing store to another. While she carries the bags, loaded with new dresses, shoes and other trinkets they actually didn't need.
"By the Nameless God." Screamed Eliana, grabbing the arm of Lia. "There he is." Raven looked at the man, that her half sister pointed out. Raven could tell that he was handsome and had money because of the expensive fabric. But after that lured a man that was known for his trail of broken hearts, Leonidas Muliades. Eliana waved at him and he waved back. Only he did not look towards Eliana, he looked at Raven. Something that made her skin crowl.