She sat, calmly, as her maids fussed over her. One of the maids lit a fire, in the fireplace, to take the chill away from her mistress, whom they had just pulled from a steaming tub. The young woman pulled her dressing gown around her, and sat at her dressing table, as her maids started brushing out her long golden hair. She shivered as her hair was gathered off of the back of her neck; it was tugged at and twisted and pinned, and finally it was done.
The maids helped the young woman up from the stool of her dressing table, and she stood in front of her bed, as her maids helped her with her underthings--chemise and petticoats. When it was time for the corset, the young woman held onto a post of her four-poster bed as her corset was laced and tightened. Finally it came time for the gown; a magenta gown was pulled from the wardrobe, and the maids helped the young woman into it, fastening the buttons that made their way down the back.
“You look beautiful, miss,” one maid said, adoringly.
The young woman looked in the mirror of her dressing table and tilted her head at her reflection, and, she had to admit, even to herself, that she quite liked the result that she saw before her.
“Oh, Miss! we almost forgot your stockings,” a maid said, holding up two long pieces of cottony-like fabric. She kneeled at the young woman’s feet and rolled the stockings onto her slender feet before putting the matching magenta slippers.
“Your mother is ready for you, Miss,” another maid told her, as she stuck her head in the door. The young woman was pulled up from the stool of her dressing table, and, smiling, she walked out of her room, the maids following her.
She put a smile on her face and put her hand on the railing, as she descended the winding staircase. She had played this part before--and she played it well, as always. This was part of finding a husband--she played as though she cared for and adored the man before her. They always asked for her hand to dance the Waltz, always wanting to have the most intimate time with her. She couldn’t blame them, her beauty was spoke about over the seas, which, of course made every man want to come and court her. It also helped that her mother often boasted about her beauty and the fact that she read and wrote splendidly.
“...And this is my lovely daughter, Olivia,” her mother said, adoringly, pulling Olivia to her side, “Olivia, this is Count Dumont, the Earl of Essex’s cousin.”
“My Lord,” Olivia said, dropping to a low curtsy to greet such a man of power. A smile came under the stretch of his mustache as he reached down, grasped her hand and brought it to his lips.
The brush of his mustache revolted Olivia beyond belief, but she knew that she had to act as if she didn’t feel anything but delight at being in his presence.
“May I have this dance, my lady?” he asked, his eyes sparkling at a chance to share a dance with her.
“Of course My Lord,” Olivia said, standing up. She kept her hand in his, as he led her out to the dance floor, as the first Waltz started.
Olivia noted how the Duke moved with grace around the dance floor; as they danced, he spoke of his interests and asked Olivia hers, she responded with her own interests, and she noted how putrid his breath was. She tried not to grimace every time he opened his mouth to speak.
Thankful that the song had finally come to an end, Olivia curtsied to the Duke, without the promise of another dance, and made her way to the side, where many women were waiting for the approach of a man for a dance.
On the sidelines, Olivia saw Charles, her childhood friend, as he scouted out which woman he would invite to a dance.
“Mr. Bateman,” Olivia said, ducking down in a small curtsy, as he reached her. Charles’ eyes sparkled and he extended a hand to her. Despite having just danced, and despite the ache that her feet were starting to take on because of the slippers, Olivia put her hand in his and allowed him to pull her to the dance floor.
“Have you found any suitors that you like yet?” Charles asked, as the song started up and they moved gracefully.
“Not yet,” Olivia responded, as though the very thought of not finding a suitor sent her into feelings of woe.
“I could be your suitor,” Charles said, with a smirk. Olivia chuckled. In truth, Charles was the perfect suitor for Olivia, for he knew her better than even her own parents. Aside from that, they were both attractive, and she knew him like the back of her hand. The courting wouldn’t have to go on for long because both of them were almost in their eighteenth year...but Olivia couldn’t see that happening, because she just couldn’t picture Charles being her husband.
The song ended and then the music was stopped as the time for dinner was announced. They all made way for the grand dining room.
The long table was all set with fine wine and meats and vegetables from the garden. Everyone took their seats--Olivia’s father at the head of the table, Olivia at one side and her mother on the other. The Count was seated next to Olivia’s father, and on her right side was Charles.
About halfway through dinner, short booming sounds echoed through the brick walls, and everyone paused in their meal. Murmuring of what that could be snaked through the guests. As the sounds grew louder and more distinct, they came to the conclusion that those sounds were that of multiple cannons.
Olivia could tell that people were starting to panic; some even tried to be graceful about it and made up excuses. Olivia’s father whispered something to the manservant and he disappeared through the door that led to the kitchen.
“Keep calm everyone, there is nothing--”
The glass on the windows shattered, raining down upon the guests, and they screamed as men came into the dining hall. The men speared bits of meat on their swords and pulled jewels off of all the ladies within sight. Shots were heard and Olivia looked to her right to see that one of the couples had been shot and killed. Tears welled up in her eyes and she immediately ran from the room.
On her way to the staircase, she slipped and tripped over the spilled blood of the slaughtered servants. Olivia slipped in her haste to get up the stairs, and landed face-first on the floor. She sat up, seeing the front of her magenta dress heavily stained with blood. She looked down to see what she had tripped over and saw the wide, blank stare of her father’s manservant, as he looked up at her, with a slice across his throat. Olivia pressed her hands to her mouth, stifling a scream and tasting the salty, metallic, taste of the blood on her hands.
She scrambled up and finally made it to the staircase, pulling herself up, desperately. At the top, she found a maid hanging over the banister, as blood dripped from the hole in her chest.
Olivia made it to her bedroom and slid under the bed, hoping that she could hide out long enough until after these mongrels left.
It wasn’t long until she heard heavy footsteps approach her bedroom. From her spot, she saw a coal-black boot step in. Fear gripped every part of her being and Olivia pressed her dirty, bloodied hand to her mouth to stop the owner of the boot from hearing her sobs. Apparently, she didn’t hide them well enough, for a greasy, dirty hand groped under the bed.
Olivia scooted as far as the small space would allow, but it wasn’t far enough, for the hand grabbed the corner of her gown, and pulled her out from under the bed. Olivia let out a shriek as she came face to face with the owner of the hand. The greasy, dirty hand belonged to a greasy, dirty man with a tangled gray beard.
He pulled her up into a standing position, so that they were nose to nose.
“'Ello love,” he said. His putrid breath invaded her nostrils and she fought to keep her dinner down.
“Smith!” someone yelled and another man bounded into the room. “What are you doin’?”
“I found the girl,” the man called “Smith” said, proudly.
“Good,” the man said, looking Olivia up and down, “Take her out to the ship.”
“Ship? Ship! There is no way I’m going anywhere, let alone on a ship with you scoundrels!” Olivia said, indignantly. “Smith” just laughed.
“Whatever you say, love,” he said, in a scratchy voice. He threw her over his shoulder, and she pounded her fists against his back.
“Take her to the brig,” the other man said, as they passed him on the stairs. Smith chuckled and patted her behind, as he continued trekking towards the unknown.
As she watched the only home that she ever knew grow smaller, she also watched as it erupted in flames. She screamed and sobbed for the things and people that she had lost that night, and Olivia was numb, as she was carried aboard a vessels and thrown into the belly of it, behind bars.