Sofia awoke to the sound of birds outside the window above her bed. She peeked out just as the sun was rising over the trees, giving the landscape a bright orange glow. Sunrises had always been Sofia's favorite time of day. Ever since she was a child, she loved the fact that another day was beginning and she was given the opportunity to learn something new.
When Sofia was 15 her village was hit with a pneumonia epidemic, she lost both her parents, but never lost her optimism. While most of the villagers were moved to the school house, she kept her folks home and cared for them as best she could until the end.
When the news of her parents' recent demise reached the village her best friend Ruby's father, who had also lost his wife to the sickness, offered for Sofia to stay with them but not wanting to be a burden she declined. The villagers were understanding and, at the risk of losing Sofia to the kingdom's orphanage, kept the fact that her father had perished as well as her mother, which they couldn't keep her death a secret.
Sofia's mother, Miranda, was the village seamstress and was the regular tailor to the royal family. Miranda had taught Sofia how to tailor for the villagers but never for the castle, she didn't see it proper to let her daughter touch the royal's garments at such a young age. After Miranda's death, with the help of Ruby and Their friend Jade, Sofia took over the shop and the royal family hired a personal seamstress.
Miranda had thankfully also taught Sofia how to work the land and provide their own food which made living on her own that much easier, plus Sofia sold the extra fruits and vegetables at festivals.
Sofia pulled herself out of bed and began removing her waist length hair from it's braid causing the auburn strands to wave around her shoulders in Sofia pulled the curls behind her head she sighed and looked around her small one roomed cottage. Sofia hadn't changed much about the house after her parents were gone, the wash basin that her mother had once used to wash her hair and face in was still sitting beside the dark stone fire place that sat at the far end of the room which her mother taught her how to cook in.
The basin its self was made of porcelain with hand painted roses outlining the brim and it sat on a cherry wood shelf in front of her great grandmother's antique mirror with roses carved into the cherry wood frame that housed it.
In front of the fireplace were two oak rocking chairs where Sofia would sit practicing her stitching and her mother, across from her, would work on orders from the village. In the middle of the room sat an oak table with four oak chairs on each side where her father would sit and read his hunting and trapping books by the lamplight. The bed Sofia slept on was the same straw filled mattress she had when she was a child. She had removed her parent’s bed a month after they had died because looking at it was too painful.
The room only had two windows, one by the door across from her bed and the other above her bed. There was a row of cabinets that lined the opposite end of the cottage that held fruit preserves and canned vegetables from previous seasons. Under the cabinets was a shelf that held bread Sofia had made the night before and a basket for eggs she used to gather from her three chickens.
After getting washed up and putting on her favorite dress which had a white puff sleeved chemise with green lace up the back and a green skirt that hadn't yet started to fade Sofia grabbed the basket and opened the door to greet the cool autumn morning. Sofia took a deep breath and headed to the wooden chicken coop beside the cottage.
After gathering the six eggs from her hens Sofia let them out into their fenced in yard and headed to the garden beside the spring behind the house. Sofia was happy that two pumpkins and some carrots were ready to be harvested. The royal festival was a couple weeks away and she would have carrot cake and pumpkin pie to sell.
Sofia remembered that she needed to get to her shop early to finish a dress for Mrs. Neely who was her best and most consistent customer since she and her two daughters spent most of their time picking berries in the forest and their dresses got torn and snagged. Sofia cooked two eggs, toasted a slice of bread and ate quickly before gathering her things and making her way to the village which was mile away from her secluded cottage in the woods. The path through the forest was peaceful and the flowers that grew alongside the foot path gave the air a sweet smell.
Sofia arrived in the village and headed toward her shop which was on the east side of the village nestled between the general store and, ironically, the textile market which made her job easier.
The village was beginning to wake up as she got there and to her amazement her friend Jade was already there working on the neely dress "Jade? What are you doing here so early?" Sofia asked shocked. Jade was never on time, she always had some excuse to come in late and leave early "good morning Sofia. I figured we needed to get Mrs. Neely's dress done early so we don't have to push it like last week" she replied referring to a mishap where Mrs. Neely had to wait an extra hour for her dress and by the time it was done her face was an odd shade of blue. "Good thinking, how much more work do we have on it?" Sofia asked putting her things away "well actually I'm done with it. I've been here since before dawn" Jade said proudly as she walked over to show Sofia the dress.
Sofia looked it over and smiled "this is really good work, do we have any other orders for today?" "nope, we finished all the other orders yesterday and we haven't received any others so were free" jade smiled, her small dark brown eyes twinkling and Sofia guessed Jade wanted to go home and back to sleep and before Sofia had a chance to reply Ruby walked in "Jade?" she asked rubbing her eyes confused "yeah, It's weird right" Sofia said sarcastically, poking jade in the side "she finished the Neely dress and, for the moment, we're free"
"Well my dad is delivering shoes to the royal family later" Ruby enthusiastically smiled "well maayybee we could see if he needs any help" Jade sang and danced towards the door "we could deliver the Neely dress and go, it sounds like fun" Sofia giggled, any chance the girls had to go to the castle and see the prince they took. Jade grabbed Ruby's hand happily and ran out to ask Mr. Hamilton "well then I guess I'm delivering the dress!" Sofia called after them laughing.
The road from the village to the castle was through a patch of forest, the sunlight danced around their carriage in thin beams and broke out into a massive flower field which, it was rumored, that Queen Anne had the flowers planted to make the ride more welcoming. Sofia hadn't been to the castle since she was eleven. Miranda let her help deliver a dress to Princess Amber for her and her brother James's thirteenth birthday party.
Sofia didn't go again after that day because she mentioned how she wished she had a dress as pretty as the princess's and got lectured all night about how she needed to know her place and not to talk that way.
Sofia thought it was funny
she couldn't even remember what the dress looked like any more.
The carriage pulled up to the servant's entrance of the castle. All the girls got out alongside Mr. Hamilton who handed them each a pair of shoes. "Remember girls, don't' look them in the eyes, and don't' speak unless they address you first. “Sofia, I'm giving you the prince's shoes. Can you manage to keep your wits?" He asked, making Sofia blush. "Yes sir. I won't embarrass you like I'm sure Jade and Ruby would." She shot her friends with a playful look. They laughed as the girls stuck out their tongues.
Luckily Hamilton didn't notice, "I should hope not. As much as I appreciate you coming along, I don't want to regret allowing you to help me." He smiled jokingly. A tall, thin man wearing formal clothes came to great them. "Afternoon, would you please follow me." He didn't wait for an answer, turning heal, and he led the group inside.