Allowing the corset of her dress to fall to the ground, Scarlet stepped out of the dress, allowing it to pile up on the ground before bending down and picking it up. The fabric, still so soft despite being worn, would wrinkle if she left it there. She couldn’t bring herself to just leave the gown there, so she laid it across the back of her desk chair, unsure of anywhere else to put it.
Strolling to her closet, she dug around a few random drawers before finding a suitable night gown. Slipping it on, the cream silk fabric brushed her skin like butterfly wings. She had never worn such a frock before. When she was with her mother, they wore plain, simple clothing made from some of the most affordable fabrics available, unfortunately they wound up paying cost elsewhere- mostly in the softness of the material.
The thought of her mother made Scarlet’s stomach roll. She had been trying to forget about her old life, and told herself repeatedly that her mother was better off without her. But it still hurt. She highly doubted the pain would ever truly go away- how could it? How could one fully forget the one person in the world they treasured over life itself? The pain may go numb through the years, but it would never go away. That thought hurt the most.
Pulling back the covers of her bed, Scarlet climbed in. Turning off her bed-side lamp, she laid back into the bed- it too was like nothing she could have ever dreamed of being in. She stared into the blackness of the night, feeling a sudden, uneasiness creeping around her. The air had gone stale, and the mashed noises of the outside world stopped. As if they could sense the evil that was coming upon her. Scarlet blinked but didn’t dare close her eyes, though her black room could trick her mind into believing that they were closed. It was as if she could see it, the dark hands slithering out from beneath the darkest part under her bed, and slowly they moved up the walls, curling as they reached the ceiling. Then, in a swift, smooth motion the clawed black hands came crashing down upon her.
Jolting, Scarlet’s eyes opened and she was greeted by the first few rays of the day peeking through her curtains and onto her walls. Slowly sitting up, she adjusted herself as her covers fell, and looked around. The dream had felt so real, the weight of the dark hands and their sharp claw marks digging into her skin, yet when she looked down upon her arms they were free from any sign of abuse. She rested her free hand on her heaving chest, using the other to prop herself up. Crawling to the edge of her bed, she dimly lit her bed side gas lamp in order to read the small clock.
It was still early into the night she realized, and if she could back to sleep within the next half hour then she might be able to get in a much needed few more hours of rest before her seven am wake up. Turning the lamp off, she laid back down and scooted around under the sheets in order to get comfy. She had specific orders from the King to be at the library for their first lesson at noon, but Renee had asked her to join her for breakfast and an after-breakfast stroll through the castle to help her get her footing more. Apparently, her dear friend had been using all her free time from Scarlet and her duty to the king to explore their new home. Scarlet had accepted, of course. She couldn’t count on others to guide her throughout the castle for the rest of her time here. Most tended to already see her as a weak, stupid being because her lack of voice and so she often times found herself trying to work a little bit harder in order to not just show the world that she could do things but do them to their possible best.
Scarlet is not alone in the battle, though there are no other Blessed humans, there are beings who are different and stand out from their own kind- be it vampires, werewolves, goblins, or witches. Because of these quirks or curses, they too have to show the world that despite being different they can do much anything any anyone else.
Scarlet wasn’t quite sure when she fell asleep, but she found herself being a woken from a knock at her door. She barely had time to sit up, before she heard it swing open and a person entered. Renee closed her bedroom door before strolling over to the bed.
“Well good morning, princess.”
‘What time is it? Why are you here so early?’
“Early? Scar it’s almost nine! I waited for you to join me at breakfast for an hour!” At the sound of ‘nine’ Scarlet tumbled to the edge of her bed to check her clock. Though she wanted to believe her friend, Renee was known to be one to pull a joke or prank every now and then on her best friend. With a slight gasp, Scarlet saw with her own eyes that it was indeed near nine. As she stumbled from her bed, she wondered how she had been able to sleep for so long. Normally she was one to rise with the sun and fall at the rise of the moon.
Rushing into her open closet, Scarlet stumbled back a step. There were so many gowns, so many options and being she was still shaking the sleep from her body, it was all over whelming.
“Whoa, Scar… your closet, is amazing.” Renee had followed after her friend, standing in the doorway. She was taken aback by the size of the room and wardrobe for her friend. While she had to wonder if the king just had all these gowns laying around for no reason, she was also slightly jealous of her friend. Renee had both a room and closet half the size of her friend and was given the basic. “Where did you get all these gowns- did the King just have them on reserve or something?” Scarlet looked over to her friend and shrugged. She honestly hadn’t thought about it, but now that she was; Renee was right.
‘I don’t know, I don’t even know what to wear, help me?’
“Sure, let’s see,” Renee hopped onto the ladder and it moved a few feet as he weight met it. She scanned the second row of dresses, moving toward the more casual ones- though that was a word to be put lightly towards the gowns. Even the more plain and modest ones were gorgeous to look at. After picking through a few, Renee pulled out soft petal-pink gown and held it out to her friend. “How about this one?” Scarlet nodded, grabbing the gown from her friend. She honestly didn’t care what dress Renee would have chosen, she would have agreed to an old sack. Scarlet was one who preferred to keep on a timed schedule and was often shaken slightly when plans changed on a whim. Having over slept, shook Scarlet more than it should have, but none the less she knew it would all be okay. Renee wasn’t mad at her and as she came out of her bathroom, fiddling with quarter-length sleeves, she was surprised to see both her friend and Vern standing at the door between her bedroom and sitting room. She slowly walked over to them, looking between the two for someone to give some sort of explanation.
“Good morning miss Scarlet.” Scarlet smiled at Vern and gave a head nod in return. “Miss Renee stopped me earlier and told me of how you missed our breakfast meeting.” Scarlet’s cheeks flushed slightly. She barely knew Vern and wasn’t pleased on how her friend told him of their morning plans. She didn’t want him to get the wrong impression- she was not one to run late. “She asked me to bring up a tray of breakfast for you, which is currently in the sitting room.” Scarlet gave a small smile, lifted her right hand to her chin. Bring it down, she brought it down in the direction of Vern.
“Hand to chin and then out towards a certain person or group is how she says ‘thank you.’”
“Ah, I see, well, you are welcomed. I hope you have a fair day, good day.” Scarlet waved to Vern, taking his spot in the door way as he left out of her sitting room to the hall. Looking to Renee, Scarlet pushed her slightly.
“Hey- what was that for?!”
‘He’s going to think I’m lazy or don’t stay on schedule- why did you have to tell him?’
“Well it’s not like I can exactly waltz into the Kitchen and demand a tray of food. Besides that, Vern is… nice. Even for a big-bad vampire guard, we spoke a good amount when you were out. The King refused to leave you unguarded, and more times than not Vern was there. We started to talk and, I don’t know, I guess we could be seen as friends or something along that line. I mean, Scar, this is our home now. We might as well try to make the best of it right?” Scarlet, who had since taken a seat and begun to eat at the growling of her stomach, nodded. “And beside the King, what better ally to have then one of his most trusted guards?” Taking a bit of her roll, Scarlet glanced away as she nodded again. Renee was right, while Scarlet was still wrapping her mind around her new living arrangements she hadn’t even thought about befriending those beings around her. What was to stop her? It was not as if she sought to escape the King or her current home. Though it was not the most ideal situation, Renee really had only been trying to make the best of things. Scarlet should have been praising her friend rather than scolding her like a mindless child.
“So, do you think you’re starting to understand the layout of the castle?” Scarlet nodded her head, as she and Renee walked through another long hall, linked and intertwined at their elbows. They had taken the few hours they had between Scarlet’s late breakfast and their first lesson at noon to tour their new home. Though Scarlet couldn’t move through the halls freely on her own yet without the fear of getting aimlessly lost, she did understand the role of each level.
Though they weren’t allowed to go down through most of it, Renee started in the basement. That was where the holding cells, the infirmary she was first held in, and a large training room were situated. The first floor above that was split into two halves with the left side the most formal out of the two; with a large ball room, and two quite impressive meeting rooms, a war room, and the grand dining room, Scarlet doubted she would ever spend time on that side of the home’s main floor. There was also, of course, the kitchen where all the meals were cooked and next to that the laundry station; both of which Scarlet believed she had a better chance of finding herself in. The right wing of the first floor was where she and Renee resided, along with several other empty guest rooms. Scarlet saw Renee’s room for the first time- it was a hall way down and two doors across from her own- and found herself wanting to curl back. Renee’s room was much more plainer than her own, nor did her closet or sitting room match up to Scarlet’s. The color placements throughout were near the same in every way, only hers were in cool greens and blues rather than yellow and grey. It was a pretty room, but the view was bland being it only over looked a portion of the front yard. If their unequal rooms bother Renee, Scarlet could not tell, but she knew her friend had seen her face twist before forcing itself into a smile.
The second floor was more for the King, Queen and a few others that Scarlet wasn’t quite sure how they fit in but none the less did. Along with the King and Queen’s private rooms, spaces and offices; that was all along the left side of the floor while on the right there was a large library, and a theater room. The third floor was the only floor they didn’t have time to visit, but what Renee knew about it was that one half was used as an attic for storage while the other half was retrofitted and many servants of who the King had bought slept there. Scarlet wish she could wonder why the King hadn’t placed her or Renee in the attic, but it was hard to. Though she grew up in a rather poor setting, she still had a brain within her head. Yes, the King claimed she would be his teacher, but he clearly kept her alive and separate from others for a reason. He may have saved her and “freed” her, but he was still a King and she a Blessed human. Anyone who had some part of a mind could figure out he hand plans for her and her powers, what those plans were was a true mystery.
Returning to the library, the two girls entered through the double doors together. As just an hour before, Scarlet found herself taken aback. The small wall worth of books in her sitting room was nothing more than a mere speck when compared to the King’s library. The ceilings of the room could have easily been double that of her room and was filled top to bottom by bookcases all filled with books- some even over flowing in some places. The book cases went up so far that there was a rather heart pounding maze of metal catwalks hanging throughout room, some of them even donning ladders. Throughout the main floor of the room were a few chairs, couches, a chess table here, a card table there; the library seemed to also serve as an entertainment area.
Scarlet could only assume that her lesson with the King, however it was to play out, would happen at one of the few tables set through the room. For a moment she thought mayhap she could choose- she would love to sit by the large fireplace but at the same time she wished to settle by the large windows that over looked the grounds. She stopped herself at that, scolding herself for allowing her mind to get the best of her. He was the King; of course he would sit where he pleased.
“Did you ever think you’d see so many books in one place in your life?” Scarlet, who had found herself staring at the ceiling as she got lost in her thoughts, turned back to her friend and shook her head.
‘No, and to think we can read them!’
“Yeah… it’s crazy.” Renee moved over to the nearest bookcase, and begun to move through the titles, making out loud mental notes about each one. They had arrived early, and the King still not having arrived, she saw no reason why she should have to be bored until he did. Scarlet, on the other hand, went over to the chess table. Bending down, she examined it but dared not touch any of the pieces. She had seen and heard about the game of chess, but it was something one who had both brains and funds did to pass time. Scarlet never considered herself to be much smarter than the average creature, and never had the funds to take time to learn the game and buy a set of her own. In fact as she leaned over it, taking in each detail of each piece, she realized this was the first time she had the chance to be so close to one in real life.
It looked confusing, how was one to understand each piece? Clearly they must have all have had their own function but how did that portray into the use of the squares on the board- why would one need the board at all? Scarlet found herself with questions she would have never imaged she would ever have- but the one that haunted her the most was why she was questioning the board. She had never shown such an interest in books or chess before arriving in Voirol, so why was she having them now? Were these the thoughts the privileged had daily? She hadn’t realized that without aiding her mother and focusing all her thoughts into helping her that she was now left with nothing to really do. Other than miss her mother and slowly accept her new home, role and hope that whatever the King truly wanted with her would not be a fate so horrid she would rather wish for death.
As that last thought passed through her mind, she casted her eyes away from the board, rising back up as she did. Moving away from the chess table, she found herself wondering over to the window. Resting her hands on the side panels of one, she closed her eyes as the sun basked over her in a warming glow. She wished to forget about her powers, and where she was at, even if only for a few moments.
She didn’t hear the door to the library open, but at the sound of a throat being cleared and a book falling to the ground just mere seconds after it, she opened her eyes and turned around. Seeing that the King stood in front of the closing library door, she bowed to him first before walking over to him. Glancing over to Renee, Scarlet caught her as she rose from picking up the book she had dropped. Clearly the King had startled her, and the slight pale pink coloring her cheeks confirmed that she was embarrassed by it.
“Good afternoon Scarlet.” Scarlet gave a single head nod to the King in a return greeting as she stopped a few feet front him. Without Renee next to her translate, it was futile for Scarlet to attempt anything but a wave or nod to the King for a greeting- and a wave was just not proper to greet anyone who sat in a status above one’s own.
“Your Majesty.” Renee stopped next to her friend, slightly out of breath as she bowed to him. Renee was not one who enjoyed surprises and did her best to avoid them. Scarlet knew that was something she would never admit to the King, no one but only those closest to Renee knew secrets such as that. “Renee, I find the day so far has been fair for you?”
“It has, thank you.” As she said that the King held out a hand towards one of the table. “Shall we sit before continuing?”
“As you wish, pray tell what table suits you.” The King looked from Renee, to Scarlet, to her own surprise. “Being that Scarlet is the teacher, and I the mere student, I believe it would be best for her to choose.” He waved his hand slightly towards her, before pulling it back. It was then Scarlet noticed the small folder resting in the nook of his left arm. Her heart pounded; there was no denying that, as she pointed her hand out towards the table near the window. As she did, she looked to both Renee and the King, looking for approval. Renee’s face remained blank, but the King gave her a small smirk. “The table by the window it is.” He led them, both girls falling two steps behind him. They also allowed him to choose his seat first, leaving Scarlet and Renee to choose the two seats across from him. As they scooted into the table, he opened his folder, pulling out a small pile of papers followed by a pen and ink container.
“I was told you two were exploring my home today; please tell me how it went.” Scarlet, who had since casted her eyes down as she waited for the King to take, felt her face being to flush as her eyes grew wide. “It was lovely, sire, Scarlet is still learning the layout of the home so I thought I might give the courtesy of showing some of the rooms. And explaining the home to her.”
“So all went well?”
“Very much so, sire.”
“That is always good to hear; now before we begin out first lesson I must speak to you both on other matters first.” Both girls remained silent, though Scarlet’s heart was still pounding. The King, taking their silence as a motion to go on, did, “What I’m going to say will be blunt but there is no other way to say it. I will not repeat knowledge that we all know. Scarlet, I killed you.” Scarlet wasn’t startled by this news, just slightly confused. What did he mean he killed her?
Seeing the confusion on both of their faces, the King pulled out a newspaper from his folder, and slid it across the table to the two girls. Leaning over the table, both watched the paper get closer to them. The paper was already open and folded to a page that was random for them, but the main article of the page told them that it was indeed not a random page.
Blessed Human Dies Hours After Purchase To His Highness, King Cainwen Dufur.
It was late afternoon yesterday, during this week passed Slave Trade. It had started out as any other Trade, with the exception that the crowds below the stage the near spilled out beyond the street. Word had caught wind that this week’s Trade would be a once in a life time event. The Trade claimed to have a Blessed human, the rumor was so strong that it even brought out his highness King Cainwen Dufur. The human they claimed was Blessed was fifth in the first line up for trade, I myself was there in the fourth row in the hopes to catch a viewing of the Blessed. First glance the young woman resembled a baby mouse, small, timid and not one bit wimble- yet with such quite daunting eyes, some might claim beauty. The Handlers on the stage went through a small fit to get her to display her power, being the creature frozen; it was only as her life was nearly ended by a sword that her powers finally emerged. Around me, the murmurs that claimed lies and hoax were silenced as the creature lifted both the Handler and his sword into the air without a single touch to them. Then the murmurs of shock, fear and even admiration quietly filled the air, like a light wispy fog in the morn. Freeing the Handler, he fell to the stage as his sword went flying into the crowd- right towards me. Creatures, including myself, scattered about in an attempt to avoid getting hit by the deadly weapon. Fate was kind, and no lives were lost as the sword found itself to the dry, packed dirt ground with a small cloud. The bidding started after that, but soon ended. When his Royal Highness King Cainwen Dufur called out ‘one million gold’, the Blessed human was his- as was the girl after him. Both were terribly beaten up, the Blessed human more so then the other and both were whisked away. Both were barely free of their chains but I’m sure that is how the King wanted it. We barely caught any close glance of either. The town of Scow woke up after that, and soon it seemed that all of Voirol knew about the Blessed human- whose only known name is to be Scarlett. Sadly, I am the one who was informed in the early hours of this morn just mere moments before the press was set to print this paper by a very trusted informative, that the Blessed human Scarlett died last night. Her wounds were too great and help came too late, so she succumbed to them in the late hours of the night. I have also been informed by my informative that the Blessed human Scarlett was given a very private Burning and her ashes buried. It is always a sad event when a young person passes on, but the wound seems to hurt even more so when the young person has a gift so amazing as to be Blessed, only to be lost to the world. We shall never know what greatness Fate held for the Blessed human, nor do we know anything more of her than her name, Scarlett. Her story, along with being the first title of bear Blessed human in thousands of years, dies with her.
Scarlet looked up from the paper, to Renee. ‘They spelt my name wrong.’ Renee just nodded, a somber mood having washed over them. “I am sorry I had to do that, but there was no other choice Scarlet.” Both girls looked back to the King, as he took the newspaper back. “You two are not aware of this, but the world is not as stable as we would prefer it to be. If anyone of the other rulers- what am I saying? The other rules of the other lands would have heard about Scarlet, if they didn’t know about her already. History speaks of the past Blessed humans, and I’m sure you both know the stories- of the pain and havoc, the wars and families torn. I will not allow history to be repeated, so I had to kill you off. Scarlet, from this moment on, you’re dead. Only the trusted creatures of this castle know of you and that’s how it’s going to be kept.”
“So Scarlet’s never going to be allowed to leave the castle? To keep her caged as if she was a prized pet?” Renee, somewhat shocked by the King’s blunt statement, lost all sense of manners. The King, noting her distress, dismissed it. “No, that would be cruel. You both are free to go into Scow, but with the proper preparation and fake identification. Outside my home’s boundary Scarlet is not Scarlet. She can’t be. Now being we are on the subject of proper preparation, I have set it up for you both to train in the arts of self-defense and light combat with Claudia, the head trainer of my army. It will take place in the basement nearly daily, after we have completed our studies but before dinner. It is good for any creature to know at least the basics of saving one’s life. Is it not?” The King, having been resting the newspaper in his lap, put it back into the folder and removed it from the table. “Yes, of course sire, but I have one question for you.” He looked to Renee, his risen eyebrows telling her to go on. “You said that you wish to not repeat history, is that correct?”
“Yes it is.”
“Then why are you preparing us for a war?”