Audra Chapter 1
A beam of sunlight is softly touching Audras face ever so slightly while she opens her violet eyes; the colour as deep as an amethyst. Her raven black hair brushes against her shoulder down to her back while she sits up at the edge of the wooden king-sized bed yawning and rubbing the tiredness out of her eyes. Deep blue curtains are draping around the bed and the dark oak has carvings of different patterns of creatures. She moves to her window and opens the curtains giving sight to a big garden that has hedges at the end as tall as four feet tall. Rose bushes, gladiolus, delphiniums and daffodils fill the edges of the garden giving room for a grand spouting fountain placed perfectly in the middle. Audra opens the big window and breathes in the late spring air. The sun is kissing her ivory skin and Audra is embracing its warmth.
Before she turns to walk to her dresser, a maid opens the double door to her room and walks in with a bowl of fresh water as well as clean white towels for Audra to wash her face and hands with.
"Ava, you almost startled me. I know you are new at this estate but please knock before entering. I do not like maids coming in and out just as they please while I'm accommodating my room."
Ava does a nervous courtesy before placing the bowl on Audras vanity: "I'm sorry Miss..it won't happen again Miss."
After having washed her face, Audra walks towards her wardrobe picking a maroon coloured dress for the day and Ava helps her get dressed and pins up her hair into a soft curled updo at her vanity.
A pleased look rests on Audras face as she looks in the mirror at her perfectly styled hair: "Ava, do you have any experience in applying powder just as much as with hair?"
"Yes Miss, I served at Lord's Byron's estate and was his wife's personal handmaiden for several years before she died and your father gave me a place here."
Clapping her hands once Audra announces: "Splendid. I will make you my personal handmaiden at once. Though your young looks are deceiving at first you are more skilled than any of my previous maids."
Avas face lights up and she gives Audra a small smile: "Thank you Miss, it is my greatest honor to serve you."
Walking down the curved staircase to the main hall a servant hasts towards Audra with a silver tray holding a single letter: "Lady Devon, a letter has just arrived from house Tyrone." "Thank you Peter, I will take it from here." With curiosity she opens the wax sealed letter.
Dear Lady Audra Devon,
Your father, Lord Devon has informed us that you Lady Audra are of age this coming month to start attending the summer balls. As you are well aware our manor out in the countryside offers an abundance of room for guests. As our long lasting agreements and friendships as lords and nobles have been for centuries we are honored to invite you to this year’s summer ball.
We are eager to hear a response,
Countess Eleanor Tyrone
Excitement spreads through Audra as she reads each line. She will be attending the summer balls now that she is eighteen years old and of age to dance with suitors according to status and wealth as her father so often says. Audra cannot miss that the countess has personally written this invitation. She must make haste at once to write a response and send it off immediately.
“Sam, could you fetch Stewardess? And please inform my father that I rode to the cliffs to see mothers grave. I need some alone time.”
“Yes m’lady.”, says Sam as he fetches the dark friesian horse and grabs a side saddle.
As Audra mounts Stewardess she watches dark clouds roll in in the distance.
Her ride across the countryside and the wind embracing her always makes her feel alive and free in some sense.
Her horse effortlessly runs across fields and up some hills until it reaches the cliffs by the ocean and Audra brings Stewardess to a halt: “Easy girl.”
Just five feet away from the cliff itself sits one gravestone embedded by bluebells that her mother loved so dearly and father planted to honor her memory. The blue colour of the flowers symbolizes her water magic.
Even though Audra has never had the privilege to know her mother she felt drawn to this very place to ponder because of the hole that longed to be filled in her life. Not knowing if her deceased mother could hear her she rides to this very spot ever so often to talk and to think.
“Mother, it has been a while since my last visit. The sky might be turning gloomy but my mind is not. Things might just be turning out as I had hoped they would. You couldn’t watch me grow and you cannot watch me be gifted my power but I am of age now. I will be attending my first summer ball this year and along with that attend the incantation ceremony. “
Excitement and sadness crosses Audras face as she continues speaking her thoughts: “If only you could be there with me as I choose my dress for that day. I don’t know if my power would disappoint or if I could make you proud. I will never know.”
Sound of distant thunder echoes across the water and the wind picks up lifting the hem of Audras dress. Her neatly styled hair loosens and soft curls fall caressing her cheeks.
The ocean tides crash against pointy rocks of the cliff.
“Father often says you had a wild spirit. I probably got my temper from you mother. Your water magic and the love for the ocean compliments the stories of you so well. I wonder if mine will be any like me.”
Darker clouds roll in and drizzles of rain start to fall. Audra could stand for hours at her mothers grave and watch the lightning hit the ocean and thunder shake the ground, but she also doesn’t want to get drenched from head to toe. She turns her sight away from the storm now only minutes away and says her goodbyes to her mother.
“Let’s see if we can outrun the storm Stewardess.”, swiftly she hops on her saddle and gallops down the hills the way she came from.
The thought of having the upper hand of the storm just for a split second excites her spirit and she lets out a small laughter of thrill as she hears the thunder coming closer behind her. She knows she cannot outrun the storm and soon enough she sees the glow of lightning followed by gushing rain.
When she reaches the stables at the Devon estate, she hands her horse to the stable-boy Sam and makes her way indoors.
“Audra, you are drenched! Did you have the intention to catch a cold?”, her father shakes his head looking in disbelief as he watches his daughter rush inside from the courtyard to the front entrance.
“No father, I visited mothers grave. Her flowers are blooming beautifully.”
“My child; a wild flower herself.”, her father smiles sadly upon her.
His hairlines are welcoming some grey strands while the rest of his hair remains a dark brown and one couldn’t guess his one hundred and thirty years.
“I have received an invitation to the summer ball this year and I’m assuming the incantation will take place soon after.”, Audra beams.
“Wonderful Audra. The summer balls are for you to find a fitted suitor for your status so do not worry about your magic dear. Whatever power will speak to you it will guide you. And whatever it shall be, your hand in marriage with a young noble of importance will secure your place in this world.”