Astraea stood still, her hands grasping the thin paper tightly, her mouth open in horror. She recognised the golden wax that sealed two ends of the paper together, which had the royal seal of a swan on it. She didn't blink and as a result, her eyes filled with water. Just to make sure her suspicions were correct, which they often were, she turned the rectangular envelope around and grimaced at the intricate writing on the front.
To the Latife Family
House Number 37
A 'house' was an exaggerated description, Astraea thought, glancing up around her home. She lived in the poorest part of Mycenae. Her house, was a shack rather. A small hut made of wood (terribly mossy after rain) with a living room, a cupboard sized kitchen, and even smaller toilet and two tiny bedrooms. Not an ideal place for a family of five. If Astraea was uneducated, she would have blamed her unfortunate circumstances on history, but she knew otherwise. She knew much more than people her age. The only other people she knew that knew the same as her (apart from her parents and siblings) were her grandparents. But they were both gone now.
After the devastating war between the halves and the humans many centuries ago (if you could call it a war- it was more like a fight between an ant and a boot) mankind diminished to dangerously low numbers. This, everybody knew. And somehow, for some reason, the halves halted in their quest to rule over Earth, and instead began to peacefully reside in warm parts of the globe. They reproduced, though at a much quicker pace than the humans, and soon both populations had grown. After all this, the result was a society ruled by halves, but at peace with humans. Although none of the 'halves' were actually half-gods. Most of them were around fifteen percent 'half'. But no matter. The human community still idolised and worshipped them. This had led to some discrimination and segregation. Humans typically lived in more run-down conditions than the 'Halves'. But not all of them.
Astraea sighed dismally, before slumping back into the living room, where her whole family sat together, chatting lively. The Latife family consisted of Astraea, her mother and father, and her younger brother, Troy, and her elder sister, Vassissa. The four of them stopped talking when she walked in and looked up at her enquiringly. She lifted up the letter, showcasing the wax. In unison, they're mouths dropped open in shock. Her mother jumped up from the tattered chair and scurried over to Astraea, snatching the letter from her hand.
"My God." She whispered and she teared it open. She silently read the contents, tension building up in the small room. Troy, Vassissa and their father were watching the woman eagerly, while Astraea stared at the floor grumpily. Her family knew about what they did, and the reason for the letter, and they were excited?
"We're invited." Astraea's mother whispered happily. "They've invited us!" She cheered. Her husband grinned and his eyes glazed over, most likely daydreaming. Vassissa gasped and began clapping excitedly as Troy squealed and hopped about the room. Well, he was only 9. "Here, here's what it says." Mrs Latife said.
" 'The Ketaramenos brothers invite you to enjoy a night of beauty, of ravishing food, of magnificent dancing; The Masquerade. The event will take place in the Palace of Exousia, in the ballroom which will be exquisitely decorated for the night. As for the Dress Code, dress as ostentatiously as you like, however refrain from exposing too much skin. And of course, do not forget the masks. Endeavour yourselves in ravishing meals and snacks, joyous music and dancing, and meet other guests, make new relationships. The Royal Four will greet you personally. Join us in two nights, Friday, at eight o'clock, and take advantage of the situation. For you will never attend an event as glamorous as this.
We await your presence.
Yours truly, the Royal Events Committee'
My gosh this is brilliant!" Astraea's mother exclaimed. Vassissa and her mother immediately began to talk about what they were going to wear and Troy talked to his father about the food.
"That is absolutely ridiculous. 'The Royal Four will greet you personally'? Dear God, could they be any less obvious?" Astraea spat and her family eyed her.
"Not really." Vassissa answered casually and Astraea glowered at her."Oh come on Rea stop being so moody and serious all the time! This is the best thing we'll ever get the chance to go to! The chances of either of them getting what they want is minimal and you know that. Come on, think about how great this is!" Her sister encouraged. A moment later Astraea grinned and joined her mother and sister in talking about going shopping the next day. But still, in the back of her head, a voice nagged at her that she was about to attend a less than innocent event. And she knew it.