Lady Zigra's P.O.V.
I helped the servants to weave the flowers as silent tears trailed down my face.
Grandmother was taking care of the rest of the arrangments of moms funeral, and she had firmly told me not to worry myself with funeral preparations.
I understood that our mothers funeral would be a very private matter. Father had already explained to me and my sister of this. Though he never said exactly why he needed to keep out mothers death a secret and need to marry our aunt in such a hurry.
I knew Harriette hated this fact, and had screamed very un-lady-like at dad when he informed us of this. There was no way any could expect a Five year old girl to understand such things when I myself couldn't understand why dad wanted to marry in such a hurry. What I understood that Harriette didn't is that dad approves of this marriage as much as she approves of this.
Which is, not at all.
Whatever the reason he was marrying Lady Imogen Wenceslava, he had no other choice but to. I could see the hurt and torment in his eyes over our moms death. He loves her like his life. No way was he re-marrying unless he wasn't being forced to it.
I also knew that I would never know the reason for this sudden decision. Even if I asked, even if I understood things more than everyone believed me to, no one would like to burden me with such information. They'd only view me as a girl heartbroken over her mothers death, trying to figure out the reason her father was betraying them by marrying another.
But I understood. I understood that dad loved - still loves - mom with his whole Heart. And I trusted him to keep us save and from; harms way.
"Lady Wenceslava!" I heard Mitchell call for me, lightly shaking me by the arm.
Blinking I looked at her through my tears, to see a very worried and concerned expression gracing the young servants face. Swalloing the lump in my throat, I got the feeling she had been calling for my attention for a while now.
"You, hurt your fingers my lady. Maybe it's best if you get some rest. You just be tired." She told me softly, gently prying the needle and flowers from my hand and laying them n the kitchen table.
I looked at my hand at her words, and Indeed. Had pricked myself with needle. A small drop of blood trailed down my middle fingers. I hadn't even felt the paint. I felt more numb than have ever felt. Not to mention I felt cold and unfeeling. That is why, I let Mitchell to help me to my feet and lead me upstairs to my room.
Plastering the small cut, she readied a bubble bath for me.
Helping me to wash and change into my nightclothes, she tucked me into bed before she blew out the candles and was closed the door on her way out.
Tonight, sleep was far from reaching me and I cried silently into my pillow before I fell into a restless sleep. I felt like I had just fallen asleep when when Mitchell woke me up saying I needed to get dressed and be downstairs to meet my aunt, Dutchess Imogen Wenceslava.
I let myself be dragged around and did everything she said like a ragdoll. I was last feeling anything and felt nothing but numbness. I knew I had to be strong for the sake of Harriette, but right then I was far from feeling like standing on my own Two feet, much less be the strength for someone else.
But but he time Mitchell was through with helping me dress and look presentable, I got hold of my composture and dismissed Mitchell and walked down to the entrance on my own.
Grandma Clarissa had managed to get Harriette out of bed and presentable, for they were already standing on the steps when I got there.
I don't know how grandma convinced Harriette to forget the breeches and wear a gown, but however she had, she had succeded in getting Harriette into a deep brown gown that was for for a lady.
My dad, looking the worst for wear, ragged and heartbroken, was standing a few steps below the two of them and an entourage of servants. Grandfather was staning beside him, tall and regal in his midnight blue tunic and trousers.
I silently went to stand beside Harriette , who was clutching grandma's hand. I layed a hand on her shoulder, trying to be reassuring. The wide-eyed look she gave me told that she realised that the lady we were waiting for could possibly be our future stepmother.
I nodded my head at her calmly, patting her flaming hair - that grandma had somehow managed to tame into a semi-balance of a braid.
That is when a carriage pulled inside the gates of Sterllinghall Castle. I took a deep breath, ready to face my aunt - whom I'm meeting for the very first time in my life - and be graceful about it. I didn't want to go off at her like Harriette surely was planning to do.
I caught her by the elbow when she tensed beside me. I gave a light shake of my head when she looked up at me, way too innocently. She pouted at the ground, which soon turned into a scowl when the carriage pulled to a stop in front of us.
Mr. Codnan opened the carriage door for them to get down.
A worn out, black wheelchair appeared, which was soon followed by a wheathered down hem of a mud brown gown. Lady Imogen stepped out after the carriage with her fathers help.
M breath caught in my throat. Even Harriette was left speachless at she gazed at the Lady with her has hanging open. Grandma Clarissa, smiled at her duaghter and left our side to greet her elder daughter.
Besides for the haggered look, this lady was an exact copy of my mother. She had the same turquoise eyes of me and my mom. The same midnight black hair - only it didn't look silky smooth nor fell in perfect ringlets to her waist. Instead her hair had a matted quality and only just fell to her shoulder with not a curl in sight. She wasn't as fair as mom, she was rather tan, but I could tell that, that was because she had worked out in the sun for way too long.
A few weeks in Nightshade Castle and she would be a beautiful and elegant lady. Just like mom. For that was exactly whom she looked like.
She could easily be the doppleganger of my mother for all itenses and purposes.
Then it clicked to me.
Why dad was in such a hurry to marry this lady. Why moms death was hushed up and not told to everyone. This Lady - my aunt - is here to be the doppleganger of my mother. She wasn't here just to replace her as our mom. No she was here to take her place. A replacement.
Harriette looked at me, tugging at her hand that I clutched. I hadn't realised that I had squeezed it too tightly and gave her an apologetic smile. She only rolled her eyes, not bother by it.
Tugging on her arm - gently this time - I pulled her down the steps with me to great our aunt. I had a role to play as the Duke of Mangandaall's daughter, and being gracious and helpfully kind is some amoung many of those things. It was important to invite our guests with the right kind of honor - even if she is broke. And that was exact what I intend to do.
For now, she was here only for the death of her sister. I wasn't about to pass judgement on her until I get to know her more properly. I could only hope Harriette does the same.