I. The Lady
Instead, she wanted to get out of those privileges that showed she was a lady. A person that was well-bred and has a good future for her.
No, she wanted to make a difference, even when her parents were against it. Then, she made an oath that she would make a difference.
Even as simple as a person that she could change of their life.
Lady Darla Lockwood was looking at the children that were starving to their death as she was riding her carriage through the worst city that could anyone imagined to live. Norkins with its cottages that barely can survive the harsh weather from the sea and the thunderstorms that would strike during the summer.
Not that it would be much of a difference throughout the year but with the thunderstorms, it would much harsher for the children to get food and survive on an empty stomach. Much less with the bare clothes that they have on their back.
Darla shivered before she was looking at her parents as they were talking to each other. They were on their way to Scatterford for their Summer Solstice at this time of the year. It would only take 2 days to get through from the Red Cast to their country manor in Scatterford as they took the Fik forest and Norkins to be there.
And right now, all Darla can think about was the children that were starving in Norkins as if their parents were not thinking about them. She shuddered.
"Are you cold, darling? Why don't you stack up on those blankets? It will do no good for you to be cold out here with the storms that were coming," her mother said as Darla smiled at her.
"No, thank you. I think I am fine, mother," she said as she still remembered the face of the children as they were passing through Norkins. Darla sighed as she cannot do anything when she was still living under her parents' roof. When she left for the academy when she was six and ten, she will make it her mission to see those children have a better life in Norkins.
Or perhaps leave Norkins to a better city such as Hamptor or Scatterford. If they were being ambitious, then Red Cast.
Darla would not put any faith to be in Warydeval, the Elopement—and Scandalmongers—town. It will do no good for the children if they ended up working in the brothels. Darla shuddered again.
"Here, you need more of these, darling," her mother said as she was putting another blanket on Darla. She thanked her mother before she was looking outside the window of the carriage. It was almost dinner time and they were still on their way to the manor.
This will be the least interesting for her as tonight she will be celebrating Summer Solstice with someone that she did not want to see.
The second child of Earl and Countess of Kensington, he was the first boy that Darla met during the Winter Solstice last year. And that lad was a royal thorn in her life.
James thought that he was better than anyone and when Darla was making conversation with him to get to know him, James just told her that she was the ugliest girl that he had the misfortune to meet in his entire life.
We'll see who will have the last laugh then, James, she thought before the horse neighed and Darla turned to look at the window again.
The large city of Scatterford, known for its culture and fashion streets were the reason that the city was booming with people. All the people across the country would love to come and have a taste of what it's like to be living in a city that was the example in fashion, art, and culture.
Darla could not be prouder to call her a native of Scatterford.
The coachman was leading their carriage into the private cobblestones road that will be directing them to the manor. Darla was tired and restless as she was imagining the copper bathtub that will be filling with steamy water to wash away the tiredness in her bones.
She can smell the lily scent of her water.
"Well, we're here," her father said before the footman was opening the door. The fading sunlight was hitting on his blonde hair that Darla inherited before her mother was chuckling at her husband.
"Oh darling, you sure excited to meet your best friend," Lady Cascadian said before she was getting off from the carriage as her father helped his wife.
"And you love me anyway. Come, Darla darling, it is a sunny day," her father said before Darla was discarding the blankets that her mother stacked upon her before she was moving to the door. She was looking at the manor before her father gripped her under the arms and pulled her down from the carriage.
The feeling was still the same for the manor was enormous to two and ten years old Darla.
"Come, darling, we should get ready. The guests will be here soon," her mother said as she was holding Darla's hand and they went inside the manor for it has been a long time since they have time to come to the country to relax and breathe fresh air.
Her maid helped her to get off from her traveling gown. She removed her silk slippers as she was not walking around much when she was only sitting on the carriage for two days, minus the time that they had to stay at the inn one night.
And then, she submerged into the water before she was lathering the rag with the lily soap that was clearly her favorite. Darla humming as she was washing her body before she heard the sounds of carriage and horses down in the courtyard.
And the giggles of three boys that were chasing each other.
Magnus and William were nice enough to Darla that she can tolerate them. But James, well, he got under her skin every time they tried to talk politely. Mostly with James insulting her about everything that she did.
It was getting worse since they were growing up now.
She sighed before she was looking at the murky water that showed her grim and sweat of the travel before Darla stepped out of the bathtub and her maid was drying her up. Then, she helped her to get dressed for the dinner that they will have with the Flemington.
Her mother chose her to wear a lavender gown that will show off her blonde hair and amber eyes that Darla inherited from the baroness. Her maid was putting on her chemise before her stockings and garter. Then, the petticoats and the dress. It was an intricate process but hey, it was the way that she was used to.
No breeches or tunic for a lady like Darla.
She thanked the maid before she dismissed her and she went to the dining hall as she was walking down the long hallway, hanging with their ancestors' portraits. Some shared her features, others don't. She nodded at the footman before he opened the door to the dining hall and Darla was greeted by soft light from the fireplace and the candle chandeliers that were hanging on the ceilings.
"Ah, darling, you're here. Come and greet the earl and countess," her mother said as Darla curtsied to the earl and his wife.
"How are you doing, my lord? My lady," she said before the countess was kissing her cheeks.
"Oh! Look how much you have grown! I cannot believe it, you are getting prettier than ever, Darla," the countess grinned before Darla bowed at her.
"You are too kind, my lady,"
"Come on, Darla. You can call me Aunt," the countess said before Darla was looking at her mother. She nodded.
"You're too kind, Aunt," she replied before they were ushered to the dining table. And as usual, Darla has to sit next to James as she was sighing inwardly, cursing for her fate to ever meet him.
"You know," he whispered as Darla was sitting on her seat as the footman helped her, "Don't believe everything you hear, Darla. My mother was being nice and you're as ugly as ever,"
"Has anyone told you that you annoy the bones out of them, James? A word of advice, perhaps you should consider shutting your mouth," Darla blunted before James smirked.
"Well, you will not be getting lonely when I closed my mouth, would you?"
"Not that I can help it," she said as she was putting the napkin on her laps. The others were too oblivious to the children that were talking among themselves. William and Magnus were focusing on the food that they ignored Darla.
"And a word of advice, Darla, I hope that we will not have the fortune to meet again when we're grown up. Heavens know what will the society said if I was an acquaintance with you, the ugliest girl," James said before Darla was gripping her hands into fists.
"And I don't want to be associate with you when I grow up, James Flemington for heaven knows what will the scandalmongers think of me," she shot back before they ate their dinner and never talked again.
But of course, Fate was not on their side for it has a funny way to reunite childhood friends in the most peculiar way that you could ever imagine.