The atmosphere of the house was jovial, despite the stillness at the time that they came in. But the silence would fall heavily on them, as if muting the sparse conversations that those seen through the parlor entranceways, or heard chatting in the dark seclusion of the small study... They were but whispers, or hushed, polite tones. Those who were visible in the parlor gestured lightly at the pair standing by the door, one woman leaning across the coffee table to whisper something to the other, eyes on the priest in his stiff garb. They seemed amused by him, one shrugging her shoulder and gesturing around her neck as if noting a necklace- or perhaps a rosary. They did, of course, know the use of the prayer beads, and the unruly nature of wearing one outside of the Cathedral, or to be held in the hand for imploring the forces.
Presently a pair of young woman came down from the upper level, one in a formal, blak suit and the other in a dark, midnight blue set of skirts and a cream blouse. They were chatting to themselves, one holding a glass of soemthing golden in her hands. Their footsteps were muffled on the staircase carpeting as they came down. One giggled to the other, the one in navy, with the dirty blonde curls- a low, conspiratorial sound as she gently took the glass from the other as they rounded the last corner and were brought to face the young woman and her father. The blonde's gentle nose still hidden by the rim of the glass.
The brunette in the black slowed her step, a crooked grin spreading across her rosy lips as she took in the sight of the man who stood so stiffly by the door. The blonde's brows quirked idiosyncratically, glancing at the other and giggling again. But the other's eyes dodged over the starched form. In reality he stood out none against those who dwelt in the halls, for those few who had passed through the entrance hall. A woman in a crimson dress, and her accompanying gentleman as they went out, nodding to the new pair as they exited outside towards the front drive.
Winifred Blackwood felt amusement swell in her as she viewed the religious man. Truly the only thing out of place about him was... him. She held in her snicker as Alice next to her put a delicate hand up in front of her mouth, her curls statically reaching for the air around her temples. "[font "Times" [#003300 [B Oh, joy.]]]" she said, almost passing an anticipatory glance over him but held her manners for his benefit. The tall young woman gathered her black skirts in one hand, raising them from her lady's boots and strode over to him.
Dropping them upon approaching him, her hand swept into the coat that she wore, an inner pocket, and drew out a black leather glove. In one swift movement she pulled the article on and extended her hand as a gentleman, not caring much for her hand to be kissed, and offered a handshake as she gave him an energetic look. "[font "Times" [#003300 [B Good evening Mr. _____,]]]" she said heartily. "[font "Times" [#003300 [B I was so hoping you would accept Sir Hackett's invitation.]]]"
Alice came up behind her and drew her skirts into a hand, dippping in a polite curtsey, her head tilting to the side a little with a broad, if distant, smile on her pale, angular face. "[font "Times" [#009688 [B Evening.]]]"
The brunette woman's eyes then moved over to the young woman that Alice had taken notice of, stripping off her glove and taking the delicate, stemmed glass from Alice, taking a drink from it and offering her hand to take the others as a gentleman would take a lady's, palm up, for the offerance. "[font "Times" [#003300 [B Welcome, the both of you to Edgefield. Hackett is going to be overjoyed to hear that you've come.]]]"
Steam emerged from her lips as she exhaled the air from her mouth. Lips pouting slightly. The hood of the cloak pulled tighter around the loose waves of her golden hair.
The air escaped once more from her mouth having exactly the same effect.
[font “Times” [b “They are beginning to catch one.. Someone will know.. You must be more careful, Estella M’lady,”]] the deep voice came from the male standing beside her; she did not answer yet simply raise her head so her eyes could met with his.
As if she would ever be that sloppy to get caught.
The sound of a crow screeching in the distance signified her time to leave, her head turning before her body as she walked away from the giant of a man.
Night air was cold around her body, almost wrapping around it and suffocating her. But she did not mind, the train of her dress trailing in the dirt behind her.
Finally she found herself at the front door of her own home, larger then such yet the enormous cross hanging over the roof left no surprise as to who dwelt within.
Her foot stepped over the threshold only just to duck in time from the glass that went flying at her head.
After all these years of abuse, it never once stopped hurting as much as it did the first time.
The next reflex she felt was the muscles in her throat contracting as a hand wrapped around it, pinning her against the edge of the wall.
Her eyes opened to look straight into that of her father’s.
[font “Times” “What have I told you about leaving the house after sun down. I will [b not] have my daughter wandering the streets with some strange man like a whore!”] He threw her head back against the wall; the headache it caused was almost instant.
Her lips parted, saliva spilling from her mouth and directing towards he’s face.
[font “Times” [i “You’re a pig.”]] the words were like venom, she went to speak again but was interrupted by her own mother. Although it was not the interruption she had been waiting years to hear, it was simply another feeble attempt to ignore the events happening before her day in and day out.
[b “We have an invitation..”] the slight woman wandered in slowly, handing the invitation to Estella’s father who released he’s hand from around her throat.
[font “Times” “Give it here.”] he snatched it out of her hands, tearing open at the envelope to reveal the deep black paper on the inside.
The breathe became caught within Estella’s throat. Surely it was not.
[b “Is it..”]
[font “Times” “Yes.. The Hackett family have invited myself and.. Estella..”] he pushed her name out through he’s teeth, as if she was nothing more than a speck of dirt, [font “Times” “To attend their Fall Festival at Edgefield.”]
Her mother shot a worried glance towards her daughter before bowing her head, clearly she had nothing more to say.
[font “Times” [i “When is it?”]] Estella asked politely, turning her attention back towards her father.
[font “Times” “It is in two nights time.”]
[center [font “Times” ‘And if I am to burn, then I will burn you with me…’]]
Estella sat within the back of the horse driven carriage, her father sitting too close to her for her own liking.
He spoke, yet she was not listening.
Her hands smoothed out the silk like fabric of her black dress, colour of choice. The paleness of her skin standing out against the dark shade, lips shinning with the colour of blood and eyes as blue as the depths of the ocean.
Mind wandering, how could he father done clothes of a Priest, swear to the Lord that he is a good man and leave bruises and burn marks upon he’s own child?
Her father may be a Man of God but she will be a Daughter of Satan. For he who maketh war upon the Daughter of the Forsaken shall surely burn himself.
[font “Times” “And you will not speak unless spoken to.”] she finally focused enough to listen to what he was saying, although she had lost count how many hours that had spent confined within the carriage and how many of those hours he had spent talking about all the things that she was not to do.
Her eyes focused on the land outside the glass once more, relived to finally see it changing.
Large open steel gates stood at the front, like guardians before a secret. The large driveway seemed as if it would go on forever, black trees with canopies that would surely cause nightmares in small children lined the driveway for as far as the eye could see.
The further up the driveway they came, the more Estella began to notice that lanterns hung within the trees, looking as if they were colours floating in the middle of thin air.
As the lanterns increased, the horse came to a stop at the entrance to the front door. A hand was offered to Estella as she descended from the edges of the carriage.
[font “Times” [i “Thankyou..”]] she spoke quietly to the stranger who had helped her out of the carriage, turning slowly to face the humongous mansion of black and grey. The large white window panes and glass turned her stomach, swearing for a few seconds she could see a face pressed against the glass in fear.
Slow steps as she joined her father on the front porch as he presented their invitation. Lead inside by a man dressed in a white waiter’s suit with white gloves.
The entrance hall was majestic, the wood creaking her steps of her heeled shoes. The beautiful black lace of the back of her dress trailed behind her as she removed the hood of her cloak before revealing the rest of her dress, handing the cloak to the male who had offered so kindly to take it from her.
Sounds of laughing and music came from further within the mansion, yet they seemed alone, instructed to wait until someone was to greet them.
Estella’s heart beat slowly within her chest, calmly and quietly. Her breathing was normal as her chest barely moved. Body was pulled tightly into the corset to accentuate her natural curves at the hips and bosom. The front of her hair pulled back off her face and hanging in delicate curls down her back, leaving the odd necklace hanging around her chest. Neckline of the dress coming down low enough to provoke attention but not enough to damage a reputation. Black satin gloves covered from her hands to her elbows.
The sound of footsteps awoke her from her dream like state as she peeled her coal black rimmed blue eyes to find the source.