Taking the girl down from the arm of his chair, he softly starts her toward Marybell. His left hand rests against his cheek, slowly he returns to his original position of lounging. His long legs stretch out in front him, his open and friendly personality changes from interest to suddenly indifferent. He glances at the pair out of the corner of his eye, he wants to know more about the girl, but he also knows that he must think about his next move with her.
"Fashion her the emerald dress, then send word to a seamstress. Take her with you tomorrow afternoon after her dress is finished, let her pick the color she would like. Also Marybell, you are in charge of her main care." With this said, he waves them off with his right hand.
Marybell softly takes the girl's hand in her slightly larger one. She avoids the girl touching her bandage as she tenderly tugs on her. She remains silent in her master's presence, something that she has learned to do. Scars of his cruel nature are covered by a durable fabric, her servant's dress. The light blue color stretches from the floor to the base of her neck, the sleeves hide every mark from the curve of her shoulder to her thin strong wrists. The tips of her fingers are callused over from pricking herself with needles and from other punishments dealt by her master. Avoiding the girl feeling any of her scars or calluses, she gently takes a step away from the large oak door leading to the hall. The door she takes a step toward, is peal white and sparkling like the rest of the room. Roses are carved in to the heavy wood, the petals of the roses reach toward the eyes and work to create a living landscape in the dead wood. She doesn't speak to the girl quite yet, she know better than to speak. Her avoidance of speaking is mainly for that fact that her master didn't like the sound of her voice.
Motioning for the girl to follow, she opens the white door into a separate chamber room. The room is large and a reaching stone lined wall. This room is a work room, not meant for the eyes of guests. She softly urges the girl forward, wanting her cross the threshold before her . Behind them she closes the door. Pulling a worn, but stable block toward her she prompts the girl to step onto it. She lays the now dimly shimmering fabric down carefully, careful not to snag it on anything that would rip it. She pulls out a long rope marked with black thread. She pulls one of the girls small arms away form her body before deciding that she couldn't a correct measurement.
"I need you to shed the robes, down to your slip." He answers her, her voice is soft in the silent room. A soft crack makes her voice fade for a moment. Even though her voice is inconsistent, and faltering she can still be heard and understood. She talks slowly and tries to avoid higher octaves so her voice will remain calm and nurturing.
Pressing her lips together she softly nodded her head in agreement. War. Such a horrible thing really. But it's existence is nothing new. It's the eldest of human activities. Even animals fight is some extent, yet humans mastered the art of war. War can single handedly ruin an entire people, a nation and quite possibly, the world if big enough. No one was immune and even in this story like building, peace is none short of disaster.
The woman from before finally stepped forward and Alina once again met her with a warm smile. However, she did notice something different. A bandage wrapped around her hand. This must have been why she left before. Thinking not very much of it other than a small injury Alina bowed her head in politeness before looking back at her main focus of conversation.
"My favorite color?" Her voice was soft yet puzzled. She never thought too much of simple things as color choice. Alina shifted her jaw and thought about all the things that attracted her attention. "I like flowers that are dark red. Deep like wine. Deep colors are my favorite."
She smiled softly as she looked at him. "I already know yours. All I have to do is look in your garden and around at your walls." Glancing around her she took in the roses painted on the walls and the live flowers scattered around the room. "I could be wrong though.... your favorite color could be what you are wearing."
Alina suddenly thought of the woman in front of them. Could she be the one responsible for his attire? It was eclectic and far from simple. Yet, equally astonishing. It was a skill her mother also shared, however not as skillfully as the red haired woman seemed to be.
Oddly enough Alina felt instantly comfortable with this new stranger around. She had a motherly way about her and a warm smile always on her slightly wrinkled face. She could tell the woman would have been very cute in her youth. And even now, possibly being in her late 40's, her face and smile was just as cute and calming.
"War, war will do that to every kingdom." He answers her softly. He then looks to the red haired woman with the healthy figure. Her shoulders were broad and covered modestly with the servant's dress. Her hands were well worn and used to sewing and working long hours. She moved toward them as he looked at her, knowing that she would be ordered to fashion the girl's dress. She waited until she was told to do so.
Her red hair fell around her face in waves that were partially pinned away from her face. Though she wasn't thin, she wasn't thick either. She is healthy, a perfect medium. As long as the woman could remember, she had been in the castle. The bandage around her hand had stopped the bleeding quickly.
The girl was soft with him, something that he had expected. The innocence coming out in her actions. She was a strong girl, and she would need to be even stronger for what he would need her to witness in later years.
"What is your favorite color?" He questions quite randomly, but he has a purpose. He wanted to know what her favorite color was so he could have a ball gown fashioned for her. She would need many more formal and everyday dresses. He planned on her staying for a long while, he would need time to get his guards looking for her and for his informants to report back to him.
Alina watched as he walked over to her. She couldn't help but be nervous. His pace was not quick, it was rather calm and deliberate, the sound of his footsteps echoing softly against the dimly lit walls. Once picked up a small gasp came from her chest.
She watched him as he carried her to the chair on the other side. Listening to his reasoning, she nodded. He said he wasn't angry, however she new something had upset him. Even if it was not entirely her, his emotions had in fact changed, and she would have to make sure to do her best to keep his emotions in check.
His hand gracefully brushed her cheek and a chill came over her. Her eyes met his again looking for an answer. How could he be so cold? Finally she scanned his full face and features. Not only was he so cold, but his skin was paler than she had realized. His eyes seemed clear but there was no mistaking there was something wrong with him. Could this be the reason he was looking for someone? Was he sick?
Alina closed her eyes and took his hand in hers. She wanted to ask if he was okay, but she wasn't sure if it was the right time to ask. She pulled his hand away from her face and into her other smaller hand. To her it all made sense. If indeed he was sick, and looking for someone to be at his side, It must be because his condition was grave. Why else would a person of his caliber give so much? She at least had never met anyone who gave without take.
"It does when you take from someone else who is trying to survive." She sighed. When I was younger this country was able to sustain everyone, but something changed, and now everyone is struggling, not just me"
He had already promised himself that he would find her parents, at least what had happened to them. He watched her carefully, kept her eyes locked with his. His face softens once again. He has always had sympathy for the poor, especially children, but he does have a temper. He remains still, listening to her request. To him her words were a request, they could be nothing more because she is a child. What did he want from her?
"Yes, I will find your parents." He confirms finally, telling her that had been easier because he had been saying it to himself. He fights to control the smile threatening to curve his lips. This is what he wanted to hear.
"I'm not sure what you'll be doing yet, we'll have to find out what you're good at and what you'll be doing. It will take time, but we'll find something for you do." He answers her question. Though he has answered it fairly vaguely, he had planned this. He only tells her what she wants to hear for the moment.
The girl then turned into an apologetic tone. She apologizes to him and gives him a warning on her personality. He takes this warning, reminding himself to be more careful with her than he had been in the past. Drych is weary of new children, he has high hopes for this girl.
Standing up, he moves to her side of the table. He stops in the space in between the table and her. He scoops her up from the chair and returns to his own, setting her down on the arm of his chair. He softly takes her hands in his two larger one. He forces his face to become softer. He didn't want her afraid of him, children don't learn on fear.
"I'm not mad sweetheart." He softly cups her cheek in his cool hand. "I didn't mean to scare you either, and you're not a thief. Trying to survive doesn't count. He rubs his thumb across her cheek.
This is the kind of personality that he has been looking for. A will, intelligence, and a natural submissiveness that he will use to his advantage. She will be prefect to blindly follow his will and do what he needs her do.
Alina pushed herself back in the chair to distance herself from him. As he got closer to her she made sure to keep her eyes on every movement he made. She heard woman servant walk into the room yet she didn't dare turn away.
What she did not understand still was why make her more important than she should be. Obviously he wanted someone to be next to him, someone he was not to familiar with, otherwise he just would have chose someone already in his company.
The young girl contemplated her choices. Either she could leave, and have no luck finding her parents on her own, or she could stay with this man, have a roof over her head and clean water to drink. The only short coming here was not knowing what kind of tasks her would wish for her to do. It couldn't be as bad as what she was made to do in the past, and the servant with the red hair seemed to be in good health.
"Alright...I'll stay. If you promise to help me find my mom and dad, I will do as you wish, but I do have one question" placing her forearms on the table and lacing her fingers, she took a long breath. This way he could say anything in the gap of silence before she spoke again. "What will I help you with? Will I be your assistant? Apprentice? If I will end up having a title, I have to do something to earn it....something more than just a maid?" She listed her arms out to her side showing him the baggy servants attire she wore.
Finally Alina broke her eye contact with him and looked down at the unmoving rose bloom in front of her. "I'm sorry, I honestly did not mean to upset you before. You have been very kind and given me more than what I deserve." Again the girl looked up at the man hoping he could finally relax knowing she was not trying to give him orders. "My words are always strong willed, yet I have nothing to act on. How do you say, all bark and no bite?" She sighed as tousled curls fell into her face. Her hair and eyes contrasting greatly with her pale skill that somehow had a golden undertone.
"I may be a thief, my words may be strong for just a girl, but trust me when I say this, I will return your generosity, and I won't leave till you say so." She paused and closed her eyes. "please don't be mad anymore...I'll be good".
Taking a deep breath, he tries to calm the anger slightly starting to rise from his blood. He hadn't expected the girl to speak so boldly to him. The fingers on his right hand twitch with the need to reach out and grip her jaw so tightly that he could hurt her. He clenches his jaw tightly as he fights the urge. He needed the girl to trust him, he needed her to agree to stay with him. The servant returns from wrapping her hand in a cloth. She had efficiently cleaned the blood from her hand.
"You will be what I tell you to be." He speaks harshly suddenly. His soft warm voice slowly turning cold as ice.
"If I want you to lick the floor clean, you'll do it. If I want you to bleed, you'll bleed." He creeps forward toward her, getting closer to her. His knees brush the low table separating them no the only thing stopping him from reaching out and touching her. He tilts his head, looking like a predator stalking his prey. Alina is the seventh of the children that he has brought to the castle, she is the first girl.
"Yes, I intend you to be a servant, but I want something [+i more.]" He finishes. He stares at her, locking his icy gaze with hers. With his sharp elbows resting on his knees, he locks his hands together for a moment. He knows he is an imposing man, that he could easily scare the hell out of the girl. The girl should be afraid of him.
"I cannot take a girl from the parents she belongs with. I intend you be a servant until I find them. I am a moral man." He becomes more still than he ever has, a small tick in his jaw starts, but it's unseen under his pale skin.
"I will find them, or I will find out what has happened to them. In that time, you will be close to my side. You will dress well and you will eat better, you will learn everything the world has to offer. You will touch the greatest fabrics and the largest blossoms. You will sit at the most influential table among the richest in the country. The most connected will learn your name and status by heart." He finishes his little speech.
Alina listened as he finally thought of a name. But as he did so, he simply pinched off the rose blossom without struggle. Her eyes widened and followed his hand to the silver tray in front of her. Her heart bugan to race slightly in her chest. Her checks flushed, not necessarily in fear, but she couldn't help but be worried.
"You're naming this flower after me? I...." her attention was then brought to his servant, the woman red hair. She quickly cleaned and removed his showy act of dominance. Her face though soft seemed tense and Alina could not figure why, other than it had something to do with the man in front of her.
"It's a beautiful name. However I really don't understand " her sweet wasn't entirely finished but she couldn't help eat anymore. The air in the room was as tense as ever and the events leading up to now have been slightly worrisome.
Suddenly his tone went from light to dark. It was sharp and intense. Alina quickly looked down, fearing being scolded herself. Through the corner of her eye she saw the woman drop the things I her hand and quickly with respect jaded herself across the room and out the door.
"I'm not too sure I feel comfortable. " she mumbled quietly and kept her gaze low. "I really don't know why I'm here...or why you would want to name a flower after me. I actually have to find my parents...so I shouldn't be here for long. " The young teen couldn't help but be nervous. He looked to be about 6 or 7 years older than her. What would he want with someone like her?
"You wanted to make sure I have respect from the others while I'm here...I'm not sure I understand... I've been bought before... you don't have to trick me. I know I stole from you, if I'm supposed to be a servant too...just tell me. Otherwise I have to find my mom and dad"
Alina gripped her hands together and played with the fabric of her maids dress. "I like the name...I've never had anything named for me. But I'm a little nervous. " She finally looked up to him, her eyes puppy like and face pale with anxiety. His eyes we're still sharp and his own face tense from speaking to his servant. Alina couldn't figure out what exactly was said to make him instantly so stern.
He makes another soft sound listening to her talk. Pondering her answer, he decides that he might just take her advice, but do something that would immortalize her. He takes her name into his mind, twisting it with various names for night, different versions of twilight or abyss. He is carefully plays with her name, with the words he chooses. As he muses, twisting the full bloom in his fingers, she pulls the Sweetroll apart and eats it. She appeared to be taking her time to him, perhaps savoring the taste.
The servant woman with the youthfully aged face waits for the girl to finish eating so she can take the necessary measurements for her everyday dress. In her right hand this fiddles with a string coming off the silk fabric. The shimmering color almost reaches to the floor even though it is folded in half.
"Alina's Eventide." He murmurs finally, at this same time that he names the rose, he also creates a synonym for the girl. A little secret pet name that will be his alone. He twists the rose once more before moving his thumb and forefinger closer to the bloom. Once there he pinches the delicate flower until the stem flattens and then shatters as though made of glass. He pulls the stem away from the bloom and leans forward, he gently places the rose on the edge of the tray. Once done with his little display of strength, he leans back against his chair. He had just rendered a stunning piece of beauty useless for sale. The servant moves forward wordlessly, sweeping the crippled stem into her hand and into her apron pocket. She winces as a thorn rips her flesh, but she hides the blood with the handle of her sewing box, gripping the white handle tightly.
"How do you feel about that name?" He asks her, the meaning of his question, whether his question means the rose or her is unclear. She patiently waits for her to answer while clenching his jaw against the smell of the servant's blood. To the servant he speaks almost harshly, a sharp edge to his voice.
"Excuse yourself." The servant nods once at his words and then moves to set the fabric and box down. The woman's voice has a maternal edge, a tone that welcomes children to her side.
"Yes, Master." She then leaves the room after deeply bowing. The door shuts behind her, softly thudding closed in her wake.
Alina nodded her head and looked down at her plate of food. Her stomach was indeed talkative. Closing her eyes, she relaxed her shoulders and truly started on her dinner. Though she could feel his eyes upon her she focused on her food. Her once burning, twisted stomach settled with every bite. Once finished with the meat and cheese, she turned her attention to the sweet roll to her side.
Ripping a small piece from the roll, she dipped the bread in the nutty sweet filling. A small smile came to her face. Her cheeks warmed with every bite. Never had she tasted something so sweet. She continued to smile warmly at the dessert until she saw the man in front of her move. He glided smoothly across the floor till she could feel him behind her. Turning her head she watched him with her bright brown eyes. In his fingers, a rose twirled. It's color, one she had never seen before. She watched it, amazed by it's pigment. She had never seen a rose of that color before.
"You wish for me to name it?" Placing her napkin to her side her hands went to her lap and she stared thoughtfully at what he held in his hand. The rose itself was mostly black except for the pedals edges which were a brilliant blue. It reminded her of the night sky. blue around the moons light, blackening the further you went. Night was beautiful, night was calm, and this rose symbolized everything she found beautiful in the night.
"Calanthia, it means beautiful flower." Alina bit her lip, waiting and for him to speak. "Or....if not what about 'still night'?" To her left the red haired woman stood with the fabric and sewing box still. Her gaze was low waiting herself for an answer. The feeling in the room always seemed slightly tense. Would he be pleased? Would he be angry or amused? This was the main priority of every guard and servant there.
Then she smiled and shrugged her shoulders. "Or you can just name the rose after yourself. I mean, why not? It reminds me of you, perfect but...dark". Unlike the others around her, she was honest in her statement. Possibly he would not find her suggestion helpful or maybe even rude, but that was the exact opposite of what she was trying to achieve. She was truly being honest, perfect and dark described him perfectly.
He makes a soft sound, a sound almost like a hum. He taps his finger against the arm of his chair more. He is deep in thought, like he tends to be. In his musing he often falls silent and those around him falls silent around him. He commands and air of grace and authority with every glance he takes. He rests his head on his hand for a long moment; watching the girl. He hopes that his intense face doesn't frighten her. The servant waits patiently nearby, the fabric that he'd chosen folded over her right arm and a small sewing box in her left hand.
"Eat, we'll discuss this more when you are not distracted by a growling stomach." He purses his lips into a thin smile. The room around them is cleanly white, on the walls are hand painted images of roses and various other flowers. He muses on these decorations that have so painstakingly, carefully, been placed on the walls and on the flowers in the deep blue vases. He turns his attention to the white blooming roses and their pink cousins.
He suddenly lifts his chins and sits straight in his chair. He stands and strides across the room behind her chair. There is a stunning black and blue rose, a hybrid of his most prized possession. He softly plucks a single stem from the vase and returns to his chair. He holds the rose just far enough from his face to gaze at it. His eyebrows furrow slightly as it looks at it. This rose is the first from the plant he'd created.
"What shall we call this?" He asks spinning the rose between his thumb and forefinger. He regards her suddenly with a cool stare. He refuses to blink or to move an inch other than the twirling of the rose.
She saw the look on his face when the water was finally taken away from her. She knew how dirty she was, but it was shameful to have someone so distinct and clean have to watch her scrub the months of grime from her body. She sat at the very edge of her elbows to her side and hands in her lap. Every once in a while her eyes would look up to his. No longer did he have a face of disgust. He was now relaxed and intrigued, by her. Biting the inside of her lip, Alina wondered what exactly he wanted. Though this man sat silent, watching her, she wasn't afraid.
Soon the red haired woman returned, an ornately decorated tray was placed in front of her. As her food was set down she could not help but notice it's detail. The same flowers he admired so much in the garden were also embedded on an object made to serve. The smell of simmering meat took her attention away. The small girl thought asking for something sweet was too much for the hospitality given to her, so she only wished for potato's for dinner. Easy to grow, it was a meal for the poor. However a plate filled with well seasoned meat and cheese accompanied roasted potatoes. The sweet next to her could easily be the size of her hosts smooth pale hand.
Before she was able to place her fork into the tender chunks of spiced meat the deep and alluring voice rose from the seat in front of her. He was wanting her to stay here. Stay, with him in this well guarded castle. She watched as the maid returned with the cloth he requested. It was quiet possibly the most beautiful thing she would ever own. Though he called it humble, it was extravagant to her. Gently she tilted her face in his direction. "My name is Alina....My mothers name is Amelia...like the flowers in your garden. As for my family name, I have none." Alina took a bite of the food in front of her. "My parents were sold after the war. I stayed with them till I was 9. At that time my parents had found a way for me to run from our owners. I'm from Northern Romania, however now I am here."
She finally sat back and thought for a moment. "You want me to stay here? I'm just a thief, why would you want someone like me around such beautiful things?"
Settling himself down in his clean white chair. He perches slightly, oddly relaxing though straight backed in his chair. The fingers of right hand curling around the arm of the chair and his left hand resting against his cheek. This allows for him to tilt his head and watch her in comfort. A look of disgust crosses his face as he watches her wash her gentle features. Her hands are just as dirty as her face. She was filthy, though under her dirt and under grim was sweet gentle features. He waits for her as patiently as he can.
He heard her telling him that she didn't need new clothing. He softly shakes his head at that. They sit in silence for a moment. He lets the silence hang in the air between them. He didn't know what to say other than push his will onto her. This is a delicate matter, she can choose to leave on her own free will; but he didn't want to push her to leave. His dark eyes narrow once more, studying her and waiting for the servant to return.
Within a few minutes, the red haired woman returns with a silver plate. Deeply ingrained into the silver is copper flowers that match those found in the garden. Thick corded vines wrap around the edges of the platter and connect magnificent roses to thriving tulips. With pale rough hands, the red haired woman settles a wooden tray on a low long table made of sparkling glass. She stands beside the girl's chair waiting for her to dig in to the plate of steaming beef and cheese, along with a side of potatoes. On a smaller plate is a Sweetroll with cherry and nut filling. The sweet sugary glaze drips down the side and onto the smaller silver plate.
"I feel it is necessary, It would make me happy." He speaks finally. He looks toward the servant and nods at her. The servant turns away and starts toward the door, she then turns away and makes her way toward a dark room, she pulls silk and cotton pieces of fabric out of the dark room. The fabric range from bright pink to dark blue. He nods toward the most humble piece of fabric.
"An emerald green." He finally speaks after a long pause. "It will serve you well, the silk is comfortable. It will earn you respect here and a little bit of a title. Now what is your family name?" He questions. He remains light in talking to her. He is careful to remain direct yet not to scare the girl. He didn't know how long she will be here, but he will begin to look for her parents as soon as possible.
Alina could feel the coolness of the marble stone beneath her worn, leather shoes. The richness of the red walls almost made the floor tinged slightly pink where the wall and the floors met. It was quite a contrast from the young man standing beside her.
A woman stand before them. Her uniform obviously up to date looked nothing like the hand me down rags she wore. Following his pace, Alina finally made it to an informal area where two bowls of water were placed. She stood silently, not understanding what was to be done. However, glancing to her side, she observed the tall elegant figure washing his face and hands.
Turning back to the large China bowl , she dipped the small white cloth that accompanied it into the warm, soothing, liquid. Alina begun to wipe her face and her hands before noticing her rag, and her water was a slight milky brown. Looking to his she could see his was still just as clear as if it was unused. Stepping back with embarrassment she dried her face with a clean rag the red haired woman gave while she asked what she would like to eat.
"Possibly something sweet? And maybe potatoes? "
The red haired servant simply smiled and headed to the kitchen to start the cooking. There was a few moments of silence where Alina took the time to look about her . There seemed to be many people moving about, however non besides the woman servant and the mysterious host have said a word inside. She thought about asking him where his other family was before her thoughts were interrupted. "You don't have to be bothered and fetch me new clothing...you have done much for me already"
He watches her with amusement. She whispered the name of the stunning pink roses. He nods once and looks down to her. He wanted to praise her for knowing the right name, for taking an interest in the flowers. He resists the urge to praise her, to ask her how she knew the name in the first place.
"Yes, there really is food within these walls, there is anything and everything you could ask for." He smirks softly. She was careful and curious, at least she acted like it. He softly closed his hand around hers more. The path starts to widen slightly the closer they come to the castle's door. Slowing his steps enough so the guard to walk around in front of them, he pauses only for a moment to allow the guard to open the carefully concealed door. Ivory vines with bright purple flowers cover the door. Almost by magic, the vines cling to the stone and create the dark green and grey door. Easily, silently, the door opens to grant them entrance into the great hall just below the throne room. Unlike other castles, this one is based on allowing the stark contrast of the outside to creep inside.
Waiting for him is a woman with a pale face and rose colored cheeks, her hair is a dark red. She is dressed in a light blue servant's dress, her white apron covering her front is splattered with spots of flour and berry filling. She smiles warmly at the pair, surprised to see the girl, but happy to see her at the same time. Bowing slightly and then straightening quickly, she moves aside for the royal and girl to enter.
The white marble floor makes a soft sound when he steps onto the sparkling surface. He turns slightly to the girl and asks what she would like to eat. As he waits for her answer, he waves absentmindedly to the servant, she bows deeply before rushing off to fetch him some water. This is his routine, he comes inside from the garden and wants to wash his hands and face free from dirt. The woman will bring his two bowls for washing, one for himself and the other for the girl.
Once inside the castle, the guard suffocates the torch and lets the candles lining the hall light their way. The walls are a dark red compared to the white marble, letting the walls reflect onto the floor. Everything is bathed in a slightly yellow light.
"We shall go upstairs to a private room so you may eat your supper." He speaks softly, his voice refusing to echo down the hall unlike others'.
"I also shall see if we have something more....subtle for you to wear." he furrows his eyebrows at this, looking down at her too big robes. Her dark hair would look great with a green or a white he supposes.
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