A/N: When I started this chapter, I couldn't stop listening to Lana Del Rey's Once Upon A Dream. Not saying you should listen to it, but it's what I listened to. Music actually helps a lot with writing, so good music equals me happy. And then I saw the Last Witch Hunter right towards the end of the chapter. Now listening to Ciara, Paint It Black. Amazing. On to the story now!
All morning Mama had been digging through dresses and dresses and… more dresses. I was surprised by how many she had. We weren't dirt poor, but it was nice to see where some of the leftover money had been going.
Since mother was tan and a lighter brunette, she had mostly warm colors. To her, I was too pale for warm colors to look 'ravishing' as she put it. I was more of a cool color lady. I think that's what she said. I had no idea what the fashion world was like because I had never taken an interest in it; I was fine with my rags as long as they were comfortable and clean.
Usually, a request for tea or a similar matter didn't have any inclination of telling the guest what to wear. I'm sure that Dani had to do with that. Thinking back on it, it was her hand-writing. I doubt the prince had even seen it before she sent it. So I would at least be saved the humiliation of the prince thinking I didn't know what to wear to tea with them.
Mama snapped me out of my thoughts when she waved a blue dress in front of my face. I was surprised to see such a small dress in her wardrobe; she was never big, but she had always been much taller than I was. I was a bit on the smaller scale but not so much that it was a problem.
It was simple but at the same time it had detail to it. It was a darker blue with long, flowing sleeves and splits on the sides of the skirt to reveal a pale blue. Inside the sleeves were also the same pale fabric. Along the top and the edges of the sleeve was a yellow braid, almost like gold. It was extraordinarily clean and seemingly unused.
"Mama, where in the world did you get this?" I asked her, taking the dress from her.
She seemed proud when I took it without any qualms like I usually did about the dresses she made me wear at times. "Well, your Aunt Elizabeth gave it to me when you were a babe; she was an amazing seamstress, that girl. She said it was the least she could do since she gave you to us with no clothing to speak of," Mama said with a grin, but I could see the tears in her eyes.
I pulled her into a hug, making sure to keep the dress out of the way. Now that I knew Aunt Elizabeth had made it, I looked at it with the most respect. Without that woman, I wouldn't be with my family, or even alive. She was the maid that had saved me, all because I tried to wipe her tears away. She was quite fond of that story, and it would be the last one she told on her deathbed. She had been taken away from life much too early, from the same disease that had gotten Asher's parents. Everyone had lost someone, and for me it had been my savior.
Mama pulled away, a large smile on her face. "Now, go try it on! I must see what it looks like on you," She told me.
I was happy to oblige. Looking at myself in the mirror with the dress on was a whole new experience. I had never seen myself in such clothes, and I could see how I was born to be royalty.
The thought made my expression turn sour. I could not think of such things. This was my home, and where I belonged. The past was the past, and it would be made up for whenever a greater power than I saw fit.
Mother came in at that moment, and I immediately got rid of the negative expression. I don't want her thinking I didn't like the dress because that was not the case at all.
I could tell that Mama most certainly liked it though. Her hands flew to her mouth and I could see tears of mirth already gathering in her eyes. My mother was an emotional woman, but it just made her all the more special. Papa often said it was one of the many reasons he married her, other than her amazing cooking.
She threw her arms around me before quickly taking them away. "Oops, don't want to hurt the dress," She chuckled. "Ooh! And I know just what to do with your hair!" She exclaimed.
Mama got to work on my hair, brushing out all of the tangles and cleaning it up. I hadn't had time this morning to actually comb through it, so it hurt quite a bit. My dark hair was a bit long, going to the middle of my back. I was quite proud of it since Thomas had cut about five inches off when I was ten years old. She put it in an elegant side braid, letting out curling bangs to frame my heart-shaped face.
"I love it, Mama," I told her. We spoke for a few moments before the carriage I knew Dani was sending for me arrived. I had never been in a royal carriage before, and I was nervous to let another person take me to a location. How could one know their driver was not a real driver?
My fears proved to not be needed. The driver had been surprised when I had exited my home, not expecting such nice clothing to come from such a poor house. It made me smug to see him judge a book by its cover only to be shown otherwise.
The ride to the castle was not long, but it was most certainly comfortable. The inside had soft royal purple seating and pillows. No matter how cozy it seemed, I didn't not calm down any. If anything, my heart was racing faster than ever before.
We came to a stop and I could barely bring myself to look out of the window to see the grand doors that lead to the inside. I wasn't used to using these doors that only the day before I had my reunion with Dani at.
There was a servant entrance on the side of the castle, as well as many hidden passages that Aunt Elizabeth had shown me when she first got me a job at the castle when I was about five. I was Princess Isabel's playmate. She never did like me, but I didn't blame her. I was quite the cynical child to anyone but my family.
The driver got down from his seat to open my door. I thanked him as I used his hand to politely step down from the carriage. I was so scared that I would trip that my eyes never left my feet.
The driver gave a small chuckle at this. "You are quite strange, if you don't mind my saying so miss," He told me as I finally stepped onto the ground.
I smiled back at him. "I do not mind; in fact, I quite agree," I told him. He was a nicer old man than I had thought at first. Perhaps I was also judging a book by the cover?
Trying not to walk too fast and seem impolite, I made my way up the castle's marble steps. The silver-colored palace was truly beautiful. While the stone was a clean fog-like color, the green and blue stained glass windows were lined with gold as were the main entrance doors.
I saw Asher at the doors, ready to open them for me. I realized he could not recognize me for a few moments. When he did, his eyes widened in surprise and his jaw dropped a bit. He quickly remedied this, fixing his face but I could see him blushing a bright scarlet.
"Hello to you too, Asher," I told him just as he was opening the door for me.
"You're the princess's honored guest?" He asked me, obviously bewildered by his own words.
My eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "Honored guest?" I asked him, but I never did get a reply.
"Innocentia!" I heard a loud yell come from inside the castle. Within the second, Dani was at the door but pulling me the hand roughly to follow her. Well, it was better than one of her bone-crushing hugs.
"Come, we are close to being late!" She exclaimed but I did not see any apprehension in her face. She was almost thrilled to be late to her own tea social.
"Wait, isn't this your tea social? How can you be late to your own gathering?" I asked her. This girl was confusing to me. I often did not understand her.
Again, my question was unanswered. She straightened herself out once we got to a large pair of doors and dropping my hand. I quickly did the same.
She noticed this and whispered, "You look amazing, Cenna." I gave her a small grin. It wasn't often that I got complimented on my appearance despite my naturally appeasing looks. I was often covered in grime and sweat so no one ever really saw what I truly looked like.
She opened the doors, a few servants grabbing them to hold them open quickly. I almost stopped dead on my feet. Past the doors was a medium sized room that I had never been in. Only the most trusted servants were allowed to clean this space. The green marble on the floor matched the white pillars and stone that adorned the room, with a dome of nothing but windows accented the ceiling. The room was truly beautiful.
But it wasn't the beauty of the room that made me stop cold. There was a round table in the middle of the room with every royal in the family sitting in their seats. The round table was legendary, being older than the Black Lake Witch, who was said to have grown up with the first king of Sovera centuries ago. The family only sat at the round table for very important matters, and no one outside of the bloodline, or those who added to the bloodline, were allowed to sit at it.
I made no move. The family was busy in their own conversation save for the prince who came up and welcomed Dani. Dani sat down, leaving me to stand in the doorway awkwardly. The queen looked up at me suddenly, not regarding me with a cold gaze like she often did to me during my work days as a servant. Like Asher, she probably did not recognize me.
"Princess Cedany, is this your lady-in-waiting you speak so fondly of?" She asked, her eyes never leaving me. Of course Dani hadn't told them who I really was. I wouldn't have even made it halfway to the castle.
Dani nodded proudly. "That she is," She answered.
The queen then stood up, walking towards me. It felt like a cat prowling its prey. But the look on her face was friendly, so I didn't run back home like I felt the need to.
"I have heard much about you, but not your name," The queen spoke.
I immediately knew I couldn't tell her my real name. I doubt she knew it, but I couldn't risk another servant seeing it was me.
I curtsied to her before I came across as rude. "My name is Catharine, your majesty," I said.
She eyed me closely. "You do not look like a Catharine, dear one."
I felt my cheeks redden. Why did I choose Catharine? "Well, I got by Thare most of the time, my queen," I used my best acting voice I could muster. I was a skilled liar, but had not done so in a long time. I was relieved when she nodded, signalling she had bought it.
When she told me to follow her to the table and turned her to me, I let out a large breath. had never imagine that Dani would have had the thought, in her right mind, that I should be sipping tea with the people that wanted me dead.
The social was not as bad as I had expected. I was able to keep up my front very well without having to use too many lies. The bigger the web I spun, I knew would give me a greater chance of getting caught. I often wonder what the king and queen would do if I told them the truth, but I came to the conclusion years ago that it would hurt the kingdom and I was much too young to face a decision like that. As I am growing older, I feel the decision on whether or not to tell the truth more often.
The tea had run out much sooner that what it had felt like. The entire table was all smiles and laughter. I was seeing my birth family in a whole new light. They loved each other, and seemed to be like any other family when alone with each other. The girls gossiped, the prince and the king talk politics, and the queen, Dani and myself were talking about our past. The most truthful thing I had spoken in that conversation was that I had been adopted; my original family hadn't wanted me.
Dani stopped and gave me a pained gaze before joining the conversation again. The queen hadn't noticed as far as I could tell, and I prayed that nothing came to mind.
It was nearing supper time when I knew I had to be getting back to my family. Papa would be home soon, and I had to help with dinner. The queen walked me to the door by herself. I was nervous but I didn't let it show. It was a common occurrence in my life for expressions to be hidden, it seemed.
"It was wonderful to meet you, Catharine," She told me, staring into my eyes.
I blinked and replied, "It was even more of a pleasure to meet you, my queen."
I heard a servant walk towards us, and I turned to see it was a girl, Angeline, that I had only ever talked to a few times in my life. She was younger than me by a few years and never said much.
She lead the queen away from me for a few moments. My smile faltered and I slowly inched towards the door. I saw the queen's countenance fall and my heart froze.
"WHAT?!" The queen screamed in a deafening yell. She raced to me and I shied away from her. She roughly grabbed me by my arm, ripping my sleeve in the process. Her grip was strong and I could feel her nails digging into my skin.
"Ah, your majesty that hurts," I grinded my teeth.
She turned and glared at me. "Do not speak to me you little peasant!" Her voice boomed.
The servants opened the door when she snapped her fingers. They looked terrified, but I knew my fear was far greater than theirs.
She threw me onto her doorstep and I landed roughly on the uneven stone, and right afterward she kicked my hand from out underneath me when I tried to brace myself on the ground. I shrieked from the pain that exploded in my wrist.
"I do not take kindly to liars, Innocentia," She seemed to growl at me. I was flat on the stone, not even trying to get up with her looming over me. My mother was making me suffer once more . "Do not come back here or you will face a far worse fate. You are lucky I do not have you banished or executed you wench."
Her grating words stung me worse than I had expected them to. Looking dignified, she stood up straight, wiped her hands on the skirt of her handmade red dress and turned around to go back inside.
Before the doors closed on her, I yelled, "You will regret this!" My voice surprised me into silence. I had never sounded so malevolent, but I was in too much anguish to care.
I brought my knees up to my face and curled into a ball in front of the castle. I cared not for the pain of my surely broken wrist, nor my ripped dress. The only emotion I could feel at the moment was anguish. It hurt my chest as I sobbed heavily, the other servants not bothering to move to help me.
Two pairs of hands lifted me up, avoiding my right wrist. I could feel the blood dripping from it, but I couldn't not feel the pain there alone. It was as if it had spread equally into the rest of my body.
Through my tears I saw Terryn on my right, though my mind could not register why he was here, and the man who had driven me here in the carriage on my left. A few yards away, Asher looked horrified as he stayed at his post by the doors that had once been my profession.
Terryn spoke a few words to the driver but I couldn't make them out through my sobs. He picked me up in his arms, accidentally moving my wrist sharply. I let out a hiss of pain and saw black and red spots dance across my eyes.
I would be content if I were to die right now. I had just ruined everything. It was my fault I was in so much pain. It was my fault I had even come to the castle in the first place.
As much as I was starting to hate myself, my thoughts could not stay straight for more than a few moments. As Terryn carried me down the grand steps, I could feel my mind start to fade. Soon, I welcomed the black darkness as an old friend. I only hoped that I would not be able to wake up from it.
A/N: And the plot thickens! Sorry for it taking a while to really get started. But here is where things really get derailed. I have a lot planned for Cenna. I like having plans. This is one of my first plots for a character that actually captivates me. I was actually thinking about putting off the queen throwing her out of the castle until the next chapter, so it may seem a little rushed at the end. But I felt it would be better to put it in this chapter and make it pretty long rather than make a short fifth chapter, ya know?
Hope you guys liked it!ns220.127.116.11da2