Baiyne (Chapter 1 and 2)

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Safra was abandoned as a baby, but something about the reasons have never really rung true with her, and when she is adopted, she finally begins to unravel the mystery of her mother, a mystery that will take her to places she had only ever imagined. (I am doing this book's chapters as short stories as I have not finished it yet, but look out for the other chapters)

Submitted: June 24, 2017

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Submitted: June 23, 2017

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Prologue- Orphan

(1850)

  A night black horse galloped up to a small stone church, and came to an abrupt halt. A hooded figure, clad in black armour also, swiftly jumped off the horse. She carried a basket, and something living inside. She bent down, unfolded the blanket just enough to see the face of a tiny baby girl, who already had her eyes.

  She held her hand and smiled softly, then whispered quietly to her, as ifthere were a thousand soldiers coming up on her tracks. "Goodbye Safra, I'm so sorry about this, but it will all make sense one day, and then I think that you will thank me for it. Goodbye again, and I do so love you." Then she placed the basket carefully on the step of the church, banged three times on the oak door, and swung herself back on the horse, galloping away, her face full of tears.

Part 1 - Comeing of Age

Chapter 1- The Child

(10 years later)

  Safra was not happy. She liked getting new clothes, she really did, and was amazed that the orphanage was making the vast expenditure two days before, suprising them. However, this dress was ridiculous, but even more infuriating was that she couldn't complain, because it would seem ungrateful. The mistresses had said that they had picked dresses to suit the character of each girl, but hers was clearly a joke.

  It was so tight that she could barely breathe. It was brown, and the only bit of flavouring added to it was a ludicrous bow, and some black curls at the bottom,both completely oversized. "Miss," She began, tugging on the skirt of the nearest lady, "Why do I have to wear this dress?"

  The looming face of Miss Bongard swivelled to face her, and glared down at the nine year old. Then she gave a rather disturbing smile. "Because it shows that you are a bland girl with far too many frilly ideas about your mother."

The last word was said with such distaste, that Safra had to fight not to yell back that nothing coud be further from the truth, and instead, clenched her fists. Miss Bongad swept away, a manic grin still on her face.

  I mustn't get upset, today is church. She was just about to follow the throng of girls, when someone came up from behind her, and snatched up her hand, half dragging her there instead. "Come on Safra, time is being wasted by you. Such a bane to this orphanage, I don't know why we can't just put you back where you belong if no one is adopting you!" The distinct French accent of one of the martons lamented. After about five minutes walking, she discoverd that this new dress was also terribly un-stretching,and that it was a struggle to put one foot in front of the other at the pace that she was used  - and expected  - to go at.

They arrived at the church, with the braod smiling reverend greeting them at the door. Safra liked the reverend. After church, the girls got to decide whether to stay in church, go back to the orphanage and read quietly, or to fo to the gardens. Safra alternated most of the time, but her favourite place to be, was with the reverend, who had been a missionary once, and told her of strange places like India, and Italy and Paris.

  As they entered, she heard quiet gasps, and whisperings, which were quickly hushed up by the nearest ladies. She soon saw what it was about. They were sharing a service today with adults, looking quite wealthy, and also as if they were choosing which dress they should buy. Safra rolled her eyes and set her face to mild scowl. Their own dresses, she now understood, had been bought in order to attract potential adopters, but in her case, it was likely to dissuade them. She sat down, and tried to look as useful and pretty and dignified as her nature would allow her to be.

  When the service started she relaxed a little, as the adults' eyes were drawn away from the girls, and started day dreaming. These thoughts swirled around in her head so much that it began to hurt.Then someone nudged her, and whispered "The reading, it's you." She got up in a haze, not really sure id she was in the right frame of mind to be doing a reading.After that, she could never remeber what happened, but she heard numerous gasps and astonished exclamations, and then collapsed, and the only thing she was aware of was hitting her head on the hard floor.

  However, when she woke up, she saw lots of very angry faces. Uh oh, I'm in deep trouble. She thought, and then chided herself for doing so, because she had decided long ago that it was wrong, and idiotic to point out the obvious. She sat up, and remarked in her hea that, to her satisfaction, all the rich adopters had gone. All apart from two, who were talking to Miss Bongard. And then she saw it. From pew,she could only see one, but she was very certain, that there would be another. She pushed past the people crowding around her, and viewed the scene that she had made...again.

On one stnd, she had scratched the word mother, and on the other, she had practically torn the wood scratching Baiyne.

  She ran up to the reverend and looked up at him, in what she hoped was a regretful way. "I am so sorry, I don't know what happened." She was about to continue,but was interrupted.

  "I am quite sure that you don't, and so all is forgiven. Right now, I think that you should avoid the eyes of Miss Bongard, and get yourself back to the orphanage. Remember, await every day as if it were going to be the best, that's what I'm always saying!"

  She nodded,and hurried down the street and across the road. The reverend had proven hismethods of thinking very sucsessful. Once, he had sat her down and told her of India. Full of snakes, and elephants and jungles is what he had said. It sounded her sort of place to be, all adventurous, and searching, but then he had reflected on a bout of malaria that had struck his camp just before they were due to get the ship back. They had missed their boat, and most of the men, includong the reverend were struck in pain with the disease. He had thought he was going to die. Then he had told her about praying and God, but more to her interest, he had told her that he got up again, and started working. He decided not to be a burden on his fellow men, and began to help others that were afflicted.

  Within a few weeks, he, and most of the camp had recovered in time for the next ship back to England. After that, he had kept the attitude that every day would be the best, and to expect nothing less. Without exception, almost every day, he managed to call the best.

  When she arrived at the orphanage, she lay down on her bed, and closed her eyes, falling into a ight slepp, which was soon interupted by the maroon, bulging face of Miss Bongard. She hoisted Safra off the bed, and pulled her up to one of the top floors, where she was then shoved into  tiny room, full of dust and creaky metal beds. The door was slammed shut, and Safra was almost certain that she heard a key turning in the lock.

  She slumped onto the bed, which was cold and hard, but sleep still managed to overcome her in the end. This time, it was a deep sleep, the sort that had dreams that you can not wake up from by yourself until the dream ends.

"I can't stay, you know that. It will kill us all!" She knew this voice; she had only heard it in real life once before, but many times in her dreams. 'Mother!' She thought, and then realised what had been said. The joy and hope of a happy dream was all gone.

"Then you must go, and leave the child there!" This was new, a more commanding voice, made up of thousands of others, but still clearly female. A white light flashed, and so did images. Pictures of things Safra never wanted to see again.

  She woke crying and screaming long before Miss Bongard dragged her out of the room and into the blinding light of the the rest of the building. She had only a few seconds to comjpose herself before she was shoved into a line of girls. It was a small orphanage, with only about 100 girls in it, but there were advantages, like the fact that the girls could all fit in one room.

"Today," Boomed Miss Bongard, keeping her eyes fixed on Safra whilst paceing up and down in front of the current occupants of the small hall. Oh India, she hasn't forgotten or forgiven me for what happened yesterday!

"You will all be in sewing, and reading clases for the first half of the day, then you will resume normal lessons!"

  The reason for this became apparent to Safra as soon as she walked into the sewing lesson, although it did not seem to have stuck some of theless bright girls there, who hurriedly made an effort to look presentable when it dawned on them a little too late. Safra sat in her usual place-as far back as the desks and chairs went, and in thier furthest corner. The lady smiled at her when she strolled in, and probably presumed that the class would fill up from the back. It did not. As soon as everyone realised that they had a chance of being adopted,  a minor epidemic broke out near the front, as there was a mad rush to reach the seats closest to the worried couple in order to be the first to bat their eyelids, smile sweetly, and assure them that they were the cutest and most worthy ones of adoption there.

Safra snorted silently at his clear display of lies. when this had first happened, she had from that moment decided to only show the couples what they were getting if they took her in. Unfortunately, this had led to her never being adopted, but she didn't mind, so long as she could keep at least trying to be herself. At the end of the lesson, the lady came up to her.

"What have you been embroidering the past few weeks? I know they said to think of a family crest, but I'll guarantee that you did something a bit more interesting, yes?" The woman gave her a cheeky smile, and leant down to get a better look at Safra's handy work. She smelled of rosses, and had a kind, concerned voice, she was young and very pretty, and Safra made up her mind that she liked her. Maybe adoption wouldn't be so bad, she thought as she turned the fabric around. But I can't change just to please her, they have to know what their adopting. Years later, she would realise that this as probably the wrong approach to getting out of the orphanage, but at the time, it seemed like the right thing to do, in a naive way.

  The woman gasped at what she considered to be something wonderful. "Well, I was wrong, although it is indeed interesting. Is this what you think your family crest would have been?" Safra looked down at the embroidery.

She had taken the horse that she had often dreamed about, and put it in one corner of a sheild, then a white dragon in the other. The centre were two swords crossing, her mother's and father's ( as she had dreamed). Her mother's was one of a gothic nature, black with three skulls, and one red gem in both the hilt and blade, and her father's blue hilted, plain apart from three different coloured gems, one green, one blue and one red, the green in the blade.

  It had been hard work to stitch, but Safra had alwyas been able to show exactly what she was thinking, and after some help from a teacher, she was able to get on quietly by herself. Miss Bongard had disapproved that Safr imagined her family to have such grandeur, but even she had to admit that the girl had a talent - not that this talent hadn't been druned into every girl at Waywith house's mind as essential. The woman smiled, and gazed forlornly at Safra, who decided if the lady wasn't going to speak to her, she would have to say somehting instead, no matter how rude it was suppose to be.

"You're beautiful, what's your name?" They lady was slightly taken back by this, but she continued to smile.

"Thank you, I am Lady Emilia Bencamore. What is your name?"

"Safra m'lady." She said, now for the first time around Emilia feeling uncomfortable.

"That's a very unusual name for an orphan...it's vey nice, but..."

"Usually they give girls plain names like Mary, or Grace." Safra ventured-Emilia nodded. "I think my mother gave it to me, although why she could give me  fancy name and none of her time is... I'm sorry, I do that quite a bit. Miss Bongard says I'm a very ungrateful girl, and that I need to learn when to stop talking." She rambled, completely aware that she was making Miss Bongard's point the longer she spoke. Emilia shuffled in her kneeling position, but was still smiling; a good sign, which meant that she hadn't gone too far this time.

  "Safra, can I be honest with you for a moment?" Emilia suddenly looked very grave, and concerned. "I'm slightly worried about you, after yesterday." Oh, here we go! Safra thought, dreading the small speech, which suprisingly, did not come. "I feel that you should have someone proper to look after you. You are clearly longing for a mother, and angry that she left you here and I... I cannot have children. My husband would dearly love a boy, to be a proper heir, but I would much rather have someone who wanted me for a mother as a daughter. What do you think? Would you like to be my child?" Safra was shocked, and slightly amazed at how fast this lady had taken to her.

  Safra thought for a few moments longer before nodding; she would rather like to be someone's child, so long as they cared for her properly. "Yes, but there are a few things I would ask. First, I need to speak to the Reverend Mild before I go. Second, you may find uot a few things about the way I am that you may not like - please promise to accept them, and third, I need to meet your husband before I go with you." Safra stayed where she was while Emilia continued to beam. And then Safra realised that she had said these words in front of the dread Miss Bongard (more because she spoke that because Safra had been paying any attention to her - she had developed a strategy where she just ignored Miss Bongard's existance, it made life so much eaisier).

  A look of horror and shock passed across the marton's face, quickly to be replaced with the usual red faced anger. "You, you ungrateful little... demon! The audacity! The arrogance! I would've thought that you would have more manners than to make such demands after what we've taught you! I'll wager your mother was no more than a..." luckily for Safra, Emilia decided to interrupt.

"I'm sure it doiesn't matter what her mother was." She said coldly, "Besides, I like it when girls can make their own decisions, and so does Ethan. If it will take meeting her terms for her to accept me as her adopting mother, then that is what I will do." She gave Safra that warm smile, and gently took her hand. "Come, I think it is time you met my husband."

 

 

  Chapter 2 - Secrets

 

  They trotted down the corridor (after having assured Miss Bongard that the paper work had been filled out), Emilia gave Safra what appeared to be an introduction to her husband, as if painting a picture of him before Safra met him would sway her opinion. "I think you will like Ethan. He is not like most men, I mean, he is, but he's nicer - but firm - and doesn't hold with beating women, or children, or... well, you will see - that's him, over there. Ethan!" She called, and trotted toward him. He was speaking with one of the teachers, stroking his stubble, and nodding slowly. 

  Safra usually knew immediatly whether she was going to like someone, but Ethan took a bit more time for her to form an opionion on; he was one of those men that radiated the need for everyone to think carefully about what they were thinking, before proceeding to voice their opinions in his presence. She id her usual disconcerting stare at him, leaving him looking puzzled, and his wife hopeful. It was hard for Safra to think about him nicely when she was staring like this, because she usually used it to make people she didn't like feel very uncomfortable (if looks could kill, then this one would have been the coup de grace of the lot). She changed her stare to a gaze, which worked slightly better for her.

 After one minute, she had enough information to, in her mind judge him, and she spent another thirty seconds running it over in her head, just in case. He was quite a bulky man, although not that fat, and his hands wer smooth, which told her that he didn't work much with his hands, if at all. He didn't have the sort of wrinkled brow that men who did a lot of frowning had, but his eyes seemed sturdy, as if he knew what life was about and didn't like to let on. His clothes were fine, but not everly extravagant, and his shoes had mud on and were well worn; he was someone who could deal with things himself. She decided that she might like Ethan, and his flaming hair gave a certain kick to this feeling, that could only be described as fun.

  She let her mouth slip into a gentle smile, and then just a little further into a grin. She turned to Emilia and nodded to show that her first impressions were good, and then spun back around to face Ethan to find out a little more about him. "Are you a banker?" She asked, thowing her calculated huess at him.

  He chortled a little, shaking his head. "No young lady, I'm a jewellery and clothes trader. Out of interest, what gave you the idea of me being a banker." She hrugged. Your clothes and hands; neither are like the doc workers' nor the dukes' and other... really really wealthy people that come here." He gave her the same slow, thoughtful nod that he had been giving the teacher.

  "Well, I'm certainly no doc orker, although you may have been closer if you had guessed me a duke; I am a Lord through marriage to Emlia. My dear, she's certainly a sharp one, that's for sure. and here was Madame Fripare telling me how all the girls were dull and dim-witted, and that there was no point in searching for a girl who would make a lady, if I didn't want to waste a day!"

  Madame Fripare had disapeared the moment that Safra had started her stare, in case it started driftiing in her direction. "Oh Ethan! OUr day hasn't been wasted at all! This id Safra, I have filled out all the adoption papers for you, all it needs now is your signature, that is, if you want to adopt Safra?"

"I think I'd better, don't you Safra." He winked at her, "Always bedt not to go against the wife."

  During the Conversation, Miss Bongard had crept up behind them, and now, putting on the look of an angel in front of Ethan, cooed to Safa. "Go and pack your things Safra."

  Safra couldn't resist the temptation to enrage the woman further. "What things Miss Bongard?" She retorted tartly, to which the matron gave a nerous titter. Emilia asked if she had any friends that she would like to say goodbye to, and Safra shook her head, but on the way out, a thought occured to her, and she suddenly tugged at Emilia's arm.

  "Wait, wait." She cried, afraid that Emilia might not hear her. "I need to see Reverend Mild, remember, in the church across the way from here." Emilia nodded and asked Ethan to take Safra there.

  “Why do you want to see him- have you done something?” He enquired gently.

“No,” She told him firmly, “I have a few questions I need to ask him before I leave, and… He’s my friend.” They walked briskly across the cobbled road, and swung open the heavy iron gate. One of the looming doors was already propped open, and Safra charged in without hesitation, carefully ignoring the words that still scared the pulpit.

 

“Reverend Mild!” Her tinny voice reverberated around the cavernous chapel. From a distant corner, she heard the faint rustling of robes, and the confessional box opened up to reveal the spritely young reverend, who rushed over to Safra. He sat down on one of the pews, and motioned to Safra to do the same opposite him. Ethan wasn’t in sight, but Safra was sure he was waiting in the doorway.

“Now then my child, what is it? Do you want to discuss the… event earlier?” he questioned, smiling calmly. Safra glanced at the words she had scratched into the pulpit, and considered discussing it, but she decided that it would just make her feel uncomfortable, so she shook her head.

  “No.” At this, Mild looked puzzled, and she continued. “I know that you’re the one that gave me to the orphanage.” She told him, giving him a piercing glare, “I want to know why.”

He hesitated for a few seconds, and then, as if grasping what she was saying, his face cleared, and he chuckled. “Oh, Safra! I am not your father, except maybe in guiding you spiritually. You were left on the church doorstep! It happens quite a lot.”

Safra’s face screwed up, trying to re-arrange her idea of things. “I always assumed that you looked out for me because you knew who I was…”

“Ah, now, that’s an entirely different story. Wait here.” He shuffled off again, this time to the back of the church somewhere. When he came back, he was bearing two pieces of paper, one in an envelope, and the other loose. He sat himself down again, and gave the loose one to Safra. One side was labelled ‘Person who finds Safra’ in an elegant, if curious hand.On the other side was a letter. It read:

Dear finder,

This is my little girl, her name is Safra. Do not give her any other, or even a second name; if she is willing she will find that when she is older. The letter addressed to her should not be opened, except when she is eighteen, or older.

  Understand, I am not giving her up for any vain reason like being ashamed. You must ensure that she is kept safe, and as well treated as your world will allow- she is not a normal girl, and if she takes after me, may cause some trouble on occasion.

  I thank you for your service, and hope that you can tell her I loved her.

MC

 

She gazed up at Reverend Mild, and after a few seconds asked. “So my mother gave me away to keep me safe, but she won’t tell me what from? This letter makes no sense. If she was poor, then she wouldn’t be able to just make demands like that, and if she was rich, from the sounds of she would’ve kept me.” She ended breathlessly.

“That is something that has troubled me often Safra, and I believe that at least part of the answer lies in this second letter, which I have never had the privilege of opening.” He handed the sealed envelope to her, and she read the front, which told her bluntly:

Under no circumstances open until your eighteenth birthday Safra.

“Either way Safra, these letters are now yours, and I think that they mean that you should never underestimate yourself; it is clear that your birthright is something more than simply being an orphan.”He concluded, winking at her in his usual manner.

Safra smirked. “I’ll be sure to come back and tell you when I find out what this letter really means.”

He frowned slightly. “Come back? You are leaving?”

She nodded solemnly. “I’m going to have a family.” It was about all she could say on the subject to him, and seeing this, he smiled warmly, and ushered her out of the small chapel and towards the open arms of Ethan and Emilia, who were waiting for her beside a worn carriage.

 

After waving goodbye to the reverend, the horses shot off, making the carriage and its passengers jolt forwards in their seats. It was a lurch that brought Safra back to reality. She spent the entire journey ignoring Lady Emilia’s cooing, and daydreaming about what her new home would be like. Safra had quite a good imagination, and she could always scare her enemies with realistic ghost stories, and intrigue those who weren’t, with murder mysteries, twisted fairytales, and fantasies of the future and far off realms.

  Because of what she already knew about Lady Emilia and her husband, she could form quite an accurate picture of what her new home would be. Regardless of this, nothing prepared her for what it actually was.

 

The Bencamore Estate was huge. You could’ve fitted at least five of the orphanage in it, and that included the grounds! As she followed Ethan up an enormous flight of marble stairs to the front doors, she finally tuned back into what his wife was nattering on about. “We really need to get her a few more dresses as well, I mean, Have you seen the state of this thing they’ve given her to wear? And that was supposed to be Sunday best.” She tutted. Safra by now had her mouth hanging open, but she managed to swallow and get a sentence out.

“That really won’t be necessary, honestly, you don’t need to do all this for me.” She said, realising how insincere about the statement she sounded.

“Oh no, Safra! It’s fine, and it really isn’t that much.” A rather round woman in a maid’s uniform opened the door, and did a quick bob to each of them, welcoming them back. They stepped inside, and Safra’s mouth was once again agape. An extravagant chandelier hung from the ceiling, glistening with a hundred lights. The marble in the large hall was patterned and sparkling, and there was another massive flight of green-carpeted stairs that led to the right and left of the house. She knew in her head that this was probably a regular-sized mansion, but she couldn’t help feeling that it was more like a humungous castle.

“Ah, Jane.” Ethan addressed the round woman that had shown them in. “How has your week been? Your son is still well I hope?”

“Yes m’lord, and it’s been whole lot quieter without you and her ladyship about, I quite miss the work to be honest.” She replied, all the while taking discrete glances at Safra, who was about the only grubby thing in the place.

“Could you please show Safra to whichever of the spare rooms she chooses, and then help her wash, thank you. Safra is our daughter now, and I would be most obliged if you could let her know where everything is, introduce her to some of the staff and all that sort of business.”

Jane smiled, her already red cheeks glowing with pride. “Right this way m’lady.” They brushed up the staircase, and not wanting to burden the maid too much, she chose the first spare room that came into sight. “Are you sure? This is the smallest of the spare rooms.” Jane told her in a cautious tone. Safra merely nodded. She had a feeling that even the smallest spare room in this house would be like a throne room; she wasn’t disappointed.

  Inside the room was a lavish king-sized bed with thick red curtains hanging at its posts, ready to be closed. There was a soft bear-skin rug, a bath tub, changing screen, one or two elegant paintings of women and the countryside, a large fireplace full of logs, and massive windows which offered an excellent view of the beautiful grounds. Safra turned to Jane in astonishment.

“Is this really my room?”

“It is if you want it to be.”Jane replied laughing at Safra’s shock. Then she peeped over her shoulder back at the door. “Do you mind if I leave you alone whilst I go and get some hot water to make up your bath?”

“No, not at all.”Safra replied, still staring around her in awe.

“You’ll like it here.” Jane added as an afterthought. “The people are nice, and you’ll get to meet a lot of new ones. You’re a lady now, so there’s lots of things to look forward to, and not to worry about. You’ll get used to all the servants and stuff. Before you know it, it’ll be second nature.” And with that, she clicked the door shut, and Safra heard her footsteps clattering back down the staircase. Safra twirled around in joy, and started investigating everything in the room.

  She suddenly became aware that someone was watching her. At first, she shrugged it off. She’d often felt this way in the fleeting moments that she was alone. But gradually she realised that this was a slightly different feeling, more real, and stronger, as if someone wanted her to know that they were there.

She stood very still for a few moments, and then spun around.

 

  It definitely wasn’t what she had expected.

 

  She’d thought that it would be some shy little boy who was waiting in the shadows with a silent crush on her. Instead, there was a furious looking woman with literally flaming hair. She had sparkling deep violet eyes, dark red lips and black armour which appeared to be made of large scales. She also donned a long flowing cloak which glowed like embers at the bottom. Despite the fact that the logical thing to do was scream, Safra didn’t.

  Instead, she addressed the woman as politely as she could, considering the circumstances, and decided to find out what she was doing in the room. She cleared her throat. “Hello.” She said cheerily. “I am Safra. I was just wondering who you were and what you are doing in my room.” She tried, putting on her best grown up business voice.

Far from answering Safra’s question, the woman just took a step towards her, causing Safra to notice the impractically high heeled black boots. It was hard not to, because when the woman stepped forward sparks shot out of the bottom of the shoes as if she were walking on flint. The most disturbing thing, Safra realised, was the despite the dangerous amount of fire that the woman had on her, nothing in the room was catching light, not even the four poster bed that she had been leaning on.

“You didn’t scream. You didn’t run. You didn’t pull out a poker and yell ‘Away fiend!’ Why?” Although she looked enraged, the woman’s voice was surprisingly soft, albeit soft with a slight edge. Safra considered the woman’s response quite rude, but was determined not to be the same, so she answered.

“People would think I was mad. What are...”Safra began, and then realised the stupidity of her own question. With her imagination, it shouldn’t have been hard to work out what the woman. “You’re a demon.”

“Of sorts.” The woman said, and then added. “I am Aetha, and I’m glad that you’re not stupid.”

“You’ve been watching me since I was born, haven’t you?”

Aetha bobbed her head slightly, as if waiting for Safra to carry on. She paused, and then saw the question that he was supposed to ask.

“Why haven’t I seen you before now, did you not mean for me to... never mind.”

“Indeed.” Aetha said in an aggravated voice. “We’re connected, you and I. You might even say that I’m your symbiont, but I haven’t had chance to introduce myself before; rehach! Does no one ever leave you alone for longer than five seconds? Every time I even considered showing myself and explaining things, you were either asleep, so tired that you’d think it was all a dream, with all those other orphans, or one of the matrons!” She ranted, her hair flaring at certain points, releasing all of her rage. “And no one else can see me! Do you know how annoying it was to not speak to anyone for ten whole years? It nearly drove me crazy! And I’m sorry, but you were never going to get yourself into a place where I could talk to you so...” Aetha bit her blood red lip. “...I took matters into my own hands.”

Safra gasped. “It was you! You made me scratch those words into the pulpit!”

“I’m not in the habit of possessing people; it’s a filthy practice. But I was desperate! Your mother...well, I have to keep you safe, but I am pretty sure she didn’t mean keep you locked up in that creep castle and then see you become a maid that would jump at the sight of a mouse!” Aetha suddenly slapped a hand over her mouth.

“You knew my mother!” Safra hissed, scared that anyone passing by would think that she was insane, talking to herself.

“I was her demon too.”Aetha said simply.

“Tell me about her. Why did she leave me? What was she like?”

Aetha's face changed to a harsh scowl. "The more you know about her the more danger you're in. When you find out about the whole thing, you'll be ready to face the dangers that come with that knowledge, until that time, I'm Bound to you, to protect you, so I can't tell you anything. Besides, we're out of time."

  Jane burst in, laden with a small bucket of hot water. She was followed by two other maids carrying more steaming buckets. She explained that there was running hot water in one or two of the rooms, but not this one. They filled the bath, and practically threw Safra in.

As Safra washed, Aetha stood behind the changing screen, explaining things that she deemed important, like the fact that now she had introduced herself, it was probably safe to show herself to Safra even when others were around, so long as Safra made no indication to others that Aetha was actually there. There was also the interesting fact that Safra had some ‘skills’ because of Aetha, that Aetha offered to help her develop. When Jane left her to retrieve some soap, Safra chuckled with Aetha about Miss Bonguard calling her a little demon. To which Aetha smirked slyly. “The thing is, she was right. It was a demon that scratched those words into the pulpit.”

Just before Safra was called down Aetha grabbed her by the arm. “I nearly forgot. It’s your birthday next week, don’t tell anyone, they might think I was getting sentimental, but I have an early birthday present for you.” She waved her hand, which set light. After a few seconds, the flame dissipated and in Aetha’s hand was a black, scorched leather bound book. Safra flicked through it, and finding it empty, realised that Aetha must’ve meant it to be a journal of some sort.

“I’m terrible at keeping journals, but thank you all the same, I suppose I could draw in it or something.” Said Safra, trying to sound grateful.

Aetha tittered, smirking once again. “With this journal, you don’t need to write in it. It will record your day anyway. And anything of importance, just think about it hard, and it will make an indelible copy. Any pictures you want in it, do the same. I just thought it might come in handy when you’re looking for your mother, or other things of... interest.” Safra threw her arms around the she-demon. She didin’t know her very well, but she had a feeling that they were going to get on like a house on fire.


© Copyright 2017 Rebekahjz. All rights reserved.

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