The Journal of Genna Oryn

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 2 (v.1) - February Imperial Year 793

Submitted: September 27, 2014

Reads: 57

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Submitted: September 27, 2014



February 1st Imperial Year 793
Still, I have had no lessons, and father has not spoken to me, nor has he come out of his office. I can’t even ask if lessons are ever to be resumed, and all I want is for things to return to normal! Father has made it clear that, aside from the doctor, no one but Edgar may enter his office, and Edgar, only when summoned.
I still don’t know what Mother could have meant by he would need to be the one needing care, and I was not allowed to visit her today, so I was unable to ask.

I fear for us. No one will talk to me. Father has refused visitors, letter, and calls. The staff is on edge, and the only reason the fields have not fallen into ruin is because Edgar has taken it upon himself to keep the books and the foremen seem to have the utmost respect for him. Everything is on the edge of falling to pieces.

What the future holds, I do not wish to know.

February 2nd Imperial Year 793
I discovered over breakfast that Mothers fever rose again yesterday, and that is the reason I was kept away. This sickness is the worst she has ever experienced. I am starting to wonder if Mother was right in what she said.
No! I refuse to believe that.
Either way, Father received a very strange package today, though he would not look at it, he went so far as to throw it out into the hallway. Edgar went to speak with him, but when he came out his face was so grim, as if someone had died. He looked at me and shook his head.
“I’m sorry, Genna, I couldn’t change his mind. I know you are not ready, but he refused to listen.” He held the door open motioning for me to enter, but I was too upset and I ran out. I didn’t slow down until I reached the stables, and I still wanted to run. 
I demanded that a horse was saddled and I rode towards the town as fast as I could. I didn’t know where I was going, and I didn’t care what happened to me. I didn’t care about anything.

I knew what Father would say. He wanted to me to either take over his place as master of the plantation, or he planned for me to marry a business associate of his. I am not ready for either of these! And with the way he has been I am frightened to face him at all, so I ran.
Somehow I found myself on the edge of the town, along the shore. Something about the white tops of the waves seemed inviting, so I dismounted and waded out to where the water was dancing around my knees, calling me further out, begging me to lose myself in the endless blue.
I don’t know how long I stood there, or how long he was watching me before he came to stand beside me, but I was brought out of the trance when he placed his hand on my shoulder and asked if I ever dreamed of escaping out into the endless world beyond the horizon.
His smile faded as our eyes met, and he pulled me into a hug.
“So you wish to become the sea, to sleep amongst the waves and escape this world. That’s not right for someone as lovely as you. I’ll be here if you ever need to talk.”
His voice was so soft, as if he really cared, and I began to cry. I told him everything, of mother’s sickness, of Lydia being sent away, of the isolation I was feeling, the fear of what Father wanted me to do. Everything.
He only held me tighter, saying he was sorry that I had to face such horrible things. He said that there was someone in town who would understand everything I was going through, that she would be able to help me. He said her name was Eleana Basile, and told me where she was staying. He slowly listened his grip and took a step back, taking my hand and leading me back towards the shore. He offered to help me find a place to stay, if I didn’t want to return home, but I decided that it would only cause Mother more stress if I stayed out. He helped my back up on the horse and led me back to the main street so that I would be able to find the way home easily.
My dear friend, I don’t know who this Ferron Rowe is, but I do believe I have come to love him.

February 3rd Imperial Year 793
I had managed to slip in last night without being noticed but Edgar was waiting outside my door when I awoke this morning. I froze the moment I saw him. I thought for certain I was in trouble, his expression was so stern! But you know what he did? He reached out and apologized for everything that I had to face, for the unfairness of them sending Lydia away, of how cruel it was that I was isolated, and how Father was being unreasonable. He hugged me so firmly that I nearly suffocated. It was nice though, knowing someone cared.
He offered to assist me in getting riding cloths and even offered to pack a picnic that I could have another day away from the main house if I felt that would help me to relax. 
I was so relieved and excited that I could have cried! Finally I choked out that I did wish to go riding, I needed the entire day that I would take breakfast on the trail. I needed a good riding suit and tea and cake, enough for two. And some allowance so that I could dine in town come supper, should I choose.
His face softened into slight amusement. He asked bluntly if I was sneaking out to meet that boy.
I stated that I was unsure, that when I spoke with him last it was by sheer coincidence. He smiled and shook his head asking if I even knew the name of the subject of my affections. To this I must have blushed, as he began laughing, but his amusement faded into melancholy when I stated that his name was Ferron Rowe. I became quite concerned and insisted that he tell me why it was such a bad thing.
“The heart that loves a sailor will never know peace. Be careful, Genna.”
I was shocked, did he actually know Ferron?
Apparently my surprise was written across my face, as he shook his head. He explained that the places and time that I met with Ferron were all near to the docks, and at times when there was little work to be done. This was the season, after all, when the waters were the harshest. He pointed out that our island was not that large, and that Eaux Reves was such a small harbor that everyone was acquainted, so it was odd that no one seemed to know him. And that Ferron Rowe was a foreign name. That our names were a little odd, but that was because our mother was from the motherland and brought the names down with her. 
I didn’t know how to answer, and never had to, as a deep rolling echo sounded out, announcing the coming storm. 
Edger patted me on the shoulder, never saying a word, but I knew what this meant. With the rain coming I was going to be confined to the main house.
It’s been this way ever since I was little. I had become so sick, and they determined that I would be weak and fragile, just like mother. No one can see past that and realize how strong I really am. 
I am going to go now. I believe that I can slip out on the widow walk, if I am quiet, and watch the rain.
Good bye, my dearest friend.

February 4th Imperial Year 793
I awoke last night to an intense pain in my chest. It was almost unbearable! I have not known this in so long, so I ran down to the kitchen, each breath accompanied by the feeling of drowning. It was hell, beyond hell. I made it into the hall where the staff rooms are before the coughing began. It brought me to tears, each cough ripping me into shreds from the inside out, filling my chest with more and more of this invisible liquid and cutting off my air. I tried to cry out, hoping that Edgar would come, but I could not breathe in enough to form the words.
A door burst open as a slid to the floor, too weak to stand any longer. I felt a cool hand on my face as someone else joined, speaking in low, soft voices. A mask was placed over my face, cold glass that cupped my nose and mouth, and a thick smoke was pushed through a pipe and filled the mask. Slowly the pain began to ease, and the coughing became more intense. Edgar leaned down to look me in the eyes, his face filled with concern, his beard and hair un-groomed, giving him the look of a madman.
He asked if I could sit unassisted, and I nodded. He turned and said something about a basin to the figure behind him, but I really wasn’t listening, the coughing was making me dizzy. Then the vile cause of my drowning came causing me even greater agony. 
Edgar was ready with a basin, a hot green tea, and a cold cloth for my head. I will never be able to show him how much I appreciate him.
Though perhaps thanking him would help. I pushed him away, muttering that I appreciated the effort, but I was not fragile. 
He simply laughed and helped me to my feet, suggesting that I get some rest, and tomorrow he will make proper introductions with the new girl.
I had not even realized we had hired a new staff member.
I suppose that I’ll make my way down there later this evening, but for now I really just want to rest some more.

February 6th Imperial Year 793
Dearest Friend, I slipped out this morning before the kitchen even began to stir. Thankfully one of the boys from the stable was already up and about, so I was able to get a horse saddled. TI slipped into the kitchen, hoping that there was something easily taken for the road. Sadly I am quite unfamiliar with the kitchen as a whole, so it was must frustrating searching the cupboards, when I was not even sure what I was looking for. I was startled by the soft voice behind me, asking if I was okay. My heart sank, my chance had been blown. I turned to find a girl, just barley older than me standing in the door to the kitchen yard. She smiled at me, and walked across to the cupboard and pulled out a basket. She was nearly a head taller then I, and her dark hair fell in a tangled braid down her back, hay sticking randomly from it. Her skin was a beautiful bronze, like I had never seen. I almost felt inadequate beside her, my own skin being a ghostly white. I know that the world thinks that porcelain is beautiful, but I will never understand how it could be seen as superior to something so lovely as her. She turned and smiled, handing the basket over. "Miss, I'll get you some picnicking supplies, if you give me a moment." She said, the slightest accent in her words. It was familiar, like Edgar's. "I'm glad, miss, that you are recovered from the other night. You had me good and scared."
"I'm not fragile" I retorted. 
"No, miss, I can see that. But even the strongest of all have a weakness or two." She took the basket from my hands and began placing carefully packaged items into it. "It is still the darkness, so you may get a chill. Please take care, miss. I can fetch your coat if you should like." she smiled again. It was warm and inviting. All I could think was how strange it was that I had never met her. All this time I had been feeling isolated and she was here, in the kitchen!

Finally curiosity won out over my embarrassment and pride and I asked her how long she had been employed with our household. She laughed softly, stating it was only about two weeks and that she was keeping to the kitchen because Edgar was still teaching her the basics. She closed the basket and handed it back to me, saying that if I was going to meet with my boy. I suppose I am not as good at hiding my thoughts as I thought because she giggled a little and said there was only one thing a girl like me would be sneaking out for. 
I took the hint and slipped back out to the stables where the young man already had the horse waiting for me. He looked mildly annoyed, his shirt half tucked. Something I had not noticed before.

I smiled and thanked him as I mounted, turning towards the town. I took my time, stopping for a snack before wondering into town. I had never been there so early, and to be honest it was weird, seeing the town for myself, uncensored. No dark corner hidden.

I realized, as I wondered through the streets, looking at the empty markets, and darkened shops why my father was always so careful of us staying in the carriage. The streets were quiet, only a few stirred. A young man sweeping glass off the street. It seemed the front window of the tavern had been broken. How, I can only imagine. A couple wondered out from behind a shed, looking disoriented and satisfied, and as I turned down the street the smell of urine and vomit was nearly too much for me. Eventually I found my way back to the bar where father went that day.
The woman with the markings was standing at the door, her hands on her hips, her voice low enough that I could not hear the words, but there was no mistake she was angry. Her anger was met with a nervous giggle as I turned to ride away, this is not what I had come for, and she was even more terrifying this time then the day we had met. 

As I rounded the corner I heard a loud bang, so I looked back and was startled to find a small dark figure standing behind me, and the woman had vanished into the tavern. The figure seemed to be a person near my own height, though I could not tell if it was a man or a woman. The dark awkward coat and the wide rimmed black hat stood in sharp contrast to the white hair that stuck wildly out in every direction covering the face completely and falling to it's shoulders. 

It stood, awkwardly watching me for several minutes. I could feel it staring into my soul, leaving me feeling naked. I wanted to turn away from it, I wanted the horse to gallop away, taking me far from where it was standing, maybe to an entirely new island!
It approached me slowly, never letting me from it's strange spell.

"It's not good for you to be here. Go home. Sleep or you will die." It's voice was soft, barely above a whisper. "You looked shocked, but I can see the darkness filling your chest now. Go home!"

Panic took me and I snapped the reins, I didn't even know what direction I was going in, but before I made it around the next turn I heard the familiar voice call out to me. I stopped and looked back to find Ferron standing beside the creature (I am quite certain it is not human) looking slightly upset.

I reluctantly approached, not wanting to get nearer to that thing then I had to, but longing for Ferron's company. He grinned widely as I sat just out of reach, divided by my feeling for him and fear of it. Finally he reached out to help me dismount, making my decision for me, and eliminating my best escape. The sudden thought struck me, could he not see it? After all, he was standing beside it as if it didn't bother him at all. As I slid off the saddle and into his arms he held me for a moment, as if he never wanted to let go.

"What brought you here?" He asked, pulling me a little closer, his hands resting on my waist. "It's far too early, and this is not a pat of town you seem to frequent, or even enjoy."

Something hit me hard, as if I had been punched in the face. The almost overpowering stench of alcohol. He smelled as if he had been drinking. I stepped back, slipping out of his grip, and confronted him as to his state of mind.
He grinned sheepishly, his cheeks burning with embarrassment, and he admitted that he had indeed indulged in some festivities the previous night, and was still feeling a bit lightheaded. Then he insisted that it was a matter of courteous that I answer him, as he was kind enough to answer me, although it was against his morals to lie to a lovely lady anyways.

I grudgingly admitted that I had come to see him. To this he blushed, but quickly recovered, suggesting we find food. The creature, that had not moved through the duration of our conversation, let out a disapproving sigh and hissed that I should return home.

It was at this time that Ferron noticed it. "Please, Ghost, can I court a lady with out you scaring her away?"
It leaned in and whispered something in his ear, then turned and dissipated around the corner. As soon as it was gone Ferron's face lit up as he offered me his arm and began telling me about the food at some tavern on the other edge of town. I took the rains and gleefully accepted, letting him lead me where ever he pleased.

As he tied off my horse at the entrance to the tavern he paused, his face quite serious. "Ghost is a little odd, and impossible to understand, but he is also my best friend. I can assure you he wouldn't do anything to hurt you, so please don't let him bother you."

I nodded, shocked that it was human at all, much less a boy! Then I remembered that I had something to ask him, and he had just given me the perfect chance. I took a deep breath and told him that I knew he was a sailor. That from the sound of what Ghost had said, he already had a lady waiting for him, and that I would never leave this island, as I had a duty to fulfill. He laughed, agreeing that he was indeed a sailor, and that while he had courted others, they could not be called ladies, nor did he plan to return to them, and they all knew this full well. Then his face changed, he stepped closer, and touch the side of my face, guiding me so that I looking him in the eyes.

"But, my lady, You are not them. I fear you may be the one that I would return to. The light that will guide me back to a place I will someday call home."

My heart was racing so fast I truly believed it would leap from my chest as he leaned in closer. I closed my eyes expecting his lips to meet mine, but they never did. Instead he touched my shoulder and ushered me through the door.

The rest of the day passed passed so quickly, we sat and talked about his grand adventures, and the places he had been, until the tavern owner asked if we planned to stay the night. That was my cue to head home.

It was nearly dark by the time I entered the stable, and I passed on dinner, telling them I was exhausted, as I didn't want a lecture. But, My dear friend, it really was an exceptional day! I can't wait to return tomorrow.


February 7th Imperial Year 793
Oh, my dearest friend, today was even better then yesterday! The girl from yesterday tapped on my door about sunrise and told me that there was a horse ready, and that she had packed me a lunch, that it was on the table by the kitchen door. With that she smiled and started to slip back down the hall. I caught her sleeve and she turned back, startled. I wanted to thank her, to know why she was so willing to help me.

She slipped into my room and shut the door, grinning at me. “Because we are alike,” she whispered “we both want the same thing, we both feel the same way, the only difference between us is that you have wealth and I have freedom.”

I am begging to realize that I am quite transparent, as she grinned, patting me on the arm, as if to say she knew I didn’t understand. “You have everything, A house, money, reputation, a place in society, everything. You should be the happiest person on this Island, after all, you are the richest. You have never been hungry, you have never burned your hands, or frozen your feet. Never had to work for the things you wanted. You have never had to do anything more than lay back and dream.”

I was crushed. I had never asked for any of that, and I had never thought about what anyone else on the island had to go through. Was I really so narrow minded and selfish?

“But the greatest gift that exists in this world, the one thing that is worth more than anything you could buy, that is Freedom, and aside from working here to earn enough money to follow my dreams, I am free to go and do as I please. If I decided I didn’t like it here, I would find employ elsewhere. There is nothing to bind me to this place.” Then she blushed. And opened the door, pausing for a moment to ask if she was required to call me ‘miss’ as that was a bit stuffy if we were going to be friends. I shook my head agreeing to let her call me Genna, if I could call her by her given name as well. She laughed and nodded saying that her friends never called her by Rosalie, and she was gone.

She had not lied, everything was ready, and I was on the road before the sun had crested over the top of the trees. The entire way into town I could not stop thinking about what she had said. So now I can’t help but wonder, what is freedom? How do you define its worth, with it being an idealistic concept, was there a way that you could measure the worth of that which is intangible? But see, my friend, I am getting distracted again. This freedom thing is really starting to bother me.

I made it into town and found my way to that bar much quicker this time. I am actually starting to learn my way around Eaux Reves. Perhaps someday I will be able to see the settlement on the west side of the island, I remember father saying it was only a pier and a couple of houses.

The bar was still intimidating, the dark windows and heavy door seemed as if they had been designed to keep the light out, as if the bar was meant to be a hell of endless night. I gathered my wits and slid down off the horse, hoping that my suspicions were correct. The room was dark and gloomy, and stank of smoke and alcohol. I didn’t think I could stand it, but I knew it was the only way to get my questions answered. I made my way towards the bar and found that the woman from before was sitting with a hot drink and a paper.

I took a deep breath and approached her, my heart beating nearly out of my chest. She turned, seeming at first to be annoyed, but her expression quickly softened as she seemed to recognize me.

She motioned for me to sit beside her and told the bartender that anything I wanted would be on her.

“Don’t misunderstand but you remind me of a mouse. Timid, obedient, quiet. It actually surprises me that you have made it here twice not on your own. I am known as Eleana, and I am assuming you would be Miss Oryn? That was your father, wasn’t it?”

I nodded, not wanting her to hear my voice shake. She still seemed to notice my nerves, as she grinned shaking her head.

“If you are so worried about the Captains, don’t. I can lay either one of them out in a single move. They are useless on land. All they do is drink, smoke, and sleep. Every time we anchor I start to forget why I fell for him, but then we get to the open waters, he tastes the freedom in the air, and all of a sudden everything changes. They become forces to be reckoned with. It’s something about the land that sucks the life out of a true sailor. But I’m assuming you didn’t come to talk about lovers over coffee, or did you? Was it Ferron perhaps that has your heart?”

I was so lost in what she was saying that I had almost forgotten where I was. The sound of the barkeep placing a mug of dark coffee startled me back into reality.

“How is it that you know Ferron?” I asked reluctantly, knowing I was not going to like the answer.

“We picked the both of them up a year ago. They were running from something, and Ghost is a bit hard to handle, and nearly useless during the daylight hours. Always so bundled up in that coat he never really does much. At night though, he is the best watch on the crew, and his instincts are never wrong. Ferron though, he’s a tough nut to crack. I suspect he is running from a lot more then poverty, as that was the story he told us. He wanted a new start, and was willing to earn his keep. I can assure you he had never know hard work or hunger before he signed on with us. But he is down to earth, disciplined, and determined. Does that answer your questions?”

My head was reeling. Ferron was a run away?

“If you came to see him, they are both crashed over there where he blacked out. I would be cautious when you wake him up though. After what he drank last night I suspect he’ll need a few good ones before he is anything near human. And you’ll have to detach Ghost, you’d think they were brothers the way Ghost hangs on him. Poor boy freaks out if Ferron is gone too long.”

I thanked her profusely for the conversation and the coffee, and started to turn away.

“Was there something else, Miss Oryn?” She asked, her voice cool, her amber eyes watching me carefully. She almost reminded me of a reptile, or a cat, something toying with its food. It sent chills down my spine.

“Did my father hire you all?”

“In so many words.”

“What exactly do you do?” This was the question I feared more than anything. To learn the truth about my father, and the truth about who Ferron really was.

“You keep coming around, so I assume you really like Ferron. Am I wrong?”

I nodded. I did like him, more than I could put into words.

“Then trust him, if you really do like him as much as you say, ask him about his job, ask him about his past, trust him when he tells you, and accept it if he doesn’t. That is what it takes to love someone. If I couldn’t take the fact that my husband and his brother were running from a life as navy grunts, and the fear of expectations they could never meet because they are both spoiled, lazy, and have no motivation, where would I be? If he could not accept that I am the child of a political prisoner, and cursed from the day I was born.” She ran her hands over her arms, drawing attention to the strange markings that covered them.

I nodded, it was true if I couldn’t accept what Ferron was there was no point in me sneaking into the town. She looked down at her arms, then back at me, her eyes cold.

“These are the scars that show the struggle that my people underwent. We were a civilization to be feared, one that stood tall and proud, but that was before the war, before the Empire began to expand, swallowing everything in its path. These scars tell the story of how we overcame everything to build an empire, and I show them to share our story with the world. What about you? Do you have something you are willing to fight for?” She smiled, sending shivers down my spine. 

Ferron was sleeping on a bench built into the space under the stairs, his head rolled back into the corner one foot up on the bench. Ghost was lying beside him, wrapped around his waist, his head buried in Ferron’s lap. Both of them seemed to be in a deep sleep, lost to the world. I giggled a little, remembering how Lydia would wrap around me in her sleep, as if she was scared to let me go. My heart sank, I had almost forgotten how badly I missed her.

I decided not to wake them up, they were far too peaceful to disturb. And I didn’t really want to know how Ghost would react.

“Do me a favor and tell him I’ll be along the beach, of you could, Miss Eleana. I really don’t want to disturb him.”

She laughed out loud nearly hysterically as I slipped back into the street and mounted up. By now the town was starting to wake up, so I stayed along the edge of town, hoping to avoid any friends of my father. I imagined he would come find me in time for lunch so I took my time, winding down the back alleys and looking in the windows of shops I had never before seen.

I suppose I had been wandering around for several hours before I reached the stretch of shore where he and I had met the day that I ran away. Imagine my surprise when I started to dismount and the now familiar voice called out, offering to assist me!

Really I don’t remember what we talked about, but I completely forgot to ask him where he was from, or anything pertinent for that matter. It was well past supper before I finally decided to head homewards. He seemed saddened by my announcement, and even offered to allow me the use of the room he shared with Ghost if I wanted to stay longer. I protested, stating that I could never feel right if I made Ghost sleep on a bench. He let lose a rich hearty laugh, grinning genuinely, the dimples that appeared only gave him more charm. My friend, this is the first time I had heard him laugh, truly laugh, and it was wonderful! It finally faded to a light chuckle, as he stated that it was a fare excuse. He stepped up beside the horse waiting for me, ready to help me mount.

As I settled into the saddle and took up the reins he caught me hand, gently kissing it.

I could feel the warmth of him lips, the smile that was forming in the corners of his mouth. As he looked up, meeting my eyes and whispering that he hoped to see me in a week.

I was shocked. Not by the kiss, but by the time. A week? I have to wait a week!

He backed away, his smile growing with each step, before he finally said to wish him luck, as they would be casting off as midnight.

How could he be leaving? What will I do without him there, my friend? I suppose I will see in a week. If this week ever comes to an end.

February 8th Imperial Year 793
I woke this morning to the sharpest pain in my chest. He was gone. 
I had no intention of leaving my room today. None. I wanted nothing more then to wallow in my sorrow and lament he fact that he was gone. And he didn’t even warm me he was going! 

My plan didn’t work though, as Father decided we were to lunch together. It has been over a month, and now, of all days he decides to speak with me? I was scared, to say the least. I thought for sure he had learned about Ferron and that he was planning to stop everything. That he would lock me in my room as if I was a damsel in distress. Granted, that is both horribly romantic as then a prince, or in my case a sailor, would have to save me. But also totally unreasonable. Father would just forbid me leaving, and fire any staff who helped me. It wouldn’t stop me though, I don’t think.

But do you know what he wanted? He wasted to apologize. He said he was sorry for everything he had put me through, he was sorry he didn’t talk it over with us before sending Lydia away, and that he was sorry that he was falling apart. He said that the doctor said the mother is not going to get better this time, so I should try and spend as much time as I can with her, that he will no longer restrict my access to her room.

My friend, he said Mother will never be well again.

Today I though, could not get worse, but it did. It got much much worse.

He said that he had seen me riding off yesterday, and he wanted to know where it was I was running to. I told him to the shore, as the sound of the waves and the fresh air cleared my head and I always felt better, even with everything that has happened.

He said I was not allowed to go riding alone again. That he forbid it. That if I wanted to leave the main house I needed to go in the carriage with Edgar. That he didn’t want to risk me becoming ill or getting hurt. He said that there were some horrible people in the village and that he needed to know I was safe. That if I couldn’t behave like the young lady I am he will have to assign me a personal servant, one who never leaves my side. He said they would even turn the empty room that connected mine and Lydia’s into a living space so I was never unsupervised.

I told him that I understood, and tried to change the subject by asking if I could have a painting set that I could carry with me. Something small and contained. I failed.

He went on to say that he was having some business associates in from the Emperial city tomorrow. That I was to be at dinner and dressed to impress, as their youngest son would be with them, and he was the perfect age to court me!

My friend, I feel sick! I can’t even go to town to see Ferron when he does come home.

February 9th Imperial Year 793
I cried most of last night, I think. I really don’t know. How could father trap me in this horrible house? How could he do something like that? Doesn’t he understand that I need an escape? And I don’t want to meet this family tonight. I think I shall act sick, just so that I can miss dinner. You don’t want to court a lady who is sick. Rosalie and the old laundress came in and fitted me for a dress for the dinner. It’s a soft pink with an antique lace. Really it is a lovely piece of work, but I could not be cleared that I do not want to put it on!

I want to ride away again, escape. I want to sit on the beach and watch the waves. have them wash away my sorrow. As Rosalie left the room I caught her by the arm. She turned and hugged me! 

"I’ll come up after dinner and we’ll figure something." And she winked and disappeared. 

I suppose I should go and see mother, though after what father said I am frightened of what I will find.

So I shall lament to you, my dearest, loyal, undying friend, because in the end, you are my only constant. And I will go and face that which is called duty.

Perhaps this is what Rosalie meant when she said that I had never know freedom.

February 10th Imperial Year 793
My dearest Friend. I am so sorry I waited so long to tell you of what happened yesterday evening. 

I put you in your safe place not a moment before Edgar brought up lunch. 
"You know there may be an advantage to what your father said. Think carefully before you proceed, Miss Genna." He said softly, slipping from my room. 
I shrugged, not really wanting to think. I was devastated. I wanted to wallow in my own dark thoughts and let the world outside burn.

Finally I slipped out and down the hallway. Father had promised I would not be kept from mother, so I had every intention of seeing her. I almost with I hadn’t. She was sleeping, her face covered by the mask that forced the air into her lungs. Each ragged breath she took was accompanied by the whirring of the billows in the machine next to her head. 
I don’t know how long I sat with her, holding onto her hand, refusing to cry. It seemed like a life time. Like I had only known her for a moment. Like she was in this bed, sleeping through the pain for a thousand years, and that I was there holding her hand, begging for her recovery, for her to open her eyes and smile. I felt the tears start and excused myself from the room, rushing down the hallway and stopped at my bedroom door. Rosalie was sitting on the edge of my bed, waiting. As I entered she rushed across to close the door and before I knew it I was lying beside her in my bed, she was holding me as if I was a child. All I could do was cry. 

We lay there for hours, judging by the chimes of the clock in the hall. Finally she sat up and took the corner of her apron and began to wipe my face clean.

She readied me for the evening in silence. I was numb, going through the motions but not caring. I stood looking at my reflection as Rosalie laced my dress, never saying a word, each move reluctant. It was as she pinned my hair into artificial curls that she finally spoke. She said that freedom was her greatest love, so why was she doomed to help them in clipping my wings. I turned to her, understanding for once what she meant, and told her that it was my fate. I was a bird in a cage, and I did not know how to fly, even if the door was left open. She was giving me friendship, something I had never known, and that alone was enough for me.

Dinner passed in awkward conversation and the boy, who I regret to say I don’t remember his name, looking for an excuse to be excused. 

I cried myself to sleep again last night. I think I will ask if Rosalie could take the job as my personal hand, as father had mentioned that he would assign me one, for the simple fact that I don’t want to be alone.

Today I sat with mother again. She was awake and reading when I slipped in. Her voice was soft and pained as she asked me to tell her everything that I had been doing, that he wanted to hear it all, because she couldn’t be there to see it. I told her about Ferron, about father’s threats, about Rosalie and how I wanted her to be there for me forever. I told her about the dinner last night, the boy father introduced me to, and how he seemed disappointed that I was annoyed by the entire thing.

She smiled and lay her hand on the side of my face. It was cold and trembling. 

"I love your father, because of you three, because you are the greatest gift that any man could give any woman. I do not want to see you live in solitude as I have. I want you to love who you long for, not who you are required to. Genna, live the life you love, not the life that we decided was your duty."

She said that, as she and Father have dined together the past few nights, she will tell him that I need a personal hand, and that he needs to allow me the freedom to make a few mistakes before I take over the family business, or I will never be ready to handle the issues that will arise. She also said that she would talk to Edgar about Rosalie. 

Then she closed her eyes and said that she needed to rest, but asked that I stay for a while longer, none the less.

I am tired now, and I think I am about to cry again, so I must bid you good night, my dearest friend.

February 11thImperial Year 793
I can’t stop thinking about what mother said yesterday. “live the life you love.” What could that have meant?
I sat with her for a while today, she wanted to know about Ferron, the stories he told me. I think she is enjoying the mystery of where he is from, and who he really is. She asked if I would bring her a couple of books from the study tomorrow, they are on government and geography. We only got to visit for an hour though, because the doctor came in to adjust the breathing machine, and after that she needed to rest. 

I passed father in he hallway, he voiced that the boy from the other night would be visiting again soon, that I needed to be a more gracious host. I nodded and slipped into my room. 

My dear friend, I cannot wait until Ferron’s return.

February 12thImperial Year 793
Dearest friend, It rained the duration of the day. I do hope that it isn’t storming at sea, I would hate to think that Ferron could be in danger! I wonder what he is doing…

The rain causes mother so much pain, I stopped in to give her the books, but she didn’t wake up so I left them on the table by her bed. I hope that she will be awake after dinner. I want so very much to see her.

Rosalie was as restless as I, so we decided to picnic in the attic and watch the storms roll in. She was rather horrified when I climbed out to sit on the roof and began begging me to come back where it was safe. In truth I had never thought of it as dangerous! I did this all the time. I loved the view of the ocean, and I loved the feeling of the rain, but she was quite upset, so I crawled back inside. I tried to explain to her how wonderful the rain felt, but she didn’t seem like she wanted to listen. We finally compromised and took our basket to the widow walk above. I told her all about Ferron, about how we met, and about Eleana who seemed to be married to his captain. Rosalie told me about Alder, the stable boy who has been helping me. He is her fiance! He is actually the one who introduced her to Edgar so that they cold be closer together. She said that they are planning to marry in the next year, and that they want to open a tavern of their own. 

She asked me if I had any dreams, but the truth is I had never thought about it. Everything has been decided for me from the moment I was born. I had never wondered what I would do, or what I wanted to be.

Perhaps I should give it some though. Could it be that is what mother meant? “Live a life you love”

February 13thImperial Year 793
Perhaps going into the rain was not so wise, as last night I woke in excruciating pain again. My chest was closing up so fast I did not think I would make it to the kitchen. I was lucky that Rosalie was in the hallway, though I’m not sure why, as it was the middle of the night, but I cannot question my good fortune. My head was starting to spin as she helped me to the kitchen and called for Edgar. 
Apparently Edgar had the same question I did. Why was she in the hallway? She said it was because she had a feeling something was wrong and was on her way up to my room. He agreed that with it raining the entire house had been on edge, and he had the treatment ready in case I had needed it. 

Rosalie asked if she could stay on my floor for the remainder of the night, as a precaution, and Edgar agreed.
It was nice, having someone I could trust so close. I had forgotten what it was like not to feel alone.

February 14thImperial Year 793
If you have ever heard the phrase “absence makes the heart grow fonder” then you will know how silly it sounds, but it is so true. I spent the entire morning wondering if I should go to town and hope to catch him, or if I should wait until tomorrow. Rosalie had the day off, so I decided to go ask mother what she thought.

If mother had given me permission to go, father couldn’t punish me. After all I had permission. 
Mother was sitting up reading one of the books she had gotten. She asked me if I would ask him a few questions for her. Perhaps we could figure out who he really was, and where he was from. I knew that smile. She had found a mystery and she was going to follow it to the end. I was so relieved that mother was herself today! I told her that he was supposed to be returning to port today, and asked if I could go and wait for him at the shore. She laughed, though it was weak and caused her to have a fit of coughing. She told me to go, but be sure to ask him that question. She also had me bring her a paper and pen, so it father was unhappy about my going to town, she could say that I had been sent to fetch something for her.

As soon as the letter was done I rushed off. I was in such a hurry I almost didn’t take the time to change. I took lunch on the kitchen as they readied my horse, and I was off before father even rang for his tea.

The pier was noisy and smelled of sweat and fish, and three ships were newly docked, their crews trying to move off the decks and into the inns and taverns. I don’t know how long I waited for him, as the sun sank lower in the sky. It felt like forever.
I was about to give up hope and return home when I saw two ships mooring just a little way down. That would make five ships in one day, it was unusually busy for our town. The earlier three I recognized as working for my father, as they used the company flag, the other two were odd. They bore a white flag with a horse and a goat, both with their bottoms like that of a fish. As the crews began to walk wearily towards the town I saw him, he was walking with Ghost and two lovely young women. One was wearing a skirt that was tied up around her waist so it hung well above her knees, showing that her striped stocking stopped at the thigh, her shirt hanging off her shoulders. The other wore dark pants and a vest, not much more. My heart sank. Was I only a friend?

He saw me and grinned, beaming as he shrugged them off, running to meet me. He looked tired, his hair was pulled back in a tangled pony tail. He reached up to help me down from the saddle, but paused, wiping his hands on his pants before taking me and lifting me down. 
He had grease smears across his forehead, and smelled strongly of sulfur. He said that he was surprised I was there, and wanted to know if I had waited long. I said I had not, and that I was supposed to fins a book for my mother. He nodded and offered to escort me once he had cleaned up a bit. I asked i his friends would mind waiting, and he laughed, stating that the two women who were with him would be happier if they could be left alone for a while. 

He still hand’t let go of my waist. Something in his face made me want to cry. He asked if I was happy at home, how my father had been treating me, how my mother’s health had been. A thousand questions came spilling out. He said how he had missed me, how he was thinking every day of the run how much he longed to come back to me. Then he blushed a little and sighed an apology, saying he was just tired. 

That’s when Ghost came and wrapped around him, pushing up between us and making him lat me go. 
He jumped back, brushing his shirt off, as if Ghost was disgusting, and started yelling in a thick accent. Ghost, in turn laughed and turned to me. Something about him is just not right, it makes me ridiculously uncomfortable being around him. I’m not entirely sure how to describe what happened next, it happened so fast, but I will try. Ghost turned to me and stated that I was in love with Ferron. I nodded, not really sure what was happening, and he then stated that Ferron was in love with me. He said that was odd, as Ferron was usually the kiss and run type and then Ghost asked me flat out what made me different. As I’m sure you can assume, I managed to say I had not the slightest idea, so Ghost grabbed me and kissed me. Not a peck, but I mean, aggressively, and rather passionately kissed me! I didn’t know what to do. I stepped back in shock, and the look on Ferron’s face was total devastation and horror. I never would have expected Ghost to be so soft, his lips so warm. I have kissed a man before, but this was different. I had also never realized that Ghost was so small. If I had to guess, I would say he stood at an even five feet. 

But all of that was an after thought. I was worried about Ferron. He had to be furious! I rushed to him and wrapped around him. He slowly put his arms around me, I could feel him glaring at Ghost. He was angry, I could feel it, but not at me. He was shouting at Ghost, who was laughing like a deranged madman. A high melodic, almost inhuman and unusually feminine laugh.

He was saying that I wasn’t like that. I was to be respected, that I was a lady of the caliber Ghost couldn’t understand. Ghost only laughed louder, finally choking out that I was a lady to the caliber that Ferron was scared to kiss me!

I could feel him shaking in anger. He was terrifying. I was actually afraid of him, but Ghost didn’t seem to notice. He was still standing, lost in his madness. Ghost started to slow, asking Ferron if he was scared, scared that he wouldn’t measure up to my standard, scared that if he crossed into the taboo that I wold be lost. Scared that he would destroy me. Then, I can still hear the calm melodic voice, the laughter suddenly stopping. 

"Or, Lord Ferron Rowe, are you scared that you will hurt her, that you will be disappointed in her. Should I be the one to teach her how to please a sailor? Or would you rather she learn to please a young lord."

Ferron stepped back away from me. The look on his face, he was out for blood. I wanted to stop him. I wanted to hit Ghost, but I was afraid that if he acted now, he would kill someone. I had never imagined he was capable of hurting anyone, much less murder. But this man was, this man that Ferron had become, he was capable of so much worse then murder. He took a step towards Ghost, growling that if Anyone so much as touched me he would make them beg for death.

"Going to kill me Ron?" Ghost hissed "It wouldn’t be the first time you killed someone, would it? It wouldn’t be that hard… Show the girl what you really are, Lord Rowe."

I don’t know what came over me, but I had to stop this. I knew that I loved Ferron, even if he was a horrible person, even if he had killed people, even if he had a thousand women waiting for him all over the world, I loved him. I stepped between them, throwing my arms around his neck and pulling him into a kiss. I promised him that I didn’t care who he was, that I was his. That if he really loved me, I would always be his. That nothing Ghost, or anyone did to me could change the fact that my heart was his.

He looked down at me shocked. A sad smile starting to form on his face as he tried to gently detach me. I refused to let go. His heart was still racing, I could still feel the anger. I couldn’t let him go until he was peaceful. I don’t know why, I will never understand what happened, but I couldn’t let him go. Not until he was the man I loved.

He finally sighed and pushed me away. My heart broke as he lifted me onto the saddle again. He smiled up at me, but I could tell he didn’t feel any joy at all.

"Ghost is right, you know. You are of society, and I cast that life away. You deserve someone who will be there for you, who is respectable, not a fallen Lord with a price on his head. Go home, darling, I am too old for you anyways." 

I grabbed his hand, as he handed me the reins. I begged him not to say that. To let me stay with him. I begged him to tell me the truth, to tell me if he loved me, if he had ever loved me. The pain in my chest was so great that I wasn’t able to tell if it was my heart breaking, or my lungs failing me. He stood in silence, watching my face. I thought for sure he would cry. I was.

Finally he choked out that he had loved me from the start, that each time I had come, he had hoped it was the last so he would never have to say good bye, that he had avoided learning my name, so that when they were gone he would have nothing to hold on to. He begged me to go home and forget him and he kissed my fingers again. Sliding his had out of mine. Ghost suddenly stepped up beside him, demanding that he take me down, that we needed to get to the inn. He sounded so urgent. Ferron pushed him away, stepping back from me.

Ghost started to sound panicked. He shouted that he believed us now, that we really did love each other, that he was wrong to test that out of his own selfish curiosity he was curious. He said that he was doing something else as well, that he was taking my temperature. Ferron’s entire deneanure changed. He turned to Ghost demanding to know what he was. 

The world was starting to fade. If I started now, at a full gallop I might make it to the garden before I fainted. The pain was no longer masked by my broken heart. I would worry about that later. Ferron snatched away the reins and skillfully stepped up behind me. He was a sailor, perhaps, but he certainly knew his way around a horse. Ghost was giving him directions, but I was no longer listening. I was counting seconds, breathing. I was breathing. I had to keep breathing. I suppose I started to lose consciousness on the way home. Though I’m not sure where. I do know that he stayed in the kitchen while Edgar forced the medicine into my lungs. That he was sitting on my dresser looking through one of my books when I woke, my head still spinning. 

He grinned as I sat up and joked that Ghost has that effect on people. He slid down and came to stand beside me, asking if I was okay. I nodded, not trusting my voice just yet. Rosalie came in looking shocked, to say the least. 

"No wonder, Miss Genna. Your mother is awake, and wanted to know if you had gotten the books, as she is sure your father will ask." Rosalie giggled.

I fell back into the pillow. I had totally forgotten the books. Ferron laughed, pointing to the table beside my bed, they were there. 
"How?" I managed to choke out. Ferron laughed again, saying that Edgar had said I would be in trouble, so they had magicked them up for me. That is when Rosalie nearly killed me. She said that Mother wanted to meet Ferron. That father had a meeting and was leaving tomorrow morning, and would be gone for three days, so there was time. Ferron laughed again, saying he would be back tomorrow, and asking me not to get so excited next time I say Ghost. With that he followed Rosalie out of the room.

My dear friend, my dear dear friend. I think I shall die for sure, and I fear it will be Ferron who kills me.


February 16th Imperial Year 793
Sorry I took so long to write this down, yesterday was exhausting.
Mother was insistent that she meet Ferron, so he came for a late lunch. And I have never seen him look so fine. He was surly dressed to impress. We took tea in mothers room, and they talked about sailing, and about tradition in his home country. He was actually born outside of the empire! Apparently they have a very old fashioned system there. That your entire future is determined on who your parents were, unless you were able to marry into a different station. He told us about his father who was a lieutenant in the local guard, and how his older brother was supposed to take on that position, but he was so skilled that he was chosen for the personal guard of the country's monarch! 

This all confused mother, who couldn't seem to understand why he would leave such a comfortable life to be a sailor. I have to quote him exactly, in his response, as it was so strange and so meaningful.

"Ma'am,and I mean you no disrespect in saying this, but can you tell me in honest that you never felt as though you were a slave to your social standing? True, it was nice to know that any desire that crossed your mind would be fulfilled so long as you were willing to bend far enough backwards and kill your mind of any longing for what lay outside the walls of your elegant prison. I could not live that way. I could not stand the actions of my peers, or the treatment that my friends were subjected to. I could not deny my friendships because they were considered less then human because they were born into the wrong family. And, in the hope that you will still allow me to see your daughter, I will tell you the final straw. I was cast out for defending a young lady from a pig who outranked me in the social ladder."

My mother looked shocked for a moment and asked me to cover my ears. As I'm sure you have already guessed, I faked it.

I was quite surprised by what my mother said next. She asked him bluntly if the girl was being raped. My mother, using such lewd words! Ferron looked at his lap. He didn't want to talk about it, I could tell. But mother wanted all the answers. She was going to pick him apart. I wanted so badly to save him, I knew better then anyone who cruel my mother could be. 

He finally nodded, saying there reached a point when he could no longer turn a blind eye to the actions of his peers and superiors. He also stated that he himself was not a saint, there were many things in his past the he was not proud of. 

That was the worst thing he could have done. Now she was going to drag every dark secret he had ever hidden out and hang it with the laundry for the world to see.

He seemed to know there was no way out because he sighed and glanced at me, as if begging me not to listen.

He then told mother of his past, how he had believed himself superior, and had often teased the children that society considered below him. How he, in turn, was bullied and teased by his peers, and even his own brother for being the youngest, that the reason things changed was because he met Ghost, that Ghost was born in the lowest social class they had, but he felt bad for the was he was treated by the others. And that Ghost was able to see his own fears and pains.

He said that it really changed the way he saw the world, but it wan't until he had gone to sea that he realized that no one person is better then anyone else, unless their actions deemed them to be. Thus honor was important.

Mother seemed satisfied with these answers, but I could tell she had one more question. And I really didn't think I wanted to know.

She asked him, and with a strait face, how may young women he had promised the world to, and if he was really willing to leave the freedom of the sea to stay by my side, because there would come a day that I would need someone.

I pressed my hands even harder over my ears, not wanting to know the answer. Somehow, and I can't imagine how, I was still able to hear his answer.

"Ma'am, I hope you understand when I say I don'y know the answer to that question yet. I would hate to promise something that I could not uphold. However I imagine that it is entirely possible that I will come to love her to that extent. If there is another who could, and should, fill that role, I will gladly step aside so that he could do so. Though I admit it would be grudgingly. As for the first question. I have entertained many ladies. I have been at sea for nearly three years, and as I'm sure you can imagine, it can be a lonely place. Have I ever left a broken heart? I regret to say that I have, but it was only one, and it was when I first left home. Will I continue to live the life of a sailor? I cannot lie to you ma'am, as of today I intend to, but should I ever choose to take your daughter into my arms, you have my word, I would never hold another woman for as long as she is waiting for me. I respect her far beyond anything that I have known possible."

This seemed to satisfy her, as she motioned that I could listen again. Ferron was looking down, his face red, though I could not tell if it was embarrassment or perhaps he was truly distraught by his past.

As soon as lunch was over he excused himself, saying there was work to be done, as a sailor never has a day off, and they had another run coming in three days time, assuming there were no storms.

As soon as the door closed mother turned to me and smiled. She said that she liked him, even if he did leave a few obvious holes in his story. She said that she suspected that he was not your average sailor, but that she would accept him none the less. She said to keep this a secret from father for a little longer. She also said that if he should ever attempt to cross any boundaries before he proved his willingness to give up the sea, or at least take on a position in my fathers company, then I would be forbidden from ever seeing him again. 

My dearest friend, Mother likes him!

February 17th Imperial Year 793
My dear friend, I am so glad that Father is away on business until this evening! It works our wonderfully that he arrives home at nearly the same time that Ferron must depart!

This is truly fantastic for me. I was able to go to town again yesterday, going back to the bar to see Ferron. It's actually not so intimidating, now that I know he is there, and that I have spoken with Eleana. The Bar is called The Caged Crow. Odd name for a bar that caters to sailors. 

The barkeep greeted me as I slipped in this morning, stating that I was getting bolder and stronger. I nodded, not sure what an appropriate response would be. He offered me tea or coffee on the house, should I desire. And as it seemed that everyone was still sleeping, I graciously accepted. The barkeep, and I learned his name is Quinlan, though he prefers Quin. We talked for a bit about the weather, and he told me that there had been an increased number of pirates attacks in the aria, so soldiers for hire were coming to town in droves looking for employment. He said that Eaux Reves had never been a quiet town, as it was small enough the empire payed in no attention, but it was in a strategic location, and had a harbor that would support quite a few more ships then it usually sheltered. He said that there was only one legitimate business in town, Oryn Spice and Trade, so prices were unusually high, unless brought in under the radar by smugglers or pirates.
I asked how the company could affect the price of things so dramatically. As it turns out Father has an agreement with the Empire that allows him to ship goods other then spices. So he ships our product out, and on the return trip, he brings in the imports the town needs. The other options are to trade with the other side of the island, but that is even more costly, as there is currently no effective way to transport large shipments.

I had no idea that this man was so well educated in economics, and I expressed that he should conciser working in a position that suited his knowledge. He laughed at me and said that he had learned it all from listening to the merchants and sailors talk. He said that he was something of a mercenary himself, as he listened to everything, but charged for information.

I was surprised, and asked him if my father ever purchased information from he. He said I had been with father the last time information was traded.

I felt a bit silly having not understood what father was doing. I was planning on asking him if the men that Father hired that day were the soldiers he spoke of, but we were interrupted as someone came and sat beside me. 

I recognized him immediately. He was one of the men father had met with, and I began to feel a bit uneasy. He looked over at me and was a good bit surprised.

"Not such a timid little mouse after all, darling?" Though I am unsure if he was asking a question of making a statement. 

He was actually rather hansom. Seemingly in his early thirties, his face was tanned and freckled from a life at sea. But his sandy brown hair hanging loosely to his shoulders and the thick mustache that curled up around his cheeks have him an almost elegant air about him. It was his eyes though, endlessly blue, as deep as the ocean. I knew from the lines in his face he had seen many many adventures. That he could tell of things far beyond the scopes of my own imagination. He grinned at me, and twisted the ends of his mustache into tighter curls. Asking Quin if he had been cruel enough to open a tab under such a fine young lady. Quin just shook his head and said that I had already been spoken for. The man laughed again, He said I was to young, and that he preferred his women the way he took his wine. Aged to perfection.

Quin laughed at this, and the man winked at me, saying he could even crack the old crow with his charms.

At this point I was laughing as well. He really was charming. He then leaned in close, and in a most serious voice said that I was to delicate and lovely to be tainted by the hands of a sailor. He laughed again at his comment, or at my blushing. I can't really be sure.

Anyhow, He introduced himself as Captain Adrien Baccarat, handsome stallion and lover of freedom, women, and free women.

I sat in shock. No matter how I thought of it the result was not something Mother would have approved of. I was so glad when I heard the voice call me from the corner o

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