It was a charmed life living on the floating island of Rynne, especially for those of noble blood. Every need was attended to, every wish fulfilled. Dawn Leville wandered around her family’s estate aimlessly. It was a sweet spring afternoon and her feet found their way into the back gardens. Her mother, Jocelyn Gael-Leville, was taking her tea by the fountain. Settling down in the chair opposite mother, Dawn heaved a little sigh.
“Don’t sigh like that, Dawn. It isn’t ladylike.” Her mother set her cup down on the china saucer and placed her hands in her lap. “Come, child, tell me what is bothering you.”
“I’m bored, mother,” Dawn whined. Immediately she could tell that she had said the wrong thing in the wrong tone of voice because Jocelyn’s lips thinned into a line. She cringed, the silence stretching on. Then her mother said something that shocked her.
“Well,” she replied, standing. “I think it’s time that you were introduced as a lady to our society.”
She blinked her light green eyes in shock. Dawn had been pining for this for almost a full year now, but she had always been refused. Instantly she grew wary.
“I’m…. overjoyed, mother, but…” she hesitated, “Why now? What’s the catch?”
Jocelyn gave her daughter a dark, wolfish smile. “The catch is that you’re going to have to think like that for the rest of your life now, my dear. Our society isn’t all parties and wine, galas and pretty dresses. We make alliances, form contracts, discredit and destroy our enemies and we do it all with sweet smiles and soft words. If you’re so bored of your care-free life, I think it’s time you learned how to be a productive member of this family.”
Swallowing, Dawn wasn’t sure how to feel about the news. She was getting something she had wanted, but the price seemed very steep. Her mother sensed her trepidation.
“It’s a package deal, darling. If you want to be a lady you’ll learn to act like one. And,” she added with a little twist of her lips, “We’ll need to start working on your betrothal. Oh, it’ll take some time, don’t you worry about that, dear.” She patted her daughter on the cheek as her face went slightly ashen at the thought of marriage.
Jocelyn stood, arranging her skirts and picking up her fan.
“I’m so glad we had this chat, darling. I’ll go tell your father the good news.”
Dawn was left in the garden staring after her mother.
“What have I done?” she thought worriedly. Continue reading