“My lady, please stop this nonsense!” cried the maid as her master and longtime friend threw things wildly in every direction, looking for some undiscovered object hidden somewhere in the folds of her father’s room.
“I know it’s in here . . . ,” said her young master as she prowled around the room looking for her target with an untamable fire in her emerald eyes.
“And what if it isn’t, Sesily!? Just think about how livid your father will be when he finds this mess. Oh! I’ll never clean this up in time,” whimpered the maid as she set about dusting and putting things back to where she thought they should go, brushing dirt off her extravagant violet dress. It was frilled at the bottom and puffed out, quite common in the current time frame. The maid brushed a loose strand of her wavy brown hair out of her eyes, looking around, harried.
“If I find this, Laura, you won’t ever have to clean his room again. Now stop redecorating and help me look!”
The maid, Laura, sniveled noiselessly and ceased cleaning the now-overturned room, but she adamantly refused to go through her master’s belongings. She watched with frustration as his daughter ripped open armoires, dressers, and the like, hastily emptying its contents onto the floor, cursing under her breath, and moving on to a different spot. “Please Sesily, if you continue this I won’t have to clean his room ever again, whether you find it or not! He’ll have me put out on the streets in seconds if he finds out I knew about this.”
“Oh, stop complaining already and leave, if that’s what it takes.” Her master suddenly stopped rummaging through the room and turned to give the maid a dark glare. “I don’t need your help, Laura. I’ll just have to clean this room by myself if you leave. If your job is more important than the truth, then get out. And that’s an order.”
Laura looked back into her master’s eyes and saw the wild determination coursing through the youthful girl. Laura, still sobbing, threw down the duster and opened one of the mahogany cabinets to her left. She quickly peered through it with a curious eye. There didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary, so she continued to the next cabinet. She jumped when a soft hand touched her shoulder. Turning, she saw herself looking into her young master’s bright, emerald-green eyes peering kindly back at her. “Thank you for finally deciding to help, Laura, but I hear my father coming. Hide under the bed or something, quick,” she whispered. Sesily’s hearing was quite good; Laura was surprised. She had not even heard the slightest noise. Without needing to be told twice, Laura moved as fast as lightning toward the bed and crawled under it, dismissing how dirty her purple dress was getting. Even though she feverishly cleaned his room every day, he never once let her clean under his bed. “Wait a minute,” Laura thought as she lay down flat under the bed. She turned her head a small fraction, quickly scanning at what was under there.
The door squeaked open, and a large man with dark blond hair and a stunning gaze stepped into the room. His cheekbones were high, his eyes dark, and he was very tall. He gave out a look of nobility. “Hello, father . . . ,” said the young girl, who was also blonde, as she stood unyieldingly in front of him. He looked at her, dumbstruck, and then looked behind her once more at the mess that was his room. His clothes lay in piles up to his knees, his personal belongings were thrown across the room, his elegant wood furnishings were either tipped over or completely bare, and the drawers were torn right out of them. “What have you done!?” he screamed at her. She did not back down, but still stood in his path, transfixed in a solemn stare. Her small frame, compared to his, was quite interesting; she was sleek and graceful while he was big and burly. Her unnaturally long blonde hair cascaded down her sides, falling gently over her black casual wear. Her facial features were soft,not firmly set like her father’s.
“I found it!” came a muffled yell from under the bed. The man instantly looked toward the sudden noise and bounded toward it.
“Father!” the young girl called, but he paid no attention to her as he squatted down and looked under the bed.
“Laura! What are you doing in here?” the man boomed.
“Father, listen to me, please!” his daughter pleaded.
“Master, I can explain!” his maid begged.
The man got up and turned toward his daughter. “Explain to me what’s going on right now!” Laura crawled out from under the bed and brushed some of the dust off the front of her dress. The young girl looked over and noticed what Laura had in her hand. “I knew you had it, father, I just didn’t know where,” she said in a threatening tone. He gave her an odd look.“Have what?”
His daughter chuckled. “Have what, you ask? Just look over at Laura there and I’m sure you’ll know, just in case you forgot.” The man obliged, looking madly over to Laura. He saw a dusty, old, brown box tucked under her left arm. Laura looked at him in fear. Turning back to his daughter, he questioned her one more time. “What
Her smug face instantly turned to one of confusion. “You know very well what it is father. Why it’s the—”
The door to her father’s bedroom swung open once more, and a sleek figure entered the room.
“Well, well, well? What do we have here? What a mess.” The feminine figure moved into view.
The daughter’s eyes twitched with hatred at the voluptuous woman who now stood there, near the door, wearing the fakest of smiles and a dark black dress, which her flowing hair just seemed to melt into. Her heels clicked along the hardwood floor as she approached her father and swung her long, slender arms around his.
Her enchanting look evaporated instantly, seeing the box under the maid’s arm. “Darling, the maid is fired,” she whispered into his ear, loud enough for everyone to hear.
The man’s daughter caught the look in the woman’s eye when she saw the box. She moved herself over to Laura, standing protectively in front of her. “He doesn’t know what this is . . . and you seem to, Sasha. Tell me, is it yours?” She closed her eyes and then reopened them slowly in an intimidating form. “Why, yes dear, the box is mine. Now could you please take it from that homeless wench and give it to Mommy?”
“You’re not even my mother you seductive—”
“What is going on?” cried the man, decidedly confused.
“Don’t worry, Albert, just go outside and leave us girls alone. We’ll talk later.” As if in a trance her father left the room, despite his daughter calling for him to stay.
The woman slammed the door shut and locked it right after he departed.
The young girl and Laura, who was trying to fade from sight, both glared at the woman.
“Give it to me, now,” Sasha spoke softly.
Laura piped up. “I have no obligation to do anything you say, ma’am. I work solely for the Dearborns.”
“Well, then, you should know, I am officially a Dearborn now. Give me the box.” The confused maid merely gripped onto the ornate box tighter.
“Laura, please don’t give it to her. You know what’s in there.”
“Well, actually, master, no, not really.”
Sasha chuckled. “My dear, sweet, ignorant child, Sesily . . . you didn’t even think to inform this poor girl as to what’s inside?”
Sesily looked up. “To be quite honest, I have no idea what it is myself, but I’m about to crack it open so we can have a look.”
“No!” Sasha screamed, but then quickly calmed herself. “You shouldn’t do that, dear.” Sesily gave her a suspicious look.
“Laura, hand me the box,” Sesily said. She was only too happy to get rid of the incriminating treasure, and the oaken box with the trimmed gold edges was passed from Laura to Sesily. She put her hand on the latch and flicked it open.
“Tell me what’s in here or I’m going to open it.” She gave her a twisted smile.
Sasha looked at her with emotionless eyes. “Don’t play with me, girl. You know very well what’s in there or else you wouldn’t have gone out looking for it. Now tell me how you found out.”
“I might as well since you’re wondering so much. One of the caretakers used to tell me all kinds of stories about it when I was young, about how people like you abuse its power to get what you want!”
“This caretaker, would he be the one who left two months ago?” Sasha smirked. “He didn’t quit.”
Sesily’s blood ran cold.
“Now give it to me now or the maid is next.” Sesily noticed for the first time that there was a knife clenched in Sasha’s right hand.
“You wouldn’t be able to . . . ,” Sesily mumbled. “There are guards all over the mansion. If you hurt her you would be captured before you could even—”
“Poor, sweet young girl,” Sasha intervened. “You really don’t know what I’m capable of. Surely you’ve noticed it, your father and the staff?” Sesily tensed. “They are no longer exactly . . . human . . . ”
Sesily stared blankly into Sasha’s wide, auburn eyes. “Give me the box and I can show you,” Sasha said with an intimidating grin. Sasha held the knife out in front of her, pointing it directly at Sesily. “It’s quite an easy process, actually . . . ,” she said. “Just . . . destroy the person’s soul . . . fill it up with a piece of your own . . . . they become
attached to you,” Sasha smiled. “There’s only one flaw to that. With each person you take, you lose a part of you, permanently. That’s why I’ve been using your father’s soul for it, torn to shreds, the poor thing. I doubt he’d be able to survive another.”
Sesily’s iron gaze faltered, knowing the terrible phenomenon that had happened to her father obviously shook her courage. She quickly came over herself.
“Why are you telling me all of this?” Sesily questioned the malevolent Sasha.
Sasha merely smiled at Sesily. “To strike fear into your heart, to break you down, to make you fall to your knees, and surrender out of terror. To humiliate you before I finally shut you up.”
Sesily didn’t find Sasha’s reasoning to be powerful enough, and boldly stated, “If you think that anything you said is about to make me crumple over and start crying, then you’re completely insane. Talking about using magic doesn’t exactly scare me. If you could do the real thing, maybe.”
Sasha’s soulless eyes peered into the lively ones of Sesily’s. “And don’t think this never-ending stare down of yours intimidates me, either.”
Laura, convinced that nobody was paying any attention to her, had already crept all throughout the room, all the way to the door. She subtly unlocked it and slipped out, unnoticed. She began to make her way up the flight of stairs that ended just outside the door when a big, meaty hand grabbed her shoulder. “What’s going on in there? Is Sasha alright?” Albert, Sesily’s possessed father, said.
Laura knew his condition, how he was completely brainwashed by Sasha’s magic. She quickly played this to her advantage. “Yes, she’s fine, she just wants you to stay out of the bedroom—Oh, I almost forgot. She wanted you to tell everyone in the mansion that she’s trying to kill your daughter.”
Albert’s blank gaze looked from Laura to the door. “Is that really what she said?” he said mindlessly.
“Yes, it is. Now you better hurry before she gets upset.” Laura couldn’t believe the man’s stupidity. Obviously, whatever curse Sasha had placed on him was weak, if he could so easily be convinced that Sasha wanted this.
“Ok, do you know where I can find everyone?” he asked, still crazed into thinking Laura spoke the truth. She only wished she had known about this sooner; she wouldn’t have had ever clean the mansion, and she probably could have gotten immeasurable amount of money off the man.
“It’s your house, Albert,” Laura stated, not sure herself of where everyone would be around this time, probably asleep. “Just don’t tell anyone I said it or I—Sasha, I mean, might be in a lot of trouble.”
The man bolted up the stairs without answering her, his mind warped, and all he could do was follow the simple instructions. Laura scampered up the stairs after him, making sure that anyone who had not been possessed by Sasha knew; it had only been about a third of the people who worked there who seemed to be slightly different.
Five minutes had passed and not another word was spoken by either Sesily or Sasha. Sasha finally decided to break the silence. “To use the thing kept inside of that box, you must know its name . . . did Justin tell you that?”
Justin was the name of the poor butler who had apparently fallen victim to Sasha’s evil. Sesily remembered him clearly even though he had worked there for only a short time. He was one of the best friends she had ever had. “Did he even know, I wonder? I forgot to ask him as I tortured
him . . . ” Justin was the first person Sesily had ever met who told her stories about almost anything. He was only two years older than her, and he had been on so many adventures. Sesily envied him. One day, she hoped, she would be able to go on adventures too, visit faraway villages, and put her sword skills to use.
“I suggest you get your head out of the clouds, girl. Your mother is addressing you.”
Sesily had only known Justin for a few short months, but during that time she had fallen for him. She hauntingly remembered the day he had told her that he was moving on, that he was going to a town not too far to the west named “Trall.” Sesily had never told him of her feelings for him, and now she wished she had.
“I sometimes wondered where he heard the stories about this. He claimed he was from the north. I came from the north, too, but I made sure I eliminated anyone who knew about it.”