|The Stone Fountain
Author: Row. Clemens PM
Barons and royals have been mysteriously vanishing from the lands...however, one day Miss Caterina is invited to a grand masked ball where the last of the nobles are to be ripped away before her eyes, and she is the only one to witness the kidnapping. Will she be able to help save those who have been taken away? Or will she too be snatched at by the mysterious black figure?Rated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Romance - Chapters: 9 - Words: 14,271 - Reviews: 6 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 05-18-13 - Published: 10-03-12 - id: 3062730
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The sun spilt over the lands that evening like the golden sands dripping from a time dial. The glittering orange specks that make my cheeks covered the lands, and the deepest violet arose to the top of the sky. The hour was soon coming, where darling Caterina would have her life changed forever. And truth be told, no one does expect changes to happen—everyone just goes about their day, like the trickles of water among a stream. But that, you see, is the first mistake of mankind.
A man eager for cattle, who has waited years to earn enough to buy them. He will buy any that he sees the moment he has the earnings. A young lady who seeks romance and fortune. Are these two not alike? Voracious and quick to make a snatch at whatever they can grasp—the branches of our world that clings to the Trunk of Opportunity. Only until later shall they realize the unbalanced scale of fate, and the desperate brim of luck. Only until later shall that man realize he had bought cattle mangled and sick, doomed for an early death.
Caterina and her father took ways towards the eastern stone trail among the town. They hired a carriage, a small one that shook like the grounds during the wrath of the earth, and left by the time the moon had begun rising towards the heavens. Round lamp-posts gleamed like the stars—for Baron Walter wouldn't have his grand night any other way—along the paths and walkways. The town was lit by these luminescent orbs, battling the sparkles of the stars that pulsed like melodies from a piano. People walked along the pathways, readied by heavy perfume and clothed in their fine-wear. Silver coaches treaded past, and chatters were flying into the air. Now remember, this was only getting to the ball.
The manor was hidden far in the corner of the town, sitting patiently in its dainty allure. When Caterina and her father did arrive, the young girl sat still as the statues that silhouetted the curved stairways, leading to the large double-doors of the manor. Statues of angels—how unfitting. Unless they were meant to represent the fallen ones from the sky. As appealing as they may sound to some, their cracked faces and wearied surfaces were slathered in vines. But that night, their frightening beauty was hidden by the glowing fountain that filled the ground, between the two winding stone stairs.
Miss Caterina might have looked quite lovely and lithely, but her cheeks flared with a blush of timidity. She eyed her father a few times, only to turn her gaze to the carriage's carpeting. Waves of voices could be heard from beyond, and certainly so—the manor's front garden was the delight of the night. Swarms of gents and ladies poured throughout, touching the hedges, the roses, the bushes—whatever they sought to pester with. I, of course, stood behind the entrance of the manor, guarding the doors and making sure none came in. My lord, previously then, was tidying himself up as I opened the doors a slight creak enough to peak at the gatherers. Miss Caterina's carriage stood far off, behind the metal gates that had been left open. She, too, had peaked out of her own window. And this only unsettled her more.
Now, I realize how one might begin questioning my knowing of all of this, and of things that I cannot possibly see. I am of man. I am of no notion made from beings of angels or devils, nor am I made from gods or nephilims. I am, however, a deceiver. And I say this with pride—when you are a jester, no one expects knowledge and speculations to spill from your lips. Though, I am unlike the gossipers of the townsfolk. And there is great reason for this, as you will hear later in my tale.
Caterina, the timid one, realized the seeping time of the night. Quite on spot of fate, certainly. She looked at her father, a solid glance upon him. "Do I look alright?" she asked, pausing. "You will be back on time?"
Luccio grinned, as a father should. "You are beautiful. Go now. I will return by the morrow's sunlight."
And away did she go. The cold air bit against her cheek when she stepped out of the carriage. Glowing in her burgundy white-laced gown, she was a dazzling array, a snow-flower floating across the courtyard. Everyone around turned, to look at her at least once with their sculpted masks. Chiding grins painted with silver, some adorned with the bauta, others with wide beaks, and some shaped like the sun and the moons—all turned their heads to the maskless young girl. Her beauty was better without a mask indeed; her gown was quite simple compared to the flaring silver trusses, the golden blankets and woven jewels against the corsets of other women.
Miss Caterina ricocheted throughout the courtyard, unsure of what to do for the few minutes that passed by; everyone had come along with someone—and she, alone. The night was warm with the many bodies occupying the area, and everyone waited for the moment when the ball was truly to start.
And so the time came.
The double-doors, polished and shining against the moonlight, pried open. Slow and enchanting was how I and my fellow companion were instructed to open them. And that was how it was done.
The gatherers grew into a hush beneath their masks. They turned their heads up, glaring at the doors to witness the announcement.
I bowed, lowly and humbly. "May I present the host of our grand night, Baron Walter."
Baron Walter stepped across the stairway balcony, to the edge of the black rails. Ah, yes. Even behind their masks, the people emitted an atmosphere that proved enchantment and adoration for a lord. Baron Walter had dressed himself in the finest coattail, marked by the night's glorious sky. His cravat was made of the finest linen available, and embroidered by silk threads. He had a strong jaw, a straight nose that can only be made by the finest artisans, and cheek bones high for royalty. A handsome fellow to the lot of them really. He wore no hat onto of his brown hair, and his violet eyes stared upon his guests welcomingly.
Love is blind, love is a putrid thing. An unfair wheel of life. Baron Walter had eyed across the courtyard, beaming gladly and staring at the dazzling sight of gallant gowns and hidden faces. And it was then did he find the purest, most fragile one among the lot; darling Caterina had turned her maskless eyes up to him, fretful within her pure flesh. I cannot say what occurred between them then. But neither of them could have torn their eyes away from each other. Those little passing seconds amid them was better to have never happened.
"Gentlemen," he said, beaming all the more to Miss Caterina, "and ladies. I am glad to have you attend my ball, after being deprived of festivities for so many years. I have opened the doors to my manor, and there you will find the entrance to the ballrooms where I shall formally introduce and greet all of you individually later tonight. I have asked you all to wear masks. I wish to not judge any I meet, nor shall you judge those that you meet. Inside awaits grand entertainment for your pleasures, and food to fill your tastes. I will join all of you shortly. And please, I do ever hope you enjoy your stay."
Another smile left Baron Walter's lips, and it had solely been meant for Caterina. The lord slipped back into the manor, and the guests muttered among themselves. Bowing with my fellow companion to the guests, the duo of jesters floated back into the manor to position ourselves in the ballrooms. Ah, but that's not right, is it?
I slipped through the manor, just behind my lord, to help prepare what needed attending to.