"Mistress, your father, Lord Roland, is home, hurry, come quick!"

Anne looked up from the water well to one of the random servants of the house. "How odd," she murmured to herself, "he wasn't expected home until next week." Anne and her father did not have much in common, and ever since her mother had died, they had always been distant. One would not be able to tell that the old man even had any children, he traveled so much, and never sent word to anyone. One simply considered him an unmarried man. He hadn't loved his wife, and he always had thought children were a bother. Anne did not much care. At the age of ten she had stopped trying to get her father to notice her, and sought solitude very often. She came to like being alone better than having someone along with her.

Anne walked to the front of the manner as her father was dismounting, and went to stand by all the favored servants of the house, head bowed. Her father walked toward her looked her up and down then smirked his disgust. She raised her head at the sound and sent a questioning look to a servant that was standing behind her father. Catching the look her father told her flat out what he thought of her since his return. His opinion never changed, no matter how often he was gone.

"Girl, when are you going to clean yourself up and act like a person of society? You look, so... dirty. It won't ever do. Why he'd think you nothing but a poor peasant when he comes to pick you up." He then turned his back on her and, to a servant, gestured to the cart that carried his belongings. "One of those trunks holds new clothing for my daughter. Find it then introduce her to a washtub. She shall put on one of the gowns and join me for dinner tonight." The servant nodded but did not make a move for the cart, expecting one of the men to lug it off the cart for her. Roland gave her a significant look then pointed again at the cart. "Get moving, now." The servant then caught his meaning and scuttled off towards the cart.

"Umm, father..." Anne began timidly, stepping in his way. "Who is, uh, 'picking me up'?"

"Foolish girl. Your betrothed. Now get going. You'll need to pack your things, you'll be leaving tonight."

"Wh- what?! H- how-" stammered a suddenly breathless Anne.

"Your ten and seven, Anne. Its about time you married. I have already gone searching for you and a laird in Scotland... somewhere, has offered to take you as his bride. Now get going we do not have all day."

A girl named Danielle helped her get ready. They were approximately the same age. She could feel the tension in her muscles increase as Danielle tightened the stings of the new dress. The hatred radiating from Danielle was obvious, yet she had no idea why it was aimed at her. Danielle almost literally forced her down onto the stool where she began to relentlessly pull out the long braid then began combing, hard. After a great many tugs Danielle eventually came to the point of curling it up partway. then more tugging and pulling came. Finally Danielle relented and finished up quickly, then stood up.

Anne's scalp hurt like it was ablaze, but she was able to stand up with out grimacing to show her pain. She figured the pain was just because she hadn't put her hair up in years. She turned around to dismiss the maid. Danielle inclined her head slightly showing great disrespect. Anne stared at her in shock as she turned on her heel and left the room.

Anne pondered a moment why this lowly servant could possibly hate her so, then gave up. It mattered not. She was leaving with some unknown stranger. Anne had always figured that she would remain alone to the end of her days and she certainly hadn't any problems with that. Now she was going to be married. She had figured that she did not have any feelings left for the world, but anger came bubbling up just thinking about this Scottish laird, whom no one really knew. She was all prepared to head down to the great hall, but still she hesitated. She disliked the feeling of anger, or more correctly fury inside her person, and she hadn't felt this way since before she was nine!

She calmly walked down the stairs to find that there were three other men down there. The largest one having fairly long dark black hair. The other two men on either side of him had an auburn color. The man on his right, a more darker than the other on his left. Only the two auburn men turned to look at her. The middle, black haired one was still looking at her father, involved in some kind of a heated conversation. The looks on the auburn haired men looked shocked then turned toward admiration, for whom she had no idea. She glanced behind her quickly, then registering the fact no one was behind her, turned back to her to see them both wearing huge grins. Very unlike the dark man, who turned unsmiling when one of the men elbowed him in the side.

He looked her up and down, and she found she disliked his scrutiny very much and scowled at him. His gaze returned to lock upon her lips, and she turned to stand by her father, however unsavory standing by him was. Her father pivoted toward her and he pushed her forward in front of the dark man. "This is my daughter, Anne." The stranger caught her in his thick arms. She jerked back with all of her might, but did not succeed in being freed from his dangerous embrace. He stood her up, not relinquishing his grip upon her at all. She then jerked her eyes up to his and saw them black. She gasped involuntary, when she saw something move inside the darkness.

He let loose a laugh, and set her aside, as she tried to calm herself. The man had something inside of him, something... monstrous. She couldn't be married to such a man! What had god found displeasing in her? She went to mass every Sunday. There wasn't anything unless yearning to be left by oneself was a hideous sin.

"Your trunk is packed is it not?" her father demanded sharply. Anne jerked her head down and up fast then let her feelings loose. "Father, I do not believe that this match is a good one. I would not like to be away from this manner and I'm fairly sure that my to-be-husband, does not necessarily want me. In my-" She was cut off my a wave of the dark strangers hand.

"I will marry your daughter, Roland. Tonight. The sooner the better. Then we shall leave in the morning." The stranger's voice was deep, and sounded like velvet over a steel core. Anne sputtered. There was no way that she could get out of this. She looked back at the stranger and he put his arms around her again, and pulled her as close as he possibly could to him. "A kiss to seal it?" he murmured quietly. She shook her head as much as she possibly could, but he set his lips against her own, despite her small protest. She stood there her lips pressed together, against his. He pulled back and looked at her, then nodded quickly. She then left the hall as quickly as possible, but as she literally ran away, she could swear she heard him muttering, "Yes, yes, she will do..."

Up in her chambers once more she settled on the bed and stared into a mirror on the other wall. She could see a bit of her reflection and saw her eyes glisten over with another sheen of wetness. A salty tear jerkily made its way around the side of her cheek where it then was unseen. She couldn't remember her last time crying. All of a sudden these emotions assaulted her in one day. She should of known her quiet days would someday have to come to an end. If not by her father it would have been when he had died and people around them actually realized there was a girl hidden behind the great establishment that used to be her father's most treasured house. She would have been wed in either situation, but she wasn't sure which she would have preferred. She hadn't thought of anything happening, which was very foolish of herself indeed.

She then heard Margaret's footsteps coming up the hall to her bed chamber. She focused again on her image in the mirror to find her eyes once again dry. The feelings have used themselves up all in one day, she thought without feeling. Margaret rapped softly on the door then came in when no answer reached her ears, she came in quietly calling Anne's name.

"Yes Margaret?" Anne replied briskly, "What do you need?" Margaret turned to face Anne sitting on the bed. "Well you are to be married then you must pack... unless you want to take nothing but the clothes on you back..." Margaret trailed off unhappily. A frown marred the once beautiful face of the old woman. Her white hair was pulled back in a strict bun. "Oh, milady, we are all going to miss your presence here in the manor. Everyone will miss you... I'm sure even Joss will miss you..." again the kindly old lady trailed off. Margaret had been with Anne all of her life. She had thought at least her father would allow Margaret to accompany her to her new home.

"Margaret? You are coming with me... aren't you? I thought... well, I thought..." Anne felt like she was on the edge of breaking down. She hadn't thought events could turn into something as terrible as this. It was the very last straw. "No milady." Margaret returned gravely, "Your father has forbade us to follow you to your new home. I know it sounds very odd, and believe me, mistress we tried our hardest. Still your father would not give in. We all backed down in fear of our jobs you understand. Oh, mistress I do wish we could come with to help you with all these sudden changes..."

Anne looked at the only person that she really could call her mother. Tears were suddenly drifting down both of the woman's faces. "Oh, Margie..." Anne said emotionally, then threw herself at the elderly maid. They both cried heavily for a few minutes then, reluctantly Margaret pulled herself away from the beautiful girl whom she had mothered for so long. "We must hurry now, though Anne. You are getting married tonight. And the man isn't that bad on the eyes now is he, Anne?" Margaret deliberately tried raising the girl's spirits. "Margaret, I'm scared." Anne said unsteadily. "Don't worry, Anne... everything will be alright. I want to have time to talk to you about what will be expected of you when your married..."

Anne listened intently and shockingly as she and her maid packed for her leaving.

┬ęSilence the Mirror