In a great manor, outside the city of Debinshire there lived a family of great wealth, with three daughters. The youngest was incredibly fair, of the slender built with fine long gold hair and whimsical blue eyes. She was incredibly well refined and mannered, quiet mild and often received her way with the slightest sign of tears. The second was much of the same stature, although not quite as bird-boned as the youngest, but still the same, with darken gold hair, much like the color of wheat in the fall. She was a gentle woman with desirable attributes for marriage. But the oldest was by far much different than the pair of sisters, hardly looking like a sibling from the family at all. She had dark hair like the night sky with large curls and piercing brown eyes, wildly wide and full of fire. She was not slender but not fat, with many alluring curves that made any outfit she wore seem promiscuous. She was well refined in many was, but as wild and untamable as the wind, full of pride and stubbornness, the child most often to cause a nusaunce in the house when she felt something had been wronged. Her other sisters frowned upon the way she was, she refused make up and flowers for her hair, refused to be dressed in a corset when she was not out for a formal gathering and often ran around with her hair loose in curls rather than back and pleated like her beautiful siblings.
But with the way she was, she still was the favored child among her father. While her mother disliked her stubbornness greatly, her father embraced the wild side of his eldest daughter with open arms, marking her as his complete favorite. She was happy as the favorite of his, although least favorite to her mother. Her father showered her with many gifts, and with that came the many talents she possessed, be it music, song or riding, she was quite able for all these things. Her sisters' jealously was obvious in many ways when her father showed her off to company, asking to play something or sing, and thus her sisters found pleasure in ridiculing her every chance they seemed to have.
It was a bright sunny morning at the large Kinsgley manor, the usual musings going about, where one would fine the youngest in her chambers, a maid brushing out her hair, the middle child sitting properly in the sitting room with their mother, knitting away quietly. The eldest at first may appear to be absent, yet she is there, among the servants in the kitchen, where she is found kneading bread for their next meal. Her dark hair is covered in a light dusting of flour where her hands and gown are completely peppered in the substance so that no ounce of the silk dress or her ivory skin could be seen. There is a pure happiness smile stretched across her lips, and her eyes are dancing with the over boundant joy of her morning thus far. The servants welcome her wild personality happily, enjoying her presistant company in the kitchen or in whatever else she felt like doing. She stood in the kitchen merrily, her fingers kneading the soft dough while she hummed a melody. She was perfectly content there with her maid Jane, who listened to her hum as they kneaded together.
"Natalie!" came the soft call of her father. She stopped moving her fingers and looked at Jane with a curious expression before wiping her hands on her apron and tearing it from herself, flinging it down and dusting off the flour just as her father threw open the door.
"Yes Father?" she asked, folding her hands behind her back and staring at him. The lean man with white hair stared at her through his squinted eyes, squinted from the wrinkles on his old white face. He looked at her, and then at the mess and sighed heavily.
"Your mother will not be pleased," he stated, "We have guests arriving at quarter past noon and you have covered your gown in flour!"
"Oh papa," she said, shaking her head and smiling, "Tis nothing, I will go change."
He let his face relax and fall into a smile, "All right then, go get dressed, it's already noon!"
She smiled and shuffled by her father, dusting her gown as she went. She headed down the wide hall to the stairs, climbing them softly and wandering down yet another stately hall before entering her own chambers. Slipping herself into a black silk gown, she laced up the back expertly and brushed away the curls from her ivory neck before covering it up with a shawl and looking in the mirror. She was distracted by the opening of her door and she watched her middle sister enter the room.
"Are you heading to a funeral sister, for you look rather glum to receive our guests."
"No, Helena," she snaps at her sister, whose sneer is plastered neatly on her very pale face, "I fancy wearing this silk, as I should because it is I with the silk and not you."
She watched her middle sister's eyes glow dark, and she placed her hands on her narrow hips, sticking her nose in the air and huffing.
"Then I suppose we should head downstairs, for they have arrived and will not wait any longer for your idle stupidity."
She nods and quits her chambers behind her younger sibling meeting the youngest in the hallway before continuing down the stairs behind them. They paused outside the parlor, Melanie taking the lead, followed by Helena and then Natalie. They entered the parlor in a succession of age, the youngest till the oldest, seating themselves next to their mother, who promptly sat on the edge of a long white couch a cup of tea in her left hand and the white china plate balanced neatly on the arm. She allowed her daughters to sit before addressing the men across from the women.
"These are my lovely daughters, all three. Natalie is the eldest, followed by Helena, a mere four years younger, and then by Melanie, only two years younger than Helena. My dearest children, this is your cousin on my mother's side Jackson Harris, and his traveling companion Mr. Pena. They have traveled from Spain to here on quite along journey.
"Yes," spoke the ivory skinned man with the short brown crop, "A great distance to visit my dearest cousin your very mother. Although Mr. Pena is my companion here at the nearest moment, I must be inclined to say I did not travel alone for there are two more who shall be joining us in two days' length, for they got on the boat a day behind us."
"Why," the mother screeched with impudence, "You should have said that right off the back! We should host a ball upon their arrival, who are they, you say?"
"I have not, madam," he stated, "But joining us rather quickly are dear friends of Mr. Pena here and one of mine. A dear Mr. Rios and his friend a Mr. Merring."
"Merring, surely not as Damien Merring is it?"
"Why yes Madam, the very one." The mother raised her hands in delight at the confirmation of who he was and smiled gleefully to the two men who wore expression of concern, for she looked rather mad with joy.
"A Merring, in our houshold? Why the family makes more than we do here, nearly three times the amount here, 30 thousand a year! And he will be in my house, at my ball!"
Natalie turned her attention from her mother's rambling to stare indigninatly out the window to the countryside. She crossed over her leg receiving a harsh nudge in the side by Helena, who caused her to turn her attentions back, just to hear the very ends of her mother's quite elaborate and lavish plans.
"So it is settled then, by the eve of morrow's day but that eve of morrow's eve shall be the ball here at the manor! Oh think of it, a grand ball in our ballroom, it's been quite sometime since there has been one here. Think of it, so grand! Girls go to town and spread the word, quickly now, off you go, go on!"
Their mother dismissed them with a with a wave of her hand and the girls bowed politely to the men, all except Natalie, who simply nodded before stroding out the door with her head held highly whilst her sister tucked their heads like obident puppies in politeness. Her mother scoffed at her action and shot her a look before she shut the door quickly behind her.
"You'll have to excuse Natalie, she is quite stubborn for a girl of her age. Forgive her impudence."
"Not at all madam Kingsley, she is quite fine the way she is. A lovely young woman I might say so, incredibly beautiful for a girl of her stature, much less like your others."
"Yes, but she is quite full of stubborn and fire, unfit for any man who wishes to have her, one moment they are captive by her beauty and the next she has them running for the hills with her attitude."
"Perhaps so manners are in order then?" said Mr. Pena, an eyebrow arched with synacism.
"Perhaps she has been taught and yet refuses to use them when she feels they are not appropriate," she shot back. The man bowed his head in a sign of apology.
"Well, she has certainly caught many eyes," the cousin spoke. Natalie's mother looked appalled.
"She is not suitable for marriage, I fear, for she is much to wild and stubborn for a man. I hope that some man someday will find her a match, but that will not be until she is well refined I am afraid."
Meanwhile, while her mother entertained her cousin and his friend, the girls found themselves on their way to town, sitting inside their family's town carriage, the two youngest sharing a side while the eldest stretched herself comfortably on the other. The younger two sat musing to themselves and fiddling with their cloak strings while the oldest twisted a curl of loose black hair around her finger. Her siblings eyed her in jealousy.
"It would be preferable to wear your hair in a pleat on days like today where the wind whips around the leaves, that way it stays back and silk like," commented Helena, whose anger seemed to boil the heaviest. Whether she was angered by her sisters behavior or jealous of her talents and beauty it was unknown.
"My hair is just fine the way it is, and I fine no need to braid when it stays silkily without one."
"Yes, but it looks rather wild in curls," snapped Melanie.
"Perhaps I like it this way," she answered darkly, "It is rather beautiful, isn't it?"
"A rat's nest is prettier than the mop of hair you call your own."
"Well then if my hair does look less than a rat's nest, where does that put yours in your scale?"
Melanie and Helena looked taken back by her comment, and Natalie smiled to her, resuming her musing of staring at the great day outside. She placed her hands on her red cloak, covering a satin blue silk town gown that she wore now. A moment passed before she reaches up to her hair again and twirls it around her finger. Her sister began to speak ildly.
"Mr. Pena sure was a handsome man," mused Melanie aloud. Helena giggled loudly and muffled her laughter in her hand, while her sapphire eyes are lit with amusement.
"Yes, he was quite handsome indeed," Helena agreed, "He is quite an elegant man. Mama would never forgive us if we married a spanard though, you've seen the way she talks of them."
"I think she fancied him just a bit herself," Melanie said in a hushed rush, "The way she stared at his tiny mustache as he spoke told me she was more than merely being polite."
"Mel!" Helena said in a hiss, "Mother only has eyes for father, you know that!"
"And yet she looked at him."
"He is much to young for her."
"And yet he is the perfect age for me," Melanie said smiling.
"It is more likely he'll prefer me over you," said Helena with distain, "Since I am the older of you."
"And yet he may prefer me over you both," chimed in Natalie, "Since I am the eldest."
The two sisters turned and stared at her with a darkening glare. She returned the gaze with an even one, void of emotions as she then returned to staring out the window.
"Perhaps he does," they whispered, "Perhaps he does."