"Listen. Do you see that you can't hear snowfall? Look. Do you sense that you can't see love? Touch. Do you grasp that you can't catch poems? Try. Smell this glass. Go on taste this cloud. These material senses won't get you far until you feel the velvet glove caress your soul." –Kamand Kojouri

Chapter One:

This is a cruel world with no love in it.

I am not a well-travelled woman. I know little of the world, except what I have observed, and I believe those observations to be accurate and true in all parts of this earth, for aren't we all human, and all humans alike?

Perhaps I am mistaken. It would not be the first time. Either way, I have left my own familiar corner of the world and am far removed to another, which looms barren and grey behind the mist, while the boat beneath me dips and rocks over the cold winter sea. The cargo ship that has been my home for nigh on three months lies behind me, and this small boat, laden with my belongings, carries me to a shore I have never known, a shore that I will likely never leave.

My father, Brian Daugherty, is a solicitor, well-versed in law and contracts. It is a contract that brings me to this strange, unwelcoming shore. A contract signed by his hand, and mine. One copy lies in my childhood home, safely tucked away in a file in a drawer of my father's desk. The other rests in the trunk at my feet.

I am well-bred, learned in the arts and sciences, in rhetoric and reason. An investment. An asset. I was to become the wife of a barrister, a statesman, perhaps, or a captain in His Majesty's army. But my husband is none of these things. I have never met him; I have only seen his signature, the third on the contract.

He is a landowner, I am told. Quite wealthy. I do not know how he and my father became acquainted, but acquainted they are, and soon I shall also be acquainted.

We enter the bay, where the outstretched arms of the shore protect the water. It is smooth like a mirror now. The boat rocks gently with each sweep of the oars. I see clearly through the mists now. The rocky shore, black and wet. This close, it is not so barren. Spongey green moss grows in the cracks and crevices of the cliffs, and beyond the beach I see great rolling hills of trees, thick and obscuring. Craggy grey peaks rise starkly in the distance, disappearing into the low clouds. How they muffle this strange land, those clouds, like heavy blankets of wet wool.

The hull presently grinds over the pebbles of the beach, and the seamen leap into the water, heaving the boat aground. They offer me a hand, steadying me as I lift my skirts and cautiously step over the side. My legs buckle, and I sway a little on this new land.

It is my new home, for I am Claire, daughter of Brian Daugherty, wife of Edward Glass, the man to whom I am sold.