A/N - Here is the first chapter of the newest daughter series. It is just a preview! I don't have any other chapters written, so it may be another week or two until it is updated. But who knows, it may be sooner! Anyway, I just thought you'd like to get a taste for the new story!

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Leopold has never really loved anyone. After the brutal murder of her parents, she's been shuffled from one fief of relatives to another. Tired of being sent everywhere, she is stuck with her aunt Delilah and uncle Mark in the palace. Leopold's life there is hell and she starts to think she'll never be happy. Until Aaron came along...

Chapter 1

It was a cold midwinter morning when the news of their deaths reached the fief. The boy rode towards the mansion at a gallop, the sweat pouring off his horse. The boy's blonde shaggy hair blew in the wind, as he urged the horse on through the knee-deep snow. The pair had almost reached the gates when the horse stumbled, sending it buckling to the ground. Swearing, the boy jumped from the horse and urged it to stand. Failing at this, the boy ran towards the gate, clutching the bag at his side. The boy in turn stumbled in the snow, but regained his balance and continued on. When he reached the gates, he swung them open fiercely, and charged through the courtyard, running for the stone steps, and taking them two at a time. Panting, he banged his fists hurriedly on the door, anxiously waiting for it to be answered. Seconds went by before the Lord of the house finally opened it.

"Damn servants." the Lord muttered "very lazy. What can I do for you son?"

"The Duke and Duchess of Wessex have been murdered!" the boy said slowing his breathing.

The Lord stared at the boy stunned by his words. It was then that the messenger remembered the letter. Fishing it out of his bag he slowly handed it to the Lord, who quickly broke the seal and read it. The Lord glanced between the boy and the shaking letter in his hand, before replying.

"Come in my boy." he said ushering the tired boy into his home. Once inside with the door closed, the Lord started yelling at his servants who appeared in the halls as he passed, and quickly left, their orders received. The boy followed silently, becoming fearful of the Lord, who was now looking for his wife. They entered a room, which the boy guessed was the library, from the books that aligned the walls, and sitting by the fire sewing was the lady of the house, Duchess Delilah.

She glanced up when the two entered the room, looking between her husband and the boy, before returning to her sewing. The boy was glad she had looked away, for her brown eyes were terrifying to look at, and had made him go cold all over when she had glanced at him.

"Can I have a word with you my dear?" the Duke asked

"Will it not wait," she replied coldly, not even glancing at her husband.

"It cannot," he replied

"Well is must,"

"My brother and his wife are dead!"

"Which one?" she asked not even flinching. "You have so many I can't keep track."

"Do not talk of my family is such a way! Scott was the one killed." the Duke replied growing angry with her as he usually does.

"How many brats does that one have?" she asked

"My nephews and niece aren't brats. For your information he is the one with the girl, Leopold. She is anything by a brat. I've never seen her cry in my life."

"What kind of name is Leopold for a girl?" she asked cruelly

"The name my brother gave his daughter is none of your concern!" the Duke replied

"Why not, she is my niece, is she not?" the evil woman replied

"I have not come here to argue" the duke said throwing his hands up in defeat.

"Then what have you come for?" she asked angrily setting down her sewing and staring at him as she waited for an answer.

"We're leaving in the morning for Wessex. In order to give a proper burial to my brother and his wife."

"And what is to happen to the little bra-Leopold?" she finished seeing the anger in his eyes

"We will decide what to do with her once we are there."

"So we are to be responsible for her. No one else will help!"

"Stop being so harsh Delilah! My brother's and their wives aren't as cruel as you are, they will be there as well, and my father."

"Wonderful," she muttered through clenched teeth "and how do you know they will be there?"

"You are such a fool!" the duke said turning and pointing to the boy. "Your nephew stands here, having just delivered a message, which took him four days without stopping to deliver. His being here shows that my brother has arrived in Wessex, and no doubt has sent his others sons and servants to deliver news to my other brothers. Am I right Philip?"

"You are right uncle." Philip replied receiving a wink.

"Never marry a mage boy. That is all the advice you'll get from Me.," she said crossly picking up her sewing again.

"And all the advice I want aunt." Philip replied, receiving a glare in return. He smiled at his aunt, knowing how she detested children of all sorts, especially those that talk. Philip turned to his kind-hearted uncle instead, preferring to talk to someone he knew had a heart. "Uncle, I'm afraid the horse I had gotten from Uncle Leone collapsed on the street as I neared here. Might you send someone to care for it?"

"Yes of course." his uncle replied calling for a servant. "You must be tired from your trip. I would have told you to dine with us tonight, but under the circumstances I think it best we all dine separately."

"Certainly" Philip replied seeing the tears in his uncles' eyes

"Jon here will show you to your room." his uncle said indicating the small boy who had just slipped into the room. "Now leave me to grieve on my own."

Philip nodded to his uncle, before following the boy out of the room and down the hall. He knew that his uncle loved all of his brothers dearly. Philip walked into the room that had been made up for him and surveyed it. The bed stood against the far wall, and in the middle of the room was a table with four chairs. On the table sat a platter of bread, cheese and ham, as well as a pitcher of water. Philip noticed a desk as well as an armoire, before he dug into the food. Half an hour later, when he had finished all of the food, Philip collapsed on the bed for some much needed, and well deserved sleep.

The Duke and Duchess left the next day at dawn, hearing the Duchess complain about the early morning start. Philip trailed his aunts' carriage by horse, and rolled his eyes to the men around him every time she opened her mouth, to most likely complain. It took one week to reach Wessex, as his aunt refused to travel long hours without a stop. The weather didn't help at all. It snowed twice during the night, slowing them down in the morning. By the time they reached Wessex, everyone was tired, cold and ready to strangle the Duchess.

The company entered the courtyard, and were greeted by servants, who took the horses as the men dismounted. Philip reluctantly walked over to his aunt's carriage, which every man was avoiding, and opened the door to help her out.

"It's good to see someone around here has manners, even if it is you," she said letting go of Philips hand and wiping her own on her cloak, as if wiping off germs.

Philip scowled at his aunts retrieving back, ready to pounce on her, but held back when he heard a cry from the door. Standing on the stone steps were three of his cousins. All the sons of his aunt Carlotta and uncle Anthony, who resign at the fief in East Wessex. With a yell, the three bounded from the steps and ran toward Philip, calling his name and waving as they pushed each other through the snow.

"Hello uncle Mark!" they called passing their uncle

"Hello boys!" their uncle replied laughing before continuing inside.

The Duchess screamed as the boys ran passed her, pelting her with snowballs. She shouted insults and threatened to kill them, before her husband dragged her inside. The boys laughed as they continued towards Philip, tackling him to the ground when they reached him. Philip hugged his cousins greeting them as he rubbed snow in their hair. The boys soon let Philip stand before the eldest, Tonio, threw a snowball, which hit Philip in the arm.

"Why you little--" Philip started gathering up snow as well.

"Philip!" a voice yelled from the stone steps. Philip turned to see John Luke standing there waving. Philip waved back to his cousin, who was an only child surprisingly, before being hit in the head by a snowball that Craig had thrown. Laughing John Luke ran down the steps, walking over to the boys.

"Father said it's time to come in." John Luke reported

"Did he now?" Philip said as the youngest of the three brothers, Darren hung onto his arm, testing to see how strong he was.

"Of course he didn't!" Tonio said as he joined the others

"Uncle Jeffery lets us play as long as we want!" Craig said as well

"All right you caught me!" John Luke said as Tonio and Craig hung onto his back and arms. "But your mother said if you don't come in now, you'd miss out on getting sweets from uncle Mark!"

"Sweets!" Darren yelled as all three of the boys faces lit up. They immediately let go of their older cousins and fought each other to be the first inside. Philip and John Luke followed, laughing as they talked.

"So how was your trip?" John Luke asked

"A week with aunt Delilah, you tell me!" Philip replied making his cousin laugh

"That woman is a devil sent to torment our family."

"And she's doing a fine job at that!" Philip laughed as they neared the stone steps. "How is everyone doing?"

"Pitiful. The mothers are crying all over the place, and the fathers are trying not to." the grin disappeared from John Luke's tan face. "My father already had the bodies buried, when we got here. That was before the snow, so some are glad he did and some aren't."

"What of Leopold? Was she hurt in any way?"

"No. The assassin would have, no doubt, but he was caught by the guards and hanged." John Luke said as they climbed the steps and entered the warmth of the mansion. Voices could be heard from everywhere. Aunts and uncles with their children streamed out of the halls and down the stairs to greet those who had just arrived. Philip saw his own father amongst the crowd embracing his uncle Mark, as the little ones jumped at his feet for sweets. All the woman were crying as their children did their best to comfort them. This was the first time in fourteen years that someone died in the family, and Philip had seen his relatives.

His grandparents had had ten boys, all of which grew up healthy and strong, becoming knights and earning their own wealth. Eight of the boys were married with children of their own, whilst the other two preferred to join the king's army. Up until Leopold, a girl had never been born to the Wessex family, and now that one has, her parents turn up dead a few years later. Philip knew something was wrong. And once he got his knighthood, he'd figure out who sent the assassin and kill him.

Everyone turned their heads and starred when grandfather appeared in the room. The noise automatically stopped when he opened his mouth to speak.

"Let us go into the dinning room and discuss what to do." he said, his voice soft, but everyone was able to hear him

"What of the children father?" Uncle Jeffery asked, "Should they be part of this as well?"

John Luke and Philip exchanged a glance. According to their family, fifteen was the age when you were no longer considered a child and would be allowed into meetings and such. John Luke is three months too young.

"The children shall go upstairs and comfort Leopold. Maybe they will be able to get her to talk." grandfather replied

"That's not fair!" Tonio cried out.

"Yes! Why can't we listen too?" Craig followed before his father ushered them up the stairs. Reluctantly, Dominic, Sebastien, John Luke, Wes, Darren, and Luke followed grumbling as they went, which made grandfather smile.

"Shall we?" grandfather said leading the way to the dinning room.