Hey guys! I am sooo incredibly sorry that it has taken like, 3 years for me to get this up... I have no excuse except that I didn't have any inspiration to continue writing. I went to college, that didn't work out at all, came home, interned for a bit, that didn't work, so I came home yet again, and now I'm looking for work, and working at a local barn (I work with horses in my free time) and life got in the way. I hope you guys like this update, and I am hoping to get into the groove more and actually finish this story. I will try to continue my LotS story, but don't know how that will work... so, hope you guys enjoy! Please feel free to review when you are done reading! I'd love you hear from you! BTW, like that the chapter is longer? :D
"Take my hand," the stranger said. She held out her hand and attempted to take Katherine's, but she withheld.
"What do you mean, you're my sister? I have never met you before in my life and now you're calling yourself my sister, just to kidnap me? Do you think I'm stupid?" Katherine questioned as she looked the as of yet nameless stranger in the eye.
"I am not trying to kidnap you, I want you to come with me so I can explain your destiny. You are an important figure in the land I hail from. But that is all I can tell you fore now. Come with me and I will answer anything I can," she answered with a hint of worry that the younger girl would not go with her.
"Okay, but on one condition," Katherine replied nervously.
"Get me out of this uniform," the smaller girl demanded.
The young woman smiled and laughed. "Of course. I have a change of clothes for you in the carriage. Now, if you'll follow me –"
"Wait just a minute," a short, blonde girl said. "You can't just barge in here, say you're Katie's sister and then just walk away with her."
The taller brunette raised an eyebrow in amusement and challenge. "Oh yes I can. How are you going to stop e?" The stranger asked with a blaze of fiery power in her eyes. "What's your name?"
"Brittany," the girl said with slight hesitation. "I – you –"
The brunette smirked. "That's what I thought. Anyone else have any objections?" She called out as she turned to gaze around the room. "No one? Pity, I was hoping to have a little fun. Oh well, no harm done." She turned her attention back to Katherine. "Come Katherine, we mustn't wait any longer!" With that, she turned on her heel and started to walk out towards the front door.
Katherine just watched her disappearing form for a moment, then came to her senses and grabbed her messenger bag and ran after the mystery girl who called herself her sister. "Wait! Where are you going without me?" she called as she caught up.
The other woman slowed so she could catch up. "When we get into the carriage, I want you to change into the outfit I have for you. I will help with the corset when you get to it." She said as the two walked towards the carriage that awaited them at the front.
The black horse that the young woman had ridden in on was now hitched at the front of the carriage, followed by two grey Andalusian geldings side by side. The carriage itself was an old Victorian looking thing, black and imposing to the eye, with a driver in front and a footman at the back. As the two women approached, the footman jumped down and opened the door for them, holding out his hand to the stranger and helped her in. After being reassured by her, Katherine followed suit.
The interior of the carriage was much more cheerful than the exterior. The two seats on either side were plush, and covered in gold upholstery, the floor a deep maroon carpet with a gold lion rearing embroidered in the middle. There were four lanterns, one in each corner to light the carriage when it got dark. There was a soft, deep purple blanket with the same gold lion embroidered on it, on one of the seats.
Katherine took a moment to take in all the luxuriousness. She was in complete awe. "This is absolutely beautiful!" she exclaimed as she sat down.
Her sister smiled. "Thank you. It's very old but very well taken care of. I'm so glad you like it, for you will be using it a great deal in the next few months as you tour all the lands, and meet distant family and greet the people."
Katherine's eyes widened a great deal as she looked across the carriage at her newfound sister and thought about what importance she could possibly have in this mysterious land. "Is our family wealthy?"
The young woman smiled. "My dear sister, we are the wealthiest family in the land, wealthier than the Queen of England. When we get home, you will change into your court dress. For now, change into this." She said as she pulled out a fairly large brown sack. Then the stranger tossed the sack to Katherine. "I know it isn't much but it will get you in without being noticed. If anyone asks, you are my new lady–in-waiting and still learning the ropes."
"Okay, but wouldn't I need to know your name? Because you haven't told me that small detail yet. You know my name, but I don't know yours."
"Marie," the hooded stranger – Marie – said. "It's a family name. All the women in the family have it in their name, in one way or another."
Katherine was silent for a while. She started to get dressed into the brown frock with a white apron. "How do you put this on?" she questioned as she held up the corset. The look on her face was full of confusion.
"Here, let me help. Turn around and suck in your stomach," Marie said as she took the corset from her sister. She then put the corset around Katherine's torso and started on tightening it.
Katherine gasped as the corset got tighter and tighter. She kept getting jerked, as the corset was tightened. "Am I supposed to be able to breathe?" she gasped out.
"No," was her reply.
"Oh fantastic. Its perfect then," she muttered to herself. "When will we arrive?" she asked as Marie settled back in her seat across from her.
"Around dawn, if the weather is good and we don't run into any trouble. Now put the apron on and you're all set to go." Marie smiled, as she took in her sisters appearance. Katherine glared at her.
"I thought ladies-in-waiting wore nice clothes?" She grumbled as she settled back in her seat herself.
"They do, but this is the first thing I grabbed, so it will have to do," Marie sent a smirk her way, then proceeded to look out the window of the carriage to see where they were and how their journey was going. "Oh look, the river! That's the river that supplies the villages near the kingdom with water. We still need to travel the rest of the day and overnight, but we are making much better time than I thought we were going to. We should definitely be there by dawn, if not a little before. Get some sleep, you look tired. I'll wake you for lunch and we'll stop and stretch a bit, it gets cramped traveling in a small carriage, trust me. Here's a blanket and pillow." As she was talking, she pulled out said items and handed them to her sister.
That was the end of the conversation for the day. Just like she said, Marie woke Katherine for lunch, and so they could stretch their legs a bit and let the horses rest. As the day went on and passed by, so did the landscape.
Katherine watched with fascination as the landscape changed and morphed into vast hills and mountains that she wasn't used to seeing in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. When they had first started out, they were surrounded by large oak trees covered in snow, the typical view in mid-January. But the further they went, the more mountains and stretches of land that seemed to go on forever. The further they traveled, the warmer it seemed to get. Soon the snow was gone and in its place were nothing but green grasses and flowers, a wonderful change of pace from the frigidly cold winters of New England.
They eventually came across a large forest that seemed to never end, filled with large trees, moss, streams, boulders, animals Katherine had never seen before, only read about. It seemed to hold many magical secrets just waiting to be discovered.
As the daylight faded, and the lanterns were lit to provide light for the travelers, Marie and Katherine ate dinner in silence after another stop for a quick rest and stretch. Marie studied Katherine throughout the meal, noticing she seemed tired again. "Why don't you head to sleep, we've still got a long way to go. I promise to wake you if we stop again so you can walk a bit."
Katherine smiled slightly, thankful for such kindness. "I think I will. I wasn't expecting to be so tired."
"Traveling will do that to you," Marie replied as she put away the dishes and helped her sister to settle down. "Goodnight dear sister," she whispered into Katherine's hair and she grazed a kiss to her temple.
"Goodnight," Katherine whispered as her heavy eyelids closed, and she was swallowed into darkness as she drifted off to sleep.s