AN: So, this is an AU I thought about and it's probably gonna suck majorly, but I couldn't help but write it. Anyways, here we go!
Marquess: A marquess's land, called a march, was on the border of the country, while a count's land, called a county, often wasn't. Because of this, a marquess was trusted to defend and fortify against potentially hostile neighbors and was thus more important and ranked higher than a count. The title is ranked below duke, which was mostly restricted to the royal family and those that were held in high enough esteem to be granted such a title.
Marquise: A woman with the rank of a Marquess, or the wife of a marquess, is a marchioness in the British Isles, or a marquise.
Font of information: Wikipedia
'Once upon a time'. That's how most of the Fairy Tale's begin, right? That's how you're supposed to tell a good story. That's how you know that everything will be alright in the end.
But not this one.
This is not a story about a princess. This story is not about how wonderful her life was. This story is not about how beautiful her naivety was. This story is not about how the man she loved thought she was a beauty and fell immediately for her.
No, not this one.
This story is about a girl divided between the man she loves and the man who raised her. This story is about how a girl went away from everything she knew. This story is about how fast she had to grow up. This story is about how she felt when she betrayed her family.
This is the story about the Duchess.
The March of Rain was governed by the Lancasters for hundreds of years. They were the fearsome Lancaster of the South, Where The Rain Never Stops. They were cold and expressionless and damn right powerful with their own small army, which was necessary, since the March was a forgotten land by the sea and was sometimes attacked.
But the name Lancaster was doomed when the last Marquess had four daughters. He and his wife tried to have a boy, but it never came and even worse, all the girls died before married. All except the youngest.
Stormi Lancaster then married Sylvian Loxar, a Baron from a small island rich in blue diamonds, very rare and very expansive, making the March of Rain a prominent place.
Sadly, the marriage didn't last long; Stormi died in childbirth only two years after the ceremony. The baby survived, a little girl and the tradition of the Lancaster family was to name the children in honor to the rain, so she named Juvia; Baron Loxar was devastated with the death of his wife. So devastated that he couldn't even look to his daughter straight, seeing that the girl was almost a copy of her mother.
When Juvia was five, after an attack of pirates to one of the ships containing the blue diamonds, Baron Sylvian Loxar was killed while protecting it. At that early age, Juvia Loxar became the Marquise of the Rain.
And of course, the vultures appear to take advantage of her naivety; she was almost a baby when it all happened and bending her to their own agenda would be incredibly easy.
The one to push all away was Jose Porla, the advisor of the late Marquess and the Baron Loxar. He was already an aged man, who always treated the young Marquise with kindness, even though he was very strict and had many rules to keep her safe of everything that could harm her.
According to Master Jose, as he was called, the world was a very awful place and it should be avoided at every cost. But Juvia was skeptical; she had seen the images in her books and there was no way that people who lived under the beautiful sun was bad.
She never actually saw the sky without clouds or a day without rain. She did live at the March of Rain, Where The Rain Never Stops. And she actually dreamt of bathing in sunlight and wondered about how the sensations would make her feel. Not that Master Jose would ever let her go away from the March.
She was the Marquise but actually felt like a prisoner where it was supposed to be her home.
Juvia never felt like she was in her own house; everyone treated her as if she was the second in command, putting all of Master Jose's needs above any order that she could've say.
He was the master, not a silly eighteen-year-old girl, who grew up sheltered of everything. No, people wouldn't take orders from a person like her. She was weak, while he was strong; Porla had more experience, so she just lowered her head and trusted that everything he did was for her people's best interest.
Juvia's routine was quite boring, if you asked her; during the morning she had her breakfast, then class with her private teacher. After lunch she sews, paints and have dance lessons. And after dinner, she was free to read until bed time. Master Jose knew that the Marquise was fond of her books and allowed her to do so.
One day when Jose asked her to see him at his office, she knew that something big was going to happen, but never guessed how big was going to be.
"Master?" Juvia knocked at the door and opened. She was eighteen and still very young, compared to the fifty year-old man. Her hair was blue, like her mother's once were and to honor her memory, Juvia used the same hairstyle: curled by the end. She had average height, even though she was taller than the other young women from the March; Rain people were usually smaller than the rest. Her dress was dark blue and was designed to make her look as plain as possible.
"Come in." Master Jose said from inside the room that once belonged to the Marquess, Juvia's grandfather. The man was too thin and had a moustache. His hair was still dark, even though he was no young boy and his eyes… the Marquise always compared it to an eagle's eyes; they seemed to see everything. He turned away from the big window, which was showing the rain, of course, and smiled. "How are you doing, child? Your teachers only had the best praises towards you."
"Thanks, Master." Juvia made a small courtesy and offered the man s smile. "They are very kind, but Juvia thinks she's just average in everything she does."
Jose sighed. "You still talk in third person, child?" He asked shaking his head slightly in disapproval. "You're a young woman now and shouldn't do it anymore."
"Juv…" The girl started but stopped almost immediately, correcting herself. "I am sorry. I'll try to correct myself from now on."
"That's a good girl." Jose grinned. "Now sit, child." He pointed a chair in front of the table. "We need to talk seriously."
The Marquise frowned and did what she was told. The older man waited her to sit, as it was customary, and did it too. Juvia couldn't help but think of how much better he looked sitting where many of the Marquess of the Rain sat before, than she would and it upset her to realize how of a child she was when it comes to the leadership of the March.
"What is it, Master?" She asked when they were finally settled.
"You're eighteen now, Juvia." Jose was sitting straight, like a nobleman would sit. "And most of the noble girls with that age are already having their second child by then."
The Marquise stomach clinched with his words. "Do you mean that…?"
"Yes." He nodded. "I found a very suitable husband for you. One that would make the March profits, of course."
The young woman's head was spinning with the idea. She had waited so long to hear those words. All she ever wanted was to finally get married and fall in love with her husband and for him to fall for her as well, like happened with her parents, as her aya told her a thousand times. How Baron Sylvian would smile with just the sight of his beloved and how Stormi would sing without apparent reason.
And now it was her turn.
"Really?" Juvia said happily. "Who is he? Do I know him? When can I meet him? Is he handsome and fearless?"
Jose chuckled with her excitement. "The proposal was made through official letters. I never met him, child."
"Never?" The Marquise thought it was strange. Jose knew every nobleman in the March.
"I am afraid that this man I am talking about is not from here." The old man said with caution; he didn't want to scare the girl.
"Not from here?" The blue haired woman frowned. "Is he from one of the Islands?"
The March had most of its lands in the continent, but also had seven islands, not too big but not too small, so the probability was that Master had found a Baron or a Baronet for her to engage.
"No." Jose leaned to the back of his chair. "The young man I am talking about is the Duke of the Ice Lands." All color was drained of Juvia's face.
The Ice Lands.
She had read about it so many times in her books that she could picture the white desert that the place was. She had read about how barbaric the people from that duchy were, how the animals were twice as savages and how cold it was. Enough to freeze a man to the bone during the night, one book said.
The Duchy of the Ice Lands had its borders with the March of the Rain and was the biggest Duchy in all Kingdom of Fiore. In the bottom of the land of the Kingdom was the March of Rain and right above it was the Duchy of the Ice Lands with thousands of kilometers of snow and ice. The March of Rain was big, but it was nothing compared to the four Duchies of Fiore: South was the Duchy of Winter, known as Ice Lands. Going north there was the Duchy of Fall, a little west there was the Duchy of Summer and going east, there was the Duchy of Spring.
The reason why people would rather travel by ship to the March of Rain instead of passing through the Ice Lands was because of how afraid everyone was to go there.
Juvia shuddered with the thought.
"B-but…" She tried to say.
"I know, child. I know that it's not your desire to go to that place, but…" Jose sighed. "You need to know the truth."
"What truth?" Juvia asked with curiosity.
"The blue diamonds. They're disappearing quickly."
She was surprised. "What? But the diamonds are our primary way of gaining money. Without it, would be…"
"The end of the March." Jose sighed deeply. "That situation have been bothering me for quite some time, child."
"You… you should have told me!" Juvia got up from her chair and started to walk from one side to another. "I would've…"
"What, Juvia?" The man rested his elbows in the table. "What would have you done to prevent this to happen? You, that is nothing more than a child."
Juvia knew he was right. It wasn't something she could change if not even Master did, it was impossible for her to come up with something to help the situation.
"How did that happen?" She asked quietly. "The Islands were full of diamonds."
"Pirate attacks." Jose said and they stayed a few minutes in silence while the girl was thinking.
It made sense; the pirates from Across The Sea were dangerous and were always attacking the ships with the diamonds. It was like they knew exactly when to attack.
"But I thought that we hired more sailors to make it safer." The Marquise said in confusion. If there were more men, the ships were supposed to be more secure.
"Those hires were paid with the money we make by selling the diamonds, and more men didn't prevent the pirates of acting." Master rested his chin in his hands. "The situation of the March is severe, child. We need this marriage."
The Marquise chews her lower lip. She knew how much he hated asking for help, and if the Master was telling that she was needed, that meant that the situation was bad.
"This… Duke." She said after some thought. "How can he help us?"
"The Ice Lands have The Mines and they're full of gold, my child. The duchy is one of the richest in Fiore. If you marry the Duke our problems of money will be solved." Jose said calmly. "You would be a Duchess. You could help all the people from the March. Thousands of lives."
The man knew of how helpless the Marquise felt when she couldn't do anything to help the people she was supposed to take care of.
"And I would need to move from the March?" She asked. "Go to the Ice Lands?"
"Yes. You would need to live with your husband, child." The man nodded. "This is the only way."
She became silent for some time, then straightens up her body and, as a noble she was, spoke clearly.
"If that what needs to be done to save the March, it is my duty as the Marquise to do so." She lifted her chin. "When do I leave?"
When the girl left the room, Jose grinned. She was so easy to manipulate. So easy to see through and control. During all those years he had been waiting, planning and calculating every move he could and now it was time. It was time for him to have the revenge.
He got up and walked to a small table which contained the drinks. He poured some to himself and drank some.
"Now the plan can finally start." He said looking outside the window, to the sea. "After thirty years, the plan can finally start."
AN: It's awful. Am I crazy to post this? Is it too confusing? What do I need to explain better? Please tell me your insights. No point of continue writing something that sucks, right? :O Man, it's gonna be difficult to write this. *runs away to the hills* Please, don't kill me!
English is not my primary language, so forgive any mistakes. Point them kindly and I'll fix them. :)