Chapter 1: New Beginnings
"Change is inevitable. Change is constant."
Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) British politician and author.
The beautiful young woman leaned down and kissed her daughter's porcelain forehead and smiled. "Did you have fun outside, Nightingale?" The girl giggled and opened her gray eyes when her mother leaned away from her. Nightingale had been playing outside with Elliot, her best friend.
"Yes mama! I got a little thirsty and wanted something to drink, say mama?" Nightingale swayed her a little feet and felt every inch of her wavy long black hair bounce along with her.
The Hero of Bowerstone smiled down at her graceful daughter and couldn't help but chuckle at her enthusiasm. "Yes little bird, what is it?" The Queen picked Nightingale up and sat down with her on a comfy armchair, staring into those light orbs of mysterious gray.
Nightingale put a hand up to her mother's face and cocked her head to the side, "Does Sparrow mean anything? Mama? Why do you have such a strange name?" Sparrow laughed and then rubbed her nose against Nightingale's face.
"Sparrow is a type of bird silly, like your name, you were named after a bird also. I was called Sparrow because of my youth, it means to set out into the word. I loved it so much that I decided to stick with it even now. Your father loves to make fun of my name, he claims it to be childish." The Hero made a funny face and smiled down at her daughter. Sparrow and her daughter looked much a like, same facial structure, same hands and feet, and the same eyes and eyebrows. In fact, if you didn't double take, you might even mistake Nightingale for Sparrow's youth. Nightingale was her mother's daughter, but she didn't inherit everything from her mother; she had her father's personality. The same laugh, the spunky and fiery attitude, and the kind and brave heart.
Nightingale cocked her head to the side and her eyes slowly widened, "I didn't mean to make fun of your name! Mama! I love your name, it's the most beautiful ever!" Nightingale hugged her mother and sighed calmly. Sparrow chuckled and carefully brushed her long and beautiful fingers through Nightingale's jet black hair. "Mama? What does Nightingale mean?"
Sparrow continued to brush her daughter's hair and then looked out the grand window, it was a spectacular view, really. You could see all of Bowerstone, even the puffing smokes of the beginnings of Bowerstone Industrial. "Little bird, Nightingale means a small bird with a sweet melody. See?" She looked down at her daughter and smirked. "There's the beak, the eyes, the nose and then wings!" Sparrow tickled her daughter and held her closely, "You sing just like a beautiful bird. Nightingale, little bird, is a wonderful name, and if anyone says something, tell them exactly what I said."
Nightingale looked up at her mother and nodded seriously, "Yes, mama." The sound of a clicking cane ringed throughout the room. Sparrow looked up from her trance smiled at her smiling husband and stared expressionless at a tall and lean man; who's smirk spread wolfishly along his face, his brown eyes blinked with curiosity at the bond of the mother and daughter. Reaver. He lowered his ridiculously tall top hat and bowed at the Hero of Bowerstone. "Your Majesty, shall we stroll through the garden, we have much to discuss." He smiled deviously, and indicated towards her husband and the door. They all did have much to discuss. Nightingale turned her head away from her mother and stared observingly at the man who just loved to roll his r's.
Nightingale looked back up at her mother and sadly cocked her head to the side, "Mama, do you have to go now? I won't bother you for now, Elliot is waiting for me!" Sparrow smiled brightly at her daughter and kissed her cheek and let the beautiful girl hop of her lap and dust of her pretty dark green dress. The girl's flats clicked softly on the ground as she made her way towards the door. Nightingale hugged her father and looked at the tall, so very tall man. Reaver's wolfish grin spread widely across his face and he gave the little princess a small bow, "Good afternoon, little princess." The girl narrowed her gray eyes thoughtfully at the man with the perfect jet black hair and the strange heart shaped tattoo. "Good afternoon, sir." Then she curtseyed and exited the room, heading towards the kitchen for some water and then running back to Elliot. Maybe even her older brother, Logan would come out to play.
Sparrow smiled slightly, she missed being 9 years old.
Her shining black locks reached to the end of her hips and her long and beautiful fingers tugged at her spring green long and simple dress. Her eyes closed and she yawned while putting her hands up to her pink lips. Her eyes fluttered and if you listened close enough, you could hear the beating of her thick and long lashes brushing against her porcelain skin. Nightingale opened her mysterious gray eyes and looked into the mirror, the exact image of her mother, except more youthful. Her thick but naturally shaped eyebrows raised when she remembered her mother's natural death, heart failure. Nightingale had only been 13 years old when she saw her mother at her death bed, that was when she gave her a special anklet, said to give her luck and hope.
The coughing sputtered out rough and wet. Nightingale winced at her older brother's side, gripping his hand tightly. She looked up at her brother and stared at his face, he was trying to stay composed and strong, but you could tell that his expression was going to shatter, like tiny glass particles. Their father sat down at their mother's side and he gripped her mother and kissed her hand continuously, 'Come on Sparrow, love, keep it together.' Sparrow would only smile and reassure her broken husband over and over. The Old Queen turned her gray orbs towards Nightingale and smiled, she held out her hand, beckoning her towards her. 'Nightingale…little bird-' Another round of wet coughing, her mother had been coughing up blood continuously. Nightingale dropped her brother's hand and ran over to her dying mother's side, she gently gripped her frail fingers, once so strong and reassuring.
'Mother, don't talk so much, your hurting yourself.' Nightingale could feel the heat creep up to her cheeks, she soon even felt warm tears slide down her now pink cheeks. Sparrow weakly giggled and brushed her daughter's hair, 'Nightingale, hold out your hand.' Nightingale cocked her head to the side and just listened to what her mother said, she held out her delicate looking hands and just wondered what her mother possibly meant.
The Hero of Bowerstone's shaking hands dropped a slithery black anklet into her daughter's hands. Nightingale stared down at the strange anklet with curiosity. A single beautiful charm of a bird dangled from it. Nightingale looked desperately at her mother and then kissed her hand. Sparrow began to brush Nightingale's hair again and spoke carefully, 'Wear this anklet, may it bring you luck and hope, I never doubted it once. Can you guess what type of bird that is, little bird?'
Nightingale stared harder at the anklet and then realization hit her, 'I-is it a Sparrow, mama?' The Queen chuckled silently and shook her head, 'No little bird, it's a Nightingale. Put it on, I want to see you wear it in front of me, I'll be set in peace, please, little bird?' Nightingale's eyes widened and she shook her head, 'Y-yes! Of course mama! Look, I'm going to put it on!' She watched as Sparrow's eyes began to open and close, her breath slowed. Nightingale sat down on the edge of the bed and lifted her right ankle to show her mother that she had put it on. 'M-mama! Look!' Sparrow weakly smiled and gently gripped her daughter's hand, 'You'll be Albion's new Hero, little bird. Never show weakness. Stay strong.'
Then Sparrow sighed deeply and closed her eyes, her grip on Nightingale instantly loosened and she could see her body from down below, she could see her lovely daughter scream for her mother, she could see her son's expression shatter, he began to pull back her daughter. Her husband's tears dripped on Sparrow's paled face and he kissed her one last time before turning towards his offsprings. He hugged them tightly and then turned to their family butler, Jasper, he shook his head and told him to get a funeral ready. Nightingale tried to stop sobbing, she knew it would only hurt her dear mother's soul even more. Logan swallowed a breath and hugged his sister and father. For he knew he was next to rule.
Nightingale closed her eyes and then when she knew she was composed she opened them. Nightingale opened her eyes to see her silly grown collie staring at her with a sort of whimper escaping his lips. Nightingale cleared her throat and then laughed, she kneeled down and waited for him to jump on her. He instantly cheered up and galloped towards her, his tongue sloppily hanging out the side of his mouth. Nightingale hugged him gently and rubbed his black and white fur coat, "Oreo! You silly boy! Did you have a good nap?"
The collie only blinked at her and wagged his tail, she smirked and forgot, "Of course you can't understand human speech, where's Jasper boy?" Oreo hopped up and down and pointed his nose towards the door that exited her bedroom, soon she too could hear the footsteps of her faithful family servant. Oreo galloped up to a shocked Jasper and then began to lick his hand. Oreo had been around ever since she was 15 years old. Logan and Nightingale happened to find him wandering the streets as a puppy looking for some food, they urged Jasper into letting them keep him. Jasper couldn't help it, he had just shrugged and nodded, 'I know your father wouldn't mind.'
Jasper wiped off his hand with a sort of disgusted face and then wiped back his white hair. He brightened instantly when he saw the Princess ready for the nearing afternoon. "Ah! I see that your all clean and bright. Did you sleep well, Princess?" Nightingale shook her head and smiled at Jasper, "Nightingale, you know I feel awkward when you call me Princess." Jasper chuckled and then cleared his throat, "Well, I just can't help it your Majesty. You may feel free to roam around, I'll clean your room, now scuttle, have fun." Nightingale smiled, flashing a row of perfect white teeth, "Thanks Jasper!" Then she whistled to Oreo and then hustled out of her grand bedroom. Things haven't been too great ever since her older brother, Logan, had risen to power.
Nightingale closed her eyes and breathed in the fine air through an open window, she let the breeze whirl her hair around her porcelain face. "It's a nice day to be outside…and, it's been 5 years since mother died. She would've been proud to see me finally as an 18 year old woman." The collie wagged his tail delightfully and stood up on his hind legs to get a view of the outside world. Nightingale smiled down at him and then narrowed her eyes out towards Bowerstone Industrial, it had produced faster than she had thought, many new inventions and factories had popped up from there. She sighed and then turned away from the window, she was near the War Room now, the place where her brother and his allies and captains discussed important things.
Nightingale looked out towards the sun, "There's an hour until we see Elliot, boy, let's try to slip outside in the mean time." Oreo whimpered, he knew quite well that they had to sneak past Logan, and Logan was quite good at spotting or even hearing Nightingale try to sneak out. Nightingale put a hand on her slender hip and shook her head, "Oh come on boy, don't be such a stick in the mud! Let's go, and no panting this time!" She slinked against the wall and tried to quieten the tiny jingle of her special anklet.
Nightingale began to tip toe silently as she neared the War Room, Oreo had his tail between his legs, she knew he had a bad feeling but she really wanted to go outside and enjoy the fresh air. They couldn't keep her here forever, she wasn't a real bird you know. She didn't have an actual cage. Nightingale slid silently next to the War Room door and listened, she had mastered sneaking around ever since she was young. There was the familiar voice of her brother, Logan, and then there was someone else. Nightingale furrowed her eyebrows as she strained to remember where she heard that elegant fashion of talking from before. Then her eyebrows shot up, he was from her past, she wouldn't forget that day, those eyes or that face. 'What was his name…? Weaver..no, Reaver. How annoying, he still rolls his r's.'
Nightingale wasn't particularly fund of Reaver, especially after all of the things she had been hearing about him. That he over works his workers, sends children to labor and has too many parties, she almost forgot about the millions of affairs that he's known for. Another thing that sent chills down her spine, he never misses a damn shot. Him and his stupid Dragonstomper .48. She felt the tiny hairs on neck stand up straight, Nightingale shook her head and then looked down at Oreo and put a finger up to her bowed shaped lips.
Nightingale began to slowly take her steps, taking her time to cross the distance between the two double doors to the War Room. The door was slightly jarred and she could peek inside to see her brother's back facing her and Reaver's front side facing the door. She glowered at him before trying to take another step when she heard the clinking of a teacup resting against it's saucer. "Nightingale, sister, are you going somewhere?" Nightingale froze where she was, he had a stern tone in his voice and she didn't like the feeling in it.
Nightingale glared at the jarred door and silently began to list a couple of vulgar words through her mind. She knew he wanted her to enter the room and that he wouldn't let her go anywhere without answering his question. Throughout the years, he had changed, from an awkwardly warm brother to a tyrant. Nightingale, peeked through the jarred door to see Reaver staring at her with an amusing look on his face. If she had her bow and arrow, she would have stopped the smile from spreading any further. It freaked her out. Logan cleared his throat and she knew that was the signal for his irritation.
Nightingale sucked in a deep breath and looked down at Oreo who was ready to start growling, she gave him a stern look and then entered the War Room, head held high and confidently. Nightingale concentrated on the jingle of her anklet as she crossed the room, closer to her tyrant of a brother and closer to that perverted creep of an industrialist who kept staring at her face. 'He's just trying to make me feel awkward, he' s just being an asshole.' Nightingale stood to the side of her brother and reverted her gray orbs down towards the side of his face, analyzing the scar that stretched across his cheek. "Brother, I was just going to go outside…fresh air, sing a bit, and…Elliot will probably be here some time soon." She bit her lip, she knew Logan didn't really like Elliot.
Logan stared up at his beautiful sister, he sighed and then shook his head, he always had to keep from wavering…she just looked like Sparrow, too much like her, it bothered him. "Nightingale, don't you have better things on your mind. Other than these little games?" He looked at Reaver for a moment and glowered at him, he just loved to admire women of status and looks. Even though Logan acted like a 'tyrant' as he heard from several towns folk, he still cared for his sister's well being and he certainly did not appreciate Reaver looking at her as if she was some type of food.
Nightingale's cheeks turned a dusty pink and she looked seriously at her brother, "Logan. I already finished a few books today, I've perfected another song on the piano and I've already practiced writing. I'm not a bird that can be kept in a cage forever, and you definitely know I am not as obedient as you want me to be." Logan put the cup up to his lips and took a sip, he sighed and then looked back at her, she looked so serious, so mad. "Have you practiced your swordsmanship skills?" Damn it. That stabbed her right in the chest. Nightingale bit her lip to stop from yelling in front of the…guest. Reaver let out a chuckle, "It looks like you've missed a few things, little Princess."
Nightingale glowered at Reaver when Logan wasn't looking, "W-walter hasn't arrived yet, he still must be training the troops, you know he comes around the same time Elliot does." Logan finally folded his hands on his lap and waved his hand, "Fine. But I better not hear anything…strange." Nightingale smiled triumphantly and then looked down at Oreo who was gone from her side and growling at Reaver.
Reaver curled his lips in disgust, a hand swiped a perfect set of hair from his eyes and he glared down at the mutt. He had the sudden urge to just shoot him. Then his eyes shot up to the young and beautiful Princess as she attempted to pull the mongrel away from him. A smile spread on his lips. "King Logan, I do believe we have finished our set of business. Shall I leave?"
Logan looked up at Reaver who was about to kill Oreo where he stood, he cleared his throat and then nodded, "Yes, I do believe we are done, if you wouldn't mind, why don't you show Nightingale out?" He could see a devious smirk play across Reaver's face, why, it even reached that strange heart shaped tattoo of his.
Nightingale's eyes widened and she shot a look at Logan and then at Reaver who stood up to his full height. She had to crane her neck up just to see his face. Her lip curled in an awkward way and she whispered to Oreo, 'Come on you dumb dog, no treats!' Oreo whimpered and with that, he scampered out of the room and stood by the door, waging his tail wildly and sticking his tongue out sloppily. Nightingale hurried after him and then turned down the hall, not before she heard a certain cane tapping after her. It was like her strides didn't even make a difference to him, he was at her side in a second. "Princess, it isn't nice to leave someone who would be willing to escort you out safely." He added with a sarcastic smirk.
Nightingale looked ahead and tried to smile, but it turned into a slight scowl. 'Psh, I don't feel safe with you at all, you might as well shoot me where I stand'. She smirked at her thought and then turned another sharp turn and smiled down at her collie, trying to keep that idiot out of her mind.
Reaver easily followed next to her and smirked, she was being unreasonably hard to get. But, he would not waver. "Your Majesty, I would love to escort you properly to the destination you desire." He looked down at her small but curvy frame, and decided to judge her in his mind. 'Hm…she looks so much like her dear mother, if only her attitude wasn't so stubborn. Damn her father to the Void…I would just love to see how she does in bed…' he smiled wolfishly and then held out his arm for her to take. Reaver just wanted to see that lovely face's reaction, he just wanted to mess with her mind.
Nightingale tried not to glower but she could feel one of her eyes twitch when he requested to take her properly out to the garden. She looked up at his smirking face and then his white coated arms. Then his deep deep purple gloves. Nightingale deeply hated his outfit, a white suit with strange ruffles and a crazy long top hat with some googles on it, it made her wonder about his damn fashion sense. And that Dragonstomper .48 strapped to a holder that wrapped around his thigh, it made her bite her lip. Nightingale looked down at her collie who whimpered at her, she gave him a sympathetic look and then turned her attention back to Reaver's outstretched arm. She glowered and then wrapped her hands around it. Personally, Nightingale would rather dance with a Balverine.