I really hope that you like this story! Now, background you should know: this story is set in 1899 and it's the time of big puffy corseted dresses :D
This is my second FanFiction and I really owe my amazing Beta SavannahKristen for helping out with the story :)
I hope you enjoy it!
The wind was blowing loudly in the cold September air. Breezes were overflowing the sound of citizens rushing, talking, and hurrying to complete their chores. The smell of the sea lingered in the morning air, as if to remind the citizens that there existed a world beyond the one they knew; a world that had been recently discovered, and that held a deep intrigue among the citizens of Great Britain.
Sydney Katherine Sage was siting on the bay waiting for the royal carriage to escort her back to the palace. She wondered how the world could possibly be so ignorant as to see the wonders that surrounded it. She was astonished at the delayed reactions that were caused by the wondrous discovery of the new world. Sydney had always been like this, skeptical, and questioning. Always wondering what kinds of phenomenal things were awaiting her in the world, but never truly knowing. Sydney Sage was a young girl of eighteen, who had molten gold eyes, and slightly waved silky blond hair. She was a breathtaking beauty if one were to ignore ranks and haute society hierarchy.
Upon hearing the horses from afar, Sydney got up from her siting stance, and told the servants to grab hold of the basket of fruits and vegetables they had bought at the marketplace. She bowed ever so lightly to the driver of the carriage, and sat down in the carriage. It wasn't much to look at, however it was her only means of transport when she had to escort the domestic help to town She did so, because her knowledge of most anything was highly valued by Lady Ivashkov.
Looking down at herself, she played around with her dress so as not to look lowly when she entered the palace. The ride up the rocky hill was quite bumpy. Sydney thought about how the mountains had earned there strange forms, and so different from the other. Everything always revolved around learning, and Sydney couldn't get enough of it. She had the Younger Ivashkov to thank for her knowledge of the surrounding world. He wasn't her tutor, however he had lent her the material to study on her own. She wondered if he even learned anything with his professional and paid professors. Sydney closed her eyes and dreamt of what it would be like to have been born in a family where learning was thought highly upon. Alas, this was not the case, and even if she had been born to a Lord, and Lady, women did not study the fascinating topics that men did. She had had the privilege of learning about trade, linguistics, history, and of course hierarchy.
She was a lady-in waiting for the richest family of all of London: The Ivashkov's. She had been lucky that her father was such a competent man, and had insisted on being the personal advisor for the family. He had been enlisted in the army with Lord Ivashkov, who used to be a very important General. Her father had been lucky that he was awarded the opportunity to raise her sister, Zoe, and herself in a better manner.
Suddenly Sydney felt the carriage halt in a bit of a harsh manner. Realizing that they had reached the palace, she instructed the two servant girls to carry the food to the kitchen, and put it away in its proper place. She exited the carriage and walked to the smaller entrance to the palace. The main door was only used for special occasions such as the balls and galas that the Ivashkov planned every once in a while.
Smiling at the thought of her sister's face when she entered the castle always put Sydney in good spirits. Zoe was a young girl of fifteen, who like her had striking good looks. Her skin was a shade of creamy milk that was just acceptable in haute society, and her features, not quite as defined as her own, were still very pretty. Many people said that she was a spitting image of her, but with brown waved hair. They shared the same shade of golden brown eyes which they had inherited from their mother.
When Sydney entered through the door she heard footsteps running towards her. Turning around she saw Zoe smile and give her a tight hug. She had her hair in two messy braids, which only meant one thing; she had been out in the stables again.
"Zoe, what on earth were you doing in the stables again? You know that father does not approve of your indiscretions." She said softly scolding her in a sisterly manner. Zoe smiled, and shrugged her shoulders as if it were not a big deal. Sydney sighed and asked what had happened in her absence.
"Well… Lets see. Adrian decided to be funny, and planted wine in the priest's glass when he came over this afternoon for his sermon." She giggled at the thought, but stopped once she saw her sister's disapproving glare. "Alright, it was quite silly, but it made us all laugh, and he does have a sense of humor." She said trying to justify her words.
"Zoe, you mustn't call the younger Lord by his first name; it is impolite. May I remind you that he is many years older than you…" said Sydney as she started making her way to her chambers. She had been awarded three rooms for her, and her sister to share, which was quite a generous offer. Zoe followed suit, and looked over at her sister.
"He isn't that much older to you though is he?" She asked in a truly curious manner. "Why is it then that you call him Lord Ivashkov, or Sir?" she questioned assuming that we were of the same status. Zoe was sweet, and had a heart of gold, but was known for being naïve. She didn't yet understand the role that she played in the welfare of the Ivashkov family. She was a Lady-in waiting trainee, and didn't fully understand what that meant.
"Oh Zoe, it is simply polite, that as a young lady we treat the ones older to us in a courteous manner. Now tell me, did you fall off of Beauty today?" she asked wondering how her sisters riding skills were coming along. Sydney definitely did not approve of her sister's passion for horses, but she couldn't be a hypocrite. She was being discreet about all the studies that she was completing. Every person had a passion, and for Zoe it was horses.
"It was amazing Sydney! I really do wish that you could come along once. I fell a few times but Keith was always there to catch me, so it wasn't that bad" She said with a fond tone when mentioning Keith. Keith O'Darnell was the son of the Ivashkov's driver. He was only about a year Sydney's senior, but he seemed so plain to her. To Zoe though, he was a fascinating young man, who had the same interests as her. She often spoke of him, and his heroics in keeping her from getting hurt. Sydney knew that Zoe had taken a fancy to him, but she never spoke of her feelings for the young man.
"Well I am not much of a rider, as I know that you are aware. Come, we should bathe and put on some clean clothes, we both smell terrible, and we cannot present ourselves in front of father like this." Noted Sydney, remembering the fit he had when Zoe had gone to welcome him wearing her dirt covered dress from riding. He had been furious, and had ordered that she make sure Zoe looked presentable at all times.
Zoe nodded in approval, and they both entered their chambers. Sydney walked straight for her closet and picked out a white corset that went with a pale blue skirt. When worn together it looked like a very comfortable dress. She laid out her dress on her bed, and walked over to Zoe's room, where she saw he in a dilemma of not knowing what to wear. Sydney smiled at her younger sister, and pulled out a plain cotton white corseted dress for her.
"Here I've asked the bath to be filled with warm water, go bathe and call me when you have done so. I'll bring you're dress in for you" She said with a soft, and almost maternal voice. She had never been able to see her mother, and so she never felt her absence, all that remained of her mother was a gold cross necklace that she had left behind before passing away. The cross now hung on Sydney's neck reminding her that her mother was a pious woman, and that she had sound values.
Sydney had often wondered why her mother had died so suddenly, but the question was answered when she found a journal entry that he mother had written claiming that they could not afford medicine. She had died because her father had been unable to afford it. After her mother's death, her father had become a different man. She rarely saw him smile, or even appreciate his daughters. He blamed himself for the death of his beloved wife. That was the reason that he had been so insistent that he earn his way to the top, so that he could care for his daughters the way he had never been able to care for his wife.
"Sydney? I'm done… Can you please bring my dress for me?" Sydney heard her sister say about an hour after she had gone in for her bath. She got up, and got hold of her sister's dress. When she knocked on the door, it was instantly opened. Sydney walked inside to find her sister wrapped in a towel. "Thank you" said Zoe as she reached for her dress.
Sydney helped her button the dress and tightened the corset in a way that didn't stop her sister from breathing. When she was satisfied, she reached for a hairbrush, and started to rid Zoe's brown hair from any tangles. Smiling down at her sister, Sydney got a hold of her favorite perfume that smelled of magnolia flowers, and sprayed it on her sister.
"Is this what it's like?" She heard her sister whisper. She didn't understand what she meant, and she looked at her with confusion.
"What do you mean?" Asked Sydney obliviously.
"Is this what it's like to have a mother?" She elaborated with an even lighter tone that earlier. She had lowered her eyes, and was looking at the floor. Taken aback by her sister's sudden question, Sydney remained silent for a moment.
"I'm afraid I cannot answer that. You know as well as I that I was three years old when she passed away," said Sydney in a diplomatic way. It was always like this for the sisters. Zoe was always good at expressing her true feelings, and Sydney was all about looking at the logic, and facts that surrounded her. She never spoke of her feelings to anyone, and always remained on guard.
Subconsciously Sydney's hand shot up to her gold necklace around her neck. She wondered if she truly knew anything of her mother other than the fact that she had loved to invent stories. That had been a big reason why her father had fallen in love with her. She could take a person away from the world, and make them question their very existence. Sydney pushed thoughts of her mother away, and looked at Zoe.
"I believe that it is time for you to go to father. I must bathe now, but I shall join you soon," said Sydney, attempting a lighter tone. Her sister still had a look in her eyes of sorrow, but nodded and walked out of the room with as much poise as she could.
Sighing softly Sydney went back to her room to fetch her dress. When she was ready to take her bath she undid her loose ponytail, and slipped into the bath. The water was warm, and made her realize just how cold she had been. She took some essence of rose, and poured it into the bath to make her skin softer. She scrubbed every inch of herself until she was sure that she was spotless, and then she closed her eyes and let the warm water, and the essence of rose soak into her skin.
After what seemed like an eternity Sydney got out of the bath, and dried herself with a towel. She put on her dress, which was white on top, and pale blue on the bottom. The sleeves went halfway down her arms, so they were slightly puffed. After she had brushed her hair, and had perfumed herself, she put on a pair of her nice white shoes, and walked out of the room to see her father.
The palace was beautifully decorated, and had paintings on every wall. The ceilings were high, and the pillars were carved carefully to represent mythical creatures for artistic affect. Sydney had always loved the way that the palace was decorated, but to her it was more of an open history book. Each painting had a name under, and she guessed the great things each Ivashkov had done by looking at the object that was carried in one of their hands.
Sydney walked extra slowly, for she was not yet mentally prepared to greet her father. To someone else this would seem strange, but to Sydney to it was a regular feeling. She didn't enjoy talking with her father, because it felt like he was only interested in Lady-in waiting training. Sydney was grateful for her position, however wondered about a better life: one in which she could make decisions, and have a voice that affected the people around her.
Slowly she knocked on her father's private study. To her dismay the answer was almost immediate. She held her breath, and quickly straightened out her dress, running a hand through her hair. She sighed deeply and turned the doorknob, and then she entered the room with a fake smile plastered onto her beautiful face.
"Good Afternoon Father," she said with a thick politeness that she frequently used around her father and Lord Ivashkov. Anyone else, she could deal with. She was polite, but relaxed. In this situation however, she felt like being neither. She understood that her father was grieved by her mother's death, but that had been almost fifteen years ago. He was letting pain, and anguish rule his life instead of getting to know his daughters.
"It is quite a lovely isn't it? Now, I have some very important things I wish to discuss with you. As you are well aware the ball being hosted for the younger Lord will take place in a few days time. I do hope that you have made the proper preparations for this event. Lady Ivashkov has been quite particular about it," said her father.
"Father, as you have pointed out I am perfectly aware, and the needed preparations have been made. If you'll excuse me, it is time that I take tea up to Lady Ivashkov's room. She doesn't like seeing the domestics in her chambers at this hour," Sydney said calmly, trying to hide the frustration in her voice. She grew frustrated with his nosy behavior. Bowing, she left the room.
Making her way down the halls she headed for the kitchen, where she took the overly decorated gold tray, and thanked the cook for having the tray ready on time. When she was sure that she had a tight hold on the tray, she left and bid them all a good day.
When she reached Lady Ivashkov's room, she halted and knocked gently on the door. She heard slow footsteps approach, and the door opened.
"Ah Lady Sage, how nice of you to drop by," said Lady Ivashkov with a smile. She was a genuinely beautiful woman, with thick dark curly hair. She would usually ask Sydney to help her keep the curls in place, since it was most unladylike to have messy hair.
"Good afternoon Lady Ivashkov. I have your tea ready for you," said Sydney, with a small nod toward the tray in her hand.
"Ah yes, it is so kind of you. I have been so busy with the ball that I have been completely forgetting my daily routines." She gave a soft laugh, as if feeling sad about herself.
"If you want me to take on a few more responsibilities, I really wouldn't mind, you know…" said Sydney, hoping to ease the pressure off the gentle women. She understood perfectly well the stress that came with being the wife of a Lord. She had seen the fake smiles, and diplomatic parties. She had witnessed the brawls that had occurred due to Lady Ivashkov not wanting to do it anymore, and Sydney remembered having to comfort her, and take it upon herself to help Lady Ivashkov in any way possible. After all she was her Lady-in Waiting.
"Oh dear God no. Sydney you have been doing everything for this event," replied Lady Ivashkov with a horrorstruck gaze. She let go of her mannerly talking when she was around Sydney. It always started with polite and ladylike conversations, but neither could help themselves. Sydney had grown to love Lady Ivashkov as if she were her mother. She would never tell anyone this, but it pained her to see her so strained from the polite, and elite world of lords and ladies.
"Is there anything at all that I can do to help?" Repeated Sydney, feeling as though Lady Ivashkov only needed a nudge to accept. As she expected, Lady Ivashkov sighed.
"I hate to ask you to do this, but could you please check up on Adrian? He hasn't been coming home for dinner frequently enough for his father to be satisfied with his attendance. I fear he may be causing mischief, and you know how Lord Ivashkov despises his indiscretions."
"Oh, yes of course, but I… I'll get straight to work. Enjoy your tea Lady Ivashkov," said Sydney feeling slightly unimportant. The younger Ivashkov was the most infuriating person that Sydney knew. She was thankful to him, but thankfulness only went so far. As she left the room and made her way to his room, she felt herself speed up slightly at the remembrance that he would have more work for her to do. When she was outside his room, she knocked on the door. No response followed, so she did so again. This time she heard hurried and hushed whispers coming from the room, and even heard a few things fall over. When the doorknob moved to open the door, Sydney stepped back, slightly scared of what might come out of his room. She was greeted by Adrian Ivashkov. He looked as handsome as ever, however Sydney noticed that is dark hair was messier than usual and his fiery green eyes looked bloodshot.
"Miss Sage, to what do I owe this pleasure?" he asked in an overly ceremonial manner.
"I came to make sure that everything was alright. Your mother has been extremely worried about your absences to family dinners and such," Sydney said, trying to maintain her mannered tone.
"Ah yes… my mother… let her know that I shall be down for dinner tonight," he said thoughtfully. Sydney knew better than to fall for such a fake act.
"Would you mind if I see your attire for the ball? I must make sure it fits you correctly," insisted Sydney hoping to get inside the room. She could tell that he was hiding something, and she had told Lady Ivashkov that she would keep an eye out for her son.
"Must that be done now Miss Sage?" he said, again using his fake tone. Sydney could take no more of his banter.
"What are you hiding behind that door, Adrian?" asked Sydney losing any ceremonial speech. She truly despised his quips.
"Now now, that is no way to treat a Lord," said Adrian, a wicked smirk on his face. He had always enjoyed teasing her. It was as though he lived to break her polite persona.
"I am merely treating you as what you are: a reckless child." Sydney would never officially do such a thing, but knowing Adrian, and his easy-going nature, she took the chance and pushed on the door.
This did not go as planned. Adrian was not expecting her to be so courageous as to attempt a stunt so daring. She stumbled onto Adrian, who tried to catch her, but lost balance. They both landed on the floor, Adrian on the bottom and Sydney on top. After having caught his breath Adrian looked at Sydney.
"Would a reckless child just have done that?" he asked looking intently into Sydney's eyes. Irritated rather than thankful, Sydney moved away from Adrian's body and got up. Before Adrian could see what had happened Sydney walked straight for his closet and opened it, much to Adrian's disapproval.
In the closet, Sydney found one of the housemaids that had gone with her to the market that very morning, half naked. She was trying to hide herself as best as she could, but wasn't quite managing it. Sydney's face hardened.
"Julia what is the meaning of this? You are a domestic in this house, not a man's plaything. Please gather your clothes and go back to your chores," said Sydney in a disgusted voice. Julia gave a small "yes ma'am" and hurried out of Adrian's chambers. Sydney caught a wink that Adrian passed on to the young girl as she rushed out of the room, glad that it had only been Sydney.
"That was harsh Sage," said Adrian as he walked over to Sydney. She was too furious to answer. She'd had enough of always having to come into Adrian's chambers to find him in a messy state with a half naked woman in the room.
"Not as harsh as Lady Ivashkov will be when I tell her of this," said Sydney in severely as she started to walk past Adrian with powerful yet graceful strides. Before she could leave the room Adrian had grabbed hold of her wrist and was puling her away from the door, urging her to look at him. He didn't say a word but still stared at Sydney trying to understand her. Sydney took the opportunity to voice some questions for the man.
"How can you this? Don't you feel any remorse?" she asked, quietly still refusing to meet Adrian's eyes. Adrian saw that she had calmed down, but couldn't help but notice that Sydney couldn't bear to look at him. Was she truly that disgusted by him? The thought bothered him for some odd reason. After all, why should he care what she thought?
"How else am I to earn the attention of my father?" countered Adrian bitterly. This sparked Sydney's interest enough to make her look up at him.
"You do it by earning his respect, not by seducing young women, and abusing them," said Sydney seriously.
"You think I'm abusing them? I have never forced a woman, Sydney. If they show interest I figure it's a win-win situation," He said reasonably. "Why does this bother you so? All you have to do is leave the room and report me to my parents."
"I won't do that," said Sydney, unable to be quite as harsh after hearing his words about his father. "But I do think that you should try to earn your father's approval through a different way. Maybe if you showed interest in his work or if you helped out more and did as he told you-"
"Sounds like you're referring to yourself Sage. Maybe you should take your own advice," he said cutting Sydney. "I know why you won't tell them you know… it's written all over your face." He smiled slightly. "Here," he gestured to a table in the corner of his room. "The work for this week is on the table. Take it and enjoy the mountain load of terrible and gruesome language arts.'"
"I care about you Adrian. This isn't all for the studies. I am grateful for that, yes, but I truly wish to help you," said Sydney as she took the novels off the table. She nodded her head and walked toward the door. Before she was completely out, she heard Adrian mutter a few more words.
"Not even God can help me now…" sighing at how wrong that statement was, Sydney grabbed hold of her gold cross, and walked away with her new study material.
I hope that you guys enjoyed it!
Do let me know how you found it :D