A/N: Sheryl's birthday was earlier this month so I had written a little something for her. It was a day late, but next year I'll get it right! Oh, and Sheryl's birthday is on November 6th :) It had been a different date, but MochiJun changed it to the sixth. I have a special spot for the Rainsworth women, and honestly they're my favorite dukedom :)
At any rate, I do hope you all enjoy -bows-
Warm, radiant light. Floating, bobbing in between her hands, becoming smaller and larger as she moved them.
For the past few hours, Sheryl Rainsworth had been sitting in her room alone, the curtains open for the first time in days and letting the autumn sun's afternoon rays spill into the rosy bedchamber. A little less than a week had passed since her mother, the previous head, had passed away. Sadness wasn't something she could escape from, but she had seen it in the trace of smile on her mother's lips, the unspoken words that rang gently like a summer breeze…
"A Rainsworth woman must always be cheerful, graceful, and beautiful no matter what she is going through."
And Sheryl, graying, chestnut hair tickling her ears and squinty eyes glistening, managed to smile beautifully and nod, taking her mother's hand with her own lacy-gloved one.
Now, a few days later, the "light" that she had been given, this "key," was in her hands. Before, the key had been hidden in the silver hairbrush her mother used everyday.
Sheryl had yet to decide what exactly she should hide the light in.
It danced in between her hands gently, as if prompting her forward. She had to confess that she hadn't realized it would be literal light, tangible yet also not. Left to her own devices, the Rainsworth was left to muse, looking around her room, her eyes finally falling to the jewelry box settled on the vanity.
Carefully, she made her way over to the polished vanity, using a delicate hand to propel her wheelchair forward. Normally a handmaid was near for her to move about the room, but she had insisted upon being alone that afternoon. No, this was for herself only, and she could push herself forward on her own. The accident hadn't cut down her quiet strength at all, did not hinder her. She had handled it as gracefully as a Rainsworth was expected to.
She cradled the ball of light with one hand and reached over to retrive the beautifully decorated jewelry box with the other. It jingled lightly in her grip as she placed it on her lap. It came open easily enough, reveling the valuable treasures within. Necklaces and bracelets, rings and earrings - all of sleek metal and glittering jewels that were nice to look at, but Sheryl rarely wore, even for balls. Yet one pair of earrings in particular, buried in a secret compartment, were the real treasure within.
Sheryl pulled them out slowly and carefully, ordinary earrings fit for a woman of a dukedom. Round and smooth that shone in the light, holding a very particular memory for the Rainsworth.
It was fitting that the symbol of a promise she once made, a promise to prevent another Tragedy, a promise to uphold the honor of the dukedoms, a promise made with a friend…should be what she decided to be the vessel of the "key". Sheryl settled the earrings onto her palm and looked back at the light in her other hand. The light accepted her decision, easily disappearing itself into the pieces of jewelry with only one last breath of warmth.
The Rainsworth's Key to the Abyss now rested in the palm of the new head of the matriarchal dukedom. A gentle knocking on the door prompted her out of her solemn trance and she closed the box, placing it back on the vanity.
"Come in," she invited cheerfully.
Her handmaid slowly stepped in, nodding her head respectfully. "Lady She—," the handmaid stopped, shocked at her error and bowed in apology. "Duchess Rainsworth, there is a visitor for you."
She blinked, smiling nonetheless. "Oho? And who might they be?"
"It's Duke Barma, to come pay his respects to the previous head, I believe," she replied quietly.
Sheryl nodded, gingerly placing each earring into her lobes. They should've weighted heavily as any other piece of jewelry, yet they felt weightless as she wore them. Weightless and warm. "Let us meet that incorrigible man, then, shall we?" she chuckled.
"My lady?" the handmaid said, trying not to smile.
"Ufufu, nothing, my dear, nothing," Sheryl waved off as the woman came around behind her.
"Those are lovely earrings, Duchess Rainsworth," complimented the handmaid with a smile, taking the handles of the wheelchair to push them forward.
Sheryl accepted the help graciously, giggling softly. "Thank you, dear. A friend of mine gave them to me." Her gloved hand brushed against her chest, over her heart as she said with a fond smile, "And I treasure them greatly."