The Lady of Blackwood Chpt 11
Chapter 11 Balcony
"Would you like to take a break?"
"Yes, please", Florence answered, trying to not sound out of breath. She started to leave the impromptu dance floor, but he caught her by the hand.
"Come", Marcus said. "I want to show you something."
Thirsty and tired she followed him, keeping her eyes open for something to drink. The only fluid she saw was wine, so she grabbed a glass when they passed Old Sam at his wine table. Sipping some of the liquid she climbed the stairs behind Marcus. The halls were dark and he had to take a candle from a wall bracket at the top of the stairs to light the rest of their way.
"It feels like I'm a child again." Florence was not sure why she was whispering. Perhaps it was because she felt they were sneaking about where they shouldn't be.
"Oh?" His voice was normal.
"Many times when my parents were entertaining guests, my friends and I would steal away into the night and play hide and seek. Listen... Do you hear how far away the mer
The Lady of Blackwood Chpt 10
Chapter 10 New World
Sweet music drifted from the dining hall. Floating on the beckoning melody, Florence entered the hall and attempted to locate the source of the auditory river. Unable to find it, she closed her eyes and absorbed the music with all her senses, through her skin, through the air she breathed everything was filled with the sound. A world opened before her, dark and colourless, as the invisible violin produced low, sad tones. Tears stung the back of her eyes, not because she was sad, but because her body did not know how else to express the emotions that were drawn from her with every stroke of the bow. In her colourless world mist flowed over meadows, dark clouds above mingled with the feathery, low-lying mist in a melancholic dance. Now the notes methodically climbed higher, sometimes revisiting their brooding low brothers, but constantly they rose again, to heights of bitter-sweet peace, love and faith. Sunlight pierced the mist of her mind's eye
The Lady of Blackwood Chpt 9
Chapter 9 Old Sam
Then this afternoon there was Old Sam, the overseer. Perhaps he was the reason for Florence's current train of thought. She had been walking in the castle gardens when she heard something behind her and whirled around to find him standing not three paces away.
When he saw that he had startled her, he gravely apologized, with hat in hand. "Pardon, your Ladyship I was wonderin' if I might have a word."
She nodded and waited for him to begin, but he glanced nervously at the castle windows.
"In private please, your Ladyship", he said and hobbled away, leaning on his cane.
She was not inclined to follow the rugged-looking old man anywhere, overseer or not, but he had stopped and looked expectantly over his shoulder. So she followed.
As they walked through the castle gardens, she studied him. He was not the kind of man she would talk to on a lonely street of town, neither was he the kind of man her father would drink with. No, he reminded her of a carnival sh
The Lady of Blackwood Chpt 8
Chapter 8 - Countess
The new Countess did not see much of the Count over the next few weeks. That first evening he came to her to inform her that he would be going out and that Elizabeth would see to her wants, if she had any.
"But it's midnight! What business could you possibly have at this hour?"
"I still owe your father a bride price", he stated simply.
"Surely it can wait 'til morning, he'll be sleeping now."
"Honour does not allow itself to be bound by the time of day." And with that obscure phrase he whirled about (his cape making an arc under the corridor lamps) and vanished. After that she did not ask about his nightly excursions. He was gone most of the day too, or at least she thought he was, because she never saw him during the day.
Her room or rather rooms, for they were connected apartments were located in the Eastern Wing of Blackwood Castle. Count Marcinius stayed in the Western Wing, because he preferred the view of the sunsets (as she learned at di
The Lady of Blackwood Chpt 7
Chapter 7 - Awakening
Marcus stirred and felt as though he were falling out of sleep the same way he'd fallen into it, only now he was falling up instead of down. Judging by the sound of crickets outside, Marcus realized that his post-wedding afternoon nap had stretched well into the night. The day's events, with wedding and all, had tired him out tremendously. He hadn't even bothered to go to the reception, but he did not hinder Florence from enjoying the afternoon with her friends. As soon as Graeme had deposited the Count on the threshold of Castle Blackwood, he was ordered to return to the reception with a wagon, await Miss Moore (now Countess of Blackwood) and retrieve any belongings from her father's house that she would require.
A sound. Marcus's eyes flew open. There was someone by the foot of his bed.
He scrambled from bed and nearly fell down in the process.
"What on earth!" Grabbing a black silk sheet from the bed he attempted to cover himself, being naked except for
The Lady of Blackwood Chpt 6
Chapter 6 Acorn
Count Marcus found himself under a gigantic oak tree on the Cartwell's farm. Rows of white chairs were packed underneath its wide, shady canopy and in these chairs townspeople were seated. He supposed that he should know some of them, but he recognized only the face of the doctor that had treated Elizabeth. The rest were as strange to him as he was to them. Noticing the glances and whispers, Marcus decided that black was perhaps not the best colour choice for a wedding attendee. His wide-brimmed hat was another conspicuous item he probably could have done without. Stifling a yawn, he shrunk back behind the tree trunk. It was a painfully bright day and the sun's reflections on the white decorations were head-ache-inducing.
During the last week he had cornered poor Joseph many times, in search of information about Miss Moore. To his disappointment he found that the boy knew little more than what he'd told Marcus on that first evening. Talking to the lad had
The Lady of Blackwood Chpt 5
Chapter 5 Stupid cabbage
"The chapel burnt down!?" Florence was busy preparing cabbage stew for lunch, when Nancy stormed into the tiny kitchen with the shocking news.
"Oh no, you misund"
"Then explain, please." Florence felt like she was coming apart at the seams. The wedding was set for the next day, but there had been various snags, the latest of which included the fire at the church.
"It hasn't burnt down entirely", Nancy explained. "The fire only damaged the entrance. The rest of the church is quite intact."
"Was anyone hurt? Is the priest al right?"
"Not a soul was hurt, but what bothers me, is how'd the fire get started in the first place? Nobody knows. It was the middle of the night and everyone was asleep. And who notified the fire-fighters, I wonder? If it weren't for them, I suppose there wouldn't be a church any more. I bet Priest Patterson will mention them in his sermon on Sunday."
"So the wedding is still on for tomorrow?" A pang of regret poked at Fl
The Lady of Blackwood Chpt 4
Chapter 4 Hole
Two evenings after his meeting with Florence, Marcus hurried through the kitchen of Blackwood Castle. The maidservants, Elizabeth and her crutches among them, entreated him to stay a while.
"Afraid I cannot, my ladies", he said and quickly departed via the back door.
Their giggles and whispers reached his ears. They always became silly that way when he was around and he had long since learned that it was best to avoid the uncomfortable situation altogether.
Following a cobblestone road uphill, he eventually came to a deserted place behind the Castle where a young lad was labouring by the light to three lamps.
"Graeme tells me you're feeling much better", the Count said more to alert the boy to his presence than for any other reason.
Joseph was clearly startled, as evidenced by the dropped shovel, but he quickly bowed and said, "Yes, my lord", before he retrieved it and resumed digging.
"I see the swelling has gone down. How is the pain?"
"The doctor prescri