No one enters life alone. You enter into a realm of existing friends and enemies. Rivals, machinations, expectations, family and strangers swirl around you. We don’t know this at first. Someone holds us, cares for us, keeps us in this world. There is warmth and love and laughter. I basked in that warmth. My family was full of it.
Papa was commonly out on the Queen’s business, but when he came home, he would scoop me up and kiss the top of my head. My sisters, who would never do anything so undignified as run to the door, would join the hug, and finally Mama would emerge from the parlor, and I would just wallow in the feeling of all of us together.
When I was a little older, I realized my father had enemies. He had to. He was the right arm of the Crown. He defended us from those who meant us harm. Naturally there were people who would want to hurt him. Silly girl that I was, I did not think anyone could ever hurt him. Let alone that anyone might hurt me or my sister or mother to hurt him. It made me smile to see him in his uniform. The bravest and most honorable man I knew. Not that I knew many.
I spent my days learning to be a lady, helping my mother, sewing and joking with my sisters, music lessons, dancing, languages, and deportment. My mother, a lady of quality, my sisters nearly so, and me trying to be as wonderful as all three of them. After supper, I would play a game of chess with my father, and discuss history and politics.
I knew I was being sheltered. I didn’t mind. I was happy.
And it was that much worse when my father’s enemies caught up to us. I do not care to dwell on the details. It was not a short ordeal, and when it was over my loved ones were dead, and I was barely alive.
My family is my heart. When I lost them, I lost it as well. They were stolen from me. Those monsters stole all that warmth and left me alive. I could do nothing to stop them and they knew it. I knew it. But I had my soul and a soul without a heart is an easy thing to part with. Especially if it grants me the power to avenge the loss of all I loved. An easy trade indeed.
I stole this first line from my friend Gwen. Check her blog tomorrow to see what she originally wrote.