Felicity Lux is the only orphaned child in all of the three cities, Matera, Lauchlan and Rosenthorne. It was unheard of to be without any trace of your past life. As much as everyone pushed her, she couldn't remember anything leading up to when she was found. It was forbidden for any person who was born in one of the cities to step foot across any other boarder they were not born and raised in. When she came along no one knew what to do or if she was lying. She was looked upon as a miracle, but not in a fond way. Treated harshly for something she had no control over her spirit never died. Now at the becoming age of twenty-two she never would have thought life could change. She was routined and basic and knew nothing more than that. But as she steps into Moonlights doors for the annual ball and becomes familiar with old acquaintances she despised, life as she knows it will change forever. And the once adventurous Felicity will be shown wonders she never thought existed.


1. Chapter One




   The heavy late-November wind was almost suffocating as I trudged through the snow in the direction of the black carriage awaiting my arrival on the side of the street. A vague shadow of a figure sitting by the window watched me as I desperately tried not to slip on the ice that lied underneath the newly fallen snow. My gown most inevitably not helping the already difficult process. I held the hem a little higher so the ruffles didn't graze the ground. The snowflakes that fell from the dark night's clouds were dancing with the utmost enthusiasm for each other. Coating the streets, late night walkers, trees and warm homes with a fresh white blanket. The street lamps gleamed and sparkled from the reflection of the fluff. This was by far my favorite time of the year, especially in our town of Rosenthorne. Everyone bickered so much about the weather and how it was too cold and too wet, but I have never loved anything more than Christmas time here in the village.

   The door to the carriage was swung open to expose a pair of pale blue eyes, the kind of blue that is hazy in the morning before the sun.

   “Are you going to get in or shall I make you walk?” A hint of light shined through the carriage door, making half of the figures face visible. A small grin appeared on dark red lips.               

   “Oh you know how much I admire the winter, but freezing to death in it does not partake in that admiration." I smiled smugly, sliding into the leather coated bench. I was immediately overwhelmed by a gust of warm air, and I turned in my seat, situating my heavy gown.   

   “I will never understand your love for cold weather,” Emelia Tutore disapproved. The mess of her curly golden locks bounced around with the shake of her head.

    “And I will never understand why you despise it,” I said with a chuckle.

   The cold was my favorite thing. Its fine presence of existence was the most soothing thing to me, and the sting of the cold crisp nights was the most comforting feeling one could have after a stressful day of unbecoming events. I felt as though every small unique flake that fell helplessly into the chaos of the bright village had a story of such wonder. Every winters night told a sorrowful yet majestic tale and I loved being apart of such glorious stories! Every stinging wind that blew; every footprint on the blanketed sidewalks; every crisp icicle that dangled off of the roofs; everything was tended to with such purity and innocence, the mystery yet significance. The elements of the night painted these pictures on anything they touched. How could one not be so intrigued by all of winters beauty? I for one was entranced by such marvelous magic.

   The coachman whipped the horses and we began with a tug on the cart.

   We were off.

   “Emelia, I really do not feel like going to this gathering,” I said looking over at my friend. She sighed, keeping her bright eyes stuck to the illuminated town that was just outside the window.

   “Do you always have to ruin fun events with your negative, unsocial self?"

   “Ah, the definition of fun: a time or feeling of enjoyment or amusement,” I frowned in spite of her remark. “Going to Count Mortem's annual ball will not bring any type of significant value to my life."

   “Felicity,“ she began, setting her annoyed eyes on me, “you have not seen anyone in three years."

   "After our study years, yes. That was done for a reason."

   "You do not think it will be nice to see our old friends again?” she asked glancing over at me

   “Old friends!” I scoffed. “I would barely count them as acquaintances."   

   “Oh, Felicity. Kassiel and you had been best friends since the age of seven,” Emelia recalled.

   "Ah yes, so that's what this is about, yeah? You are trying to get me back in contact with the Duke. Things change, Emmy, along with people." I couldn't help but look at her in disbelief. She fidgeted in her seat, regretting the sentence she molded.

  "Oh, do not mock me," she shook her head. "You have never once lived off your scheduled and precise life. Kassiel was the only one who ever gave you a sense of adventure."

  "It is not precise," I argued.

  "Felicity," she furrowed a brow, "you wake up at the same time every morning, work at the Leclercq's bookshop, and then you have a coffee at the café on the corner in the evening to end your ever-boring day." A protest was at the tip of my tongue, but in order to defend myself, I would need a thoroughly well-worded argument. And that, I did not have. The odds were against me on this one.

   All I can remember back to is the age of seven when the Leclercq's found me in an alley on the outskirts of the village. It was Mr. and Mrs. Leclercq and their one son, Octavian. He was mean and sarcastic to the point of wanting to beat your head against a door. We never got on, not one of us. They were rude and inconsiderate. I was fed, clothed and instructed, nothing more. They brought me in as an orphan and most certainly treated me like the trash they had found me by. I was their personal slave for eleven years. They always made me feel as though it was my fault they had to take me in. Like I was an inconvenience to their lives. The village had no orphanage and the law told them I was in their care until the age of eighteen. They sent me to the cities academy as soon as the school year started. I was treated as an outcast immediately. I felt so lonely, that is until I met Kassiel, who is now the Duke of Rosenthorne. There were no other's like me in the entire city. I was abnormal and looked upon as worthless. Kassiel, he was my dearest friend. He used to be the closest thing I had to a family.

   Emelia's family always looked down on me, ever since we were children. They despised the fact Emelia even kept a conversation with me that lasted more than five words. Whenever her, Kassiel and I scattered the library or played in the fields at the Tutore's manner, I would only ever get scowls or rude remarks concerning how I was a bastards child and didn't belong on their blades of grass.

   At the age of eighteen after years of schooling were over and I had lost everything, I had enough saved to buy a small cabin on the outskirts of the city. I still shelve books at the Leclercq's shop for steady income, but other than that I do not associate myself with that unhappy family one bit. Or really any person from my childhood for that matter. At the end of my days, I sit with the candlelight and make up these scenarios of what my life would be like if it were normal; what the embrace of a loved one must feel like. I've heard it's one of the most cherished things in this life.

    I still carry that hope that one day I will be able to experience that.

   "Tonight will be good for you," Emelia said. "I promise." She smiled and gave me a reassuring nod, patting an outstretched hand on my leg. Her jaw stiffened ever so slightly though, which in Emmy's fault was the way you could tell she didn't believe her own self-opposed lie one bit. She wasn't thinking of me she was only thinking of herself, as per usual.

    I sighed and turned to the window. My stress level was at a grand number now and still preceding.

    I have not had any contact with the Duke for four years. The last time I had seen his face was two years ago today. Emelia dragged me to a masquerade ball held in the same building where we are destined to arrive this evening. Throughout the night no words were said to a person I had acquaintance with. Not even a simple hello was exchanged. While Emmy danced I ate delicate desserts and quietly sat in a corner on a most comfortable chair with a book I admired very much. I caught glimpses of Kassiel with his blonde companion Miss Stella Capprici, but the only feelings I could seem to resurrect were of hatred toward the two-faced vulgar man.

   “You're not going to say hi?" she said innocently under her breath, fiddling with her thumbs.

   "Emelia," I begged.

   "The two of you had something so precious. You were inseparable from the day you met," she stated, her blue eyes so full of life. She was starting to irritate me in the most unlikely manner. We never discuss Kassiel. Why are all of a sudden we now? It was well enough I even agreed to join her on this forsaken journey, now I have to recall past memories? I was unprepared to be in such a predicament!

   "Yes precisely, were."

   Memories I despised welcomed themselves into my thoughts without permission as Emelia brought the subject to the spotlight. Those images disrupted my mood with great intensity. My emotional well being was certainly not in a decent state and to have an argument with my companion would be tragic to our friendship. Calmness was required in this conversation, but regarding anything that had happened at the age of seventeen, I would refuse to be in a good mood. It was a time I had forgotten for many reasons. Kassiel was the branch that intertwined every terrible feeling I had ever felt. My night was not going to be ruined by talking about all my old friends.

   "I just do not understand why you are still drowning in the past," she said with a shake of her head. "You can't even fake a smile around him?" I was becoming angrier every time a word sprung from her stained lips.

   "I tried to rekindle whatever it was we lost, but he was far gone. There was nothing and is nothing I can do to retrieve what we lost," I said. "You are childish to think that tonight will change what I felt for him. It will take a lifetime to gain back what he threw away so many years ago. So no, Emelia. I cannot fake a smile."

   I could sense the regret in the air we shared. She did not intend for it to go so far, I would think. But what did she assume would occur on the subject? How could she be so insensitive to another's feelings?

   "I only care for your happiness," she replied.

   "If that is so, then my happiness depends on the end of this irrelevant conversation." Her eyes glistened with sympathy. She looked at me for only a few moments, then turned and continued her fascination with the outside world.

   I felt so exhausted. The ongoing rambling tired me much. At the moment, I was occupying the thought of jumping out of the moving cart and walking in the dark of the night with just the lanterns and stars as my guide. I needed to mentally prepare myself for Emelia's and soon to be everyone else's company. I was not looking forward to the fowl and high-class oxygen I would inhale tonight. It was filled with nasty stuck up germs. I heard the sickness was most contagious!

  Silence nauseated the air. I was beyond furious, and I am assuming the stress written on my friend's beautifully structured face that she regretted the handle of the words she spoke. Later she would make excuses as to why she brought up the subject in the first place then nonchalantly apologize for being the terrible company she was.

   Emelia and I had nothing we could share interest in. It's hard for her to understand how I am . She knew well all the hardship I faced when Kassiel changed but she did not feel the same effect by it. One could not have been so inconsiderate if they had known someone's true motives and intentions, feelings and emotions. She had no room to judge my actions if she did not fully understand them as intimately as I did.

  Miss Tutore was held in high regard to the commoners of Rosenthorne. She was known for her admirable fashions, a morally sound family, and proper ladylikeness. Everyone looked to her for the latest dress, hair, and makeup trends; as well as how to act as a woman and the kind of wife a man pursues. Her life was everything I had ever wanted. Her family was very wealthy and very honorable, and she was perfect.

   Her father, Mr. Tutore was the Key Master of Rosenthorne. He made sure no one exited nor entered the city gate. He adhered to the Duke, Kassiel Tempus who adhered to the Count, Nathanael Mortem who is Emelia's fiancé... had I forgotten to mention? The situation was quite amusing considering Mr. Tutore was twenty-seven years older than Kassiel and Nathanael. Answering to your minors was always a humbling experience. In this case, soon to be son-in-law.

    If the town wasn't happy it would go through the Key Master, passed through the Duke, told to the Count and if the Count couldn't handle it, he was held accountable by the High Court for any detrimental actions he let happen under his ruling.

   The High Court was made up of three noblemen: Tiberius Lock, Artorius Hyde, and Castro Vanetti. They are the rulers of the three cities: Matera, Rosenthorne, and Lauchlan. The three Marquis' kept all of us common in check. If any of the Marquis' commoners dared even a step into one of the cities they were not born into, they would be killed before they could mutter a single syllable.

   Rosenthorne was known for its wealthy commoners. The other two cities looked to ours for their stability and growth. This city was for the noble born and the wealthy who loved nothing more than themselves and their gold. Why do you think I was such a sore eye, a leper to the people who ate off of the finest china and wore the latest fashions? Women's corsets were more important than Felicity Lux and her mysterious coming along.

   No one has ever been acquainted with any one of the Marquis besides the counts and their dukes. Some rumors made their way around. Some rumors that got pushed into the category of impossibility, some stupidity, and others considerable miracles. The most common rumor that has been passed around throughout the centuries is immortality being possessed by the three. I for one have never believed in such a thing, but Emelia, on the other hand, has always believed in the impossible. A believer in mythical creatures is usually associated with miracles, I presume. Any type of fact she would confront me with over the years I pushed aside as nonsense. God wouldn't allow that in this forsaken world. Human beings were enough for the world to handle already.

   I sighed and watched as the lanterns in town twinkled behind the heavy Rosenthorne snow. The darkness of the night was starting to overtake the distant town, which looked even more appealing to the eye when the night's clouds started to darken the worlds usually bright stars. Tonight was particularly cloudy, but the moon still bright enough to illuminate almost all of the city. It was an abnormally beautiful night. Unfortunately, our destination was not matching the glorious night's tales. I was dreading the moment we would turn onto that forsaken graveled road.

   Every annual festive ball was me being obliged to dress to the nines in all aspects of appearance, and I enjoyed it most certainly, do not inquire anything different, but after each affair, I was inevitably beaten down by the company. The atmosphere of these annuals always was tragic to me. The women were always too needy and the men particularly too charming. Who would want to waste a night at an unbalanced social event where everyone was the exact same? Our years of study were full of high-class (considered royal) young people who only cared about their expensive clothing and reputation. And those same people would be here tonight. The only difference now was that none of us were teenagers anymore.

   Emelia's face lit up as we pulled under the tented, lit up the entrance of Moonlight. Not even the Count's Manner was as beautiful as this glorious structured and amazingly constructed building. Moonlight was beautifully crafted with its grand, solid brick foundation and marvelous crystal windows. It traces all the way back to the founding of Rosenthorne. The building was the main attraction of the town, the heart of the village. If I didn't admire the people that much, I could always count on Moonlights beauty to shed some happiness on my life.

    The coachman opened the carriage door and guided us out of the stuffy air that had suffocated me. I took in a deep breath and faced the lit building. Emelia stood next to me and linked our arms, admiring the scene with me. I couldn't help but feel like tonight was going to go down as by far the worst event of my entire state of being. I was so angry at myself for slipping into this grand gown and curling my hair for all these people I left behind.

   The inside of the ballroom was most divine and anything but ordinary. The palace was known for its timeless wonder on the outside, but the façade did not compete with the interior. Growing up I always did love getting ready for the balls held here. Now there was a different feeling as I stood in front of the steps. It was an empty feeling. No excitement abided within me like it had so many years ago. Living a real-life fairytale was always a never-ending daydream of mine, but those are forever gone it seems like. I presume when you are a mere girl your dreams and expectations of reality are skewed. There's such a thing as a Prince Charming when you are a girl. The sad thing is, when you become older, you are disappointed to find that nothing is and can be that perfect fairytale you had dreamt about.

   Hope and God are all I have anymore.

   "I am sorry for my insensitive actions. I just want you to be happy, and to do that we must forgive even if that someone is not worthy of that forgiveness. You and Kassiel have been a thought on my mind lately. I felt I should address the situation before we began our eventful evening," she said with a humble glow to her. I looked into the eyes of my dear friend and smiled as best I could, patting her hand.

   "I understand your concern, and I am so pleased to have a friend who cares for my wellbeing." Her smile indicated she was pleased with my acceptance of her apology. "Just note," I continued, "I will not fall into anyone's public charm tonight. Hello, good evening, and how are you, are the only greetings I will stoop so low as to say to any of these people." She nodded.

  We made our way to the top of the red-carpeted concrete steps. My heart raced as we took our last step to the top. Eyeballing the fifteen-foot doors that stood stiffly in front of us, millions of memories came flooding back, overloading my brain and emotions with both joy and sorrow.

   I didn't want to do this. Why did I even give thought to Nathanael's invitation when I received that retched envelope several weeks ago? The doors were swung open by the guards revealing the golden room to the stinging Rosenthorne winter. Emelia gently squeezed my arm reassuring me she would be at my side if I needed her. Our coats were hung and now it was time to fall into the night's mysterious adventures.

   I stepped for the first time in years, into my unbecoming past self.

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