And here we go! The next bit in the story. To see the previous parts, look on the left! I put a new category just for this story here since I know it’ll be quite long.
Ashes to Ashes
By Seriously Sarah/ sarah coldheart
The sun streamed through the glass windows of a cozy bedroom decked in cream and light blue. There, in the middle of the heavy set wooden bed lay a dark blue fleecy lump. An elderly goblin female poked it with a metal ladle.
“Mistress Ashlinn, get up. It is mid day,” she said.
With a groan, the redhead peeked out of her seclusion. She glared at the goblin that was clad in a simple brown dress with an apron tied around her waist and a muffin hat covering her dark green hair.
“Nessie, leave me be. I’m in mourning,” mumbled Ashlinn before retreated once more beneath the covers.
The goblin gave a hard smack at the lump that was Ashlinn with the ladle.
“Ow! What did you do that for?” cried the girl.
Ashlinn had tossed off her blanket and rubbed at her head, glaring at Nessie.
“Stop sulking! ‘Tis yer own fault ye refused the kind sir. No matter that, it’s been a week so ye best get off and get ready!” ordered the goblin.
“I don’t want to. Life has no meaning anymore,” groaned Ashlinn and flopped face first onto one of her pillows.
Nessie fixed a glare on the girl for a moment before she took a good grip on her left ear with her gnarly fingers and pulled at it.
“Ow! Ow! Let go! I’m getting off! I’m getting!” cried the girl as she got off the bed.
“Good! That’s what ye get when ye don’t get a move on it! Greta will pack yer bags while ye clean up. Yer bath is ready in the water room,” said Nessie as she made for the exit.
“Wait, why are you here anyway?” asked Ashlinn confusedly.
“To get ye moving!” said Nessie frustratingly.
“But why you? Aren’t you supposed to be in the kitchens?” asked Ashlinn as she got out a little bag of toiletries from her bed stand.
“Yes but no one else could get ye up because they were bein’ gentle wit’ ye and going ‘Aww poor wee lass, I’ll wake her up later’! Now hurry up! I’ll be sending Greta to yer room once she’s done helpin’ the Lady. The travel coaches be arrivin’ in an hour or so,” she said as she waddled out of the room.
Ashlinn promptly grabbed a bathrobe from her wardrobe and walked down the corridor, passing her step sisters’ individual rooms. There was a flurry of activity as they ordered the goblin help they had to pack their clothes and items. She paused in front of Ruby’s open door as the younger dark haired girl sat on an overstuffed luggage bag while, Aggy, one of the smaller goblins tried to latch it shut.
“Ash! You’re awake! And you look bloody horrid!” shrieked Ruby.
The younger girl bounced off the bag, causing the contents to explode around the room and onto Aggy. Ruby tilted her head to look back and shrugged.
“We’ll try it again Aggers. Now Ash! You’re finally up, are you ok? Are you fine? Do you feel ill? Talk to me dear sister,” she said in a rush and hugged the taller girl.
“I’m fine? What are we packing for?” asked Ashlinn.
Ruby gasped dramatically and took Ashlinn’s hand to pull her towards the next room where Crystal was surrounded by her bags. All eight of them packed up except one that was being closed shut by her own goblin help.
“Sis, Ash doesn’t know why we’re packing,” cried Ruby.
Ashlinn looked from Ruby who was clinging at her hand towards Crystal. Even though the two girls were twins, it was easy to tell one from the other. Crystal had a more serious and calmer exterior compared to Ruby who could be distracted with any shiny object.
“We are packing because you said no to the duke and now we are being banished forever,” said Crystal seriously.
“What?” exclaimed Ashlinn.
“Just joking. No, we have been invited to the capital for the winter festival,” continued Crystal in the same tone.
The winter festival. It was an annual event held for two weeks before the end of the year. Ashlinn remembered that her step mother went to the capital yearly with her father. They were usually invited by the various trading families that lived there. As it was usually more about strengthening business ties with one another, the three girls had a choice to follow their parents to the capital or stay at home.
“But I don’t like to travel and prefer to keep house,” stated Ashlinn.
“And keeping house meant waiting for his grace Kai to call on you when we’re all away in the capital. Well, he is not going to call on you this year with his quest and if he did return, he’ll know where to find you,” said Crystal.
“Which is precisely why you’re coming with us! We know you’re just going to mope about on your own with just the servants for company,” said Ruby.
Crystal raised an eyebrow at Ashlinn, looking at her up and down and sniffed. She pointed stared at the bathrobe that was slung on the redhead’s shoulder and the toiletry bag in her hand.
“We’ll be leaving soon. You do not want to be leaving in the coach wearing your nightgown. Ruby, let go of her hand. Off you go Ashlinn,” ordered Crystal.
The flightier of the twin huffed as she let go of Ashlinn’s hand to return to her own packing. With a nod, the redhead backed out of Crystal’s room as she finished up with packing and called out for more servants to carry her bags.
As Ashlinn stepped into the water room, she hung her bathrobe onto the hooks near the door and placed her bag of toiletries on the shelf near the pine tub that was sunk into the floor. The bath had been ready as Nessie had said and undressed herself before sinking into the lavender scented water of the tub.
The water filled to just below her shoulders as she sat there stretching her legs out. With a satisfied sigh, she relaxed and leaned her head backwards.
“I’m leaving for a few weeks. Are you coming?” she asked aloud.
The little window grating near the roof of the water room let in the sunlight to provide illumination. Even if there wasn’t any, the walls were inlaid with glow stones that shimmered in the dark.
Ashlinn sighed and sat up facing forward. A dark shadowy being sat crossed legged on the edge of the tub and smiled at her.