Chapter 1

"Cinder-face, where's my shawl?!"

"Bringing it."

"I'm hungry, where's my food, simpleton?!"

"It's almost done."

Kiya carefully balanced the plates in her hands, the shawl on her shoulders, the cleaning supplies under her arms as well as the broom and mop on her forearms. She then made her way up the stairs and down the hall. As she entered the first room, she careful maneuvered around the piles of clothing scattered about.

The room was a brightening pink, a sickening bright pink. Along one wall was a giant mirror with large draped curtains to conceal its presence every so often. The walk in closet door was open revealing more clothing and bounds of shoes and hats. The King size poster bed was dressed in a dark green canopy and bedding. Along the wall adjacent to the closet and mirror was an extremely big vanity. Powders, rouge, pins, clips, and nail coloring littered the desk.

"Your shawl, miss."

Dainty bright brown eyes stared obliviously at Kiya. "Gosh, could you be any slower?" The shawl was snatched from Kiya's shoulders. "My, what a beautiful sight. Don't I look absolutely marvelous?!"

Belaya stared at herself in a daze. As she twisted and tilted her head from side to side she smoothed her out her fluffy brown hair. It slicked back tightly, decorated with a big, chunky hair piece that looked like some sort of weedy flower. Her ghostly white skin bathed in pink powder to give a more natural color. Securing her robe as she rose with trained grace, head high, and obvious schooled poise Belaya began her list of commands. "Since you're here, I want you to wash my clothes… oh and make my bed and organize my make-up in color and clean my room and—''


"Coming!" Kiya raced from Belaya room to Carling's. The other sister's room looked in much of the same fashion as the first, several feet down. But while this color was just as vivid in boldness the color was different. "Your breakfast." Kiya curtsied.

"Do you realize how long I had to wait for this? I'm sure it is as cold as stones!"

Kiya attempted to soothe the woman. "I assure you miss, it is as hot as when I withdrew it from the stove." Kiya removed the cover to reveal the small feast she had cooked. Juicy red bacon, soft yellow eggs, tender pink ham and golden hot cakes with a square of fresh butter covered in pristine syrup steamed. It looked absolutely exquisite. Kiya had made extra certain that none of the food touched each other and was displayed beautifully.

She could almost see her cousin's mouth begin to water. "It looks horrible." Matilda taunted as she moved closer towards Kiya and the tray of food. "Absolutely ghastly, I mean it is completely unappetizing to even look at." Kiya smiled.

"If you would like me to, I could always throw it away."

"Don't be so pert." Matilda looked devastated. "Our high quality food is not to be wasted. If this is all you can come up with then I guess I will have to suffice." The plate was dashed away, inhaled, and licked clean. "Terrible, foul to say the least. Next, time it had better be the best or else, I'll tell mum."

"Yes, cousin dear." Kiya added a plasted smile.

"Don't remind me." Sorting through her gowns the blonde haired twin began to try and decide what to wear. Kiya snuck out quickly before she asked to do anything else.

Entering the kitchen, Kiya sighed a dismissive breathe and stared mindlessly out the window and into space. While her body continued to wash dishes and clean up her mess from making meals, her mind away in dreams of adventure and romance.

Once there was a very happy family who had a mother, a father and three children… or rather three daughters. The father of this family was very prominent, very successful and very rich. But he was also very caring and endearing of his wife and daughters. Wanting to make sure they were well taken care of in case something were to happen to him, he set aside lots of fortune for his daughters to live their whole lives off of and raise their families nicely when they married.

It was on a normal day that the Father was needed to conduct routine business for the kingdom. Deciding to bring along his wife, the father and mother left their girls with their uncle, who brought his family to stay in the their home, and traveled with some guards of the kingdom. A few weeks later, one of the guards returned wounded, reporting that the caravan had been attacked as well as the people in the town they were staying in. The place was scavenged and destroyed, and he couldn't find the father or mother.

The three girls were left in the care of their Uncle. He was a harsh man and was married to a proud, haughty woman. Together, they had two evilly pretty daughters who were equally vain. Realizing the worth of their nieces, the couple used what money they could attain from the broken family's reputation and open funds. The aunt and her daughters forced the girls to complete all the housework along with the other house staff. When the girls had finished their work, they would all sit beside the fire listening to each other tell stories, play or socialize with the servants who stayed faithfully to help raise the children in honor of their dead parents.

"We've returned!"

Kiya dried her hands on her apron then removed it, tossing it aside as she exited from the kitchen and headed to the greeting room. The spacious area decked overstuffed couches and tables that detracted from the room's original elegance.

"Uncle Buford, Aunt Aguntha, how was your day at the Courts?" The couple dismissively tossed their coats and gloves at Kiya.

"All went well I hope," replied Uncle Buford.

Aunt Aguntha answered, "It was as well as to be expected child. Are your chores done?"

"Yes, Ma'am."

"Is the house the house in order for company?"

"Yes, Ma'am"

"Good, tonight we shall be entertaining guests. I want this place polished and our dresses to be ready. See to it that the stables are in royal condition; our guests are very prominent advisors to the king. I want everything to look its best by this dusk."

"As you wish, Milady." Kiya bowed her head.

Uncle Buford looked over his niece with a bored expression. "You must make sure that dinner is exquisite so buy a few items that would impress the advisors… Oh and buy yourself something to wear."

"But dear!" Aguntha exclaimed.

"No buts, some of the advisors were associates of my dead brother. Thjink of the gossip it would start if they saw he in these clothes." Aguntha huffed.

"Fine, but nothing fancy or elegant. A simple black gown is all I will allow, understood?"

Kiya shook her head, content to even be allowed to have a new gown. "Yes ma'am. Um, was their anything you'd like to have made specially, Uncle?"

The grayed haired man simply replied "no" and instructed that the brandy and wine were to be the only expensive items she was to purchase. After which, he descended the stairs with his wife.

Getting right to work, Kiya called all the maids and menservants into the kitchen to explain the recent event. "I'll need the maids to see to the linens and décor of the greeting room, lounge room and the dining room. I want Timmy and Tommy to help Samuel with the stables. Peter, Brent and Simon are to see to the outside. Blossom, Marcus and I will shop for the groceries. Everyone else, please your duties, then help with the table wear and polishing. When you are finished, go to your homes and rest. You'll need your strengthen if we are to serve tonight."

With everyone in agreement, they dispersed to their respective stations and responsibilities. "Wow, Miss Kiya. You must admit that if that lazy old hag and her husband taught you anything, it is how to keep a house in order."

"Blossom must you be so rude? Who knows what would have happened if my Uncle and Aunt would not have raised me and my sisters."

Marcus followed the two girls out the back door onto the dirt road towards town. "I dare say," he intervened, "you may have actually been happy or even be a loud to laugh! Yes, dear girl you are right, it was pure goodness that bestowed upon his heart to save us from joy and laughter."

The three of them snickered. "Oh, I just don't know how you accept their behavior, Miss Kiya? They are ghastly people with pig fat for manners." That statement caused them all to laugh.

"They are not that bad. I mean, they've even allowed me to buy a new black dress."

Blossom rolled her eyes. "ALL OF YOUR DRESSES ARE BLACK!"

Kiya smiled. "No for my birthday, Uncle Buford bought me a brown one."

"I'm not sure which is more pathetic: the fact that you find that hideous brown dress funny or the fact that you've completely come to terms with it being the only present you received from your Aunt and Uncle?!"

All the way into town Marcus, Blossom, Kiya joked about ways to prank snobbish family. Blossom thought of putting toad secretion in Belaya's face cream, while Marcus birthed plots to add mouse dropping in Carling's salads and trick her into thinking them raisins. Even Kiya had the idea of placing itching powder in her Aunt and Uncle's clothes. But they all knew that none of them, well at least Marcus and Kiya would never dare to do such a thing. Blossom was of another case altogether.

"Ah, good morning Lady Kiya," cried the Baker Baxter. He waved the trio over. "An' what might you three be up t' 'his mornin'? Those moneygrubber still in yer old man's place?" When Kiya only nodded, he continued. "Yer Father was a good man… that he was. E'er day he an' yer Mother would come down to me shop and buy bread… Somedays, I take nothing… and sometimes they left me more than what I needed. But they was good peoples, gentle peoples." Baxter stared off just briefly and Kiya could sense he was remembering, just as she was. When a tear slide down his cheek, Kiya truly remembered just how wonderful her parents were.

"Thank you."

Baxter took Kiya's hand and gave a gentle squeeze. "Now… what can I do you for?"

"We need 18 loaves of your finest," interrupted Blossom. "Oh, how about a few free pastries on side." Baxter barreled a laugh.

"Got in trouble again, I see. Did the Witch give you no breakfast?" Many of the common people of then referred to Aunt Aguntha as the "Witch." He handed one to each of them. When Kiya attempted to pay the man he refused. "I'll not take a penny from you, Miss Kiya. Your Family had been nothing but kind to me, I'll not take a cent. The boys will drop off your order within the hour at the house."