Bea's father was a foreigner, one of the famous artists invited by the Queen Dowager to visit her garden. He ended up staying, marrying a beautiful Thornmere resident, Bea's mother, and creating a happy family. All his children had some artistic talent thanks to him.
As tensions rose with rumors of war sweeping through the capital, Bea's father lost his income. With the uncertainties of war on the horizon, the arts were the first thing to go. With no money, there were no art materials. Soon, even if he wanted to, he could no longer create art. During this time, Bea's family suffered another heavy blow. Her mother passes away due to a dificult childbirth. Bea's father becomes an alcoholic, depressed at losing his love, and his purpose in life. With 7 children, 4 of them still little, and a tiny newborn baby, there were many mouths to feed. With the outbreak of the Great War, Bea, as eldest, had to go find work to support her family. Her 2 other brothers who could work were conscripted into the army. Now, it was up to her become the sole breadwinner.
Bea became a maid, not nearly making enough money as she needed to support her family. Her father's new hobbies of gambling, in addition to drinking, turned the family financial situation into a wobbly, unbalanced tower of stones, built on a foundation of sand. They could sink at any moment.
Somehow, the old, wily King caught wind of her situation. When news rocked the palace of the ancient summoning magic actually working and bringing a foreign Queen to lead them to victory, Bea was even more shocked as anyone else. Bea was to become a maidservant of the soon to be Queen! What's more, the King promised, in addition to a raised salary as a Queen's maid, a new post for her father as a royal artist.
Of course, such good conditions like these came with a price. She would work not only as the summoned woman's maid, but as a spy for the King. So when Lady Sera was sent to the battlefield for her courtship with Prince Lucien, Bea was by her side. She saw it all. From the first meeting, between Lady Sera and Prince Lucien, who were like water and oil. They'd hated each other.
At the first meeting, Lady Sera, dressed by order of the King in the latest fashions fresh from the capital, looked just like any other noblewoman Lucien had seen. Although she denied being a noble in her home world, just the look of her screamed, weak noblewoman. Long, shiny brown locks that seemed to glow in the sunlight. Her hands hands were soft, no calluses from heavy work. Skin pale and white, testament that she stayed indoors all day. He scoffed at the King for sending her here.
Lady Sera was angry at Lucien then for his brash and rude behavior. He'd tried to scare her out of there, send her back to the capital. When that didn't work, he tried to forcefully put her on a carriage to send her back. That didn't work either.
Everyone expected the soon-to-be Queen to hate being there, be conceited and rude, expect to be waited upon even on the front lines. Just like all the other nobility, who'd hated dirtying themselves with even talking about a war. In wartime, it was common for nobles to work as strategists or diplomats, envoys, anything except actual fighting. Their bodies were too precious for that. Actual fighting was for the commoners. And if a noble was ever faced with the possibility of bodily harm, it was expected that the first priority would be to protect the noble. Commoners were expected to use their lowly lives and throw themselves in front of a sword, if need be.
Prince Lucien, was an anomaly to this culture. He didn't stay in his tent as a strategic leader, but fought side-by-side with his soldiers. He disagreed with the noble-first culture.
And surprisingly, so did Lady Sera, the foreign woman.
Bea felt like her whole worldview was shaken when the woman started to go out into the camp. Whenever the army cooks, weapon smiths, the laundry detail, anyone, needed a hand, Lady Sera was there. Bea would run after her, trying to keep up, noting the peculiar things she did. The woman she was supposed to wait upon, was helping other people with no care for herself.
Except for the little clashes between Prince Lucien, Lady Sera would never get angry when the soldiers spoke to her rudely. With a smile, she would just keep going, doing whatever she could to help.
There was only one time Lady Sera truly got blazingly, frighteningly angry. When she saw the state of the medic tent. Bea was running after her as usual, when Lady Sera, instead of heading to the outfitting tent to help patch uniforms, veered off the path and began following 2 men holding a stretcher with a groaning man on it. They arrived at a large tent, and Lady Sera kept going, after the men when they went inside.
To this day, it was the worst smell Bea ever smelled. The smell of stinking, unwashed bodies, blood, and rot was overwhelming. The tent was dark, filled with wounded men, some dead. The cots were already full, so bodies laid all over the floor, groaning and some screaming in pain, hysterical. It wasn't a medic tent. There were no medics there. No one cared about some commoners dying when they could just recruit more. If you got hurt, you were basically dead. It just took you longer to get there.
In a low voice, her Lady told Bea, to run, run quickly, and bring the Prince here. Then, like a commander, she began barking out orders to the 2 healthy men in the tent.
When Bea came back with the Prince, the tent looked cleaner, with the wounded spaced out evenly and the entrance flaps held all the way open to let fresh air in. Prince Lucien looked surprised, glancing around at the area looking much different from before, while he talked to Lady Sera in low tones. The only thing Bea could catch in their conversation was Prince Lucien telling the Lady how there was nothing he could do about these men. No doctor was willing to come out here to treat these men because of the low payment. Even the herb women were much too old to even make the trip out here. Once wounded, these men would be left to die.
Bea pinched herself to confirm what happened next really happened.
Then the Lady flew at him, throwing a punch at him. The Prince! Lady Sera, from her first impression of a lady, kept doing more and more unladylike things. Eyes flashing, she berated the Prince for leaving his men like this. "Give me a detail of men!" she'd roared.
"I'll take care of this myself!"
Seeing the look on the Prince's face, Bea thought to herself, he's fallen in love.
And Lady Sera truly did as she promised.
Soldiers began to actually get better. Bea watched as her Lady worked late into the night, carrying a lantern and walking amongst the cots. When someone needed their bandages changed, she was there. When another cried for their mother, delirious in fever, she would wipe their brow with a cool compress. When someone took their last breaths, eyes slowly dimming and limbs losing strength, she was there to hold their hand.
She knew such strange methods of healing. Sewing up wounds and pouring alcohol on them to 'keep the rot out'. Lady Sera even designed wood arms and legs for those who lost their limbs.
Bea was amazed. The ancient texts were right when they said that a Summoned One would bring prosperity.
Finally, the moment one of her brothers were brought into the cot with one deep, long gash down one arm. If it was before, in the mess of bodies pile in the medic tent, he would have died.
But now, with her Queen's efforts, her brother was one of the men that could go home to his family, alive.
Bea swore her loyalty to her Queen then.
When she got back to the capital, she would tell that stinky King that she served another.