“Just concentrate, and..”
Lavender eyes widened in excitement as she watched a tiny ball flicker in and out of existence in her hand, a swirling mixture of colors that slowly began to solidify and hover just inches above her extended palm. A knock at the door broke her concentration, and the whirling sphere jetted from her hand, bouncing wildly around the room. Books were knocked from the table to the floor, the orb zooming over the girls head and sending her diving off the bed with a squeal. Finally, it flew into the fireplace lighting the logs within with a crackle, sending a warm orange glow into the room. Carefully, Evangeline poked her head up over the edge of the bed.
“Graceful.” Sarcasm oozed from the white cat who sat poised on the bed, tail curling around his front legs. Blue eyes regarded the femme with exasperation before shifting to the door when another knock came and a mans voice pierced through it. “Miss? The High Inventor has requested your presence in his office..” A pause, “Immediately.” Outside, the messenger questioned the odd noises he heard from within, “Is.. everything alright?” Getting to her feet, Evangeline smoothed out strands of blonde that strayed from the bun holding the rest of her lengthy hair at bay. “Yes! Everything is just fine, thank you. I will go see him.” Her answer came as she scrambled about the room, dusting off each place the orb had touched of the sparkling powder.
Brows furrowing, the messenger turned the knob, finding the door locked, “Are you certain, miss? I heard a scream.” At the attempted opening of her door, Evangeline suppressed a squeal and worked faster to hide and clear the dust, scurrying across the room with a few less than graceful stumbles along the way. With a quick look around, bare feet carried her to the door to unlock it and pull it open, smiling warmly to the concerned man on the other side. “I though I saw a spider, honestly, everything is just fine.” Opening the door more to let him see for himself, her lavish room looking just as pristine and elegant as it normally did; compliments of some diligent maids. Evangeline had made a mistake, neglecting the book she had laying open on her bed, but the feline had moved to lay in such a way that it was out of view from the door. “Now then, I should change before I go see my father. If you will please excuse me.” Without another word, she shut the door in the messengers’ face and locked it with a soft click.
Turning around, she breathed a sigh and started to work her way out of the simple dress. Tossing the garment aside, 5’5 frame was left in no more than a sheer slip, and she paused long enough to give Marxius a look, “Eyes.“ In response, he got up and turned his body around with an exaggerated swish of his fluffy rear, flopping down and licking furiously at his paws. That would teach her, he‘d bathe! Evangeline smiled before opening her large closet and sifting about before choosing a lovely gown in the same shade of lavender as her eyes.
“I imagine he is mighty angry that we chased off another suitor.” Strained words as she struggled to get the tight-fitting garment on over her head, arms flailing in a short lived moment of panic the feline missed. The cat scoffed, now gnawing on one of his paws, “We? Oh come now, that was all your doing. I am but a simple cat, remember?” Lifting his head and rubbing the now wet foot over the area behind his ear, Evangeline tugging the fabric away from her face and properly onto her form, “Yes, yes. Someday the ban on magic will be lifted, and I will tell father about all the nasty things you have done.” It was a threat, shaking her finger at the cat. “Until that day comes, I remain a dreadfully ordinary cat.“ Was his calm retort, resuming his bath.
“Well.” Attention turned to the ornamental full-length mirror that was positioned near the closet, fingers working to fix the lacing of her gown, “How do I look, Marxius?” Rolling onto his back, he rubbed a paw over one eye, “Like you are trying to look more like your mother so your father will be less inclined to yell at you.“ Sighing, she sat down at her vanity, reaching out to lift a small frame from the collection of trinkets and jewels. Pictured within was a vibrant young woman, elegant, calm, looking to be of the Elvish kind. In her arms she held a baby with lavender eyes. For a moment, Evangeline gave the picture a look of longing, and then set it down heavily, “I would not want to be anything like her.” There was an undeniable bitterness in her tone, Marxius casting a sad look in her direction. Getting to his feet, he jumped from the bed and crossed the floor, bumping her leg with his head. Leaning over and lifting him into her arms, cradling the white cat against her chest wordlessly. Rising from the chair, she moved to the door and unlocked it before stepping out into the hallway.
Down a series of stretching hallways, the decor of the place shades of gold and copper, stain glass windows tinted darkly with wine reds and deep violets; not an ounce of bright color in the place aside from girl and her cat. Guards stood at the end of each hall, large guns holstered at their sides with gears ticking away within them. Leather and copper made up their uniforms, embossed chest plates glimmering with the symbol of a wrench and a gun crossing as though they were swords. At the end of a long stretch of hall, the walls of which were lined with portraits depicting elderly men of all shapes and sizes, all human, generations of a position held by those who lived here, stood a set of double doors that stood as tall as the ceiling with a wrench on one door, and a gun on the other; the two symbols of Ferrum.
As Evangeline approached the magnificent doors, she clutched the cat to her tighter and gulped. Raising a hand, she used it to knock lightly on the thick wood, “Father? You asked to see me?” There was effort on her part to sound as innocent and unknowing of why her father would call her to his office, the tone of the voice that responded sending chills down her spine, “Come in.” Glancing down to Marxius, she whispered, “Oh, he is angry.” Opening the door, she stepped inside and offered her best and brightest smile, “Good evening father, how are you--” But the man cut her off. He was an older gentleman with hair as white as the fur on Marxius’ body making two tufts at the side of his head. Bushy eyebrows shadowed his brown eyes that were rimmed by a pair of thick glasses. Papers lay sprawled on the mahogany desk in front of him, a quill resting in a jar of ink, trinkets and unfinished inventions displaying the history of technological progress in Ferrum decorating the room.
“Nine suitors, Evangeline. Nine men, all willing to marry you at a moment’s notice, proud inventors and members of high society. Four just this month! Do you wish to remain unwed for the rest of your days with that cat of yours?” Marxius gave a meow in response, an amused giggle passing through Evangeline’s lips. Even the High Inventor himself could not help but crack a smile at the felines timing. His smile was enough to convince Evangeline she could respond without fear, “I have yet to make up my mind on the subject, something you seem rather willing to ignore.” Was the answer she finally gave once the giggles had subsided, the elderly man heaving a sigh. “Eva, darling..I am getting old. I want to ensure there will be someone to take care of you when I am gone.” His voice had softened, and Eva scoffed, “Father! You are only in your fifties, that is hardly old. Ask me again in ten years, and I may have made up my mind. No promises.”
Removing his glasses with one hand, he used the other to rub at his tired eyes, “Caring for a child like you, I would not give any man ten more years to live.” Smoothing her hand over the fur on Marxius’ head, a soft ‘tsk‘ noise passed through her lips, “Now that is just cruel. I would only give them five, you do not give me enough credit.” Replacing his glasses, brown eyes focused on his daughter almost pleadingly, “It is still unfit for a woman in your standing to be unwed, especially at your age.” A brow rose on Evangelines face, and she laughed again, “At my age? You sound as if I were some old maid! I am just shy of eighteen years, father, I have only begun to live! I want adventure, romance, danger!” She twirled about the room, dancing with Marxius held up in front of her, pausing and looking at her father with a smile..one he did not return. “People can want for many things, as my daughter you have a social responsibility to wed into a good family and carry on the line of High Inventors.” Her own smile faded with his words, setting Marxius on a nearby chair, “Social responsibilities be damned! What of your own social responsibilities father, or have you forgotten? Where is my mother, and what of her responsibilities?”
He looked hurt by her words, slowly rising to his feet, “Now Evangeline, that isn’t fair--” “Fair? As you have so sternly taught me, father, life is not fair. Excuse me.” Turning away, she stormed out of the room, items on the wall trembling and crashing to the floor in a most unnatural way. A wind had swept through, though no windows were open, sending the papers that had once covered his desk fluttering to the floor, her father watching with sad eyes as his daughter fled. That temper was going to get her into trouble, a kind of trouble not even his influences could save her from. Marxius moved to follow her, pausing at the door and turning his head to stare into the eyes of the High Inventor. There was a degree of understanding, unspoken, between the two. Staring in a silence a moment longer, he turned and left.
“I will never!” She screamed once inside her room, taking off a shoe and throwing it at the door, “Ever! Marry any suitor you bring before me! I would rather die an old maid!” The second shoe was flung at the door now, Marxius standing off to the side watching the display. Evangeline threw herself down onto the bed and clutched at the nearest pillow, screaming into it as loud and as hard as she could manage, gaining a sigh from the cat, “Do let me know when you evolve beyond the age of three, hm?” Lifting her head, a teary-eyed glare was his present for the comment, dropping her head again and speaking muffled words into her pillow. “Hush, or I’ll tell everyone your secret.” Tail flicked side to side, ears drawn back, “Oooh I’m shaking in my whiskers. You would be terribly lonely without me, Eva.” He was quite assured of this, jumping up onto the bed and nudging her side with his head.
Evangeline turned over onto her back, staring at the fabric of the canopy above her, “They would kill you, if I told..” Reaching over, fingers scratched at the back of his furry neck. “Barbarians.” He muttered; a soft purr given at the petting. “They would kill me if they knew.” To that, his purring stopped, “Hardly. The High Inventors daughter would not be killed over something as trivial as harboring a magical creature.” Her head shook side to side, gaze remaining on the strained canopy fabric, “No..perhaps not. But for practicing magic myself..?”
Sitting up, a large shadow passing overhead drew her attention to the window. Scooting off the bed, Evangeline hurried over and pressed her hands to the glass, watching as an airship went flying slowly past the manor, smoke billowing behind it.
“..Marxy, I have an idea.”