Random Image SciFi Writing Contest #2 progress:
“Amaleia!” cried her uncle in surprise, “What are you doing here! And un-covered!”
A moment ago Amaleia cared nothing about custom or decency. But face to face with her suitor, Duke Baragen, her inhibitions began to undermine the rage that impassioned her.
“I- I’m sorry Uncle,” she replied making some attempt to conceal her face with the wide brim of her hat. Her fiancé likewise looked away and covered his face with his hand.
“I’m sorry- but I demand to know what this business is about selling my estate, my home!”
“Amaleia, my dear, it, it wasn’t supposed to happen like this. I -” an electric whine interrupted the duke, as the rifle in the armed man’s hands was suddenly primed to fire.
Baragen looked suddenly at his escort, then at Amaleia. Uncle Talbot too was looking at her, or was it behind her?
The stallion! How could she have been so foolish as to leave him for all to see!
Whirling around she was shocked to find see quite the opposite of what she expected. Instead of an open door and a red stallion in the secret passage, there was only the solemn bookcase where it had always stood and there, to her surprise, was the diminutive form of her dear Nan, looking equally somber and quiet.
A commotion behind her diverted her attention yet again. She turned just in time to see her suitor forcing the weapon’s aim back to the floor and to hear stern words spoken under his breath.
He half turned to her, again covering his face.
“Forgive me, but I’m afraid the only way to resolve this uncomfortable situation is to end it.”
“Much agreed!” Huffed Uncle Talbot.
With that the duke and his companion left, although it was difficult to tell who was leading whom. The door closed and Amaleia immediately turned to her Uncle.
“Oh Uncle, I’m so sorry.”
“Always the impetuous child. How the devil did you get in here anyway?”
“He won’t really take me away from here will he? Will he take me at all now? Oh, have I ruined everything?”
“Time will tell child, but truthfully there is little to be done about the matter,” the plump man gave a sigh that billowed his full mustache. “You know as well as I do by now that these things are more about money than about passion, or even decent manners for that matter.”
He looked at her sternly, but affectionately.
“Your inheritance is tied up in this property, but your father’s foolishness in the days before his disappearance has made it such that we can no longer maintain it on our own. You simply must marry the duke if you wish to preserve your fortune. From the sound of it, if your duke has an offer substantial to sell the property so quickly, he will likely see no option but to overlook your little display as well.”
Amaleia’s eyes turned to the floor, and she felt the brush of Nan’s robe against her hand as she came to her side.
“Oh bother me, harping on such unpleasentries on your special day,” his eyes also seemed to look anywhere but at hers. “Here. I found something that may strengthen you.”
From the bottom of the stack of papers Uncle Talbot produced a parchment on which a letter had been scrawled many years in the past.
“I found it with the estate documents that had been locked up the night your father was… After he was gone.”
With a shaking hand Amaleia took the paper from her uncle. He didn’t wait for her to read it but turned and silently left the room, leaving her alone with the documents, the letter and her nurse.