After ten years without a Ruler, the Lords had elected Lord Angus North to become the Ruler of Terra. He stood off to the side of the ballroom in Lord Turner's mansion, sipping wine out of a silver goblet. Lord Leah Turner sidled up beside him, picking up a goblet of her own off of a tray carried by a passing Partial.
"Hello," Angus said quietly. Leah nodded her head in reply, lifting her goblet to her lips. Angus glanced over at the young woman next to her and took a deep breath.
"I haven't seen you in Lord classes lately," he said, hoping to get some sort of conversation out of his old friend.
"Father pulled me out of them," Leah responded, looking across the ballroom to her father who was laughing with some of the other Lords.
"What for?" Angus asked, lifting the goblet to his lips and taking a drink.
"He said he didn't think I was ready for the politics of it all," Leah replied, finally turning to look at Angus. Her golden brown hair fell over her shoulder, dipping down to the lace bodice of her dress. Angus bit his lip and looked away. Leah had always been the girl getting her dresses dirty as she climbed trees and raced her horse across the farmlands. Seeing her in a clean dress fit for a formal ball was a sight to see.
"How are you doing with all of this?" Angus questioned, trying to change the subject. Leah laughed a dry laugh and shook her head.
"Funny that a man who says his daughter is not ready for politics sets up his daughter to be married to a Ruler," she scoffed. With a heavy exhale, she slammed her goblet down on a table and strode away from Angus. His brown eyes followed her as she strode to the other side of the ballroom.
Leah's Partial, Millie, scurried over to the young Lord.
"Lord Leah, are you alright?" Mille asked, following Leah to the doorway. Leah stopped and turned, her gray eyes locking with her Partials green eyes. Without saying anything, Leah looked over her shoulder at Angus. The tall man stood watching her, his crimson hair glowing in the light from the chandelier. He ran a hand through it as Lord Neville Augustus approached him.
"Fine," Leah replied coldly, hiding her lie behind her sharp voice.
"He's quite the man you know, everyone is jealous of you. A handsome man that has a heart for others, but enough sense to make tough decisions. He's something else," Millie whispered. Leah knew exactly how his heart was. She had grown up with Angus for ten years, watching him grow. It was too soft sometimes, often giving in to the pressure of the other Lords.
"I know Millie," Leah snapped. She turned on her heel and strode out of the ballroom, hands lifting her large ball gown off of the floor. Leah turned sharply and headed to the back gardens of the estate.
A few smalls torches lit up the pathway as Leah made her way over to the pond in the farthest corner of the garden from the mansion. A sigh escaped her lips as she sat down heavily on a stone bench, her late mother's name carved exquisitely along the side.
Millie approached slowly, tiptoeing over towards the distressed young lady. The Partial brushed a layer of dust off of the stone bench before sitting down.
"What is the matter Miss Leah? Do not try and tell me that nothing is wrong, I have worked for you since as long as you can remember, I know you," Millie stated, as she gently pushed a strand of Leah's hair back into place.
"I just don't care to marry him. He's just, Angus. I've known him for ten years, I would have been with him before now if I had wanted to. I feel like we are put together just to be pushovers to the other Lords and never actually make decent decisions," Leah's voice dropped into a whisper. Millie touched the eighteen year-old's shoulder.
"That is acceptable, Miss Leah. But sometimes our destinies are too great for our own decisions. There is a reason you have been selected, just as I was selected for you," Millie stated. Leah sighed and folded her hands in her lap. Millie was a Partial, left in an orphanage like other Partials. Felixes and Lords would take Partials in, paying them to serve the family for years. Many Partials stayed with the family until death, but many would become Tenders and move to the farmlands. .
"I just wish I was destined for something greater than to be a Lord for the rest of my life. And now a Ruler, making decisions based on what the other Lords decide for me," Leah said as she turned to smile at Millie.
"I do not think you truly understand how the power passes between Rulers and Lords. You will see and you will be a great leader," Millie said as she stood up. She patted Leah's hand and walked away.
"I think I understand plenty," Leah mumbled, clumping handfuls of rose-colored fabric in her fists. Her eyes wandered to a tree just outside the garden. A tree that had once held a swing, tied to a heavy branch high up along the trunk.
The young Lord stood up and stepped out of the garden, making her way over to the old oak tree. She reached out and touched the rough bark, feeling the indents of where arrows had been shot at the Coyote that had tried to approach her.
Leah had been only eight when the Coyote crept onto the mansion's estate and tried to talk to the young child. The Partials that worked for her father had noticed a strange man by the child and notified Victors on the property, who shot at the man. He ran off, leaving no trace of who he was or what he was there for. His presence entranced Leah and she spent the next ten years researching all she could on the Coyotes.
She reached into the folds of her dress and pulled out a leather bound diary. Her fingers danced over the binding as she cracked open the book. The words were written by a Coyote, telling his tales of stealing from Lords and Felixes, only to go give everything he had to Tenders and Horrids. Other tales were of him changing political matters within the Lords, all by altering documents while they were sleeping. Coyotes may be thieves, but the diary made Leah realize there was much more to a Coyote's heart than stealing all the wealth they could.
"Leah?" A voice rang out across the gardens. Leah closed her eyes, knowing she would be found and forced to return back to the ball. She quickly stuffed the book back into her dress, making sure it would not fall out. As she stood up to respond, a pain radiated through the back of her skull.
Everything went black.
YOU ARE READING
Lord Leah Turner has been selected to be married to another Lord and become the Rulers of Terra, but is kidnapped by someone who wants her as leverage to take the crown. With the help of a Coyote, thought to be thieves and murderers, she goes on a...