Callan and Ariella rode ahead of the parade of nobles, side by side on top of two large horses. The du Bois estate was known for its forests, vastly spreading across the horizon in a never ending brush stroke of greens and browns. Wild flowers trailed the path through the trees as the hunting party travelled along, dogs nipping the heels of horses while the chattering voices of men and women mingled with the songs of forest birds.
Cal talked with a few nobles as they rode along whilst Ariella tried to stay somewhat focused on their conversation, ever so often adding a "Oh, yes, very interesting," or a "How lovely."
Cal was becoming bored with the talk of trade and warfare as he struggled to keep up with the fast conversation between the Duke du Bois and the Count de Morenne, for he had something else on his mind that had been swimming within him from the night before.
He watched Ariella over the heads of the nobles separating them. He watched her as she glanced up to the sky, her navy blue gown cascading down her horse's velvet black coat. Her dark hair raveled into a long braid past the small of her back as her cream colored skin shimmered beneath the morning sun. He wanted to be closer to her just then, he longed for her warm touch and her loving emerald eyes. He didn't know how long he could last-
"Your Highness," mumbled the Duke, "Forgive me. Is there something on your mind?"
He sighed, other than this horridly boring conversation? "Not at all, Your Grace, I was merely admiring your beautiful estate."
Ariella glanced over to Callan, meeting his eyes over the heads of a few nobles. Her stomach began doing flips inside of her as they looked at each other, it was still somewhat of a foreign feeling to her.
She was awoken from her trance as her horse hopped up, almost as if it had awoken from a long sleep, and began running down a separate path. She had lost control of the reigns and held onto its black mane, "Help!" She cried, looking back to the nobles who watched her helplessly.
"Excuse me, my lords, it seems Mademoiselle Ariella has gotten herself into some trouble," he muttered quickly, leading his horse into a run down the path Ariella had just entered.
"Would you like us to accompany you, Your Highness?" The Count called after him, though he gained no response.
"Mademoiselle!" Cal called down the path after Ariella, though she was nowhere to be found.
He travelled down the forested pathway for a long while until he spotted a piece of navy blue fabric ahead of him, he reached down to hold Ariella's cloak between his fingertips. He began to worry she had actually gotten herself into trouble as he continued down the path at a slower pace.
Scenarios began to gather in his mind about what could've happened to her as he travelled deeper and deeper into the forest. The dewy morning weather began to fade as the sun reached its peak and the midday heat formed beads of sweat against his forehead. He clutched the cloak in his hand as he led his horse through the thick vegetation, the pathway was more of a forested jungle than a navigable trail, trees cross-crossing across the path as leaves and branches covered the once dirt covered ground.
Past a few fallen trees, he spotted Ariella's horse, laying on its side. Cal's eyes widened in fear, calling for Ariella as he tied his horse against a tree. He climbed his way over the fallen tree trunks at a fast pace, scaling the branches and thick mounds of ivy that formed against the wood. He finally reached the horse to find it withering in pain.
"Help!" A voice shrieked from his right. He ran through the trees to find nothing.
"Ariella!" He called again, glancing around him frantically.
"Look beneath you!" She called, her voice strained.
Ariella watched her feet dangle above sharpened spears aimed towards her. She dangled from a root exerting from the earthy walls of a giant grave-like hole. Her dress was the only thing keeping her from falling to her death, "Help!" She cried again, tears flying from her eyes like a waterfall.
Feet crunched through dried leaves above her, and finally a head peaked down to find the hell-like scene she found herself in.
"Ariella?" A familiar voice called.
"Callan is that you?" She cried, not daring to spin herself around to look at him.
"I'll get you out of there, don't worry," he said frantically, glancing around him for something useful. She was too far down to simply reach for her.
He began unbuttoning his jacket, hoping it would be a strong enough fabric to hold her weight without tearing in half.
An earsplitting creak sounded from below him, followed by a frightened cry, "Callan, the root it's splitting, it won't hold for much longer!"
He threw his jacket into the hole, "Try to grab this, love! If you can't reach I'm coming down to get you!"
She took in a deep breath and tried to find the strength within her. She reached up to grab the sleeve of Cal's jacket but missed by half an inch. Her dress tore with the struggle and her arms ceased to catch anything to hold herself up.
"No!" Cal cried as he watched her fall, her arms flailing in the air before she reached the bottom with an earsplitting cry.
Ariella felt the pain like a hundred knives cutting into her, she felt the blood trickling out of her as she laid in the dirt, she felt the darkness enclose her vision as her head throbbed against the stone she fell on.
Cal felt his eyes tear up as he hurdled himself into the dark hole, sweat beading across his chest and hairline.
He was too late.
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~Watty's 2018 Longlist~Previously featured on Wattpad Picks~ Mademoiselle Ariella du Montamorte is the most unladylike lady that ever graced the court. She is trapped in the debutante season in the hopes of finding an unwanted match, but her reckles...