For the household of Ravenne on the 13th December, 1871, all was calm and peaceful, a stark contrast to the raging storm outside. The head butler of the manor, Frederick Lockhert, was briskly walking down the corridor with purpose, with a letter from a neighboring family of aristocrats address to the heads of the Ravenne family, Earl Leon Ravenne and his wife, Countess Emily Ravenne of the Phoenices family. With the marriage combining the two houses, the pair carried on their ancestor's legacy. If the Phantomhive family were the Queen's Watchdog, then the Ravennes were the Sword, and the Phoenices were the Shield.
As he pondered on what responsibilities he must take care of on this day, Frederick felt a small force collide with him. When he looked down, he saw the first-born of the couple, master Edgar, and the family puppy, a wolfhound named Wolfgang, suitable after the great musician Mozart, but lovingly nicknamed Wolfie. Frederick's initial smile of the accident of the toddler's bump into him disappeared when he saw the tears streaming from the boy's eyes, trembling in fear, and the dog barking incessantly.
"Fwedick! Come qwick, Mama's crying! I think she's in pain!" Edgar cried out in distress. Wolfie barked in agreement.
Frederick was sure he had not a minute to lose. He picked up the crying boy, and ran as fast as his legs would carry him, without them falling off and running away, to his lady's bedroom, lead by Wolfie. All kinds of thoughts entered his mind as he ran. The most prominent was-
Before he knew it, Frederick was on the other side of the door in the corridor. After stopping to calm himself, he was still only a butler, so he knocked rapidly on the door.
"Milady! Master Edgar informed me that you are in p-"
Frederick could not finish his inquiry when the door was flung open by the head of the house, Leon Ravanne. His face was pale, and his voice was grave.
"Frederick, get a doctor and the maids. Emily's gone into labor."
After nearly five hours of waiting, Leon, Frederick and Edgar were in the playroom, watching Edgar trying desperately to not listen to his mother's screams from the far side of the house. Wolfie was not with them, for he was the only one Emily asked to stay, apart from the doctors and maids.
Leon paced the floor, almost so that the carpet was becoming more worn down by the second. "It's been too long. What if she needs me? I need to be there for her!"
"Milord, though I am just your chief butler, I cannot permit you to leave. It would be against her wishes." Calmly stated Frederick.
"However, when a woman goes into labor, I tend get the impression that they don't know what they're saying!" Leon snapped back in frustration. His short dark hair shook as he swiftly faced his most trusted friend.
"Yes, but lady Emily seemed quite clear headed when she asked you to leave. She is..." Frederick glanced towards Edgar, "Stronger than she was the first time."
"But she is still frail! Emily-" Leon halted, realizing his son was in the room. He would not want to hear this. He continued in a whisper, "She barely made in the first time, and that was a miracle and a half. What if...what if this time, we're not so lucky?"
Another scream. Louder and longer than the rest. Leon pitifully looked towards the direction of his room. Then, silence.
Frederick saw himself in his master's finely polished shoes. When his sister gave birth years ago, it was Leon who had calmed him from jumping to the worst conclusion as the butler stood in since his brother-in-law could regretfully not be there, though ironically his master and mistress had not even started trying for a child. Ironically, it was his brother-in-law who was taking care of the mistress now.
After an hour of total silence later, the chief maid, Maria Lockhert, quietly knocked on the door, and entered. After 40 weeks of pregnancy, all eyes were on her.
"Milord and master Edgar, milady would like to see you now."
Leon and his son did not need to be told twice. They quickly walked out to remain their posture in front of their servants, but the moment they were out of eyesight of them, the father and son ran. Frederick embraced his wife, petting her blonde head to try to calm her. Lady Emily was much loved by the servants, but mostly by Maria, and seeing her mistress in such a vulnerable position had left her shaken.
"Why did you not tell the master what the sex of the child was? Did you know, or were you asked to leave as soon as possible by the mistress?" Frederick whispered gently.
Maria giggled, "Oh I know. The doctor just said to leave it an hour for milady to recover a bit before master Leon and master Edgar rush to see her. I wanted it to be a surprise for the both of them, and master Leon should be the second to hold her, after milady. She was so brave, she tried so hard not sound out her pain" She spoke with so admiration and love for Lady Emily, that Frederick almost didn't notice that the child was referred to as a girl.
"It's a girl? That's wonderful news!" A thought entered his mind, "Though maybe not for master Edgar. I believe he wanted a little brother?"
"That's not the only news Freddy-bear. Would you like to hear it?" Maria teased.
"As long as you only call me 'Freddy-bear' when we're alone, that's fine. But what is the other news? Does milady already have a name in mind?"
"It's not really to do with milady, but it may have something to do with the new mistress..." She winked. Frederick was sometimes the slowest when Maria was trying to get a message across.
"What is it? Is everything alright?! Is the child ill?!" Frederick started to panic. He always put the family and his wife first, "Oh God! We must inform the masters before it's too lat-" He made for the room-
"Frederick I'm with-child." Maria interrupted
Frederick halted at the door, and turned around slowly, "What?" was all that he could mutter.
"I'm pregnant. I think about 3 months now. I meant that milady could have a playmate if it's a girl-"
She was tackled in a bear hug, and her face was peppered with kisses. The storm raged on.
Emily was lying in the bed she and her husband had share for 5 years of marriage since they were 19 years old. Sweat was pouring from her brow and down her body from underneath her nightgown. Her sun golden hair had fanned out beneath her. Wolfie was sitting by her head on the floor, guarding her as if it was a task he had taken for centuries. Emily Ravenne was determined to not let herself become so weakened that she would even come close to seeing a white light this time. She had Wolfie to support her.
But the pain that she felt 3 years ago for Edgar had returned. And with a vengeance. But she was determined. She was prepared for half the battle, at least. She was tired. Oh God, she was so tired. But she battled on. She had no choice. She would not let herself go. Not now. Not ever. Maybe it was Emily's determination that made her body go through more pain than last time. But it was worth it all. And hearing those cries was always worth it. Hearing those words:
"Congratulations, milady. You have a daughter."
A girl. How wonderful, oh, but Edgar may be disappointed that he didn't get a little brother Was Emily's first thought when she heard those words.
Time seemed to blur, but shortly came to a standstill when Emily held her daughter for the first time. She first took notice that the child had dark hair, much like the relatives from her father's side, unlike the golden hair Emily surprisingly shared with Edgar. She felt so small within Emily's arms.
After an hour of peace to rest herself, Emily saw the two loves of her life hesitantly walk into the room. Leon was the first to ask how she was feeling.
"Tired, but it was all worth it for our little girl. She has your hair, you know."
Leon did not try to hide the tears from his son, "It's okay to cry, Eddy, if it is for joyful times, like this moment."
"Be thankful that you're not women." Whilst her strength left her, it did not mean that Emily's humor had done the same.
For that evening, the family of Ravenne gathered around the newborn. It was a moment they would all share, as one of the happiest.
Not but a week after their daughter was born, Frederick had received a surprising package, which he gave to the master and mistress. The package in question was a small parcel, and a letter from Weston College. It wrote:
Dear Earl Leon of the Ravenne family,
It has come to my attention that recently, that your wife, Countess Emily of the Ravenne family, has given birth to a daughter. Firstly, my sincerest congratulations to both you, your wife, and your son. I am informed that Countess Emily suffers from frail health, and the news that the event of your daughter's birth did not leave your wife to part from you side is joyous to hear.
Secondly, I am writing to you as the father of your first-born daughter to discuss a pressing matter with you. As a former student of Weston College, you are aware that tradition is absolute. A school of which we educate the future gentleman of the civilized world. As such, traditions should-no, must be held. One of these traditions, I implore you to see reason.
As you may be already aware, every decade or so, we have a 12 or 13 year-old daughter of an established aristocratic family, much like yours, become part of our school. This is a rarity, as Weston College is essentially a boy's school. However, the chosen daughter will take part in the education and activities in all Houses. And when she has reached a reasonable age, possibly between 16 to 19 years of age, she is to be engaged to the four prefects of the Houses, and proceed to spend time with them. At the end of the prefect's final year, whosoever wins the tournament, the girl shall be officially engaged to the prefect of that House, and only him.
I shall explain more, if you wish to discuss the matter soon,
Headmaster Edward Skeet
Leon re-read the letter 3 times, still trying to comprehend what was written in black and white in front of him. Weston wanted his daughter. All for the sake of "tradition". To be, for lack of better words, sold to a boy who she may not even love. Sold to a boy who may beat her, leave her for another, or worse? All for the sake of "tradition?" True, though no man may be worthy of his daughter, he might love her, cherish her, stay loyal to her, and shower her with love and more? But why should he take that risk?
He glanced at Emily cradling his newborn daughter, and Edgar asking a question, then asking another before his mother finished. Right now, everything was perfect. Leon had his family; wealth and fortunes and titles meant little to him when it came to the people within this household, including the servants. The people in this household were loyal to a fault, strong both physically and mentally, and he was quite sure that the newest member would follow suit. He, as the Sword of the Underworld and of Her Majesty, would be damned before letting anything happen to his family.
His train of thought reached a sudden stop when Edgar was playing with Wolfie, and chirped, "Whad are you gonna call wittle sizter?"
Emily turned to Leo, "I don't know. I have a few ideas, but..." She trailed off, "Leo? Are you alright?"
Leon pondered for a moment before he spoke, "As a gift, we should give her a name each. That includes you, Frederick."
The butler turned to his master, "Milord? You want me to name your child?"
"Please, Frederick, for Evelyn?" Leo tried to plead.
"I don't know if I should, sir..." Frederick hesitated.
"I wike George! But let's call Eviewin Emiwee, like Mama!"
"Yes, you did give Edgar a name, so why shouldn't Evenlyn Ankaa Emily?" Emily asked.
"Ankaa? Really?" Leon inquired.
"Ankaa is Arabic for 'Phoenix'. I like the sound of the Arabic language, and like the Phoenix, I would like to think that if our family were to fall, we would rise again. We are eternal. We are the Phoenixes." Emily retorted
"Frederick, you have been good to me and my family for many years now. Your opinion is just as worthy as ours." Leon argued, but Frederick still seemed hesitant, "Please, Frederick."
"Hmm...What about Stoirm? She was born on a stormy day, that must mean something?" Frederick offered.
"Then it's settled. From now on," Leon gently picked up the baby from Emily's arms, "You, young lady, are to be called Evelyn Ankaa Emily Stoirm Ravenne. We all have high hopes for you." He nuzzled Evelyn on the nose, resulting in an adorable giggle from the week-old newborn.
"Mama, what am I called?" Edgar questioned his mother.
"Edgar George Roderick Allen Ravenne, darling."
"But Mama! Ewwen's a girl's name!" Edgar groaned.
Did any of you notice that I made a reference to a recent-ish game with one of my characters? Take a guess! R&R please, I own nothing but my own characters J