Part One --- Isabeau Rosario
She was woken up by the sound of bells, coming from the main square: it was almost deafening, but at the same time it was the best way to wake up an entire city. Luckily that particular sound was muffled by the walls -- three, with a single opening -- of the bell tower.
Cordonia wasn't a Christian kingdom; there, it still existed an older religion.
A real fortune, for Isabeau, especially when it came to celebrating Beltane. The girl remained under the covers for a few more minutes, her green eyes closed and the hint of a smile on the lips, while basking in the heat of the sun's rays that penetrated through the window glass.
It was a luxury that she could not always afford, moreover... Not with Kana as a boss; the head librarian -- with his rigid attitude -- wasn't the most patient person in the realm; not with Isabeau, at least.
Finally she got out of bed, observing the natural landscape that was outside: Cordonia was a small reign, but it was still beautiful.
It was like something out of a fairy tale; it wasn't a surprise, since in the past there had been people able to use magic: Isabeau had read of them in one of the many books in the library, where she worked as a scribe. A clan who could control fire, bend it to their will, and turn into dragons; an evil queen with the ability to control electricity.
It was truly the stuff of legends.
Anyway, back to our main protagonist. That day would have been different for her; she knew it, but she wasn't aware of how much it would be different. While she was taking off her nightgown, leaving it on the bed, and was getting ready to take a bath, Isabeau's mind returned to the day before and to the visit she had received.
The previous day
For a fortnight the kingdom of Cordonia -- and all its people -- had been like a beehive; Isabeau had failed to see much (thanks to Kana and the amount of work he had assigned her), but the girl was perfectly aware of the reason behind all that frenzy. After all, the Tournament of Flowers didn't happen every day.
Of course her foster family would also be present; at least her aunts, Zya and Elise, and her elder sister, Annalisa. Their parents had died a few years earlier and the girls had taken comfort from each other: Isabeau truly considered Annalisa to be her sister, even if they didn't share the same blood, and she knew that for the brown-haired girl it was the same.
Attend to the tournament would have been a good move for their family; even if the Rosario weren't yet among the other noble Houses, who had lived in Cordonia for centuries, they were rich and Annalisa had told Isabeau about her plans, since she was the new Head of House Rosario. Her sister wanted to amass the queen's favor like their parents had amassed land and wealth. Isabeau believed in her: Annalisa had the keenness and the wit to get in the good graces of Queen Kendra.
She was working, sitting at one of the tables in the library, with another book to transcribe (the Codex Leicester of Leonardo da Vinci), ignoring the looks Kana gave her from time to time (and, furthermore, resisting the urge to stand up, go to him and tell him to stop: it would not have been a wise move at all, not when she knew Kana's personality).
In the end, she was utterly certain of that, he would have gave her only more work to do, as a kind of punishment or revenge. So Isabeau hold her tongue, sighing and concentrating on writing. Some minutes passed before she heard footsteps approaching her table.
"I'm working, Kana", she said in a neutral voice, hiding her irritation toward the head librarian. Her words were followed by a slight laugh and Isabeau's eyes widened, because she was taken by surprise. Could be...? She looked up and immediately recognized him. "Vasco!" She left the quill in her hand in the inkwell, getting up to be able to hug him. After all he was one of the few person she could trust, not to mention the affection she had for him. "It's really good to see you. What brings you here?"
"I wanted to see how you were doing. I still remember the young girl who used to snuck books under the banquet table to read in her lap during dinner", he replied, smiling and letting her go.
Isabeau smiled back. "I'm faring well." One day at a time, she thought, without saying it out loud.
He nodded, taking from the doublet the other reason of his visit, equally important. Seeing that envelope -- the Queen's sigil clearly visible on the red wax -- her smile widened: Isabeau was glad for her sister and she wished Annalisa the best of luck. The brunette deserved it. Vasco's following words, however, took the girl by surprise -- "This is your invitation", he had just said -- and Isabeau looked at the envelope with something akin to astonishment for the first seconds, before regaining control. "But I'm just a scribe", she said; and in any case she didn't think that Kana would leave her a day off. Not to mention the presence of Zya and Elise: even if she truly wanted to partecipate, the odds seemed to be against her. Luckily, Vasco -- who knew her well -- was able to ease her mind: Zya and Elise wouldn't be there and Annalisa had already talked to Kana.
Knowing this, for Isabeau the choice had not been difficult. "I'll come."
After finishing bathing herself, Isabeau thought back about her own decision; sure, she loved that particular work (the books were a source of knowledge and kept her mind sharp): just being surrounded by books was a joy for her -- but Isabeau would have preferred a different boss, more patient than the actual one. But that day was gonna be different even for her. Isabeau smiled again, while wearing the dress that Annalisa had sent her for that day. It was green -- like the coat of arms of the Rosario -- but its shade accentuated that of her eyes and fit with her fiery red hair.
"I am ready", she told herself, looking at the reflection in the mirror; then, she heard a carriage stop before her home and nod to herself. "I am like the fox." Then she went to open the door, a breath before Annalisa knocked on it and the sisters hugged each other.
"I knew this gown was perfect for you, Isa. It will be a fantastic day, I swear. And I have a surprise for you, before the start of the tourney. Let's go, sister."