She is one of the country cousins of the rather extensive Moscastle family, brought into the city of London to live under the care of her married elder cousin who had, some several seasons back, managed rather skillfully to catch herself a well-to-do Earl for a husband. It is a source of grand excitement to finally be included in the thick of the social world, particularly as the ton
enters the spring and summer season of countless balls and parties for innumerable reasons (though, truly, most of them are at their heart parties for the sake of parties). This year, there is a particular fashion for holding masques. And so, with her family's not-insignificant money and her cousin's connections at her disposal, she prepares to attend her first such masked ball, dressed to be noticed.
And noticed she is. While somewhat of a shy girl, sweetly demure as one would expect, she finds there is something freeing about being masked among many other masked folk, nearly all of whom are strangers. The wine flows, the dancers spin, and while she certainly does not court any particular scandal, she indulges in what feels like harmless flirtation with one of the gentlemen - and he flirts back. While they dance with others, they keep returning to one another, drawn to the slowly building rapport between them. Is it that they notice the silliness of others? Is it that they are enjoying silliness of their own in the face of staid traditionalism in spite of the masks? Is it something else entirely, perhaps? One way or another, when he suggests a walk in the gardens to cool, despite her chaperone being nowhere in sight, she agrees. While the air is cool upon her skin, something in his smile, the brush of his hand, the glint of moonlight off the eyes within the mask... something has her heated. And when his body moves closer, so does her own, indulging in the sweet wickedness of a kiss, in which her own heat is met with equal fervour. They part - discovered by her cousin? Disrupted by another pair of lovers seeking a secret bower? - and all too soon the night is ended, and she must part without his name. But something about him she feels certain she will remember. For several days, sitting through the calling hours and parlour visits that mark time between the greater to-dos, her mind returns to him often - and her hand perhaps to a flower, or some other small favour handed her before they lost one another.
Because of her locks, he called her something - his golden rose, perhaps? or swan of the sun? - and so come the next masque before the week's end, she sees to it that the tailor has constructed a gown to suit her accordingly, of yellow silk and cloth-of-gold, or whatever else required to cause her to look all the more like the affectionate name he bestowed upon her. Therefore, when hands are laid upon her in the crowd and she is escorted familiarly from the bright heat of the dancing to the cool, quiet dimness of a room elsewhere in the big house, it does not occur to her to protest. Who could it be but he, having recognized her and wishing to take up their delightful connection where it had been broken off. Now, too, she knows how much she wants to kiss and be kissed... and perhaps even more. Yet as he is kissing her, something is not right - he is too tall? His hair the wrong color? His eyes? This is not the man she thought him to be!
And then - OH, then! - and then... what, my prospective partner? Does this stranger ravish her? Does she find that she likes it? Are they discovered, and forced into a quick betrothal due to the scandal? Who is he really, and who did he think she was? What of her first paramour - will he press his suit in spite of the circumstances? Perhaps even because of them? How will she act and react - will she bow to the pressure of the rules of Society and wed to avoid scandal? Will she refuse her accidental betrothed, daringly seeking out her first flirtation? Or might she take the most daring road of all, refusing to choose either and seeking a way to, somehow, have them both?
Who will they all become, when they are unmasked?
It wasn't just that she was rich. It was that she was sickeningly rich, and so suddenly. Her parents had already been incredibly well off, and when the accident took them during the summer months, suddenly everything that had been theirs became hers.
Because her trust fund is set up in such a way that she won't have full access to her inheritance until she is twenty-one, and until then all her living and schooling expenses are going to be paid out under the control of the executor - an old, old friend of her parents' that she hasn't ever actually met, and who her lawyer has been struggling to contact. Through one careful legal maneuver and another, the lawyer was able to make sure she continued into her final year at her expensive, exclusive prep school. Where she, never particularly studious or obedient to begin with, has been driven through grief and loneliness to full-out Wild Child misadventures.
What will her new caretaker think of her - and how will he bring her in to line before she takes full control of everything his old friends had spent his entire life building?
Perhaps she was an angel, once - or a harpy, flung from the cliffside nests of her sisters for reasons only they might divine. Perhaps she is a creature of the wildest and darkest of woods, little more than a rumor spread by those so brave - or foolhardy - or desperate - as to forage or hunt in its trackless depths. Perhaps it is her feathers reknowned to grant protection, or her tears to grant healing, or her song to entrance.
She is there for you to hunt. But if you do manage to capture her, will you get not just what you want, but also an unexpected boon of which the legends did not sing?