In the broad valleys of Wales was a young beautiful girl. She lived with her mother and step father in a brick house, where she had to look after her brother, her 2 step sisters and her twin half brothers.
When her father died in the war, while serving the King in service, her mother came under the spell of a wealthy man, who promised wonderful things for her family, but when he married her mother, she and her brother became outcasts.
She was forced to do the cleaning and cooking, as though she was one of the maids in her own home. Her younger brother was forced to work in the farm and over see the male workers. And since she was the oldest among all her siblings, she was forced to look after all of them. She could easily call herself the head maid of her home, as she did everything for her step and half siblings upon their commands.
As a young lady turning 21, she felt as though this was all to the life she had. She never expected anything more as her future seemed as dry as the drought that would occasional sweep across their land. So when she met a young man, she never expected him to be the one that changed her life.
It was during a hot afternoon, that she was sent to the market to fetch for kitchen supplies. As she was browsing through the pile of one day old cabbages, a young man with jet black hair and mysterious eyes came up to her asking for directions to the town exit.
“You have to cross Pixie bridge before you take the left on the split road,” she told the young man.
“Thank you my lady,” he replied with a charming smile.
She couldn’t help but blush as he was a handsome one. But when she wanted to offer him a place for the night, she found out he wasn’t alone.
“Have you found the way out?” his friend with green eyes asked.
“Yes. This young lady here was such a great help. If ever, you need us to do anything for you, just say it, before we leave of course,” the man answered with a wink.
And she blushed even more before she jumped on her question, “Why don’t you buy me a drink?”
“Oh? A fine lady like you drinks?” he asked, while his friend merely snickered by his side.
“I’m not a fine lady, not even a lady as you can see. I’m a maid,” she answered.
“Well, you look like a lady to me. So how about tomorrow afternoon at the tavern?” he asked.
“Sure. That sounds great,” she quickly said and hurried off, completely forgetting to get the cabbages she had took a while to pick out.
When she reached home, she couldn’t help but smile. She smiled while doing all her chores that the house maids thought she was going crazy. But even the idea of having a drink with such a handsome man could not stop the horrifying news she was about to receive at dinner time.
As she finally sat down with her family, after serving each of her siblings, her step father told her she was to marry a man he knew called Arctacus Hawtorn. At the sound of his name, she wanted to burst into tears as Arctacus Hawtorn was no gentleman, he was not even around her age. He was an old rich man whom her step father had been trying to do business with for years.
“I can’t marry him! He’s old and ugly!” She tried to defend her rights.
“When I say you’ll marry him, you WILL marry him!”
She immediately turned to her mother for help, but her mother merely looked away, in guilt and shame.
“Mother! You can’t let him do this!”
“Don’t shout at your mother! She agrees with me on this,” her step father immediately said before her mother could answer her.
“How could you? I’m your real daughter, of flesh and blood! And you’re giving me away to an old filthy man?!” she added as she stood up.
And then, as though she knew it would happen, her step father rose from his seat and slapped her so hard she stumbled onto her chair.
With tears streaming down her eyes, she ran to her room, locked herself in it and never came out till the following day came. Even then, she had to sneak through her window and jump into a hay stack to break her fall.
Once she had made it to town, she headed to the tavern to meet the two men she met the day before. And without expecting to do so, she spilled her whole story to them, with anger and hate in her voice that did not even trigger any tears to flow from her eyes.
“You know what I would do if I were you?” the handsome, dark haired man, asked.
“I would run away,” he answered with a shrug.
“I have no where to go,” she replied softly.
“You can come with us,” he offered.
At that moment, a spark of hope left a warm feeling in her heart. Though she wasn’t sure if she should actually agree to it, because she barely knew the men, she somehow felt safer with them than with her own family.
“I would love to, but…” She hesitated.
“The longer you think, the more you would not run away. The less you think, the more risks you would take. So think less and just agree.”
“Sal, are you sure…” his friend finally spoke in a whisper, and she caught it.
“You have not told me your names, how can I just run away with strangers?” she asked as she eyed them.
“I’m Salazar, you can call me Sal. And this is Godric, you cant call him God, so just call him Ric. We’re friends now, so what say you?”
“O.k. I’ll leave with you,” she said as a smile spread across her face. She was finally taking her life in her own hands and it felt good.
“And what shall we call you?” Sal asked.
“You can call me Helga, just Helga.”