• Amalia was growing up quickly. She was already seven and soon she would be eight, she would be an adult in no time!! She was still short but she’d grow out of that eventually. She had long mouse brown hair that fell in curls to her waist and soft golden eyes. Since she was a Cat Kin too she had cat adaptations, just like her mother did. That included a tail, furred legs that ended in delicate paws and soft, slightly rounded cat ears. They were all the same colour as her hair... mouse brown... she hated that colour, how could anyone describe at cat’s colouring as mouse brown?

    Still none of that mattered today, because today was Black Widows Day. She wore her best black dress, carefully avoiding puddles, mud, dirt and dust. Her mother had been very firm on that point; she was not to get the dress dirty or no sweets. She also wore the lovely mask she had carefully crafted over the past two months. Today was the day that she and all the other girls could go around to all the houses in the villages and ask for sweets! It was, without a doubt, her favourite day of the year.

    Amalia smiled proudly behind her golden birds face mask as she raced down the path from the house she had just visited. She paused in the street and opened her bag carefully to look inside slowly. Her smile widened, half full, she took a silent inventory of the sweets. Six hot cross buns with black icing, five muffins with red iced spiders, three chunks of brownie, and eighteen red sweet balls. It was an awesome haul for her, considering the pathetic size of her village, which really wasn’t all that impressive. She had visited all the houses in the town, so there was technically only one place she could still visit, and the mere thought of it terrified her.

    Dagmoneir had a reasonably simple system of leadership. The Valentina was the ruler of the entire country. Beneath the Valentina ruling sections of her land were the eight Countessas. Serving each Countessa were three Gloriannas, so that made 24 Gloriannas in total. Then was the confusing part, the Morigannas. Depending on their skill they could be beneath the Gloriannas or above even the Valentina. They could also use magic. Amalia’s mother said it was because they communed with evil spirits. Amalia really didn’t want to find out if her mother was as right about this as she was about everything else.

    She bit her lip and watched her tail twitch just an inch above the ground, her ears were flicking and she bit her lip. Ordinarily being in such a damp and wet place didn’t bother her but right now she felt gross and hated the damp. She wanted to run home screaming in fear and hide under her bed or in her mother’s arms. She felt so pathetically afraid.

    She felt a gentle tap on her shoulders and she screamed, leaping forward and looking behind her with wide, wild eyes. Slowly she breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of her mother’s Juliani. He was nice. She didn’t have to worry about him doing anything weird. He did all the cooking, cleaning and laundry. He was a really good servant that her mother always said was a bargain and that she would never sell him no matter how much people could offer her. He was also her father, but that didn’t mean anything. Except maybe that he got to spend more time with her, still he didn’t get anything else for it.

    He was an extremely tall and managed to tower over everyone else in the village. He had straight, silky black hair that always fell across the right side of his face and mild, submissive, soft grey eyes that seemed constantly downcast. He wore all black, and considering his position it was really good quality clothes, as well as a thick leather collar. On the backs of both of his hands he had her mother’s crest branded into his skin, a cat sitting on a bat winged heart with the symbol for thirteen (XIII) in the middle of the heart. It was amazing that someone who could tower over you also managed to make it seem like he was always looking up at you.

    Amalia let her hand fall to her side from where it had been clutching her heart and nodded slightly, “Sovei Nobek.”

    “Sovei, Mistress Amalia.” He replied in his whispered voice.

    She stared at him for a few silent moments before screaming, “WHY DID YOU SCARE ME LIKE THAT?!?! I’M TRYING TO GET SWEETS!!!!”

    Nobek stared at her miserably then like something inside him had broken let the top half of his body fall forward until he was bent at a perfect 90˚ angle. It was kind of scary, what was creepier was the fact that he didn’t intend to move for several hours as punishment for misbehaving.

    “My apologies Mistress Amalia, your Mother was worried you would try to visit the Moriganna alone and ordered me to accompany you if you desired to visit Mistress Moriganna Blair. Her house is outside the village limits after all Mistress Amalia.” He murmured softly, with no sign he would be straightening soon.

    “Thank you Nobek, you can stand up now. I didn’t want to go see the Moriganna all alone.” Amalia said shyly, holding out her hand and looking at her paws.

    The Juliani smiled softly and took her hand, straightening to his imposing seven feet. It really was nice to have someone like Nobek with her, despite his nice personality she knew from experience he wouldn’t hesitate to defend her. He was probably a good father but she really didn’t know many fathers. She shivered in the fog as they walked along the small badly marked path. It was rather thick to be so close to town... not that she was scared or anything! Maybe it would have been easier to go outside of the village if she didn’t know exactly what was out here, besides a Cat Kin Moriganna and her wicked black magic spells.

    Yet they managed to make it all the way to the Moriganna’s house without being gobbled up by a feral kelpie or a giant alligator or a swamp hydra or the monster that lived under her bed at night but came out if it knew it had a chance to eat her. In fact it was a pretty fun walk where she got to show Nobek all the nice sweets she had managed to get during the night and was able to watch him smile proudly... like he owned her which made no sense because her mother owned him but it was nice to see him smiling.

    The house really stood out in the dark and foggy swamp, bedecked as it was with jack o’ lanterns. It was like an orange paradise in the blackness. It also smelt really nice, like someone had been baking all sorts of sweets for hours and hours. Yet none of that was enough to make her any less afraid of the legendary Blair the Clever. Anyone able to gain a personal visit from the Valentina herself was someone that you needed to be very, very wary of. Amalia paused looking at Nobek for some clue on how to proceed but he was too busy looking around for any possible threat to her safety. So she took a deep breath and took the plunge.

    “EXCUSE ME? MIZ MORIGANNA? DO YOU HAVE ANY SWEETS?” she called out as quietly as possible.

    Now she had the Juliani’s attention as he focussed on the house in case the Moriganna proved to be a threat to her instead of the monsters of the swamp. A black haired head popped out the window above a jack o’ lantern that looked like it had been carved in a drunken fit. Sharp black cat ears twitched curiously as wide green eyes regarded them with interest and slowly dawning realization.

    “SOVEI!!! Aye! Aye! Come in, Blair makes sooooo many sweets every Black Widows Day but no one ever visits her. Soooooo you can have lots and lots of sweets!!!” the Moriganna’s head disappeared back into the window and the door was flung open.

    Amalia stood frozen with uncertainty. This was not what she had expected of a Moriganna, she had expected corpses and evil floating ghosts and creepy monsters. Nobek gently ushered her forward, apparently realizing that angering a Moriganna even one so seemingly kind as Blair was probably not a wise idea. She stumbled into a small one room house filled with orange, pumpkins, sweets and cat figurines. The Juliani had to duck to enter through the doorway and promptly decided that the house was had too low a roof for him to do anything other than sit down.

    “Ahhhhhhh, SOVEIII!!!!” Blair repeated, racing around the cramped space and piling a tray full of sweets.

    “Oh, Sovei Moriganna Blair...” Amalia said softly, Nobek merely bowed his head politely.

    “Nyaaa, just Blair. Who are you?” the Moriganna paused, a multicoloured sweet ball balancing precarious on her tray.

    Amalia curtsied and mustered as much dignity as she could before replying, “Amalia Sonolen, Kairi Sonolen’s daughter. From the village to the west of here.... ummm... that is west right?” Blair nodded, “Thank you, yes to the west. This is my mother’s Juliani Nobek, he is my father and he is escorting me through the swamp between your house and the village.”

    A smile slowly worked its way across the Moriganna’s face and she nodded madly, the continued in her mission to collect the best of all the different sweets. The sweet ball continued to wobble on the edge and Amalia found herself terrified that it would fall and she wouldn’t get to taste it. Blair however didn’t seem to notice it as she was too busy collecting more sweets to add to the rapidly growing mountain.

    The she suddenly noticed what the Moriganna was wearing. She almost died of horror.

    Blair had long straight hair which contrasted her sharp similarly black cat ears. Her face and all the skin that she revealed was a soft pastel white and her legs and paws were velvet black. She wore a dark orange dress, the same colour as her beloved pumpkins, it had no sleeves, a plunging neckline and it didn’t even reach her knees. It was incredible. Even the fancy Satenellas that had come with the Valentina hadn’t worn... so little clothing...

    She panicked for a moment and looked at Nobek, then sighed and relaxed. The Juliani was busy having a staring contest with a black cat that had decided he was an invader. Apparently the demonic cat was enough to distract him from the scantily clad Moriganna. Either that or he really did care a lot more for her mother than any other Juliani cared for his Mistress. Yes that was it, no provocative Moriganna, even one as well endowed as Blair, would ever draw her father away from serving her mother!!!

    “HERE YOU GOOOO LITTLE AMALIA!!!” Blair chanted in a sing song voice.

    Amalia stared in pure awe as the woman poured a small mountain of exotic looking sweets into her bag until the thing looked fit to burst. It was amazing, she must have been the first person in the history of her village to ever get a full bag of sweets. She looked up at the Moriganna mumbled a hasty explanation that she had to go home and show her mother her sweets and make a dash for the door. Nobek was by be her side in moments and not even the thought that the monster than normally lived under her bed was waiting for her could make her slow done enough to be cautious.

    She couldn’t wait to get home and eat her sweets!!!


    Notes and Explanations
    This story is set in my world, Etherai.
    This particular story is set on the Continent of Kaori (the Dark Continent), in the Country of Dagmoneir, in the Selena (aka Province) Wolfen and the Lilina (aka county) Igrei in a thus far unnamed town. Any ideas would be welcomed I hate naming towns.

    Black Widows Day
    It is very similar to Halloween. It is to celebrate the death of a powerful Valentina. Girls under the age of sixteen are allowed to go to every house in their village/town/city and ask for sweets. Sweets are mostly baked goods. The world is set in a Medieval/Ancient time so no brand name candies or anything like that. And I don’t care when hot cross buns were made or what they were for!! They were the only sweetish-kind-a bread sort a thing I could think of!!! I fail at cooking and knowing about things which are cooked....

    Why Not Boys?
    Boys aren’t allowed to go looking for sweets because boys like men have no power in Dagmoneir. The country is dominated by women, men have little or no power depending on what they do. Women do everything besides the really bad jobs which the lowest ranking male slaves do. There are very few free men because they have no one to provide for them and usually starve to death on the streets. Valentinas usually try to find jobs for them before they get that bad though.
    There are no marriages and women may abort whatever child they have growing within them. Few ever admit who the father of their child is. Sons are educated to be servants and kept out of sight, daughters are trained to be women and allowed to roam free. Despite some servants and slaves being acknowledged as the fathers of their Mistress’ child they still have no influence. They cannot openly show any sign of care for their children other than for the sake of protecting their Mistress’ children.
    Hence Amalia’s confusion over what could be going on between Nobek and her mother. He loves her but since he is a servant he cannot admit it. The same goes for his pride in her. She doesn’t see him as anything other than a servant and can’t imagine that he would actually want to care for her in a more parental way.

    Cat Kin
    A race in my world, if I keep writing these you’ll see a lot of different types.

    Sweet Balls
    AN ORIGINAL CREATION!!!! Basically small balls of sweet dough which is wrapped around one small piece of fruit or another, baked and then stuck on a stick and dipped in coloured icing. The icing dries and hardens and you are left with the Sweet ball.
    Amalia’s favourite was one with a cherry baked inside with strawberry icing but after tasting Blair’s Mystery Multicoloured Sweet Ball she decided she liked that one better.

    They are witches. Being a Cat Kin is not necessary but it can be useful if you want attention and feel like standing out. They are unlike most women in positions of power since they can fit into almost any social niche depending upon how skilled or unskilled they are in their arts. Some are so bad they have to answer to everyone or they can be extremely powerful and answer to no one at all. Blair is somewhere in the middle and answers to whoever she feels like at that point in time... yeah she usually gets into tons of trouble but that’s why she’s so good at setting traps. Those pumpkins explode if she throws them.

    It’s just a formal way of saying hello in Dagmoneir. Nice, simple and clean.

    Pyramid of Powers
    The Valentina - the Queen basically
    The ( 8 ) Countessas - the Queen’s eight favourite noble ladies – they change way too often
    The ( 24 ) Gloriannas - The Countessas each have three – it’s a similar relationship to the Valentina/Countessa
    The Morigannas - there is no set number and they can be found anywhere from the Valentina’s court to the swamps
    The Satenellas - young noble ladies seeking the favour of someone above them and a position of power
    The Akasus - Male servants – usually but not always pleasure slaves – only nobles can have them)
    The Julianus - Male servants – ordinary servants who do the daily work – anyone can have one if they can pay for him - they automatically rank bellow whoever they serve
    The Enas - Ordinary women who live ordinary lives – peasants – Amalia and her mother are here
    The Jahnus - Male slaves – men who perform the worst tasks that are sadly necessary for a working society
    The Enus - Ordinary men – beggars for the most part who starve unless taken in educated and sometimes sold

    End Note
    Hope that explaned what the hell was going on in the story at bit better, I'm more suited towriting something like a novel where you get way more space to explain everything.