She never knew she had an uncle until her parents died. It’s strange how- sometimes in life when آپ lose important people in your life آپ gain some more.
Her mother and father died in a house fire. No one knew how it started except the one daughter who managed to survive.
But she was in no state to tell. She suffered mild burns but her mind suffered worst of all. She never spoke again.
She was kept in hospital for six months but eventually she was packed off to her uncle Scipio. She was thirteen years old and many کہا it was a crime sending a child off to such an evil man as Scipio.
The old man had a terrible reputation in the tiny village where he lived and if he ventured outside- which almost never happened- rumours flew about him like leaves in a storm.
The دن the girl arrived caused a great sensation, all of the villagers who was able gathered in the Midnight Hangman- the local pub to gossip and drink to her hearts content. Many tall tales was spun in there and آپ never knew who to believe.
Meanwhile the girl had been led up to the old man’s mansion and was shivering with mingled cold and fear as she waited for the unknown being to answer the door. The young man chosen to escort them looked about himself nervously. He didn’t like the look of this place. The village seemed to be sinking into the ground itself and the mansion towered over it like a predator over it’s prey.
He knocked once مزید on the huge brass knocker. It was in the shape of an eagle and the eyes- which was blood-red rubies- gleamed evilly in the fast-approaching twilight.
Eventually the oak door- which was rather small compared to the size of the house- creaked open and a tall, slim man with white-blond hair and white eyes. There was no colour in him at all and he looked as if a mere summer’s breeze would crumple him into dust. He bowed and introduced himself as Abraxas, eternal servant to the Master Scipio.
The man couldn’t get out of there fast enough. He did feel a little for the little girl who was being left in such a madman’s care but he cared much مزید about getting himself as far away from the place as possible.
Abraxas watched the man race down the hillside, turned curtly, and began making his way along the poor-lit passageway followed closely سے طرف کی the girl. She was shown into a small; آگ کے, آگ lit room and left there. But she was not alone. An old man was sitting in an armchair, watching the flames. He turned to face her and though no noise escaped her lips her face was a mixture of shock and horror. His hair was jet black and was kept in a ponytail that reached his waist. His skin was wrinkled and roughened with age like any old man’s but it seemed to tremble with energy and life. His eyes were a strong deep blue and آپ could yell they saw everything that went on about him. He would have been the perfect picture of health if it were not for the livid red scar that ran from just above his left ear to the bottom of his lips. It completely disfigured his otherwise handsome face and the little girl could not stop staring at it. The man smiled.
“You know it’s rude to stare,” he کہا in a voice as light as air but as strong as life. The girl jumped and he laughed quietly.
“Do آپ know who I am?” he asked and she shook her head. I am Scipio Orion Aurelius and I am your Uncle. What is your name?”
“Did آپ not hear me? I asked who آپ are.” He کہا in a voice that clearly showed his irritation at being ignored.
But still there was silence.
“I shall ask آپ a third time. Who are you?”
But nothing was heard in the little room except the crackling of the fire.
Scipio took a deep rattling breath and sighed heavily. “If آپ will not tell me your name I shall have to give آپ one. Let me see… your parents died in a آگ کے, آگ I think so I shall call آپ Ember.
He rang a گھنٹی, بیل for Abraxas and told him- “Put her in her room and keep her there until I decide what to do with her.”
Abraxas set off immediately and her uncle turned back to the آگ کے, آگ so there was no one to see the tears that fell silently from the girls frightened eyes.
I. The Nursery
Ember lived in her nursery for the اگلے few months, only being let out occasionally to go to the toilet. All she saw were the four walls around her but it wasn’t all bad.
The room was painted a pretty sky-blue and the carpet was thick, fluffy and a deep midnight blue. There was a بستر and a huge white wardrobe with the most beautiful, پرانے زمانے, قدیم شکل clothes inside.
Rich velvets cloaks, soft فر, سمور stoles, bright silk dresses, every item of clothing needed to make a young lady of society look beautiful.
But Ember was not a young lady of society living in Victorian times. She was a thirteen سال old girl living in the 21st century with no parents, no دوستوں and a life of imprisonment stretching ahead of her. She spent all of her time either at the tiny window staring out at the village below یا at the ڈیسک writing. There was a plentiful supply of paper and pencils and she wrote stories about fairy-tale creatures, fair maidens and dashing knights.
She didn’t know this but Abraxas would take them to her uncle while she slept and he would read every one of them. It hurt him to see that every evil sorcerer یا villain was described as being exactly like him. He regretted having shouted at the little girl, his temper had always been short and years of living alone, mouldering in his chamber caused him to be rather awkward with people. But his pride wouldn’t let him apologize, he wasn’t about to beg forgiveness off a little girl!
And so he remained, too proud and haughty to put things to rights while his niece languished alone in her room and cried herself to sleep every night. Eventually his guilt grew too much for him though he would never دکھائیں it and he decided to go abroad for a while. Abraxas was to go with him and he would leave the girl to take care of things. Before he left he sent Abraxas with the keys to every room in the house to give to Ember. She could go where she liked he didn’t care. Ember was delighted yet frightened at the prospect of freedom.
“You can’t leave the mansion but آپ may explore wherever آپ like.” کہا Abraxas as he handed her the keys. “There are exactly 100 rooms in this house and I’m sure آپ will find something interesting in each one. But be careful. آپ never know what آپ might find.” And he left, his coat-tails flapping behind him. Ember clutched the keys her مرکت, ایمرلڈ eyes wide with excitement. She was free. She couldn’t leave the house but there was a hundred rooms in the mansion and she could go where she liked. Some of her old spark seemed to come back with the promise of freedom and a little colour appeared on her چینی مٹی کے برتن cheeks. She resolved to start exploring as soon as she could.
Her uncle left the اگلے morning.
II. The Kitchen.
Unsure where to go Ember dithered in the corridor outside the nursery for almost ten منٹ the اگلے morning. But soon the delicious smell of apples and cinnamon reached her nose.
She followed the scent until she reached a large old fashioned kitchen. An old, wooden table, worn and scrubbed filled the middle of the room. It was the biggest باورچی خانے, باورچی خانہ Ember had ever saw. One side of the room was simply all cupboards and drawers of all different shapes and coloured. Ember’s curiosity burned but she was distracted سے طرف کی a large woman wearing an apron. She was taking a steaming سیب, ایپل pie out of the تندور and setting it down on a table. She looked at Ember who began to stutter an apology but the woman simply stared right through her.
She glided past her to the door and called- “Lettie! Food’s ready for آپ to take up!”
Ember was astonished. How could this woman not see her? What was happening? The woman walked back to the میز, جدول but this time she walked right through Ember. She gasped as a wave of icy cold engulfed her then went back to normal. She saw the woman walking away from her. She had just walked through Ember! But how? Was she a ghost? Was Ember a ghost? But she couldn’t be. She wasn’t dead. This woman must be a ghost and that was how she could walk through people. It was the only explanation. Just to make sure, Ember stepped آگے and waved her hand energetically in front of her face. She didn’t blink.
Another person walked into the room making Ember spin round.
“Hurry Mabel” She said. “The Master’s very partial to his سیب, ایپل pie and would like it served immediately”
“Right آپ are Lettie” Mabel کہا and handed a slice of the pie over on a tray along with some coffee and other delicacies.
Lettie took it spun on her heel, and vanished.
Ember stared. Where did she go? She had just disappeared. She turned to check if Mabel was there but she too had vanished. Ember shook her head slowly.
“They must be ghosts” she muttered to herself. This place is very strange.”
Then she looked at the table. The سیب, ایپل pie with the slice missing was still there. She was very hungry and hadn’t eaten since yesterday morning. So she ate all of it. Every last bit. And then she proceeded with her exploration.