Edita Castaldo was the prettiest girl in town...But, she was not known among the elite, since she was found among the riff and raff of the street. Her chocolate brown eyes sparkled with life at all times, and never had anybody but her family seen her without a wide smile on her lips. She had a very petite kind of build and face. Her hands were small and soft, even though she worked hard every day, caring for her younger siblings and for the garden and small field that they had. Her black hair was always swinging around in a high ponytail finished off with a braid. It was her signature hairstyle, and she never seemed to tire of it. Neither did those who knew her.
As fate would have it, Edita’s father, Emiliano, was a soldier. For years, he served his lord and master, never once doubting the orders or the wars. Until one day, when he woke up and saw the wrong that he has been doing, all in the name of his master and leader.
But, the moment that Emiliano Castaldo spoke up, he was a dead man. He was cast into prison, and his day of execution was set. The news reached Edita’s family by way of a family friend. Indeed, Lord Ambrosetti never even tried to reach out to them and explain the matter.
And as time passed, Edita grew more and more in despair. Her repeated letters, begging for mercy, was left unanswered by the Lord Ambrosetti. Indeed, one shouldn’t have found it too strange, for he was planning a massive party for his triplet’s birthday. Three days of partying, of wine and music, of pleasure and fun. And...The day after this massive party, the execution would follow...
It is here were our story starts. On the first night of the party...
Emilio glances around his surroundings, taking in the large ballroom. To the right side of the room, tables and chairs have been placed. It is here that the elderly have seated themselves, gossiping about the latest scandal, and discussing the latest child of disgrace.
In the center of the room, the floor has been filled with dancing couples ever since Lord Ambrosetti has finished his speech. The orchestra is situated against the back wall, and the whole night they have been playing without repose; pouring their soul into the music.
Emilio smirks and turns back to the buffet table, snatching a snack. With one bite it is in and on its way down, and he turns around, his eyes suddenly drawn to the entrance.
His eyes catch a hold of a beauty entering the room. The head butler leans in to her as her lips softly announces her name.
“Signorina Edita Luciana Castellano.” He announces loudly and then nods to the lady. She smiles gracefully and starts her descent down the few steps. Men glance up and then stare. Dancing starts to seize, and for a moment the orchestra falters, but at the urging of their conductor, they quickly pick up the melody again.
Emilio’s eyes stay glued on the young lady. Her black hair has two braids, starting from her forehead, that stretches to the top part of the back of her head, where they are united into a bun. From the full bun, the rest of her long hair spills down, reaching to the middle of her back. In a simple white dress with golden lining, she floats over the floor, heading towards him.
It feels like an eternity since he’s been staring at her, but suddenly she stops in front of him. She curtsies elegantly, and faces him bravely.
“Signore Emilio Ambrosetti.” She breathes out. “What a pleasure to make your acquaintance. May I wish you a blessed day and year, not just a wish uttered and prayed by myself, but also as is the wish of my family.” She smiles sweetly up at him.
“Signorina.” He bows, and smiles widely. “I don’t believe I’ve ever made your acquaintance, nor the acquaintance of your family.”
“Edita!” Allegra Ambrosetti squeals and pushes past her brother. Edita’s face blossoms into a wide and welcoming smile as the two young women hug each other. “I can’t believe you are here!” She squeals again, keeping a hold on Edita’s shoulders.
“Indeed, it is quite the surprise to see you actually made it all the way here.” Alonza Ambrosetti adds, tossing her long black hair over her shoulder. She keeps a regal posture, but her green eyes sparkle with joy as she greets Edita with a nod of the head. She then looks at her identical sister, amused. “Sister, you will attract everybody’s attention to us over here.”
“I don’t care! Because,” and she draws Edita in for another hug, “our best friend has indeed made it, as she promised.”
“Excuse me, ladies.” Emilio intercedes, the confusion clearly portrayed on his face.
“Ladies?! Why, Emilio, since when are we ladies?” Allegra teases her brother, once again taken aback by the similarity that they as triplets share. It’s really been strange to have him back home after ten years.
“Hold on, Allegra. Give me a moment.” He faces Edita. “Signorina, I heard your name to be Castellano. But...nobody in our family knows a Castellano.” Her face pales, but she keeps her pose. “Tell me, who is your family really.”
“Emilio...” Alonza warns. Edita shakes her head at Alonza and then looks him square in the eye.
“My father is Emiliano Castaldo. And I am his eldest daughter, Edita Luciana Castaldo.” He stares at her in shock, speechless for a few seconds. His eyes wander over to his sisters, and both immediately glance away, finding a sudden interest that they hadn’t had merely a minute ago, in the snacks.
“Emiliano Castaldo...” He mutters, and frowns. “Allegra and Alonza, of all the things you could do. Helping a peasant to save her father.” He spits out under his breath. He ignores the sharp intake of breath from the beauty, for his sister, Allegra practically throws herself into his arms.
“Please, Emilio. Don’t tell papa. Please. Let us do this. Signore Castaldo has only been good and kind to our family, and especially to you. Please.” She pleads. “He has thirteen children, not counting Edita, at home. They need a father. And he needs them. He doesn’t deserve this.”
“Allegra...” He sighs and then looks to the more responsible of his sisters. “Alonza...You girls have thirty minutes. At the strike of nine o’clock, I am telling father that a peasant has come to save Emiliano Castaldo. And beware you if word leaks out that you two lent a hand in this rescue mission.” He warns and stalks away, glancing over his shoulder one more moment, to commit her face to memory...Edita...A beauty that will never be mine...