My father and I have never fought as much as we do in the week before my department. Eventually I find that he starts avoiding me. The only comfort I find is in Father Absolan, whom I see more than usual because he seems to be the only sensible mind in this hellish house. That is until the point he suggest becoming a nun, basically marrying myself to God. I reminded him that God hates me. considering he gave me Devil's hair, and leave the chapel.
The next two days I spend mainly with my maids, who are quiet and have no opinion. And if they do, they are wise enough not to share it. It is three days for my department and I notice that some of my clothes and other things go missing from my wardrobe. Items from my room disappear as well, and I cannot believe it takes me so long to realise where they are going. I burge into Father's office without knocking.
"Now you are packing for me?! I'm not getting aboard of that ship, even if all my clothing gets shipped!"
As always, he doesn't look up from his work. "You'll go where your clothes will go, Avarill. And should you stay, I will place you among the beggars of this city and shun you as my daughter."
"Mother wouldn't let you."
"Your mother proposed the idea."
Tears of anger start to pool in my eyes. "You cannot do this to me! You can't ship me to a country no one's ever heard of before, to marry a man I've never seen before in my life! Why can't he come here?! We are the thriving country and city! It would be an honour to him to come live here."
"Because the business he will come to run in a couple of years, is not here." He finally looks up. The look in his eyes is so cold and so utterly displeased I almost shrink back. But I refuse to leave. "And though we are thriving, Holland may very well be the richest country of this world and the man you'll marry owns full rights to one of the top trading businesses in Amsterdam. If anything, you'll have even more riches than you do here and nothing will be shortcoming."
I want to say I don't care about his riches, but it is a blatant lie and Father will know it, so I swallow it. "But I've never met him."
"I have, Avarill. I have met his father on several occassions and it is a fine family. You will be perfectly safe and you'll be accompanied by your maids and a translator so you can communicate."
"Why aren't you coming? Your only daughter is getting married."
"I will be coming for the wedding, but it is far off, child. First, you must please him that you'll actually make a fit wife." He cuts me off with a hand gesture when I go to protest. "Which," he says. "I'm sure you will. It is mere courtesies. Once I'll receive word that the marriage will indeed happen, your mother and I will come to attend. But we cannot leave the business unattended for so long that I can accompany you now. "
For the first time since the news was broken to me, I feel defeated. I am not going to change his mind, and there's few reason to still protest - other than that I simply do not want to. But it is expected of me to do as told, and with my reasons busted, I realise I don't have much of a choice. I leave Father's office without uttering another word.
When the last days at home pass, things happen in a blur. My maids no longer try to hide that they are packing my belongings, and my mother weeps neverending. I remind her that no matter what, she would have lost me. After all, it was her idea to offer me to the beggars if I refused to go. She weeps harder then, and I turn my back to her. Father Absolan comes to my room to pray now, telling me he understands I want to stay in a comfortable place for as long as I possibly can, and I thank him. But eventually the day of my leaving comes and I close the door to my room for the last time. My maids gave me a bottle of the perfume they spray after cleaning, so I have something familiar. I'm not sure if I'll ever use it, but I appreciate the gesture. In this whole mess, it's my maids who have supported me most. Not to mention that they are sacrificing everything just the same, because they have to come with me. I doubt that it is volunarily, but what can you do? I am glad to have them.
Mother does not come to see me off, but that's little surprise. Father is there, but he was never very affectionate. Up until the point where I'm boarding, he is talking to the captain of the ship. The ship belongs to the Dutch East Indian Company. They come from the East, and will no sail to their home haven in Holland. I hear Father say he doesn't entirely trust the crew he sees on the ship. The captain waves it off and say that, though not entirely familiar with the Company yet, they are expierenced sailor who will ensure his daughter comes no harm. They notice me listening in, speak shortly in hushed voices before ending the conversation. Father turns to me, says his goodbyes and his good lucks, and hugs me awkwardly. I don't remember the last time he hugged me before this. I am yet to be overcome with grief that I'm leaving him behind. For now, it is still resentment.
The captain introduces himself by the name of Jan van Galen, and I courtsy to him. He leads me onto the ship and I immediately catch the gazes from all the men aboard. I'm glad to have covered my hair, but with Father on shore it's hard to miss who I am. I look straight back at them, refusing to show sadness or fear, when my gaze lands on an awfully familar pair of dark eyes.
Oh goodness sake! Just my luck, the sailor from the market!
I'm torn away from him by the captain as he leads me to my personal spaces, but I am filled with even more dread than before.
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