I sighed as I finished my day’s work in the sewers. I worked as an engineer, never particularly setting foot in the murky waters. The work was hard and far from fragrant but it paid moderately well and I had a fair amount of friends from it. I tugged at the metal band circled around my neck, the sign of those born of the Earthen World. I’d spent most of my life on the streets and had been so malnourished it was a miracle that I got my job but the metal collar remained around my neck as a sign of my roots. And a constant reminder of the shame upon my head for being born with ‘dirty’ blood.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tamlin Vale and at the age of seventeen, I had accomplished more than most would in their entire lifetime. Especially considering I held in my hand an invitation to the wealthy Archer family’s masquerade ball. I was not so naive as to believe they actually valued the opinion of folk like me, it was merely for show, but I decided I would still make an effort. After all, if I showed I had manners perhaps they would give me some form of employment that paid better than my job in the sewers. Even servant work was better than working in the sewers, or so I'd been told.
I headed home with the wind at my heels, determined to scrub away the odours of the sewers. And believe me, it took a lot. But eventually I was dressed as smartly as I could manage, an old carnival mask held in place by a few stray hair pins I’d found throughout the years. I glanced at myself in the mirror once more before deciding I was as smart as I’d ever be and heading for the Archer mansion.
I instantly felt out of place once I reached the mansion. Everywhere I looked were elegant dresses and expensive suits and I? I stood in awe in my trusty old suit that had lasted me since I was fifteen and had suffered through multiple adjustments to accommodate my height. I ran a hand through my jet black hair, almost deciding to turn around and head back home when something caught my eye. Not something, someone. A girl.