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Read alsoThe Realms of War 4: A House of Glass
As an army of Elves head overseas and another head out to meet with a convy, Meriel notices her mother acting strange. After following her, she comes to find that her mother's strange actions lead to ogres invading the castle! The ogres overwhelm the castle and the female Elves end up being their sex toys. Meriel watches the events unfold and…
Standing back beside the picturesque road encircling Windburg hill, near Cape Town, was a large, handsome house, rather long and high, however, according to the style of architecture usual in that stormy region of the world. The front windows on the ground floor opened out upon a broad terrace, or "stoop," as it is termed by the Dutch, shaded by a wide projecting trellised roof, which roof was so thickly interlaced by vines of the rich Constantia grape, the branches being then clustered over with massive bunches of the golden and purple fruit, that it was with difficulty the sun obtained a peep here and there down upon the persons beneath.
It was early in February, a late summer month in Africa, as some of my young readers may know. The grounds surrounding the house were extensive and varied, and laid out in the Cape fashion—that is to say, they owed considerably more to Southern nature's luxuriant hand for their attractiveness and abundance than to art. Such a state of things was not, however, so much the result of choice or taste of the inhabitants, as because gardeners, and indeed working hands of every kind, were sometimes impossible to obtain at any price. One advantage, and a very decided one in fresh English eyes, accrues from this style of semi-cultivation. Flowers alike rare and prized in our costly green-houses, but regarded by the Cape inhabitants as valueless, display a richness of bloom and splendour little conceived of by the natives of colder climes.
On a bright and beautiful morning (though indeed the reverse of that is the exception during the summer season at the Cape) a girl of between fifteen and sixteen years of age was ascending the broad staircase which half encircled the spacious hall within the above-mentioned house. The sunshine streamed in softened rays through the coloured panes of a high arched window, surrounding her form as an island in golden light as she passed. It was a charming face and figure, and a thoughtful yet bright expression seemed to pervade her whole person, filling it with love and intelligence.
"Oh how pleasant! all day long! how glad Lotty will be! I am sure she will. Dear, kind uncle! he always thinks of something good and delightful for every one," she ejaculated half aloud while speeding up the stairs, then along a wide passage, and finally opening the door of a bedroom at the farther end. Seated on the side of a bed was a fine but rather heavy-looking girl some two years senior of the first. Judging from her appearance, she had but just risen, for she was still clad only in a wrapper, while an abundant growth of fair hair, released from the cap which lay on the floor beside her stockingless feet, fell dishevelled upon her shoulders. Altogether, she presented a very impersonation of youthful indolence as she sat there, one hand supporting her elbow, while lazily she passed the other over her still sleepy-looking face.
"Oh, you are not up yet!" exclaimed her visitor, stopping short inside the door and eyeing the drowsy form before her with a disappointed expression.
"If I am not up, what am I?" she retorted, yawning audibly.
"I mean, you are not dressed yet."
"Have you come up here for the express purpose of giving me that undeniable piece of information?"
"Oh no," answered the other, quickly, as suddenly she bethought herself again of her pleasant news, and with recovered cheerfulness came close to her sister. "Uncle is going to take us with aunty to spend all to-day at Rathfelder's Hotel!—won't that be charming?—and all night, too, returning home to-morrow morning! Oh, isn't that nice?"
"Well, I don't see anything so particularly nice or charming in it," answered Charlotte in a wet-blanket sort of tone that very considerably quenched the light in the sweet, bright face before her.
"Don't you, Lotty? why not?"
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