The bellowing shouts echoed from the feast hall of Valstadt Castle, followed by hurried steps up a stairwell. Sofiya Baruch paused in front of her children’s room, all five of them huddled close to each other, too occupied to notice their mother peering from the doorway. She stood there taking in the scene before her as her ears filled with their elated laughter. She wrenched herself away, dragging her drained figure towards the stairway.
Petyr walks into the hall appearing exhausted, however, upon seeing Sofiya, he'd immediately jump up,“Ah missed it?!” he'd cry out, approaching her hastily. “Are ‘ey ‘ealthy?” he'd quickly peer into Sofiya's arms to look at the babe. She turned towards her husband, keeping the infant held close to her, “Da, he is. Would you like to hold him?” A smile grew across the new father’s face, “He” he'd repeat as he continued to look at their child before he eagerly held his arms out to take the child, letting him rest carefully in his father’s arms. “Look a' 'im!” he'd try to keep his excited voice down so as to not frighten him, “Eja little Petyr.”
She finished the journey to the attic of the tower, a place she now resided to escape the man she once recognized as her husband. She wandered to her vanity, sitting down in the cushioned chair before reluctantly raising her chin to gaze upon her reflection in the mirror. The person she saw in the looking glass was foreign, her eyes were hollow and empty and her cheek donned a fresh purple bruise with the tang of blood still on her lips.
Sofiya stood across from her husband, heartbreak in her eyes with her hands gliding over her swollen stomach, “That is cruel of you.. To try and turn my own children against me.” Petyr barked back brandishing a bottle in his hand. “Ye did tha’ yerself! Ye don’ ge’ to abandon yer family and ‘en try to weasel yerself back into it.” Sofiya lurched forward, raising her arms to shove her husband’s shoulders. “Why are you so desperately trying to take away the one thing left that brings me joy in life!” She cried out, tears tickling her cheeks as Petyr instinctively swung the bottle up towards Sofiya in retaliation.
She let out a shaky breath, raising her arm to wipe away any tears threatening to spill,“Where did I go wrong?” she choked out as her reddened eyes paused on the painting of her family that rested at her desk. She traced her fingers across the rough texture of the canvas, her hand dancing across the familiar visages of her children in the painting. Her body went rigid as she saw the glistening band wrapped around her ring finger. Her fists clenched as her body began to tremble in rage as she swiftly drew the ring from her finger before throwing it towards the mirror above her vanity causing it to shatter to pieces. With heavy breaths she lowered her head, raising her hands to fist into her hair. Her eyes looked to one of the glass shards, the door leading to her balcony in it’s reflection.
Sofiya raised her voice to her husband as his hand drifted to the stick resting on the table, “You are delusional, Petyr! I would have left by now if it wasn't for the children!” Petyr raised the wooden baton up to hit the side of her head, “Ah wish ye would’ve!” He’d bellow back. Sofiya collapsed against the bookshelf, clutching the side of her head as blood began to ooze from the wound on her scalp. Petyr Baruch panics, his eyes widening a bit after he realized what he did. “D-Do you mean that?” She'd ask, removing her hand from the side of her head to see the red liquid staining her hand. “Ah said it, didn' ah?” He'd respond coldly, going to leave the room.
Rising from her seat, Sofiya gave the handle a tug as the door whipped open causing icy winds to burst into her chambers. She took hesitated steps onto the balcony, a place she frequently escaped to for solitude. She paused at the ledge of the balcony, listening to the inviting waves crashing against the jagged cliffside. She kept her empty gaze out into the horizon as the sun began to kiss the sea at sunset with tears of pain and heartbreak coursing down her cheeks. Moments passed before she drew her final breath with shut eyes and extended her arms out beside her, letting gravity grasp onto her figure and pull her down to the rough waters below.
The soft pitter patter of a child’s feet running across dirt echoed from the gardens outside Valwyck. Isabel Baruch, the youngest of the Baruch children, clambered onto the swing, kicking her legs back and forth while her euphoric giggles rang out. The young girl dug the heels of her boots into the dirt, skidding to a halt as she noticed a figure floating in the gelid waters below. “The eerie richard!” She exclaimed, bouncing off of the swing as she scurried down the steep cliff in excitement to catch a glimpse of the supposed creature. Isabel stopped in her tracks, her heart pounding in utter disbelief as she recognized the floating figure donning the familiar blue dress her mother wore. “M-Mamej… Mamej!?” she called out, her stomach twisting as her cries were only met with silence.
REQUIESCAT IN PACE
Sofiya Aleksandra Baruch
1745 - 1777
“The sea bows to none”