On a chilly day in the beginning of December, when the trees were bare and the animals asleep, Morgan Manner looked exceptionally dreary. Maybe it was the imposing, metal gate at the start of a long and twisting drive that caused people to turn away. Or maybe it was the intimidating facade one was met with, before entering the house. More than likely, it was the obvious lack of residence, the depressing lack of life. There was a family residing here, a powerful and old one, but they seemed to be quite alone. Normally, for a building this large, and for a family this rich, there would be a plethora of people about. Gardeners and cooks, maids and butlers, stable hands, coachmen, and everything else. But not here.
It wasn't always this empty, the house did indeed have many people living behind its walls at some point. It was only recently that people began quitting without notice. There was but a single cook left, one coachman, one stable hand, and a few maids and butlers who had been working for the family for many, many years.
Why they left was unknown to any outsiders, but those who made Morgan Manner their home knew very well why people ran.
She did not know. Jane Reade was currently standing before that great facade, blowing on her hands to try and keep warm, as the coachman fetched her bag. She was a young woman, petite, maybe a bit too short, with long golden hair, and dark brown eyes. She was nothing extraordinary, she was not born from noble blood, her mother and father were not known outside the tiny village she grew up in. She was not worldly, she had no amazing stories to tell.
Jane was a maid, and had been since she was but a girl. It was not glamorous work, and it didn't pay much, but it was the best someone of her stature could hope for. Cleaning was a simple task, and it allowed her mind to wander, to escape...
Someone cleared their throat, giving Jane a start. One of the massive doors had been opened, and a nicely dressed man stood on the threshold, looking impatiently at the girl.
"Ms. Jane Reade?"
She nodded, accepting the bag the coachman now handed to her. This was it. This was the wealthiest family she had ever worked for, the largest home she had ever seen. Jane needed to impress; finding a job at a place like this was so rare, she could hardly believe her eyes when she spotted the ad just a week ago.
Gravel crunched beneath her shoes as she walked towards the open door, her hands tightening around the handle of her bags, and her heart racing. This would be wonderful, a much needed new start. Jane would do better here, she was sure.