He heard the bells ring out. The fiery glow lit up his bedroom window. Lord Charles Bentley jumped from his bed and rushed to it. "Dear God, NO!" he exclaimed. Lord Bentley tore through his Manor House, screaming for his servants to awaken. Grabbing the leather buckets from the front hall he began handing them out as his servants rushed past him and on to their mounts heading for the fire.
Several of his servants grabbed axes and shovels and followed running on foot. The village fire alarm rang loudly in his ears as he raced to the scene. When he arrived the fire warden was already organizing the villagers into two lines with their buckets in hand stretching from his engine to the nearest well.
Lord Charles Bentley looked horrified upon the Wadsworth Estate. The flames engulfed the house spewing from the windows and leaping from the roof, which was already partially collapsed. Several men started digging a trench around the perimeter of the estate in case the fire should spread it would not reach the forest.
He scrambled asking frantically about the family to anyone who passed by. He only received shrugs and head shakes in response. "Please Lord, do not let this be their end."
The fire warden did his best to keep the fire contained but there just was not enough people or water supply it seemed to put the fire out. It would be watched over and left to burn out.
The sun had begun to rise although it was difficult to see through the smoke emanating from the smoldering building. Lord Bentley had kept efforts going all throughout the night. Still searching for any signs of life although he knew it to be a hopeless endeavor until he heard yelling coming from the back of the house.
Several men were now sifting through the rubble, digging frantically at a large pile of timbers. Lord Bentley pushed some of them away to get a closer look. A hand could be seen buried under the timbers of the partially collapsed roof. Grabbing an ax off the person nearest him he began to hack away at the timbers while the others joined in with shovels and supports so they could carefully remove the wood and stones without another possible collapse.
Finally, they pulled the body of Wadsworth's wife from the wreckage. Her body was wrapped in a sheet and as he unraveled the body of Juliana's mother he knew she was already gone, her body broken he only prayed she died on impact and was spared the pain of the burns he has seen on her hands, arms and marring her beautiful face.
"We have another" he heard his butler Albert yell. In the skip of a heartbeat, he was at his servant's side, pulling the second wrapped body from the stones. He knew before unwrapping the body it was Juliana, Wadsworth's daughter. He was not entirely sure he could bring himself to see her burned and broken but as he pulled the last bit of charred sheet away he heard Albert exclaim, "Look, she breathes."
Juliana heard a voice that sounded so similar to another that haunted her dreams beckoning her to open her eyes but she did not want her dream to end. "You must live, Juliana. I will take care of you. I promise, to always take care of you."
Juliana's eyes fluttered open and she briefly looked into the face of Lord Charles Bentley, Richard's father, before the darkness claimed her again.
Several days had passed since the fire. Juliana drifted in and out of consciousness, during which time she would hear snippets of conversations around her.
"Lucky to be alive."
"No serious injuries."
"All gone. Nothing left."
"Burial of the remains..."
"Only rest and time will tell."
"What will you do with her?"
Juliana found herself wishing not to come back. She feared the reality she would come back to. She wished she could stay in her world of dreams. There she and Richard could remain. There they could live happily ever after.