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      CommentAuthorCurly Que
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2010
    As I sat and took up my quill, the rain struck. My thoughts strayed back to the night Dairnan had ridden out into the darkness. We had exchanged letters every day since then and I was settling to reply to his latest. He had decided to join the army against invasion from the east. Really it would only have been a matter of time before an escort came to “ask” him to join. We had a very comfortable home in the city with our kind cousin. Occasionally he took me to court when he went rather than leave me in the large house alone. Yesterday he had told me he would do so today. With my thoughts wandering so over the past I couldn’t concentrate on my letter. I stood and rang the bell for my maid.

    “Andrea,” I said. “Could you help me on with my gown?”

    “Certainly my lady.” Was all the response I received.

    Our cousin had many servants, but he was easily upset if he found out that I – a young gentlewoman—had been conversing with servants. I did my best to be friendly, but for their own good was not too intimate with the servants. Whenever he was upset it was they who received punishment. Sometimes I wondered why they stayed, but after consideration I always realized that they didn’t have anywhere else to go.

    “Estriana are you yet prepared?” called an impatient voice. “Would you have me made a laughing stock by being late to my own caucus?”

    “I’ll be down momentarily.” I called back. Realizing not for the first time that my position in this household was nearly as precarious as the servants’.
    I heard a loud banging just as I started down the stairs. I hurried the rest of the way down. Not having anything that I could easily do alone that morning until I had something to write Dairnan about, I didn’t want to be left behind and miss the chance of speaking with some of my intimates from the court.
    Thankful People: Dynamic Juggernaut

    Ah, so she has intimates in the court?  Is this a court of law, or a king's court?  I like the name Estriana.  It sounds like it means 'star.'  I did get a little lost when the cousin was introduced - I thought at first that Damian was the cousin who was taking her to court.  Perhaps when this cousin gets a name it will be easier to keep track of him. 

      CommentAuthorCurly Que
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2010
    Yes, I haven't thought of a name for him yet.

    So it is!  Sorry, I didn't realize it was unique.  :-)

      CommentAuthorCurly Que
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2011 edited
    I hurried down the stairs, greeting the servants as I passed them.

    “Good morning, Mrs. Dorvok, Mr. Rachuo.”

    When I stepped out the door, I found that my Cousin had already mounted the carriage and would have driven off without me if I hadn’t arrived at the moment I did.

    “When will I ever make a proper lady out of you, Estriana?” He asked me.

    “Why are you so set on making me a ‘proper lady’? I was born a scribe. Surely I have learned enough to go back to my mother and father. I see no reason for me to stay any longer.” I said after the footman had closed us in the carriage. Mother and Father had sent me here a few years earlier in case we were hired to copy documents for someone of the higher classes.

    “Estriana, you must realize that this is not a chance that many people under your circumstances have. Most girls like you will have blacksmiths or carpenters for cousins. Your mother and father sent you here to become a lady, and if you do not feel that you need to stay at court to exercise or interest your brain in the slightest, then you are not fully trained as a lady. Besides which, if you should become more popular at court you may become a lady in waiting with a wage large enough to let your father and mother rest their eyes from copying small letters for the rest of their lives.”

    I sighed and turned to view the landscape through the window. I could tell we were nearing the palace from the way clumsy untrimmed bushes gave way to massive woods where only the wildlife lived.

    “I have noticed how you seem to have a friendly relationship with the servants,” he began again, in a voice that warned me I was about to have a lecture for the next half hour. “It is not fitting that you be so friendly with them.”

    “But cousin,” I replied, trying to think of a reason to be kind, “is it not better to have a good relationship with your servants, that you may assure yourself of their loyalty?”

    “Indeed, but not an intimate relationship. It is simply a business relationship. There is absolutely no reason to be more intimate with the lower classes and I forbid you to be so.”

    “Cousin, I am of the ‘lower classes’ as you call them, and yet here you are speaking to me telling me that I cannot associate with my own kind. If Mother and Father only knew the nonsense you try to put into my head I would have left here long ago. I believe that they sent me here to learn the speech and manners of court, not to have your ridiculous ideas of classes put into my head.”

    “My dear Estriana, let us not argue. We must appear at our finest when we arrive; and therefore, I propose a solution. Let us each look out our own window and think of other things. By doing such we may appear at peace when we reach the court.”

    “I will only be at peace when I understand what you are trying to accomplish by keeping me away from my family so long, trapped in your desolate mansion. There will be a point at which we must address these issues.”

    I tried to continue speaking with him, but he completely ignored me in his effort to ‘think of other things.’ Every time we had a conversation like that, the moment I made a good point as to how he could teach me in a more reasonable way, in some way he instructed me to relax. How could I relax when we had no mutual understanding of what we were trying to accomplish?

    When we were exiting the carriage, upon our arrival at court, I tried to speak with him once more.

    “Cousin, perhaps if we spent more time together our relationship would improve and we would not have arguments every time we spoke. If we take our walks and meals together we are sure to improve our understanding of each other’s point of view.”

    “My dear, we do not have arguments we have discussions, but if you would like to join me during my coming outings that is fine.”

    My cousin and I alighted from the carriage and went our separate ways; I, to my luncheon with a few ladies and he to his meeting. Very few people were ever invited to his meetings and I, for reasons I was yet unaware of, was not one of the selected people.

    When I walked into Lady Ariadne’s chamber I was received with delight.
    “My dear. My, but you have been scarce lately. I’ve hardly seen you at all!” Lady Ariadne was always very kind to me. She was tall and stately looking, and in my eyes she was beautiful, but she had a scar on her face from what she said was “an accident in her earlier years”. I had asked her about it a number of times in private. However, she wouldn’t tell me. I didn’t want to seem rude after the wonderful greeting she gave me so I searched for a way to start a conversation.

    “Yes, I’ve been studying, but it is wonderful to see you again.”

    “You always were a dear!” she squeezed me in a hug which I fully returned.

    “What are we to discuss during your luncheon today?” I asked. Generally she let the party go on for a while, then brought up a political subject for discussion.

    “You’ll know when it’s time, but for now go enjoy yourself.”

    I recognized almost everyone there, but didn’t know anyone well. I ate my meal and sat quietly waiting. Soon, Ariadne stood and gained the attention of everyone in the room.

    “My friends,” she began, “I am pleased to bring to this assembly wonderful news concerning the war with Mudern in the east.” She waited just the right amount of time to see that every lady in the room was tense and eager. Most of us had someone close fighting in the war. “There is peace!” she exclaimed, letting herself show her own excitement with a wide smile. The room was abuzz with chatter. I found myself explaining my joy to a young lady I had never seen before.

    “My brother will come home then! I might be able to go back to my parents now.”

    “My father will be back in a month at the latest,” was her reply, “mother will be so pleased when I tell her!” We embraced one another as the room finally settled down. The small group was reseated and we waited to see what more Lady Ariadne had to say.

    “I will be traveling with an escort to the camps to aid the healers. If anyone else would come, please write your name on the list near the door before you leave. The soldiers will not be returning for some time, since there is still much to be negotiated. Some men of power in our country are hoping that the war will continue, ladies. We must not let them persuade the people. We must do everything in our power to maintain this peace. If the war should continue, we would suffer greatly. The army of Mudern greatly dwarfs our own. If the war should continue, we would soon not be our own country!”