"That's so sad" She whispered to herself watching as Marybell worked on the top of her dress now. "It's never easy to lose family, even if you do not like them very much, the end of a chapter makes it so your questions can never be answered. But if you loved the person you lost, I think it makes it worse." Alina then started to walk around the room. She noticed that there were flowers in every room she entered, even this room. Tilting her head she gently caressed the petals of the bloom and sighed. Everything around her was beautiful. From the stone on the floor to the molding on the ceiling tiles. Even every flower was perfect.
It was obvious his majesty preferred all thing beautiful and perfect. This was something she did not see in herself. At least outwordly. Even her new caretaker, the one whom now wished to be her friend was elegant and graceful in everything she did. Could Alina become this too? She shook her head of the thought and decided not to speak of this to Marybell. The young one's insecurities were hers and hers alone to ponder.
"Do you think that is why the prince seems so lonely? Because the King died? I do not see any other family here with him. He seems lonely to me. Unless he likes being alone, but I have never met anyone who truly likes to be alone all their days. Can you imagine? To live 60 years alone, that's a long life if you ask me."
The girl proved to be more patient than Marybell would have guessed. With the skirt finished, she left it to hang around the girl's feet and to cling to her waist. Pulling up the corset and bone skeleton that the fabric would fit over, she measured it and started making lines on the too long bones. It didn't take long for Marybell to finish this task. The bones of the corset would have to be cut later, but for now they served the purpose of a measurement.
Stretching her fingers, Marybell continues to work on the fabric, working to fit it beautifully. The top fabric she uses is artfully decorated. She starts to lace the fabric and then stich the rims.
"Yes, the king was unwell and then he died." This lie trickles off of Marybell's tongue. She hides the truth from the girl partly because the lie is part of the truth. The truth is that the king was unwell, the prince had given the king mercy.
Alina peered up from her lounged position at the desk when Marybell was called away. How was it did she know she was summoned? It must have been from years of waiting, servants usually knew the feeling a house makes when a call needed to be answered. She waited patiently for her return and smiled when she did. Jumping off the stool, the small girl took her stance once again at the podium, lifting her arms and letting the skirt around her be fitted just so. "You will?" Alina questioned, tilting her head in surprise.
She thought for a moment but then nodded in satisfaction. She was happy to have someone to at least speak her worries to when she need be. At frist she wasn't sure Marybell would be to interested in befriending her with such an age difference, considering Alina and the Prince were closer in age. Marybell in fact could well be a mother to both Alina and Drych, but again, to have anyone was better than to be alone.
"I do not hail from this side of Romania. Where I come from, we do not have a King, just a magistrate, and a few noble man. But here...." She trailed off and watched as the redheaded roman continued to pin from beneath her. "What happened to the King? Did he die?" She whispered not wanting anyone but the two of them to hear. "You said The Prince will have his coronation in a fortnight, This only happens when a King is unwell or no longer in our relm."
The girl made herself to be younger than she actually was. Marybell felt for the girl as she worked tirelessly. A sudden noise calls her attention away from the fabric in her hands. She leaves the girl for a moment, her master has returned from wherever he had disappeared to. She pats the girl's hand before leaving the small room to return to the white marble sitting room. Marybell waits carefully at the side of the door, waiting until she is addressed. Drych sips at his cup, the pearl cup holds a steaming liquid with a bitter alcohol smell. Keeping her eyes to the ground, Marybell waits for a few moments longer.
"Her dress?" The words are spoken shortly, he demands an answer, not an explanation. Marybell steps forward, following the normal sign of respect. She keeps her head down and she speaks quickly.
"Just finished the skirt." This is all Marybell says before she is dismissed as quickly as she was summoned. Backing away, Marybell only turns her back on Drych to open the door of the work room. She closes the door almost soundlessly as she makes her way back around the girl. She resumes her work on the skirt, the edges quickly coming together under her fingers. She never lies to her master, but in this case it was necessary. Once the final stich has been put into the fabric, Marybell has the girl stand again and put the finished skirt on. She leaves a little bit of fabric for the girl to grow into.
"I will be your friend." Marybell offers, feeling remorse for almost ignoring the girl.
It wasn't as though she was looking for a place to stay. Infact, being alone was probably safer for her. Or, at least she thought. Again, she was just a young teen who thought herself to know the world. Yet, to belong someplace, and to have a real purpose, was always a thought in her mind.
Alina was still and quite as the skirt was being measured and sewn. She recalled her time back on the streets of the many villages she wondered, never staying to long for anyone to notice her. There wasn't much to do, when you were homeless and alone. Sure, you could spend your time walking around, and creating trouble wherever you went. At least, this is what the villages think you do as someone like her. However such wasn't so. Many hours of the day included sitting in whatever hidden crevas you found, and day dreamed of possibilities you wish could come true.
She had many dreams. Always in a building, the owner of something, a store, tavern, a place where she was in charge, but kind and never abusive. She once even dreamed of being married and being taken away to a beautiful house, with land and beautiful flowers all around. Horses and even dog existed. But it was all just a young girls imagination.
Watching Marybell, Alina nodded softly. Her large brown eyes, clear like crystals, watching every stich she made. "I understand. At first when you spoke...I was disappointed. I dont want to see him as someone who is bad. I mean, even though he grimaced when he saw how dirty I was, and had the episode of hostility, he never turned me away. He still let me walk inside his, VARY clean mannor. He let me eat with him, and more than that, he talked to me...." This time her eyes hung low and she leaned her head on the table where there was not much work. "I thought maybe...if I showed him enough appreciation, he would be my friend "
"You must always be weary, You don't have to be fearful. Just be careful of him." Marybell continues cutting at the fabric. After a moment she motions for the girl to jump down so she can check the length. With the girl standing, she places the fabric around her waist, the edges are still frayed from the scissors and rough. She loops what will be the skirt around her waist and then holds it together. She takes a half step back, looking at it. She then chews her lips before pulling the fabric away again and laying it out on the counter. She snips at the extra length before pulling out a needle and thread. She starts to clean up the edges of the skirt. After the frayed edges are sewn and perfected, she will put on a few silver buttons. The buttons will match those of her own, few will be decoration, the others will be decorative and useful.
"He isn't a monster, he is a strange being, very particular." Marybell searches for the right words in her limited vocabulary. The way the young girl talks, gives the older woman the impression that she has seen much beyond her years. Marybell looks at her again, pausing in her work.
"I love it hear, in spite of his strangeness, he is a generous man. He is kind and he won't treat you like help, you will feel a purpose here, he will let you know that you are important. It just takes time." She answers her.
The young girl listened to the woman she now knew as Marybell. Her warning was sincere yet loud. There was obvious worry in her elegantly ageing features. This, scared Alina. Yes there was that moment during dinner where tempers had flown, yet, it was not as drastic as others whom had owned her before. But Marybell 's warning was very pronounce. She shouldn't take her new master likely. "That's a lot of things to remember". She sighed and watched as her skirt was being cut and shaped. In two weeks he would be crowned, and she would soon be an aid to a Romanian king. Alina closed her eyes not really having anymore questions. Honestly the day was already too much for her. The last few hours went from excitement to dread. "So...what you're saying is, I should always be fearful of him...?" A soft shallow sigh came from her chest as her feet again began to swing above the floor as she sat on the green, uneven stool. "I guess you really can't expect anything less from someone who owns you". Her tone was no longer cheerful and child like. It was cold and matter of fact. She had know nothing else, the world wasn't as helpful to her as they would be to a child with money. To the world she was just a street wonder, and no one looked twice to see the anything more. "I honestly thought for a moment things were going to be different. I don't want to be someone's maid in a pretty dress...I knew I was going to be the help...but I wished for more of a voice. Otherwise, you're no different than onever who cleans" her words drifted and her eyes looked at the woman marybell. "Do you like it here? I'm confused by the way you speak of him. You make him sound like a monster hiding behind a mask. I'm not dumb, I'll do what he asks of me, I'll call him prince, and I'll make sure not to make him a fool, I mean, he's going to help find my parents, so why wouldn't i?"
Marybell listened closely to what the girl had to say as she planned the pattern in her head. The task is a mundane one for Marybell. She pulls the emerald green fabric away from the table before folding it. With a sharp blade she cuts the right length and prepares to fold the fabric again. With another cut and the cleaning of the edges, she has what she needs to start on the skirt. Pulling thin sparkly silver thread out of a basket, Marybell measures the thread using her forearm. After a few minutes, she doesn't answer the girl right away. Her thoughts are taken up by the work before her, but soon she comes to answer the girl.
"There are certain manners that must be obeyed in the castle, in the presence of royalty like him and above him. It is disrespectful to use his name, unless he himself has given you permission to do so. As for his character, he is a strong leader and precise. He means what he says and does what he says, in saying that he can be very cruel and unforgiving. He is quite unpredictable and unreadable. He is very prideful on top of being generous and understanding. He is kind and tender, sentimental at times. He can be a haphazard planner and aloof. His people think highly of him because he refuses to let them see him imperfect. Any rumors of his cruelty are kept under careful watch and disproved by his kind actions. I don't know what kind of king he will be, but I hope he remains the same as he is now."
Marybell answers every question the girl has, elaborating deeply when she feels it's needed. She is careful to censor the prince's true nature without lying to the girl. Her heart aches for the girl, knowing that she doesn't have anyone other than herself and the prince. Why the prince had brought her to the castle isn't a mystery to Marybell as it is for the girl. Drych is looking for someone special, why is a question she doesn't know the answer to, but that someone is to be raised by him. Six children have come before the girl and all before her had been boys. Each had been killed or simply disappeared for various reasons.
"Listen child," Marybell pauses in her works before cupping the girl's cheeks, forcing her to look at the older woman's eyes.
"You [i must] obey him. Whatever he asks of you, obey without hesitation. Always mind your manners and never offend. Always speak when spoken to and never otherwise. I will help you throughout your stay here, I will protect you the best I can, but I am not perfect. I will teach you how to walk properly, dress properly and what to say and when to say it. If he ever asks for your opinion agree with him and if he ever asks your opinion on a choice, pick what he would. Heed my words carefully."
Alina froze when she heard the woman before her mention who he was. "A Prince?" She closed her eyes as her face twisted to that of embarrassment and regret. "Ugh...why couldn't he have just been a Nobel man...but a Prince? Royalty?" She mumbles to herself thinking back to how she was caught red handed and how he watched her clean the years of dirt off of herself. "Does he not like his name?" She finally questioned, walking over to a seat next to where Alina's new caretaker sat and worked. "I mean, of course I would never refer to him by his name if he is a prince, but it's a strong name. He never once told me who he was." The young girl swung her feet before looking up at the ceiling. "I think it's strange that someone like him would want to help me. Or even look my direction. He must be a good person to become King...even if he has a temper. What do his people think of him?"
Again question after question came out. Her mind was swimming with them, and she knew the only person right now she could ask was the woman with red hair. Closing her eyes, Alina thought back to her encounter with the man. He seemed lonely and didn't answer when she asked if his family lived with him too. She made the same face again and shook her head. [i you're an idiot.] She thought to herself, waiting for her questions to be answered.
With the girl standing on the crate, only in her slip she can really see how small and underfed she is. He wraps the black measuring tape around the girls waist first, counting the tick marks and then moving away from her and to the emerald green fabric. She makes a mark and then returns to the girl. She takes the measuring tape and wraps it around her arm, repeating the process. Assuming the girl could no longer control herself, she starts spouting questions at her. An amused smile coupled with a soft chuckle fills the slightly quiet room. Wrapping the measuring tape around her chest she begins answers her questions.
"Shh, now child. Yes I am, I've been here for a few years now. He saved me from starving and dying of illness. I'm eternally grateful." She works quickly, trying to work faster than the young girl's patience. She moves to the table with the fabric again and she then makes another note. She returns to the girl's side, this time measuring her chest and making careful notes of the girl's waist and shoulders. She knows that he would want something fashionable and modest.
"The man that saved your life is a very important man. He is next in line for King, his name is Drych Brazensycthe, but you must never call him by name. Always call him 'Sir', or something of nobleship." Marybell pauses to reach up and cup the girl's face, forcing her to look at her. "Do you hear me? Always remember that." Softly she lets go of her face after a tense moment. She moves away from the girl and back to the table. She pulls out a short blade and starts to cut the soft fabric. Once cutting a length that would fit around the girl's waist and this would be the start of her skirt.
"He is the prince, his ceremony to be crowned is in a fortnight. So yes sweetheart, he does own this place." A smile pulls at her lips as she works, pulling on fabric and letting her own creative juices flow in the making of her dress. She waits patiently for more questions as she waits to have her own answered.
She looked back as she was pulled away. She wanted to stay with the man who had brought her here, but she knew being too much at his side might make him upset. She couldn't be clinging. She just wanted to know more about this mysterious man behind these magnificent stone walls. However she would get to know more about him in time, soon he would find a place for her, and it would be up to her to keep in good standing if she wanted food and a roof over her head, but also help finding her family.
Before she fully left the room she stopped and bowed her head gracefully. He sat silently, and most likely didn't even notice her. Alina couldn't help but be drawn to him. Literally any other man, she probably would have run away from, but there was an unnatural draw to him. It was nothing romantic. Obviously because she was only 15, however his gaze had a way to hold you. It was quite unfair actually. She would have to remember to keep her will strong around him, just so she wouldn't be walked all over. With what she knew about him from the last few hours, she didn't think he would be someone who would blindly stomped on people without reason.
Once entering the room she was told to stand on a small stool and strip down to her slip beneath. Timidly she nodded and wiggled herself out of her outdated circus tent of a dress. As she did this, she realized this was the first time she had actually heard the woman speak. Not only this, it was the first time she was left alone with anyone other that herself or the man whom did not give his name. "....are you the main house keeper here?" Alina asked as her dress fell to the floor and she lifted her arms to the side like the letter T. She could feel the coolness of the black measuring tape around her arms and waist as the fiery red head took her measurements for the garment she was to fashion her. "Have you been here long? Who is the man I was just talking too? Does he own this place? I'm not from here...he seems of a high class however he didn't give me his title when we first spoke...."
Taking the girl down from the arm of his chair, he softly starts her toward Marybell. His left hand rests against his cheek, slowly he returns to his original position of lounging. His long legs stretch out in front him, his open and friendly personality changes from interest to suddenly indifferent. He glances at the pair out of the corner of his eye, he wants to know more about the girl, but he also knows that he must think about his next move with her.
"Fashion her the emerald dress, then send word to a seamstress. Take her with you tomorrow afternoon after her dress is finished, let her pick the color she would like. Also Marybell, you are in charge of her main care." With this said, he waves them off with his right hand.
Marybell softly takes the girl's hand in her slightly larger one. She avoids the girl touching her bandage as she tenderly tugs on her. She remains silent in her master's presence, something that she has learned to do. Scars of his cruel nature are covered by a durable fabric, her servant's dress. The light blue color stretches from the floor to the base of her neck, the sleeves hide every mark from the curve of her shoulder to her thin strong wrists. The tips of her fingers are callused over from pricking herself with needles and from other punishments dealt by her master. Avoiding the girl feeling any of her scars or calluses, she gently takes a step away from the large oak door leading to the hall. The door she takes a step toward, is peal white and sparkling like the rest of the room. Roses are carved in to the heavy wood, the petals of the roses reach toward the eyes and work to create a living landscape in the dead wood. She doesn't speak to the girl quite yet, she know better than to speak. Her avoidance of speaking is mainly for that fact that her master didn't like the sound of her voice.
Motioning for the girl to follow, she opens the white door into a separate chamber room. The room is large and a reaching stone lined wall. This room is a work room, not meant for the eyes of guests. She softly urges the girl forward, wanting her cross the threshold before her . Behind them she closes the door. Pulling a worn, but stable block toward her she prompts the girl to step onto it. She lays the now dimly shimmering fabric down carefully, careful not to snag it on anything that would rip it. She pulls out a long rope marked with black thread. She pulls one of the girls small arms away form her body before deciding that she couldn't a correct measurement.
"I need you to shed the robes, down to your slip." He answers her, her voice is soft in the silent room. A soft crack makes her voice fade for a moment. Even though her voice is inconsistent, and faltering she can still be heard and understood. She talks slowly and tries to avoid higher octaves so her voice will remain calm and nurturing.
Pressing her lips together she softly nodded her head in agreement. War. Such a horrible thing really. But it's existence is nothing new. It's the eldest of human activities. Even animals fight is some extent, yet humans mastered the art of war. War can single handedly ruin an entire people, a nation and quite possibly, the world if big enough. No one was immune and even in this story like building, peace is none short of disaster.
The woman from before finally stepped forward and Alina once again met her with a warm smile. However, she did notice something different. A bandage wrapped around her hand. This must have been why she left before. Thinking not very much of it other than a small injury Alina bowed her head in politeness before looking back at her main focus of conversation.
"My favorite color?" Her voice was soft yet puzzled. She never thought too much of simple things as color choice. Alina shifted her jaw and thought about all the things that attracted her attention. "I like flowers that are dark red. Deep like wine. Deep colors are my favorite."
She smiled softly as she looked at him. "I already know yours. All I have to do is look in your garden and around at your walls." Glancing around her she took in the roses painted on the walls and the live flowers scattered around the room. "I could be wrong though.... your favorite color could be what you are wearing."
Alina suddenly thought of the woman in front of them. Could she be the one responsible for his attire? It was eclectic and far from simple. Yet, equally astonishing. It was a skill her mother also shared, however not as skillfully as the red haired woman seemed to be.
Oddly enough Alina felt instantly comfortable with this new stranger around. She had a motherly way about her and a warm smile always on her slightly wrinkled face. She could tell the woman would have been very cute in her youth. And even now, possibly being in her late 40's, her face and smile was just as cute and calming.
"War, war will do that to every kingdom." He answers her softly. He then looks to the red haired woman with the healthy figure. Her shoulders were broad and covered modestly with the servant's dress. Her hands were well worn and used to sewing and working long hours. She moved toward them as he looked at her, knowing that she would be ordered to fashion the girl's dress. She waited until she was told to do so.
Her red hair fell around her face in waves that were partially pinned away from her face. Though she wasn't thin, she wasn't thick either. She is healthy, a perfect medium. As long as the woman could remember, she had been in the castle. The bandage around her hand had stopped the bleeding quickly.
The girl was soft with him, something that he had expected. The innocence coming out in her actions. She was a strong girl, and she would need to be even stronger for what he would need her to witness in later years.
"What is your favorite color?" He questions quite randomly, but he has a purpose. He wanted to know what her favorite color was so he could have a ball gown fashioned for her. She would need many more formal and everyday dresses. He planned on her staying for a long while, he would need time to get his guards looking for her and for his informants to report back to him.
Alina watched as he walked over to her. She couldn't help but be nervous. His pace was not quick, it was rather calm and deliberate, the sound of his footsteps echoing softly against the dimly lit walls. Once picked up a small gasp came from her chest.
She watched him as he carried her to the chair on the other side. Listening to his reasoning, she nodded. He said he wasn't angry, however she new something had upset him. Even if it was not entirely her, his emotions had in fact changed, and she would have to make sure to do her best to keep his emotions in check.
His hand gracefully brushed her cheek and a chill came over her. Her eyes met his again looking for an answer. How could he be so cold? Finally she scanned his full face and features. Not only was he so cold, but his skin was paler than she had realized. His eyes seemed clear but there was no mistaking there was something wrong with him. Could this be the reason he was looking for someone? Was he sick?
Alina closed her eyes and took his hand in hers. She wanted to ask if he was okay, but she wasn't sure if it was the right time to ask. She pulled his hand away from her face and into her other smaller hand. To her it all made sense. If indeed he was sick, and looking for someone to be at his side, It must be because his condition was grave. Why else would a person of his caliber give so much? She at least had never met anyone who gave without take.
"It does when you take from someone else who is trying to survive." She sighed. When I was younger this country was able to sustain everyone, but something changed, and now everyone is struggling, not just me"
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