The Oathbreaker, Pt X

There was much bustling about at that point, but in the end I was given a large meal, full of delicacies I’d only ever heard tales of, and a light sweet wine that I was careful not to drink too much of, and shown to a room with a comfortable bed where I could sleep.  A nightgown was even laid out for me, but I opted to keep my clothes on as I crawled beneath the covers.

They let me sleep myself out, and when I woke there was a girl in the room, perhaps a handful of years younger than myself, eyes wide with awe.

“I’m to help you dress, m’lady,” she whispered.

“I’m not a lady,” I said, sitting up and gesturing to my bodice.  “And I am dressed.  But thank you.”

“No,” she said, turning red, “I mean for your audience with the king.  You’re- you’re to wear this,” she gestured to a voluminous silk gown the color of bright yellow pansies, trimmed in finely stitched, gold embroidery.  I wrinkled my nose.

“I’d look terrible in that,” I said.  “It doesn't suit my coloring at all.”

The girl looked wretched.  “I know that, m’la- miss, but you have to wear it.  The king sent it and said you must be suitably dressed.”

I scowled.  “My dress was suitable enough for him to drag me to this place, and lock me in a tower to perform an impossible task.  I think I’ll keep it, thank you very much.”

“Oh m’lady, please,” she said, a note of panic creeping into her voice.  “He’ll be so angry if you’re not wearing it, and I was told to help you dress.  He’ll say it’s my fault,” she was crying now, and as loathe as I was to put that wretched dress on, even if it had been a flattering color, I was even more loathe to let my stubbornness lead to this poor child being punished.  If he was willing to destroy an entire village because I couldn’t spin straw to gold, what might he do to a servant who didn’t accomplish an entirely rational duty?

“Fine,” I sighed and rose from the bed, eyeing the fabric with distaste.  “But I don’t need your help.  I don’t have a maid at home, you know.”

The girl gulped, and took a step back.  “Not to contradict m’la- miss, but this dress isn’t like what you or I would wear, even to a dance.  You have to be sewn into it.”

“What?” I raised the dress to stare at it in disbelief.  “How absolutely ludicrous!  Trust the nobility to deliberately design something so impractical.”  I turned to face her, and as I did so, the spool in my pocket bumped against knee.

Oh right.

“But I suppose I have no choice,” I said, and slowly lowered the dress.  “What will you use to sew me into the dress?”

She held up a spool of glittering embroidery thread.  “To match the embroidery, miss.”  I eyed it narrowly.

“Is that gold wrapped around a cotton core?” I asked.

“Silk, miss,” she nodded appreciatively.  “It’s stronger, you know.”

“Mmm,” I said.  “I’d rather you use some of my thread, if you don’t mind."

No comments:

Post a Comment