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Old 06-22-2010, 05:05 PM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kirkwall/The Free Marches
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Current Game: Dragon Age II
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Elise and Capucine exchanged a few whispered words, and I could tell from the speed at which they talked that they were incredibly excited! It wasn’t long before my sister rushed back over to me, her face glowing. “Guess what?” she cried. “My dress is finally ready!”

Like a little girl, I squealed and clapped my hands with delight even though I was two years older than Elise. “Magnifique! Are you going to try it on?” She nodded, and Capucine rose to help her carry the soft white dress to our bedroom. I couldn’t wait to see it! Hour after patient hour, Capucine had sat at our window sewing, her dark profile in sharp contrast to the light of the sun. She was as slender as my sister, and even more so. Her black hair curled in soft ringlets around her shoulders, and her eyes—oh, her eyes! Even though they were brown, they sparkled like diamonds, and always had a hint of mischief about them! She was forever playing tricks on me and Elise, even though they were not malicious. For instance, once she slipped a rock under my pillow while I was asleep, and I dreamt that I was out in the wilderness somewhere, lost and alone, with only a stone to lay my head upon! Capucine laughed when I told her about it. I was quite irritated at first, but then I laughed, too. Elise is especially fond of her little jokes. They get along very well together.

Even though I like Capucine as an acquaintance, I trust Caroline more. Our other maid is more like me—rosy and plump as a partridge, although she’s very tall. I once heard Capucine say she stood six feet, like a man, although Caroline insisted she was only five-foot-ten. Whatever the case, Caroline is my closest confidante next to Elise. She’s the one I turn to when things go wrong and I find myself inconsolable. Elise helps, but Caroline lets me bawl and drip snot all over the collar of her servant’s dress when the occasion arises!

She also helps me bathe. I do my best thinking as I’m standing in the narrow washtub, soaping whatever parts I can comfortably reach without falling down and humbly letting Caroline do the rest. She supports me with one strong arm and assists me with the other. My bath is tonight; Elise almost always takes her turn in the tub near the break of dawn. I’m not at my best in the mornings, and Caroline knows it! We’re going to have a lot to talk about, in the privacy of my own bedroom. It has a fireplace, so hot water is easily drawn.

After a few minutes, I heard the soft rustle of skirts nearby. “Here I am!” exulted Elise.

She took my breath away. Her dress was so lovely that I thought Capucine could surely become a seamstress for the Queen if she wanted to! My sister’s wedding gown was long and white, as was the custom, with dozens of tiny pearls sewn across the bodice and the full, bell-shaped sleeves. Each pearl was connected to another one by a strand of golden thread, weaving and curling like vines of ivy. Since it was the middle of fall and this was an autumn wedding, the daintiest of gold metal leaves dangled, shimmering, from the dress. All of these adornments drifted down to Elise’s waist, and then the skirt was pale and bare.

“Capucine, ma cherie!” Elise cried. “This is absolutely beautiful. In fact, it’s glorious! Daniel might faint if he sees me in the village chapel wearing this!” I let out a giggle, because from what I knew of him, he did not seem like the kind of man who would faint easily! I’d first met Daniel at our stepfather’s winter salon, a gathering of all the merchants, noblemen, and even nearby farmers whom he wanted to impress with his newly-gotten wealth. I remember it clearly. Elise, in a new ermine wrap, was hearing rumors from some of the guests that it was a bit moth-eaten. Daniel, in a trés chivaléresque fashion, defended her, saying “Your eyes must be playing tricks on you, or else the wine is!” That quieted everyone quickly…

“Tell me the truth: do you like it, Sister? Capucine sewed a pair of matching slippers, too.”

I rushed forward and gave Elise the biggest hug I could while being careful not to crush the pearl beads or the gold leaves on her dress. She smiled, and we both laughed like children!

Later that night, as I was taking my bath with Caroline’s help, I asked her a question:

“Do you think I’ll ever get married?”

“Oui, mademoiselle,” she said, smiling. “Of course you will. You’re so sweet and caring.”

“Thank you,” I answered sadly, “but I know I’m not even half as beautiful as Elise.”

“Je ne suis pas d'accord!” Caroline cried, with the s in "pas" silent. “I disagree! Your sister has her face, and you have yours.”

“It’s not only my face I’m talking about.” She wiped a droplet off my cheek with the rag.

“Taisez vous!” She’d just told me to shut my mouth, albeit in a kind way. “One of these days, Remy Aurore d’Argent, a white knight is going to meet you who does not care how you look or how you walk. He’ll see the person you are inside, and wonder why on God’s green earth he didn’t find you sooner! Look around. There are men who would be glad…”

I gave a loud snort. “In my dreams! Not in this village. I’ll wager a chess game on that…”

Caroline’s blue eyes twinkled merrily. “So be it!” she cried. “If I win, you must concede that I’m right and that you are the loser. That is, you’ll have to say je suis la perdante.”

I laughed. “More like je suis la gagnante. You barely know how to play les echecs, Caroline!”

“I know.” She winked at me. “Lift your right foot, please, dear. I’m still going to win.”

Our family’s young, golden-haired maidservant truly didn't know what she’s in for. Even though I admit I am not the best at chess, I still know a knight from a rook, and vice-versa!

After I was finished with my bath, and warm in my long dressing gown, Caroline came to my room to take a fateful turn at the black-and-white board. She lost. I knew she would!

“Sacre bleu, cherie!” she cried. “Are you sure you were giving me a fair chance?”

“Of course. That’s one of the things I love about chess. Unlike life, it’s the fairest game in the world. If you make a mistake, then you pay for it, and if you do well, then you win.”

Caroline gently blew out the candle that she was carrying in its copper holder. “Good night, mademoiselle,” she said. “Have sweet dreams, and don’t let the bedbugs bite you!”

“Please don’t encourage them,” I shuddered. “I’d rather dream of my white knight…”

Last edited by Tysyacha; 08-19-2010 at 02:53 PM.
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