Thursday, February 3, 2011

430 - Dressed for Success

I didn’t need to check myself in the mirror one last time.  “Heya, Minis how do I look?”  Ili turned in front of me.  “Clean? Tidy? Proper?”
He wore a red boy’s shirt in satin with tiny silver flowers embroidered all over, his nod to his Uncle Kall and my colours, with his kilt in a creamy silver silk.  His sandals were neatly buckled and his hair combed perfectly.  His gloves matched his kilt and he had a brush of silver powder on his bare arms. His smile was bright.  “Perfect!” I said.  You’ve even brushed the gap in your teeth!”
“Aw… you’re being silly.  I like the half cape thing.”  I was wearing a blue/purple/red shirt that shone in one of those colours depending on which direction one saw it reflect.  Skorsas had approved one of Skala’s designs for a dark silver half-cape, clasped with an ivory chain across my chest, the one point at the back hanging the same level as my front kilt peak.  It was weighted with tiny alternating red and ivory stones along the bottom edge and point so it would swing nicely. My only jewellery was my various birthday tokens on their silver chain and a ruby earring in one ear.  I wore no rings on my gloves at all.
Kallijas was in his family’s shade of silver, with cranes in a different shine of silver woven through the cloth.  He wore a men’s presentation robe in red over it, with a dark blue… almost black kilt. He wore a topaz pendant that was carved into the shape of his sword, that Chevenga had gifted him with, on a matching woven silk strand. It was same shade as his hair.
“We might have an idea how we are doing,” he said quietly, straightening his cuffs with their gold pips upon them.  “Kazien is holding his fete tonight as well, and Itzan’s barge party has ceased for tonight out of courtesy.  It was probably a mistake for Kazien to announce his competing party.  People see it as bad form.”
“We will be popular because we are new.  The others are a known quantity.  And you threw some parties before, when you were running alone.  They’ll probably try and attend both if they could wrangle invitations.” He nodded thoughtfully at me.
“I’ll see if we can somehow find that out, later,” he said and went on ahead of me.  Probably to have a quiet word with Skorsas. I turned the other way in the hall to greet the Sera and the Serina coming down the stairs from their wing.
Kyriala was wearing something white and gold… white, almost sheer fabric with a lace of gold roses over that… and the bottom hem caught up to show panels of cloth of gold with an overlace of white roses.  She had thin red braids and tiny gold and silver roses the size of my thumb woven into the whole fall of hair to her feet.  In contrast her fan was the same blue/purple/red fabric as my shirt with silver feathers fluttering from the wrist loop. As was proper, I gave her mother my greeting.  She was dressed in a rose coloured gown in a ten-year classic style so tight she looked like a rose-coloured column.
“Sera, Serina, May I compliment the Seras’ on their beauty?”  I kissed the back of my hand and blew it toward them.  It was just a tiny bit risqué and a mildly silly flirtatious gesture from a boy to a grown woman. 
“Serin Aan, you compliment an older woman, most outrageously!” Sera Liren smiled at me and offered her the tip of her fan for me to escort her down to the ballroom.  Ky smiled and winked at me behind her fan so her mama wouldn’t see.  She came on my other side, holding her mother’s rose coloured wrap for her, helping with her train down the stairs.
The Ballroom… Skorsas had stepped in with his eye for entertaining and was there, supervising the last minute touches before he let Antras and Bilabas begin receiving.  The Ballroom was decorated with thousands of phoenix roses.  The pale white petals with the deep red centres and streaks like flames were everywhere.  And here and there… as a complete surprise would be a tiny black Mahid rose.
The lamps shone brass and blue-flame and the terrace had two copper firebowls burning blue should the evening become cool, carefully screened so that no one’s hair or trailing finery should catch fire.  All the garden paths were lit and the glass doors of the old, newly restored baths stood open, inviting investigation.
I was breathing hard even as the musicians in the ballroom began their first set of the evening and my gut was already in a knot. They would be playing for the dancing here, there would be a quieter musician in the baths to play for anyone swimming or gathering there.  And Ky had hired another duo to play in the grotto of the garden as well.
The musicians were playing something that was not specifically a dance but I turned to Ky’s mama and asked a very improper question.  “Sera, with your gracious permission, might I request a falisas of your charming daughter? On the strength of our once betrothal?”  The dance had spread from married couples to the Dyers, scandalizing the ultra conservatives.
Ky’s mother thought for a moment as we settled her upon the Sera’s dias where she could see the whole room.  “I suppose it would be appropriate.  After all we have not enough guests for a proper first set.” 
Seeing that there was no one there yet, that was an understatement.  “Serina Liren.  Would you be so kind as to consider dancing a falisas with me?” I think she wanted to tell me no, just to bother her mama but instead put out her fan like the great Serina she was and allowed me to take the tip of her fan with my fingers.
“Of course, Serin.  I recall the last time we practiced this, we had a Mahid harper and a Mahid chaperone.”
“Indeed.”  I coughed and called to the musicians who had finished their first piece.  “I shall endeavour not to shock you, or be too forward.”  All loud enough for her mama’s ears. In the background I could hear the boom as the Gate to the estate was opened and the beginning sounds of guests arriving. The Music Master of Ten raised his stick, properly and neatly covered with a graceful cloth, and they began The Springtime Falisas.

“Or plot how we are to flee the crowd, either,” she whispered back and nearly made me stumble, even as I placed my one hand on her waist and we swept around in the first steps.


  1. ". . . a ruby earring in my one ear."

    When did Minis lose an ear!?

  2. Sera Liren smiled at me and offered her the tip of her fan for me to escort her down to the ballroom.

    I think there is an excess of the word her in the above sentence, perhaps the one after the word offerred?

    I love the clothes. It makes me wish for a less casual world at least at times.

  3. Oakwind, you could totally dress like that in the street and nobody would say anything, I promise. Sometimes I go out in full tux and just watch a movie or drink some coffee. It's oddly soothing.

  4. I'd love to see pictures of that Michael! I have pictures of me in corset, tailcoat, gray silk skirt with black roses. The only thing missing was my Victorian Ladies Riding hat... a 'Jezebel', which I have now finished.

    Hmmm. No, I think a corset would not fit with Arkan clothing...