Monday, March 28, 2011
Kyriala turned to Riala and threw her arms around her friend. “It’s amazing! If I’m standing still you can’t even see that the skirt is split!”
She twirled again, the double braids that started just above her temples and down her back, swinging out. It was a simple style, made elaborate by the double stripes of red dyed into it and a clip of silver netting and ribbons pinned over it.
“It’s not a dress but a dress, it’s not going to trip me up and if Minis does something wild like want to dance a falisas with me I won’t need to be careful of bone stays!”
Her outfit was outrageous. The under shirt/skirt was silver and clung tight to her form from neck to hips, with long snug sleeves. That was traditionally Arkan but instead of a full skirt and petticoats or bone supports in the dress, it was split into full trousers; something not noticeable if she stood still. The fabric fell naturally full to brush the tops of her slippers. The overtunic was a diagonal fall of dark red fabric with silver phoenixes woven into it, But it was sewn over one shoulder only and then swept down under the arm on the other side, the hem, starting at her hip, matched the upper sweep till it trailed in a point almost on the floor on the other side. Her shawl was translucent silver.
Her fan was shining silvered slats, pierced to show the same phoenix as in her over tunic when open, trimmed top and bottom with red feathers and the trailing feather tail was a mix of red and silver feathers.
“And no one would know that Laisa made your fan for you!” Riala smiled. “Unless some ruffian tried to hurt you.”
“She’s so bold,” Kyriala said quietly. “But then she’s a sola with an unusually liberal father. Riala, there are no oversleeve pockets for Socks to cuddle in.”
“You can hold him on your lap, or he can walk with you on the jewelled lead.”
Socks had jewelled roses jingling on his collar but had been a palace dog so long he didn’t notice, lying on his back, snoring.
“Besides,” Riala continued. “An overdress like that is heavy and confining.”
“True.” Ky twirled again and raised her arms, danced a step or two in front of the mirror. “I’m covered but it’s all so light I feel almost as if I’m not wearing anything.”
“Gasp.” Riala said dryly. “Such a scandal. You arriving at the party of the year, on the Imperator Elect’s comb, wearing only four layers of clothing and red streaks dyed into your braids.”
They both giggled. “Do you think he’ll realize that he really should ask you now?” Riala said. Ky stopped where she was looking at the back of the outfit and looked at her friend.
“The Imperator Regent should really do that,” she said. “In lieu of his father.”
“Do you want to marry him?” Riala asked, tugging her boy’s tunic straight. “You don’t have to, you know.”
Kyriala was quiet for a moment, then turned to the window and looked down into the garden. None of the women’s quarters were on the ground floor or overlooking anything outside the walls. She held onto the fine drapery. “I... was thinking I didn’t want to marry anybody after he released me... I... have a nest egg to have an income...” she didn’t look over toward her bedroom where the Imperial loot lurked, hidden in her canopy. “...but... It would make my mama very happy.”
“You like him?”
“You love him?”
“I think so.”
“So what’s the problem?”
“I don’t think I know how to deal with... um... the more Yeoli idea of marrying more than one person.”
Riala looked intriqued. “So he really is that close to both Gannara and Farasha? I like her. I don’t know him well enough to say.”
“But...” Ky bit her lip. “Maybe I’m too Arkan to do that... to be so... so... easy and open... Ri, sometimes it thrills me in ways I’m not sure about... and sometimes it scares me. I like Gannara and Minis and Farasha very well as friends...”
Riala didn’t answer immediately. “Well. You’re comfortable with Farasha, aren’t you?”
“Yes. She’s as easy to talk to as you are.”
“Ah. I get it. She can actually spit the word ‘bullshen’ out from between her delicate lips!”
Ky had to smile. “Exactly. And like Yeolis her people just... just spit things like that out all the time. It still startles me.”
Riala was quiet for a moment, pulled her feet up under her to sit cross-legged on the bench. “You talk to her about Minis and Gannara?”
“I do.” Ky turned away from the window and sat down upon the slipper chair next to the mirror. “Both boys need a healer. More than her, she says.”
“So, you have an ally in a sense. You wouldn’t be going into a marriage alone.”
“Like I was going to do before, when papa betrothed me – just two.”
“Yes. I actually think it would be nice to have a girlfriend in a marriage with me if the men get odd. I think my mama was very alone with him.” She probably will never acknowledge the man as her father ever again, Ky thought.
She nodded. “I’ll have to think about it... then I have to point out to Minis somehow, how to go about it.”
“Just tell Farasha and she’ll just spit it out.”
“Now there’s a ... what is that noise?”
Ky gathered up Socks and she and Riala went out to see what the hullabaloo was at the front of the house.
There was a whole group of Dyers outside the house door, swooping around the drive, drumming and singing and making a racket. Bilabas stood, the pillar of rectitude, a mildly disapproving expression on his face.
An express chair waited, very properly, at the step and next to it, on his skates, stood Minis, looking more than a little wind-blown. “Serinas.” He nodded very properly then ducked around one of the wild dyers thundering by and hopped up on the steps next to Ky and Riala and whipped around them, nearly touching. “We won! We won!”
“Oh, Minis! Yes.” She rapped Socks upon the nose to stop him yipping and howling with the Dyers.
Bilabas cleared his throat loudly but Min ignored him, grinning at the Serinas. “Oh, Riala, I’m sorry... I didn’t get a chair for you...”
“I’ll walk after,” she said. But was cut off by a whoop from Doob.
“Nonsense... the Serina may ride upon her faithful donkey’s back!”
“Serin... Serin, no... that would be most improper for the Serina,” the butler tried to say, but Riala grinned and when Doob turned to offer her his back, scrambled up on it, clinging around his neck. “I knew there was a reason I liked to dress this way!”
Minis handed Ky into the chair just as Doob brayed and took off. He was big enough that she was tiny on his back and she started laughing as he led the pack down toward the gate. Socks began howling again and dancing on Ky’s lap as her chair picked up speed.
Posted by Vryka at 9:13 PM