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Author Topic: Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 8  (Read 2718 times)

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Offline Evie

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 8
« on: July 05, 2010, 01:23:25 pm »
Chapter Eight


   Ailidh nic Ardry, dressed in something a bit more appropriate for wandering outside the Castle walls than trews, though not much more so, was staring up into the branches of a large oak, wondering if she could manage the climb up or if the quarry she sought could be shot down.  

   She heard a sigh behind her.  “Don't even think of climbing that tree in skirts, even if you have hitched the hem up to resemble breeches.  Sweet Jesú, if it weren't for all that red hair, you'd look like one of those exotic harem ladies from one of the far Eastern kingdoms in that get-up.  What is it you're wanting again?”

   “Oh, there you are!”  Ailidh turned to look up at her clan chief.  He dismounted, giving his horse an affectionate pat on the neck before leading it over to where Ailidh stood peering up at the tree.  She pointed up at a sizeable clump of mistletoe overhead.

   “That,” she informed him.  “Do you think there's  any chance of just shooting it down, or will we need to climb up for it?”

   Dhugal gazed up at the clump of mistletoe she indicated.  “You're sure you'll need that much?”

   “Yes, we'll need that much,” she said, sounding exasperated.  “We've got a lot of decorating to do!”

   The Border Duke started laughing.  “Ailidh, that's pretty high up.  You do realize that's a lot larger than it looks like it is from down here on the ground?”

   “Yes, I know.”

   Dhugal reined in his laughter, although he couldn't hold back a slight smirk.  “All right.  If every lady in Rhemuth wants to be caught under the mistletoe without having to move more than three feet in any direction to find any, who am I to argue?  Christmas is the season of giving, right?”

   “It's not that large, Dhugal!”

   “Ailidh a chara, how can I put this delicately?  Oh wait, I can't.”  The amber eyes danced with mirth.  “That's no mere kissing sprig you've discovered there; that's an entire orgy bush!  All right, I'll send the lads up for it, then.  But we'll need a wagon.”

   “A wagon?”  

   “Aye, so the happy hunters can bring home their kill.”  

   Ailidh rolled her eyes, barely suppressing the urge to smack her clan chief.

#

   “Don't say it.”

   “Don't say what, 'I told you so?'  I wouldn't dream of it.”  Dhugal fought back a grin as the six squires he'd brought with him lugged the last of the six large baskets of mistletoe into the Contessa's apartment.  “That enough mistletoe for in here?”  He looked around the ladies' small apartment, his lips beginning to twitch again.  “If you've any left over, you might want to lend a hand to decorations elsewhere.  Say, the Great Hall?”  

   Sophie emerged from the bedchamber, saw the baskets of greenery.  Her mouth dropped open.  

   Ailidh held up a hand, warning fire in her eyes.  “All right,” she said, “I realize it looks a little excessive....”

   Celsie, peeking through the doorway, began to giggle.  “Um, Ailidh?  When we said we needed a fair bit, we really weren't looking to get a whole lifetime's worth!”  

#

   “And so there we were, baskets everywhere, six squires we've never even met before standing there looking hopeful....”  Sophie giggled as she dusted off a book and set it to one side.  “I have no clue what Ailidh was thinking!”

   Father Nivard laughed as he pictured the scene.  Bishop Duncan chuckled.  “So, did they get rewarded for their efforts in the way they were hoping?”

   “No!”  Sophie, cheeks turning pink, gave a startled laugh at the bishop, who grinned.

   “What did you end up doing with the excess?”

   “Well, some of it ended up going to Duchess Richenda, and a bit more went to Duchess Meraude, and....”  She giggled again.  “I think you'll find the Great Hall might look a bit more festive than usual this season.”

   “Oh, I can hardly wait to see it.  Think the number of post-Christmas Revel confessions is going to rise this year, John?”

   The younger priest choked back a laugh.  “It might.”

#

   By the time Father Nivard escorted Sophie back up to her quarters, the small apartment was mostly set to rights again.  The sitting room was festively adorned with a bit more greenery than was standard for holiday décor, but on the whole, the effect was rather lovely, and not nearly as overdone as Sophie had feared it might be, given the condition the room had still been in when she left it earlier in the day.

   All the same, John Nivard lingered at the threshold.  “I believe I'll leave you here, Lady Sophie,” he teased, green eyes laughing.  “My reputation could be irreparably damaged if I venture into that forest.”

   She laughed.  “Heaven forfend!”  She clasped a book to her chest, grateful for the rare privilege of being allowed to borrow one, however briefly, from the Royal Collection.”

   “Thank you for all your help,” the priest said.

   “I was very glad to assist.  If you'll let me know when the books are ready to put back, I'll be glad to help with that as well.”

   Father Nivard looked thoughtful, as if not certain how to answer.  “They'll not all be returning to the same place,” he said finally, “but I'll let you know when we're ready to reshelve the books that will be going back.”

   “Oh?  Will the rest be remaining in the Bishop's study?”

   Nivard shrugged. “Some might.  I believe the King has other plans for a select few.”  He bowed.  “Good day, Lady Sophie.”

#

   “Been hanging out with priests again, have you?”  Ailidh teased Sophie as she entered their shared bedchamber.  The Border lass was arranging a garland of greenery into Celsie's golden hair.  “You'll never find a husband in Rhemuth that way!”

   Sophie simply smiled, stretching out on her bed and closing her eyes briefly.  “Have you ever considered maybe that's why I enjoy helping them out, because I don't have to worry about anyone pushing me at them, or them at me?  And besides, of course, there's all of those books, glorious books!”  She sighed contentedly.  “Bishop Duncan said I can borrow ap Twddwr's History of Rhemuth until I've had time to finish it, since I've been too busy working to read it while I'm downstairs.”

   “You don't want to marry?” Celsie asked, looking curious and a little shocked.

   “No, I do want to marry, someday,” Sophie said, opening her eyes and turning onto her side to watch Celsie and Ailidh.  “I just hate feeling pushed into it.   Sometimes it's nice just being around men without having to wonder or worry that they might be thinking about me that way.   I suppose it might be different once I'm actually in love, but sometimes I catch one looking at me, and I swear they look like they're thinking, 'I wonder how many pups that one can pump out before she pops?'“

   Celsie and Ailidh both laughed.  “I certainly hope that's not what they're thinking!” Celsie said.  “I can't blame you for being skittish, though, if that's what you truly think of them.”

   Sophie sighed.  “Oh, I don't, not really.  It just feels that way, sometimes.”

   The Contessa swept into the room.  “Well, that's done!  Ailidh, Meraude thanks you for the donation of greenery, and says it shall make a nice addition to the holly and ivy her ladies have already gathered.  And tonight, I've planned a special treat for you.”

   Three sets of eyes brightened.  “A treat?”  Celsie ventured.

   Constanza smiled.  “Yes.  Since we'll be having Christmas Revels after the Christmas Court and Feast, you'll need to know all the current Court dances.  So I've arranged for a dancing master to join us tonight after we dine.  He'll be coming by every evening this week, so you needn't worry about learning all the steps in one night.  By the night of the Revel, you should be quite well practiced.”

   Sophie looked slightly nervous, but resigned.  Ailidh mindspoke, Don't worry; dancing's easy enough.  The dances are a little different in Rhemuth than in Transha or Marlor, but some of the basic steps are the same.  If you learn the basic steps, you can learn most dances easily enough.

   Oh, I'm not worried about
that.  Stefan's taught me the most popular dances.

   Then what is it?
Ailidh asked.

   I just...don't think I'd feel really comfortable dancing with a lot of men I don't know. Sophie sighed. I suppose I'll just have to get used to it.

   Oh, it'll be fun!  Don't worry, it's not like you'll be forced to marry them all!  Just learn to live a little!

   “I can hardly wait!” Celsie enthused.  “I've never actually danced before.”

   “You've never danced before?”  Ailidh looked shocked.  “What did you do in Chervignon for entertainment?”

   Celsie's joy dimmed slightly. “Survived.”  She grimaced.

   “Oh.”  Ailidh looked nonplussed.  “Well...you'll love dancing.  If you want to learn the basic steps before the dancing master even gets here, Sophie and I can teach you.”

   “Yes,” Sophie agreed.  'They're easy enough.  We'll have you knowing the dances in no time.”

   Celsie lit up again, already dreaming of dancing with a certain young Earl under the mistletoe.
   
Chapter Nine: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=553.0
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 03:13:57 pm by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline AnnieUK

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 8
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2010, 02:06:53 am »
Still reading and enjoying, just running out of insightful things to comment! ;)

Offline Evie

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 8
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2010, 08:41:17 am »
*giggling*  Well, that just won't do, Annie!  I expect pages and pages of insightful commentary on my comedy of errors with mistletoe, including footnotes and a bibliography!   :D

Honestly, it's enough for me simply to know folks are still reading, and not just checking the Forum daily and thinking "Ho-hum, another 'Maidens' chapter; think I'll go have a tuna fish sandwich instead."   ;)
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline Alkari

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 8
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2010, 09:26:35 am »
Quote
Think the number of post-Christmas Revel confessions is going to rise this year, John?”

The younger priest choked back a laugh.  “It might.”

I'm enjoying the banter between John Nivard and Duncan, and your John is very much coming alive.

Quote
That's no mere kissing sprig you've discovered there; that's an entire orgy bush!
 *chortles* Ponders idea of an orgy bush - hmm, will these be planted in groves in the royal gardens, or merely dotted here and there in suitably sheltered parts of the garden?
« Last Edit: July 06, 2010, 09:29:12 am by Alkari »

Offline Evie

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 8
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2010, 10:05:56 am »
Quote
Think the number of post-Christmas Revel confessions is going to rise this year, John?”

The younger priest choked back a laugh.  “It might.”

I'm enjoying the banter between John Nivard and Duncan, and your John is very much coming alive.

Thank you!  I quite like Father Nivard.  It takes a saint's patience to deal with Jehana, much less sway her set-in-concrete opinions, and he rises to that challenge admirably in KKB.  For my story's purposes, he also has the advantage of being both young and "safe"--that is, he's close enough to Sophie's age for her to be able to relate to him, and yet completely out of the running as far as marriage is concerned, so she feels more relaxed and able to be herself around him.  For his part, since the Codex bio is rather sketchy, I've taken the liberty of imagining he has a kid sister around Sophie's age that she reminds him of. I don't recall the exact math, but I think he's only something like five years older than her.

Quote
Quote
That's no mere kissing sprig you've discovered there; that's an entire orgy bush!
 *chortles* Ponders idea of an orgy bush - hmm, will these be planted in groves in the royal gardens, or merely dotted here and there in suitably sheltered parts of the garden?

LOL!  OK, I have to admit that I shamelessly stole that quip from a friend who used it in a similar incident, when his wife drafted him to shoot a "little clump of mistletoe" out of a tree.  That "little clump of mistletoe" ended up filling the back of his pickup truck, which is when he informed his wife that, having played the part of the brave hunter and brought down the mistletoe, it was now her job to figure out what to do with their new orgy bush.   :D
« Last Edit: July 06, 2010, 10:11:56 am by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

 


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