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June 23, 2024, 01:43:47 PM

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The Queen's Garden Party

Started by Laurna, May 26, 2022, 01:28:36 PM

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DerynifanK

#15
Fiona smoothed the skirt of her new outfit, feeling especially well turned out in the black silk overdress over an underdress of Morgan green. Ever since she had received her invitation to the Queen's Garden Party, she had been worrying what to wear to such an important event since her wardrobe was still somewhat limited. Princess Grania had taken note of her concern and had summoned her to the royal apartments. When Fiona arrived, conducted by a royal page, she was shown into the princess's dressing room where she saw a beautiful gown of dark green with a black silk overdress embroidered with gold Gryphons around the edges.

"I thought you might be concerned about what to wear to the Queen's garden party. You have only been at the Schola a short time and I am sure your main focus has been settling in and beginning your studies, not replenishing your wardrobe. As for your guardian, men never think of these things. They think we women just magically appear in lovely gowns and accessories. They have no idea of the planning that goes into our appearance." Grania smiled at the young lady.

Fiona was almost speechless, not something that happened to her very often. "Oh thank you, your Grace. The gown is beautiful! It is true that the invitation caused me concern as I didn't think I had anything suitable to wear. I would not want to disgrace my guardian or my family."

Grania reassured her. "I don't think there is any chance of that. You are too lovely but we certainly want to look our best at court events. Come, try on the gown and let us see how it fits."

Fiona removed her dress and, with the help of the princess's maid, slipped the new gown over  her head, first the underdress, then the silk overgown.  It was a little big on her but once the maid adjusted it and laced it tightly, it felt quite comfortable. The princess had Fiona turn around so she could look at it from all sides. "Perfect!", she said. "It looks as if it was made for you. Constance will press it for you and bring it to your room in time to dress for the party. I hope you will enjoy the festivity. The ladies of the court will be there and some of the knights will also be in attendance."

Fiona blushed." Will the rest of your family be there, your Grace? "

"Oh yes, even my youngest brother, who usually tries to escape such occasions, will be there as will my older brother and his wife. My mother always attends as she is close to the queen. We all look forward to seeing you there."

"Oh, thank you, your Grace!" Fiona curtsied and returned to her room, so excited she could hardly wait for the party.


Now the day had arrived. Fiona, dressed in  the lovely gown leant to her by the princess, made her way to the garden surrounded by the other girls of the Schola. They were all dressed in their best and hoping to be presented to the Queen or to Princess Grania. There was a lot of giggling behind their hands as they surveyed those already present. The royal family had not yet appeared but most of the court were present. The ladies noted the presence of several young, handsome knights in the crowd and were whispering, comparing them.

 Fiona thought the giggling and whispering rather silly. She stood a little apart from the others, scanning the crowd for one particular knight. She did not see him at first, but then a priest in Haldane crimson cassock attracted her attention. It was Father Columcil, looking somewhat uncomfortable in his finery. And there, next to him, was the one she sought. He was dressed in black silk edged in green and gold. Just then their eyes met. As he stared at her, looking bemused, he said something to Father Columcil. The two men started to work their way through the crowd to where she stood.

Fiona also started to move, edging her way toward them. As they drew near, smiles broke out. Fiona curtsied to the good Father while Washburn bowed over her hand. She spoke to him, "I've missed seeing you, have you been on a mission for your brother or the king? "

Wash responded, "I have been in the north, overseeing repairs and additions to Morgan Manor.  I hope to be able to show it to you soon if your guardian approves."

"How are you settling into the Schola? Is it everything you hoped it would be?" Wash asked. The two were becoming absorbed in their conversation and did not notice that they were attracting the attention of others who were beginning to move closer in order to hear what was so interesting.

Fortunately Columcil did notice. "Ah think we shuid mingle wi' ta ithers. We are excitin' more interest than is guid. Perhaps after th' Royal Family appears we can find a quiet corner fer a brief talk. Once the royals are present, they will draw everyone's attention.

Reluctantly, the other two agreed. "Don't worry," Wash told Lady Fiona. " I will find you." They separated,  moving among the crowd and speaking to those they knew.

As she moved among the attendees at the garden party, Fiona noticed that it was becoming more crowded and therefore more difficult to find any particular person. As she edged her way closer to the rose arbor, she heard the sound of the trumpet fanfare announcing the arrival of the Queen and her attendants. The crowd began to shift toward the entrance to the garden where the royal family were entering. She passed the trestle tables where refreshments had been laid out for the guests. People were shifting away from the refreshments seeking a good spot from which to see the royal family and, if they were fortunate, be presented to the Queen or one of the nobles accompanying her.

Fiona paused near the entrance to the rose arbor, looking about and trying to see Washburn or Father Columcil. Unable to see either of the men she sought, she started to turn away from the arbor in order to move closer to the place where the Queen and her ladies were beginning to greet the guests and speak to them.

Just as she began to walk, she felt a touch on her arm. She turned and there was Washburn, smiling down at her. "I have found you, just as I said I would." Father Columcil stood a few paces behind him, also smiling. "The Queen and her entourage have arrived and I believe the guests will be sufficiently distracted by their presence and the chance to be presented, that they will have little or no attention to spare for anyone else. I believe we can retire to the seat in the rose arbor and talk a bit about our own concerns." He bowed and led the way through an arch covered in roses to a seat just inside. "I think this might serve our needs, my lady, if you agree."

Fiona curtsied but hesitated to take a seat on the bench. "Should we be apart from the other guests in this part of the garden where we cannot readily be seen by others? I want very much to talk with you but I don't want any gossip carried back to the Queen, Princess Grania, or my guardian about improper behavior during the party." Fiona  blushed as she looked up into the knight's blue eyes.

Washburn reassured her. "I too want to avoid any such stories reaching your guardian. I have asked Father Columcil to remain nearby and serve as a chaperone to stop the wagging tongues.
Our meeting will be carried out as it should be with nothing to excite comments."

Fiona seated herself on the stone bench and Washburn stood in front of her, leaning a little forward with one foot braced on the end of the bench so that they could talk. "Tell me now, how are you settling in at the Schola and is the instruction meeting your expectations? Is it all that you thought it would be?"

"For the most part, it is what I hoped it would be. I am learning more about the powers I have, and how and when to use them. I am studying with the younger students at the moment as the teachers try to determine what I already know and what I need to learn. I benefit from the instruction Darcy and I received from Aliset during our travels and am working to add to my knowledge. Although I learned to construct a ward and feel comfortable in my skill, I still have no ward cubes of my own. I hope that Iain or Uncle Mac might consider that a suitable gift for my next birthday. I am practicing establishing rapport with others approved by my teachers. Perhaps as I improve, it will allow us to communicate more easily. And what of you? What changes are you making to your new manor?" Fiona smiled at him.

"I am hoping to establish a Center for Healing at the manor, a place where novice healers can learn and develop their talents as well as a place where those needing healing can come for help. I am adding a separate building to be used as a royal hospital to treat those in need. I hope to become an accomplished healer and to help others develop their healing talents. The king is supporting my efforts both with his approval and with funds. We need more healers. I also hope to demonstrate to both Earl Iain and to Lord Darcy that I am well able to manage an estate and support a family as well as earn the respect and love of those who look to me."

Wash continued. " I know you have heard of the safe arrival of Darcy and Aliset's wee lassies and all went well with the birth although I believe Darcy found it a bit stressful. However, the good father and I have heard from Lord Darcy that some help and support from friends would be welcome. We have decided to answer that appeal and will set out for Caer Mariot early in the morning to spend some time there and offer our support."

"Oh, I do wish I could go!" Fiona's excitement showed in her face.

"And we would be happy to have you with us, but you are still early in your studies at the Schola and this would not be the best time to leave. Also we would need to find a chaperone and our time is short. Perhaps you could write a letter that we would carry with us and you will certainly be invited to the christening. We will remind your guardian of the need to escort you there, and I am sure Darcy and Aliset will urge him to see that you are present. I think it possible that you will be asked to be one of the godmothers therefore your presence will be strongly advised."

Washburn looked down at the young lady seated before him. She wore a disappointed face but did not argue.  "I think of you often and I am doing everything I can to convince your guardians of my love for you and my commitment to you. I hope that, on completion of our studies, you will still care for me as I do for you and that you will accept my proposal for a betrothal between us."

Fiona looked up at the knight with a soft smile curving her lips. "I often think of my first sight of you when you arrived at my uncle's manor with Darcy and Aliset. I saw a handsome knight on a great black war horse and thought to myself, "Dreams do come true, for I had often dreamed of such a knight coming to sweep me away. In our meetings since then, I have become more convinced that you are indeed the answer to my dreams. I too will work hard to complete my studies and convince both our families that marriage is our destiny, and we will walk together into the future with confidence."

As they gazed into each other's eyes, they became aware of someone clearing his throat nearby. They looked up quickly to see that Father Columcil had drawn nearer. " Tis time ta part and join th' ither guests. Wash, yer brother is lookin fer ya and I ha' already directed Princess Grania ta the refreshments as th' last sight I had o' ye. And yer Lady Mother is also lookin fer ya. Best ta join the Schola students, Lady Fiona."

Wash took Lady Fiona's hand to assist her to stand. They clung to each other's hands briefly then moved apart, Fiona toward two or three of her fellow students standing nearby and Wash toward where the Queen stood, his brother Kelric standing nearby. Both would remember this lovely encounter and hope to meet again soon.


"



"Thanks be to God there are still, as there always have been and always will be, more good men than evil in this world, and their cause will prevail." Brother Cadfael's Penance

Laurna

Oh a wonderful encounter!  Thank you DFK. 

I suspect it is going to be harder and harder to keep our Maiden and Knight apart. So far decorum has prevailed. Since reputations are everything, let us hope our two continue to abide by the queen's rules until the time is right. I am starting to look forward to a wedding.
May your horses have wings and fly!

Jerusha

"I believe Darcy found it a bit stressful."  That is probably the understatement of all time!   ;D
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Evie

Quote from: Jerusha on June 17, 2022, 06:49:43 PM"I believe Darcy found it a bit stressful."  That is probably the understatement of all time!   ;D

"DARCY found the twins' birth stressful?!," gripes Aliset.... ::)
"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!

DesertRose

Quote from: Evie on June 17, 2022, 07:01:57 PM
Quote from: Jerusha on June 17, 2022, 06:49:43 PM"I believe Darcy found it a bit stressful."  That is probably the understatement of all time!   ;D

"DARCY found the twins' birth stressful?!," gripes Aliset.... ::)

Because what Aliset endured was more along the lines of "pain" and "fatigue" than mere "stress."  ;)
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)