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December 02, 2023, 07:12:48 PM
Marc-- thank you!

Royal Sisters Part II

Started by Shiral, April 20, 2023, 12:11:58 PM

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 "It will absolutely destroy the illusion that you're going to marry Cuan as far as King Colman is concerned." Richelle giggled.  "But speaking of tomorrow, you and I should probably turn in. It is very late, and we have to see Kelson and Liam and Uncle Letald off for Torenth first thing in the morning."

      Yawning, Araxie nodded, shifting around to climb in on the far side of the bed.  Once they had both settled under the covers and among the pillows and bolsters, Richelle leaned over and blew out the candle. The low moon shining through the wooden window lattice made a faint pattern against the far wall just visible above the bumps her feet made under the bed covers. Araxie gazed at it, but although weary from the long day and all its emotions, she didn't yet feel drowsy.
   "You're not wrong about the Ramsays being out of their element, Ari," Richelle continued. "It certainly wasn't lost on Brecon, last summer. He has the good sense to realize his life will change tremendously once he and I are married, and he very much wants to make a success of it. He also wants to make sure Kelson never regrets his generosity to his family. So he wrote to me over the winter, asking my help to teach him Lord Lessons so he can fit into courtly life without always feeling like a country bumpkin."

    "Lord lessons?"
   "Learning how to behave as a proper Earl; how to treat people above him and equal to him and below him in rank. How to dress, how to eat, how to dance—everything, really. But I'd be a poor wife if I didn't help my husband.  We've made a joke of it between us. But Brecon's forthrightness is one of the things I admire about him. It means I don't have to perpetually wonder how he thinks and feels about things."

   "No mystery how he feels about you," Araxie teased.  "He worships you, Riche. I think Brecon would lie face down in a mud puddle for you just to make sure your feet didn't get wet!"

   Richelle let out a snort of laughter before she could stop herself. "I know I need to teach him to be more assertive," she snickered.  "Because you're probably right about that. Kelson would find some very knightly, gentlemanly way to make sure your feet didn't get wet, but he wouldn't lie face down in a mud puddle for anyone."
   "I don't think that's a thing that most Kings would do."

    "Oh, goodness, I wonder how Lady Oksana will react when she realizes there's no possibility of a betrothal between Kelson and Noelie, now."

   "It may be very hard on Sir Jolyon's crockery when she does," Araxie predicted, glancing aside at Richelle and they both burst into giggles.
   "Oh stop! I shouldn't laugh at her—she's not a bad woman," Richelle gasped when she'd caught her breath again. "She's definitely ambitious for her children, but she's hardly the only mother with that fault. She has been very kind and welcoming to me. Although right now, her ambition has got the better of her sense."

   "What was it the priest said at Mass a few days ago, that ambition is a good servant but a bad master? I think Lady Oksana's ambition has caused problems for her pretty much all her life," Araxie answered. "However, Kelson mentioned a possible match between Noelie and Rory, tonight. That will still be a very good match for—"

   "Really?" Richelle shifted onto her left side, propping herself up on her left elbow. "Rory and Noelie?"
    "Yes. Evidently they developed feelings for each other last summer. A Haldane Prince is still a fine catch for Noelie, and hopefully Lady Oksana will come around to accepting that her daughter won't be queen."

    "I thought as much!" Richelle flopped back down, but with her eyes accustomed to the darkness, Araxie could see she was smiling.

     "Noelie always glowed like a peach when Rory was around. And he looked absolutely moony over her when he thought nobody was watching him. I could definitely tell she felt overwhelmed by being at Court, last summer. Like Brecon, she knew very well she was out of place, there. Having Lady Oksana keep pushing her at Kelson certainly didn't do anything to help her composure, poor girl. As for not being queen, I think Noelie will be more relieved than anything else. She realized she's completely unprepared for the reality of that life. Even marrying Rory would be a big step up, for her.

    "Aunt Jehana certainly found it demanding, and she was far better prepared for being a Queen than Noelie is," Araxie agreed.  "Still she seemed to take a liking to Noelie, last summer for all that. And I was honestly amazed at how patient she was with Lady Oksana during the visit, when she made Kelson uncomfortable at least a dozen times a day. I do wonder how she'll react to tonight's news when Kelson tells her about being betrothed to me."

     "Over the moon, I expect!" Richelle snorted.  "You know she's always loved us both, so I wouldn't worry much about Tante Jehana if you are, Ari. She's bound to know you'd be far better prepared to take on the duties of a Queen Consort than Noelie is, and there's no question that you outrank her. And she'll be so relieved that Kelson is finally ready to get married, at last."
     Getting married, because he must, Araxie thought, some of the pain of earlier in the night returning. Not because he wants to.

    "You worry too much, Ari," Richelle advised around a yawn. "This marriage will be a good thing, you'll see. After all, Brecon and I will be members of your Court, so we'll visit each other regularly. Our children will grow up together and play together the way we used to do with the boys.  Once you are Queen," Richelle's voice caressed the word with pride, 'and you feel I don't come to Rhemuth often enough to suit you, you can summon me!"

    "Send a whole train of royal messengers with big scrolls all decorated with royal seals commanding your presence?"

   "Of course!" Richelle laughed. "And I'll tell Brecon 'I'm terribly sorry to leave you for a time, my dear husband, but as you can see, my sister the Queen requires me in Rhemuth, and I must obey her!' He won't dare make a fuss."

    She went quiet for a moment then sighed.  "Last summer, a year seemed like such a long time," she continued quietly. "But that time is almost over, and in about six weeks, I'll be a married woman and Countess of Kilarden as well as Culdi. And not long after that, I'll be on my way to Meara to make a new life with Brecon. Even though I'm mostly looking forward to it, things will never be the same with our family as it is now. I suppose I'm a little scared, too."

    "I'll miss you terribly, Riche."

    "And I'll miss you, too!" Richelle held out her hand and Araxie squeezed it.  "You most of all, probably, although I'll certainly miss Maman, Papa Savile and the children. And everyone else here on the Ile." She twisted her smile to one side.  "And I admit, I'll miss the comfort and the good food that Uncle Letald provides. I'm not sure what to expect in Meara, but it definitely won't be up to his standard."

    "I doubt old Caitrin Quinnell was much interested in roughing it" Araxie teased. "I'm sure Lady Oksana isn't and she's managed to live there for over twenty years. But you can come and be pampered in Rhemuth when Meara becomes too rustic for you. I'll make sure to have a mattress filled with swan's down for you, and sheets of pure Forcinn silk—"

   A well aimed swat with a pillow from a laughing Richelle ended her recital. "Oh stop that! I'm not made of glass, and I know you enjoy creature comforts, yourself!" Richelle retrieved her pillow and settled back down. "I was simply making an observation about what life in Meara might entail."

    "Wherever you go, you manage to make yourself at home, Riche," Araxie answered. "I'm sure you'll be able to do that in Meara, too."

     "Oh yes, I look forward to making a new home with Brecon," she answered. "I'm just not sure what we'll find in Kilarden when we arrive. Sir Jolyon warned us that Lord Ros Kincaid was deeply in debt when he died, and that the estate and household will probably need some serious work. Brecon feels it's important to go and introduce himself to the County in person, and I agree with him. Best we go up there and also take stock of the situation while the weather is still mild."

    Rhemuth Castle, Araxie thought. She had mostly happy associations with the place, but always as a visitor. Lovingly cared for by both Jehana and Meraude, she had no worries about the state of it's upkeep, but after the way tonight had gone, she did worry about whether she would truly feel at home, there. She closed her eyes, realizing that she would soon be the Chatelaine there herself, feeling as if she had missed a few steps on her way down a tower stair.

    "Oh how marvelous!" Richelle laughed softly in the darkness.

    "Um?" Araxie turned her head to look.

    "Now Maman will finally stop fussing over my wedding clothes and start fussing over yours!" Richelle turned onto her side facing Araxie. "I'll wager anything you like that Maman is lying awake in her bed right now, trying to decide what color your wedding gown should be."

   Araxie smiled although wryly. "Not much suspense in that. She'll choose yellow, or maybe yellow, and if she's really feeling adventurous, yellow."

     "Not very adventurous, Maman," Richelle agreed.  "You do look pretty in yellow, Ari, and it will look lovely beside Haldane Scarlet. Maybe she'll surprise you and choose cloth of gold. But she will discuss it thoroughly, first."

    "Poor Papa Savile," Araxie giggled.  "Just when he was starting to think he could look forward to some peace and quiet at the end of the summer with all Maman's wedding fussing over with, she's starting all over again!"

    "And if he thinks she fussed over my wedding arrangements and clothes, she'll be ten times worse about yours! She wanted to impress Lady Oksana, but now she'll have to try to impress Aunt Jehana who really knows what's what about Royal weddings!"

    Araxie clutched for Richelle's hand all merriment driven out by sudden fear. "Merciful God, it's really going to happen, isn't it, Riche?"

   "Of course it is! Oh, did Kelson say when he was thinking about the date?"

    "Well he started by suggesting next Eastertide, and by the time we made our vows he was saying Michaelmas."

      "Well whenever it is, you  know I'll be there, Ari. Even if I have to walk all the way from Kilarden. We made a pact back when we were little that you would attend me at my wedding, and that I would attend you at yours. I have no intention of breaking that vow."

    "You'd better be there." Araxie whispered. "Because I'll never have the courage to go through with it without you."
You can have a sound mind in a healthy body--Or you can be a nanonovelist!


Love this view of the two sisters as they face big changes in their lives. This fits so nicely with KKB. I do love your writing Shiral.
"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


"She closed her eyes, realizing that she would soon be the Chatelaine there herself, feeling as if she had missed a few steps on her way down a tower stair." Loved this!

Thank you for the enchanting part 2.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany


Thanks for all the kind messages everyone. So I got artisitically inspired by my own story. It took three attempts before I was satisfied, but here are Araxie and Richelle having their late night conversation.
You can have a sound mind in a healthy body--Or you can be a nanonovelist!


From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany