How to make a bad first impression

Description: ATTN: Ghislaine

Elenor Lirion

  • Inactive Character
  • 3 Posts    154 marks
How to make a bad first impression
« on: May 10, 2019, 10:41:56 PM »
Elenor stood nervously in front of the mirror in the small room of the shabby guesthouse where she and her family had crashed the night before. It had been several weeks of very unpleasant travel to get out of Dena Nehele, get to a Gate, wait their turn among the crowd of people who had the same idea, and finally corral their three tired and cranky children through. Ever since arriving in Little Terreille the adrenaline of getting out had transmuted to exhaustion and grief. Their home was back there, the sturdy stone house she had birthed her children in, her gardens, the fields and hills they had grown to love. All they had left now was what they could carry out and now?

“We need work,” Elenor had whispered to him the night before, as they lay in bed, trying not to wake the children who were asleep on cots through the cracked door to the next room. Her husband had tucked a strand of golden hair behind her ear and nodded, reminding Elenor once again just how much she loved him. Bless Michael, but he never suggested the easiest way they could make a living, never pushed her to tackle more than Elenor could. She was a Queen, and Queens were not so common that she could not find somewhere to rule, were Elenor to want it. Even the income from a small village would be enough to keep their family. They had always lived simply, close to the land and without unnecessary spending. It wouldn’t be hard to find such a position but the thought of forming a Court and ruling filled the pit of Elenor’s stomach with such an awful mix of terror and longing that it rendered her immobile.

She was still now, too, as she stared into the mirror, tugging the neckline of the only nice dress she still owned. It still didn’t look straight, and her hair—pulled up into a bun—was likewise crooked despite almost half an hour of trying to make it cooperate.

“You look pretty, mama,” Claire said, interrupting Elenor’s mild panic attack. The Queen looked down at her little daughter and bent to pick her up.

“Not as pretty as you, sugarpea. You be good for your daddy today, alright?”

“Shouldn’t he go with you?”

Elenor rolled her eyes. Hardly more than a toddler and their daughter had a better grasp on Protocol than Elenor did. She was Mike’s daughter through and through, but for the blonde hair and fair skin. “Your daddy, I’ll have you know, is doing a very important job today. He’s making sure you and your brothers are safe and happy so that I can go meet with someone. Don’t worry, though. I sent a letter ahead and someone is coming to get me and act as escort, so I promise it won’t be a breach of Protocol, alright?”

From the doorway she heard more than saw an eyeroll.

“Yes, Samuel?”

“Mom, you can’t go two minutes without messing up Protocol. You do half the things you tell us we’re not allowed to do all the time.”

“Ah, my little Prince, that has nothing to do with being me and everything to do with being an adult.”
That earned her a scowl, and Elenor might have said more had she not spotted her third child running past the doorway with not a stitch of clothing on, swinging what looked like a curtain rod.

“DEVON! Mike, please catch him before he gets out in the hall.”

Half an hour later, when the escort from Lady Summerden arrived, the neat-but-lopsided bun was just lopsided after a chase after a small naked child through the halls of the guesthouse and Elenor only just snagged a kiss goodbye from her husband and a quick, “good luck,” before having to run out the door. Of course, then she got to the street and misjudged the length of her hem. Her escort for the day did valiantly try to catch her and managed to snag enough of her weight to avoid any injury, but the mud-stain soaking into the blue fabric of her dress wouldn’t be coming out any time soon.

Fabulous first impression you’re going to make, Elenor, she chided, wincing internally as her escort politely made conversation and just as politely kept his eyes glued to her face instead of the disaster of her attire. They arrived at the Province seat five minutes before her scheduled appointment and Elenor felt her apprehension growing higher and higher as her well-worn shoes padded along the impeccably clean and well-appointed halls to the doors of the room she would be received in. Her escort knocked and the Queen bade them enter.

Elenor took a deep breath and squared her shoulders, tucked a wisp of hair back, pointlessly tried to hide the worst of the stain on her skirt, and entered the room.

“Lady Summerden, thank you for taking the time to meet with me. My name is Elenor Lirion and as my letter said, my family and I recently came here from Dena Nehele. I was hoping to speak to you about finding some work, or perhaps some advice.”

Ghislaine Summerden

  • Inactive Character
  • Black Widow Queen
  • Roeselare Province Queen
    Little Terreille Kaeleer
    33 Posts    0 marks
Re: How to make a bad first impression
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2019, 12:22:49 AM »

Dena Nehele. The letter had said. A queen from across the Gate that Ghislaine rightfully should have sent on to Shahllene. On to be a headache for Iris but she was generously bored and Irisviel had enough headaches these days. Ghislaine wouldn’t add to that, not if she could avoid it given that she’d graced her friend with one more at the end of summer. Not one that she particularly regretted of course. Roeselare had been safe and settled under her district queens. Now? Now there were more stirrings and mutterings that perhaps those reports had been too...hasty.

All things to be investigated when she wasn’t preparing to welcome a possible apprentice or problem into her court and home.

A very interesting problem that made her smile even as her own guard settled into the room to wait. Elenor Lirion, yes an interesting little problem in one curious package. Straight to the point too, Ghislaine noted as she sat up straighter, desk suspiciously clear. “A pleasure to meet you, Lady Lirion truly.” She had to curb her curiosity, Little Terreille cared little for the details of someone’s past much as Ghislaine herself did. “Advice I can give quite readily, work however depends entirely on you and your abilities I’m afraid.” Her districts were spoken for in some manner or the other, her current state would make having an apprentice difficult but not unheard of.

“The easiest and hardest work for a queen in Little Terreille is to rule.” Especially in recent times, queen killers simmering under the surface, the rot lingering somewhere in the soil and the food shortages squeezing everyone on top of it all. “Though from what I understand ruling of a sort is something you’re familiar with?” Ghislaine would have to send someone across the gate to find out more, if only for her own curiosity.

Elenor Lirion

  • Inactive Character
  • 3 Posts    154 marks
Re: How to make a bad first impression
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2019, 12:28:12 AM »
Elenor shifted her weight from one foot to the other as Lady Summerden studied her. Even after years of being in 'society' (if one could call the small farm where she and Michael had raised their children, with only monthly trips into town for supplies, society), the direct gaze of others left her in a cold sweat and made her heart pound. More, even, than that, this was a Queen. Elenor knew she bore the same Caste intellectually, knew how to care for the land through trial and error, and to care for her Bonded because she had needed to develop those skills fast to survive Caibre, but she had never been trained. No Queen had ever sat down with her as a child or a teen and told Elenor what it meant to rule, to command the loyalty of others or pass judgment on their lives.

So Lady Summerden, while not an imposing figure in any physical way, still seemed larger than life to Elenor as she stood there. It was with great relief that Elenor took a seat before the desk and she tried her best to inconspicuously wipe the sweat off her palms as she listened. The words were spoken politely, clearly, and to the point.

And they filled her with dread.

I put this off too long, just like so many other things. It was a bitter thought, one she had often turned over and over in her head, each time they heard of an opening in a village or town for a Queen. It would have been so easy to find a place to rule, and so impossible to do the job.

"If my letter led you to understand that, I must beg your forgiveness for being unclear," Elenor began, the words a little choked though she recovered quickly. Her hands clenched into fists and she continued, her words a bit smoother. "Even were I to want to rule, it would be inconsiderate to the land and the people on it for me to even look for such a position. I have no formal training in what it takes to be a ruling Queen and wouldn't even know where to begin."

There, she had said the hard part, now came the easy bit, "what I do have are decades of experience tending to the land and no fear of hard labor. I traveled all over Terreille and have had a chance to work with Landen of many Territories, learning from them and helping where I could. I know how to care for animals and plants, how to increase yields on farms, and how to tell if things are out of balance in the soil; it's just people that I'm bad at. All I'm looking for is a chance to support my family and get to know this land and people."

Elenor bit her bottom lip as she waited for a response.

Well, at least you got through that without accidentally swearing, an inner voice that sounded suspiciously like her eldest son said, and Elenor surreptitiously knocked on the wood of her chair. That sort of luck was bound to only last so long.

Ghislaine Summerden

  • Inactive Character
  • Black Widow Queen
  • Roeselare Province Queen
    Little Terreille Kaeleer
    33 Posts    0 marks
Re: How to make a bad first impression
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2019, 05:01:35 PM »
Fingers steepled, Ghislaine gave a non-committal hum as she listened, taking a moment to roll the information over and over in her head. Inconsiderate to the land? Now that was a thought that had never once crossed Ghislaine’s mind. Her smile was not unkind, head tilted studying the other queen with renewed interest. Young but still older than her it seemed, untrained all the same however.

“Lady Elenor,” Careful consideration, “What you’ve described is quite frankly the majority of what any queen can do. Ruling or not.” Leaning back in her seat, Ghislaine’s hands settled onto her desk. “The intricacies of ruling all of this are simply all that you’ve done on a larger scale.” The edge that flickered into her smile was brief, slipping back just as her snake tooth slid back. “Of course there is also learning the fine line of what you can get away with within the confines of Protocol and the doublespeak of court.” It was a line often danced for Ghislaine, pressing where she needed to without overwhelming.

Like now.

*Prince, I need any information you can find on Elenor Lirion and Dena Nehele. As request an audience with Lady Crag at her earliest convenience.* A quiet note sent to her steward, still focused on Elenor and still pleasant. It was less about trust and more about information that could be of future benefit. Especially if she intended on presenting Elenor to Irisviel before Winsol.

“I would like to take you on as an apprentice, Lady Elenor. As it stands your skills with working the land would be invaluable to the territory and to me as well as my jewels are...ah off-limits for the next few months.” A momentary pause and she continued, “My skill lies with the people, less with the land so I feel we’d be a wonderful pair.” Tapping lightly on the polished wood, Ghislaine smiled, “As my apprentice you would of course be living here, in this residence, with your family and receive a salary for the duration of your apprenticeship. You will also be formally introduced to the territory court by Winsol...should you agree to all of this of course.”

If Elenor wanted to run, Ghislaine wouldn’t stop her. Little Terreille’s courts were interesting and dangerous by equal turn. And she had every intention of throwing Elenor head first into it too. It would be good for her, Ghislaine reasoned.

Elenor Lirion

  • Inactive Character
  • 3 Posts    154 marks
Re: How to make a bad first impression
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2019, 08:16:48 PM »
Elenor's pulse race as Lady Summerden considered her and her words. Part of Elenor was sure she was about to be dismissed, or perhaps it was that some part of her wished to be told to go because fleeing in terror was more natural to Elenor than breathing. If she was sent away from here, she could go back to Michael and ask him to take the next venture. But that level of cowardice was not only a path to ruin in this new Territory, but also a repudiation of everything Michael had spent the last few decades teaching her. He had promised that the world would not always be out to hurt her, that sometimes good things were sometimes exactly what they appeared to be and not lures set by the evils of this world.

He had given her a seed of hope, and that seed that blossomed into a family, into children. She had to trust now that being here, in this meeting, was better than eeking out an existence out of the hills and fields of a Territory she was not familiar with. So she waited, and she listened, heart thudding against her ribcage until  Lady Summerden reached her conclusion.

I would like to take you on as an apprentice.

Mother Night and may the Darkness be merciful. Hope and terror warred in her belly but Elenor tried her best to not let it show on her face. Her eyes flicked down to the Queen's belly, then back up to her face, the realization that she had completely forgotten to take a psychic read of the room upon arrival. Too many years away from the Blood were showing, but now that Elenor took stock, what should have been obvious burst into her senses.

She's pregnant.

Fuck. That meant that every single male around would be even more on edge and ready to kill, which made being new and unknown even more dangerous, but could Elenor afford to pass this opportunity by? No. Beyond that, though, this would also be a chance to learn what it meant to be a Queen and provide aid to the land of a Queen who could not do so temporarily. It would give her a sense of this place and a way to help and build connections.

When had she begun to shake?

Her fists clenched under the table and she took a long, slow breath.

"I would be happy to accept your offer, Lady Summerden. All I want is to learn and to do what I can to help." There, she had said it. The relief made her shoulders sag and she gave Lady Summerden a wan smile. "Though I must ask if you are sure you'd want me and my family living here, given your current condition. I have three rather boisterous young children and a Warlord Prince for a husband, and I don't want to inconvenience your residence and Court, especially given your current condition."

Just the thought of Devon running through these halls, breaking this and that in his path, made Elenor wince. "As for meeting the Territory Court," gulp, "I will do so when you think me ready, Lady."

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