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Author Topic: Finding Comfort in Caprice  (Read 477 times)

Description: Tag: Kharisande

Offline Silje Frisk

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Finding Comfort in Caprice
« on: Nov 23, 18, 06:16:36 PM »
Standing in the mirror, Silje watched her reflection as it moved with her, turning at slight angles and picking at small details on the dress she wore. Kharisande stood nearby having helped her lace the ribbons at the back, but knowing that she was being watched didn't seem to have an effect on the Queen's long appraisal of herself.

Upon request, the Landen woman had asked the servants for some spelled wine and perhaps a few small items to snack on, but Silje only requested the latter for Kharisande's sake. She wasn't hungry. It was something that she'd thought of the other woman at all. Silje wasn't a poor host so much as she had always been at least some part distracted by her own needs. The events of the evening that had left her collared still weighed on her, and she'd spent the days since in a trancelike state. She wasn't wallowing in self-pity, and as yet, no one had called her on it, but she had taken advantage of the chance to be responsible for nothing at all.

Wetting her lips, Silje smoothed her hands down the intricately beaded front of her gown. It was one of her favorites, sewn in modern Glacian fashion, but she'd not had a chance to wear it since it had been gifted to her by her brother. Knowing that she was homesick it had been given as an effort to provide the Queen with a little of the things that she missed so dearly, but owning it without being granted the occasion to wear it hadn't helped at all. She didn't tell him this, though. He'd tried.

Catching Kharisande's eyes in the mirror, Silje tilted her head against a shoulder. "Do you like it?" she called to the woman behind her. "Is it much different from what they wear in Dhemlan?" Silje knew that it was a bit, but the urge to be spoken to overrode her knowledge of the neighboring Territory. In a wistful tone, she added, "Have you ever even seen such finery?"

Offline Kharisande Lehmda

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #1 on: Nov 23, 18, 06:32:50 PM »
Had she been directed to make herself a companion to the Queen? No.  Not at all.  People in this household did not 'direct' her to anything.  In fact, they usually went out of their way not to do so.  She appreciated that, truly she did. 

In this case, Kharisande had chosen to make herself a companion ot the Queen, unless the Queen should tell her to go away.  And so far?  That had not happened.  Sande knew what it was like to lose all control over one's own life - she knew exactly how infuriating, and helpless, and... violated.. it could make someone feel.

Not that she'd ever worn the collar, of course.  In Dhemlan, the collars were not exactly 'welcome'.  Her slavery had been a more subtle thing - but without power of her own, had it really been all that different?  It took little effort for the Blood to harm a Landen, and she'd learned early on how to get along inorder to avoid the pain that was hers if she should disobey.

Silje Frisk had not had to learn that lesson - not truly - and for that, Sande was grateful.  How many in this household could claim to truly understand even a small piece of what the Queen had been through?  Very few, she imagined.  So she had chosen, on her own, to make herself availabe.

Perhaps she was fooling herself into believing that Silje appreciated the company - but until the Queen told her otherwise, she would believe that she was offering some small comfort, at least.

Sande smiled as the Queen's eyes caught hers in the mirror, and she stepped closer to look more diligently upon the beading and the fabric.  She would hate to admit it out loud to most, but Sande had always liked fine fabrics.  The textures of them were a delight against her skin.

"I have never seen something quite like this, Lady.  It's lovely."  She tipped her head to the side, watching the Queen's expressions as the Queen made an effort to speak.  "I saw very fine things in Dhemlan on occasion, but their styling is very different from that of Glacia or Nharkava.  On you?  I have never seen anything finer."

Bemused, Sande leaned back on her heels.  "Do Glacians prefer the cooler colors, Lady Silje?  In Dhemlan, many of the ladies I saw seemed to prefer a different palette of color to choose from." 

Offline Silje Frisk

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #2 on: Nov 23, 18, 08:23:25 PM »
Silje's smile was muted by the wine. For a moment she gazed at herself in the mirror, eyes barely moving as her focus shifted from her reflected features to her hair, to the icy pale blues and soft teals that colored her gown. "Not always, no," she answered slowly, again running a palm over the beading. "Cool colors suit me best, though. Like my Jewels. I was born for them." Looking down, she lifted her hand, turning it as she reviewed her skin. "Pink highlights the blush of my skin." Turning around, she stepped toward Kharisande and gave a lazy smile, brushing knuckles against her own cheek. She glanced to the embellished sleeve that came to a point just past her wrist where the color was saturated the most. "Blues bring out my eyes." Allowing Kharisande time to notice, Silje then dropped her hand. "Don't you think?"

The skirts swirled around her legs, rustling as she turned to the table where she'd placed her glass of wine. The sound was captivating for Silje. Heavy gowns meant galas. Galas meant entertainment, fine food, handsome men, and all the attention she could manage for an evening. A Queen, whether sitting or not, always had eyes on her.

"Blue and brown can be quite lovely together," Silje offered, taking a sip of her wine and appraising Kharisande's clothing. Crossing to the bed, she fell to sit there, using one foot to drag a tufted ottoman beneath her feet and then rested them both atop. The heels of her glittering shoes caught the edge of the fabric allowing her to lean forward on her knees, holding her glass of wine between the fingers of both hands in front of her. Nodding to her row of wardrobes, she gave a lazy smile.

"A nice, cerulean blue, I think. Might you humor me? I would love to see how you wear it."

Offline Kharisande Lehmda

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #3 on: Nov 23, 18, 09:21:01 PM »
This was a turn Sande would not have imagined.  Why would she? A common Landen woman, kidnapped in a market, only to eventually become the temporary companion of a Glacian Queen while seeking sanctuary in a Dark Jewelled Priest's home within Nharkava's borders?

It sounded like some sort of fantastical tale.  The thought had Sande's lips curling up, even while she followed Silje's motions to study the colors against Silje's skin.  The Queen wasn't wrong.  Blue did suit her.

"You are right.  Soft blue does bring your eyes..."  Sande considered her thoughts for a moment, chewing on them while she let her own thoughts wander around the situation.  She was loathe to poke, or bother, but the idea of being Silje's company was not to just agree with everything she said either.

"I think... a light green might look wonderful on you too.  Anything in pastel, save perhaps yellow.  Yellow would wash you out, I think."  Kharisande chuckled, reaching for a bit of something to nibble on before pausing as Silje's request reached her ears.

"Oh, I wouldn't mind."  She glanced towards the door, and then ever so slowly leaned conspiratorily towards Silje.  "I haven't told anyone this but... I was a clothes fiend once.  I would walk through the markets and stare at all the gowns and outfits, wondering if ever I would have a chance to wear something so pretty."

Of course, then she HAD worn pretty things.. and hated every moment of it due to the circumstances.  Still.. since coming to Nharkava, she'd worn multiple things that were lovely.  Outfits bought for her by Devesh, or arranged by Kiara.  And she loved them. 

She treasured each outfit, and the memories they evoked.  Setting everything down and carefully wiping her hands only took but a moment, and then she drifted closer to the wardrobes to open them.  Careful, of course, because to do anything else would be to offer a lack of respect she didn't wish to convey. 

That Silje was not curled up in a corner after what she had been through spoke of strength, and survival.  There was a great deal of respect in Kharisande's heart for anyone who could endure even a few moments of what they both shared in their past. With all of that in her mind, she was careful as she felt over the material in Silje's closet.

And when she found the cerulean blue gown that came down off the shoulder? She pulled that free, holding it up against her and then turning to look at Silje.  "What about this one, Lady?"  She had to admit.. this gown was better than anything she'd worn yet.  Silje, it seemed, had a hobby much like her own.  She enjoyed her fine clothes.

Offline Silje Frisk

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #4 on: Nov 23, 18, 10:39:24 PM »
Back at home, Silje might have guarded her closet like a rabid dog, keeping any companions far away from styles that were distinctively her own. Here, though, that didn't seem to matter. In Glacia she had tried to set herself apart by the lavish gowns that she wore when out among the elite. In Nharkava she stood out by virtue of her golden hair and pale skin. Kharisande did a bit of standing out as well, perhaps to a slightly lesser degree simply because her colors were closer to those of the Nharkavan natives and she wasn't a Queen, a threat to the locals.

"I haven't even worn that one," Silje pointed out after swallowing down another sip of wine. She shook her head, though, in case Kharisande thought that this might mean she'd rather the Landen women didn't try it on. "Do try it. The color is precisely what I meant. See how it brings out the bronze in your tone?" Swirling the wine in her glass, she sighed and appraised the other woman.

"I think you're thinner and taller than I am, but you'll fit well enough."

After a minute, Silje finished her wine, and then pushed herself up from the bed, moving to another mirror to begin peeling away the confining layers of her gown. She'd try another. There was no shortage of beautiful designs that she'd all but forgot. Seeing herself in such splendor was her way of comforting herself, though it only brought up feelings of homesickness. She'd rather be homesick than experience the feelings of uselessness and weakness that had plagued her for the past few days. Anything to distract her now was welcome. Thus the wine, the Landen woman, and the dresses.

"Tell me more about the Landen gods you've been reading about, Kharisande," Silje called over her shoulder as she pulled at the ribbons on the back of the gown. Out was so much easier than in and she needn't have assistance for this part. Eventually stepping free from a mound of lace and embroidery, Silje pulled the dress back up and set to carefully arranging it to be hung again. She wore a comparatively modest lace cami top and shorts beneath the gown along with the tall stockings that she missed so dearly from her Glacian attire. It was too warm in Nharkava to wear them on a typical day, but they were perfectly suitable for dress up and she'd take any excuse to feel somewhat normal again.

Once the dress was put away, Silje stepped to the doorway that opened to overlook the courtyard below. She'd dismissed her attendants since Kharisande was there, but realized that she could offer the Landen woman something to drink that wouldn't knock the feet out from under her. Silje only had to call softly before one of the women responded. "Bring something for Kharisande, please," she requested, then turned to glance back at the other woman. "Wine? Chai? No, wine," she decided with a nod before Kharisande could respond. She was drinking so it only seemed appropriate to offer the same to her companion. That done, she crossed to the side table and filled her glass again.

Offline Kharisande Lehmda

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #5 on: Nov 23, 18, 11:01:24 PM »
Silje, she'd realized, was a little moodier than most.  Of course, the Queen had perfect reason to be so - but it did mean that Sande was being cautious in her interpretations.  A good thing, really, as most would have likely assumed that when Silje said she'd never worn the dress that Sande should put it back.

As Kharisande had assumed, that was not what Silje had meant at all.  But Sande didn't chide, or correct her.  She simply smiled, and took the dress to the changing stand that could give her some sense of modesty.  Kiara and the other Blood may be perfectly content to strip down in front of others so easily, but Sande preferred to have some modesty if the option was there.

Shimmying her way into the dress didn't take too long.  And despite the fact that Sande was a little taller than Silje, the dress didn't seem to suffer for it.  Smiling, a little, Sande came back out from around the changing screen and turned a little, admiring the way the dress swished around her feet.

"This feels wonderful, Lady Silje."  Curious, she angled herself to see into the mirror and lifted her hair a bit.  With a little careful pinning, she might even be able to make herself seem natural in this dress; and the thought had her chuckling.  "I never did wear much deep blue like this.  Since arriving, most of my clothes have been more pale in color than I was raised with."

Her eyes turned towards Silje as she heard the Queen speak to servants, and for a brief moment she considered mentioning that the Queen didn't need to trouble others... but then she thought better of it, and simply gave a bright smile.  "Wine sounds lovely, Lady."

Content to enjoy the dress she was currently wearing, she settled back into her seat and leaned back a little as she considered the Queen's request.  "So far, I think my favorite of the Gods here is Nila.  The lady of seasons and storms.  She has a fierceness to her, and there is this story of her blessing those fleeing danger as they use the rivers..."

She continued on, summarizing the story she'd read most recently of Nila.  There was something... pleasant.. about the idea that the Landen could have their own gods.  Gods that made sense, and that did not see the Landen as mere afterthoughts in a complex world.

That might be unfair - she really should ask Devesh more about Mother Night, but now was not the time to think of that.  Now was the time to focus on telling Silje the stories she had read, and now was the time to try to find a way to help Silje let loose her grasp on her nightmares.

Even if just for a little while.

Offline Silje Frisk

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #6 on: Nov 23, 18, 11:30:42 PM »
Silje continued on as Kharisande spoke about the gods that were not native to either of them. Silje had heard of these gods from her tutors. It was important to understand the culture of ones neighboring lands. Still, it had been a long time since then and no reason to retain much of it. Had she been quizzed, Silje would have been ashamed of her recollection or lack thereof. Kharisande reminded her of the things that she used to know about these lesser gods, false gods, but relevant all the same. The stories were much like the fairy tales her nurses used to tell her. Everyone needed a champion, it seemed, and Nharkava's Landen didn't see Mother Night as their divinity.

After a third dress to match her third glass of wine, Silje climbed on top of her bed. Laying there with her head resting on the center of the footboard she stared up at the canopy overhead. The last gown had been one more simple than the others, casual and flowy, as soft as a flower's petal. When she had smoothed the fabric over and beside her, she moved her hands to her hair, combing it out past the end of the bed and allowing it to cascade over the carved wooden frame.

"I forgot how nice it is to do nothing but take one's own comfort," Silje said quietly, mostly to herself. Kharisande had still been telling tales, but at some point, Silje had lost track of where the story was anymore and had gone flitting off into her own thoughts.

"Are you able to have days like this Kharisande?" Silje chewed a lip and wondered if she knew what Kharisande did. She helped the Healer, Kiara and was often invited to share a table with Devesh and his closest consorts, but Silje didn't think she had any official role. There was the story that Kharisande had been made to act as a slave at some point and that Devesh meant to make up for this sin, but thinking of it, Silje couldn't come up with anything that she knew for certain about the woman except that she was from Dhemlan.


Offline Kharisande Lehmda

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #7 on: Nov 23, 18, 11:43:57 PM »
Was Silje listening? Probably not.  But she did seem much more at ease now than she had an hour ago, and so Kharisande continued her tales, and her thoughts on them.  It was sort of nice to be able to speak aloud what she had studied, and not feel as if she were offending the listener by daring to speak such things.

Not that any Nharkavans on the estate ever told her such a thing, but sometimes she wondered if her looking into such things bothered them.  She couldn't help but remember how Param had been so.. resistant.. to her for a while.

Ah, but Silje was not native to this place either, and so why would she be unwelcoming especially after asking?  If someone had suggested that Sande would be feel so at ease around an Opal Queen, she'd have laughed and hurried off to go look at the garden or something.  But now that she was spending time with the Queen? She found it was rather easy to relax. 

Silje asked for nothing other than company, and some tales.  Silje required nothing, other than companionship.  And that, Sande was sure, she could accomplish.

"Hrm?"  She paused, glancing at the Queen on her bed.  She had changed out of Silje's dress a little while ago, shimmying back into her casual Nharkavan work gown so that she could eat and not panic if she should drop a crumb.  Not that she had dropped a crumb, but the idea of getting anything on the Queen's dresses made her cringe.

"Days of comfort?  Whenever I wish, really."  Sande paused, wondering if that had come out wrong.  "Not to say that I have nothing to do - it's just that what I have to do is what I set for myself.  Prince Acharya has been most kind."  She cleared her throat, letting her eyes drift towards the window. 

"I don't take such days very often, though I do enjoy taking a half day as often as I can to just... breathe.  The grounds here are wonderful, and I love to go swimming in the lake."  Sande smiled, then turned her attention back to Silje.  "Have you gone swimming there yet, Lady Silje?  There's something wonderful about floating in the water and looking up at the sky during mid day.. the water becomes a mirror, and if you close your eyes, it feels..."  She thought about it, trying to find the right word.  "It feels as if everything is just right.  I don't know how else to put it."

Offline Silje Frisk

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #8 on: Nov 24, 18, 11:12:49 AM »
A part of Silje that felt an awful lot like instinct cringed at the thought of bathing in the lake. At first, she thought that she'd like, perhaps, to be taken by boat to the middle of the lake where she might lower herself into those fragrant waters. The shore only offered mud and weeds, of course. But that was Silje the Queen doing the thinking. Was it even appropriate for her to be seen getting dirty? You often do when you feed the land, she told herself. But that was different. A ceremonial filth was to be expected and even seemed somehow cleansing in an ethereal way.

Beyond her initial response, though, was the girl that Silje had grown up as, someone who wasn't much affected by stereotypical norms. She could love both her having her hair immaculately coifed and running out into the woods and climbing the stout pines. Not at the same time, of course. Still. When was the last time she'd even been in a lake? Padmalaya was named for the one there, and it was truly a beautiful and peaceful place, but she'd never thought about it. Too much time was devoted to keeping up appearances. As though she had something to prove, Silje carried herself in a manner that she believed a Queen should when in the public eye. Padmalaya was too large for her to feel that anything here was done with privacy.

"There's a pool on the roof," Silje pointed out as though she wasn't a bit interested in the cool waters of the lake. "It's rather lovely up there, being able to see so much of the land." A bit like climbing the conifers in the woods back home. "I was hesitant at first to spend much time up there, but we had the area shielded so that we can see out without others seeing in. On very warm nights I like to sleep up there. Nharkava's night song is unlike anything else I've ever heard."

Sighing, Silje was made to think of all the things she'd ever heard, her favorite symphonies in particular. It had been years since she'd experienced music like that which Glacia offered. She had nearly a hundred different crystals that she could call on to remind her of those melodies but it was nothing like feeling the music when it thrummed through you. Not even the most enthralling sounds of Nharkava could match the ones she missed from home.

"Nothing feels right here," Silje pouted quietly. She knew it was unkind and unfair to say something like that while laying in the bed built for her, in the room built for her, in the home built for her with someone else's money and on someone else's land. But she had repaid Devesh's kindness a thousand times over by now and had brought so much more to the estate than she had taken. There wasn't a question there.

Offline Kharisande Lehmda

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #9 on: Nov 24, 18, 11:33:39 AM »
"I hadn't realized you had a pool up there."  Sande smiled, dropping the subject of the lake as Silje's body language made clear just how 'not interested' in swimming on the shores of the lake she was.  A pity... but perhaps she could convince the Queen to walk with her to it at some point. Small steps. 

It wasn't as if Sande had gotten over her fear of Devesh in a single moment either.  Granted, she still found herself cautious around him, but she swallowed that back more often than she didn't.  It would pass.  She was certain it would pass, because she was insistent that it would.  And that same stubborness was going to serve here.

Because she wanted Silje to get over what had happened.  She wanted the Queen to be able to move on with her life, and not allow one event to color it more than necessary.

Nothing feels right here.

Kharisande lifted an eyebrow, and then set her napkin to her lips before plucking up her glass of wine and sipping at it in thought.  She didn't rebuke the Queen.  One, that wasn't her place.  Two.. there was nothing to rebuke.  Her eyes turned towards the window, studying the glass and what lay beyond as she considered how to best frame things.

"I haven't been home in... many years now.  And still I find myself missing the dustbowl that was my village."  She said it quietly, her fingers playing on the lip of the glass.  "Even knowing that if I go back things would be terrible.. I am still ridden at times by the desire to go home.  I can't, of course, but it does not soothe the desire to do so."  Her eyes finally turned back to Silje, and she gave a smile.  "What I mean to say, Lady Silje, is there is nothing wrong with missing where you are from.  That's why I have been trying to study Nharkava.  I want this to be my home.  A part of me will always miss Dhemlan, always... but Nharkava is where I am, and I want to do more than just exist.  I want to feel as if I belong, even if realistically I will always stand out."

She couldn't make herself LOOK Nharkavan, no matter how many clothes or makeup techniques she applied.  She would always have her skin, and her hair - though she supposed that she didn't stand out quite as much as the Queen before her.

Considering that, she leaned forward, studying the Queen on her bed.  "What about Nharkava, other than its Night Song, do you love?"

Offline Silje Frisk

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #10 on: Nov 24, 18, 02:15:02 PM »
Silje had put a lot of thought into integrating herself with the local populace. When they had initially arrived to Padmalaya, Sixten refused to allow her to do anything that wasn't deemed completely necessary but over time the family had been able to relax into the new setting. The risk of leaving the estate was still there, but she'd made weekly trips to the village and other outings to assist farms in the area as well. Those were well guarded trips, though, at least it had seemed that she was as safe as she needed to be until the attack in the market. Now things were different.

On one hand, she could choose to never leave the estate due to the dangers that waited for her outside of Padmalaya. This was her first thought and the one that she held to for the time being. But there was another part of her, an angry and offended part of the Queen that considered a different reality. If she was already in danger here in Nharkava, it made no sense to stay. But if she must, then why not embrace it? Now, this was a question with a thousand variables but on the most basic level being in Nharkava at all was dangerous. That being known, why not go out and help the land, be seen by the people, and prove that Glacians were also people?

At the moment, this idea was still too frightening for Silje, but she did fantasize about letting her hair down and walking in sandaled feet from farm to farm trailed by children who wanted to see the pale Queen who had humbled herself and foregone the risks to help the people. She could be a hero here. She was already, she imagined, but no one knew, and the effect was much diminished in such a case as this.

"They will never accept me," Silje mused, curling hair around a finger absently. "Though I'm not sure it needs to matter. I can help nevertheless."

She shrugged softly and then rolled over onto her stomach to better see Kharisande.

"Mmm, I don't know. The colors are lovely." This was true, yet often Nharkavas riotous rainbow was overwhelming to Silje's senses. Aggressive. Garish. More attention seemed to be paid to making things as bright as possible instead of to the art of complementing or highlighting. While amazing to witness, it was something that Silje would prefer to see on occasion instead of being surrounded by this every day.

She didn't love the music though she had to admit that it occasionally had a hypnotic quality that could invoke a wealth of emotion from her. The dress was provocative compared to what she was used to but even still, things that she had previously judged as whorish were now making their way into her wardrobes. There was something to be said for how Nharkavan women managed to wear so much fabric and yet remain so comfortable in the heat. Their styles were based on practicality and then embellished for the sake of beauty. She had to appreciate that. Still, she couldn't say that she loved the fashion. It would give the impression that she would ever choose it over Glacian options. She only acquiesced here to draw less attention to herself. The food? The men? No, she preferred the Glacian variety here as well. There had to be something she liked, she certainly wasn't completely miserable in Nharkava.

"Aspects of their architecture are quite lovely," she offered thoughtfully, looking past Kharisande to the decorated doorway that overlooked the courtyard. "Perhaps not so many colors are needed, but the shapes are interesting." Devesh's rooms had impressed her. The color scheme there had been muted compared to most other places on the estate. The palette was warmer than she would have chosen, but she'd felt very much at ease while there. She didn't think that it was all due to Jaya's manipulations. The curved doors showed attention paid to appearance instead of function alone. This theme echoed throughout. The carved wood was infinitely more intricate than anything she'd ever seen in Glacia.

"A proper fusion of the two styles would be mesmerizing, I think," Silje added with a soft smile. Many times she'd envisioned what her palace would look like if she were the one who ruled Nharkava. Tall minarets and crystal encrusted domes, white marble, water features and anything with a reflective surface would be prominent features. It would look like the freshly fresh fallen snow, glittering no matter where you looked.

"How long have you been away from Dhemlan?" Silje asked, easily trading topics. "I can't imagine not going home. If I could, I would." She frowned. "At least I have something to return to." She said nothing in regards to how her brothers wouldn't be safe there. Not that she didn't care, it was just easy to infer and she certainly didn't care to shift the pity party to the boys while she was busy with her own wallowing. The wine had loosened her tongue and it felt good to speak freely.

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #11 on: Nov 24, 18, 02:37:09 PM »
Did Silje like so little here?  Or was it that her emotions were overwhelmingly melancholic at the moment?  Kharisande had been in such a place before.  Undoubtedly, she would be in such a place again.  Battling demons and nightmares did not always lend towards a happy or harmonic outlook.  The terrible thing about such moments, she'd realized, was that they tended to create more of themselves.  They muted the happiness in the world, and encouraged the mind to dwell only on that which made her miserable.

Was Silje falling prey to such depression?  It was certainly possible.  But it was also to be expected - and it was even acceptable, in Sande's mind, considering how recent the trauma of her experience had been.  No, she would not necessarily try to 'wake' the Queen up to the nefariousness of such things until more time had passed.

And certainly not before she thought the Queen ready to hear her.

"I think..."  She considered her thoughts carefully, here.  "I think that outsiders may have to earn the favor of the locals, and that seems only proper... but part of earning their favor is showing that you aren't trying to overrule their customs and culture."  Her head tipped to the side, eyes turning towards the window.  "I can't imagine what it must be like, to have outsiders coming in and taking over everything, or telling us that we are barbaric or primitive.  For all that has happened, I can't imagine that."

She took a deep breath, and then gave a small smile.  At least until Silje mentioned how long she had been away from Dhemlan.  Then?  Well, then things got a little more complicated.  "Almost five years now, but to be honest... I didn't get to see much of Dhemlan for quite some time while I was there."  She fidgeted a little, her fingers pressing together as she bit at her lip.

"My mother, as far as I know, is still there."  Her eyes turned to the window, narrowing a little.  "But I can't go back.  And I don't want her to know I'm here.  Things in Dhemlan are complicated, Lady Silje.. it is better this way for those I love." 

Others might think Silje odd for craving a home that would have caused her family so much heartache - but not Kharisande.  She understood.  Dhemlan was her homeland, and Dhemlan had many faults.  It had not been uncommon, she'd come to realize, that girls like her were forced into terrible situations to sate the needs of Blood males. 

Dhemlan had a dark underbelly, and Glacia was no different for all that its corruption was of a different (and yet oddly similar) nature.  Those sins, those faults, did not change that she missed her home.  If not for the real risk to her family, she'd risk going back anyways.

Was that what kept Silje here?  The risk to her family if she went back?

"So you plan on returning to Glacia someday?"

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #12 on: Nov 24, 18, 03:17:00 PM »
Confusion bled into Silje's expression as Kharisande began to speak again. Was she trying to say that she thought Silje would take anything away from Nharkava? The Queen sucked at her teeth while she listened, attentive both to Kharisande's words as well as her own thoughts. She'd only spoken as to her personal preference. Kharisande had asked. It was an aside. Of course, Silje didn't believe that Nharkava should change for her. It wasn't clear if that's what Kharisande was trying to say though. Silje simply couldn't think of another reason that she might mention overruling customs and culture with as much apparent trepidation as she did.

Instead of responding--Silje wasn't in the mood to defend herself and the timid Landen woman would probably backpedal if she did--Silje mused quietly and pulled herself to the edge of the bed. Standing, she made for her wardrobes again, thinking that the time for dress up had passed and now she might want something else to do. She was unsure as to what, but there was no rush to make up her mind.

"Mmm, relationships make things difficult," Silje agreed, approaching her triad of mirrors.

"I was able to return home recently, for a visit only, of course. I am here after all." The Queen gave a strange little laugh as she began to undress again. "There's reason to believe that I will be able to return somewhat regularly. My property is being well managed by my parents and my affairs by a kind gentleman who oversees my holdings." Her eyes flashed when Prince Gunvaldsson entered her thoughts.

Two women entered quietly just then, one of them tidying up the table of refreshments and the few crumbs beneath. The other set down a tray with a fresh bottle of wine and then crossed to help Silje from her dress. She didn't need the help, but leaving the task to the helpful woman came naturally.

Leaving the mirrors behind, Silje moved to the table to collect a fresh glass of wine. "To strangers in foreign lands," she announced with a light laugh, holding her glass out toward Kharisande. Once properly toasted, she turned and plopped down on the ground in front of the Landen woman, legs wound under her. Leaning her head back against Kharisande's knees she smiled brightly, her eyes blinking slowly. "Braid my hair, Kharisande? Please? I think I should like a bath, but you could convince me to take you to the roof instead if you like. It's no lake, but it is peaceful up there. The wind is brisk and brings in scents from the kitchen. Sometimes I try to guess what they will serve for dinner."

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #13 on: Nov 24, 18, 07:39:08 PM »
More wine.  Yes, more wine was most certainly a grand idea.  True, Sande was fairly certain she'd already had enough, but more wine was sure to help them get past this little awkward moment.  She clinked her glass against Silje's as the Queen gave her little toast, and then smiled warmly as the Queen laid her head back against her knees.

This too was an odd turn of events - but one that Sande was rather comfortable with.  She could understand the desire for someone to play with her hair.  Vishal had done so numerous times during their 'marriage'.  She spared only a thought, perhaps two, for her former master and then gently stroked her fingers through Silje's hair.

"Of course. You have beautiful hair, Lady Silje, it would be a pleasure."  Humming a bit, she made sure to set her wine far to the side and then glanced about.  "Do you have a comb or brush, Lady?"  Doing messy braids would be unacceptable - not because Silje herself wouldn't like them, but because if Sande was going to be playing with such lovely hair she was going to do it right.

"Perhaps after we finish with your hair, we can decide then what would be best.  I love swimming, personally, but if a bath would put you more at ease then a bath it shall be."  It was strange, really, how such a thing did not make Sande feel that the Queen was spoiled.  Logically, she knew that it was probably true. 

But in this case?  Logic had very little to do with it.  As far as Kharisande was concerned, Silje deserved a little spoiling right now.  Not too much, of course, but enough to feel in control and to feel as if things made sense?  Yes, that was perfectly acceptable.

"Would you like the braids to keep your hair up, or did you want them to trail low?"  Was that a happy smile on Kharisande's lips?  Yes, yes it was.  She'd always liked doing the hair for herself and...

Well she wasn't going to think about them right now.  This was certainly not the place for thoughts of the past.  "I think your hair up would be absolutely lovely - with the bonus of keeping it out of the water if you choose.  It might take a little while though."

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #14 on: Nov 24, 18, 09:31:58 PM »
Asking for the brush from her vanity, Silje straightened in front of Kharisande and waited for the Nharkvan woman to bring it over. As far as bath or pool, one of the two was more amenable to suit the both of them unless Kharisande cared to join her in the tub. It was more than large enough for two women and another three large men to boot. Was that something normal in Dhemlan? Silje didn't rightfully know. It really wasn't in Glacia that she was aware of. It might have been a bit more normal in Nharkava. She wouldn't care either way, herself, especially at the moment.

Being bonded to your brother had more than a few curious side effects, one of which, for Silje, was that she had lost most of the shame that someone might have over their naked body. She and Sixten didn't spend any time basking nude together or anything like that, but being inseparable had made privacy questions a non-issue for them. It wasn't something that either of them gloated about or discussed at length, but they were both aware of what the other looked like naked and it wasn't a big deal.

So when it came to being naked with another woman, Silje had no reservations. It wouldn't be the first time with Kharisande, nor the first time concerning a bath. Kharisande and the other women had been eternally accommodating during the night that she'd been kidnapped from the market. There was no reason to turn down this option except that it might not be Kharisande's idea of an enjoyable day. Silje didn't have any intention to put her to work.

"Well the pool isn't so deep that you can lose your footing, but that makes it easier to sit in the water without worrying about floating away," Silje reasoned, leaning forward a touch so that Kharisande could gather her hair as she wished.

"Up, please." She answered when asked which style she preferred. "Just to keep it out of the water, yes. It doesn't need to be terribly fancy. Don't put too much thought into it. It's not worth stressing over."

She was smiling but facing front, Kharisande would only catch glimpses of her face and the nuance of her expression in the way that the Queen's cheekbones moved beneath her ivory skin.

"Thank you for keeping me company," Silje said with a tone that was soberer than a moment before. As if on cue, one of the servants swept up the wine glass that she'd lost track of and brought it to the Queen. Silje began to nod thanks to the woman but giggled when she found herself tethered to Kharisande by a length of hair.

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #15 on: Nov 24, 18, 10:00:20 PM »
"A bath sounds lovely, to be honest."  Kharisande smiled, pulling the brush through Silje's golden silk hair.  Did Silje know how soft her hair was? Kharisande imagined she did, but still, the landen had never felt anything quite like it before.  There was something exotic and appealing about the aloof ice queen, even if the Queen herself was not so aloof this day.  Or the few before it.

The compliment inherent in that loss of aloofness was not lost on Kharisande.  She treasured the fact that the Queen seemed to value her companionship, and the fact that the Queen offered a murmur of gratitude was bringing a blush to her cheeks.

"Lady Silje, it is my pleasure to be your companion."  She said the words firmly, twisting those now smooth locks so that they could form a tight braid up the back of Silje's skull.  She couldn't help but laugh as the Queen tried to nod, giving a brief apology to the Nharkavan intent on serving the Queen wine, but she continued her work anyways. 

Nothing too fancy, Silje had said.. so Sande instead wove the braid up from the bottom, connecting it at the base of the skull and then french braiding backwards.  Once she reached the top, she briefly considered having that large braid splinter into many small ones... but Silje had said not to take too much time.  So instead she wove a large plait, and then twisted it about itself, pinning it in place with a silver comb that the Nharkavan handed her.

"There we go.  You have beautiful hair, Lady Silje.  If ever you are amenable, I would love to spend more time on it."  Even with this casual attempt, it waws still beautiful.  Rough, yes, but more like the Queen was planning on working in the garden than if she had truly been lazy.  There was still a sense of class, of achievement, and Sande felt a little proud about that.

"You know what else is wonderful about the bath?  The scents we can add to it."  Sande smiled, gently brushing her fingers over Silje's shoulders.  "I'm a fan of the jasmine, myself.  What's your favorite, Lady?"  Yes, this was the key.  Finding something to help Silje focus on the present.  Something she would enjoy, something that could enrapture the Queen's senses and help her put aside her worries and shame for as long as possible.

Time enough, later, to assure the Queen that she had nothing to be ashamed about. 

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #16 on: Nov 25, 18, 03:28:51 PM »
Patting her hair to feel the weave of the braid, Silje smiled. Smoothing hands behind her neck tucked a few strands into the design and her baby hairs behind her ears. Rolling up onto her knees, she glanced over at Kharisande while her hands were still busy with her hair. "Thank you Kharisande, should I do yours?"

If accepted, she would switch places with the other woman, making quick work of the task. The Queen didn't mean to pay much attention to style, but because she was so skilled with the work of weaving hair, the result wouldn't give this away.

Water had already been drawn for the bath and properly heated as well. It was far from a cold day in Nharkava but the cooling spells that kept the manor at a comfortable temperature for the Glacians made it so that the steam and heat would be plenty welcome for a time. Silje led by entering the bathroom first. The detailed tilework that existed elsewhere in the home didn't stop at those doors. Like the bedroom, the bathroom was mostly pinks and teals, a nod to the Queen's Jewels. Mirrored glass designs marked the line between the upper and lower parts of the walls, circling the space like a sparkling belt. There was a shower as well as the overlarge tub that had been cut from a solid chunk of white marble.

The fur rugs on the floor were a personal request, a touch of home and of nostalgia. Feeling the softness between her toes reminded Silje of much younger days when her parents still oversaw baths and would wrap her tightly in a towel as she wiggled her toes.

Shedding her camisole and shorts, Silje tossed them over a bar and then sat on the edge of the bath beginning to roll her stockings down her legs. Lifting her face, she smiled when Kharisande entered. Prince Acharya was far from stingy but were Kharisande's accommodations nearly as luxurious? If not, this would be a particularly lovely treat for the woman. It might be anyways considering that a Blood woman was treated her with such equality. Thankfully, no one in either land, this or the one she had come from, would look down on her for sharing these small comforts.

Leaning back, Silje tested the water with her fingers, though the steam that rose from the placid surface was indication enough that it was at least as warm as she liked. Copper basins placed on each corner of the tub contained all the oils and soaps that a Queen could ever want, and Silje was a fussy woman in this matter. Apart from missing something that only existed in Dhemlan, Kharisande shouldn't be remotely put out by the selection.

Standing for a moment, Silje turned and took the couple steps that led to the edge of the tub. The first leg went in slowly, but the other was eager to follow. Sitting down again on the side of the water, she reached for a basket of lotus flowers and upended it, watching the petals disperse over the surface. Her girlish excitement was clear in her eyes when she turned back to offer Kharisande a hand. 


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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #17 on: Nov 25, 18, 03:56:48 PM »
It was a little awe inspiring, Sande had to admit to herself, to have a Glacian Queen doing Kharisande's hair.  If she hadn't already liked the Queen before, she'd have definitely liked her noww.  Such a silly thing, but it meant more than most would realize, and she was just happy that the Queen was so willing to be so kind.

She watched as the lovely woman peeled away her clothes and then began test the water.  Smiling to herself, she began stripping her own dress away, carefully folding the fabrics and setting them to the side.  What modesty she had was by choice, not embarrassment.  Such shyness had disappeared many years ago, and so it was without flinching or blushing that she took the Queen's offered hand to step into the water with a happy sigh.

"Did you know, Lady Silje, that Lotus petals turned into paste can help heal injuries?"  She smiled, cupping one of those petals within her fingers. "It is the first thing Lady Makur taught me.  I find them beautiful.  There are no flowers like the lotus in Dhemlan."  Her eyes turned back to the Queen, and she found herself caught yet again by how pretty and different Silje was from everyone else she knew.

No, the Nharkavans didn't look like the Dhemlanese.  Not even a little. But they were still darker of skin and with darker hair.  Silje was a bright splash of light in a shadowy tapestry, and she seemed to spread that light with her everywhere she went.

"There is a trail that goes through the gardens which leads straight to a large collection of these blossoms.  The air grows thick with their scent, and I find it one of the more relaxing places to be if you go at night."  She offered the information with that small smile of hers, the one that said she was offering some small piece of herself in friendship.  Those walks through the garden, and through the grounds in general, were often the balm that soothed her after a nightmare. 

Did Silje have nightmares now too?  The thought furrowed her brow a bit, and she let the petals drift away before carefully reaching for Silje's hands.  If the Queen allowed her, she would bring those hands to her lips, gently laying a kiss on those knuckles.  "If ever you need company, Lady Silje... I will be there for you." 

It was a small oath, a promise, but one that Kharisande made whole heartedly.  She hadn't been able to 'save' the girls that had been enslaved with her.  She hadn't even been able to 'save' Silje, not really - but she could offer this small thing.  She could offer understanding, and a lack of judgement or shame.  She could offer the company of someone who understood, at least in some small way, what the rest of those here could not.


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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #18 on: Nov 25, 18, 05:34:50 PM »
"No," Silje hummed through barely parted lips. She tilted her head inquisitively and smiled. There were a lot of things that she didn't know, especially in comparison to the bronze woman she'd just helped into the heated tub. It was a strange thing for Silje to see herself as the better of someone who could have easily been ten times her age. Even the long-lived were meant to revere a Queen. She didn't know how old Kharisande was and didn't know if she'd even have a chance to ask without seeming inappropriate. Really, the information would only be used to compare herself to the Landen woman and in most instances that she could think of, it wouldn't only come across as impolite. 

"It's kind of Lady Makur to teach you."

Slipping into the water across from Kharisande, Silje purred, bending forward until even her shoulders were beneath the surface and soaking in the perfumed heat.

"They're everywhere," Silje nodded, thinking of all the different places that she'd seen the lotus flowers on the estate. Due to the estate being named for the large lake of lotuses they seemed to show up everywhere she looked, not only naturally occurring in nature but cultivated in water gardens within and without and stylized in the tile work on the walls and floors. This was an inclusion that she would have never objected to. The lotus bore her colors, after all.

"I tend not to wander at night," the Queen said, easing back against the tub to relax. Wandering, especially now, felt dangerous to her. She didn't know the estate very well despite how long she'd been there. Only the immediate vicinity was familiar, that and the river. Too far from either of these and she was likely to get lost. Naturally, she didn't usually wander without an escort no matter where the sun sat in the sky. Still, once the sun set, she was always within sight of the main house.

"Does no one bother you when you go about wandering?"

Thinking about it, Silje knew that there was always someone awake on the estate. It was natural to sleep at night, but night was when Devesh conducted his most sacred ceremonies and so the estate never did fully sleep. Being out and about well past dusk wasn't at all something that would draw attention but for some reason, Silje figured she'd feel oddly guilty slinking about at night, almost as though she had something to hide. A curious manifestation of a guilty conscience, maybe, but over what?

One of the servants entered the bathroom and took Silje's discarded underthings for cleaning. A moment later she returned with a smile and a tray of the oft forgotten wine. Silje gave a tinkling laugh as it was left on the marble ledge next to them. As the woman left, she pulled one of the doors closed, leaving the other only cracked.

When Silje looked back to Kharisande, the Landen woman was professing a sort of loyalty and the Queen found herself legitimately touched. It was a lovely and yet uncomfortable feeling. For all the pompous thoughts she'd ever had, she wasn't sure she deserved a friend. But a friend was exactly what was needed, no matter how unlikely. Kharisande didn't seem to belong to anyone, which meant that she could belong to Silje, not as a possession, no. Just to her it seemed that everyone had someone except for her. Jaya and Kiara both had been terribly kind to her, but Kiara had belonged to Sixten first and Jaya may have defected for all Silje knew. They were pleasant companions, but should she want to grouse about her brother, she expected they might shut her down. Kharisande, though? If anything, she was Devesh's, Silje figured, but the Priest Prince had never done anything that had upset Silje enough to complain about.

"I'm a bad friend, Kharisande," Silje admitted, smiling softly and looking down at the petals that floated on the surface in front of her. "It's why I don't have any. Still, if you patient with me, I'll try to do right by you."

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #19 on: Nov 25, 18, 05:56:42 PM »
"Believe me when I tell you, Lady Silje, that you likely are not nearly as bad as you may believe."  Kharisande smiled, allowing her thoughts to reach back through over a decade of 'bad friends'.  If friends they could have been called.  They'd watched out for each other as best they could, yes... but in the end, if survival meant leaving someone to a monster, they would do it in a heartbeat. 

She didn't blame any of them for that.  Not ever.  But that had been how things were. This?  This could be different.

"Everyone needs someone.  Something that helps them feel as if they have a purpose in a world that can often feel as if it is cruel and indifferent."  Sande glanced down at the nearby lotus petals again, plucking a few out of the water.

"If I can provide that sort of comfort to you, then I have found a purpose for myself."  She smiled, glancing at Silje.  "There are no right ways to recover, Lady Silje.  Your emotions are your own, and while I can't say everyone will always agree with how you show them, they are yours... and that is a precious thing."

She let the petals flow back into the water, watching as they moved with the current she'd created in that hand wave.  That was life.  Things beyond anyone's control occurred, and the people had to find a way to float in the wake of the disruptions.  Did that mean she saw herself, and Silje, as Lotus Petals?

Yes.  In a way, she did.

"No one bothers me when I'm out walking, here on the Estate, Lady Silje.  Sometimes I almost wish they would.  Usually when i am walking at night, it is because my sleep has been interrupted, and I could use the company.  Still, the Gardens bring peace when company is unavailable."  Kharisande gave a little smile, shaking her head before drifting over towards one of the supply basins.  Curious, she lifted a small bar of soap and sniffed at it.  "You have a wonderful collection here.  Which one is your favorite?"

Of all the scents available to her in Nharkava, Kharisande had decided that a mix of Jasmine and Lotus was what she preferred.  It was so very different from anything else she'd experienced that it could almost instantaneously force her mind away from darker thoughts.  It was so different it was luxurious, and no matter how many times she smelled it, that mix of scents was the one that made her feel a spark of happiness no matter the situation.

Perhaps Lady Silje needed to find something like that.  "I've found Scent can really help a person, relax.  But each person has a different nose.  What works for me might not work for you."

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #20 on: Nov 27, 18, 10:49:20 PM »
Sinking down until the back of her head was at the curved edge of the tub, Silje fell into a considerate moment. Kharisande had said that everyone needs someone, but Silje's mind instinctively scoffed at the notion. Was it that she needed anyone or more that it was simply convenient to have people to support her? Silje very much wanted to believe that she needed no one, but it was a hard sell to make on a conscious level even to herself. She had been born with a constant companion who had been with her her whole life. Apart from Sixten, Silje had always been surrounded by supporters of some type or another. Why did she care? It just sort of felt as though it was weak to need anyone at all. Surely she would do well with less someones than most others, at least.

Blowing petals across the steaming surface, Silje gave a playful laugh. "Would that be purpose enough for you, Kharisande? Providing comforts to a frigid Queen? I'm sure there's some truth to Sixten's talk that  I'm impossible to please. Of course, he's been so thoughtful these past few days." Musing quietly, Silje tilted her head back again and gazed up at the cloud of scented steam hanging around them. "It might take longer to wear off than normal considering how horrid the ordeal was." Sighing, she turned her head while still laid against the edge but just so that she could regard Kharisande while lounging lazily.

The Landen woman eyed the selection of luxurious oils and pampering options. Silje watched to see which she preferred most, but then Kharisande asked about her own preference. "Mmmm... Sandalwood?" She shrugged softly, easily allowing the relaxation of the hot water and lovely scents entice her toward a submissive sort of peace. "I love the smell of the woods and natural things. It reminds me of home. Not the spices so much. The flowers are lovely, but the earthy tones are the most pleasing for me. Instead of going about smelling like a man I tend to layer the sweeter scents on top of the base of the bathing oils. I do get many compliments from other ladies regarding the secret to the mix. And now you know it."

Leaning up, Silje moved to where Kharisande was seated, moved a few things about in the basket near her and then plucked an exfoliating stone from it. Pushing back again made the water and petals swirl quickly around them and slosh at the sides of the tub.

"Pick one, and turn around." 

Silje's smile was friendly enough, one of her more convincing expressions. Really, she wasn't so bad when she wasn't upset, it just seemed that anymore... she was always upset. Holding out a hand she gestured for Kharisande to pick something and to hand it to her.

"I'm willing to bet very few people have ever cared about your comfort."

Offline Kharisande Lehmda

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #21 on: Dec 02, 18, 12:46:18 AM »
Purpose enough?  Kharisande felt her lips twitch upwards, just a little.  Silje was young, yes.. but if Kharisande spent the rest of Silje's life attached to her, that would still only be another eighty years at most.  By the end of that time, Kharisande wouldn't have even burnt through twenty percent of her lifespan.

"I think it would be a worthy purpose for my time."  She let her fingers move through the oil selection, especially now that Silje had told her what sort of scents the Queen preferred.  Sandalwood was not a terrible idea, truth be told. 

"Jasmine helps me sleep... but sandalwood has a habit of making me feel stronger than I think I am."  Kharisande smiled, twisting about in the water to bring the oil back towards Silje.  It took her a moment of observation to figure out what Silje was up to, but when she did, she simply took a breath and nodded.

"You would be right about that, mostly."  Here in Nharkava Prince Acharya and the Lady Makur had made inroads into making sure she was comfortable and felt protected.  But 'pampering' wasn't exactly something she'd ever intimated a desire for.

Truthfully, she didn't have it in her to ask for it.  These days it wasn't out of fear so much as pride.  She'd managed to not fall apart, and she'd managed to start making something of herself.  Asking for pampering might make others think her weaker than she was - or worse, it might make her believe such a thing. 

Kharisande didn't want to return to the easily spooked creature she had been before.   She wanted to remain brave, and open to change.  "I can't say that I've had my back scrubbed in some time."

Vishal had done what he could to pamper her, of course, but that had been a very different situation.  That was a situation so wildly different from this one that she didn't even see the point in dwelling on that thought, so she let it drift away as easily as one of the petals in the water.  "Have you ever tried weaving, Lady Silje?  Or art of some sort?"  A soft chuckle breathed through her lips as she felt Silje move in the water behind her.

"If you would like, we could perhaps get the supplies we would need and we can simply... make a mess. Enjoy the act of creation without concern for the results.  That's had a habit of making me feel better for some time now."

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #22 on: Dec 21, 18, 12:17:28 PM »
Sensing Kharisande's slight sense of curious wonder made Silje smile. The Queen had wanted to be unexpected if only to see what the long lived Landen woman might think of her just then and how she might react. It was certainly boredom and malaise that led her to these sorts of choices, but she didn't think much of her reasons or intentions so long as she was doing something was pleasing to herself without taking too much advantage of anyone else. Unless it was Sixten. She didn't mind torturing him just a little bit. He gave the best reactions and she was convinced he deserved each and every one of them.

It was impossible to read Kharisande's emotions except via the old archaic ways that the Landen employed on a daily basis. She could only know what Kharisande spoke out loud and whatever information her basic knowledge of kinesics provided. Still, as a Queen, Silje considered herself at least somewhat naturally inclined to reading others. Maybe it was pride that made her think so, but she was rarely ever perfectly wrong about her impressions.

Once Kharisande turned her back to her, Silje stretched her legs on either side of the other woman's body as she settled between them. With a fingernail, Silje scraped a few wet and loose strands of Kharisande's hair up her neck and tucked them neatly back into the braids from whence they'd fallen.

Silje hummed her pleasure when Kharisande said that she'd not had her back scrubbed in some time. Her answers meant that the smallest kindness in this way was likely to leave a distinct impression. Silje liked the idea of so easily being able to win this woman's affection. Again, she had so few friends. Kharisande had made herself indispensable over the past few days and Silje wondered if it was because she was bored, asked to, compelled by moral reasons or if she was simply just as lonely in this foreign land.

"For as little as we have in common, at least we share that we have been far removed from our element," Silje mused quietly as she reached down Kharisande's arm to take the oil from the other woman's hand.

Setting the stone on the side of the tub for a moment, Silje poured some of the oil into her palm and more still was drizzled over Kharisande's shoulders. The Queen began by massaging the heavenly scent into Kharisande's skin. She was no Healer much less even a masseuse, but Silje was considerate with her hands, applying pressure where she knew she loved to feel it the most and lightening her touch to little more than a faint breeze in other places. Giving to Kharisande what she imagined she herself would like the most, she made an earnest and honorable effort on behalf of the Landen woman, responding with more and less depending on the way Kharisande tensed or relaxed as her hands roved.

Laughing when Kharisande mentioned messes, Silje reached for the stone on the side of the tub and then began lightly running it down one side of Kharisande's spine. Silje's other hand pressed the other woman forward so that she might lean over a bit more and Silje could scrub softly the whole surface of her exposed back.

"Messes mean more baths. Are you trying to trick me into providing another?" There was no real judgment in her tone, though sometimes the tenor and strength in her voice might make some wonder. When her smile had a moment to relax, the Queen shrugged, picking up the scrubbing stone and bringing it down the other side of Kharisande's spine. "I don't get to make many messes. I've always felt that it's expected of me to maintain order, that I'd be judged for taking part in something so frivolous as having the nerve to enjoy myself and potentially appear childish or foolish in my revelry." It was an honest comment though she didn't really answer the question. "What might they think if they saw me not maintaining my bearing?" Silje didn't say who they were, and if asked, she'd not have a distinct answer. "That's hardly the demeanor of a queen." She mocked quietly, mimicking the words that her thankfully deceased grandmother used to echo to her whenever Silje had thought to enjoy herself. "I'm not sure I'm allowed," she gave with a tone that suggested she had finished her thoughts and the matter and was dismissing the idea. Night forbid she indulge herself, after all.

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #23 on: Feb 10, 19, 02:58:06 PM »
Sande at first believed the scrubbing would be awkward.  It was not, save that Kharisande was clearly not used to being the one that was the focus of such attentions.  But that melted away beneath the ministrations of Silje's fingers and the oil.  Knots that she hadn't realized she carried were smoothing away beneath the efforts Silje made on her behalf, and Sande had to bring a handful of water up to her face to wash away evidence of small tears that tried to work their way free.

She wasn't used to this sort of thing anymore.  Lady Makur was kind, of course, but this was a different sort of intimacy than even what the Healer offered.  This was an intimacy that made her feel as if she were being treated not because of her past, or obligation - but purely because someone wished to.

That might be unfair.  She was fairly certain the Lady Makur was kind to everyone.  But Silje Frisk? Lady Frisk was not one to go out of her way to be kind to someone.  She was distant on the bests of days, and in Sande's mind the Lady Frisk tried to keep herself separate and apart.  Why?  She couldn't make a guess.

Or at least, she couldn't make a guess until Silje began to speak about expectations and judgements.  Ah.  THAT made more sense.  That explained a great deal. 

"Lady Frisk... you are a Queen, and from what I've come to learn, only you choose what you can and cannot do.  If you wished to roll around in the mud and simply enjoy the sensation against your skin, then no one else could gainsay you."  She was careful, slow and deliberate, as she turned her body just a bit to look towards the Queen she was bathing with.

"You get to choose who you are, and what you do, and who you do it with.  That is the blessing that this place offers we who seek refuge here.  The freedom to break away from expectations and all that life has foisted upon us."  Or at least, that was what kept getting drilled into her head.

"I find peace in making things.. that's why I suggested it.  Because ... you're right.  We are both far removed from our homes, and perhaps we can offer that understanding.  I don't mean to overstep my bounds I just..."  Kharisande paused, biting at her lip for a moment in thought.  "To be honest... I don't want you to feel alone.  This ordeal, it isn't... You aren't alone." 

That had been the worst part of her own ordeal.  Feeling so alone - unable to rely on others because any others in similar positions would inevitably be sold off or die.  She hadn't been able to connect to others because the fear of the unknown was paralyzing.  Better to be alone and miserable than to risk losing what few pieces of herself she'd had left.

And ever since Nharkava, and Prince Devesh, and Lady Makur?  She'd begun to realize she could only lose her pieces if she let them be stolen away.  She could still offer herself, and her friendship, and not lose herself if rebuffed or left behind.  As simple as that seemed in theory, it didn't feel simple - and she didn't want the Queen to flounder without help in that morass of emotional upheaval.

"If I were to see you creating something, or enjoying revelry?  I would smile and ask to join you.  Joy is meant to be shared."

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Re: Finding Comfort in Caprice
« Reply #24 on: Feb 26, 19, 10:19:00 PM »
"Hmmm," Silje mused, pulling her knees up and resting her arms on them. "You make it sound quite simple, Kharisande." Naturally, one often took the path of least resistance. If everything was all so simple as the neat little packages of insight that the Landen woman offered, Silje imagined that she would be a happier person with a lot more free time. But there were details. There were always details, things that made it so that the best laid plans were just that, only plans. In practice, nothing ever went according to plan.

"I appreciate you being so kind and thoughtful," the Queen said as she leaned to place the scrubbing stone back on the edge of the tub. Having done so, she leaned all the way back again, wrapping her arms along the edge of the bath and sinking to soak in the scented warmth. She felt Sixten's presence enter the home, but didn't think much of it at first. Her brother came and went mostly as he pleased on days like this. But Silje had barely settled when he reached out to her on a thread.

*I need to speak to you.*

*I'm entertaining a friend.*

There was silence for a few long seconds, enough that Silje thought that the brief conversation had ended.

*Who?*

Sixten had clearly attempted to discern the details for himself, but Kharisande's Landen heritage was probably throwing him for a loop.

*If it's not urgent, brother, I will see you for dinner,* came Silje's unmoved reply.

Sixten wasn't having it, though, and honestly, Silje didn't think that she'd be done with him so easily. She just didn't expect him to round the corner and meet her in the bathroom.

"Sixten!" she half growled, half shrieked.

Lord Frisk snatched a robe and threw it at her, eyes moving to linger on Kharisande. Kharisande had been a fixture on the estate since before his family had been, but had she ever been so close as this with his sister? Perplexed, Sixten grunted, his sister's protest going unnoticed.

"Apologies, miss. Family business." Then he glanced back to Silje and strongly motioned her outside of the bathroom. When she merely glowered, Sixten pointed a finger through the doorway. "I'm going to be out there. But if you make me come back to get you, I will."

Nodding respectfully, Sixten touched two fingers to his forehead, saluting Kharisande, and then retreated as he said he would.