March 11, 2014

In Which Hanna Observes the Universal Woes

October 12, 1184

"So you're saying that if we eliminate the lace on the bodice and settle for a slightly more saturated color, we can shred another five percent off the production cost?"

Hanna nodded. She and two of her three housemates had all opted to take Professor Stephane's Textile Arts class as an elective--Hanna and Arelle because their mothers were a lady's maid and a seamstress respectively and it had seemed like an easy credit, and Arlia because her brother had insisted on her taking at least one 'wifely' course even if he had let her major as she pleased--but the course so far was not as any of them had expected. While Professor Stephane clearly knew the technical processes of making clothing, her course focused much more strongly on design than production, which made it both more interesting and more challenging than Hanna had guessed it would be.

This particular assignment was to design a gentlewoman's wedding dress within a modest budget--fun, yet practical, and not inappropriate given Hanna's Mathematics major. It was also a group assignment, which had made for a convenient unit with her housemates' presence in the class.

That wasn't to say the project would go off without a hitch. No, Arelle and Arlia would make sure of that.

"We might save some of the lace if we lowered the neckline. I mean, they're going to be seen later that night anyway." Arlia often reminded Hanna of her mother. As a result, she was simultaneously fond of the Carvalli lady and more inclined to take her in small doses.

Arelle sometimes reminded her of everyone else's mother. "By everyone at the wedding?"

"Why not? If you think about it, that's how it must have been done historically: everyone watching and cheering while the bride rode the groom like a stallion."

"Not exactly like she would a stallion, I should hope," Hanna muttered, prompting a snicker from Arlia.

Unamused, Arelle frowned. "I still think the lace would be the more practical deduction."

"Of course you do." Arlia rolled her eyes. "You're a virgin."

"So are you."

"Technically," Arlia added with a wink.

Hanna glanced down at the plan again, the current draft that was too modest for Arlia and too frivolous for Arelle. The three of them had gotten a little tipsy their first weekend in the dorm, the term before Tiada had joined them, and the result had been a lengthy conversation about all things sex. Arelle had been seeing Dalston Denvus--Hanna's half-brother's half brother, such an odd thought--for several years now, and would probably marry him once she graduated, and the two had yet to succumb to temptation. Knowing the both of them, they likely wouldn't until their wedding night.

Arlia, on the other hand, was a noblewoman who was expected to remain a 'technical' virgin--which, according to her, carried only the restriction of 'no penis in the vagina'. A penis anywhere else was fair game, as were fingers and tongues and Lord only knew what else in the vaginal area. And so were--so Hanna had learned from her failure to knock when entering apparently private rooms such as the library and the sitting room--both men and women, one at a time or both at a time, sometimes three or four at a time. As much of a kindness it might have been to both of them, Hanna dreaded the day she'd have to introduce Arlia to her mother.

But while the two housemates varied drastically in their approaches, at least they'd both figured out what they wanted and had their ways of getting it. Hanna had met Sev on her first day of class. She liked him. He liked her. He was too respectful to say it, but she suspected he wanted to sleep with her. Some part of her wanted to sleep with him too, but some other part had some hang-up or another. For both of their sakes, she hoped she didn't take too much longer to figure out which part won for now.

And for now, maybe it was best to focus on homework while there was homework to be done. "We could compromise. A somewhat lower neckline, with somewhat less lace. There's a balance to be found."

"So we could keep some of the lace."

"And there would be no risk of any breasts popping out."

Sometimes, it wasn't easy being the moderate. "I don't think breasts popping out were ever a concern, but yes, that's what I'm saying."

Across the room, the door from the hall clicked open. Odd. Tiada's class must have gotten out early.

Or not.

Arelle was the first to look up, greeting the newcomer with a smile. "Your highness. To what do we owe the honor?"

"Arelle." Koradril nodded, though--unusually for him--he didn't return the grin. "Arlia. Hanna, can I have a word?"

Huh. Given that Koradril lived with Sev, Hanna supposed that the prince knew her best of all the women in Taurus House. Still, she wouldn't have expected him to seek her out. "All right..."

He edged back toward the bookcase by the window, and she stood up to follow. The acoustics of the library were poor by design; if they kept quiet, neither Arelle or Arlia would hear, even if either had any inclination toward eavesdropping. "Need something?"

"Just to talk." But his drooping mouth and lifeless eyes didn't imply chitchat. "I'm sorry. I got a letter from home, and normally I'd talk to Sev or one of my other housemates, but they're all either in class or out and about, and... well, aside from them, you're the person I know best here."

Out of the entire campus? She wouldn't have guessed that. Then again, she supposed many found the prospect of a prince intimidating, even if Koradril no less down-to-earth than any other man. "Oh."

"And I'm sorry if I'm interrupting anything. I just..." He looked down to his boots. Logically, princes must have done that as often as anyone else, but she hadn't thought she'd ever see one do so. He may not have ever wanted for the material, but there were some universal woes to which even royalty was not immune. "I really need to talk to someone right now."

She doubted there was a person alive who hadn't felt that at one time or another. "It's all right. I'm here to listen."

"All right." His mouth twitched in lieu of a smile. Seconds later, she'd know for sure it was all he could manage. "My mother is dead."



Van said...

As most of you probably either knew or figured, Hanna is Aydelle's eldest; we saw her once as a child. We haven't seen Arelle, but we have seen her mother (Ivilia the seamstress, who used to work for Alina and now makes the infamous lingerie) and her brother (Renolt the Veldora reeve, married to Nora's daughter Aldara--who is also their first cousin). Arlia is the first of the randomly-generated Carvalli nobles. Currently, her family is just her and her older brother, who doesn't exist in-game (she herself was repurposed from a deceased Sim).

Winter said...

College kids are college kids in any century, aren't they? The girls of the University are proving at least as fun as the guys so far.

Poor Koradril. That's hideous news to get while you're away at school. Or anytime. But, if I recall, his parents' marriage was more practical than anything else, so maybe it will be for the best to have a distraction after the funeral and all is over. Sitting around in Dovia and monitoring his father's grief wouldn't do him any good, either.

Renata and Laralita are the last of the sisters now, aren't they? It still feels like it was only yesterday that Alina died sometimes.

Van said...

Thanks! I'm hoping there won't be too much disparity in the fun levels of roommate groups at any point (unless one group is maybe mismatched and awkward for comic effect).

Yeah, there's never a good time to get such news, but while you're away at school is especially lousy (my grandmother died when I was away at school; not the same thing, especially since she was eighty-nine and we sort of knew it was only a matter of time, but that was tough enough anyway). :(

Oswald and Meraleene mainly got married because they were both high-ranking people with dead spouses who had young children they felt needed another parent, plus I think Oswald had always imagined himself ruling with a queen by his side (they were married before Farilon went). Koradril is their only mutual child, which might say something about their love life given the number of children each had with their previous spouse. I'm sure that there was friendship and fondness by the end, but I think Oswald's heart always belonged to Athalia, and Meraleene's to Primus.

Koradril might find diving into his studies the easiest way to cope. And you're right about his possible reaction to his father's grief. He'll be going back for the funeral, but after that, it's back to school for him; when he heads back for the break, if Oswald isn't heartbroken, Koradril can tell himself that he's had some time.

Indeed, Renata and Laralita are now the only two remaining Sadiel sisters. They have very little in common and I can't imagine they get along too well. :S