January 28, 2015

In Which Holden Doesn't Leave His Room

February 12, 1189

"Uh... there, there?"

When he thought back on it later, Holden would realize that Dea was probably the best person who could have found him crying. Any of the servants would have called on his parents, neither of whom would have reacted well to a bruised leg and a torn chausse. His mama would have fretted, more overbearing than comforting; his father would have scolded him for jumping on the bed, and for not playing outside with the other boys and the supposedly 'feminine' decor of his bedroom, for that matter. Gennie... well, Gennie was nicer than Dea, usually. But Dea was the one who made things happen.

Even if she wasn't the most soothing of people. "What happened?"

"I fell off the bed!" Holden choked. His father would have scolded him too. No one liked a crown prince who cried like a girl, even if Holden didn't understand quite why crying had to be a girl thing. "I hurt my leg, and... and I ripped my chausse!"

"Aw, it's all right." Dea hugged him, even though he was pretty sure she didn't want to. "A torn chausse isn't the end of the world."

"But it will make Mama and Father fight! Because she'll want to mend it herself, but he'll say it's servant work, and--"

"Shh. If their fighting upsets you, then I'll mend it for you, all right?"

Huh? Dea didn't like mending! Even though she was a girl, and that was also a girl thing, for some reason. The whole concept of boy things and girl things, Holden decided, was stupid. "Are you sure?"

"Yes, it shouldn't take too long. We'll keep it a secret, all right?" Dea winked. "I don't need Father thinking I've gone domestic all of a sudden."

"All right." Though, he wasn't sure what 'domestic' meant. Maybe it was another thing that shouldn't have been a boy thing or a girl thing but somehow was. "Thank you, Dea."

"You're welcome. Does your nanny keep a needle and thread somewhere in your drawers?"

Holden nodded. His mama preferred that he didn't leave his room unless he had to. "The top one."



Van said...


Winter said...

I can hardly believe Hollie is old enough to be wearing and ripping chausses. Gosh.

The poor kid. Stuck in her room, afraid of her parents fighting, unhappy with the rigid gender roles... that's a lot. As much as Hollie isn't old enough to know the truth/keep the secret and that keeping her isolated is necessary, the situation sucks. I hope Dea is smarter than I am and has something to say to Jeda that will help Hollie out. (Or maybe Dea will suggest what I would: regicide.) Finding out she's a princess and not a prince will not be the worst of Hollie's issues if the status quo keeps up. :(

Van said...

They grow up so fast. Especially when we never see them. XD

Hollie does live a pretty boring existence. She's not completely confined to her room (and she gets out of the castle for school, since Aunt Camaline's there to keep an eye on her), but she tends to hang out there because Jeda's worrying hasn't gone unnoticed. The poor kid does really need to know the truth, not only so she can understand her mother's concerns but so she can figure out who she wants to be once Ietrin is out of the picture.

It might be too much to hope that Dea has any profound solution to Hollie's or Jeda's problems. That said, it's not the worst thing in the world that she knows. Hollie and Jeda both need someone who can fight battles on their side. Regicide could help too.

Ekho said...

Oh. Dea's not going to discover "Holden's" little secret?

Horrible that Hollie feels so guilty over such a mundane thing! She should not feel responsible for her parents! Shows how really mature she is for her age, though I suppose with so much pressure being the only "prince" in Naroni.

Van said...

Guess we'll see...

Growing up in this household is bound to skew anyone's perception, especially if they're constantly handled like fine china the way Hollie is. But she does have a maturity about her.