July 6, 2015

In Which Alina Is Queen of Her Own Castle

December 6, 1192

Not being the official Lady Ravenhold just yet, Alina wasn't sure she ought to have taken up residence in Lady Ravenhold's bedroom. But none of the other bedrooms had been furnished yet, and Kaldar had told her not to worry--Ella had stayed in the master bedroom when she'd been acting lady, after all.

She sat down on the bed--her bed, she had to assert in her mind--and wiped a couple of specks off her skirt. Bread crumbs. Not something one wanted to see on a new dress, even if it wasn't technically new. She'd had one of her day gowns altered in the style her Aunt Riona had donned at the masque some years back, much more splendid than it had been; even if she wasn't Lady Ravenhold yet, it wouldn't do to man this castle looking like a steward's daughter.

But she was a steward's daughter. She didn't doubt her capabilities, but things like that mattered to some. Kaldar may have been a bastard who was only lord by the mercy of his half-sister, but he was still the son of a king. A son of a king could do better than a steward's daughter, even if her mother was the product of two powerful houses.

Perhaps she and her mother had averaged in the marriage department. In the world's eyes, her mother had married beneath her, while Alina would marry above her status.

At least Ravenhold was a new enough shire, populated largely by young people, many of whom she'd known before. Her half-brothers were here, one of whom was a bard--who'd likely be quick to sing his baby sister's praises whether she deserved them or not. There was Alina Tumekrin and Rina Tamrion at the bank, the shire's economic center, neither of whom she knew too well but both whom were modern enough to see some flexibility in class and influential enough to sew such seeds of thought.

And hadn't her aunt fared well enough, once the scandal of a lady's maid wedding a lord had died down? Nora Wythleit had been born a peasant, lower than Alina had ever been. She was now a great lady.

But Alina's brain could rationalize all it wanted. Her gut remained in knots.

She'd have to make the most of Kaldar's remaining time at the university. She'd have to prove herself, if only to herself. She'd have to pick up the reins of this young stallion of a shire and break it, train it up to a suitable standard so Kaldar didn't graduate to find a mess. He trusted her to do that, and she couldn't bear the thought of letting him down.

Whether it was truly hers or not--whether she deserved it or not--she was queen of the castle now.



Van said...

Alina's actually been wearing that dress since she aged up, but since we haven't seen her in all that time, let's just say she upgraded from something plainer. ;)

Winter said...

The fancy dress looks good on her! It manages to look a bit Sadiel, Kemorin, and Ravenhold all at once.

And yet, the Wythleit is strong with this one. She reminds me of Nora a bit by feeling not at home in her position. While Nora is undoubtedly a great lady, but I have a feeling she would find that description amusing. Alina's description of ruling Ravenhold in Kaldar's stead is a a little surprising. I hope she doesn't bite off more than she can chew to start. She will undoubtedly be a great lady someday.

Van said...

That GoS color scheme is very useful for many of my families. :)

Alina is not unlike her aunt (who has become a great lady, but absolutely would not describe herself as one). But, she's also not unlike her mother, so her capacity for chewing is a bit more than most people's. She'll get there eventually.