Chapter 10: Life as a Noble
“Sit up straight.”
“Don’t have your elbows on the table.”
“Don’t set the table on fire.”
“Don’t set the Fire Seeker on fire.”
“Don’t set anything on fire!”
“Lord Bragor! Help me! The woman is crazy!” I hid behind Lord Bragor’s large body when I managed to run away from my etiquette teacher after being in her lessons for who knows how long.
“Have you seen the Lord of Fire? She just recently set my dress on fire,” the woman hitting my with a dowel asked.
“I don’t see her right now. Perhaps she went to the pool to see Lord Sorak,” Lord Bragor said.
“Thank you, Lord of Earth,” the lady bowed and rushed off into the direction of the pool. After she left from both of our sights, Lord Bragor picked me up by the back of my shirt and brought me to his eye level.
“Thank you, Lord Bragor,” I said as if he wasn’t picking me up by my raggedy tunic.
“Why are you running?” Lord Bragor asked.
“That woman is crazy. I took more damage from her than you and Lord Sorak,” I said.
“Do tell,” Lord Bragor set me down.
“Whenever I do something I had no idea I wasn’t supposed to do, she hits me really hard with a dowel. See?” I lifted the side of my tunic to reveal a large bruise.
“How many times has she done that?” Lord Bragor said.
“I can’t count. She did it everywhere except my head. She’s worried if she hits me there, I’ll die and she’ll be charged of murder of a noble, blah blah blah blah-dy blah,” I said pointing to my still bandaged head.
“Well, I do hope that you know I will not always be here to back you up,” Lord Bragor said.
“Yeah. That reminds me, why did you cover me?” I asked Lord Bragor.
“If we Elemental Lords didn’t stick together, who will?” Lord Bragor said.
“Even if I’m a girl?” I asked.
“No comment,” Lord Bragor said.
“There you are!” The lady yelled as she smacked the dowel into her hand.
“Damn!” I wiggled out of Bragor’s grip and jumped out of the window. Before I hit the ground, fire burst out of my feet and brought me to the roof.
“You can’t hide from the whole staff of the Ember Palace!” the lady shouted at me from the window.
“I can try!” I shouted back.
“You can stop running now,” Fire Seeker’s voice came from behind me. I turned around, and he was simply standing there as if we weren’t on the roof and that was a perfectly normal thing to do.
“And you’re here to bring me back,” I snorted.
“Ladies should not snort,” Fire Seeker scolded me.
“I’m not a ‘Lady’,” I snorted even louder. “I’m a Lord.”
“You’re right about one of those things.” Fire Seeker raised his eyebrow.
“Lord Kaira!” I heard Lord Sorak call.
“See? Whaaaaaaaat?!” I groaned.
“You’re needed in the kitchen for a moment,” Lord Sorak called.
“Are you sure this isn’t a scheme for dowel lady to get me?” I called back.
“I promise. Lord Bragor has informed me what went on between you and her,” Lord Sorak said.
“Don’t go betraying me, or I will burn you to a crisp,” I warned. I ran to the edge of the roof. I jumped, turned and grabbed the edge of the tile roof. I swung feet first into the nearest window. Glass shattered as I rolled into the palace.
“Flashy. I’ll need to use that sometime,” Lord Bragor nodded as I dusted off glass shards off of my clothes.
“That glass isn’t like the ones that regular people have. The ones regular people have are as hard as stone. These are nice and breakable,” I said.
“Normally, we don’t have people breaking through palace windows!” Crazy lady said as she smacked the dowel in her hand as she entered the kitchen.
“You are not to lay a hand on her,” Lord Bragor warned the lady.
“Or dowel,” Lord Sorak included.
“Or dowel,” Lord Bragor repeated.
“You are dismissed until Lord Kaira’s lessons have resumed,” Lord Sorak said. Then Dowel lady finally left!
“Thanks you guys,” I whispered to the two Elemental Lords. “So, what am I here for?”
“To taste test food that could be on the banquet menu. If you don’t like something, we won’t include it.” Lord Bragor got straight to business.
“What banquet?” I asked.
“The one where we announce you to the rest of the population as the Lord of Fire,” Lord Sorak explained.
“They probably won’t be as understanding as everyone else,” I said.
“Understanding to what?” Lord Bragor asked.
“When did you become blind?” I asked.
“She is a she, not a he,” Lord Sorak clarified.
“Oh, yes. That would be a problem,” Lord Bragor stroked his short beard.
“So, why do you guys accept it so readily?” I asked.
“We don’t understand the Spirit’s decisions, all we have to do is accept them,” Lord Sorak explained.
“Ah, okay. Is everyone else going to think the same thing?” I asked.
“Now how about this dish? It’s beef,” Lord Sorak called over a chef who placed a dish in front of me.
“You’re avoiding the question. DAMN! This is good!” I yelled as I tried a tidbit of the beef that was placed in front of me.
“Now for the lamb,” Lord Sorak said as he called over another chef.
“Ah. This is good too,” I nodded.
“Is there something you don’t like?” Fire Seeker asked.
“Nope. Wait, when did you get here?” I asked.
“I just got here,” Fire Seeker explained.
“How did you get off the roof? Did you jump through a window too?” I asked.
“No. I’m not a wild child like you.”
“I have my ways.”
“Helpful.” I turned to the chef that offered me a glass of water. I downed it in a matter of seconds. Another chef held out another dish, filled with chicken. I took a piece of chicken and placed it my mouth. “Before anything else, when is this thing?” I asked.
“In a couple weeks,” Fire Seeker said.
“So, what else will happen?” I asked.
“This is when you’ll get a master,” Lord Sorak explained.
“What’s a master do?” I asked while stuffing the next dish into my face.
“They teach you how to control your element. You’ll be put through drills every day, and be worked to the bone,” Lord Bragor warned me.
“That doesn’t sound fun at all,” I chuckled.
“It isn’t,” Lord Sorak and Lord Bragor said at the same time.
“Then why bother with a ‘Master’ at all when I could just listen to the voice in my head?” I asked.
“‘Voice in your head’?” Lord Sorak asked.
“Yeah. He tells me how to control the fire. He’s really good at what he does.” I nodded as I grabbed another glass of water.
Of course I am. Who the hell do you take me for? The Spirit of Earth?! Ha!
“You don’t like--” I started.
Shush your face. He can still hear you. We hear everything. Well, except for each other nowadays. We’re not as connected as we used to be.
“Is that sad?” I asked.
No. It’s perfect. It’s wonderful! I don’t have to listen to them. Also, pay attention to them, they’re getting suspicious. Especially annoying Seeker over there.
I looked at the other people in the room, taking note of all of their screwed up expressions. They looked so confused and concerned. As much as I found it funny, I really didn’t want them to go any further. Like, ask what’s wrong or throw me into another box. “I guess a teacher wouldn’t be so bad.”
Oh, they’re terrible.
“Why would--” I started again.
“Then stop talking!”
That’s out of my power.
“Like hell it is!” I looked at the others again. They were even more concerned than before.
“Lovely. We have a crazy lady as our leader. Can this get any better?” Fire Seeker growled before leaving.
“I take that as a compliment!” I shouted after him.
“This shall be very interesting,” Lord Sorak laughed.
“Quite,” Lord Bragor.
“Whoa! Look at all of these clothes!” I breathed out as I saw a closet filled with clothes I would never be able to see in the market. They were all so pretty. There were so many reds, oranges, yellows, and golds!
“Best part: All fireproof,” the noble tailor said. The first thing I noticed about this noble was his youth and his flare when it came to his own clothing.
“Really?!” I could feel little flames sparking off of me.
“Yup. I’ll just have some of my assistants take your measurements and you’ll have custom fit dresses,” the noble tailor started to have a glint in his spectacles. “Or pants! Or robes! Whatever you want, I will make!”
“Awesome! That’s so cool!”
“You seem excited. . . . over a tailor,” Fire Seeker commented as he watched us from the wall like a creeper.
“Shut up. This is the first time I’m gonna get nice clothes,” I said, still in awe at all of the materials.
“I’m glad you’re excited. First things first, we have to get rid of these clothes. They are a sight for sore eyes. Everyone else out! This transformation cannot be seen by outsider’s eyes!” The tailor clapped his hands. Everyone shuffled out of the room, and two young women a little older than Fire Seeker came bustling into the room. They peered into the closet, wondering what to dress me in. “Ladies. I have it right here,” the tailor said. The assistants came to the tailor’s voice and took a bundle of cloth from his hands.
“Ready?” One of the ladies asked me as she unfolded the material.
“Yeah,” I said. One of the ladies took of my tunic and gasped at my bruise and scar covered body. “Don’t worry about that.”
“But, a lady shouldn’t have scars or bruises,” an assistant said.
“Technically, I’m not a lady,” I said.
“A female should also have undergarments,” the other assistant commented.
“What the hell are undergarments?” I looked at them.
“There. How does this one feel?” The assistants asked me on the fifth undergarment they put me through.
“They feel way better than the other ones,” I said as I looked at the cloth draping over the top of my chest and the ones draping over my hips and it went through my legs. They were so soft, but felt very weird.
“Take down these measurements. Hopefully she’ll fill out soon enough,” one of the assistants said.
“Right. These are rather small numbers.”
“I think that’s because she was starved on the streets,” first assistant whispered.
“Oh, right. Ah--um. . . Let’s just brush out that hair, shall we?” other assistant changed the subject.
“How long has it been since you brushed your hair?” the other assistant asked me.
“How what?” I asked.
“Any longer?” The tailor called out, impatient to see his design on a live model.
“Just one moment. Almost completely brushed out her hair,” an assistant called out as she untangled my weird, red hair. They kept asking about how I got the color this or how I got it so red.
“The tricky part is making sure she doesn’t bite you, along with the bandage, mainly the biting,” the other assistant gave a half-chuckle.
“This is torture! This is heeeeeell! Stop pulling out my hair!” I yelled for the third time.
“Well, I hope you two can hurry it up. The Fire Seeker is growing very concerned.”
“He’s actually concerned?” I asked.
“Well, I can read between the lines.”
“Lucky you, I can’t read at all,” I chuckled.
“All done. I think a bath is in order for tonight,” an assistant said to the other.
“She’s ready,” one of the assistants opened the doors and let in the awaiting tailors and Elemental Lords (I have no idea why they stuck around).
“This is fabulous. Turn,” the tailor ordered. I complied and turned slowly with a weird look plastered over my face. “Let’s see. Alright. I’m going to keep a little room for you to grow. The waist is a little high, I’ll have to change the patterning. The colors are nice. They match your. . . unique features.” He was talking about my damn hair, wasn’t he?
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Making sure this was a right choice,” the tailor said. “What do you think, ladies?”
“I think this color matches her perfectly,” one assistant smiled.
“You are a wonderful tailor,” the other one praised.
“Oh stop, you two. Now, I need someone else’s opinion,” he turned to the other Elemental Lords. “You two are much too old for her. Don’t even think about it.”
“We never said anything,” Lord Sorak defended himself.
“Anyway. I need some boy her age,” the tailor sing-songed.
“And who would that be?” I asked. The tailor smiled and skipped out of the room. “I like the tailor,” I said to the other Elemental Lords.
“In an intimate way?” Lord Bragor asked.
“No! In a friend way! What the hell, Bragor?!” I said, shocked Lord Bragor would say something like that.
“That makes much more sense,” Lord Bragor said as if he was just informed of something amazing.
“All right. You’re only two years older than her, so tell me: How does she look?” The tailor ushered in Fire Seeker whose face was more ugly than usual.
“You dragged me here. . . for this?” Fire Seeker asked boredly. He sighed and looked at me. “The waist is a little high on her.” With that, he left.
“Why the hell did he leave so quickly?” I rolled my eyes.
“Things aren’t exactly going according to his plan,” Lord Sorak explained.
“What was his plan?” I asked. “Wait. He had a plan?”
Before anyone could answer me, there was a loud noise that rang throughout the house. “Ah! Your dinnertime! Now don’t go messing up these wonderful clothes, you hear? This is my passion and I spent too much time on those clothes for you to mess them up. If you do, I will end you.”
I was suddenly afraid of the tailor. “Right.”
“This is delightfully quiet.” Lord Sorak broke the heavy silence that hung around us at the dinner table. I was sitting relatively next to Fire Seeker.
Except I was about nine feet away from him.
Not far enough.
The table was long enough for all the children from the central slums to sit at it, and have plenty of room still. Lord Sorak and Lord Bragor sat on one side, Fire Seeker and I sat on the other side.
“Don’t jinx it,” Fire Seeker hissed.
“Don’t make me set the tablecloth on fire,” I warned.
“You want me to call over that woman from before?” Fire Seeker raised his eyebrows.
“You two act like children,” Lord Bragor shook his head.
“I most certainly do not,” Fire Seeker said formally, completely not-childlike.
“I most certainly do. I’m not ashamed of it.” I shrugged.
“It’s good to be honest with oneself.” Lord Sorak smiled.
“Oh, delightful, the food has arrived,” Fire Seeker said, irritated. The servers came out with silver platters that looked bigger than my eyes or my stomach. One of the large platters was placed in front of me, and everyone else has theirs in front of them. The servers took off the cover with a flourish and showed the food they had took so long to prepare.
“Delicious,” Lord Bragor praised the chefs.
“It’s tiny.” I looked in disbelief.
“It’s fancy. The taste is worth it,” Lord Sorak said.
“There were there huge platters for this thing?! It’s tinier than my fist!” I yelled.
“Just taste it,” Lord Bragor said.
“But I’ll eat it in one bite! Why the hell do fancy people want to starve themselves?” I looked bewildered at the food.
“It’s considered a great tradition in this land to show self-restraint,” Fire Seeker said.
“Is that a lie?” I asked.
“Yes. I was hoping it would shut you up,” Fire Seeker said dryly. “But nothing ever seems to do that.”
“Damn right,” I said.
“Eat. You’re disgracing the cook by refusing to eat his dish,” Lord Sorak said, cutting a tiny piece of the already tiny food.
“Fine,” I huffed, I was about to pick up the food with my fingers before, and then I heard dowel lady smacking the dowel in her hand. I quickly picked up the fork and knife and sloppily cut at the meat. “Shut up, I’m still learning!” I shouted at Fire Seeker.
“I didn’t say anything,” Fire Seeker was holding back his laughter.
“You said it with your eyes!” I shouted.
“I wasn’t looking at you.”
“Like hell you weren’t!”
“How does it taste?” Lord Sorak cut in.
I bit into the whatever was on the plate. “This is so good! What is this?”
“It is lamb with a bit of a red wine sauce,” Lord Bragor said.
“It’s really good!” I smiled brightly. Fire Seeker seemed to click his tongue at me. “What?”
“Your eating habits are worse than a dog’s.” He shook his head.
“Excuse me, when was the last time you saw a dog holding a fork and knife?” I hissed.
“I’ve seen dogs make less of a mess when they eat,” Fire Seeker snorted.
“I’m going to make a mess out of you with this fork and knife that a dog can’t use!” I shouted waving the fork and knife at him.
“Please calm down,” Lord Sorak said in a really calm manner.
“He said I’m worse than a dog!” I shouted, waving my fork at him.
“Facts are facts.” Fire Seeker shrugged.
“Fire Seeker,” Lord Sorak turned to Fire Seeker.
“What do you have against me?!” I shouted.
“Where do I begin? You’re sloppy, you’re frail, you’re crass, you’re loud, you’re uneducated, you’re a criminal, you’re underdeveloped, your personality is warped, you’re irresponsible, you’re a lunatic, you’re violent, you cause trouble to everyone around you.” Fire Seeker counted off the insults on the same hand over and over.
“I never asked to be here! It was you who dragged me here! It’s your fault, so don’t blame me for being me!” I shouted before stomping out of the room. I paused and came back to shovel the rest of the food inside my mouth, with my hands for good measure. I made direct eye contact with Fire Seeker the entire time before walking out while I licked the sauce off of my hands.
I sat on ‘my’ really big bed, clutching onto a pillow. I was stewing over Fire Seeker’s words. The bath I had before didn’t help. I just made the water boil and made the room way too dangerous for any normal person to enter. Lord Sorak had to come in to control all of the steam so the assistants could finish their job. Lord Sorak then talked to me afterwards, just explaining that Fire Seeker didn’t really mean all of what he said earlier.
There was a knock at the door. I didn’t really feel like getting up so I just shouted. “What?”
The door opened and Lord Sorak poked his head through the door. “Hello.”
“What now?” I groaned.
“Someone wants to apologize,” Lord Sorak said as he stepped into the room. He motioned for the person behind him to do the same.
“Does this someone want to apologize to me because he wants to or he has to because of you told him to?” I asked.
“That’s not the important part,” Lord Sorak smiled. He leaned over and gently pulled, you guessed it, Fire Seeker into the room. He looked so bored.
“I’m sorry I hurt your feelings for stating facts. Good-bye,” Fire Seeker turned his heel and walked out.
“Oh, no you don’t!” I jumped off the bed and sprinted after Fire Seeker. After I caught up to him, we crashed. “Give me an actual apology! I demand an actual apology!”
“Do you?” Fire Seeker raised an eyebrow. He casually pushed me off of him, got up and started to walk away. He paused, then turned around to pick me up. “I’m sorry I’m irritated by your very presence.”
I stared at him. “Yeah, sure let’s go with that.”
“Good night,” he turned around.
“Hope you die in your sleep,” I called back.
“That didn’t end up the way I had hoped,” Lord Sorak commented.