A Disturbing Renaming
Bast hardly noticed when Rhyers left focusing on the trail of memories leading to today’s events.
In the rented Town House, only a particularly brave lady’s maid, Libby, had dressed Serenade and Wrenny. Even bold enough to offer advice on piling Serenade’s pretty silver tresses atop her head. “Most of the maids fear ye Mum. Especially after you near took Susan’s head off last syenite.” The maid explained why she was the only one willing to tend Serenade.
“That was her doing.” Serenade grumbled.
“I’m not afraid. Just careful.” Libby plaited Serenade’s hair as the valkyrie watched in the looking glass. Careful to not tug this terrifying woman’s tresses as Susan had done. “Yer so beautiful Mum. Ye could make men bow to yer wishes. Men wouldna be able to resist ye!”
Serenade reflexively caught the girl’s wrist in an iron grip. “Am I not already irresistible?”
Libby nervously shuffled. “Not to these men, Me Lady.” She shook her head. “Ye’re breathtaking ’nuff miss. But to these jaded jacks ye’re just ’nother lovey maiden among the many thrown at ’em by money hungry mamas.” Libby adjusted the metal plate of vines holding her hair in place. The headcover common for LandingTown servants.
“How would I…do…that?” She adjusted in her seat. “Blend?”
“Make eye contact with one, touch ‘im light. Laugh soft, Miss. He’ll find ye delkit and charmin’.”
“Delicate?” Serenade nearly choked.
Libby swallowed hard and ducked behind Serenade to evade the other woman’s reflective stare. “Another thing Mum, ye may wish yer name less odd...” Libby said hesitantly. “If ye wanna blend…”
“You think my name odd?” Serenade’s voice turned condescending.
Libby bit her cheek, prolonging her hesitation.
“Name me then.” Serenade directed. Staring at Libby in the mirror.
Libby froze, hairbrush aloft. “I never named some ’un afore...” Fumbling with the brush she piled the shining tresses atop Serenade’s head, chewing her cheek.
“Had ye been me child-”
“I was never anyone’s child.” Serenade snapped.
Libby eyed the shimmering strands of hair slipping over her palm like fine satin. Letting them move more slowly as her eyes rolled upward and her body jerked minutely as she tapped into the energy pulsing in the other woman. Finally, she breathlessly murmured. “With hair such as this, I’d ’ave called ye Elsabet, My Lady.”
Serenade tipped her head to eye the girl. Lips tight as she decided.
“If ye were ta wear tha’ purple dress, Mum ’twill sure make yer perty eyes pop, Mum.”
Libby laid the lavender dress on the bed positioning the arms out with careful precision before stepping away.
Watching as the dress lifted and floated over Serenade’s head, Libby murmured. “Many times as I ’ave saw that, Mum, I never get used to it.”
Serenade didn’t respond.
“My ye are a sight miss. An enchantress or the like.” She was awestruck.
“If you say.” Elsabet nodded over her shoulder.
“That ye’re unawares, will have them all awhirl, Mum.”
Libby carefully tightened the laces, cinching the fitted dress around the petite woman. “My Lady?” Libby queried as the woman abruptly spun to exit the room.
“Call me Elsabet.” Serenade commanded.
The maid gave a dark smile as she watched Elsabet leave. Eyes lighting with pleasure.
Why that name? The valkyrie wondered but refused to think about it further. Elsabet headed down the corridor and Wrenny fell in line beside her.
“Elsabet?” Wrenny asked catching the end of the conversation from the hall.
“I thought you were done with that name.”
“As did I.” Elsabet said sharply.
“No one has called you that since…”
“Yes.” Elsabet cut the other girl off and bit down the memories it invoked.
Sebastian in his lair, was sorely disappointed she refused to indulge in them. She should. I’d be curious to know why that name has such significance. And how the maid knew it. Bast’s leg swung over the armrest as he enjoyed the memories she rehashed.
Elsabet waved away assistance to climb in the coach.
Wrenny quietly eyed her. Clearly wanting to say more about the name but refraining.
Elsabet settled on the task at hand. Their mission. Once accomplished they could return home…To the valkyrie tree. She gave a guttural sigh at the blissful thought.
Valkyrie Tree? Hmm…Bast mused. His leg swinging over the armrest thoughtfully.
Tamarin Hall, Mane Country
The women traveled the short distance across the Igonox Realm Border into Mane Country to reach Tamarin Hall.
After arriving, they refused escort as they entered the ball. Ignoring the butler and barely relinquishing their wraps to a nervous footman.
Gentlemen slowed to stare at them.
Sparking Elsabet’s annoyance. She fought heat flooding her eyes. Knowing it’d bleed them red. Crossing the archway, she reached the chairs against the wall.
Wrenny took one.
One Lord ran a hand along Elsabet’s arm. “Name is Bodin Rhyers, My Lady. Care to dance?”
Ah, yes. I’d forgotten I saw Rhyers make that move. Bast’s face brightened. Set on teasing the hypocrite later.
A hiss escaped her throat as she looked at Rhyers. Light dimmed in the ballroom before brightening a moment later.
Rhyers backed away slowly, face darkening before he turned and left. To break it to Deragan Cimmerii may be here. Bast recalled seeing them lurking in the corner of the room. Overhearing Rhyers briefing the Captain and Raese Whiting in the corner.
Deragan’s blue eyes lifted to the pretty blonde, narrowing.
Even then Bast had looked across the room following the Captain’s gaze and thinking. He’ll kill her if he thinks she’s a threat.
Elsabet disappeared into the crowd. Her attention averted to the dancing couples.
At first, she couldn’t discern him in the crowd. Her vision zoomed in on men’s clothing. Looking for the glinting chain.
Then she’d seen me. Bast of the present, stared at the ceiling thoughtfully.
She noticed the two men, nearly a head taller than most, winding gracefully through the crowd. Her gold-haired target and a black-haired man of similar height and breadth.
Chavias and I.