Home Truths

She stormed through the door, slamming it behind her, Crys spinning into the room through the chimney to keep an eye on things.

“You jumped up little trollop. I know what you’re about and it won’t work. I am the leader of the fluffies and you will never be able to take my place.”

Sariya looked at her for a minute, and started howling with laughter. Rosarina stared at her warily, this was not the expected, or in any way normal, reaction.

Eventually she calmed down, took a sip of tea and dabbed her eyes with a napkin, “Why don’t you sit down and explain precisely why the leadership of a group called ‘the fluffies’ could ever be something I would aspire to and why you think I’m in any way interested in doing so.”

Rosarina snorted, “Everyone knows the Crown Prince has to marry the leader of the court ladies who’ve made pets of his dragons.”

Sariya managed, somehow, to not start laughing again, “Everyone except the Crown Prince it would seem. He read the law surrounding the attachment of the dragons to me yesterday when I was having trouble getting to sleep and there is nothing to support that rather interesting claim in any of the texts.”

Rosarina stomped her foot and threw a nearby statuette at Sariya. Mav swooped in, intercepted it and dropped it on Rosarina’s head.

Sariya grew stern. She turned her mother’s best ‘international incident’ look on the spoiled girl. “Sit down.”

Rosarina, much to her own amazement, did.

The look stayed in place as Sariya called Mav to her side.

“Lady Rosarina, you are a grown woman, aspiring to be queen. Behaving like a spoiled toddler is not going to win you the crown. Furthermore, I don’t believe you are capable of fulfilling the requirements of the role. You are too selfish, undisciplined, unladylike and bad mannered to be of any use to a King in need of a co-ruler, diplomat, crisis manager, event organiser, politician and gracious hostess.”

Rosarina opened her mouth, Sariya raised her hand and continued, “If I can see this on mere days of acquaintance. What do you think is the opinion of the King, the Queen and the Prince? Who will together decide who will be the most suitable partner for him to take and share the responsibilities and burdens of the Crown in years to come.”

Sariya stood and walked to the door, opening it wide, “I have nothing more to say to you Lady Rosarina. You are a failure as a lady and would be a failure as a queen. Either learn, or leave.”

Rosarina snarled and went to grab another trinket to throw. Crys swooped on her this time, harrying and snapping around her head until the girl scrambled away and fled into the corridor.

Sariya closed the door, “Well Crys has pretty much shown their hand in no longer being tied to Rosarina.”

Not at all, that’s how it’s always been between those two. Rosarina tries to claim it’s because her dragon is the most high-strung, playful, and intelligent and most likely to be tied to a future queen.”

“She’s even more delusional than I thought.”

Your little chat is the first time anyone other than the King or Queen have taken her to task. And she brushes off their disapproval as signs of their preference for her over the others.”

“I thought you said her father told her off last night.”

“Something of a first as well. They don’t interact much, he’s always been at court, and left her at home with various servants and tutors until she was old enough to come and attempt a dragon-tie so he barely knows her in truth.”

“Her mother?”

Ran away to a convent when the brat was ten.”

 “I shouldn’t laugh.”

I would. Word is the woman has been almost incandescent with happiness ever since the Prioress blocked all access from her former family.”

Sariya choked and Marcus, entering at this opportune moment, helpfully thumped her on the back.

She waved him off, “I’m fine, just catching up on Lady Rosarina’s family situation and feeling rather guilty for being amused.”

“Don’t be. Her mother never should have had children. Never should have married Lord Cragmore in fact, my parents say she was never suited to court life but her parents were ambitious.”

“Sounds familiar.”

“How did it go?”

Aureliana and Genevieve are paranoid, Penelope is resigned and Rosarina is oblivious.”

“That would explain the near-panic of the various fluffy parents and their invasion of the library this morning. Even Lord Cragmore’s noticed.”

“Bet he’s not getting any answers.”

“Probably not. Now come on, I’m taking you out of the palace for a couple of hours. I’ll have you back in plenty of time to get ready but we both need a break from this teacup.”

He grabbed two cloaks, helped her one with one, swung the other around his shoulders and ushered her out of the door. Samuel came to attention.

“Grab an extra layer, we’re going out for a bit. We’ll meet you in the small courtyard and I promise to wait for you.”

Samuel scrambled off and Sariya quirked a brow.

“I’ll feel guilty about him all afternoon if we sneak off.”

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