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Thread: Preparing for the Inevitable [Backdated - 8-18-217, Morning Before the Coronation, Nataliah and Tatianna]

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    House Shellten Nataliah's Avatar  

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    Preparing for the Inevitable [Backdated - 8-18-217, Morning Before the Coronation, Nataliah and Tatianna]

    The day had finally come. Nataliah was not entirely sure she was ready to face it, not that she was at all sorry to see Luther's end. With everything that she - and the entire country - had endured at his hands, it was doubtful anyone would truly mourn his demise. No, the thing which haunted Nataliah about the ceremony today was not that Luther would be dying, but the way in which he would be killed. He would be taking the place traditionally reserved for the youngest female sibling, and it was his blood which would legitimize Lochlan's reign. It was his blood which would soak the ground and buy the blessings of the gods for the coming rule. And it was his blood which very well could have been hers, had things been different.

    But she wasn't the only one who had been slated for that destiny. Tatianna had, up until Lochlan's decree, been the chosen one. The innocent girl, sheltered her whole life and then dragged through a war, now faced a future full of choice. Nataliah remembered how scary it had been when she had faced the world outside of Silesia, when Tatianna's birth meant the honor of sacrifice passed from her shoulders. Tatianna had lived much longer in the seclusion and security of the holy city; Nat could only imagine that it made the unexpected transition exponentially harder.

    It had only seemed fitting that the girls, united in their perspective of the ceremony, prepare for it together. And so it had been, that early in the morning as everyone made to prepare, Nataliah had gone from her own chambers with a bundle in her arms, a maid following close behind with the beautiful gown she would wear draped over her arms. Tatianna's door was only two doors down, and the one between was a sitting room the siblings shared. It was there that the sisters were to meet, to get dressed up for the ceremony that would be beginning in a few hours.

    Seeing that she'd beaten her little sister, Nat unpacked the bundle she'd carried over from her room. A comb, hairpins, a few small jewelry cases, her cosmetics; soon they were all arranged on the table, and the dress laid out across the couch so it wouldn't wrinkle. The only thing to do now was to wait for Tatianna.
    Last edited by Amy; 02-20-2014 at 10:42 AM.

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Waking on the day of Lochlan's coronation, Tatianna didn't leap out of bed. Instead, she lay among her pillows, staring up at the canopy trying to grip all of the changes that had come. She was not to be the Sacrifice today. Her life was not ending for the good of their country and its people, ensuring prosperity. She had been spared that fate, one she had been prepared for all of her life. Instead, it was to be Luther whose blood would flow at the new King's decree. Her life had been completely altered in that one single decision.

    Knowing Nataliah was waiting for her, she made herself rise to begin preparing for their brother's coronation. Tatianna was no longer the chosen one, but a Princess of Silesia, with all of the opportunities, choices and bewilderment that the role brought. She was overwhelmed by it, just as much as she had been the day Lochlan took her from the Temple. She did not say much as her own maid bustled in to fetch her gown and slippers, and the other items she needed, allowing the woman to hurry her into the sitting room.

    Nataliah had been where she was in every way. Trained to be sacrificed, prepared for it, then it was taken from her. The chance to dress together would hopefully give her a chance to talk to her sister and learn how Nataliah coped with all of the changes. How had she known what to do, who to be? What would Tatianna have to do for the good of Silesia? She didn't mind admitting to Nat that she was frightened to her marrow. So many choices she hadn't had to face spread before her now, beckoning and taunting. What if she made the wrong choice?

    Tatianna got a grip on her mind and racing heart. No-one expected her to adjust over-night, surely. There was time, and Lochlan was nothing if not kind and understanding. Nataliah would have some wisdom for her. She just had to ask for it, and to remember that what happened was for a reason. She only had to wait and learn what that reason was.

    Stepping into the sitting room, she was once more struck by how beautiful her sister was. How poised, elegant and refined. If Nataliah could do it, well... then maybe Tianna could too. A smile greeted her sister as she saw the spread of items, both Nat's and hers. It could be fun being a princess, right? "Good morning, sister! What a beautiful gown!"
    Last edited by Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun; 02-20-2014 at 08:09 PM.

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    House Shellten Nataliah's Avatar  

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    Nataliah looked up when she heard her sister enter, a smile on her face. "Good morning!" She moved to give Tatianna a hug, as the maids set to laying the other gown next to hers. "Isn't it lovely? I can claim no credit, of course...oh, but yours is wonderful, too!" She took in the sight of the two gowns side by side, and only dreaded a little the amount of time it would take them to actually put them on. Why royal gowns were composed of so many layers she would never understand, but it was a thing she'd gotten used to. At least with her figure, she didn't need the corsetry that fuller-figured women required.

    "Breakfast should be here soon, before we have to get strapped in," she said with a bit of laughter in her voice, knowing full well that Tatianna was probably just as unimpressed with the process of dressing like a royal as she had been. But this was about more than just getting dressed for the coronation. "How are you holding up?"

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Tatianna gladly hugged her sister, comforted by Nataliah's presence. She could face this bravely, since Nataliah had to do the same once upon a time. Looking over at their gowns, she thought they were hideously confining and too heavy, but they were certainly gorgeous. "I think they look at us like dolls to dress, not people. But you will look lovely, that's what matters." She hated the rare occasions when she was laced into a corset, but that wasn't today, thankfully. The coronation would be hard enough without adding a corset to the discomfort.

    "Strapped in is right," a giggle rang out. Dressing like a royal wasn't a pleasure, it was work! "When it takes both our maids to put these silly things on? Indeed." The next question made Tianna go sober and sigh. "I'm... trying. I feel so overwhelmed with all of the changes and I don't think I understand any of it or why. How did you do it?" It was a fair question, she thought. Nataliah had been in her shoes and walked this path before her. If her sister had any advice, she'd welcome it.

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    House Shellten Nataliah's Avatar  

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    A smirk came to her face as her sister's distaste for their heavy formal gowns let slip. "I think it is a bit like that," she agreed. "For functions like this we're ideals, not really people. Symbols of our house, dressed in a show of wealth and power." She remembered keenly hating it when she'd first had to dress like a royal, and it had taken her ages to finally get the seamstresses to stop trying to dress her in the most feminine designs possible. Now, thankfully, the shapes were more to her taste, even if it was still much fancier than she would have preferred. "We'll have to work on getting you a formal wardrobe that's more suited to you. It's a bit of a process, but worth it in the end. Every little scrap of comfort counts."

    Nataliah saw in her sister many of the things she had felt herself all those years ago. "I did it slowly," she said, reaching out and taking Tatianna's hand, squeezing lightly. "Although I didn't have it nearly as difficult as you, having to make your way through this upheaval." She truly was sympathetic to her sister's plight. Not only did Tatianna have to be dragged through this war and now be thrust out into the spotlight at its end, but she was now much older than Nat had been when freedom had been thrust upon her. It was more acceptable for a child to be lost and bewildered, but she was resolved to do her level best to make sure her sister got through everything as well as she could.

    A simple breakfast arrived, and Nat picked up a small orange, peeling it with her fingers as its aroma filled the space. "It's alright to feel as you do, but try to remember that nobody's expecting you to adjust instantly. You know you can ask me anything, no matter how trivial it may seem." That is, until she left. Nat's betrothal to the Tuneric king meant she was bound to leave Balfour, and she could only hope that she could provide enough help to Tatianna in the time that remained.

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Tatianna's eyes were wide, thinking about how much she would be on display. She had not been prepared for any of this, and to know there would be plenty of people coming to look at her, to see her as that representative of Farrand-Calhoun and Balfour was more than some-what intimidating. She swallowed hard, going a little pale, nodding at Nat's suggestion to find clothing that was less likely to make her feel like a doll dressed up.

    Her fingers were cold as they gripped her sister's like a life-line, but she was glad to have Nataliah there. They might have been different ages when they were plucked out of the Temple, but the feelings were the same. Lost, frightened, confused, stunned. The list of reactions was so very long that retiring at night was a relief for Tatianna. It was the time she felt safe and herself, away from all the mistakes she was sure she made every day. She hadn't been raised to be a Princess! "I... I'm trying to take each day, one at a time. I feel like I am racing to catch up to a life that is miles ahead of me, and if I don't hurry, I will never catch it."

    Food didn't really hold any appeal right now, but she did pour some tea, wanting the heat from the cup to seep into her hands. "My head knows that," she confessed, blushing, "but sometimes I feel like I should just be able to handle it all. And..." Tatianna looked down. "I know you will have to go to Tuneric. So I will ask my questions, but I also have to learn to stand on my own. I... for all I know, when he is ready, Lochlan will betroth me as well." It was a very real possibility, she knew. Kings and countries needed friends, allies, and treaties.

    Picking up the honey, Tatianna liberally added some to her cup. "Are you... okay with this betrothal of yours?"

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    House Shellten Nataliah's Avatar  

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    Nataliah remembered the feeling well. She'd felt like she was leagues behind her peers, and in the most basic of ways. It had seemed like she'd never catch up. But she had, and she was confident that, with time, Tatianna would find her place, too. She only wished she could impart some of her confidence to her little sister. And as much as she wished Tatianna would simply ask if she had a question, she did understand the need for independence. She was proud, in a way, that she had recognized that on her own, and it seemed like she was striking a balance between figuring things out on her own and seeking assistance. It only made her confidence in Tatianna's future grow.

    At the thought that Lochlan would wed his little sister off any time soon, though, Nataliah bristled like a mother cat whose kitten was just threatened. "He wouldn't dare," she said, her words carrying a promise that she was going to make sure of that herself. "He will wait until you're ready, and he will give you as much a say as he can. He always told me that if he could, he would have promised me that, and I'm sure he will extend the same to you."

    She thought, for a moment, of telling her sister the same lines she'd been telling herself. But in the end, honesty was more important, and although she had a confidante in Lochlan, there were some things that only another woman might understand. "Yes and no." She looked away for a moment, setting the peel from her orange aside. "It will be good to have such a strong alliance with the other nation. And Cailen is a good man, and I can easily see myself growing to love him." It was obvious there was something else, though, and after a small hesitation she let the other shoe fall. "But I...I never considered a future where I would be leaving Balfour. This place is home, it defines me in so many ways. Everything I've ever known, everyone I love...I know it's not impossible to come home, but I know well enough how little free time a a king or queen is afforded, and it's a two week journey if the seas are kind." She looked for a brief moment the most vulnerable she had in a long time. "The distance terrifies me."

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Tatianna wanted to believe Nataliah, that Lochlan would give her the same promise he had given to their sister. Nataliah knew Lochlan much better then she did, so surely she would be able to determine what was true and what was possible. "I hope so. I... I fear I would be a detriment to any alliance he hopes to make with the way I am now. But perhaps our brother will be able to spend some time with me once he has the crown." Her thoughts drifted to Luther, not sure what to think about their brother, chosen for sacrifice on this, Lochlan's coronation. She bit her lower lip, but stiffened her spine. It would be what it would be. She could take one day at a time.

    It was hard to think of Nataliah going so far away with a man that was another King. Tatianna, already so used to being afraid, was even more frightened for letting her sister, the one who understood her, go so far. But it was decided and from what she had been able to notice of King Cailen, he was a good man, a man who didn't let his crown make him superior or arrogant. She liked the way he smiled. It was a good sign, and hearing her sister made her relax a little. If Nataliah could find love with Cailen, then her sister could be happy. That was all Tianna wanted for Nat.

    "It is frightening to think of, but you are always very brave, Nataliah." She smiled at her sister. "And you will show the King's people that the people of Balfour are wonderful, generous, intelligent and gracious. It is a great thing you are about to do. I am very proud of you... and perhaps I will get to come visit you often?"

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    House Shellten Nataliah's Avatar  

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    "He's told me he's greatly looking forward to getting to know you better, and to helping you find your feet." Nataliah had spoken with Lochlan more than once about Tatianna as part of an attempt to come to terms with all the changes that they'd all been through, and she was confident that Lochlan would be as good to Tianna as he had been to her. "It will be better once all this is over and we can all go back to a state of relative normal." This war, the conflict, everything with Luther...it had strained things so much that none of them were quite the people they were when stress levels were lower. Nat genuinely hoped that, although she wouldn't be here for it, when some time had passed everyone could go back to focusing on being a family again.

    With a bit of a resigned sigh, Nat cast a glance over to the dresses and the piles of underpinnings. It couldn't be put off forever, and so she cleaned the orange oil from her fingers and went over to perch on the edge of the couch to begin to pull on the stockings that would form the first layer. "We're going to absolutely boil in these," she grumbled, pulling the thin knit over one leg and fastening it to the belt which would help them stay up.

    She smiled, taking her sister's confident words and locking them away to use later when she needed them. "I only hope I can be a proper representative, and do my people and my home justice." Her nerves shone through a bit; the Balfourian reputation on Tuneric was not the best, considering how they'd first interacted, but hopefully the relations between the two kings would help. Her position when they returned, both as queen and as representative of Balfour, meant a lot of weight would be on her shoulders. She could only hope she could pull it off.

    "I would love to have you come visit! As often as you'd like, although the journey there and back is tediously long."

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    An almost shy smile crossed her face, hearing that. If Lochlan was willing to help her, to get to know her, then she would be okay. Tatianna was going to hang onto that as a token of hope. "I'd like that too. I know he has been very busy with preparing for the coronation, and... other things." That was as subtle as she could be in mentioning their brother's efforts to start cleaning up after Luther. "It will be nice to... get back to normal. Not that I'm sure what normal is," she smiled weakly, but trying to make a jest. The thought of normal reminded her that Nat would be leaving soon too, something Tianna wasn't too sure she was ready for.

    She made a face at the pile of clothing they were expected to put on, but followed Nat's lead as she traded robe and nightgown for shift, then sat down to deal with stockings. "Of course we will, but we'll look pretty doing it, I suppose." It was ridiculous, how much clothing that a lady was intended to put in the name of propriety and modesty. And one thing Tianna was definitely going to miss about the Temple! Maybe she could persuade Jacquelyn to set a new fashion for lighter clothing!

    Her head lifted, hearing the nerves in her sister's voice and she met Nat's eyes. "You will show them that Balfour is made of good, honorable and kind people, Nataliah. We're not so different from those in Tuneric, but strangers aren't always seen that way, I know. But you can do this, and I know you will excel at it." One stocking in place, she tugged on the other with another face made at the knitted lace. "You know I would travel long and far to be with you. But we will see what Lochlan's plans are for me as well."

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    House Shellten Nataliah's Avatar  

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    "Pretty is overrated," the princess muttered, albeit in a good-natured way. Stockings on, Nataliah stood to pull on one skirt, followed by a corset. Fastening it in the front, she wrapped the long laces that came from the back around her hands, tugging on them slowly. She found if the constriction was gradual, it wasn't nearly so bad. "You know, I never wear these things if I don't have to. I mean, there's hardly a point with a shape like mine...there's only so much to push around, and even then the outcome is a bit underwhelming." She smirked, looking down at the modest amount of curve she'd gained. It was true that Nataliah wasn't a woman who bore an overly feminine figure; while she had a pleasing curve from waist to hip, she was slight of build, and her chest, even with a corset, wasn't really that impressive.

    Bending over at the hip to settle things properly, Nataliah handed off the laces to be tied by one of the maids, her hands on her hips as she adjusted to the way she now had to breathe. "Normal is much more quiet, that's for sure. Langston might go off traveling, as he's sometimes wont to do. Lochlan will be busy with his work, but he takes fairly frequent breaks, and he never minds an interruption. He'll practice in the yard a lot - that's something he and I used to do." She thought fondly on the times she and Lochlan would meet in the practice ring, her two swords to his one. He'd beat her nearly every time, but she'd always learn something. "That's something he might suggest you learn, actually, is some weapon style or another. He started teaching me as a way to spend time together, although everyone agreed that having a way to defend myself if I needed it was a good thing, too." She paused. "Of course, he won't press you to, if it's not something you want to do. That is, after all, what our guards are for."

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Tatianna hated the corset as much as Nataliah did, feeling like she couldn't move or breathe when she was laced into it, but she was coming to understand that pretty meant discomfort. "You're pretty without all of this, Nataliah. It just... enhances your prettiness." Teasing her sister as the maids moved around them layering on the items that made up their ensembles, she smiled as she saw her sister trying to adjust to the discomfort that came from royal attire. "Besides, you'll stun King Cailen with how lovely you are today, and leave him speechless for days." She had to wonder what it would be like to have that effect on someone, maybe some-day she would find out. That day wasn't today, though!

    "I like quiet," agreeing with Nat, Tatianna gave a few wiggles and bends until the corset sat correctly, a quick twist of her hips to settle the skirt into place. Her figure was slightly more generous, but every woman had to adjust to the cage of constriction, she knew. "Maybe Lochlan will let me travel with Langston? There is so much I have to learn and want to see, and surely it would be a good way to learn?" Her head lifted to stare at her sister when Nat suggested that she think of taking up a weapon. "I... I would be more afraid of hurting myself, but would someone really ever want to hurt us?" True, after what Luther had done, she had a feeling it was possible, but hearing it from Nat was truth and always gave her something to think about.

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    House Shellten Nataliah's Avatar  

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    "Langston can be a...tricky traveling companion," thought Nataliah out loud, her words pausing as she continued to shift and fuss with how her corset settled. There was just no denying it: these things were made for women with more softness than she. It was forever and always poking her somewhere, pinching her waist in to give the illusion of more curve than she had. "But I think you'd love seeing the country. Especially if you can travel somewhat freely, without it being an official thing. People always polish and shine and behave when a royal comes through on official business, but that's not the best way to see what things are really like." And the one among the siblings who seemed to have the easiest time moving through the world without his title getting in the way was certainly Langston. Nataliah had always sort of envied him that.

    Although she was loathe to reveal an unpleasant truth to Tianna, Nataliah nodded solemnly. "There aren't many, but there are some very bad people out in the world." She raised her arms as a skirt was pulled over her head, and held them awkwardly out of the way as the maids went about fastening and settling the foundation layer of the grand dress. "I've never come to harm, and our guards are very good, so it's not a necessary thing. But it's an option to think about." The skirt settled on her waist, Nat stepped out of reach of the maids for a minute and walked a few paces, adjusting to the new restriction and weight. "Self-defense aside, I found learning the swords to be sort of a relaxing thing...almost like studying had been in the temple. And it was something to put my mind to, when I got overwhelmed with everything else."

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Standing still as a statue while the maid tugged and pulled at the corset to a fashionable silhouette, Tianna listened to her sister. Langston was still in some ways a stranger to her. He didn't like the Temple much, or so she thought he'd said, so he didn't come to visit. Not like Lochlan had. She didn't hold it against her brother, it was not a place for everyone, she knew. "Maybe I will ask if he minds me tagging along on some of his trips." Her brother certainly had itchy feet, seldom in Silesia for very long before he was off to another place! "Besides, Nat, I'm hardly official and I don't come across as royal. I'm always afraid now I'll do something to embarrass all of you because I don't know what I'm doing." She smiled as she said it this time. "I should probably ask Lochlan for a tutor or some such."

    The mention of bad people sobered her up, though. The maid worked her way around the taller sister, tying and lacing and draping the fine gown on her body in anticipation of the ceremony to come. It hung like a weight on her, but she had room to sigh. "I know there are, and that I'm... vulnerable, I suppose. You're probably right, but who do I ask to teach me these things?" So many questions, Tatianna was probably driving her sister insane with all of them, trusting to Nat to have all the answers she wanted.

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    House Shellten Nataliah's Avatar  

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    Despite the impatient looks on the maids' faces, Nataliah stayed out of their grip for a few moments longer, hands on her hips and spine straight as she adjusted her breathing to be higher. "If you ask him sweetly I bet he won't turn you down." The picture of Tatianna traveling with Langston was an amusing one in Nataliah's head, since their brother was usually something of a loner, but she did have faith that it could work out. At the very least it would be a learning experience for the both of them. "Langston can be surly sometimes, but he's got a good heart. He'd certainly show you Balfour from a different perspective!" Langston had something of a reputation for being the least willing prince, but Nataliah could hardly hold that against him. Although he'd remained a mystery for longer than her other family members, she truly did love him, even if she was a little jealous at his freedom sometimes.

    Finally Nat couldn't delay any longer, and she resubmitted herself to the fussing of the maids. Her overdress was pulled on, down over her head, and while one maid worked at the lacing on the back, the other fixed how the skirt lay over the other layers. Nataliah adjusted the sleeves, tugging carefully at the fine fabric and shifting her shoulders a little as she felt the fabric close in around her. "Lochlan could teach you, depending on what you choose. He's the one who taught me, and he's got a good amount of skill with different styles and things." Practicing with Lochlan would be one of the things Nataliah thought she would miss the most, when she left Balfour. "Sit in on one of his practice sessions. He used to let me watch, before I got interested in learning. Aside from just being an interesting thing to see, it might be a good way to see if it's something you'd be keen to try."

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Langston was definitely different from Lochlan, that much was for sure. Tatianna decided it needed to be thought over before she made any kind of choice about traveling with their brother. Standing still as a doll while the maids laced, fluffed and prodded her into the image of an appropriate princess of Balfour, she looked over at her sister. "It's early for such decisions, and if he doesn't even want me to go along, it's kind of moot, don't you think, Nataliah?" Time enough to see how Langston really felt about having a little sister tag along with him when he left Silesia. Today was challenging enough to face.

    She nodded to what Nat said of Lochlan, though she had her doubts that her brother wanted her around that much either, but time would tell. "I will give that a try, since it would be a good idea to learn some means. As you've said, no-one is so completely safe that they can afford to be ignorant." Uncomfortable with the topic, Tianna waved off the maid and sighed as she studied her reflection. This was as good as it was going to get. Making way so Nat could view herself, she wished she looked like Nat. Maybe with some practice.

    "Shall we go?"

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    House Shellten Nataliah's Avatar  

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    Her sister made good points, and Nataliah agreed. "There's certainly no hurry. It may seem hard to believe with everything that's happened lately, but most of the time life is much, much quieter. This will hopefully bring some of that quiet back, and then there will be time to get used to things and see in which directions you'd like to stretch." As a princess, Tatianna's life would be both more controlled than a normal noble's, and also much freer. True, she had to move within the construct of the royal family, keep guards with her and be present for events, but she also had access to many avenues down which her attention could be diverted. It was only a case of finding what fit her best.

    Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of pulling and pinching and tugging knots out of her hair, the maids stepped back and allowed Nataliah her freedom. She felt like she was in a full-body splint, as mobile as a porcelain doll and just as done up, but it was all for the glory of the crown and the family name. Coming to stand beside Tatianna in front of the mirror, she did have to admit that the effect was nice. Two perfectly matching, perfectly blonde princesses. They would certainly be a sight when they walked out on that stage and stood in line with Langston. Smiling at the sight of her little sister, a woman she was so used to seeing in the simple clothes of the temple, Nataliah remembered something and stepped away for a moment. When she returned, she came up behind her sister, reaching around to lay a necklace against her chest. It was a simple thing, a gold chain with a pendant of small cut rubies in the shape of a fleur-de-lis, a clever interpretation of their family's crest. Clasping the chain, she stepped back to Tianna's side, nodding approval at the sight of the two of them.

    "Yes, I think we must. I'm surprised Lochlan hasn't sent someone in here yet to hurry us along." Taking Tianna's hand, she led the way out of the comfort of the parlor. The halls were buzzing with activity, but Nataliah tried to keep calm as she kept a firm grip on her sister's hand, and together the two princesses made their way toward the place they were to meet with the rest of the family.

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