This is a fun, yet different story...we'll see where it takes me, I stopped writing this story for a little while simply because it was getting rather large and unmanageable, however, as I started looking it over, I realized that I might have the making of a trilogy underway.
This also introduces a new country: Corliander.
Book One: She Who Would Be Queen
Book Two: (Title to be determined but something along the lines of Test of Royalty)
Book Three: Janus Maze (Tentative title)
The whir of the spinning wheels filled the room Laecilia eyed the wool fiber in her hands as it twisted together making the thin yarn that would be dyed and then woven on the looms, or knitted into warm things for the winter.
Glancing up, she saw her mother’s serene face spinning almost without looking as she studied the scripture she had attached to her wheel.
Soon the thump of her father’s loom joined the soft creak and whirl of the wheels with a loud thump, and then a creek as he pressed the pedals to shift the threads, the shuttle made a soft scuttling sound as it whisked over the weaving threads.
The clatter of dishes briskly shoved into the metal basin said that Elisia was upset. Laecilia tried to hide the smile of being released from dish duty and directly back to spinning afternoon family meal.
She’d always envied mother’s ability to not have to do dishes, but sit and look so comfortable at the wheel while she spun wool or linen at her wheel. Much to her chagrin, she discovered that sitting at her wheel wasn’t as comfortable nor as easy as her mother had made it look. How her mother could sit there spinning hour after hour without complaining or the cramping feeling in her back and legs made her wonder. But the fact that her spinning was becoming valuable to the family, valuable enough to keep spinning most of the day, made her secretly gleeful.
Somewhere, she was making a difference…and her difference was making a profit for her family to ease things. In a year maybe she could be making enough spun yarn that her mother could spend more time weaving, and she and Elisia would be spinning most of the day.
Then when things slowed down, perhaps she could learn more about weaving…
Or perhaps…in a year or two, she would be going to her own home, and bringing her own spinning wheel into her home and watch her husband weave…unless she married a tailor.
Biting her lower lip, Laecilia focused on her spinning wheel, it wouldn’t be any good if she couldn’t stop day dreaming.
After the King’s Calling, she would be free to marry who she pleased, though it would take several months, possibly years before that happened…but still, it would happen. In the little-whitewashed church, in her very best dress on a Sunday afternoon after church with their family and friends around them.
There I go again! I really must stop daydreaming.
For several moments she focused on the thread that was before her twisting as she put a gentle rhythm to her wheel with her bare foot pressing the pedal back and forth. The wood was smooth beneath her foot, someday it would be smooth and hold the pattern of her foot’s wear as her mothers did.
She was glad to be spinning wool and not flax the flax needed your fingers to be dipped in water to keep it together as it spun along.
Wool, washed and carted was mostly free from oils but it was soft and fluffy. This must be how clouds feel. She nearly laughed at the thought of their being sky sheep. But really, where did clouds come from? They provided fleeting shade, produced rain and lightning and thunder. It almost seems as if they are made of water…but how could water produce fire and thunder?
Her mind wandered away from subjects that she could not solve back to the thrumming thought of the King’s Call.
The King’s Call is tomorrow…in some ways, it wouldn’t be so much different from a wedding. I’ll put on my best dress, it will be a holiday, Charisa and I will put flowers in each other’s hair, and we’ll go to town and sit in the large assembly with all of the other girls our age in the province. All who will be free to marry whom they please after tomorrow…
“Laecilia,” her mother’s voice broke into her reverie and she jumped slightly, pulling too suddenly on the fiber of the yarn she was creating, it snapped. “Laecilia, your wheel was going too fast.”
“I am sorry mother, I was distracted.”
“You seem very distracted today,” said her mother as her wheel continued to move steadily on. “Are you thinking about tomorrow?”
“I am afraid so, it’s going to make a lovely holiday I think,” she answered rubbing the fibers of the broken end of her yarn to her bit of unspun wool trying to fuse them together.
“Don’t keep any hopes, it’s all rigged you know. People with money, pay for their daughters to get positions in the King’s Call. Besides, you know that isn’t the kind of life we’d want for you. The palace…” her mother’s voice trailed off trying not to say things that weren’t good for young ears…and the rumors she probably shouldn’t have heard.
Laecilia nodded. “I know, I don’t want to be in the King’s calling. But it will be fun just the same, all of the pomp and pretty things, and it will be fun to be with Charisa for a day. It will be like we are little children again.”
Her mother’s mouth moved somehow suggesting that she was still a child, and Laecilia fidgeted uncomfortably. She knew she was still young, but something inside of her hoped that she was growing up, that she was coming into her own, that she could please her family.
“Well, perhaps until instead of focusing on that and breaking your yarn, you could meditate on your verse?”
Laecilia tried not to chafe under the words. Meditation on scripture was all good and right, but it didn’t keep pace with her thoughts—though perhaps it did keep pace with her spinning wheel. Trying to tuck away her thoughts Laecilia tried to focus on the verses that her mother had copied out and placed on the wall beside her spinning wheel. They were words from the prophet Isaiah to the people of Israel.
1 In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.
5 For he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust.
8Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.
Laecilia chose verse three, “Perfect peace….perfect peace…I need perfect peace. I will have perfect peace if I focus on Him.”
Her thoughts started to formulate more quietly, but even as she said her verse over and over and over again, they still bounced with thoughts of tomorrow.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace—there will be all kinds of people to see tomorrow. Whose mind is stayed on thee—I wonder if any of the prince’s will come? Because he trusteth in thee—I am glad the King’s calling is on Saturday, it means I can talk with Charisa about it after church on Sunday. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace—I wonder what the girls who are chosen feel like. Whose mind is stayed on thee—Do they know before hand? Because he truseth in thee—or are they surprised like everyone else, except for the officials?
The spinning hours had ceased, the light in the windows had faded, it would be too dark to spin good wool, at least for her—who still relied much on eyesight to spin well. Her mother could easily spin—Laecilia though probably even in her sleep.
Tucking away her wheel, and setting things in order she started to help Elisia with dinner preparation. Steam was fairly rolling out of her ears.
“Was it a hard day for you?” Laecilia asked quietly.
“You have it so easy sitting primly at your spinning wheel. It’s not fair!” Elisia whispered. “You get to go to the King’s calling, and you get to spin…meanwhile, I have to mind babies and make meals.”
Laecilia wanted to put in that she had bided her time, and that being two years Elisia’s senior she had earned the ability to sit at a spinning wheel, and that it wasn’t all easy prim work, but the look in Elisia’s eyes—she knew that isn’t what she needed to hear. Elisia had just missed the King’s calling day by two weeks, the date was decided by the birth of the youngest “prince”. The cutoff date was two years after the prince’s birthday. Like her—it wasn’t that she wanted to be chosen, but she’d never have the opportunity to go to a King’s calling. To see the grand ceremony and the only glimpse into royal life that people of their station were allowed.
“I am sorry Elisia.”
Elisia looked up wondering if she meant it.
“I’ll do my best to try and remember everything so I can tell you tomorrow night. I wish you were coming…it would be fun if you were coming along.” And she meant it. As much as it would be fun to have Charisa by her side—she realized she’d miss having Elisia there too. Elisia who had always tagged along with them everywhere…she had always been a tagalong but she had always been there and a part of her life, and the sudden realization she had stepped over a threshold that Elisia hasn’t been able to step over as well struck her. It was staggering.
A small smiled crept onto Elisia’s face.
“Soon you’ll have your own spinning wheel and we can spin together.”
“If you don’t get married soon.”
Laecilia smiled. “I am probably a little ways from that yet.”
Elisia’s nose wrinkled. “Haven’t you noticed the way Peter has been looking at you.”
A soft blush crept up her neck and into her cheeks…she had just credited those few glances to her active imagination…but if Elisia had noted them.
Elisia giggled slightly and whispered. “I am not blind.”
“Oh, be quiet,” Laecilia buffeted.
Elisia smiled like an amused cat, and Laecilia had to refrain from tapping Elisia on the head with the spoon in her hand.
“Lia, will you really tell me about tomorrow?”
“Every detail I can remember, and I’ll do my best to bring you something home if I can.”
Elisia’s smile was more than reward enough.
I have to think of others more—Elisia…is not a child anymore and neither am I. It’s not her fault she was born two years and two weeks after the last prince…insipid prince was born too early.
Dinner preparations moved more smoothly than they had in weeks, and Laecilia smiled. She really was growing up.