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Sun rays pricked at Sarabelle’s eyelids, creating bright blotches of uncomfortable light below them. She woke up with a displeased huff. The family housekeeper, Freida, had not closed her curtains completely last night. This will throw off my whole day, she pouted.
Of course, being Sarabelle, she always needed to be in tip-top shape, but today was immeasurably more important than others. Today the convoy from Du Weldenvarden would be arriving. An elf that was transporting the dragon egg in search of its rider. The young girl harbored no dreams of becoming one herself, but rather lavished the opportunity to again meet the handsome young elf, Vanir.
The elf often dropped by as an ambassador of the elves. Her uncle often sent through Vanir gifts and toys, something her father always thought was unnecessary. She had never met her uncle, although she had heard plenty of him through stories and poems. But what else would you expect for the man who killed Galbatorix? Perhaps a theater for a play recounting his journey, Sarabelle thought seriously. One that could fit a thousand nobles.
“Sarabelle, are you really going to sleep the day away?” her older sister called from down the hall. Sarabelle could hear Ismira’s footsteps coming closer to the door, and before she even opened it the elder sister gave a short sigh, seemingly discontent with everything, as she always was.
Ismira was bored and annoyed with everything around her, deeming it insignificant and mindless. She was an intellectual at heart, and a dreamer. Sarabelle had seen her sister’s paintings and almost all of them were of Du Weldenvarden and the magical impressions that still lingered with Ismira after all these years.
Sarabelle always wondered how her sister remembered things from so long ago, especially since her sister had been no more than a tiny baby at the time. Her sister’s answer was always a dreamy sigh and mooning eyes and nothing more, something that irritated Sarabelle like no other.
As Ismira walked into the room, the younger sister felt the prick of familiar jealousy at her sister’s slender form. That was the only way to put it- slender. She had no curves to boast about, but was not so skinny as to have bones jutting out, awkward and lanky. No, instead this perfect form came to her naturally.
Sarabelle didn’t see herself as large, perhaps a bit bigger for her age than other girls, but no unseemly excess adorned her sides either. It was a sore spot for her, but she was plump. The young girl sniffed at her wounded ego, trying not to let it show.
“Sarabelle-“ her sister started, prepared to rouse her sister. “Oh good, you’re up. Breakfast is about to start. Mother wants you down quickly. And please, don’t give them any fuss today!” Ismira departed before Sarabelle could get a word in, so the younger sister merely rolled her eyes and got up.
Ismira was sixteen, only a year older than Sarabelle, but she acted like she had travelled the world and become wise. Walking among the elves when you are a newborn hardly counts.
Freida walked into the room with Sarabelle’s garbs for the day. A brown dress, the color of autumn leaves with white stitching and embroidery. It was a beautiful dress, but today she needed something special to catch the eye of Vanir. “No Freida, that won’t do!” Sarabelle cried. “I need something much more lovely!”
The housemaid flinched at Sarabelle’s distress. “What would you like, miss?”
The young girl thought it over very carefully. “I want my blue silk dress brought out. The one with the white trim.”
Freida nodded, quickly backing out of the room and away.
What does it take to get good help these days? Sarabelle sighed, placing her arm over her forehead in a sign of exasperation. I mean really. Anyone should be able to tell that today is not a day for dreary colors, but a day to stand out above the rest. Something I happen to excel at. Sarabelle smiled brightly at the thought.
She walked over to her dresser, the top of which was adorned with a beautiful pair of lilies, and sat down in the chestnut wood chair. She picked up her silver comb and began to brush gently through her brilliant blonde hair. It was a source of much pride for her, being thick and voluminous, but also easily manipulated into any design she wished. It fell down below her waist in soft layers. She combed at each curl delicately, making sure none were ruined as she went.
After about a hundred strokes she set the comb down and stared at herself in the dresser mirror, lifting her chin and angling her face in multiple directions. She comforted herself with the fact that, while Ismira had been gifted with a slender form, Sarabelle had inherited their mother’s beautiful face.
The drawers creaked as Sarabelle pried one open, lifting out a small blue pot gilled with charcoal and a thin, angled brush. She opened the pot and dipped the brush in a vase full of water, then gently mixed the water and charcoal together. Taking a bit onto the tip of the brush, she sung it along the rim of her lashes, making them appear thicker, and a rubbed the excess off directly onto her lashes, making them appear bolder and darker.
“Miss!” cried Freida, throwing the door open. Sarabelle dropped the brush, momentarily shocked by Freida’s disturbance.
“Do you have the dress?” she demanded.
“Here it is, miss,” the maid replied with a short bow. The old madam was short of breath, and the bowing action only deepened her breathing.
“Put it on the bed, and then you are dismissed.” Sarabelle hated the harsh noises coming from Freida’s old lungs. It reminded her of pieces of parchment being crinkled over and over
“Thank you, miss.” Freida placed the dress on her bed and strode out of the room with rapid steps. As she closed the door, Sarabelle heard a depressing sigh.
What a sour, old prune, she thought nastily. Father really ought to get somebody younger. Someone who can keep up.
When Sarabelle had finally gotten ready and made her way to the dining room her family, minus her father Roran who had left to meet Vanir, was already sitting and prepared to eat. On the table before them were platters of fine meats, prepared by the town butcher the day before, and a large array of fruits and vegetables from their own garden.
“Good of you to join us, Sarabelle,” Eridor smirked. The youngest of the siblings was already munching into his food, unwilling to wait for her.
“I had a few wardrobe problems.” Sarabelle glared around for Freida, but the old lady was nowhere to be found. Typical.
“The poor princess had a wardrobe problem,” Eridor mocked with a cold, hard laugh. The boy was no more than twelve, but he already had the wit, sarcasm, and demeanor of an overworked aging man.
“Eridor, Sarabelle, please, let it go,” their mother, Katrina, barked.
“A princess must always look her best,” Sarabelle replied with a smirk. Her family wasn’t truly royalty, but aside from Queen Nasuada and the House of Sephocles, they were about as close as it got. Her father Roran was cousin to the Leader of the Dragon Riders, and as if that wasn’t enough he had also played a huge role in defeating Galbatorix. Although now Sarabelle thought of Roran as more of an old diplomat, he was still a hero. After the defeat of Galbatorix, her father had been given gold and land, and even bestowed a family crest and name- The Stronghammers.
It seemed to Sarabelle that the duty of upholding that name would fall to her someday, perhaps her brother too, if he shaped up. Her mother and father seemed content with their place, but Sarabelle had eyes for a great Kingdom, one sworn to Queen Nasuada, of course, with herself as a princess of sorts. The life she lived now was great, but Sarabelle knew there was better.
Katrina let out a soft groan. “Children, your father will be back soon. Stop bickering!”
Sarabelle quieted down. Her mother could be pushed to a point, but after that anyone near to her would regret it dearly.
“When will he be back?” Ismira asked in an even tone. She nibbled lightly at a juicy red apple in
Her hand. Sarabelle grabbed one and did the same. She had taken up the habit of eating like her sister, in the hopes of attaining a similar figure.
“Soon,” their mother replied with a sigh, already worn out. “He had to rush out since the elves are arriving earlier than expected.”
Sarabelle’s heart raced. Vanir intrigued her, more so than the other elves she had met over the years. They were all strange and foreign, but always polite and interested in whatever anyone had to say. Each managed to bring up strong visceral reactions out of anyone who met them. Vanir was different, at least to Sarabelle.
He was diplomatic, of course, but his eyes carried a lightness in them, and were always genuinely intrigued by others. He recounted stories of grand legends and wild tales, something she could never get from the other tight lipped elves. Vanir was different. Vanir was spectacular.
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