Make Belief Studios ~

February 8, 2008

chapter 02

Filed under: 02, Gilded Providence, Story, WIP — Tags: , , , — Saturday @ 11:34 am

I followed closely behind the little old lady, my arm still tight in her clutches. We walked briskly along the pale, broad sidewalks of the castle courtyard. It was a stark comparison to the rich greens which spread from the ground to the castle walls and the brightly colored murals hanging from the high windows of the towers. The courtyard was fairly busy but no one paid real attention to us. An old lady mutilating a young girls posture whilst trekking through a castle courtyard.

A couple people tipped their hats or said “Good afternoon Ms. Maraulen” as we passed. The lady tow truck gave a hefty nod to each of them as she hauled me to the castle door step.

We burst through the castle doors and a throng of maids and butlers greeted us with bows and smiles. I caught a glimpse of various nobles browsing the shelves behind the greeting party, thinking they were in some kind of library, as we quickly sped by them and the lady dragged me up several flights of stairs. I was astounded this old bag could move as swiftly as she did. Especially up the stairs. Especially with her short legs. I was in a huff by the time we reached the desired floor and suddenly thrust to the left, trotting down a corridor to a far off room which she threw me into and closed the door behind us.

“Umm…” I quietly pleaded for an explanation.
“I’m sorry for the rush,” the lady said as she shook off her brown jacket and peeled off a pink transparent scarf. Underneath, she wore an exquisitely elegant pale red dress, with frills and everything, strangely covered by a rather dirty off-white apron. “but I like to work as fast as I can once I find my inspiration!”
“Okay?” I mustered, confused. The old lady walked over to a sewing machine in the middle of the room and from a drawer in the table which it sat she materialized a roll of measuring tape. She immediately buzzed back over to me with the tape unraveled and proceeded to wrap me up in it. She wrapped it around my chest, waist, hips, and I tried to ignore the strangling sensation by looking around the room.

The room was plain with stone walls and wood floors but it was filled with rolls of fabric and balls of thread. A closet along the wall was bursting with felts and other materials and the large window across from the door had at least a half a dozen curtains laced around it.

“Just as I thought,” the lady finally spoke, “you’re about the same size as him!”
“Him?” I exclaimed. What was she trying to say about my figure?
“Yes,” she said, “the young prince. You have about the same build as him. Quite a bit taller I’d say, but I can make up for that. It’s the width I was having trouble with.”
“Prince?! How old is he?”
“Going on 10 years I do believe, if I’m right about anything. Well, technically he’s king, but he’s still Prince to me. He can’t sit still long enough for me to do a decent tailoring! And the guards are too scared to hold him down, honestly. I have authority in matters of his care, but they won’t dare raise a finger against him for fear of a decapitation order.”
Something’s frighteningly wrong with this kingdom.

The old lady quickly whisked the measuring tape from my body and hurried over to the cabinet. She pulled out some shiny black articles and gave them to me.
“Put these on,” she ordered.
“But-” I hesitated, seeing how there wasn’t even a curtain for changing behind.
“Stop being a little sissy and put them on!” Under the intimidation, I quickly turned around and replaced my clothes with the ones she had given me. “That’s better! Now hold still!” She pulled a needle, thread, and a set of scissors from the pockets in her apron and began to outline the edges of my body with her fingers.

The clothes the lady had given me were pieces of an all black suit. It was much too big for me. I didn’t understand how it was supposed to be tailored for a young boy.
“Now then,” the lady said as she fingered some folds in my pant leg, “where in the world did you get a capsule of Royal Honey?”
“It was a gift. From a friend I met in the forest.”
“Oh?” the lady pulled a couple of pins from her cloud of hair. “The forest outside of town? How’d you meet him?”
Does everybody around here think a place with a castle is merely a town?
“I was lost and he invited me into his home. Ow!” a pin pricked my leg.
“Sorry. How long did you stay with him?”
“A little over a month. OW!”
“My bad. Why did you leave? Did he get bored with you?” She was getting awfully nosy.
“It was nothing like that. I never intended to stay that long. Besides, it was pretty inconvenient for him. He didn’t want to sleep inside the same house as me. By his choice only! There’s nothing wrong with my sleeping habits!” I quickly defended myself, though it was probably unnecessary.
“Oh.” The atmosphere around her seemed to soften suddenly. “Well, that’s alright, I guess.” The lady quickly put the rest of the pins into the excess material of the pants without anymore casual stabbings. This conversation hadn’t made me the least bit more comfortable with her. I was very wary of her working with so many sharp objects so close to my skin. She took her scissors and began to slide them along the outsides of the pins.

“My name is Maraulen,” she finally said. I could have sworn she even started smiling at this point. “What’s yours, dear?”
“Rachel,” came from my mouth.
Oh boy, here we go again.
“Rachel Endrum.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Rachel.” Maraulen smiled neatly. I was quite suspicious of her sudden shift to pleasantness, then to my surprise, she suddenly tore a large strip of fabric right off my legs. Keeping her smile, she proceeded to fling the pins out. Then like a hairdresser giving a trim, she held the flaps of fabric between her fingers and with needle and thread, swiftly sewed them from bottom to top. “I’m the royal seamstress, designer, and nanny in this castle. Everything I design has my emblem on it,” she pointed towards the brooch of her dress which had a design engraved in its middle. “If you need any of my services don’t hesitate to ask!”
“…Right,” I said dumbly.
What a strange place!

Maraulen continued to rip and sew with great speed. She was wonderful to watch. Her hands flowed in and out of the fabric like some kind of magician, however, I didn’t quite understand what kind of suit it was supposed to be. From jacket to pants, the seams were all on the outside, it looked like a horrible mess. Luckily she covered the jacket with a bulgy sheet of dark fabric which made it look more like a half inflated saggy balloon, but it was still frightfully uncomfortable since she kept turning the collar in towards my neck and insisted on placing buttons on the inside of the outfit.

“There!” she declared satisfied. Maraulen walked over to the cabinet and opened it to reveal a mirror hanging of one of its long doors. I looked at the product.
“Umm. It looks kinda funny.” I stared at the suit and said softly, as if I was ashamed of the fact.
“Don’t be silly! Take it off and turn it inside out!” Maraulen encouraged me with a hand motion. I did as she directed and looked again.

The suit was stunning. Sure the sleeves and legs were terribly short on me, the chest was too tight and the belly was too loose, but the presentation was beautiful. The suit was dark black as if it were cut out of the night sky and the hemming and embroidery had a sheen like stars. Or the glitter of a snow covered field in the night. The collar came long down the front of the jacket and featured an artistic cut around its edges which I didn’t notice her put in when she was sewing.

“Thank you for all your help, dear. How ’bout you help me deliver it to the prince.”
“A-alright.” I answered nervously after I had changed back into my own clothes and we took off down the hall back to the staircase.


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