Wednesday 7 August 2013


Nehemia emerged from the dressing room, already wincing, but Celaena beamed. Even Kavill let out a gasp of approval.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” Celaena said, putting a hand on her hip as she motioned for Nehemia to turn. “If you don’t buy that, I’ll never forgive you.”

“It’s…different,” Nehemia said in the common tongue, facing Celaena again. “Perhaps something subtler—”

“Nonsense,” Celaena cut in, shooing past Marta to adjust the dress herself. “You’ll wear this to the next royal ball and make all the men pant after you.” She cast a meaningful glance in the direction of Nehemia’s ample bosom. “And don’t you dare cover those up with a shawl.”

Nehemia chuckled, switching to Eyllwe. “I’d never dare disobey a direct order from you.”

Celaena grinned and replied in the common tongue. “Good. Then we’ll get one of these.” She turned to Kavill and Marta, who were standing quietly a few feet away, scribbling down measurement notes in Kavill’s ledger. “Any thoughts on what jewelry might best accent this?”

Kavill opened his mouth, but Nehemia cut in using Eyllwe, “I have jewelry from Eyllwe.”

“I don’t think it’d match.”

Nehemia straightened a bit and still said in Eyllwe, “I’d like some part of me to still remind people where I come from.”

Their eyes met, and for a heartbeat, Celaena thought of the night Nehemia had come into her rooms after learning of the massacre of five hundred Eyllwe rebels. How the princess had wept for her people, for their helplessness, for their enslaved world.

It was for that world that Nehemia fought—why Nehemia would buy these dresses and play the part of the queen’s confidante.

Perhaps Nehemia thought of the same thing, for the princess let out a long breath and said, “Maybe you are right, Elentiya.”

Celaena didn’t think Kavill or Marta would notice the name the princess had given her—but she glanced at them nonetheless. They were now just watching, faces bland but pleasant. Willing to get the jewelry and accessories at a moment’s notice. Nehemia turned to them and said in her perfectly false accent, “Show me your jewelry.”

And just like that, they went through another presentation of necklaces and earrings and bracelets, then gloves and brooches and hair ornaments. And when they had decided what looked best, Nehemia was measured and pinned some more, and then ushered into the next gown. And the next, and the next.

Continue reading this scene at Narratively Speaking tomorrow!

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