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My Lady's Gone

Writers: Estelle, Miriah, Suzee
Date Posted: 14th November 2020

Characters: Brina, Asaile, Yriadha, Tarani, Weltine, Noriya
Description: One of the fostered ladies, Oufelle, goes missing
Location: Sunstone Seahold
Date: month 5, day 11 of Turn 10
Notes: Mentioned: Bryvin


Brina
Brina
Asaile
Asaile
Yriadha
Yriadha

A wail of fright was heard in the morning and a slim maid came dashing
out of the quarters, waving a piece of delicate paper in her hand.
"She's gone! My lady's gone! Faranth help me, she's gone!"

Asaile jerked awake, her own maid staring aghast at the panicking
young woman. Asaile blinked and looked about in confusion as she rose.
"What's going on?"

"Oufelle wasn't in bed this morning. I thought...I thought she just
rose early to ready for the ship. But...her maid found a note."

"A note?" The cries had drawn attention, and Tarani poked her head
around the door, eyes bright with gleeful interest and her hair hanging
loose, half-brushed. "What does it say?"

"I don't know..." Asaile's voice trailed off as the maid continued to
wail her misfortune. She rose, wrapping a robe tightly around herself
for modesty. "Weltine, can you see if you can calm her down. I'm
fine."

Asaile's maid nodded and hurried out, trying to catch her peer's
attention. "Shh! You'll wake everyone! Here, hand me the note, we can
get you some klah or something." She quickly plucked the note away
from the sobbing maid, and wrapping her arm around her led her back
into the room.

She handed the note to Asaile, who took it, read it, then gasped,
covering her mouth. "Oh no...she'll ruin herself." She looked up at
Tarani. "It's for Lady Brina. I never should have read it.
She's...she's run away...to the weyr..."

"The Weyr?" Tarani's eyes went round with scandalised delight. "Let me
see!" She reached out to take the note from Asaile and read it. "Oh, my
goodness! She'll be ravished by dragonriders. My cousin says they're
insatiable. She'll never marry anyone respectable now." She sounded a
tiny bit jealous. "Brina is going to absolutely _explode_. But how will
she get there? It's such a long way."

Tarani's words brought a fresh torrent of wails from her abandoned maid.
"My lady will be ravaged by bandits and riders! Ooh! My Lord will whip
me for not taking care of her! We were supposed to leave this morning!
We're expected back home! I'll be dismissed! I'll be made holdless!" She
began with her high pitched screams of fright, forcing Asaile's maid to
quickly cover her mouth.

"Tarani! You're not helping! We should go get Lady Brina! Maybe we can
stop Oufelle before she gets too far away!"

"I suppose." Reluctantly, Tarani handed back the note. What if Lady
Brina blamed them for not seeing what Oufelle was up to? The girl was
Asaile's roommate, not hers, it wouldn't be fair if she got in trouble
too. "I know, let's get Noriya and go together. She'll know what to
say." Brina would never get angry with perfect Lady Noriya, she thought,
and this way she wouldn't miss a thing.

"That sounds like a good idea. Weltine, stay with her please. We'll be
back in a few moments." Flushed, she tied her robe and stepped out,
away from the sobbing maid and with Tarani. She hurried to Noriya's
door and rapped impatiently. "Noriya! Are you awake? It's important."

"What is it," Noriya asked as she cracked open her door slightly.
"What's all the noise?"

"Oufelle's ran away." Asaile tried to keep her voice down. "To the Weyr.
We're not sure what to do. She left a note. "

"We've got to stop her," Tarani added in what was more of a stage
whisper, unable to keep the excitement from her voice. "She'll be ruined!"

"Oh Great Faranth," Noriya opened her door and swore in a most
unladylike fashion and flung on a robe. "Let me see it."

Asaile's brows rose at the curse; she'd never heard her friend swear
in such a way and it impressed upon her the seriousness of the
situation. Handing Noriya the note, she began to wring her hand. "She
threw an absolute tantrum when she received word from her father that
she was supposed to come home to marry an older man. Lady Brina spoke
to her, but I don't think it helped. Oufelle was very against it."

"We'd better tell Lady Brina," Tarani said, glancing over her shoulder
at another muffled wail from the maid. "Before the whole Hold hears of
it. Don't you think?"

"Yes," Noriya said a moment later and turned to lead the group down
the hall toward the Lady Brina's apartments. She closed her eyes and
took a deep breath before she knocked. "Lady Brina" she called.

Asaile followed, hoping that her maid would keep Oufelle's from
fainting, or even worse, telling tales to the drudges, if they hadn't
spread the word already. Faranth, what was the other girl thinking to
do such a thing? How would she get to the Weyr of all places? Didn't
she realize what would happen to her there? She'd be utterly despoiled
within a sevenday! What would Lord Bryvin think? What would her own
father think? Worry gnawed at her, not only for Oufelle, but for
herself.

The door was opened by Brina's maid, who frowned, gazing at their robes
and loose hair. "Ladies. Can I help you? It's rather early, and my lady
is busy."

"Who is it, Lioran?" Brina followed her to the door. She was up and
dressed already, and had been busy writing letters, a task she liked to
get done in the morning while it was still quiet. "Lady Noriya, Lady
Tarani...Lady Asaile. What's the matter? Is everything all right?"

"This," Noriya held out the note to Lady Brina. "Oufelle has bolted to
the Weyr."

"And her maid is in our room, absolutely panicking, Lady Brina. She
didn't know. I'm sorry, I didn't realize she was going to do this. I
would have said something!" Asaile apologized softly. "She doesn't
know how she left."

Brina's eyes moved as she read the note, but the only other visible
emotion in her face was a slight tightening of her lips. "That's quite
all right, Lady Asaile, you couldn't have known." She looked at the
other two young ladies. "Besides you three and the maid, does anyone
else know about this?"

"Lady Asaile's maid was there," Tarani said, glancing at the others.
"She was making a lot of noise, but I don't know if anyone else could
make out what she was saying."

"I see." Brina folded the note and tucked it into a pocket. "Then if we
move quickly, there's still a chance to bring her back before this
becomes known. I know I can rely on your discretion," she said, with a
firm look at Tarani. "Lady Asaile, would you please ask the two maids to
remain quietly in your rooms until I have the chance to speak to them.
Lady Tarani, you can go with her. And Lady Noriya..." She thought for a
moment, considering who she could trust to help her deal with this.
They'd need guards, but she didn't want to disturb her brother, not yet.
"Would you mind going to the Headwoman and asking her to come to my
rooms as soon as she can? I'd send a drudge, but in the circumstances..."

Asaile nodded quickly, thankful that Tarani would be helping her. She
doubted that her presence alone could soothe the poor maid. Maybe
Tarani would have ideas or know the right questions or the right
things to say to her. "Yes, of course, Lady Brina." She took Tarani's
hand and tugged her.

Noriya knocked smartly on the Headwoman's door and waited until it
opened. "So sorry to disturb you ma'am," she said politely. "But Lady
Brina requires your assistance."

Yriadha had just been about to leave her quarters, looking alert and
quite fresh, apparently just having finished bathing and dressing for
the day. The secret door to the passage between her quarters and
Bryvin's had only closed less than a half a candlemark before that. Her
brows rose at the urgency. "Of course." Closing the door behind her, she
followed Noriya to Brina's quarters and stepped in when the door opened.
"You asked for me, Lady Brina?"

"Yes. Thank you for coming so quickly, Headwoman." Brina had spent the
time since the girls had left thinking hard about what to do. She was
well aware that since that incident with the little boy in the creche,
Yriadha didn't have much fondness for Oufelle, but she'd be best placed
to deal with this discreetly. Hopefully she'd see that it was a matter
of the reputation of the Hold.

She handed her the note. "I'm afraid we have a problem. One of the young
ladies' maids found this in her rooms, and she appears to have gone
missing. Lady Noriya and two of the others informed me. The other two
are with the maids now. So far I don't believe anyone else knows. My
hope is that she hasn't yet gone far and we have a chance to bring her
back before the news gets out."

Yriadha read the note quickly, then glanced up at Brina, lips thin. "A
problem indeed, especially with the Lord Holder's proposal to the
other girl. The political implications aren't pretty. Stupid little
chit." She sighed and rubbed her temple. "It is problematic. Do we
know when she might have taken off? A ship has left the docks already
and we were scheduled for a new watchrider to arrive a candlemark ago.
She could have gone either way."

"We ought to check the stables, as well, though I hope even Lady Oufelle
isn't so foolish as to think she could travel to the Weyr over land,
alone." Brina sighed. It looked as though they'd have to seek help from
the dragonriders. She paid no attention to rumors of their depravity and
was sure that no harm would come to the girl from them, but would they
be willing to keep the matter a secret? "I assume the last person to see
her was the maid. We could ask her at what time she left her lady for
the night."

"Surely even she isn't that lack-witted." Yriadha pinched the bridge of
her nose then nodded. "Yes, I suppose we could assume so. We'll have
to move quickly. The longer we wait, the farther she is, if she's not
there already. I'll send someone to the stables to check and see if any
runners are missing, just in case, but I'd wager she either convinced
last night's watchrider or found passage on a ship that's left. I know
the schedules well, Lady Brina. If she's on a ship, perhaps at the
next port, we can arrange someone to scoop her up. If she's at the
Weyr..." Her voice trailed off.

"If she's at the Weyr, we'll have to hope not too many people see her
before we bring her back," Brina said, her voice tight. She didn't know
the Weyrleaders, or whether they'd sympathise with the girl's story of
her unwanted marriage and let her stay. That would be a disaster. "I
suppose we'd better hope she chose to go by sea." Though in truth, it
wasn't much better. Sailors ranked not far behind dragonriders on the
list of unsuitable companions for a lady of rank. "Could you send
someone to the docks, to discreetly check on the destination of the ship
that left? Then - I suppose we will have to tell the Lord Holder."

"If she's at the Weyr, then Lord Bryvin or her father will have to
approach them about her return. Weyrs have a habit of taking in
runaways and they may refuse to force her. Either way, her reputation
would be tarnished." Yriadha exhaled. "You meet with the maids; you
know them better than I. I'll send someone discreet to the docks. I
know just who to send. I'll speak to the watchrider myself. It would
attract less attention." Yriadha handed her back the note. " I'll
return shortly."

"Oh no," Noriya covered her mouth watching the Headwoman go. How could
that woman be so strong? She shook her head. "I knew Oufelle wasn't..."
she couldn't even complete the thought, "I can't..." she waved her
hands in denial, turned and ran into her room, slamming the door
behind her.

Brina pressed a hand to her brow, taking a moment to calm herself.
Stars, she felt responsible. Perhaps she should have been kinder to
Oufelle, helped her to reconcile herself to her betrothal.

It was too late for regrets, though. They had to find the girl, before
any of this got out and became a Hold scandal. With a sigh, Brina left
her rooms and headed for those of the young ladies, to see what she
could learn from the maids.

It didn't take long for Yriadha to return, she followed the sound of
loud weeping in the Lady's quarters and tapped lightly on the door
before opening it to see Lady Brina sitting with the two maids.
Thankfully, Tarani and Asaile appeared to be absent. "Lady Brina, she
lowered her voice. There were no passengers on the ship that left this
morning. The rider who replaced the watchrider from last evening says
the bluerider left with a young woman who also had a small pack with
her. He didn't see her well since he says that she was well covered.
No runners are missing."

"My lady!!!" The maid wailed. "Oh, she's ruined herself!" The maid's
eyes rolled back in her head and she fainted on Oufelle's bed.

Brina stood, her face set as though she'd feared the worst. "Then I
suppose we must inform my brother," she said, speaking low so that the
maids would not hear. "The maid said she hasn't seen her since the
evening, when she retired early. If she is at the Weyr, there may be a
chance that we can convince her to return before her absence is
noticed." The prospect of losing her rank, her family, might be persuasive.

She turned to the maids. "Weltine, please look after your friend, and
tell her when she wakes that if she loses her place, we may be able to
find something for her at Sunstone." She glanced at Yriadha, knowing
she'd understand that it would be better to have the girl here at the
Hold than wandering who knew where and telling her story. "The Headwoman
and I are going to speak with the Lord Holder. Stay here, and if anyone
tries to come in, tell them Lady Oufelle is sick and you're looking
after her. Do you understand?"

Weltine, already patting the other maid's cheek nodded. "Yes, Lady
Brina. I have some smelling salts that will rouse her. I will keep
watch here. "

Yriadha lifted a hand. "Let her rest. Attend to her and your Lady
until we come for you."

Last updated on the November 22nd 2020


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