Samantha Eston let loose an arrow from her bow. The arrow flew through the air and hit the plank of wood her target was leaning against.
Samantha reached back to her quiver. It was empty. She had let loose all twenty arrows, and the target hadn’t seen an arrow. She used to hit the target almost every time. The training yard was empty, so no one saw how bad she had become.
“So what’s eating at you, little drow?” A voice came behind Samantha. Samantha didn’t mind being called this. Her race was of Drow Elf. Another reason was that Samantha had identical twin sister, Tabitha.
Samantha had trouble recalling the name of the grey haired woman who spoke to her, “Rachel?”
“No, I’m Vivian. I can see why you thought that is was Rachel, we both serve Lady Acacia directly. Tabby, was it?” the woman smiled, the wrinkles that age had etched made the smile more welcoming.
“No, it’s Sammy. Anyway, who said that something is eating at me?” Samantha said.
“No one did. It’s the way that you’ve been getting worse since lunch. The fact you’re still in training gear when too hot in my summer dress. Just to name a few,” Vivian said. Samantha turned to see Vivian offering a full water skin, “Come, sit in the shade, I insist we talk.”
Samantha sat at the bench Vivian indicated, before drinking the water.
“I should point out that I may help someone who Lady Acacia requires for a job. My Job is to support Lady Acacia, and to ensure her goals are met. Now, I have my doubts since I spoke with David Eston. He’s a old friend of mine. I believe you know him,” Vivian said.
“He was a master of the unarmed fighting skills for us. He helped me get over some issues at the time,” Samantha said. She didn’t want to really go in to the details of her issues at that time.
Vivian smiled, “So you do know him. When I first met him, He was a Soldier working for Lady Acacia’s mother, the late Lady Lily. I trust David for telling the truth. So If he thinks your issues could be a problem with you being a member of her Personal Guard. That’s the people who protect Lady Acacia. Currently, Mrs Keiya, and Miss Susana-tan are the people who are currently in this select group. Both Mr David Eston and Mr Taithin Aryline can not be officially be part of the group. David can not enter Fal’ana’ta City and thus unable to follow Lady Acacia to her “place of work” the Palace in Fal’ana’ta City. As for Mr Aryline, I’d rather not say where anyone can hear us. But being close friend of Mrs Carla-Aryline, I will assume that you have heard it from her.”
Samantha sighed, “Yeah, I had to get it out of her. She didn’t even tell us that she got married. She changed when Nina Eston, the head of the Eston House, told us what the marriage really meant.”
“That reminds me, we’ll be able to sort out that contract with Nina Eston, when we extend invitation to Lady Acacia’s Personal Guard. But given your current performance, I doubt that you are suitable. If you are unwell, that is another matter. I suspect that you are dehydrated, given how fast you have drank that,” Vivian pointed to the now empty water skin.
“Sorry, I…” Samantha stammered.
“It the middle of summer, you’re in full battle gear, and in the afternoon. I’m surprised you’ve not fainted. Look at the yard, no one else is training. I think pushing yourself hard, in an effort to distract you from a problem you do not want to face. I wonder if your issues are personal. While I can not say that I will stay silent on what you say, but I will not mention it to any one who doesn’t need to know,” Vivian said.
Samantha stammered as she worked out what she could say, “Thanks, I like… Things that boys like more than girls do.”
“I wonder what it is,” Vivian said, “your hesitation suggests that like is not the correct word, but close enough to to avoid trouble with certain people that may do harm to you. Samantha, I believe that you wish to pursue marital relationships with other women, and not with men as many women do.”
“That is one way of putting it. Is that going to be a problem?” Samantha ask after moments of trying to comprehend that Vivian said.
“I am not sure. Most of it would be based on who you wish to pursue a relationship with. Most women will not be willing to commit to a relationship you desire. Samantha, I strongly recommend that you make friends with someone, before inviting them to your bedroom. Rachel used to be in a relationship that was more about the love making than the friendships, it turned out that only Lady Lily and I was there for her when she had that incident,” Vivian said.
Samantha had seen Rachel’s face before, her eyes were cloudy and didn’t seem to focus on anything. Given how she seemed to be lead around and she held a stick, Samantha suspected that she was blind. Samantha own scrapes had left her with her left eye being trouble to see out of. On sunny days, like today, she wore a bandage as an eye patch.
“Her eyes. If it was anything like mine was, I don’t think we should relive that day, unless we have to. I’d rather not relive mine,” Samantha pulled the bandage up to show Vivian her eye, “The problem with the little army your making, is that it’s full of boys, and lack girls my age. I like the look of some one, but I really don’t know how to ask to talk to her.”
Vivian smiled, “I maybe able to help as I helped to teach a few young women how to behave in court. I am not sure how much that will help though.”
“At least I won’t offend any one,” Samantha’s smile grew more serious, “I would like to arrange a private meeting with Lady Acacia. Please could you do it?”
“I could arrange a meeting. Samantha, I can not say if Acacia is willing to to do what you intend to do together. When would you like this meeting?”
This was not the response Samantha was expecting, “T-t-tomorrow evening?”
“I see. What are you doing tonight?” Vivian asked.
Samantha sucked in air, buying time to plan what she was going to say, “Sorting out my wardrobe, laundry, tailoring?”
“If I remember your pack you game here with, you don’t have that much in your wardrobe, even if you share with your sister. I am sorry, I can not arrange a meeting for tomorrow,” Vivian said, Samantha heart sank, “but I do have a invitation for an evening meal with Lady Acacia for tonight.”
Vivian held a sealed letter with the addressed to “Samantha, of the house Eston.” After opening the letter, Samantha found that the had been written twice, the first was in Elvish, while the second was a translation in to Vedran. Samantha was more confortable with Vedran, but the phasing didn’t flow well.
“I take it Lady Acacia didn’t know what language I could read,” Samantha said.
“I was sent to just in case you couldn’t read. I take it there is an issue with the translation,” Vivian asked.
“Yes, A few phrases are clearly Elvish, and translated word for word. Not really easy to say. The word for bonds is more often used in relation to marriage, not friendship. It would fit if she was hinting an affair,” Samantha said.
“Interesting,” Vivian said, “Well, I am also to take back an answer. So what would you say?”
“I’d like to,” Samantha beamed.
Vivian pulled out a key on a wooden tag with letters on it, “Good to hear. I’ve paid for you to have a good wash at the bath house. Samantha, a good first impression will go a long way. I recommend that you find some good clothes, I don’t think you will be around for long if you turn up in a dirty and smelly training gear.”