Maëlle laid flat on her back staring up to the dark ceiling of her room. The room was small and fairly plain, her bed was tiny, unlike her large comfy bed at home it creaked when she moved. The other girls at the school had very similar rooms and the rules prohibited the students from decorating too much in their rooms. Each morning she would wake, dress, and eat breakfast, then she would twist her hair loosely and cover it with a brown wool men’s cap, pull on a long coat and take the short walk to the Callen Estate where the doctor Christofer worked with another girl who was studying beneath the scholar.
She would greet the baroness each morning and then meet with Christofer. During lunch time she would find the Keepers who lived on the grounds and watch them work with their dragons. The new tarragon was Jewel, a beautiful little rose dragon hardly 5 months old who was diligently followed by a man in his thirties named Alfred.
She would watch them work for her lunchtime and silently reminisce about her tarragon and his keeper at home. She had kissed Elrics cheek the night before she left, an impulsive, and generally naive thing to do. The idea of his face flushing red and his mind flustering sparked excitement in her body. They weren’t particularly close, but often chatted with one another while she was with her dragon and she had come to greatly admire the boy as they grew up together.
She had always meant to spend more time with the keeper to learn his training techniques he used on her dragon. But her schooling prevented her from spending time doing anything but reading and writing. Only her last day at the palace was free of study and she wanted to spend that time with her beloved Sottises. She did, however, beg the keeper to join them during the morning while she read to her dragon. In return he only asked to use her as a subject of his drawing while they sat quietly together and she agreed.
When she looked at the drawing that day she was stunned by the masterful hand he had. The drawing, in only a short amount of time, was beautifully done, a gorgeous and incredibly life-like rendition of her lying against Sottises with a book carefully held in her hands above her head. She missed them both dearly.
She had been away from home for 24 days by this point and every day small reminders of her homemade her miss it more and more. Returning to her room at the end of another long day she was greeted by the courier who smiled warmly at her.
“Princess Maëlle.” He greeted her, “I have 2 letters from home.”
“Oh, two?” She was puzzled, “Thank you.'' she said as she plucked the letters from his hand. One was from her mother, she read it and smiled happily while reading about how the palace had been since she left and how her mother had been. The next however was thicker and when she opened it a tear threatened to slip from her eye as she was taken aback by the paper in front of her. The letter also had a drawing of a familiar dragon sitting peacefully staring up at a likeness of her that looked like it had been painted on the wall of the stable.
Sottises stared up to her picture with a happy look on his face and it warmed her lonely, cold heart. She pulled it away from the second paper and read over the letter below it.
I’m sure by the time this reaches you you’ll have been away for almost a months time. However, I wanted to share with you this wonderful moment that I captured in drawing. Sottises has been forlorn without you near, he is sad, irritable, unruly really, and defiant as always. His usual mischievous antics ceased and he was not acting himself. Today, which would be 16 days after you left, I decided to draw a likeness of you to hang in the stable. He was ecstatic and fell asleep tonight at the foot of the painting. I figured you too must miss him greatly, and all though I can not send a life sized rendition of Sottises to you, I am hoping this drawing of him will quell your pain from missing him.
Three years does seem truly unbelievable when I think of it. To think of how much Sottises will grow in your absence, how different we both will be when you return. I fear that if I change too much you will not wish to continue from that kiss on my cheek. I do truly hope that we can however. That kiss is keeping me up at night, so in a way your mischievous pranks are still affecting me, and you’ve still left me with a sour taste of loneliness in your absence, I have been missing you as well.
I hope your schooling goes well Maëlle, and I look forward to your next letter to me and ultimately your return to the kingdom.
Mae held the picture in front of her, and surveyed herself drawn in the drawing with her dragon staring up at her. She sighed, she was amazed by his drawing. There was something about the way he drew her that made her heart flutter and a warm wash of happiness flood over her. The very specific details of her hair, her eyes, even her fingers seemed so life-like, even the curves of her hips and lines of her dress were perfectly drawn. The keeper focused every bit of his attention on her body and face, the lines were flawless, smooth, and gentle.
She couldn’t help but fantasize about her time back at the palace, that last night she placed not one, but two kisses, on his blushing cheek. She wished she had stayed in the stable that night with him and Sottises to enjoy the last bits of time she had with them. She feared though if she had stayed that perhaps she’d be unable to stay away from the handsome young keeper, and leaving that morning would be even more painful than it already had been.
Elric had been at the palace for 5 years, she had grown distant from the children around her as they grew and left the palace on their own journeys in life. Leaving only her and the young children of the wet nurses and maids that were too young for her to have connection with. Elric was the only one close enough to her age to have anything in common with. They weren’t the closest but they spent a good amount of time together during Sottises’ training.
Elric was 14 when they met, he was 19 now, he was tall, handsome, and well built. He had kind blue eyes and a gentle smile that made all the young maids in the palace swoon over him. He was also incredibly charismatic and smart and was now growing into a widely recognized Keeper after his first public routine with Sottises on her 13th birthday.
The stable boys and butlers often praised his training techniques and commended his handling skills with both Sottises and the horses of the palace.
She silently begged for them to grow closer but never had the courage to. Her mother told her not to distract the new keeper from his job and to let him work with the baby tarragon in peace. Now, looking back, she wished she’d have asked him more to join them during her time with Sottises so that she could at least have talked to him.
On cold nights She dreadfully missed home, she missed her dragon, she missed the large cozy bed and hot tea that would be brought to her. She missed her maid who kept her company and she missed her mother. She also admitted that she missed him…
Need help With easy pronunciation, Lost on who is who? Wondering what a word is meant to mean? (No unusual names have been introduced in this chapter, however, if you are lost on the “Who is Who” of the Callen Kingdom, Please read on.)
Christofer- The Medical scholar that Mae is sent to study under in the Callen Kingdom. He resides at the Baron and Baroness' Estate in Callen.
Jewel- The baby Rose Tarragon belonging to the Baroness of Callen.
Alfred- The Keeper and trusted friend to the Baroness of Callen.