There was something about Albena Petrosinova, something quite intimidating, despite her fragile age of only nineteen. Was it the proud way she carried herself, or perhaps those eyes of hers? The oldest and youngest sister shared the same turquoise green coloured eyes, but their gazes couldn't be more different. Cold and arrogant, it made Beloslava shiver from head to toe even before she set her foot out of the carriage.
"Sister!" Her voice was loud, clear and pleasant to the ear, but nonetheless imposing. Kalina pretty much jumped out of the car, with the biggest smile on her face Bela had seen since they left Zhegavica. Compared to her older sister she would be considered a child still. When they embraced she couldn't help but remember the stormy night Delyana brought her to Asya's home for the first time. Turning Kalina around to expose her own back towards the guests, the rich blood-red fabric of her attire was a grim reminder of the soaking in blood, gasping for air child of that night.
The naushnici, hanging from the golden band that kept her wide and tall hat, leaving not a single strand of hair visible to the eye, rattled as she proceeded to greet the rest of the arrived party. Made most definitely from the same fabric, with its delicate golden treats, it made the features of her face stand out. Requiring her chin to be up at all time, her long nose was the most dominant part of her face at the moment. There was something sharp in both her looks and movements. The wrist of the hand she gave to Beloslava was thin, continuing with a soft palm and long fingers, so different from her own hands, rough from housework. The sudden pull into an embrace and exchanging of kisses should have made her feel welcomed, but it had the opposite effect and the feeling of uneasiness doubled as her cheeks turned the same shade of red as Albena's dress in embarrassment.
"Shall we go inside for you to rest?" Poor Bela, didn't understand the question wasn't addressed directly to her, it was only the reaction of Zagorskiya knyaz that saved her from a proper embarrassment. He most surely didn't saw her awkwardness. He couldn't care more about her awkwardness at the time or ever. But in her eyes, he was a hero for that. His majestic osanka faded slightly, as he walked to Albena, whose wide skirt couldn't hide the growing belly, rubbing into his face that this woman and her child were alive, unlike his own daughter.
The lavishness of the Vulchacraiste palace rivalled that of Delyana's. But it was undeniable that the bright white walls were far less inviting than the witch's black stoned home, located right at the shore of the Southern sea. The stairs leading to Kalina's chamber in the eastern tower seemed endless, but she assured her posestrima that it was worth it. The view of the town from above made all the town's people seem like busy ants, while the forest's changing colours felt more vibrant than those around Asya's home, while the outskirts of mountings, bordering Kostica and Zagorchinovo could be seen in the far distance.
Upon entering her posestrima's chamber, Beloslava was stunned by the unexpected. She knew it would be befitting of Kalina's noble status, but this was far beyond them. As big as the first floor alone, the view revealed a bird view of the whole town. And with its own personal bath, having running hot water at all times of the day thanks to the pipes under the floors, worrying how long she'd be taking in it was out of the question. The belongings she took with her were a little and far too modest, so the little knyaginya who herself had grown half a palm taller during the summer showered her with choices to borrow until she'd have her own made.
The expensive fabrics in all colours imaginable, embroidered richly were making Beloslava both flattered and ashamed, as she did not want to insult Kalina, but rather stay true to her upbringing. Furthermore, she questioned herself if this was her posestrima, why was she so suddenly unable to speak out her truth.
"You should wear blue!" Professed enthusiastically Kalina, as she was braiding her blonde hair. "It's a beautiful colour on fair haired ones. Bozhana wears it often, but you'll see it for ourself when we get to Tzarichevo. You'll like her very much, I am sure of it!" She had ensured her the same for Albena, but all Beloslaba felt from the eldest of the Petrosinovi's sisters was hostility. Was it her own mind playing tricks on her or was she indeed unwelcomed here?
"Isn't it a bit...too much?" Beloslava's voice was a bit shaky but at least she felt a slight relief from telling even a bit of the truth.
However, before she could receive any kind of an answer, the heavy, generously carved wooden door opened with a craking sound. Albena walked slowly but her presence commanded their attention and respect. With a slight hand gesture, she gave permission for Kalina to continue with the braiding, but her hands weren't moving as nimble as they did just a moment ago.
"I've spoken with than man...Blagovest. Appears he is a relative, or so he says." She had made herself comfortable on a nearby stool with one hand placed under her chin.
"He is! Asya and Delyana confirmed it!" Kalina was quick to come to Blago's defence.
"Can you be sure all they say is true?" Unbothered by those words she began playing with the rings of her left hand.
"My mother wouldn't lie!" Beloslava was quick to join,
"And I've said no such things!" Her voice stayed the same, calm and even, but her gaze had the young witch lower her eyes. Not wanting to appear as she'd back down she placed her right hand on top o the golden decoration of her neckline. "He has told me you to share a very special bond. Did you not think it would have been appropriate to ask for the approval of Vulchan and me?"
"Why would I ask for your permission to become posestrima with Bela?" Finished with the braiding, Kalina was sitting right next to Bela, on her right, so she'd be also close to her sister. Kalina, unlike her posestrima, never had thoughts of backing up crossing her mind.
"Someone as high as you should be careful with the people she chooses to surround herself with."
"Yes! Better than half the bolyarski daughters you know?!"
"I'll be the one deciding for myself if that's so!"
Her mother and Delyana had their difference too and they were vocal about it, but this felt so much different. Should she even be here, Beloslava questioned?
"I've also heard you caused a scene at Zdravka's funeral." She changed the theme suddenly and she knew what she was doing by that. "Care to tell me your side."
"As you've probably heard - I suddenly felt unwell and started blacking out. Luckily, before I could fall on the flour knyaz Grozdan caught me and brought me out, so I did not disturb the funeral any further than I already had." Rummers were spreading of it already? How could she look people in the eyes about it?
Albena signed, before standing up.
"Is that all you remember?"
Both girls could only hope was a sign of relief, with Albena continuing.
"Very well. You'll have your food brought here, so you two can get more rest."
Once more, before any of them could give a proper reaction, she had stepped out of the room. But the feeling that something wasn't right stayed.
- Naushnici - A type of accessory, which would hang from the hair garment of women, close to where the ears, or would be hanged on the ear itself.
- Оsanka - The posture or way one carries itself.
- Bolyarski - Bolyar or Bolyarin was the term used to refer to Bulgarian nobility and later on spread to other countries under a bit different versions. Here we have it in its adjective form.
And an idea for how Albena's clothing would have looked like (second female drawn model/ first recreation example) - http://badamba.info/BySource/kalotina.html