It wasn’t his fault. None of the blame could be placed on Freyr, if anything the blame could be traced back to the head maid for assigning such an important role to an inexperienced maid all those years ago.
Nova, the latest nursemaid to be hired, tried to quickly observe the toddler curled up in front of her. Nova didn’t have much time to assess the child, so how was she supposed to tell if it was the correct toddler? Nova didn’t want to embarrass herself by immediately getting the twins mixed up within her first week of working for the Frotleikr family. The other servants had assured her yesterday that even Alta, the head maid, occasionally mixed up the brother and sister duo; but Nova could feel the pressure of bringing the right child weighing down on her. Alta had chosen Nova, after all, for the role of preparing the child for the expedited ritual. Nova knew it was probably because Alta and the other maids on day shift were all busy with the sudden arrival of the guests who arrived several weeks earlier than expected; but that didn’t change the fact that Nova had been the one who had been chosen.
Nova glanced at the ornate wooden hanging clock above the twins’ toy chest. She didn’t have a lot of time before she needed to get her ward to the temple. She looked back at the toddler curled up asleep in front of her. The silverish blue hair the child possessed confirmed it was definitely one of the two twins, but they both had that trait so she couldn’t rely on that to help her. Temperament wouldn’t help either because the child was asleep, and even if they were awake, she didn’t know either of the twins well enough yet to know how either acted. She already didn’t have enough time to go as far as to completely undress the sleeping child just to check their gender. Her only option was to make a snap decision based on the only other thing she would be able to notice at a glance: the toddler’s current outfit.
The child was wearing a long thick white gown that could be used as both a night garment or as an undergarment underneath a dress. It was especially common for children in noble families to wear because it saved time for their nursemaids to dress them more regally when guests came visiting. All the maids had to worry about was slipping on the outer layers and the matching accessories. The gown that this child in front of her wore was embellished with lace lining both the cuffs and the hem, and also had pale blue runes embroidered to look like a floral design. Nova wasn’t entirely proficient yet in her understanding of the runic symbols that nobles used, but she thought she saw the rune for the prayer for beauty.
That settled it, the toddler in front of her had to be Freyja. She was even snuggled up with the pastel blue stuffed dragon that Nova thought she remembered being told was Freyja’s favorite stuffed animal. Nova convinced herself to have confidence in her conclusion. Steadfast in her decision now, Nova quickly scooped up the child and hurried to bring the toddler to the twins’ dressing room. Not all the accessories the Frotleikr family had commissioned had been completed yet, but at least the dress had been finished; even if it might potentially be a bit on the large side. Nova didn’t have the time to worry about how large the dress might look on the child though, she had to rush to get the child ready and bring her to the temple.
Nox was on her way back to the twins’ playroom with Freyja when she saw Nova rushing off somewhere in the opposite direction with Freyr. Nox knew that today was her sister, Nova’s, first day as one of the nursemaids working directly under Alta; so she didn’t think too much about it. Nova had always been the type to be a perfectionist growing up, and even if Nova made a mistake at any point, Nox knew that Alta would be able to flawlessly correct any mistake made. Alta was the head maid for a reason after all.
Based on the direction Nova was headed, Nox figured she was bringing Freyr to get dressed for the day. It would help Nox a lot if that was the reason. Nox had had a rough morning shepherding the twins, mainly Freyja, to cooperate with their usual morning routine. Nox was already working longer hours this morning due the chaos, so if Nova had taken over Freyr’s morning prep it would mean that maybe Nox could head to the servant quarters soon and finally go to sleep.
Nox had been selected as one of the maids to watch over the twins overnight ever since the twins were born. At first it wasn’t too hard to watch over the two of them overnight, but they would be turning two soon and Freyja had started to grow into a very rambunctious child. This usually meant that quiet Freyr would be mostly passed over by Nox and the other maids until Freyja was fully ready for the day and had settled down some. Or at least had changed her focus to playing with her toys in the playroom.
This morning in particular was extra chaotic though. Freyr had accidentally wet the twins’ shared bed in the middle of the night, and his crying had woken up his sister as well. Then, while Nox was running the soiled clothing and bedding to the laundry room, the other nursemaid on duty accidently confused the two nightgowns that Nox had grabbed out for the twins. By the time Nox had returned Freyja had long fallen back asleep, and Freyr had just been tucked in after a warm bath and was starting to doze back off. Nox had figured she would just change them back to their own clothes in the morning, it wasn’t like this was the first time the twins had accidentally swapped clothes. Yet when morning came Freyja wasn’t having it.
Freyja didn’t seem to have any issue with having her clothes changed, the problem was that she was insistent that she wanted to wear the outfit the maids had picked out for her brother. Each time one of the maids even approached Freyja with the dress that had been picked out for her, she would screech and howl at the servant: whipping her small arms around so that if the maid got too close, they would get smacked repeatedly. During this flurry of activity, she would keep trying to grab Freyr’s outfit every time she thought the maids had briefly looked away.
Nox glanced at the simple pocket watch that she kept in her pocket at all times. They hadn’t made any progress with the twins’ morning routine, and it was already almost time for the shift change. She decided to take the brunt of the work and send the other night shift maids back to the servant quarters for the day. There was no point of everyone just standing around just waiting for Freyja to get dressed. Once the others left, Nox got down on Freyja’s level and tried to gently persuade her to just wear the dress. Freyja refused. Even though Freyja was barely considered two, she already knew how to stand her ground. Nox had had plenty of mornings and nights with the child, and knew from experience that, whenever Freyja really didn’t want something or really did want something, Freyja would let everyone know about it the whole day with her tantrums; and this outburst was both situations combined. Still getting nowhere, Nox decided it was time to compromise. Freyja couldn’t wear the outfit that was already picked out for Freyr, but Nox could take Freyja to the dressing room to let Freyja pick her own outfit with a bit of help.
Nox quickly glanced over at Freyr, who had started to fall back asleep at some point during the commotion since no one had been paying enough attention to him to get him ready. Nox figured Freyr would probably be fine since it wouldn’t take her long to help Freyja to pick out an outfit; but just in case Nox decided to move the sleeping toddler to the playroom since it had several layers of protection wards placed, and things to distract him if he were to wake back up. Once Freyr was settled on a large cushion with his favorite stuffed dragon, Nox turned her attention back to the already fidgeting Freyja. Freyja had already picked up the plush sword that she liked to carry around whenever she was “exploring” the other rooms in the wing that the twins resided in. It definitely seemed to have become Freyja’s favorite toy in the whole playroom.
Nox picked up Freyja and left behind the sleeping Freyr, assuming she would be back shortly. She didn’t return shortly though. The trip to the dressing room led to Freyja insisting they go through the garden to get there. The walk through the garden of course led to the rambunctious toddler getting dirty and needing a bath. So after carefully picking out an outfit that Freyja enjoyed, and making sure Freyja didn’t grab at the fresh clothes and unintentionally dirty them, Nox also had to bring the toddler to the washroom and scrub Freyja clean. It wasn’t too surprising that a certain sleeping toddler had slipped from her mind.
A teenage Freyr looked at himself in the mirror hanging on his bedroom wall. He ran his hand through his long silver-blue hair. Even now, sixteen years later, he still looked eerily like his sister Freyja. The matching silver-blue hair and dark blue eyes inherited from their father, the same nose, the same mouth, the same eyebrows, the same face shape; even the same dark blue horns curling out from their skulls that faded into a light blue at the tips, showing off the dragon blood they had inherited from their mother’s side. The only things that now differentiated the two were things like hair length, or that his sister had gotten tanner than him from how often she spent outside in the sun: things that were based on their separate lifestyles.
He could understand why Nova had confused the two of them as toddlers, yet Freyr was looking for someone to blame for what had happened on that “fateful” day sixteen years ago. Nova’s mistake was the direct cause that started to set the dominoes in motion. Freyr sighed, it would have been a harmless mistake of a newcomer if it hadn’t been such an important day for his family. It wouldn’t be fair to Nova to put all the blame on her. She had learned from her mistake quickly after her severe demotion and hadn't mixed the two of them up since the incident after all. If he hadn’t heard the story so many times, he wouldn’t have even believed that she was the one who accidentally swapped them.
Freyr still needed someone to lay the blame on though.