Photo via Visual hunt
Sieglinde returned just as Lilavati finished rinsing the last few specks of blood out of her hair. “Here, Great Lady. I hope this one pleases you,” the blonde haired servant said.
Lilavati turned to look as she dried herself with the towel Sieglinde handed her. She smiled. It was a sky blue dress trimmed in black. “You chose well, Sieglinde. This is one of my favorites.”
Sieglinde smiled. “Great Lady, something I’ve noticed about your clothing. You always have black somewhere on it. Usually in the embroidery, but sometimes just a black bead or two hidden in a greater pattern. Why is that?”
“Black is a lucky color to us, more so for women than men,” Lilavati said as she pulled on the clothing. “I was always taught that the darkness it represents is the gift of birth, given only to women by the gods.” Lilavati shrugged. “I never understood it myself, but I also never argued with my father when he ordered me to put it into what I wore. It was just easier that way.”
“Don’t you like it?” Sieglinde asked.
“Not really,” Lilavati said. “What pleases me about this dress is the shape, the feel, and the blue in the silk, not the black embroidery.”
Sieglinde nodded. “The Great Lord will be pleased to hear this. He isn’t fond of black either and would rather not have it in his home if he can avoid it in any other form than someone’s hair.”
“Well, I have the black hair,” Lilavati said, gesturing to the damp, straggling locks she was tucking under her hood. “I hope he’ll permit me to replace my wardrobe with something more appropriate for your northern winters.”
“I thought you knew nothing of Phiri Hu,” Sieglinde said.
“I don’t know anything about your home,” Lilavati said. “But I do know what I’ve read and heard tales of from the merchants who’ve braved my father’s idiosyncrasies about the lands beyond our desert. They never sounded pleasant.”
Sieglinde frowned. “Great Lady, do you have a heavy cloak? One to keep a cold wind out? Or gloves? Or boots?”
“No, because no one in my home would think to have such items made for me,” Lilavati said. “I take it we’re going to be heading into colder territory soon?”
“It will only take a few weeks to reach the edge of the Northlands,” Sieglinde said. “It’s summer now, but we’re nearing the end of it. I don’t know if there will be time to make enough suitable clothing for you before it gets cold enough that you begin to feel the bite of the wind in your bones.”
“Then let us go talk to Manas about it. I’m sure he’ll have some ideas, for I have no more thoughts on this than you would expect from a confused woman of the Southlands,” Lilavati said.
“Is that what you call your home, Great Lady?” Sieglinde asked.
Lilavati shook her head. “You reminded me with what you called yours that the merchants called my home that.” She paused. “I was taught never to tell those born outside the desert the name. It displeases the gods and brings a curse down upon the one who speaks it.”
“Do you believe that’s true, Great Lady?” Sieglinde asked. “You said yourself you don’t think your gods are real.”
“I don’t, but I also believe that something evil is going on,” Lilavati said. “I don’t know if I should tell you or not.”
“Does the Great Lord know what it is?” Sieglinde asked.
“I don’t know,” Lilavati said. “He’s never said.” She finished tucking her hair away. “All right. You wanted to go speak with him about my lack of a proper wardrobe for your homelands. Let’s do that now, while we’re both thinking of it.”
“Yes Great Lady,” Sieglinde said. The two women headed over to where Lilavati saw the familiar shock of red hair.
to be continued…