"Don't worry Hama, we will find someone to take your place until your mother gets better. And when she is, we'll let you come back," the young woman said to the elder woman. The younger woman was Elrien Norsong, the heir to the kingdom of Northfall. She had the looks of her late mother, long wavey flame colored hair, with green eyes and pail skin. She also held her mother's tender heart, but her father's fire and stubbornness. The woman she spoke to was one of the servants that helped tend to her, though that number was few. Elrien preferred to do as much herself as she could, leaving only three to her staff. And now one of them had just received a letter learning that her mother had grown ill, the one that had done the most for Elrien, had helped raise the heir when the princess's mother died.
"But m'lady, I can't just leave you," the woman said, clutching the letter in her hands to her chest, tears brimming in her eyes as she had just recently read the letter.
"Gretchen, you have done so much for me. It's the least I can do. Go and be with your family, care for you mother like you have so long cared for me," Elrien replied, insisting. It took some more coaxing, but finally Gretchen agreed to leave, and in fact left that very evening. The same day, in fact, that Marcellus entered the capital city, leaving the perfect spot open for him.
Two days later it was heard that a temporary replacement for Gretchen had been found. Elrien was in the small library of the great hall when she heard this. There was a seat set in one of the windows of the library, and there she would often do her studies and read. As princess and heir there was a lot she was expected to know, and what better place to learn it than at a window that had a view that looked over the city and beyond to the surrounding country side. A book lay idly in her lap as she leaned on her hand, elbow resting against the windowsill, gazing out the window, lost in thought. She wore a green dress with gold embroidery along the hems and about the waist, low cut and snug on her bodice, but flowing and loose down to her feet, which were bare. It's sleeves were long and draping, and a golden circlet, which was usually on her head, lay on the seat beside her. And as always, there was at least one guard in sight and earshot of her for her protection, though she always said the worst thing that could happen in a library was paper cuts, so why bore the guards to death? But her father insisted.
That was how she was when the two people approached her. One leading the other. The first bowed, urging the other to do the same, before standing.
"M'lady Elrien," the one who led said. A short woman in servant's cloths, one of Elrien's personal servants. She looked worn, since with Gretchen gone her other two had double the chores. She paused after addressing Elrien, waiting. She knew the princess's habits to know that when she was reading or gazing off like this that if you didn't wait for her to look at you, she wouldn't hear a single word you said.
Elrien's green eyes finally went up to the two, her eyes landing on the man slightly behind the woman. "M'lady, this is Gretchen's replacement. Very good references, he had. And from what has been seen, good work ethic, too," the woman said, with another bow. Elrien put her book aside and picked up her golden circlet and placed it back on her head, curiosity shining in her eyes.
"You're not from around here, are you?" Elrien asked. "What is your name?"