Fyne’s First Day

(Nova Blast)

© 2015 A. Jane

Zeti entered Asqa Manor with her mother and the Princess Cardinal at her side, and Fyne Morning behind them. Most of the attendants present bowed low seeing not only the Cardinal, but the Fair Princess, well aware that the Fair Princess was a child. Whispers filled the hall, excited whispers, for not only had the Grand Dusal spoken of the Fair Princess with great enthusiasm, the Princess Cardinal had arrived without Jaknini.

ino Fle rushed into the hall, clapping his hands gaining the attention of the attendants and shooing them from the area, his look offering retribution did they not listen to him. With that taken care of, he straitened his coat and looked at the Princess Cardinal with confusion, a condescending curl upon his lips.

“Does Yanu Jaknini join you, Your Highness.”

“Besides the fact that no longer is the cur my husband, if I recall correctly, he was disallowed entry to Asqa by the Grand Dusal himself.”

“Except when you…are…” He swallowed thickly. “No longer married? Has he past? My condolences, Cardinal.”

Zeti cleared her throat, loudly, drawing everyone’s attention. She stared up at the steward as she spoke, “’Tis good we replace him, Cardinal. Rather rude is he not?”

“Aye, Your Highness, most rude. No offer of deference upon our arrival. Mayhap he recognizes you not, which I suppose could excuse his lack of protocol, but one would think he would have shown a little more respect regarding my arrival.”

“Mayhap, but I find it most interesting and suspect that he is more interested in learning if that cur, Jeramin, joins us. Methinks he would indeed welcome retirement.”

“Excuse me?” ino Fle blinked, doing what he could to hide his annoyance that a child spoke around him.

“You would welcome retirement, aye? It seems you hold little pride in this job. Not following the Grand Dusal’s wishes.” She tsked. “’Tis a simple enough request, considering that Asqa outranked that cur by several levels.”

“And you might be?”

Betrys snorted. “’Tis a good thing that Ice is not here to witness such rudeness, my daughter.”

“Aye, Grampy would be most put out, and when the Prince Fair is upset, ’tis best to grovel upon one’s knees. But the Fair Princess I am, a Keeper too, I need not always be rescued.”

“’Tis very so.” Betrys placed a hand on Zeti’s shoulder. “I suppose that practice could be had with turning others into taods.”

The steward fell to his knees. “My deepest apologies, Your Highness. I knew not that you were coming and was ill-prepared.”

“And your lack of respect towards Cardinal?”

“No disrespect meant. Her Highness grew up in these halls, I still think of her as that little girl.”

“And having known her as that little girl, you thought naught wrong when she became unfeeling, unherself upon marriage to that cur, Jeramin? Her father’s worry brought you no concern? Or that of the young Asqa for his mother?” She watched the steward’s face; he was unable to hide some of his feelings. “You care little for Asqa?”

“The High Grace… The old Grand Dusal, he wished another to take the seat, feeling that his grandson would suit the Title ill.”

“And so you hold on to that foolishness, even though his request to remove Thrace as heir was denied? Aye, ’twas denied both times the request was made, of which I am very much aware. The Ministers and the Prince Fair thought the request foolish for they believed Thrace to be more than capable of watching over Asqa, of keeping her prosperous. Sqäl’s blessing he has.”

“His visions hinder him. They make him ill and… Even the villagers and tenants are frightened of him.”

Zeti crossed her arms over her chest. “Methinks… Methinks ’tis time for you to retire if watching over Asqa is a trial for you. Worry not, I have brought a replacement, one who will gladly take the estate in hand, aid Asqa in his duties to his Title. Master Morning, welcome to Asqa. What think you of her?”

“That she is most magnificent.”

“Good. Now, ino Fle, where is the housekeeper? In need she is of gathering the rest of the attendants so I might introduce them to the new steward. He begins his duties as of now.”

“The ino Fles, always have we cared for Asqa, Your Highness.”

“Your family has taken care of the omn Dolas and no longer do the omn Dolas hold the seat. Time ’tis for new Blood.”

“Your Highness…” He looked into the little girl’s eyes and felt his will leaving him. “Is Asqa aware of the change?”

“He is indeed.”

“Is he aware the new steward is a man the same age as himself? Does this boy even know how to run an estate?”

“Do you question the Fair Princess, ino Fle?” Kari narrowed her eyes at the steward. Had he always been this arrogant, this questioning? “Do you question me, for I was there when Her Highness interviewed Morning.”

“He is but a boy and Asqa is a large estate.”

“And you are an old man with little desire to do your job properly!” Zeti snapped. “Certain I am that Asqa has a retirement fund if you need it, but as of this moment, you are retired from service.”

“Your Highness…”

“’Tis done.” She waited, her arms crossed over her chest, but he remained where he was, stubborn. “Do you need aid packing your things?”

“And where am I to go? Always have I lived here.”

Kari glowered at the steward. “You go to the ino Fle farm as your father did when he retired, and when his father retired. Family you have there, do you not? A brother I believe and his children and grandchildren.”

ino Fle’s face reddened, his hands fisting.

“Why do you fight this when you dislike serving his Royal Grace?” Zeti spied an attendant peeking out from one of the rooms, instead of waiting for an answer from ino Fle, she motioned the young woman out. “All is well.”

The young woman slowly came forward and bowed deeply. “Fair Princess, I meant not to spy.”

“What is your name, miss?”

“Berna, Your Highness.”

“Berna, would you please find the housekeeper. I need her to gather the others so all might be introduced to the new steward.”

“There is no housekeeper.” She looked at ino Fle, but quickly looked away seeing his look of retribution. Feeling the small hand on her face, she found herself staring into the swirling silverin eyes of the Fair Princess. Her fear left her; ino Fle was no longer the steward and Her Highness offered safety. “Long has Asqa been without housekeeper.”

Kari turned her full attention onto the young attendant. “What of Miss Venna?”

“Retired she did not long after His Royal Grace took the seat.”

“Know you why?”

Berna’s eyes strayed momentarily to ino Fle before returning her gaze to the Fair Princess. “He would know the why, but if ‘twould be the truth, I know not. I visit with her once a week, my gran she is, and ‘tis the truth that she enjoys her freedom.”

Zeti reached for her mother’s hand, and feeling it tightly clasp her own, she looked deeper into Berna’s dark brown eyes, needing to See, needing to know. She smiled and released her mother’s hand. “Then ‘tis settled, Miss Berna, you shall be housekeeper. Please gather the rest of the attendants, in need everyone is of meeting Master Morning.”


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