1866-08-15: Measuring Up
Measuring Up
Summary: Elaida undergoes her first set of measurements…
Date: 1866-08-15
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They came to her rooms, and turned her world upside down for hours.

She was stripped down to her smallclothes, measured, poked, prodded, turned and bent, shuffled around and fored to hold her breath, let it out, turn her head first one way then the next…

And the indignity. Four women, all with string and chalk, coal nib and parchment, commenting to each other and taking notes, sketching her in quick crude lines, holding up bits of cloth to her face and her skin and her hair.

Any questions she had were met with polite "of course, my dear" and a polite dismissal. Two left and returned again with undergarments and corsetry, farthingales and rolls, and again she was pushed and prodded while they helped her into the more confining garments and then took their measurements all over again.

Elaida managed the influx of seamstresses with good grace, though she was not sure how else to respond. These women had a job to do, one they were paid well to do by the man she would marry in several months time— how long? Elaida was unsure, really, perhaps her cousin would tell her before he left for Sanctum, leaving her in Sunsreach for a time with the Tracano and their expectations—

"Chin up there, there you go, keep your head straight." One of the onlder women presses her had firmly against the center of Elaida's back and the other hand tugs her shoulders back. "And don't slouch."

"You'll be a Princess," agrees the youngest of the seamstresses, perhaps an assistant? as she scribbles a few more lines on the parchment. "Princesses don't slouch. Especially not Tracano princesses." She gives Elaida a reassuring smile.

Elaida smiles back, then bites her lower lip in worry. She wasn't princess material. She is a healer, after all. A scholar. For the past decade— over half her life!— she has been doing nothing but studying history, healing… not how to be a princess…

"There. Blue, I think. But only one, and with green and gold trim; can't have her looking like a Couveri."

"Mm, just let her show a bit more cleavage and a lot more arm, and tighten up the waist," comes a quick response. "Couveri are too conservative."

"I think a red will look daring," one of the others muses. "Keep the bodice tight but flare at the hips, and divide the skirts on the sides and the front and back. Trim it with gold…" And a pause. "Oh yes. Can you see her dancing in it? You do know how to dance? Mari, make a note to get her a dancing instructor; I doubt she dances in the Rivanan way."

No time for Elaida to answer for herself, no, she barely parts her lips to speak and the seamstresses are tallking over her, around her, as if she is furniture and simply there. Even when they address her directly, it seems more an afterthought.

"And greens, of course." The oldest of them chuckles. "At least four in green and gold, and that's per Prince Tristan. He wants us to consider her designs…"

A pair of the others both scoff simultaneously. "Of course he would," one says.

The youngest hmms. "She is the foremost designer in the Edge. Whatever you may think of the Couveri, she, at least, is daring and bold—"

Laughter. "Well," the oldest acquieses. "Let us do one of the greens in one of her styles. Another the way we want it… and the red, oh yes. Then we'll move on from there."

"Um…" Elaida finally manages. "Excuse me. How… ah, how many dresses are you making me?"

They all stare at her.

"Why," the prettiest one of them notes, a middle aged woman with dark hair and green eyes, "a whole new wardrobe. Right down to new smallclothes." She considers. "At least 10, though it will take some time to make them all. Smallclothes, chemises, at least four corsets in different cuts, underskirts, a pair of farthingales…" the youngest one is scribbling furiously as she counts. "Ah, and I think some sleeping gowns— it is Prince Tristan you'll be wedding and bedding after all. I think Mari is quite aware of his tastes in that matter…"

Elaida blushes furiously and glances away.

As if she hadn't reacted at all, the seamstress continues, "And jewelry to match, of course. We'll have one of our favorite jewelers look at what we'll be making and I promise, you'll look as if you were born to be a princess."

The oldest seamstress notices Elaida's discomfort, finally, and clears her throat. "I think that's enough for today," she says quickly. "We have our measurements, and that should be quite enough to start. We'll be back tomorrow afternoon to get a few more things done, my lady."

The four all curtsy as one. "Have a good afternoon, my lady," they each say quietly, then depart.

Elaida sinks onto her bed, drawing her knees to her chest and sits there, shaking slightly. She isn't ready for this. Not at all.

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