It is no bad thing, Guenneth believes, that she is now regarded as too dowdy and dull for most men of high standing or wealth to acknowledge.
In her younger days, she was sometimes pursued by the wealthy sons of those who visited or worked with her employers, but she found herself becoming more and more invisible to them as she aged. This suited her down to the ground.
In all of her years, only one man ever truly claimed her heart, and while she occasionally enjoys a flirtation or brief romance with men whose social standing is akin to hers, she has always known that a dalliance between a peroi – a member of the manual classes, bound to serve or die – and a scion of nobility will lead to nothing but grief, with the peroi bearing all of the consequences for it.
If only Josliehn had had the good sense to understand that.
Guenneth glances at her now – they are seated across from one another in the vast public aircraft that will carry them away from the patrician districts of Orsthai, back to their run-down but dearly loved home of Plaithses. She has arranged for Josliehn to be absent from the Pallias home tomorrow, while the wedding is taking place, and as she herself is not scheduled to work either, she will be able to keep a close eye on her.
Josliehn’s normally warm sallow skin is ashen, her hair limp, her eyes repeatedly filling with tears that she doesn’t seem to have the strength to wipe away. Guenneth sympathises with the girl, yet she can’t help being irked by her foolishness. How could she ever have believed that the son of Orsthai’s most powerful family would make her his bride, whatever he might have said to her in the throes of passion?
This piece forms part of a project I’m working on at the moment, set in a fictional civilisation called Aarai, which has a working title of “The Ballroom Project” (a better one will fall into place, I hope). The word count is listed in the title so that people can make an informed decision as to whether or not they want to click through. Time is a precious resource, so I’m keeping the pieces brief for now. 🌹 Do let me know if you have any feedback or suggestions, as I’ve only recently begun to share my writing with other human beings again!