Laey•ti pushed the furry hand away. It came back, gently patting her face. This time a little voice came with it, urging her to get up. She pushed the hand away again. The voice became more urgent, pleading with her.
“MiLady Laey•ti, you must get up! It’s time for you to get up and get dressed! Please MiLady Laey•ti, get up now.”
Laey•ti sighed and sat up, when she opened her eyes she saw the little Leonite maid hurry to the closet,
“What do you want to wear today?”
“Anything,” Laey•ti answered as she looked in the mirror. She still hadn’t gotten used to her new look, skin was darker, hair was darker and straighter, no more blond curls for her and her eyes were now dark brown. The scars from the blows that Vendall had given Keer•la did not show up on Laey•ti. It was like she was a completely different person. She watched Dinya bring garments of silk for her to wear. “Perrcia was right, I have a brand new life.”
For having stubby fur covered fingers, Dinya dressed Laey•ti with speed and skill. At times, Laey•ti noticed, she tipped her ears toward Lain•ya’s quarters and paused for a second. When Laey•ti would look at her she would do that peculiar bob the Leonites used for a curtsy and murmur “Nothing MiLady, Nothing”. Finally Laey•ti got tired of it and opened the door between the two rooms, only to have Dinya jump in front of her and close it. In the quick glance Laey•ti was able to get, she saw Danka piling silks on Lain•ya’s bed and Lain•ya was standing in front of the open window.
“Don’t you work for me?” She asked Dinya a little crossly. Laey•ti had been told she would be treated as a member of the royal family, but so far she had been pushed around by everyone. She had arrived last night to meet the royal family, Her ladyship the Queen spoke about Laey•ti as if she wasn’t there, Lain•ya wouldn’t even come down to meet her and now this little kit was being rude.
“Technically my MiLady,” Dinya had a little hiss to her voice, most Leonites did when speaking the Ronen language. “I work for Her Ladyship, and MiLady Lain•ya is not to be disturbed, by you that is, before breakfast. Please miss, don’t get me in trouble.” Dinya was 10, she had the big amber eyes all Leonites did and she opened them wide when looking at Laey•ti, the innocent face made Laey•ti crumble.
“O.K., but open it a slit so I can at least see her.” Dinya complied then whispered, “Why do you want to see her? She looks just like you, or you look just like her.”
“I want to know what she is doing.”
Danka was Dinya’s twin sister. She hurried about the room picking up all the garments Lain•ya had discarded and piled them on the bed, then she began putting them away. She didn’t look at Lain•ya standing in front of the window. “Ronen,” she was fond of saying, with her 10 year old wisdom, “are strange.” As she had seen her sister do every morning for the past 4 years, Lain•ya put an hand on each side of the window, she leaned forward and looked out at a land that one day she would rule over. She looked to the left, she looked straight ahead and she looked to the right. Then she said, “Someday, this will all be mine.” Jhsu•kn would laugh after she said it, like it was some kind of joke, or maybe she knew the future, maybe for those four years she said it, she knew it would not come to be. Jhsu•kn was gone now, according to Her Ladyship she would never come back. Lain•ya pulled away from the window, what had Jhsu•kn done that was so terrible she could never be forgiven?
A noise from the doorway distracted her. She advanced and pushed it open, Laey•ti scrambled to her feet and backed away. Lain•ya looked at the mirror image of herself, her left hand flicked, a gesture of dismissal to the maids and they both immediately left the rooms. Lain•ya then held out her hand to Laey•ti and smiled. In Lain•ya’s room there was a couch built into the wall, the girls sat there. “When this was my sister’s room. Perrcia slept here. Now that my sister is gone, Perrcia sleeps in her own room. I am sorry I didn’t come down last night.” Lain•ya fingered the ring in her ear. The ring was put in there when Jhsu•kn left, it signified that Lain•ya was now the royal heir, the one next in line to be Queen of Mulderon. She hated it.
For the past two weeks Laey•ti had been in Dirdam, living with Perrcia and her family, learning about her new life, the first thing she had been told was: while His Lordship the King ruled the country, Her Ladyship the Queen ruled the Palace. The second thing was the Queen had forbidden the mention of her oldest daughter. In the palace is was to be as if Jhsu•kn had never existed. Here in her first conversation with Lain•ya the rule was broken. Laey•ti wondered if this was a good sign, a sign that Lain•ya was going to be fun to be around, or did it mean trouble was ahead. Laey•ti pushed the thought away and concentrated on copying Lain•ya’s movements, after all, she was her double. She touched the ring in her ear exactly the way Lain•ya did, she had never had such beautiful stuff. A chime signaled someone was entering the room.
Perrcia strode toward them and bowed to Lain•ya, “My apologies for my tardiness MiLady, I seem to have misplaced my TalkTab and was not aware of how late it was.” As she said this, Perccia fixed her gaze on Laey•ti, who returned it coolly.
“You lost your TalkTab? You never lose anything! How … ” Lain•ya’s voice trailed off as she noticed the looks Perrcia and Laey•ti were exchanging. “Laey•ti! Did you steal Perrcia’s TalkTab? Whatever for? If you want one just ask.”
“I did not steal anything.” Laey•ti straightened her back and stiffly walked into her room. Perrcia followed her, placing a hand on her shoulder she turned Laey•ti to face her and placed a small blue TalkTab in her hand.
“This is yours. I put my code in it.” She pulled Laey•ti’s face down so they were nose to nose, “Now give me mine back and don’t ever Tab my boyfriend again.” The exchange over, Perrcia’s TalkTab safely in her pouch, she turned her attention back to Lain•ya. “Her Ladyship wants you down for breakfast and to go over the schedule for today. Immediately, both of you.” Lain•ya sighed and held out her arm to Laey•ti. The two girls walked arm in arm down to the breakfast room. Perrcia followed closely. They did not speak, Lain•ya’s mind was whirling with her new responsibilities, and Laey•ti was wondering just how mad Perrcia would be if Laey•ti Tabbed her boyfriend.