*Here's another update because I did not like the idea of making you guys wait with a cliffe and such a Daria-Jackson central chapter. Sorry it's so short though.
Mucho gracias goes to xXJustSomeRandomKidXx for reviewing so quickly!
Disclaimer: Plot belongs to Lemonlimesweetness and I. Characters and world of course belongs to GCL.
Daria opened the letter after a quick breakfast with her "family." Sitting down at her customary table, she swiftly opened the envelope. She admired Jerrold's crisp handwriting and smiled. Apparently he had not found her handwriting and grammar so terrible after all.
My Dearest Lady Daria of the House of Baden,
I must admit I was very delighted to get your letter. The people in the castle conduct themselves very curiously over here. Most of the people in the palace are very silent no matter how much I try to talk to them. Then they have their Sings, which can be compared to our balls where everyone performs instead of dances, and suddenly everyone is alive. It is a very strange lifestyle and it is nice to be reminded of home, or at least have someone to write to. Crown Prince Oscaro is very nice and does enjoy talking so it is not very silent, at least.
Of course, I can read your handwriting. Your writing is not terrible, why do you disparage it so? Your letter actually made me laugh. I tried singing very quietly at one of the Sings but afterwards Prince Oscaro confronted me, asking if their songs offended me. I had no choice to admit my shortcoming and Oscaro thought it was hilarious that I had not just said so in the first place. Since then, I have been spared from singing again, although some of the Court finds it amusing that I cannot hold a note to save my life.
I actually asked if they sing in councils of war, because your question made me very curious. They do not sing, instead I have heard they have very strict traditions and sayings they must use before they start discussing the state of affairs. They would not tell me everything-state secrets must not be shared, even in peace time. But when they open the council, they begin by chanting. It was a very fascinating answer to a very fascinating question, so thank you.
Speaking of the weather, I have heard that the heat has suddenly spiked to almost dangerous levels. How are you fairing, since you stated that you enjoyed cool weather? In fact, and forgive me if I am assuming too much, do you know how the townspeople are faring? I heard that some farmers might lose their crops. That is very unfortunate and I know my father is planning to help them with the income that they will lose if that happens. But surely, they cannot be the only ones affected, can they? Again, forgive me if I am assuming too much by asking you about the common people. I know the nobles will survive; they can always buy charms to protect their cellars and ward off the heat.
I will await your reply.
Crown Prince Jerrold of Kyrria
Daria felt the letter start to slip out of her fingers. She was dumbfounded. Just the previous day she had been fighting the great discord between her past life and her current one. Court Daria was fighting Peasant Daria and neither could come to terms with each other. Those nobles at the party had not even brought up the plight of the peasants in their polite conversation about the heat. They had not even cared. Court Daria was not supposed to care.
Peasant Daria wanted to lash out at their indifference by feeding Jackson's bitterness and mean jokes. It felt good to admit on some level that the nobles were just normal people with money. They were not so intimidating then.
Her eyes flickered down to the letter. Now the Crown Prince was the one who wrote Daria about the common people. He seemed to be able to bypass the discord. It astonished her. What happened to the prince who spilled wine on dirty beggars? How could he live in the lap of luxury and still be brought to care about those underneath him?
She was beginning to understand more about him. She did not doubt his sincerity. If there was one thing she could say about Jerrold was that he was honest. Even his motives behind the wine incident had been transparent.
Daria clutched the paper in her hands as she looked out her window to the gardens below. Was it time to form a new opinion on the prince?
"You're doing very well with your maths, Lady Daria." Her tutor informed her.
"Thank you." Daria smiled. She was used to working with numbers, having helped her mother handle the inn's income.
"And I should commend you on your history. Your paper on the last Great War contained some very perceptive observations."
Daria's smile turned a little more sheepish. "I like history. It shows us how we're all connected, gnomes, elves, humans… Noble and peasants alike." She looked up at her tutor.
He was standing next to her desk in the library, and because of his height, he towered over her. He was lanky with shoulder length blonde hair and looked to be in his mid-thirties. Pearl thought he was dreamy. Daria thought he was nice.
A thin hand rested on one of the historical book Daria had been studying. "But not everyone is brought together by tragedy. There have been plenty of times where a group realizes that they are compatible to sympathetic with another in times of peace and prosperity."
For some odd reason his words would not leave Daria's mind.
It took the young woman almost a week to gather up the courage to look a Prince Jerrold's letter. It was not that he intimidated her or anything. It was just that she could no longer accept her previous perception of him. No longer was he the spoiled prince that she always felt obligated to talk to. Instead, he was honest, open and almost… funny. Jackson was sarcastic and dry. Jerrold instead relied on being borderline self-depreciating.
And most of all, she… she wanted to talk to him. It was strange for her, but she really wanted to see if Jerrold was really that nice. Or was he faking it? In the end, she blamed her curiosity, picked up her supplies and went off to search for Mistress Florence.
Dear Crown Prince Jerrold of Kyrria,
To start off, thank you for asking that question for me. I honestly meant it as a joke. I did not expect you to take it so seriously. I hope I did not inconvenience you. But the answer was fascinating, so thank you very much. I wish I could hear the Ayorthians sing. I imagine their songs sound very beautiful.
I am also very glad you were not put off by my writing. I am very harsh to myself in this case and nothing you say will convince me otherwise. (That, by the way was also one of my terrible attempts at humor. You do not have to convince me of anything.)
Also, I have to address you question with another word of thanks. I did not expect you to ask about the common people and I appreciate that you care about your future subjects. If the heat had only lasted a few days, I'm sure everyone would be fine. But it has lasted weeks now. Vendors cannot lay their produce out in the sun for too long or else it rots and goes bad by the next day. The food the people are storing for winter in their cellars are rotting, which is the most troublesome thing. I honestly had no idea these charms existed, which is sad because I think they would really help. Innkeepers are suffering because no one wants to travel in the sun and suffer heatstroke.
Daria hesitated and wondered if she should add the next part that had been weighing on her mind. She wrote it anyway in the revised letter because she could never deny the fact that she had been homeless once.
Personally, I am worried about the people on the streets. I think they might suffer heatstroke. Of course they can always go to the public wells or pumps for water but it seems like the only way to beat the heat is to go swimming. They would go swimming in the river Lucarno but I have recently learned that guards patrol the river to prevent that kind of thing.
I wish I could end this letter on a lighter note, but I really dislike the heat and it is really making me miserable. I think I am going into the cellar to huddle next to a sack of potatoes. Then I'll be able to get out of heat and manners training. It's a win-win situation.
Lady Daria of the House of Baden
"So what is the news Pearl?"
"Well, it's so strange; people have been saying that they haven't seen as many guards by the Lucarno… Oh and the magick shops have been selling these little charms at a discounted price because of the heat! They're really great and they're said to keep a room cold-like our cellar! And… And… M'Lady? Are you okay? You look a little pale."
*More Jerrold/Daria interactions to come!*