Of Little Girls and Their Ambitions

Author's note: This was the result from the following prompts on my Tumblr: Ser Max, Symone, cuteness.


Ser Maximilian Eizenstern blinked, and then looked down. "Oh, hello there," he said to the little girl before him. Fournival Frescobaldi's daughter, to be exact. "What can I do for you, miss?"

"It's Symone," she said with a small frown on her face and her arms crossed, clearly annoyed that he did not know her name.

"Oh. Please excuse me, miss—"

The girl glared at him.

"—I mean, Lady Symone."

"That's better." She then studied him with such an intense gaze, looking at him up and down; if she were much older, he may have well blushed from the attention. But since she was only a child, her actions only served to puzzle him. He was about to inquire as to what exactly she was doing, when she nodded, as if he had just passed some kind of inspection.

"How can I—" he began, but was abruptly cut off.

"You'll do."

He stared at her. "I beg your pardon?"

"You're not bad-looking."

He could not help but rub his right temple in confusion. "Thank you?"

She ignored him and turned to call for her father, who was standing nearby, busy talking with one of the court scribes. "Father!"

"Yes, dear?"

"I've decided."

"Decided on what, dear?" answered the bald man absently, not paying particular attention to his daughter, as he was still absorbed in his discussion with the scribe.

"On my future husband," she announced, before pointing one small finger at a very startled Captain of the Wyrm Hunt. "I'm going to marry him."

"That's nice, dear."

One of the two guards near the castle gates started to snicker, but caught himself in time to disguise it as a cough.

Ser Maximilian blinked rapidly a few times before he finally regained his composure. "I am very much flattered, mi—Lady Symone, but I'm afraid that I am far too old for you," he said to her, playing along. After all, it was just a little girl's game, was it not?

"Of course you are now," she said irritably, "but I'll be of age in a few more years, and I'll marry you then. So there. Right, father?"

"Whatever you say, dear."

The captain smiled at the little girl. "Mayhap you should be inclined to wed someone nearer to your age?"

She sniffed rather haughtily. "Whatever for? The boys in the capital are unworthy of my hand. They are far too childish for my sophisticated self. I would much rather prefer a more mature man, like yourself."

This was starting to sound less like a child's game, and it would do well for him to end it now. Still, he ought to let her down gently, mayhap by diverting her attention to other suitable candidates. "Oh, but there are many others who are more worthy of your hand, Lady Symone."

"Such as?" she snapped, her eyes flashing in annoyance.

"Why, the Arisen—"

"Too unpolished."

"Well, how about Ser Raffe—"

"Too tall."

"Ser Berne is also—"

"Too loud."

"Then what about Ser Kestril—"

"I don't like his moustache." And before he could open his mouth to mention another name, she held up one small hand and announced in a most imperious manner, "I've already made up my mind, and naught you say or do will change it. So there. You'll just have to get used to the idea."

He opened and closed his mouth a few times, absolutely stunned by the little girl's words. "May I ask as to how you've come to your decision?" he asked once he had sufficiently recovered from the shock.

"Simple. Apart from the fact that you are already in a rather prominent position in the duke's army, you also wear red. Red is my favourite colour, as you can see from the gown I'm wearing. We should make an excellent match, don't you think?"

"I—I—" he began, and then just gave up.

Both the guards openly sniggered this time, but he was far too confused with the current turn of events to notice their transgression, much less reprimand them.

"In the meantime, I expect that you work hard at your duties so that you will obtain an advancement in position. After all, I should not want my future husband to remain a captain." Done with her little speech, she trotted back to her home with an airy toss of her head, leaving said captain in a confused daze.

By then Fournival was done with his conversation, and the bald nobleman came up to the captain to apologise for his daughter's behaviour. "I'm sorry if she bothered you, Ser Maximilian. I hope she had not offended you somehow."

"No, no," he said, rubbing his temple again, "it's quite all right."

"What did she say to you, exactly?"

The captain shook his head. "Nothing important. Just some little girl's fancy, I think. I doubt she would even remember it after a while."

"Oh, I wouldn't say that. She's quite like me, you know. If she wants something, then she'll work hard to get it!" Fournival announced rather proudly, before he left for his home, humming a soft tune to himself.

"So when's the wedding then, Cap'n?" one of the guards called out, deciding that some banter was worth any form of reprimand.

"Can I be your best man, then?" said the other, grinning.

The captain merely placed his head in his hands and groaned.