On her fourteenth birthday, Princess Pirouette received a new tutor. His name was Sir Chasse. Of gentle birth, tall with a pleasing countenance, he fit in well with the milieu of court. It was his job to teach the Princess the ancient art of gamma vraque, a form of martial art practiced by members of the royal family. On her first day of lessons, he taught her various stretching techniques under the clear skies of a September morning. In due time, Her Highness would be able to knock a grown man flat while serving tea for five.
Shortly after arriving at Court, Princess Pirouette was given her first communion. Prior to her arrival, there had been no great rush; however, as heir to the throne, it was deemed necessary to have the Church fully embrace her. Such was the curiosity of the people to see her, that great throngs flooded the courtyard in front of the great cathedral. Fortunately, a secret tunnel ran from the Palace to the interior of God’s house and it was through this tunnel that Her Highness and her ladies were conducted.
Cee’s Black and White Challenge: Pairs
I would have been truly remiss if I’d excluded my own dynamic duo from this challenge! I give you Pirouette (on left) and GarGar.
First and foremost GarGar, le comte des Deux Chats was a warrior. There was nothing he loved more that spurring his horse to the middle of the fray where he would brandish his sword with deadly effect. The number of foes slain by him was incalculable. His very name struck fear into the hearts of his enemies of which there were many. He would fight until his arm was so weary that he could barely wield his weapon, his shining sword with a silver hilt.
I agree with the host of this challenge that bumblebees are soft. I’m submitting this butterfly with the same sentiment. 😄
Here we have two examples of soft on soft. Maxwell and GarGar both have soft fur. Max is on a soft pillow and GarGar is on a soft chair.
For the cause of equity, I submit these dogs who have very soft fur as well.
Within days of arriving at Court, Princess Pirouette’s household was assembled. First and foremost was her governess, Lady Greenmeadow who had been a lady-in-waiting for the late Queen. There were her ladies-in-waiting, half a dozen young women, chosen for their beauty, poise and ancient lineage. Her confessor doubled as her almoner, an elderly gentleman who was once considered for the post of archbishop. She had three tutor who taught her everything from comportment to mathematics to governance.
Poor little Princess! Never for a moment was she allowed any privacy. Even at night when she was ensconced in her bed and the curtains drawn, she could hear one of her ladies snoring in a corner of the room. There were times when she wished that she were invisible. Always feeling as she were on display, young Pirouette learned a little trick. She would close her eyes and imagine herself in an empty, sun-drenched field with only butterflies for company. Sometimes her powers of concentration were such that she could block out everything, even intrusive sounds like the constant chatter of courtiers.
The old King looked older everyday. Still he rose every morning at dawn to hear mass, eat breakfast and attend to the business of running the country. His movements were slow and deliberate. His voice was raspy and tremulous. When addressing him, one was obliged nearly to shout because of his hearing loss. He’d been King for so long that there were few living who could remember his predecessor.
When she was first introduced to the King, Princess Pirouette, much like many children who are not regularly exposed to the elderly, was taken aback by his advanced years. It was only through gentle words and little acts of kindness that the King was able to ally the young girl’s apprehension. As she grew older, the Princess found that His Majesty was the first person she would consult when she had a problem or question that needed to be addressed.
When GarGar, le Comte des Deux Chats arrived at Court, Princess Pirouette was sixteen years of age. In his calvary officer’s uniform, he cut quite a dashing figure with his black riding boots and red cape, his curved sword bouncing against his hip as he strode into the Throne Room. Pirouette watched from a gallery above, hidden by a coromandel screen. As soon as he entered the room, all the courtiers hushed their whispering, and more than one woman hid her blushing cheeks behind her fan.
When it was Princess Pirouette’s turn to grant her monthly audience to all the new arrivals to the Court, she stood at one end of her Presence Room. The new courtiers were already assembled at the other end of the room when she entered through a hidden door that was disguised as a bookshelf. They all bowed or curtsied, depending on their gender. With her fan, she motioned for them all to rise. In the past, it was her custom to flit from one individual to the next, barely taking notice as they each kissed her hand, but in this case, she paused in front of le Comte and looked intently into his face. She was a little taken aback when, contrary to protocol, he returned her gaze with aplomb.
The outdoor concert and dance was Princess Pirouette’s idea. Brilliantly conceived, torches lit one end of the yard, where the dancers would assemble underneath the starry Summer night. When the minstrels began to play, “Sans Frayeur dans ce Bois,” the Captain of the Guard took the Princess by the hand and led her onto the dance floor. He looked quite dashing in his white uniform with his sword by his side and red sash across his chest. And handsome he was. His jet black hair caught the torchlight and seemed to shimmer.
Neither dancer seemed inclined to look their partner in the face. They both concentrated their gaze over each others’ shoulder. The Captain seemed almost distressed as his brow was beaded with sweat. Later he would blame the heavy Summer air for his behavior. When the music stopped, the Princess tried to disengage from him, but he responded by pulling her more tightly in an embrace. She gasped quietly at his effrontery. Releasing her, he suddenly fell to one knee, took her hand in his and kissed it.