October 13, 2009 – 10:19 am
The cards are set, the armies in motion… we’ll see what happens when reality strikes! This is part 3 of Aely’s “transformation” story – you can see part 1 and part 2 at these links. As with the previous parts, this is written with Yva from WTT:RP. We’ll be back to the usually-less-frivolous Anna posts for the rest of the week!
Aely lay back, each hand in a little bowl of steaming, fragrant water, her feet soaking nearly to the knees in a basin of the same. Emma smiled down at her, and she attempted a nervous smile back.
“Right, so Rain said to leave your hair loose, mmm… yes. I can see that – we just need a little something to bring up the curl, mmm. And tone down the frizzies a little. This won’t take but a few moments.”
She reached into the cabinet for a little tub of something, opened it, took some out with her fingers, and rubbed it between her hands. It smelled lovely, of coconuts and some kind of warm, earthy herb. Emma leaned down, noticing the tension in her shoulders.
“Relax, missy, this isn’t going to hurt!”
And slowly she began working the balm into Aely’s hair, forming the haphazard waves into spirals and massaging it into her scalp.
If it was possible to melt, Aely would, most definitely, have melted.
Fifteen minutes or so later, her hair fell in shiny, slightly sticky ringlets, and all the stress had left her face. She was very nearly asleep when Emma washed her hands in a nearby sink, looked over to her, and said “Alright, now let’s see about those feet, mmm?”
The next hour or so was less relaxing. Emma and her assistant trimmed and filed her toenails, and then, in an act totally out of proportion to the profession of the woman being “pampered,” proceeded to “soften up her feet”. Callouses from years of heavy boots and hard work, rasped away with a heavy file under the cheerful chatter of two women used to being ignored by their clients.
Aely would later liken the experience to what wood must feel like when a master carpenter decides to change it from a sturdy plank into a delicately carved filgree.
Rain poked her head into the room and made a shrill “Squee”.
“Look! You don’t have nubs anymore. I TOLD you Emma was good.”
“She’s so flattering,” Emma murmured, patting Aely’s toes with a towel. “Such a sweet girl you are, Rain.”
Rain flounced in, her hair clipped on top of her head, body wrapped in a big plushy bathrobe. She had one in hand for Aely as well, but as the paladin tried to stand up, there was a collective shriek of angry salon workers.
“Wha’s wrong?” Aely’s hands went instinctively for her waist, for a weapon she didn’t have on her. They’d robbed her of her gear the moment she’d stepped inside, tucking everything into a pink and purple coat room.
“You can’t WALK on them now. Slippers!”
” . . . oi. Right.” Her posture relaxed as they slid silk and leather sandals onto her feet. They had little segments of string between the toes to keep them separated so the lacquer could dry. She waggled her toes, marveling at the lack of cracks, callouses, and or anything else ungainly.
“So it’s time for your facial. Umm, don’t mind the mud.”
“Yeah, it makes your skin soft, but it smells a little weird. It’s Un’goro, so there’s this ash thing to it. The cucumbers help, though.”
“Cucumbers f’r salad?”
“Oh, no, you put them on your eyes.”
Rain held the robe up and helped Aely shoulder into it, giggling a little as she peered at the long expanse of legs revealed below. “I owt nae ask anymore, ayeh?”
And she didn’t, and found out that was the smart thing to do, because within the hour, she was smeared in mud and had fruits and vegetables all over her face. Rain’d been right about the smell – it was odd, charry and fresh at the same time – and she had no idea what the horrible concoction was doing, but sooner rather than later they were scrubbing her clean and . . . soaking her in milk.
She was long past the point of asking questions, just going through with this alien regime and biting her sardonic wit back. Rain blabbed about tea and society balls and the difficulty of maintaining her duties along with a socialite’s burden. Aely tried to answer, but every time she started to talk, they were putting some strange paste near her mouth that threatened to seep inside. After a while, she just kept her lips pursed together to avoid swallowing salon gunk.
It took another hour for them to announce that she was “done”. If she’d had to explain the process to someone, if she had to even tell them why she’d sat there while they’d smeared her with strange textured goop, she couldn’t say, but when it came time to touching her skin, to looking at it in the mirror, whatever they’d done made her glow. She shined like a polished pearl, and everything was so soft to the touch, she just kept gliding her fingertip down her cheek.
“Isn’t it though? You look good. The redness will go down. Around your nose I mean.”
She hadn’t noticed it at first, but Rain was right – the skin around her nose was a little too pink, like they may have scrubbed a layer or three of skin off.
Strangely, that didn’t seem to bother her at the moment.
Aely rubbed her hands together, noticing that they too were free from callouses. Which, if she’d thought about it, probably meant handfuls of blisters, like a new recruit, the next time she was on the field… but for now the novelty of it was enough.
Emma tapped her on the shoulder, breaking her out of small wonderment.
“Miss? If you could sit for a moment, we’ll do your eyebrows and get your face finished.”
“… I thowt ye said I wis done? Ayeh?”
“Well, with the mud and things, yes, but we’ve still to get you properly made up!” Emma looked as though her patience was slightly fraying on the corners. Still, she made a good sport of it, and Aely dutifully sat back down and tried not to make unsightly noises as the woman carefully “slimmed out” her eyebrows.
When she reached for a pot of colored powder, however, Aely finally did object. “Emma… I ken tha’ folks usually go f’r this kin’ ay business? Jus… dinna make me look owt… unnatural?”
“Oh sure! We’ll do something really light, don’t you worry. It’ll be fine”
Emma’s assistant was currently dusting Rain’s face with some kind of light copper colored dust to “bring out the color in her cheeks.” Aely was quite sure she’d never heard so much fluff about appearances all in one setting in her life. In fact, in one day, she’d probably outdone everything she’d ever heard in the past.
“Alright now, I need you to look up at the ceiling, and try not to blink.” Emma had a menacing looking fuzzy blackish brush about the size of a pencil in her hand.
“…oi. wha’s ‘at?”
“Mascara! It’s for your eyelashes. You have gorgeous ones, you know – but they’re so light! This will make them stand out.” Aely squirmed. “Be still, Miss, or you’ll have this all over your eyelids.” Thirty agonizing, will-power-stilled seconds later, Aely blinked into the mirror. By some trick of magic or sleight of hand, her eyes sparkled back, their usual hazel flecked with an unusually bright green. Her skin was luminous, the usual pale cream given a shimmer she was completely unprepared for.
“…Ligh’… ‘f I w’s nae sure tha’ my own hands w’re there in ‘at mirror, I’d nae b’lieve tha’s e’en me. Dinna recognize myself.”
Emma smiled, her professional demeanor just about covering up the smug “I told you so” in her eyes.
Rain squealed when she saw Aely. “See! See I told you you’d look good! Your eyes! And you have such beautiful skin! Wait until we get you all dressed!”
October 12, 2009 – 9:00 am
Part two of the insanity, written with Yva. You can read part 1 here.
Friday morning, just before 9, and not entirely sure what she was doing or why she was even there in the first place, Aelflaed Larsdottir, Crusader of the Argent Dawn, stood in front of a noble house of Stormwind and was, with great politeness, shown in.
Escorted by an older man who pretended not to notice her accent, she found herself once again in what she could only assume was Rain’s room, for the moment unsupervised.
The huge array of dresses was gone, leaving only the purple and cream silk gown Rain had “selected” for her the previous evening, with it’s gold embroidery. Her new lavender “slippers” were there as well.
Laigh’ – I’m apt t’ look like a pig inna dress…
On the table, instead of finery, there was, well, more finery. This time in raw form. Silk, lace, some heavy canvas, pieces of thin boning, and some soft cotton batting. And three measuring tapes. In a small box, Aely found an assortment of thin stockings and some other items she was entirely unsure of.
A tray rattled in the hallway and she dropped the box back on a neighboring chair in time to see Rain’s serving woman – Esme? – pushing a cart full of breakfast and followed by a plump, pleasant looking woman with yet another measuring tape draped around her neck. The latter stopped to eye her up and down, tutting quietly as she circled, every once in a while making a “harrumph” noise.
Then the poking began. Plump fingers began worming their way into places they shouldn’t have been worming.
“Oh look at you,” the woman said. “Beautiful skin. I bet you have LOVELY breasts. Take your clothes off, dear? I need to get a look at you. And look at these LEGS. They go for miles.”
“I . . . oi! ‘at hurts.”
“Let her have breakfast first, Lucia. Honestly,” Esme said beneath her voice. “And do keep it down? Her ladyship is about today. Rain’s trying to keep her busy in the library.”
“Aye, aye. A biscuit, but she can eat that WHILE she stands on the pedestal. Not that I think she’ll need to. You must be six feet, girl. What’s your name, again?”
How’sit ‘at twa wee biddies c’n be so intimidatin’?
“Well Aely, northern lass, aye?”
Aely nodded as Esme stuffed a blueberry biscuit into her hand. Lucia walked around her and started unlacing her shirt, chattering all the while, like undressing a stranger was the most normal thing in the world. For a seamstress, it likely was, but Aely still found it odd. During the idle banter, Lucia kept commenting on Lordaeron noblewomen she’d outfitted, namedropping northern blood like it would mean something to the paladin, and Aely nodded enthusiastically, eating the biscuit slowly so she didn’t actually have to talk. That didn’t seem to phase anyone, though, as they just kept stripping until she was standing around in the plain cotton unders she’d put on that morning.
“Oh my light, you need this,” Lucia said, hooking her finger beneath the fabric. “Is that COTTON? Lovely in the summer, but it’s near fall and . . . oh you are getting the works, young lady. TAKE THOSE WOOL SOCKS OFF RIGHT NOW.” Lucia jabbed a finger into her face, her expression a study in matronly fury. “I will not . . . you . . . you’re a paladin, yes?”
“Well you’re not in armor now and you . . . you’re a girl, damn it. Wool socks are for boys. Young boys at that!”
“I ken! Bu’ they’re /warm/.”
“Mmm. I’m sure you ‘ken’. Horrible . . . oh your poor feet.” Lucia was tugging the second sock off now, tutting and grunting as she stooped. Sometimes Aely thought the noises were concerned ones. The rest of the time, though, she was pretty it was maniacal rage.
“Emma’s going to have a day with you. I hope Rain booked for at least three hours. They’re going to need bloody saws.”
“Four, actually.” Esme said, folding Aely’s clothes and putting them onto the table. “Four for the tall miss, one for herself.”
“Good. She’s got a brain, for all that you wouldn’t know it. Up! Up on the pedestal with you!” She ushered Aely over to the step-up near the windows, facing her towards the drapes, her hands settling on her hips. The tape measure started whipping about with purpose. Esme shoved another biscuit into Aely’s hand and insisted she eat, patting her on the back as she passed by.
“You’re welcome, dear,” Lucia said, not realizing the comment wasn’t directed at her. Esme didn’t seem to mind, though, instead smiling shyly into her shoulder and winking. Aely winked back and bit into the second biscuit – something fruity and buttery and far too sweet to be good for her.
“Now we need good posture or I’ll get you with my pins. Oh! Yes, just like that. The military taught you something that would . . . suck your tummy in. That’s a good girl. A nice narrow waist, there. I think I can peel it down to . . . twenty four inches? With good boning maybe twenty three. I’d recommend against long period’s of sitting though. Faint headed and what have you. Arms up!”
Aely did as she was told, still using her breakfast as an excuse to not voice her concerns over losing five inches off of her waistline. She was fairly sure the complaints would be ignored anyway.
“Oh, this is going to take quite a bit of silk and . . . stockings. You need stockings. And we’ll need something that won’t interupt the lines of the silk gown. Something with a t-back to it.”
“A t-back?” Aely said thruogh a mouthful of food before she could really think better of it.
“Yes. It’s like a string? More comfortable than it looks, dear. Turn to the left please.”
“Air y’talkin’ a thong?!” Aely shuffled leftish, stopping halfway to gape at the seamstress.
“I think that’s what the kids are calling it today, yes.”
“Oi. Y’r shittin’ meh.”
Lucia’s glower beneath her dark eyebrows was less than friendly.
“Oh no, no I’m not. And you will wear it young lady. Oh yes, you will.”
October 9, 2009 – 9:53 am
Don’t blame me for this one… this is all Yva‘s fault. And yes, there will probably be a bit more to this story. If nothing else, this is a study in putting your character in a situation WAY outside their comfort zone. Also, for what it’s worth, when I say “smallclothes” I mean something like a sports bra and a pair of capri-length sweatpants.
Aelflaed stood in front of the small mirror in her apartment, peering at the woman in her smallclothes that peered back. An unusual occurrence, to be sure, given that most days she barely glanced at it to make sure that she’d gotten all her hair in her braid, that her shirt wasn’t on backwards, and that she wasn’t wearing any of her breakfast.
Carefully untying the leather cord that held her hair, she slowly unwound her braid, using her fingers to work out the largest of the snarls.
“Make sure you wash your hair the day before. We’ll get them to weave some matching ribbons in it – OOH or you could leave it down and we’ll get it curled. It’ll look so nice! Oh and make sure your hands are ok. We’ll get your nails and feet done, and it’ll be great!”
Rain Boleyn’s voice echoed in her head.
She looked at her hands. They were clean, and her nails were short – mostly in good shape, but the one purple one looked somewhat unfortunate. Well, th’ Zombie made owt worse frae tha’ affair… She had callouses, of course, but nothing too terrible looking. Her feet, on the other hand, were kind of a mess. Cracked toenails, callouses from her heavy boots, and one fading greenish-purple bruise from where someone had set a gurney on it.
She pulled on a pair of fuzzy wool socks.
“Oh are you free tomorrow morning after breakfast? Around nine say? We’ll need to get you properly fitted for a corset and some garters. Oh and you’ll need stockings, you can’t possibly wear those socks with the slippers. And do you have a pair of sandals? You’ll need those by Tuesday too, some soft ones, for after they do your feet. Otherwise you’ll smudge the lacquer. I’ll have Esme call Lucia about that fitting tomorrow. Normally I’d just have you go to the Finest Thread, but a personal fitting is important for these kinds of things, and Delion’s been super busy lately.”
Nail lacquer? And a lingerie fitting? A CORSET? Aely looked down at herself, trying to imagine wearing such a piece of equipment. Wearing specially made lingerie was foreign enough – but to do so just to “play dress up”? And nail lacquer just sounded ridiculous.
Next Tuesday would definitely be interesting.
… Oi, lass, ye’ve y’rself in a heap ay mess. Guess y’r goin’ t’ pub night like’at.