Lady Claudia Part 1Mature

“Apologies for your waiting, Warrick Holland, but Lady Claudia happens to be my personal apprentice and our most popular Maiden,” Eva and Triggs had already left to their rooms with their chosen Maidens.
                “You really didn’t have to go through such trouble for me,” she smiled at his tone laced with a sardonic smile.
                “My choosing is not for the benefit of making a good impression with you, at least not directly. It is as I have said; we choose clients based on our judgements and thus determine what they need. What I have seen of you, Lady Claudia shall be perfect. But If I were still taking clients, I would have chosen you myself.”
                “Should I be honoured?” Warrick raised his eyebrows at her.
                “Your manner, do we offend you?” she looked intrigued at his question but Warrick could see deeper than that.
                Warrick sighed. “Please, you already know how I feel, don’t ask meaningless questions.” A soft laugh escaped her as she moved closer to Warrick once more.
                “I know how you feel indeed. I wish I could show you myself what we really are.” A single tear dropped down her face. Warrick checked her hands to see if she’d stashed any tear drops in her sleeves but she was clean.
                He smiled fully now, “you’re a good actress,” he pointed at her as he said it, “very good.”
                A young lady glided down the spiralling stairway. Her gown was a soft pink and almost as light as Sophia’s though thicker around the breasts. It trailed along the floor both from her legs and the long sleeves. Meanwhile, a cloak draped her shoulders and hung gently from her dainty shoulders, a hood just visible underneath her mass of dark brown hair, half of which was fitted up with an ornate, bright silver headpiece, the rest dangling down in waving curls half way down her back. She was a beautiful sight indeed, Warrick had to admit.
                As she reached the bottom of the stares and faced Warrick, she bowed regally. Unsure what to do, he bowed too and she giggled, covering her mouth with the back of her hand, which she then proceeded to hold out for him. Once again unsure, he picked it up and kissed it roughly.
                “A pleasure to meet you, Warrick Holland, care to come with me?” she turned and held out her arm in a fashion for him to link his with hers.
                Sophia watched them ascend.
                “Do not be troubled by her, age has turned her into a worrisome mother,” she giggled once more, hiding her face.
                “Hmph,” was all Warrick said, then looked at her clothing and his own, “I feel remarkable underdressed.” He inspected her appearance more carefully and noted the silver gemstone pendant. A Peranel Stone. “You look like a Peruvian Princess.”
                She replied with a coy smile, “my apologies Warrick, I hope you don’t mind if I call you Warrick?” he grunted and she continued, “but my last client was a young Peruvian Prince in fact, a lonely, brooding soul who attended his Uncles wedding, also happening on the anniversary of his parents death. He gave me this pendant. I do believe he got rather lost in the moment,” she looked sadly away, “I implored that he keep it, give it to a girl he truly loved but—“she stopped herself, her own face downcast, “—I’m sure you do not wish to hear it, suffice to say I had no time to change for you, so we shall find you some clothes in my chambers.”
                Warrick was a little stunned at those implications but said nothing on that score, “well, you do look lovely,” he blushed slightly when he said it and looked away. She gently giggled once more.
                “Do not worry, I understand your meaning.”
                They finally reached their corridor. As he walked, Warrick could hear Triggs’ voice from behind one of the fusuma.
                “So, this is your... job?” there was so much eagerness in his voice it was ridiculous, “you dress up all nice, eat fancy food and then do it?” his laugh boomed into the hallway, “got any vacancies?”
                “I’m very sorry about him,” Warrick found himself saying.
                “Oh you needn’t be, he will soon come to realise what we really are.”
                “hm, and wha—“ he was about to comment when a little further down he heard Eva.
                “I just... I mean don’t you get annoyed when people are so blind?” she growled in frustration, “I just want to hit him.” Warrick shared her annoyance with Triggs too.
                “Lady Eva, it is a common misconception. One with which we have grown much accustomed too. People will think what they think and we cannot change that. We shall, as we always have, follow the universal river to where it takes us.”
                “But still, when people like Captain Holland act that way, I just—“ Warrick’s heart hammered at the mention of his name. But... Triggs was the one who...
                “We are almost there now.” Claudia softly spoke.
                “Do you get many female clients?” he asked, wanting to think of something else.
                “Oh yes. Women from all over the Universe come here for one reason or other. Everybody seeks peace in their souls, serenity, and that is what we offer.” She led him to a fusuma and slid it open. He entered and she followed. It was a simple room, though at the far end where three archways instead of a wall that exited to a balcony overlooking the sea. A bed lay in the centre, the head against the wall. The bed itself was low from the ground with silk sheets. At the foot of the bed where two chaise-longue, a low coffee table and staring at this, a large fireplace that was currently burning some logs. The room and the calm heat felt hazy, or his mind did and the incense, though not overpowering, was severely affecting his thinking. He felt himself unwind just a little.
                She moved towards a dresser, pulled out a screen from the wall and indicated for him to go behind it.
                There were many clothes, but he didn’t spend long deliberating. He took off his brown leather hunting jerkin; his belt fitted with ammo and two, previously hidden, gun holsters and his rough cotton shirt and replaced it with a simple, white cloth tunic. And taking off his black trousers and boots, put on some airy white pants, leaving himself barefooted.
                He stepped out into the blinding light and the sun spilling through the open archways made his white clothes almost glow. Everything seemed otherworldly here. Almost ethereal.
                She had gasped when he made his entrance. Then stepped towards him, holding out both hands. He took them suspiciously. She pulled him towards her so that they were very close and looked him in the eyes. Something happened, some shift as he stared into her amber eyes. Then just as suddenly, she turned and led him to a chaise-longue.
                He lounged on it, not too sure what to do.
                “Stop thinking Captain,” she smiled slyly as she looked away from him and pulled a tray from a counter, “you cannot relax if you are always thinking, analysing.”
                “Thinking has always saved my life, I won’t stop now.”
                “I am afraid I must correct you,” she handed him a cup with no handles. He took it, lightly brushing her fingers as he did. She had picked up another cup for herself and lay on the Chaise-longue next to his. “Instinct saves your life, thinking makes you hesitate,” she took a sip, her eyes shrouded in enigma, “thinking kills you.”
                He felt like he should see something in that, but his brain was too addled with the atmosphere to concern himself with it.

The End

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