Chapter 28: Reserved

Aliryia rose with the early morning sun; she had no wish to shut her eyes any further. Whilst Elorrie slept, Aliryia dressed quietly, and gathered up her messy ringlets (those having been ruined by sleep) into the same hairstyle that she had tried to have when she arrived. The good thing about her ancient Elven blood was that she had no need of washing her hair, until a week or so had passed.

Aliryia took a deep breath, whilst she pondered The Sistren. It was such a place of hope... Today, she eventually decided, her act would be reserved, and she vowed to keep away from any of the other girls. Besides, today was the day of the week in which many Elves kept for contemplating and an appreciation of nature; a stroll of the extensive grounds would be more than fitting to fulfil both of her tasks.

In their bedroom lay a small wardrobe in which someone had placed a few clothes. Aliryia assumed that it was Elorrie, for she herself had not brought a bag from home- and had not seen much in going to town, so therefore had no other clothes apart from her lacy dress.

The sun was shining lightly outside, but there was a breeze picking up as Aliryia unlatched the window, careful not to let any light slip through to Elorrie’s eyes.

She lifted a small travelling clock, black wool and matte, from the shelf in the wardrobe, and placed it careful around her thin shoulders. The manufactured fabric scratched them without any care to her feelings, but it was a better alternative than to venture outside and catch an illness.

She quietly tiptoed, barefoot as usual, from the room.

Out in the garden, the grass had been caressed with the hand of morning dew; it sparkled and Aliryia marvelled at the soft, damp sensation beneath her feet. The air was cool, but refreshing; it pulled at her arms, begging her to play, but Aliryia marched onwards, ignoring the sudden playful instinct that had crept up on her. The orange glow that the rising sun was casting gave an unusually summery backdrop to the thick trees that had succumbed to the dance of the breeze.

For a while Aliryia continued to wander into the forest that stood at the other bordering end of The Sistren, and the sat atop a pine tree, letting the fresh sensations fill her up. After several minutes, she walked back into the main part of the gardens. She hadn’t spotted a vegetable or flower garden amongst the grounds, but no doubt one would be hidden somewhere; The Sistren had everything. In a corner of the luscious green lawn, there was a broad tree from which hung sturdy, light string and a swing seat of yellow wood. As the floral scents of exotic flowers drifted into her mind, Aliryia was propelled into her childhood.

And suddenly she was spinning around in that floaty, rose-coloured dress laughing as she once had done as a child beneath deep green nature. Her laughter echoed onwards like butterflies or raindrops falling into a tropical rainforest.

She pirouetted and fell to the floor, her hair becoming unpinned again as she flumped, giggling, to the ground. Her loss of self-control let her create a grass-angel, staining some green patched onto her back.

Finally, she got up, cleared her throat, and brushed away the curls that had fallen across her forehead; that hair was just like it had been the day she arrived: uncontrollable.

Suddenly, she heard shouts from the main building; angry shouts, and, once again saddened, she shook her head.

Aliryia hurried back just in case, watching as the memories of true happiness faded again. She spotted the Lizard-girl sitting from a second-floor window. To Aliryia, it was not an unusual sight; her parents had been brought up in the heights of the Elven forest, and had only moved to live on the ground for the safety of their children. Call it stereotypical, but Aliryia was proud of her heritage.

She inclined her head to Alkyra and Eru, still in keeping with the promise she had made, and walked on to the kitchen.

There stood Maine, rooting through the cupboards. Having seen Aliryia, the other girl struggled to find the letters to pronounce her name. After that, they completed their pleasantries- “Did you sleep well?”, “Yes, thank you,” et cetera- and Maine went on hunting for her food.

“Do allow me, sister, I’ve been known to cook rather well,” Aliryia remarked, noticing the scrambled food that had been laid aside.
”Okay. If you can find any ingredients.”

Aliryia grinned, but quickly lifted a hand to cover her mouth, not noticing the flecks of dirt that had crept under her pristine nails.

They found more eggs hidden in an egg-box at the back of the breadbin, behind a bigger, thicker loaf of bread. With swift hands, Aliryia juggled the eggs into a mixing-bowl that Maine had discovered.

Soon a flavourful smell was wafting from a saucepan on the stove- and the kitchen was an absolute mess of knives, plates, and some smudges of sauce.

Aliryia lifted her fork, and tried the first omelette. It wasn’t bad.

“Here, sister, I’d like you to try this.” she said to Maine.

Maine cut herself a piece and quickly popped it into her mouth.

“Hmm, Ali, this is good!” she exclaimed, although Aliryia thought that she was only exaggerating to make her feel better.

Once again, Aliryia nodded her head, in a reserved way. And then her ears pricked up as the clamor of the others moving downstairs made itself known to her. The house was alive again.

The End

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