Tutorage to Verdas

Sarah soon found out that tutorage was, exactly, what Lady Abigail had in mind. And since traveling by carriage over hard dirt roads was quite bumpy, they focused on conversation and etiquette. Over and over it seemed Sarah repeated after Lady Abigail when to stand and when to sit; how to address who and what motions to go through.

By the end of the first day Sarah envied the driver, who got to sit facing forward, concentrating on naught but the road. Of course it wouldn’t be proper for a Lady to sit up there, though apparently a Madame could. A Madame, Sarah discovered, would be able to drive her own carriage if need be. But, since Jason was a Lord, not a Knight, Sarah would become a Lady, not a Madame, upon their marriage. And so Lady Abigail nixed the idea of Sarah learning to drive the carriage.

By the end of the second day Sarah sorely wished she could ride with Jason. Unfortunately etiquette dictated that a Lady did not ride the same horse as a man. Not unless he was immediate family, or her betrothed. To Sarah engagement and betrothal were the same thing, but apparently the rings only symbolized engagement. They would not be betrothed until after a ceremony that would signify the start of their Tri-luna. And so Lady Abigail nixed the idea of Sarah riding with Jason.

By midday of the third day Sarah just wanted a break. They had been going over etiquette, again. This time Lady Abigail had been giving Sarah all sorts of situations that she had to respond to correctly. And Sarah, poor Sarah, wasn’t doing very well. They stopped to rest and eat a light snack when Lady Abigail gave Sarah the most complex situation she’d had yet. Sarah gave the best answer she could and held her breath.

“You just offended half the court, including the King,” Lady Abigail sighed.

“I’m trying, really I am,” Sarah hung her head.

She’d never get it all straight, not unless Jay helped her and she wasn’t about to cheat, not yet. It was just so hard for Sarah to remember all the nuances. People are people and you give them the respect they deserve, that was her parents’s mantra; what she had grown up with.

“Perhaps,” Jason began. Sarah could feel his sympathy.

Lady Abigail flourished a hand at him and he didn’t continue. “A rest, yes,” Lady Abigail looked to Sarah. “Your worst offence is forgetting titles and rank.”

She moved to the carriage and Jason quickly helped her in. He then proffered a hand to Sarah and she accepted his help. Finding Lady Abigail sitting in her spot Sarah took Lady Abigail’s former seat.

“But,” the Lady continued, “as you have the capacity for being respectful your offences can be down played; however, you do need to pay more attention to rank.” The woman reached over and patted Sarah’s knee. “Now, I recommend you get some rest. We will be arriving late but will want to be up early to get the best of what we need at market.”

A tap to the ceiling signaled the carriage to take off. Sarah watched as Lady Abigail settled into her seat and closed her eyes. Though sorely tempted to sleep as well, Sarah couldn’t. She felt too excited and she could tell that some of it came from Jason.

We’re close? She asked silently.

We will be there by nightfall, before the gates close, if we hurry, he replied mentally.

His horse paced alongside the carriage and he turned to smile at her. The road here was wider and, Sarah took the opportunity to look at it, seemingly paved. Jason urged his horse forward and their group picked up speed.

Given that the road was smoother and Sarah could now look out the window, the journey became a whole lot better. It could also be, she thought, because she knew it was coming to a close. Sarah watched as they traveled past farms and ranches. The air smelled of cows and horses, and, she wrinkled her nose, even chickens. But that smell ceased quickly and soon well-tended fields came into view. They were so well-tended and monotonous that Sarah fell asleep.

The End

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