Janet was the last one the servants would call "spontaneous."
She fastidiously laid her clothing out three days in advance. She would have gladly prepared better, but three day's clothes was all she owned. She liked to think it simplified her choices. She couldn't fathom dealing with the vast array of clothing the triplets, Mary, Kate, and Ashley had amassed... How did one ever decide what to wear each day when faced with so many options?
Janet's east-facing bedroom chamber was a study in organization with each item carefully tucked in its special place. Everything was neat and well-maintained, and Janet preferred it that way. In a household where so much was always in a state of frantic anticipation (but what could be expected in a home with three girls, all of marrying age?), it was important to Janet to maintain some sort of eye in the perpetual storm.
Her life was as well-ordered as it could be--it was a necessity when someone ran a household, Janet believed. Everything had a time and a place. All meetings and arrangements had specific dates. The grain was delivered
So it shook her to the core of her being when she sat up in bed suddenly that morning with the overwhelming desire to ride, alone, into the heart of Carterhaugh. She tried to ignore the impulse, going about her normal routine as best possible. She shrugged into a shift and tugged on her mantle--blue, because it was the second day of the new month.
"What?" Janet leaped out of the skirt in dismay. "Oh, no, this won't do," she muttered, looking at the wet cloth. "Where did--" But she remembered the rain on the rooftop last night, and saw where a drop of water hung, threateningly, over her clothing's normal place. "Oh!"
She reached into her wardrobe and pulled out the green mantle, tugging it up over her slim form and smoothing it out. "Green. Hmm."
The single window in her room opened, pulled free by a sudden gust of wind. The scent of spring and running water reminded her of dense forests and--she swallowed--the Ettrick Forest and the rivers that burbled along the borders or Carterhaugh.
She brushed her hair, trying to slow the strange racing of her heart. Why did she want to ride into that area? Ever? Certainly it was a beautiful place, and she was doomed with it as her dowry, and if the rumors were to be believed--
She gasped, looking down at the green mantle again. "No--that is certainly not in my plans--" She recalled the song the bard had sung last night so merrily:
"There's none that goes by Carterhaugh
But they leave him a gift,
Either their rings, or green mantles,
Or else their maidenhead."
With a groan she reached for the red mantle and set her jaw, determined to ignore the strange pull she felt from the east. Fiercely she prayed it wasn't destiny calling, because--Dammit, she thought, getting the red mantle settled--I don't recall making a date with destiny at all.
That's it for me,
*See other 3WW posts linked here.