She eyed the wardrobe suspiciously – and then the note.  Note.  Wardrobe.  Wardrobe.  Note.  Package.  

The package was pretty, bedecked in red paper with a shiny golden bow, suspciously heavy and wooshy and tasted just a little of magic. The boy who’d delivered it was not terribly suspicious, but then, they never were, were they?

Aunne -knew-.  Packages with pretty bows were usually filled with things that made other people mad when she played with them.  It was tradition.  And then the note – look in the wardrobe?  It didn’t taste of magic, it wasn’t on fire, and wasn’t doing anything beyond simply being a wardrobe at her.

She grunted.  It helped a little.  People do not really /give/ me things.  Not since Thsay.  And my friend Etsyiona.  And Victor a little.  Pause.  Sometimes people do give me things.  And Nereia gives me tea!  It cannot be -awful.-

The wrapping paper seemed to taunt her with its sparkling.  That vicious, vicious sparkling.  So mean and enticing and maybe it was another head?  She secretly hoped it -was- another head, if only to keep the first one company, but she knew it probably wasn’t and, besides, people didn’t generally just cut dwarves up these days.

She prodded at the package with the very tip of a hoof.  When it continued to not explode, she sat in the floor next to it.  After another few minutes of not exploding, she drew it into her lap, determined.  You will not defeat me.  I -will- know.  Oh yes.  I will know!

She resisted the urge to cackle.  It never helped.

The wrapping came apart with an admittedly satisfying rip or three, and she didn’t bother with the nicety of opening the box – it was, after all, just a box, and wasn’t much tougher than the paper, at least to her.  

Red fabric?  She pulled it out – soft as a cloud, shimmering, and so much of it!  She could not resist rubbing it against her cheek, letting it fall through her fingers into her lap.  There, she discovered a sleeve, then a place for her neck to go – and, all at once, excited, hopping to her hooves, she unfurled it into a dazzling vision of red and gold and swirling fabric and artful gathering and a little flower on one side and skirts and layers and…

A /dress/.  And it is as tall as me!  And …  If she could cry, she would – but, failing that, she hugged it to her fiercely, eyes closed, actually trembling for a moment.  It took several more moments until she could think again, until she could fold the precious thing carefully,  and start toward the lopsided, rough wardrobe that no longer seemed quite so threatening. 

WHen the door opened, it took a moment for it all to register, and she let out a low cry – eyes wide.

All.  All… fixed?  I .. how?  But…  She swallowed, and stared, and touched each garment in turn; so few now, but now all.. whole.  THe patches were gone, her inexpert repairs now neat and tidy, the thinning fabric whole again.  Even her guild tabard and cloak, both so tattered and stained, were pristine and shining, the gold thread no longer half-gone.  The precious grey-black dress with its silver thread almost shone in the dim light, and she touched it, and truly did wish she could cry so that the lump that was somehow in her throat would go away.  

Oh, Thsay.  It is like when you gave it to me.  I cannot..   She touched its sleeve… and just sat, there in the floor, unconscously fiddling with a lock of bone-white hair.  

I have … friends.  What is it you said?  ‘You may be dead, but you’ve still got a life you have to live.  Moping doesn’t help.’  

You were right.  You were always right.  

A pause.  Then a longer pause, and then she grinned, girlish and excited – “Ygraine!  We should go dancing, yes?  You will come?  I will teach you!  It is a thing everyone should do – there is music!  Get your dress, yes?  We will go be pretty.”

Author Aunne
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