What A Good Girl

“Got these chains hanging around our necks, people want to strangle us with them before we take our first breath.”

Imsdyn 10th, 1513 – Fitz-Chivalry estate, River Sulis, Lothianshire, Albion

Marianne brushed nervously at the horse hair that still clung to the skirt of her blue riding habit. “We just got back from our riding lesson.” Vivianne pointed out, tossing a strand of hair over her shoulder. “No one is going to expect us to be completely spotless.”


“Speak for yourself,” Marianne’s other companion, Elizabet, wrinkled her pale nose. “I’ve seen mother lead an autumn hunt and come back with not a piece of horse hair clinging to her skirt, nor a hint of perspiration about her brow, not even a hair out of place.”

“Well, aye, Elizabet, but we’re not even sure that your mother is a sim, she might be a ice sculpture that someone bewitched.” Vivianne tossed back with a smirk.

“Hardly.” Elizabet dismissed airily. “A bewitched snow sculpture would be warmer than my mother.” Their riding instructor put a hand over her mouth and cleared her throat, probably to hide a snicker. Marianne couldn’t blame Madame Cox for it. She probably knew the baroness better than any of them. Her husband was a cousin of Elizabet’s mother and worked as the baron’s steward. And while she was never anything other than the very picture of polite, deferential good manners around them, you couldn’t help but get the impression that Madame Cox was anything other than polite and deferential in her thoughts of them.

“Besides, just because your mother can do it doesn’t mean that any sim can.” Vivianne told the blonde girl.

“You have met my mother, haven’t you? Of course, she expects us to be able to do everything she can. Only the Lord Wright can create perfection, but we should all strive to be as close to perfection as simly possible.” Elizabet gave an airy flick of the hand as Lady Marisol did after she deemed something to be so. Vivianne snickered. Marianne–wished she dared to. “What I don’t understand is why given that both my estate and the Finessas’ estate is closer to the riding grounds we have to come to the Fitz-Chivalrys after riding lesson.”

Marianne’s gaze dropped to the ground by the hem of her skirts. Mother reminded her that they couldn’t expect to be treated as the exact equals of the Caricos and Finessas, they were not, through no fault of their blood, which could be traced back to some of the noblest, they simply had yet to earn landed status. But Elizabet was never so cruel as to simply point out that while her father was Baron of River Sulis, Marianne’s father was the Baron of nowhere yet.

“I didn’t mean that, Ri.” Elizabet said flicking blue-gray eyes her direction. “I’m not disparaging your house or your company, just the silliness that we go from there to here even though there are other theres to go to inbetween. You understand, right?” Though Elizabet had the baroness’ eyes, there was an earnestness in them that  Marianne had never seen in Lady Marisol’s icy gaze.

“My mother doesn’t like nicknames.” Marianne pointed out instead of answering the questions, she didn’t really know if she understood, but she knew that Elizabet wouldn’t let it go if she didn’t deflect the situation. “She thinks they’re crass and low-class.”

“So I’ll tell my mother to tell your mother not to be so stuffy.” There went Vivianne’s snickers again. “And I’m sure that will bring the return of St. Robert and then Armageddon from irony alone. But even my mother doesn’t mind nicknames. And considering how your mother is–do you really think that she’ll call me out  for using one, even if she does think they’re crass?”

Considering how your mother is. It was easy to read between the lines, Elizabet made no secret that she thought that Marianne’s mother was an unapologetic social climber. Secretly, shoved so deep down inside that maybe even the Lord Wright couldn’t see it, Marianne knew that Elizabet was right. Her mother did nothing that wasn’t aimed at making their family look better in the eyes and minds of those higher up the chain than the Fitz-Chivalrys.


Madame Cox cleared her throat gently. “Your lord-father made the request, milady. And I am not dumb enough to argue with the baron.”

“Not even over something that makes no sense?” Elizabet taunted.

“Especially not over something that makes no sense. I have better things to do with my time. Like go argue with my garden wall in hopes that it will move five feet to the left or the statue of St. Brandi to change position, because I think that her normal one is a trifle trite by this point.” Madame Cox’s bland expression didn’t change but even Vivianne, usually the first to giggle at something scandalous, was watching the riding instructor with a semi-horrified expression. As for Marianne herself, her eyes felt as if they were bulged so far any moment now, they would surely pop right out of her head.

Elizabet, however, grinned sunnily. “Probably a good idea. You do have more chance of convincing those things to move.”


Madame Cox offered a small smile and nod. “Well, having delivered you to your location, I should probably get home, I believe that Lyssandra should be returning from her music lesson shortly.”

“Oh, Madame Cox?” Elizabet called after the riding instructor.

“Aye, Lady Elizabet?”

“I think my father said something about wanting Master Cox to work on the Library fundraiser this evening, that’ll probably keep him late.” Elizabet said.


“Good, if he keeps him all week, I’ll refund your tuition for the month.” Elizabet burst out into giggles as Madame Cox waved over her shoulder.

“Did I miss something?” Vivianne asked.

“Madame Cox and Master Cox do not like each other. He annoys her, I think she scares him. But my father works him like a salt miner. So, they can avoid each other. It’s probably better that way.” Elizabet pushed open the iron gate, leading the way down the side of the house.

They were almost to the courtyard when a boyish shout caught their attention.


“Oh, cow demons and last seasons slippers!” Elizabet muttered. “Now we have to deal with the brothers too.” Marianne looked under the arbor toward the courtyard and saw she was right. The courtyard was filled with teenage boys, Elizabet’s brother Joshua, Charlie and Severus, Vivianne’s brothers, of course Brandon, Marianne’s elder brother was there as well and–who was…?


“I thought Leo was off Camford.” Elizabet said to Vivianne. “That is your brother isn’t it?”

“No, not yet. There was storm damage from that late Spring storm that went through the east of here. They’ve got to finish repairing the buildings before people can move in. But, that’s okay. That means he doesn’t have to leave so soon.” There was a little catch in Vivianne’s voice as she said it.

“The-outfit is new.” Elizabet said neutrally.

“I helped pick it out.” Vivianne told them clasping her hands behind her back. “I think he looks really… handsome.”


“He does look nice.” Marianne added in a hurry, before Elizabet could say something snappish. The door almost directly opposite from where they were standing opened and spilled a girl out into the summer sunlight.

“Now, she does not.” Elizabet grimaced as she turned to Marianne. “How can your mother have such good taste and your sister so poor? That pink, with that green? And all that brocade?”


“Caroline’s–” Marianne started, then stalled out trying to figure out how to be diplomatic and defend her sister, as her mother insisted they do, and knowing she kind of agreed. Caroline’s dress was made to lord over others. She wanted to catch every eye in the room, and with most of her dresses she would–just not the way that Marianne thought Caroline would want to catch that attention.

“Got her slimy paws all over Leo.” Vivianne crossed her arms over her chest and glared straight ahead.


“Your brother.” Elizabet said with a little heat. “C’mon, obviously they’ve usurped the courtyard, so let’s go to the back garden.”

“But…” Marianne protested.


“We are not gonna tear the place up, we can just sit quietly and talk.” Elizabet shot a look at Vivianne who was still scowling. “Your mother doesn’t want the brothers back there because somebody’d push somebody into the reflection pools or break the head off the statue or trample the roses. I think we can avoid doing all that.” Having no response and hoping that her mother would accept that it was Elizabet’s idea, she followed them to the formal gardens at the back of the house.


Elizabet pointed to the bench nearest to them and slid onto the right seat before patting the right one and pointing from Vivianne to it.

“Vivi, you have got to let this go.” Elizabet told her bluntly, sounding far older than her eleven years.


“She’s right, Vivianne.” Marianne bit her lip when Elizabet looked at her and nodded toward their friend. “My father and your father are–in betrothal negotiations. I-I know you like your brother, but…” Marianne looked back at Elizabet, thinking not for the first time of the irony that she was technically the eldest of the three and yet she was most definitely not the leader. And it had nothing to do with being the lowest ranked.

“I just think that Caroline has her nose so far up in the air that it’s surprising she doesn’t drown in the rain and is not at all worthy of Leo.” Vivianne raised her chin with an icy, regal air that was better suited to Elizabet’s mother than the usually sweet girl that Marianne called a friend. “Can’t I think that?”


“Aye, and some-or most-of it is probably even true. But the reason I bring it up, Vivi, is you would or have found something wrong with every girl your parents have introduced to your brother.” Elizabet said. “You’d say it about Ri and she is the sweetest, most not-conceited girl we know.”

“No, I wouldn’t.” Vivianne protested. “Not that at least.” She muttered to her hands. Elizabet sighed and leaned her head back against the rough brick of the back wall.

“But you wouldn’t like it.” Elizabet pressed. Vivianne shrugged and looked away. “He’s gonna marry somebody, Vivi. And–it isn’t you. I mean even if you weren’t quasi-betrothed to that prince.”


“I’m working on that!” Vivianne interrupted in protest.

“He’s your brother, Vivi. You’d have better luck convincing your parents to let you out of being promised to the prince to marry my brother.”

“I don’t want to marry Josh!”

“And I don’t blame you. I mean he’s Josh.” Elizabet said it with such over the top distaste that Marianne couldn’t fight the giggle that bubbled up in her throat. “But he’s not your brother.”

“I don’t mean that I want to marry Leo.” Vivianne picked at a thread on her riding habit. “I just don’t want Caroline to. And I don’t want to marry the prince. I don’t look good in a tiara.”


“Well, I’d disagree with that. I think your head is shaped just right for a tiara.” Elizabet teased with a wink. Marianne sat down on the grass, turning her attention up to the clouds.


“What are you doing back here?” The sneering voice cut through the summer light, seeming to bring a cloud with it. Really, if it weren’t for the fact that Vivianne did have this peculiar attachment to her brother, Marianne would not see any problem with Vivianne wresting him away from Caroline. She’d probably even help her.

“Sitting. What are you doing back here?” Elizabet said.

“Well, the boys were being so loud, it’s hard to get acquainted in the presence of all that noise, so Mother suggested that we walk back here.” Caroline said.

“And there’s plenty of room for you to walk.” Elizabet said gesturing broadly. Vivianne slumped down on the bench crossing her arms over her chest.


“Oh, Vivianne.” Caroline simpered. “You’ll ruin your posture, then what will the prince say?” Leo shot Caroline a black look that seemed to cow her for a moment. Apparently she’d forgotten that you didn’t, ever, make fun of Leo’s sister when he was standing right there. He shot Vivianne a sympathetic look and she smiled back–sort of–it was a flickery sort of smile, like a candleflame in a draft.


Caroline moved around the reflection pond, not seeming to notice that Leo wasn’t following her any more. That he wasn’t even looking at her. Then she paused and started to turn.

“Goodness, Caroline, look at the size of that bee.” Elizabet said.

“What bee?” Caroline sounded suspicious.

“The one on your shoulder. I’ve never seen one that big!” Elizabet gasped.


“Ahhh!!” Caroline waved her hands “Bee!” She turned and ran out of the garden.

“It’s a good thing there wasn’t really a bee, else it’d have stung her.” Elizabet snickered.

“Lady Elizabet.” Leo chided softly.


“Oh, c’mon. She deserved it. I will even go apologize if you can seriously, with a straight face, tell me she didn’t.” Leo, perhaps wisely, said nothing.

“Leo, Vivi,” Severus rounded the corner. “Oh, hi, Elizabet.”

“Aren’t you forgetting someone?” Elizabet batted her lashes.


“Oh, uh, hey, uh Marianne.” Severus tugged lightly at the collar of his doublet. “Why did your sister come running around the house like all of Grimmy’s Cow Demons and some distant relatives of Elizabet’s were chasing her.”

“Severus, you really shouldn’t talk about cow demons in front of ladies.” Leo scolded. “It’s not appropriate.” Severus colored lightly under his freckles.

“It’s alright, Severus.” Marianne shook her head. “Elizabet told Caroline there was a bee on her shoulder.”

“Wouldn’t that be a really dumb way to handle a bee?” Severus asked before breaking eye contact to look at Elizabet. “Though truly classic on telling her that, Elizabet. I approve. Oh, uh, yeah, dad’s here, Leo. I was supposed to come get you and Vivi.” He glanced at Marianne again before running his hand over the back of his neck.


“Good afternoon, then, ladies.” Leo nodded as Vivianne moved past him toward where Severus stood.

“See you tomorrow at lessons.” Vivianne told them with a wave. A few quick strides later, Leo caught up with his sister and slung an easy arm around her shoulder.


“We just lost every bit of progress we might have made this afternoon, didn’t we?” Elizabet asked sitting down on the bench. Marianne sat down next to her smoothing her skirt.


She thought for a moment. “Aye.” Elizabet nodded and sighed. And all Marianne could do was nod and sigh as well. That seemed to pretty much say it all.

7 thoughts on “What A Good Girl

  1. Well, I’ll say this for Leo: he does look snazzy. Even if he is Vivianne’s brother … which, really, ew … but hopefully this is just an awkward adolescent crush that will work itself out.

    However, I’m pretty sure he is too good for Caroline. He must be too good for anybody who would pair that green with that pink. And who seems to be a snob and a brat to boot.

    (Maybe Vivianne and Leo and Severus and Charlie’s father will see that, too? Although if he’s got Vivianne quasi-betrothed to a prince … who knows …)

    However, it was neat to see River Sulis society from the other side, as it were! Apparently the people at the top aren’t any happier than those at the bottom — at least, viewed from the perspective of their tween-ish daughters. That Elizabet certainly seems older than her years, though. Wonder where that will lead …

    Also, I wonder where Severus’s apparent — or seemingly apparent — crush on Marianne will lead. ;) That should be fun and interesting.

    … Hmm, if the Fitz-Chivalries and the Finessas are desperate for an alliance … that might work out a shade better than Leo-Caroline … *crosses fingers for Severus and Marianne*

    1. I know, I know. This thing with Vivianne and Leo is not your favorite thing I’ve ever done with your self-sim, but I’m hoping that it will make for an interesting arc and something different than what I usually do with your character. (If it makes you feel better, I promise you’re not going to see Vivianne necked in Leo’s bed any time soon.)

      Oh, Caroline is a snob and a brat and not the brightest one because she hasn’t figured out some very basic things about life and social status. First of all, unlike Marianne she has yet to figure out that Vivianne and Elizabet are her social superiors. Their families are noble, titled, and landed. Her family is noble, but not titled, or landed. (Not sure if that’s exactly how this works or even how it’s working in your game, but that’s how it’s working in this iteration of Albion.)

      And being that the noble families of Albion have had five-hundred years to breed and spread and have titles granted and taken away, it’s a bit more complicated and certainly difficult to be granted and estate and title. So I think the social gap is probably a little larger than Caroline grasps.

      She’s more likely to take potshots at Vivianne, because at least she’s figured out that a) Elizabet is more likely to retaliate, personally and that b) Elizabet is the daughter of the baron where they live. Vivianne’s father is the baron of somewhere else.

      Still, she hasn’t figured out that the betrothal is not in the bag nor that Leo is overprotective of his baby sister. She’s not the brightest candle in the candelabra. And yes, whatever Leo’s faults are, he is too good for a girl who pairs that green with that pink.

      Ah, but Vivianne’s father doesn’t have her promised to the prince. That was the work of Vivi’s mother. And it’s less a quasi-betrothal and more as the queen’s cousin (see Caroline’s a moron.) and closest friend, she promised that they would at least try and arrange a marriage between Vivi and the queen’s third son.

      But unlike Jeda and Ietrin, if it turns out that they’re just not compatible, Dad will put his foot down and quash it.

      Elizabet, yeah, she is not child-like, she’s a tween in years, almost but not quite a teen in age, and just a teensy tiny little bit less than a full adult in personality. Which could lead to all sorts of things, this precociousness. We shall see where it goes.

      As for things we shall see where goes, Severus’ crush on Marianne is in there too. However from a strict social climbing/alliance marriage agenda, Henry and Squeak might be willing, Katherine sees more advantage in marrying her eldest daughter off to the Finessas’ eldest son and heir than marrying her second daughter off to their third son. That will put Marianne in the same boat that Katherine is in and desperate to get off of…

  2. Knowing what I know about the steward, I must say… poor Madame Cox, having to be married to Ietrin! :S

    Leo is pretty good-lucking. But yeah, hopefully Vivianne’s attachment to him isn’t anything too sexual, or that it will pass if it does (though yeah, I don’t think I’d want Caroline for a sister-in-law either! And good luck to Vivianne getting out of the unwanted betrothal).

    Hmm, I wonder what Marianne’s social-climber mother would think if she knew a noble (?) boy like Severus had a crush on her. And maybe they could possibly be good for each other in spite of that. ;)

    Elizabet is kind of awesome. :)

      1. I would say having to deal with Caroline on a semi-regular basis means he’s got pretty bad luck all things considered…

        Yes, poor Madame Cox. However, I did sacrifice my self-sim for a reason. I don’t think, even after ten years of marriage, that Masen(Ietrin) knows his wife and what she’s capable of doing. And I think it’d do him good to be scared of a woman who won’t kowtow to him.

        As for Vivi’s attachment and poor Leo, Caroline’s victim/leech host. It’s entirely possible that Vivianne will grow out of it, she’s only thirteen.

        Although, in defense of the prince, she’s never met the prince. She has no idea if the boy her mom promised her to is an Ietrin or a Tommy or an Adrius. She’s making the assumption he’ll be a jerk, like Ietrin, when there are a lot of different princes out there and not all of them are bad.

        Yes, Severus is a noble. He’s the third son of the Baron of Little Whinging, Finessashire. (When Morgaine told me that the Ferreiras, which the Finessas are a branch of, had a Harry Potter naming theme go on, I had maybe a bit more fun with it than I should have.) And we shall see what comes out of this crush, if anything.

        Elizabet is kinda awesome. She will be both fun to write and one to watch.

        Thanks, Van!

  3. Madame Cox married to Ietrin? Oh, the horror. I hope she has a bull whip handy for whenever he isn’t being worked to death.

    Elizabet has quite a marked personality. It’s almost alarming how mature she is. From the sounds of it, though, her mother is more likely to have spawned miniature adults than ever sink to the job of giving birth to a child. She’s an intriguing character already.

    The vibes from Leo & Vivianne are interesting, to say the very, very least. My first thought is that it’s not entirely one-sided. Leo could just be super big brother, or that arm might be more meaningful. (Or I’ve been listening to the soundtrack from The Borgias too much lately.) That “perpetual one strand in the face” hair seems to suit Leo really well.

    Severus is all sorts of adorable. I hope Marianne’s mother doesn’t catch a whiff of this too soon, lest he end up on her social-climbing agenda.

    *sigh* If your game has a hotel, I’m going there on my next vacation.

    1. Well, I don’t know if Annette (Madame Cox) is going to be quite as awesome in her portrayal as the grand tradition of Cherry. (I am writing from the perspective of someone who knows herself and all her flaws.) But as far as Ietrin goes, well, he is married to someone he’s not walking over this time.

      Elizabet is precocious and her parents have never really treated her or Josh as children, which is not necessarily a good thing. In the hands of a different set of parents, I imagine that Elizabet could have truly enjoyed childhood instead of being an almost adult before she has boobs.

      Marisol is… interesting, different, you’ll see her in the next update. (Probably, I keep changing the order.) But if it were possible for her to have skipped birthing babies, she definitely would’ve.

      As for Leo and Vivianne, well, we’ll see. It could be an adolescent crush, completely one-sided as Elizabet and Marianne perceive or it could be a little on his side too. Isn’t it weird when you listen to something a lot and then you get vibes from it in something else? I have happen to me all the time.

      Severus is clever enough to stay under Katherine’s radar, I’m sure. Even though she’d prefer to have Leo as son and heir, making family connections is nothing to knock. But I’m sure he’d rather just like Marianne, rather than become another target for Mother-dearest to throw her net of advantageous marriage at.

      Thanks, Winter.

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