The morning came too soon as I awoke far before the sunlight even hit the streets. Mya as always was up before I was and helped me dress. Taking the lessons learned from the day before I picked out my nicer dress with its low-cut front although not as low-cut as some of the women I had seen yesterday. I still put on my boots underneath although I had not long leggings like these Nordic women and I slapped on my sword belt and hung my sword on it. I may be wearing a dress but I wanted to send the message I was not to be trifled with. I had no jewelry as most of the pieces had been sold by my father to pay his gambling debts. My hair was still in its long braid but I knew I would have to undo it for a bath and hopefully some of the Nordic maids could show me how to braid it Nordic fashion. My quest was simple and that was to procure a dress that was befitting me station and get a bath and then prepare to head to the Jarl’s palace. I was hoping a lot that whatever dressmaker I would find would have something stock that with a few modifications would fit me. Mya’s task was similar but she had the added problem of getting a standard pole for my banner and then meeting me at the bathhouse for her own bath.
Breakfast was a hearty fare of rustic simple foods with great taste. Mostly meat, cheese and bread. I would have had some lentils or fruit but the innkeeper laughed. Only fruit that he knew of was strawberries and they would be coming in soon but not yet. Vegetables were rare after winter because of the tough soil. He said he would keep his eye out but for me to expect a heavy price.
We decided to start out together and after talking to the innkeeper briefly he directed us to the best tailor in the city for women’s dresses. We headed out the door with just the first light of day peering over the walls and the sounds of the shopkeepers opening their stores was all around us and well as the first hawkers hitting the streets. The streets of Ragnar were pretty well laid out, The city was basically four pie pieces with occasional rounded streets that stretched across to the other main streets like wheels within the bigger wheel. By following the innkeepers directions both of us arrived at the dress shop in ten minutes and made our way inside the Silver Thread for so it was named.
The dressmaker was a man who was typically sized for a Nordic man and he towered over me by at least a half a head. He had a gentle manner and he listened intently as I explained our situation. His grey hair and blue sparking eyes bespoke a man passionate about his craft and his hands showed the signs of a seasoned craftsman. He asked me to see the banner. When I brought it out and unfolded it he took a step back in wonder and surprise.
“Miss, I have seen that Banner before. I had a dress commissioned for the man who carried it back then but he never collected it.”
My mind raced and then I realized that in my father’s travels before he settled down and married my mother he must have passed through Ragnar. The dressmaker walked away from us and went to a desk in the corner of the room and opened a bottom drawer. Out of it he produced a dusty ledger which he checked though for several minutes.
“Yes, her it is,” He finally said, “Lord Rosenhall – one red and white dress – heraldry symbol of a rose. Paid in full.”
“Paid in full?”
“Yes, I remember now, Lord Rosenhall insisted on it and according to this he even paid for alterations should they be needed.”
I stood in wonder for a moment. The dressmaker got up from his desk and excused himself telling us to wait as he headed through a back door. In a few minutes he reappeared carrying a red and white dress. It was a gorgeous gown done Nordic fashion. The main body of the dress was red silk like cloth like a fresh picked rose but the trim and sleeves and were white but they had a silver trim woven into them. The neckline plunged but the rest of the dress looked long and full. The corset piece which was separate item for the dress but of the same fabric had a large white symbolic rose stitched in detailed embroidery that was an exact replica for the symbol on the banner.
“It must have been my father, but how?”
“I am afraid I do not know Lady Rosenhall, but Old Mary at the well might be able to tell you something. She knows something about everyone who has ever passed through Ragnar it is said. Rub her palm with enough gold and she might tell you the story. All I know is that the dress was made for a woman the sizes were given to me by Lord Rosenhall, although how he obtained them I did not ask. Once the dress was completed he told me to store it until he or another bearing that banner came to see me. Here you are so the dress is yours paid for by your father. It will need altering I imagine but that was paid for as well. When my two seamstresses arrive we will begin.”
“What about Mya?”
“Hmmm. I think I have another red dress of the same fabric but plainer and not as fancy. With some alteration it will fit your companion. I can give you credit for it until you find a liege Lord to be vassal to and then you can pay me.”
The next couple hours are pretty much a blur of the seamstresses arriving (both probably half the age of the dressmaker), Mya and myself putting on the dresses and them altering things which often involved taking the dresses off and putting them back on but not always. The dressmaker put his whole heart into the enterprise and very soon the dresses both were finished. I was actually done long before Mya as the dress fit me almost like a glove but that gave me time to inspect it in a mirror at length.
I felt immediately self-conscious of my bust. The neckline plunged so that the corners of the squares of that neckline were less than and inch from my nipples and there was at least four to five inches of cleavage showing. The design of the dress and I assume all Nordic dresses actually pushes your breasts upward and inward to give full emphasis of that feature. For Mya though this was a boon because by the time the dressmaker was done she actually looked like a woman with breasts. She actually giggled about it telling me that it was the first time she actually felt she could nurse a child. Her dress was a plain red one of the same fabric but it was pretty much the same otherwise.
We were both done and we told the seamstresses to take our old dresses back to the inn. Then the dressmaker surprised us with a gift. He had taken the banner while we were being fitted and attached it to a standard pole.
“This is too great a gift.”
“Nonsense, it is improper for nobility to go around without their standard and you have ended a mystery for me. I used to make standards and still do as a hobby so this was no problem.”
Mya picked up the standard and the banner unfurled over her head. The standard pole resting on the ground still put the lower edge of the banner a least a head taller than the dressmaker so it towered over Mya.
“Stand in front your standard-bearer my lady and look in the mirror.”
We both moved into position so the Mya and the full banner was visible in the dressmakers full floor to ceiling mirror. I positioned myself in such a way so Mya was over my left shoulder. My breath escaped my lips as I gazed at myself. I looked every part he Nordic noble with Mya looking over my shoulder and the banner above my head.
“Impressive, my lady. You truly do look the part of a noblewoman. Now all you need to prepare the rest of you to meet the King. Might I suggest a bath.”