The Lady of Eyre gazed down upon her husband’s dressing table. Arrayed there were his best war kilt, his battle-scarred shirt of leather and ring armor, two daggers, a short mace, and an ancient battle-axe that bore the signet of the Minivandian clan.
“My love,” she asked, “what exactly are you doing?”
DaddyBear the Minivandian looked up from the stone he was running along the blade of Gnarlthing. ”My darling wife, I am preparing to avenge the honor of my daughter.” he growled from beneath heavy brows.
“Her honor? But she has not lost her honor!” said the Lady of Eyre, a look of surprise upon her face.
“There is a code, woman, and the young knave who broke her heart also broke that code.” said the Minivandian, his rough hands gently testing the edge of his sword, “‘If thou makest mine daughter weep, then I shall make thee weep.’ I did not write the code; I am only subject to it, and so is he.”
“Oh wonderful father and comical husband, put up that blade! Listens to Stories has already called upon Adama of the Hoosier clan to escort her to the ball. He has accepted the offer, so there is no harm done to her. Besides, what has already been done to the young man who disappointed her is much worse than you could do with such crude instruments.” said the Lady of Eyre, a glint of lightning crossing her jade eyes.
“Eh? What do you mean? Has an accident befallen the fool?” said DaddyBear as he guided Gnarlthing into its scabbard.
“Why, I only told the Young Prince the name and location of the boy who toyed with his sister’s affections. I am guessing that something rather ugly, but probably less than fatal, is about to happen to him.” said the Lady of Eyre, an impish grin crossing her delicate visage.
“Lord have mercy, the poor bastard will be lucky to only come out of it with an affliction that lasts a month. Which reminds me. Remind me to instruct our son on the concept of mercy before he can get his curse complete.” said DaddyBear.
“Yes, my love, I shall. He must learn to control his temper and not actually harm those who wrong him or his kin. Now, put up those weapons and get out more appropriate clothes. Adama of the Hoosiers might as well be one of our own children, and there is no need for such things with him.” said the Lady of Eyre as she reached into the Minivandian’s trunk.
“Adama? A fine lad. He is a much better choice to escort our daughter to her ball this night.” grunted DaddyBear.
The Lady of Eyre laid out a new set of clothing for her husband and left him to change into them. She also bade him to come to the great hall within the quarter-hour, as Listens to Stories would be ready to be taken to the home of the Hoosiers to retrieve young Adama and thence to the ball.
My Lord Daddybear changed into the clothing his wife had selected for him and headed to the great hall. There, he met the aunts and grandmother of Listens to Stories, who had all gathered to see the young princess as she wore a lady’s gown for the first time. Upon the hour, a hush fell over the room as the aunt closest to the portal to the chamber of Listens to Stories hissed that she was coming. The Lady of Eyre slipped her hands up onto the eyes of the Minivandian and whispered a spell. As she heard Listens to Stories enter the hall, she pulled her hands away.
DaddyBear the Minivandian beheld his daughter as she had been the day that he first allowed her to run and play with her brothers. Her tresses were held up in two braids which the Minivandian had done himself. Her clothing was of the same rough cloth as worn by the boys, with the only feminine touch being two embroidered wildflowers on the shirt. Upon her feet were sandles made with the leather of a vermicious knid, which she would wear for three summers before even their unbelievable toughness could not withstand constant scuffing, kicking, climbing, and fighting.
As my Lord DaddyBear marvelled at the beauty of his young child, she changed before his eyes. The auburn braids lengthened and brought themselves up into a woman’s styled hair. She grew longer and leaner. Her gap-toothed grin changed into a radiant smile of bright white teeth. Her raiment changed from rough denim to draped purple silk, accented with a brooch of the finest firestones.
DaddyBear the Minivandian beheld his daughter as the young woman she had become. Gone was the chubby tomboy of bygone years. That little girl had been replaced with a beautiful young lady; strong, yet elegant; youthful, but not childlike. DaddyBear felt a twinge of fear in his heart as he realized that while he would always have his daughter, he would never have his little girl again.
The aunts and the Lady of Eyre fussed over Listens to Stories as they adjusted the dress and her hair. Many compliments were made on her appearance and ability to walk in the shoes she and the Lady of Eyre had purchased for the evening. Through all of this, the Minivandian sat upon his chair, contemplating just how many weapons and men at arms he would need in the coming years.
Stepping before her father, Listens to Stories turned to allow him to see how the dress fit. He noted that it was modest without being overly conservative, pretty without being flashy, and to her father’s jaundiced eye, crushingly pretty. Nodding his approval, he grunted “It will suffice. Mind that you do not dance too vigorously this night, for that dress might not survive it.”
Listens to Stories, now grown to a young woman, wrapped her arms around her father. ”You are my favorite father.” she intoned the greeting she had shared with him her entire life.
“I am your only father, but thank you for the thought.” intoned the Minivandian, “You are my favorite daughter.”
“I am your only daughter, but thank you for the thought.” replied Listens to Stories, finishing the greeting and reminding DaddyBear that she would always be his little girl.
Then did the Minivandian place Listens to Stories into SilverRust, his mighty steed, and convey her to the manor of the clan of the Hoosiers. Retrieving young Adama, who was fitted out in his best suit of clothes, they continued their journey to the hall of festivals. Leaving Listens to Stories and Adama there to enjoy their evening, my lord DaddyBear returned to his home, there to spend the evening in quiet conversation with his wife and the aunts.
Much merriment was made by Listens to Stories that evening, and for many years did she look back on her first night as a young woman. DaddyBear also looked back on that night, and it never failed to bring a smile to his noble countenance. Many times did he see his daughter dressed for a festival, and many young men did he greet and judge over the years, until finally she found one who could look the Minivandian in the eye and was not afraid to take him up on his offer of sparring with blunted swords and axes while Listens to Stories finished her preparations. That young man was enthusiastically received into the clan of the Minivandians, and DaddyBear later enjoyed many grandchildren with auburn hair and their mother’s easy smile. Many adventures did Listens to Stories have in her own time, some with her father, but most as a warrior in her own right. But those are stories for another time. Now, let me tell you tales of high adventure…..