“It is not nothing,” I said firmly. “It is a kindness, one of many, and that—” My tongue tripped not over words, but the absence of them, the chasms of feeling in my schoolroom Elentian. “That carries significance for me.”


Her hands stilled. She didn’t smile, as she so often did, but something still softened her whole face.


“You’re welcome, then,” she said.

When I was burning out in the last phases of my MA program, I really had no capacity left for writing. My dear friend Juliana suggested making an aesthetic post for the novel instead. I considered a general one, but in the end decided to focus on the two protagonists, Giva Rohondyl and Arceptra Cordell—and heartily enjoyed it!


– “Giva” is Rachel Hurd-Wood in Perfume (Hurd-Wood is twenty-five to Giva’s thirteen, but was fifteen at the time of the film)

– “Arceptra” is a photograph by Felix Heru Hermawan, which I ran over years ago and immediately thought (apart from eye colour) the perfect Arceptra.


@heckofabecca asked:

What would Giva wear in Cedeira when she’s 13 and reading in the garden? I mean, a dress, but are there any particulars about Cedeiran day dress that you’ve got in your head?

This is obviously belated now, but just to answer anyway–

Cedeira is basically Theme Park Medieval Land, skewing to late medieval (late 14th/15th century). The Cedeiran women at the last state dinner are wearing houpelande-like gowns with hennins. As a child, Giva is spared the worst extremes of late medieval fashion, though.

She’d have to be wearing a chemise, of course (and hose up to her knees). Over that, she’d have some sort of kirtle, and over that, a gown– likely high-waisted with a V-neck, with a belt/sash/girdle just beneath her bust (like this or this). Alternately, going a bit earlier, she might wear a simple surcoat over the kirtle, which could be sideless (another), or just the standard gown. Considering that she’s a child, outside, and the Poldans are relatively minor aristocracy apart from their geographical significance, whatever she wore would be simpler than those–I don’t imagine fur or velvet or fancy embroidery or whatnot. Even for the dinner she wears a relatively simple overgown and headdress. 

Hair-wise, it might be loose, given her age, but more likely it’d be braided up in some way, or even coiled at the sides of her head (though that seems a bit fancy for just sitting in the garden). Likely she’d be wearing a little cap or even a small veil–again, all things considered, that seems like much. I don’t imagine a hennin or that nasty plucked forehead thing at all. It might also be caught up in a net of some kind. Given her habitual single plait later on, I imagine she was used to wearing braids of some kind, though probably more complex than what she can manage on her own. Possibly something like this, though it’s later (and her hair is a much darker red!).