Myla’s skin itched. The harsh soap had left her feeling raw and her long brown hair stunk like lavender. Myla fidgeted and eyed the other girls milling around the town center.
The town center comprised of a fountain that Myla had never seen filled with water and a group of food and good stalls. None of them were open today. Crunchy brown leaves floated in the cold breeze over animal dung and food waste that littered the packed dirt grounds. Myla thanked the heavens the cold kept the smell of yesterday’s livestock sale at bay.
Tension hung in the air like the fog had hours earlier. The girls that gathered here today varied widely in age and looks. Some looked like they had only left childhood yesterday, while others had left behind their teenaged years and transitioned into womanhood. A pair of girls relaxed. One girl was shapely with a painted face. The other wore fitted clothes that revealed more than a decent girl’s modesty would allow. Both were confident in their ability to capture their Lord’s attention. The rest of the girls didn’t look so confident or excited by the prospect of being chosen by the Lord Du Bois.
The Lord Du Bois terrified Myla. She had seen the hooded nobleman once before. The thought of marrying him made her stomach churn. Myla was confident in her looks, but not for the same reason as the made up girls. She knew she was a plain girl from one of the poorest families. Her mother had tried to make Myla wear the dress her mother had worn when parents had married, but Myla had refused. The dress was ratty and tattered compared to some of the other girl’s clothes, but there was no way she’d wear the dress to impress the frightening nobleman. Myla hoped her peasant’s clothing was deterrent enough to avoid the Lord’s eye altogether.
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