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— DRIFTMARK WAS NOTHING THAT EIRA HAD EXPECTED IT TO BE. She imagined a palace as grand as the one that sat at the center of King's Landing. Instead, it looked like it had seen better days, shrubbery looked overgrown in places, and a majority of its windows looked like they had been dark for ages. As opposed to the warm air that always surrounded Kings Landing, the air that blew inland from the sea was chilled. The pathway from the docks to the castle wasn't as smooth, and she had to make more of an effort to keep the hem of her dress from dragging through the mud that had built up on their way up to the castle. Although she found the smells that swirled around them as they made their way towards the castle were a bit more enjoyable than the smells that Eira had forced herself to grow used to.

"Eira," her mother spoke up from beside her.

Allison Brude was a woman that wasn't much older than the queen that stood out like a sore thumb among the other handmaidens that called Kings Landing and the Red Keep home. She had come to Westeros when she was young with her father, who had lost his wife to a fever and wanted to go to the place that his wife had been from and left behind for him when she was young. Her skin was a warm olive color, and her cheeks were sprinkled with freckles from her time spent in the sun, while a majority of the women she worked with were often nursing even the slightest sunburn. Her dark hair was riddled with silver strands, more every year it seemed, especially since the Queen had requested she be one of her closest servants.

"Yes?" Eira questioned, looking up at her mother.

"How did the Princess fare on the way here?" she questioned, a bit nervously. Eira had only just begun serving the Princess a few moons earlier, and she had been under the constant supervision of her mother, who wanted to ensure that Eira would have a place to be within the palace.

"It was fine," Eira replied, offering her mother a reassuring smile. "She's teaching me embroidery. The Septa says that if I keep working on it, I may be able to take over the work on the Princess' dresses."

Allison visibly relaxed a great deal once she heard how the trip had gone since they left Kings Landing. "Good, good." she laid a hand across her shoulders. "Her Grace has said you've been wonderful for the Princess."

Eira felt the corners of her lips tug upwards into a smile as she looked down at the stones beneath her feet.

"Remember, once we get inside, you'll need to help arrange the Princess' chambers. Melissya will be doing most of it, but you'll need to pay close attention. You could be in her position in a few years." she reminded Eira while giving her shoulders a light squeeze as she pulled her closer to her.

The main reason Eira ended up having the job of serving the Princess wasn't just because they believed that Eira would be the right fit. Allison had been hesitant to have Eira leave the kitchens to be among the most important family in Westeros. Eira hadn't been very good at working in the kitchens; she enjoyed mingling with the other children living in the servants' quarters or weaseling her way out of her work duties to visit the gardens, where she would occasionally find Princess Helaena. Allison had always had trouble convincing Eira of the importance of her duties. She had worried that if Eira messed things up, she would find herself working in Flea Bottom instead of in the safety of the Red Keep.

"Melissya already told me," Eira assured her mother. Her mother didn't have to worry about Eira not learning to fulfill her duties, with Lady Melissya overseeing Eira now.

Melissya had served the late Queen Aemma since she had married King Viserys. She served Queen Alicent until Eira's mother took over for her, and she then took over serving the Princess and making sure that the Princess would have a proper ground of handmaidens surrounding her.

The castle was still nothing like the Red Keep. The chandeliers lined the ceiling, and the lit candles along the walls filled the corridors with a warm glow. That was the only thing that reminded Eira of King's Landing, but even the color of the stones used to build up the castle walls made it seem like another world she was walking through.

Eira parted ways with her mother, joining Melissya, who waited patiently with Hana Snow. The girl was a few years older than Eira and had only joined the number of servants in Kings Landing. Lady Melissya was still trying to determine where Hana would be the best fit to spend her time. Part of Eira hoped that she would end up in the kitchens or perhaps would end up being one of the silent sisters or midwives; both jobs were things that Eira knew she couldn't stomach. Having Hana along for this trip to Driftmark was a reminder that if for some reason, Melissya thought Hana was more suited to serve the Princess, it would be back to the kitchens at the very least.

Lady Melissya had a long list of tasks for both Eira and Hana to complete while the corridors echoed with chatter from both servants that came from King's Landing and ones that lived there at Driftmark. Whispers about what they believed had happened to Lady Laena Velaryon. There had been a handful of different rumors whispered amongst everyone. Eira had heard everything from Prince Daemon ordering his dragon to kill her when she gave birth to another girl or that she had commanded her dragon to kill her. However, Allison reminded Eira not to engage in any of those conversations; they were mere rumors that could ruffle the wrong feathers and destroy everything Eira was working towards. Well, everything her mother was trying to help her work towards.

Between the two young girls, they were able to get the Princess's chambers ready for her. They stripped the bed, remaking it with the soft sheets she preferred. Eira took her time setting out Helaena's embroidery project that she had brought with her, perhaps burning as much time as possible so she wouldn't have to dig through the Princess' clothes for her nightgown. As far as she was concerned, Hana could handle that sort of thing. Eira preferred helping the Princess with things like fetching some fresh parchment for her scribbled-down notes about her dreams or keeping her company while she carefully worked on her latest embroidery project.

"Well done," Melissya spoke, her gray hair pulled back into her usual tight braid that hung down the center of her back. Her eyes scanned the room carefully, inspecting the tucked-in sheets that the two girls had put on the bed and making sure that everything Helaena would need once it was time for her to retire for the night. "Everything seems to be in order," she added as the two girls stood before her. Both sighed a bit in relief.

Before Hana had begun helping the Princess, bed-making was Eira's responsibility. And there was more than one occasion that she had to remake it if it wasn't up to Melissya's standards. Having Hana to help was a relief because Eira knew it saved her from having to redo it on her own, even if it was just for the time being.

       It was strange to think about her first time at Driftmark. It was strange to think that after that funeral, nothing was going to be same in all of Westeros. By the time the sun rose again over Driftmark, even Eira's place among the servants was never going to be the same.

authors note;
I couldn't help myself okay. HoTD has consumed my every waking thought when I'm not at work.

please don't forget to vote, comment, and all that jazz! Edits for this fic will be on my TikTok and the story is ALSO posted on my a03 account ! @ reloadingwp

stay classy :)

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⏰ Last updated: Nov 03, 2022 ⏰

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