Chapter 1 - The Dress Shop

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The open pages showed beautifully drafted maidens: The maiden on the left page wore a blue gown, and the one on the right a cream colored gown. The dresses were displayed with exquisite detail, showing off vibrant hues of the fabric and fine styling. When she looked closer, she could see the beading, lace, and even the sequins. Her eyebrows drew together as she brought her face closer to the drawings in wonderment.

Eager for more, she quickly flipped to the next page and gasped, plopping the book back on the table. Reyr stepped up beside her but she hardly noticed. She only had eyes for the book. Once more she turned the page, this time keeping her hand upon the parchment. The sketched maiden on the next page twirled back and forth in semi-circles, coming to life on the page to show off a stunning crimson gown.

"I don't believe it," she muttered, caressing the sketch with her fingers. The maiden gracefully stepped from beneath her caress to continue her movements. By touching the page, she had brought the artwork to life. Hungrily, she began turning pages, delighted by the magic before her. Each sketch displayed an impressive gown whose model magically came alive.

"Rosanne is known for her witchery and enchantments," Reyr said, finally breaking the silence. "She weaves magic into everything she makes. Her reputation is a prominent one. You will find no better clothing in the kingdom." He reached for the book, turning the pages back to the one that first caught her eye. The girl in her blue gown came to life moving exactly the way the others had.

"So it isn't simply my touch that brings them to life?"

"No, not the way Madame Rosanne has painted them. The touch of anyone is enough to fuel their movements."

Greedily, she recovered the book from Reyr, though there were many more on the table. She watched the twirling models with delight, slowly flipping between the drawings, noting the way they danced for her. It was the same thing she did while trying on clothing—twirl and prance in front of a mirror. Rosanne's art was stunning.

"And she did all of these sketches herself?"

"You bet I did!" Rosanne came up beside her, wide smile upon her face. "And how do you do today, Lady Claire?"

Claire had become something of a celebrity in Kastali Dun, ever since her new status was declared. When the king pegged her as a royal, the news spread much further than the capital, she was sure of that. Her new title afforded her the same rank as that of a princess—as King Talon had explained—though she was not technically a princess since she wasn't of royal blood. She was glad of that, because she didn't want to be called Princess.

"Your drawings are extraordinary, Madame Rosanne." She set the large book on the table before turning to the woman. "I've never seen anything like this."

Rosanne smiled with pleasure. "You'll not find drawings like these anywhere in Dragonwall, Lass. Now, what can I do for you?"

"Lady Claire is in need of a new wardrobe." Reyr said. "The king has expressed that she dress according to position."

"Wonderful!" Rosanne clasped her hands together. "His Majesty's wish is my command." She turned her gaze upon Claire, eyeing her up and down. "You certainly came to the right place, my dear. Have you any designs in mind?"

She thought for a moment, chewing on the skin of her lower lip. "Can I pick something from the books here?"

"You may," Rosanne said. "I will make you whatever you like. Though if you be needing something immediately, there are several gowns on display in my windows that will fit you nicely."

She thought about the beautiful khaki dress that caught her eye. "I think both options will work well for me." Picking up another book from the table, she thumbed through the pages. These gowns would surely cost a fortune. How would she pay for it all? "Can I choose whatever I want?" she asked Reyr.

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