Welcome back to another Worldbuilding Wednesday! I’m doing something different with these posts. I decided to write a story and blog how I do the worldbuilding as I go. Once I’ve finished the first draft, I’ll edit and proofread it and then publish it as normal for people to read. Onwards to the story!
So where did we leave off last week?
“You need food, Mistress,” Piyari announced. “Food and more rest but that will have to wait until the guests have been dealt with.”
“Yes,” Nabeela said as she mentally shouted at herself to let Piyari’s hands go and completely failed to do so. “Some food would be good. I was a little too rattled to eat well last night.”
“And you missed breakfast, Mistress,” Piyari said. “Shall we not go? The sooner you eat the better.”
“Yes, let’s,” Nabeela replied.
She let Piyari tug her out of the bedroom and down the hallway, entirely too aware of the warmth of Piyari’s hand. It was strong despite Piyari’s delicateness. To Nabeela, it almost felt as though Piyari could hold the whole world in her hands without striving.
‘I really need to let this crush go,’ Nabeela thought. ‘Nothing good can come from this.’
Yeah, that’s where! Nabeela deciding she had to not fall in love with Piyari because that’s always so very effective. XD
I really do think that’s one of my favorite parts of writing romantic stories. The slide from just met or just strangers into something more is so much fun to depict. Everyone approaches romance differently. Nabeela is very much a romantic though few people in her life would say so. She believes ardently in love and its power to transform your life. Nabeela notices the personality of the person first and foremost and falls in love based on that. The physical appearance is secondary but always enjoyable.
Ammad is far more sexually oriented though he also believes strongly in love. He notices the other person’s physical form first and foremost. That’s why his descriptions so far have emphasized the way Piyari looks over her personality. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a completely valid way of connecting with another person as long as the relationship deepens from there.
Shizuka / Piyari, on the other hand, is almost entirely focused on the other party’s personality. Physical appearance really doesn’t figure into attraction for her. I’d almost put her on the asexual spectrum, somewhere around demisexual, except that she doesn’t need a long time and a profound connection before she’s attracted to a person.
Except that’s not really accurate. Shizuka’s interested in sex. She just doesn’t pay much attention at all to romance. Demiromantic? Aromantic? I’m not sure. I don’t suppose that it matters all that much right now. Shizuka is already falling into a relationship with Nabeela. I just find it to be an interesting question to consider, that’s all.
Back to the story!
“No, no, I’m sure Nabeela will be here any time now,” Ammad said with a smile that felt patently false. He shrugged and the smile shifted to wry. “Duke Laughing Seal and Duchess Chin-Sun were here yesterday. I believe the Duchess talked with Nabeela well into the evening.”
“Ah,” said Waseem Javid, head of the Shipping Guild. He nodded slowly and wisely even though he looked as though he thought it was a poor excuse for tardiness. “The Duchess is fond of conversation.”
“Very much so,” Ammad agreed. “Normally Mother dealt with her during her visits but…”
This time Ammad’s shrug garnered him a much more understanding nod. Waseem was old and rigid enough to believe that everyone should follow his habits no matter what tradition and custom said, but even he understood that Breding Manor was still mourning for Mother. Ammad wasn’t entirely certain that he would ever stop mourning her loss. She had been the heart and soul of their home. For her to be gone was still nearly unthinkable.
It didn’t help that Nabeela hadn’t stepped into Mother’s position gracefully. She’d always been far better at judgments and legal proceedings than the social niceties that went with being a Lady. Ammad would have recommended that Shahzad handle Waseem but there was no way that Waseem would take the youngest child entertaining him as anything but an insult to his position.
“She was a wonderful woman,” Waseem said far more gently.
“She was,” Ammad agreed. “I don’t think the house will ever be the same again.”
He would have said more but Nabeela picked that moment to sweep into the room. Well, not sweep. She was dragged into the room, Piyari tugging at her hand as if Nabeela simple wasn’t moving fast enough and it was frustrating Piyari to no end.
Neither of them looked annoyed, though. Nabeela was grinning at Piyari as if she was the most amazing person she’d ever met. Piyari on the other hand, carried a large tea tray carefully balanced on her free hand. Ammad raised an eyebrow at that. The tray didn’t even bobble as Piyari strode in and that despite Nabeela’s drag against her.
“We are most sorry that we are late,” Piyari announced to the room at large. “Tea had to be prepared and there were problems in the kitchen.”
“Your sister is engaged?” Waseem murmured quietly enough that there was no way that Nabeela or Piyari heard him.
“Heh, no but I don’t think it will be long,” Ammad murmured back. He grinned as Waseem raised his eyebrows. “Piyari is our newest slave. She arrived yesterday.”
“Yesterday?” Waseem said, visibly startled. “Really? You might be right about that engagement then.”
He strolled from the fireplace to the table, settling beside Nabeela though his eyes were on Piyari. Nabeela helped Piyari set out the tea goods, sweets and bits of fresh fruit with naan bread, though she let Piyari pour the tea for them all. Ammad made sure to sit so that Waseem was bracketed between him and Nabeela. That was proper. He was the guest of honor for the morning, after all.
“I am sorry for the delay,” Nabeela said to Waseem as she took the first cup of tea and passed it to Waseem with a very proper bow. “The household is still in transition. We keep finding things that need to be decided and dealt with.”
“Your mother was an amazing woman,” Waseem said. “I always enjoyed speaking with her. She will be sorely missed.”
He smiled and nodded to Piyari rather than Nabeela, according her the hostess’ respect. Piyari squeaked and ducked her head. Her hair fell forward like a black curtain, hiding her face from view for a second. Ammad swallowed down the urge to laugh, to grin at her, pressing his lips together firmly so that Piyari wouldn’t see him smiling that way at her when she raised her face.
“Thank you, sir,” Nabeela answered as the seconds ticked by and Piyari focused on meticulously pouring tea rather than answering the comment. “I think everyone that knew Mother feels the same way.”
The second cup of tea went to Ammad and then to Nabeela. Waseem waved for Piyari to join them but Piyari shook her head no urgently enough that Ammad was a bit alarmed. She bowed deeply, her forehead brushing the floor, before standing.
“I am very sorry, sir,” Piyari said, “but there is still the issue in the kitchen. I will return shortly, I promise.”
She hurried out before Ammad could ask what was wrong. Nabeela watched her go with far too bright a smile for problems in the kitchen. When she turned back, Nabeela’s cheeks went bright red at his and Waseem’s pointed stares.
“One of the servants was rather badly burned, scalded,” Nabeela explained. “Piyari actually knows a great deal about treating burns and keeping them from getting worse so she volunteered to help.”
“Piyari?” Waseem asked, chuckling with delight. “And which of you gave the young lady that nickname?”
“That was all Nabeela,” Ammad laughed. He caught the napkin Nabeela tossed at his head, setting it back on the table. “Who was it? Will they be all right?”
“It looks like it,” Nabeela said. “I was very worried but Piyari said that the burns aren’t too bad. Blisters but nothing worse. Little Peni, you know the new scullery maid? She accidentally tipped over a boiling pot of udon and scalded one hand and forearm.”
“The young lady will be a doctor?” Waseem asked.
I think I’m really happy with this segment. XD
It’s that instant assumption on Waseem’s part that Nabeela and Piyari are a good match. Granted, that’s the direction the story seems to be going but I always enjoy writing stories where the characters accept non-heterosexual relationships without comment. It’s the way I wish the world worked so I like writing it into my books.
In addition, I like the idea of Piyari/Shizuka being trained as a doctor. Don’t know yet how she’ll react to that suggestion but with her father’s injuries and this little bit (which I made up on the spot because I needed them to have an emergency as well as Nabeela’s sleeping late), I think it fits. Shizuka does like taking care of people and she was deeply concerned about Lord Bilal earlier in the story.
I think when I rewrite this for the next draft I’ll work on emphasizing her health concerns for Lord Bilal at the start. I may also add something about her having prior knowledge of first aid or burn treatment. Given that her father is a glass blower it would make sense if Shizuka and her whole family knew about burn treatment. It would be something that they experienced on a semi-regular basis, at least the treatment of burns.
So what sorts of things would Shizuka learn if she was trained as a doctor in Ambermarle? Their level of medical knowledge approximates Civil War levels, I think. They have made some advances and they’re on the verge of more advances but not yet.
Hey, I could have Shizuka become a medical pioneer if I wanted to expand on this! :D She’s certainly got the motivation to do so and with Nabeela, Ammad and Lord Bilal’s support I imagine she’d do very well at it. And I think that major medical innovations would be coming from East Asia anyway so… It’s promising. I may just go with that.
The question is whether or not doctor would be considered a job sufficiently advanced for Shizuka’s position.
She is supposed to be learning something that will support her family. Doctors weren’t always paid huge salaries. A doctor in a small town in the era that was paid in trade as much as in money. Still, it does suit Shizuka’s personality. I think I’ll keep it in mind for next week’s installment.
FYI, I think I have 3 more installments before I’m finished with the first draft of the story. I’m not completely certain that I’ll stop at that point but I may. It depends on whether or not I’m satisfied when I get to the point where Piyari / Shizuka makes her interest in Nabeela open.
Honestly, I usually write this way. I have a vague idea of what I want to do, where I want to end up and then I keep writing until I get there or I arrive somewhere else even more interesting. It’s not a method that works for everyone but I find it to be a lot of fun and very interesting. ;)
See you next week!
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