“We are about the same size; you could wear one of my dresses or gowns if you want.”

“Do I really need a gown just for dinner?”

“Not at all I just thought I would offer,” Auria said in a casual tone while she watched the other girl out of the corner of her eye.

At the foot of the smaller bed sat a cloth travel trunk still slightly dusty from its travels.  It held all that she had left, everything that was still hers, but no gowns Fierya thought as she looked over her shoulder to see what Auria would be wearing tonight.  Even the girl’s slips were made of finer materials than most of her dresses.  She looked down into the trunk and sighed.  “I only have one truly formal dress.”

Auria turned from her closet to see the dress cradled, at least she assumed it was a dress as she could only make out the varied colors of the heavy cloth, against Fierya.  She was sure that it was pretty but it stood out like a lurid bruise, in shades of bluish purple, against Fierya’s bright white arms the color of pale marble, and without meaning to Auria cringed.  Fierya caught the look, “Its the one I wear for the Winter solstice,” she said apologetically as she went into the bathing room.

Auria quickly pulled her choices from the wardrobe and as a maid began lacing her double skirt over her camisole her eyes raced marathons  trying to search out anything that would compliment red hair.  Finally the maid curtsied and left Auria facing the mirror.  She felt stronger in her formality as if the chignon and silver ribbons were armor she would be protected by, however it was the fawn colored summer frock she was holding that she intended to use as a shield.  The door opened and Auria fell back into the post of her bed with a rush of breath blinking fiercely.  Skin once bright and sickly now shimmered like pale moonlight, and the dress whose cool undertones which had sucked the life out of her now perfectly matched her eyes and skin.  She flowed into the room wearing an ivory capped tunica, a full burgundy skirt, and a lilac apron, which covered the swell of her breast and draped down to her shins.

“This is not the dress you took in there.  How did you do this?”

“I didn’t do anything Auria, now you think me to be some kind of street conjurer, honestly.”

But all Auria could do was continue to shake her head, this was not possible.

“We should go we don’t want to keep him waiting,” Fierya tried to sound exasperated, but if she was being honest she too had been pleasantly surprised when she forced herself to face the mirror.  Confusion was eating away at her resolve and she silently prayed that the night would be full enough to avoid her sister’s questioning eyes.

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