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Estal Monetiaga

A few days before the coronation

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There was a lot going on in the capital of the Etingnean Empire, Etingnun. Granted, the capital was busy every day but the current time was special - because the official coronation of the new Empress Estal was almost there. She has been in power for over a month already because her father had to step back from his position as Emperor, so there was just no time for an official coronation yet. This will change soon but the day for the coronation was not now.

Estal was in her room inside the Imperial Manor, the residence of her family. She had to move rooms here as well since she was now the new owner of the ruler's room, the most luxurious place in all of the Empire. Her father and mother moved into the room next door which was reserved for a retired Emperor or Empress and not that much behind the Emperor's/Empress's room.
The young Empress was kind of annoyed right now because a few servants and handmaidens swarmed around her because they wanted to prepare her for the day.
"I told you, I do not need this many people to prepare myself for the day.", she said towards a group of servants that saluted - which was silly because they were servants and not soldiers - and disappeared shortly afterward. There were still a few handmaidens left, either combing through the Empress's long long hair or plucking at her garments to make sure everything fit perfectly. Really annoying but she knew she had to keep still and not let anyone see it. At least the head handmaiden was there as well, doing the same great job as always.
"Do you think they will be happy to see me? They liked father and I am not sure if they will accept a new ruler this soon." There was a bit of worry in her voice since the people's opinion of her was important in her eyes, even if this was only about a small part of them. There was no coronation today but something similar to a party to meet members of the elite and upper class.

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Pathrea - hardly swayed by the rush of her collegues - went to pause in the midst of her otherwise fluent movements.
As she turned to face Estal, smiling warmly she replied
"You are no one less than his very daughter, there could be no better replacement.
  I am convinced that, even in case they are not as enthusiastic as me,
  surely they harbor faith in you and your ability to be a ruler worth their trust.
  And so should you, in response, have faith in yourself and your people likewise."

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Estal returned the smile and carefully listened to Pathrea. She always knew exactly what to say and do - the best handmaiden Estal could imagine. Maybe she really should have some more trust in her people to not go crazy because of a change like that, they should be used to a change in rulership. Kings, queens, Emperors, Empresses, presidents, chairmen, and other rulers come and go.
"You are right. I apologize for being so whimsical. I should show some more strength since I am the Empress of Etingnun, after all. If I do not show authority others might think they can use me for their schemes and I do not want that. Father passed this on to me, so I will do him proud.", she said, trying to encourage herself. She already considered the possibility that some of the Senators might want to use this situation to gain more power just because she was young.
"I should probably enjoy today as good as I can, now that I think about it. Is my hair in place now?" Being invited to a ball by the Vanderbrant family to meet some nobles was not that bad. Granted, nobles could be really annoying sometimes but not all of them were, especially those with an actually noble nature.

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"Now there, we all are in a whimsy some times. But that's right. And you've got the spirit, that's for sure, it's how you got to this very point in your life."
Bringing her companion's hair back to its usual decency strand by strand, she felt reminded of her past, her efforts, her failures.
"I seem so wise all the time, don't I?" she seemed to tell herself more than anyone else, mildly chuckling about it.
To the young woman's inquiry she responded
"Indeed. And, well, as stubborn as it might be, I seem to have tamed it to it's former grace."
Arranging her utensils, brushes, combs, hairpins, all those things it needed, she could not help but chuckle a bit about Estal's hair this morning despite having seen it so many times.

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Yes, she got to this point in life because she was better than her siblings, at least when it came to Essence affinity and her Aptitude and such things which were the usual criteria for a successor, not the order of birth. She was an excellent Supplicant, something she was proud of but she started to digress in her mind again.
Estal smiled again when she heard Pathrea talking to herself. She really was the big sister type of servant and her family had close ties to Estal's, like how her father was a butler of the former Emperor - and still is. Estal started to wonder if they would ever have gotten along like this - or even know each other - if she was not the successor to the imperial throne but one of her siblings. Probably not, so she was glad things went this way.
"You sure are. I will need that clear-headedness in the future as well. Oh, and please get along with the 'Guardians' even though they are a bit different from you servants." Having a whole group of Aptitude masters solely exist to protect her was both comforting and strange at the same time. It made her feel safer but, on the other hand, also feel like she was a target because their existence meant they were needed. She heard some scary stories about people that tried to go after her father (but never succeeded because most of them were felled by the Guardians or Pathrea's father).
Back to her hair, Estal was impressed by it herself sometimes - it was SO long and complex and probably only existed that way because she was a Floraph. She never envied the servants that had to keep it in check and comb through and wash it.
"Yes, it is absolutely gorgeous! I do not think there has ever been a Monetiaga with hair like this.", one of the other servants said while looking pleased with herself. She seemed earnest. The other servant next to her nodded along.
"It can be quite the hassle sometimes but I am too proud of it to ever cut it. I just hope nobody will step on it... I do not want the guards to overreact and sentence someone for treason or something along the lines. Most of them tend to be so overprotective sometimes." She sighed. The Loyalists were especially meddling and would probably do a lot more if they could, so this was one of these matters where she was glad to have absolute power within the country.

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Slightly caught off-guard by her words, she could not help but look at the young empress with that warm smile of hers.
"I assure you I don't plan on leaving your side, no matter what times we have to face."
Not to mention she was glad the odds were on their side so they could be like this.
Though her words clearly were directed to Estal some of the other maidens nodded in agreement cheerfully.
Upon hearing her companion's concern, Pathrea tried to ease her mind.
"We know our positions, both the Guardians and us servants."
However, when the young woman's hair became the center of attention (even though it always was, clearly, there was no way it could be ignored) she agreed firmly.
"Not to mention that hair is very rewarding to work with."
Yet she heard the sorrow in Estal's voice.
"Well, yes, seeing as they are so very protective", she mentioned, "they might just step on your hair themselves and engage in a spat with their very own people. Don't get the wrong idea, their high standing doesn't come from nothing, I know whereof I speak, and I respect them, still.." Hardly was Pathrea able to ignore their agitation, not to mention the source and the possible outcomes.

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Estal was so wary of her hair because of a reason. There was someone who accidentally stepped on it and almost got sent to the imperial tribunal if she had not intervened and said it was fine. Since then, people try to stay a bit away from her when behind her as to not step on it. Estal still smiled, however.
"All this talk about my hair is kind of... funny. It feels like something regular women would talk about. You know, women that are friends and spend time together, maybe even go to the city and eat somewhere. Too bad I cannot do that, everyone would lose their mind." She sighed again. Don't get her wrong, she liked being the Empress and fulfilling her family's duty of rulership but there are a few times she wished she could do "normal" things once in a while. Not even daily, just here and then. Spending almost all of her time in the manor and palace could get a bit restrictive after a while, and there are duties here and duties there. It sure was not easy to lead an empire even if most regions were ruled by governors and there was the Senate to help out. Speaking of which, Estal thought that she should probably get more in touch with the current Senate and learn more about its members. After the coronation would be a good time for a meeting with the Senate.

Estal's hair was finally in check after a while and the servants that helped out were pretty proud of themselves - the beast was tamed once again.
"It's so pretty.", one of the maidens said while the other one nodded again.
"Alright, I feel like we are good to go now. The ball is held at Vanderbrant's place, correct?" Estal asked to be completely sure. The Vanderbrants were not the highest standing noble family in Etingnun but they were still famous and branches all over the world, their main one living in Drufalga. Having Drufalgian nobles here, even though this branch has lived here for generations, was interesting and helped to keep amicable relations with the great power even though the Empire and Drufalga were just acquaintances and not actual friends but it was better than being completely neutral.

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