In this week’s post, Anastasia of Clan Weiss shows off her style from Dragon Destiny(Book 1 of the Dragshi Chronicles.)
Tell us about your heroine’s typical style of dress. What is the condition of the clothing?
Unlike the ladies who reside in towns and even some of her own kin, Anastasia of Dragon Destinyis usually found in pants rather than skirts. A jacket keeps out the worst of the crisp breeze and winter’s grasp.
Is this how she wants to dress? If yes, why? If not, what would she choose to wear and why?
As t why she dresses in something other than the popular style? Anastasia is the teacher for her train and teaching little ones often requires speed and flexibility unhampered by a long skirt. Another reason she wears pants is that by her own choice, she often rides rear guard for the caravan for the solitude it provides. Her trail clothes are well worn leathers suitable for long hours in a saddle or the seat of a wagon.
There are times in the Dragshi Chronicles where Anastasia dreams of wearing a fancy gown at a formal ball, but practicality takes precedence.
Does your heroine change her style of dress over the course of the book? If so, how, and what does it mean, if anything?
As one of the few true humans who can communicate using mindspeech with either true dragons or the dragshi (humans with a twinned dragon soul), she is chosen for a special mission to find a missing dragon. To accomplish her goal she goes undercover as a sailor and trades in her leathers for the garb of the sea. Among the changes she makes is to cut her hair short. The impromptu disguise causes heartache when she wonders if the man she loves with hate her new look, but saves her life when she comes face to face with his enemy, the pirate Lady Broch. At least at that encounter, Broch did not see her enemy, the black-haired trader girl with long tresses, in the short-haired sailor with sun-streaked curls.
This was not the only time that Anastasia was in disguise. During her training with the Ceoltier Guild which she was given in preparation of serving the dragshi, she wore boy’s clothing. There were those who would have hunted her down and killed her. But since everyone knew that no female could be a ceoltier, her role as an apprentice (and as such a boy) gave her added protection beyond that provided by the weapons training provided by the guild.
How do his or her outfits set your hero apart from other characters?
At a special birthday dance, even though she wore a long skirt and vest for the event, her outfit still set her apart as a trader rather than a townsman. The dark blue fabric contrasted with the browns and reds worn by the local girls. The new vest she wore showed how she was neither a local nor a trader. The one was by birth and the other by circumstances as Anastasia was trapped by duty with no foreseeable escape. The vest did not have the usual colored embroidery of a trader’s clothing. In fact, the only adornment was a stylized dragon in flight embroidered in gold on the shoulder. It might be just a simple design, but it meant more to her than the fanciest gown worn by any of the other girls. Anastasia’s mother once told her the flying dragon marked a bond between the old ones and her kin, Clan Weiss.
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Lord Branin of the dragshi, is more than just a man, but two beings—one a dragon, the other a human. The pair share one body in space and time and are able to change forms with the other at will. From the time Branin's twinned soul, Llewlyn, awoke, Branin knew the freedom of flight. However, being a shifter came with a price. Branin and Llewlyn are the only two of their kind who have not found their intended mates, despite millennia of waiting... and searching.
When a faint thought impinged on Branin's mind, hope for an ending to eons of loneliness soared. Plagued by doubts because no signs of a dragon shifter's birth have been seen, he searches the world for the mysterious girl he only knows by the name, Anastasia.
However, the firebrand raider, Lady Broch of Ky'port has her own plan--to wed the dragon lord -- with or without his willing cooperation. And she will not tolerate anyone, not even a dragon lord or his twinned soul, from standing in her way.
Since we’ve been discussing clothing, an excerpt dealing with her presentation ceremony. The event is made even more special since it is being held on Anastasia’s birthday. Her life on the trail meant that celebrating her birthday was a simple affair and the customary presentation party was not held when she became of age.
Excerpt from Dragon Destiny:
A soft knock on the door shifted Anastasia’s attention and changed her mood to a more dignified one. At her lilting, “Come,” Lady Eirwen entered on Ranald’s arm. Dealan and Karenina followed close behind in a hiss of starlton. Chains of silver-filigreed rosettes and beads circled all three women’s upswept hair. The cut of Eirwen’s pale blue gown and the embroidered silk trim on the bodice and sleeves reflected a style long out of fashion. Anastasia smiled at her aunt’s own vintage dress, which harmonized perfectly with the ones worn by Eirwen and Dealan.
“You look beautiful, Anastasia,” Karenina said. Tears shimmered in her eyes. “Your mother would be so proud of you. Here, dear, it’s almost time to leave, let me finish your hair.”
A hint of winter roses wafted past. Anastasia bent her head for Karenina to complete a final detail of crystals.
The strains of an old mountain tune floated into the room when the servant opened the double doors that led outside. A glance in the mirror showed a shimmering crown of sparkling diamonds woven into the curls of her dark braids. With a deep breath, Anastasia stood, took Ranald’s offered arm, and followed her aunt and the two dragshi out the door to her future… and she hoped... Branin.
Anastasia clung to Ranald’s arm. She kept her gaze focused on the backs of her aunt, Eirwen, and Dealan, as they led the way toward the great hall where the presentation guests waited. One corridor led to another, each one brightly lit by hundreds of candles. Although she had traveled the same path many times since arriving at Cloud Eyrie, the walls seemed to glow with a special magic. The river of light ended at a staircase that curved down to the main hall. Granite treads gleamed from the moonbeams filtering through massive skylights.
Dealan sneaked a look over the railing at those below. “It looks like everything is ready,” she whispered. “It just needs you, Anastasia.”
Anastasia’s fought to slow her racing pulse. Not trusting her voice, she nodded.
Dealan waved at Vivel and Oran, before moving to stand behind Eirwen.
Oran left the small gathering of dragshi and strode to the bottom of the staircase. Pride showed in the journeyman’s face. “Lords and ladies, honored guests. Acting on behalf of Arianrhod, matriarch of Clan Miller, Lady Eirwen of Cloud Eyrie claims the right of eldest kin.”
Anastasia, watching Eirwen glide down the stairs, hoped her descent would be as graceful as the dragshi’s.
Next Oran introduced Dealan, sponsoring Anastasia on behalf of the women of Clan Miller who had passed beyond the veil. Dealan walked with a light step down the stairs to her waiting husband. Karenina stepped forward. Silence filled the hall, enabling her voice to carry to the far ends and echo back. “As head mistress of Clan Miller, I present to you Anastasia, daughter of Voirrey and Yunka.” After a final smile at Anastasia, Karenina, her head high with a reserved dignity, joined the others gathered below.
Despite having Ranald for support, Anastasia felt alone standing at the top of the stairs. Don’t trip. The light embrace Ranald gave her reminded Anastasia of her mother’s hugs. The trembling in her legs vanished. “I’m ready,” she whispered.
Trumpet flourishes rang out. On the third bar, Anastasia started down the stairs in the stately tread of the presentation march.
Ranald stopped on the lowest landing, a mere dozen steps from the bottom. “I’m glad I claimed the right of elder kin,” he murmured. Anastasia felt his lips graze her cheek in a chaste kiss, then, he stepped to the side, leaving her standing alone. Although she heard the words with her ears, Anastasia swore she also heard in silver tones in her mind, “Welcome, Anastasia of Clan Miller.”
Straightening from her deep curtsy, Anastasia now had no choice but to look out over the crowded hall. Cloud Eyrie was so big she had not realized there were so many people living there. Her eyes searched the throng until she found Branin standing off to one side. The wink he tossed removed the last of her nerves.