And here we come to the third chapter of Sew, It’s a Quest. Sorry about this taking so long … but I will get through the whole book – honest I will. It just might take a year or so.
I’ve mentioned that Robin’s habit of losing her lists comes from me, but here’s another trait that she gets from her beloved author. She’s not a morning person. Until getting a job back in November that requires me to be there at seven every morning, I would routinely sleep until noon (having been up way past midnight the night before).
I have fond memories of many a Sunday morning back when I was but a child when my parents would be trying to get me out of bed so we could be to church on time. I slept on the top bunk, and if I pressed myself against the wall, my mother couldn’t reach me with the paddle. Therefore, she had to resort to other techniques, like Robert does here. There was the ever present threat of going to church in my pajamas (she never did succeed in making good that threat!) and sometimes she’d threaten a water bottle. If there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s getting wet when I’m asleep.
And I’m certain that these memories were strong in my head as I wrote this scene. Like with my mother and myself, it’s not with physical means that Robert succeeds in getting Robin out of bed, but with the threat of not going on their quest, the threat of their mother finding out.
Again, I describe Robin’s outfit, this time to contrast it with the finery that she had worn two chapters before when she was masquerading as a proper princess. Now we see her in the guise she’s comfortable in.
As for the hairdo, the main reason I didn’t know what it looked like was that at the time, my hair was barely past my shoulders and I was unable to do the necessary experiments to come up with it. I knew that it didn’t have any pins of any sort, but that was about it. Since then, my hair has grown out, and I have developed a pin-free knot that stays very well, and actually doesn’t look too bad.
On another side note, until I wrote this scene, I had always pictured Robin with straight hair. After this scene, it gained my own hair texture.
I have a confession. I’m not a horse person, or an animal person period. But horses are the staple ingredient of any member of royalty going on a planned quest, so of course I had to give horses to Robin and Robert.
I do enjoy naming animals, so I naturally gave the two horses names. I also tried to match the horses to their rider’s personalities. A fiery red mare for Robin, and a gentler palomino for Robert. I chose the name Snow, because it was something I’d do (I like to name animals based on their appearance), but I don’t remember why I named Robert’s horse Splash.
As I read through this scene, I only become more sure that Robin would have never ventured this quest on her own. Even if she had, she probably wouldn’t have gotten very far. She’s incapable of seeing the little details that are involved in the process. It’s Robert who has them wake up early, arranges for guards to look the other way, saddles the horses, and makes sure Robin eats some breakfast.
Sigh, I sometimes wish I had such a thoughtful brother in my life.
And they’re off
Thanks to the fact that they have their father’s permission and to all of Robert’s careful plans, they leave without any trouble.
Robin seems so much more excited about this fact than her brother. I’m sure he feels some level of success, but I don’t think his heart is quite in this. We don’t see his thoughts, but Robin does have some remorse in leaving her home – which she won’t see again for at least four months (it turns out to be nearly six, thanks to the events of Take, but we won’t get into that at this moment.)
Surely if Robin, who has always dreamed of questing, is having second thoughts, surely her homebody Robert is doing so as well.
Into the Unknown
Robin initially meets with disappointment in the fact that their journey takes them in the direction of “grandmother’s.” At the time, I wasn’t sure what “grandmother” she was talking about, but I now know that she spoke of their mother’s family, the Germains of the neighboring country.
And her we hear her voice her dependence on her brother. It’s not something that she would, in a million years, consciously admit to, but it’s quite clear that she’s the one along for the ride in this story. I think she’s got the better end of the deal, but Robert seems content. He did, of course, agree to the affair, and he did, of course, plan everything. He even had planning meetings, much to Robin’s surprise!
And here is another mention of Meg, who Robin is clearly very dependent on. I’m not sure where she was in the opening of the chapter, because after working with her character in Take, I would have thought she’d be there to make sure her princess was ready to face the world … but perhaps it was so that, if questioned by the twins’ mother, she could confess true ignorance about how and when the twins escaped.
Reading this scene from the vantage of having written a certain chapter in Kingdom, the mention of Robert’s notes in conjunction with Robin’s maid is amusing.
They get to the fork in the road, and they take a path that they’ve never been down before, and Robin is quite pleased with that affair. It finally feels like an adventure!
And here we finally have Robert voice his opinion about the quest. He’s only here because he’s fed up with being teased. He doesn’t mention that he’s also here to keep Robin from getting herself killed or worse, but that’s because Robin would take offense to him admitting that he doesn’t trust her on her own.
Robin’s protection instincts kick in at the mention of teasing. She wants to know who’s teasing her brother so that she can make them see the error of their ways.
Part of this is that she herself doesn’t like the sting that comes from her princess peers teasing her, and because she has such a strong bond with her brother. But believe it or not, it’s actually part of her gift kicking in. Part of being the best swordsman in the world is chivalry, and part of chivalry is that you can’t see someone being mistreated by someone stronger without retaliating. I’m not sure that Robert recognizes the fact that this is part of her gift, but it’s clear that he wants to fight his own fights.
Lunch and a swordfight
Robert’s mention that “you fight enough princes as it is” is illustrated just a few hours later when they stop for lunch. Maybe she doesn’t walk in with plans to start a swordfight, but when she sees the sword of their new acquaintance, and he clearly condemns her brother for not carrying one, she can’t resist. She goads the young man into challenging her, and then promptly sends his sword into a tree, offering only a helpful, “Climb! It’s good exercise” when he wants to know what he’s going to do with his sword’s new home.
As she confides in her brother, the young man needed someone to teach him a lesson, and why shouldn’t it be her?
“Robin! Robin! Wake up!”
“Five more minutes,” Robin muttered, pulling a pillow over her head.
“We don’t have five more minutes,” said Robert, pulling the pillow off of her head. “We have to leave before dawn, while it’s still dark, remember?”
“I’m tired,” Robin argued, pulling another pillow over her head. “Go away!”
“Didn’t you sleep last night?” Robert asked, pulling this pillow off her head, and grabbing two others before she could reach them.
After a few minutes of silence, Robin said, “We do know where we’re going? We do have a plan? I mean, you usually do.”
“What?” said Robert. “Didn’t you come to any of the planning meetings?”
“Uh,” said Robin, “we had planning meetings?”
“Didn’t you read the notes I sent you?” said Robert with an amused shake of his head.
“They’re all in a pile on my desk,” said Robin with a shrug. “I figured that if it were anything really important, you’d tell me yourself.”
“You made it to all the fitting sessions in time,” said Robert.
“Meg told me about those sort of things,” said Robin.
“I bet you think yourself good,” she said, eying him thoughtfully.
“Fairly,” the man answered with a prideful air.
“I don't believe you.”
“Then would you like a friendly challenge?” he asked.
“I’ve never been known to turn one down,” said she.
“Don’t worry,” said the man, “I’ll take it easy on you. After we finish eating, how about?”
“Sounds good,” said Robin.
Needless to say, twenty minutes later, he was staring forlornly up at his fancy sword, now lodged in a tree trunk, a full thirty feet off the ground.
“Hey!” he shouted after Robin and Robert, who had remounted and were riding away. “How am I supposed to get it down?”
“Climb!” Robin shouted back at him. “It’s good exercise!”
1. 1. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
2. 2. Do you think Robert wants to be on this quest? If not, why do you think he has agreed to it?
3. 3. Do you think Robin would have succeeded in running away if he hadn’t come?4. Any favorite lines?