Now that their home was fuller than ever, Dorothea craved escape whenever possible. As much as she could handle courtly behavior and politeness, she found the crowded space was just too much. She couldn’t move anywhere without bumping into someone and then engaging in polite talk for five to ten minutes. Time, during which, she spent fantasizing about escaping outdoors. Then, when she finally did make it nearly outside, she was bombarded by someone yet again, asking her something or requiring her for a task. It was all a bit tedious, but she felt as though she was bearing her duties rather well. And so, when the opportunity presented itself for an escape, Dorothea took it, miraculously managing not to run into anyone at all on her way out. Her maid servant may have had a bit to do with that, as Dorothea pleaded with her to run interference should anyone approach.
Her beloved bow on her back, Dorothea crept towards the practice range she and her father had been developing over the past fifteen years of her life. She constantly changed out the targets, varied the lengths and depths in which she needed to shoot. Finally, she would set up her own odd places to stand, kneel, perch, or even jump from. If the target couldn’t always be moving, then she must account for herself (though they had rigged a rather ingenious pulley system which could in fact move targets on occasion).
The range was set up rather simply for the past week, allowing for the Princess Athanasia’s lessons. It had been enjoyable so far, teaching the young woman. She was a quick study and eager to learn. Dorothea often enjoyed giving lessons, especially to young women. It was satisfying to watch them begin to feel empowered in their own skills and abilities as they improved. Dorothea believed strongly that women should learn to protect themselves and not feel to need to rely on men for everything. She felt as though she could get by without a man in her life, though she deeply loved her father and brother. But should the need arise, she could protect herself. It was scary to feel helpless and she wouldn’t wish that on anyone. And so, she trained others when asked. Even if they would never be the best, that was okay. They would know the skills should the need ever arise. That was enough.
Even though the range was set up rather simply, Dorothea could make it a challenge for herself. Shooting for the center was easy, boring. But shooting in a pattern? Now that was more fun. She took a brief second to consider her design, then drew her arrows, firing at a rapid pace. After a minute, she had exhausted all of her arrows and her design was complete: a passable outline of a stag, antlers and all. If anything, perhaps her design was slightly flawed. All of her arrows had landed exactly where she intended them.
Dorothea smiled, brushing a stray curl from her braid away, knowing that her effort would have no effect. She shivered slightly as a light breeze rippled through the area, her sleeveless green chiton, meant for archery practice felt like not enough for the weather. Then again, she was always cold, even in the warmest months, so this was no surprise. Still, nothing would keep her from practicing.
She went through several other rounds, her latest being a rather ambitious looking crab, pausing only as she heard the sound of soft applause. At some point, it seemed she had attracted a visitor. She turned, spotting the Lady Imeeya at once and offered the young woman a smile. She was surprised to note the young woman alone, but made no mention of it.
“Good afternoon, Lady Imeeya,” she greeted. “Have you come to join me?” She hadn’t succeeded in getting the lady to try, but perhaps this was her chance.