Now, at the expense of over-explaining today’s joke, we’ve established that Roland, a literary character loosely based on the attested if fairly obscure Frankish Warden of the Breton Marches Hroþiland (þ is th – the Latin form of the name is Rotholandus).
The literary Roland is a lot more interesting and important than the historical figure and one of the dominant characters of the Matter of France. There is no evidence, for example, that Hroþiland was Charlemagne’s nephew like the literary Roland.
Back to the point, if Roland is the guy in the Matter of France, then Oliver is a strong second and is Roland’s best friend and closest ally, also the brother of Roland’s fiancee. But then Roland and Oliver both die at Roncevaux and the fiancee dies of grief.
Hence, for the sake of the reference, I’ve decided to give the character who’s essentially a female Roland (i.e. our Roland, in case that’s not clear) the female name of a character who’s essentially the counterpart/counterpoint of the literary Roland.
So, anyway, here’s Olivia.
When Lucia, Apolline, Petra, Roland, and Alda reache the fence surrounding the Duke’s manor, they find a woman — a very, very tall woman — waiting outside the gates. She’s even more muscular than Petra, and that’s without the obvious advantage of being a Half-Troll Amazon. She’s barely smaller than Roland, both in height and in muscles.
As the woman stands impatiently outside the gate, the Duke’s guards cautiously and suspiciously eye her.
The muscular woman turns towards them. “I have a letter for Duke, uh —” The woman glances down at the letter in her hand “— Charles. Is this his castle?”
“It really is more of a manor,” Roland notes.
“But he does live here?” the woman asks.
“Uh, yeah,” Roland says.
“Well, who’s the letter from?” Roland asks.
“The Duke,” the muscular woman says, like it should be the most obvious thing in the world.
Roland blinks. “He’s sending a letter to himself?”
“Not this The Duke,” the woman explains. “The Duke of Chevaliers, duh. I’m Olivia de Chevaliers and I’m here on behalf of Duke Renault to give Duke Charles this letter and… something, something. Shoot, I forgot what he told me to say.”
“And, like, you’re his bodyguard or something?” Roland asks. “Or maybe his envoy?”
“Since when you do know words like envoy?” Lucia asks.
Roland nods proudly. “I know, great word, right? I found it in the dictionary last night. Funny story, I was actually trying to find out how to spell envy.”
“Ugh,” Lucia groans.
“The Duke’s my dad. Well, step-dad,” Olivia explains. ”I think my birth dad either died or he’s just a jerk who skipped out on my mom and me. And I happen to be an alchemist.”
“Really? Me too!” Roland exclaims.
“But you’re big!” Olivia notes.
“Well, yeah, I train a lot, too,” Roland answers.
“Me too!” Olivia answers.
“Do you give your moves cool names?” Olivia asks eagerly.
A cold dread runs through Lucia.
“Oh no,” she whispers. “Oh, sweet Capitolina, no. There’s two of them!”
“This Duke is my Uncle,” Roland continues happily. “Uncle Chuck! Just wait here and I can get you a meeting with him.”
“I’m not waiting anywhere! I’ve been waiting all day!” Olivia protests.
“You’re taking me with you and I’m giving this letter right to Duke Charles.”
“Okay, okay,” Roland says. He turns to the guards. “It’s okay, guys. She’s with us. Let us in, please. And if she turns out to be trouble, I’m pretty sure I could take her.”
“Could not,” Olivia mutters.
The guards open the gate and the group starts down the long footpath to the manor’s front door, lined with hedges and statues.
“So,” Roland muses, as always, markedly incapable of thinking his thoughts without speaking them aloud. “If it’s a pair of pants, is just one leg a pant?”
“And how come they’re called bullfrogs?” Olivia asks.
“I know!” Roland agrees. “They don’t even have horns!”
“Ugh,” Lucia groans.
Alda looks up at Lucia. “Would you feel better if I scratched behind your ears?” she asks.
Olivia and Roland turn towards Lucia.
“Hey, can I touch your ears?” they ask simultaneously and without delay.
I think “stereotypically masculine personality, but female” could give me something to work with, and I’m quite liking the idea “Roland, but female” so far. Maybe especially because I have no intention or desire to make them a romantic couple. The only woman Roland has eyes for is Celeste…
So, that’s two weeks down. Honestly, I’m impressed Cottage Week managed to only disrupt me as minimally as it did and the month seems to be going well.
Also, I’ll be posting links to all of this week’s scenes later today.
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