The King Mar'vel was intensely gratified to have his sweet little princesses be-named and all, if for no other reason than the fact that Lord Soril, the Rooks, and everyone else left him alone about it and he was permitted to read and ride in peace. And if he really wished for company, he had but to wander down to the gardens, or the stables, or look behind one of the stacks to find one or both of his little ones. More often these days were they in the gardens, their father having given them little plots of earth for themselves; in which to plant whatever they wished. The Carmina Rose grew in hers mint, tulips, sage and parsley; while the Fatima Rose grew anise, hyacinths, rosemary and thyme. And they both, with their father, cultivated a hedge of roses which was both a lovely and formidable barrier between them and the outside world; large of blossom and sharp of thorn.

The little girls spent many long hours in their little bower, reading, writing and painting before their daily ride about the fields with their father. One day, Fatima was reading a Romance and Carmina was weaving a tapistry upon her loom, when Fatima sighed and looked up at her sister.

"You know," she said wistfully, "Isn't it awful? Our father is a King, and we ourselves are Princesses. But we never have any adventures or anything. In books, the children of Kings always get to have all sorts of marvellous adventures."

Carmina put aside her loom and raised an eyebrow at her sister.

"You should like an adventure, think you now?"

Fatima sighed deeply, "Oh yes. I think that I should like nothing better."

Carmina smiled, for she did like to see things that her sister enjoyed, and then she frowned.

"Pardon me, dearest sister, but are not Princesses always getting rescued and the like in such stories? For I do not think that I should like to be rescued at all. And one cannot deny, that we /are/ princesses."

Fatima frowned also, and bit her lip. Secretly, she could not help thinking that she would dearly love to be rescued by some sort of handsome prince, riding a white charger like a young god out of Summer, although she wasn't quite sure why. in fact, being inherently a practical girl, she realised that she really didn't want to wait for some silly prince to get it into his head that she needed rescuing. And, really, she didn't particularily /need/ rescuing. Her father, the King of November was a bit gruff and a bit scary, she supposed, but really he was terrifically sweet and knew all sorts of wonderful thngs and she didn't think it would be plesant to be carried away from him and her sister, whom she loved dearly, no, not at all plesant. After a little more thought, she replied, slowly and thoughtfully, "you know, it's not just princesses that get rescued. It's Damsels too. Damsels in Distress."

Carmina smiled again, "We're not in distress. If we could find a damsel, however, who /is/, that seems like a fine sort of adventure. Rescuing her, I mean."

Fatima smiled back, fanning herself. "Well, it's the sort of thing that Princes do all the time. And I quite imagine that we could do every bit as well as any Prince."

"It seems terribly unfair to me," Added Carmina, "That the Princes get to have all the good adventures."

Fatima nodded agreement, and they exchanged a look of joyous resolve. Except that...

"Whatever shall we tell father?" murmured Fatima, touching her fan to her lips in thought. Carmina's brow had been furrowed with the same concern, and she remained silent a moment more before answering.

"Really, I think that we're quite big enough to go upon an adventure ourselves, should we choose to." She paused a moment. "Perhaps it would be wisest to leave a missive for father to find in our rooms, however, so that he will not worry overmuch."

This seemed like the wisest course of action to both.

The two little princesses decided on a week's departure from their little glade; long enough to prepare properly, but not long enough that their father might catch on. Of necessity, they had told their Brothers (one needed Chargers, even roan and dappled chargers! to rescue Damsels) of their plan; and spent the rest of the time sneaking food into bags and reading up on Damsels, the Rescuing thereof, and of th Lands beyond November. For, they realised quickly, there were not likely to be many or any Damsels in all of November -- between their father and the Lord Soril, no one was likely to hold any Damsels against their will or otherwise.

Vaugely, they discussed travveling in some other Month -- October or December were the closest -- but although December looked a little it promising at first, they quickly agreed that there were too much chance of their father becoming cross at them for muddling in the affairs of other Months.

"I think," said Carmina sensibly, as they sat, heads together on a little balcony in the library, "That if we wish to have a really truly adventure, we must go somewhere Unexplored."

"Ah-hmm." Said Fatima, carefully turning page after page in the big book of maps on their laps. "But all these places have names. How can they be unexplored? And if Damsels live in them, and those who keep Damsels..." She trailed off, her little dark eyes swimming in her rosy face. Her sister examined the page gravely.

"What of that place?" She pointed to a place upon one of the maps with indeterminable borders, called simply. 'U'. "That letter beguiles me, it seems mysterious, it could even /mean/ 'Unexplored'. I sense that we may find Advnture there."

"And a Damsel." Sighed Fatima.

"At least." Agreed her sister, with a faint smile. "And look- it says of the place, that there are ways to get there for anyone who Looks. I look. You look too. I say we try there."

"Yes, lets!" Fatima clapped her hads prettily, and they carefully copied the difficult (difficult because it couldn't seem to decide if it had any Landmarks or Features or not, a thing that both irritated and delighted the little girls) map into their notebooks, then went to their rooms, resolved to depart upon the first leg of their Adventure the next morning.

As for the King Mar'vel, he had noticed that the girls seemed to be planning something; though he suspected it be something along the lines of a camping trip into the Woods or some such, and he didn't really worry. Instead he went to the stables and asked the Brothers if the little girls were planning to take them on their little trip. A touch surprised, and trying to hide it, they replied that aye,they were... at which the King smiled and nodded and told them to make sure the girls didn't get into too much trouble, and to keep an eye on them, and to make sure they brushed and curried their brothers porperly, especially if they were going to be sleeping in the Woods. Aleph ventured a little, sirruptitious cough.

"You're not worried... er, upset, at all...?" Mar'vel shook his head, baffled,

"Why should I be? The Master of the Hunt will make sure no /real/ harm befalls my Roses in the Wild Woods. And if anything /does/, by chance, befall them, I shall be entirely cross. Which he knows." And Mar'vel smiled, unnervingly, genuinely, "And now, you know too." then he went upstairs into his library, thinking that a couple days of /real/, undestracted quiet, would perhaps be a very nice sort of thing. And he dozed off with a copy of the Illiad on his chest.

The Brothers, on the other hand, spent the rest of the night whispering between themselves whether their King and Master was really denser, or cleverer, than he seemed. Both developed a terrible illness of ease about the wisdom of the trip entire. Finally, they fell asleep around midnight; soothing dreams sent them by the sisters calmed their fears, and they were fresh in the morning for imminent Adventures.

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