This follows other posts where I've talked about the rooms where certain of my favourite characters sleep, or have slept, to help establish their personalities (most recently Chrissie here). Today's the turn of a character who wormed her way under my skin despite not having the compassion or childlike nature that marks Svetlana, Plays in Shadows and Kella as my favourite characters. Taji's much more strong-willed, incredibly self-assured, and comfortable ordering others around.
I've found this one hard to write, not because (like Solomon) she doesn't have enough bedroom, but rather because she's had too many and I'm not sure which are the most relevant to who she is.
We'll see how this goes.
The Peasant's Bedroom (Derren's Ford)
A small room with a straw mattress big enough for two small children to share. A chest holds their few clothes, and a stand with a lamp sits by her brother's side of the bed, lit each night with love by the parent who carries them up, and put out as the parent leaves. The climate is temperate, which probably explains why the room is always comfortable to sleep in
Taji and Kito stayed in Thorns as guests for a few days after leaving here, and the Thorns bedroom was one I considered - but it is the owner of that house, rather than the room, that tells you about her, so we'll skip to their next family home.
The Noble's Bedroom (Cathak Estate, The Realm)
Here, Taji has her own bedroom - but it's pretty clear she still often shares it with her brother: the pillows and duvet on both sides of the deep, comfortable double bed are rumpled some mornings, and others the bed shows very little sign of any use - like someone crept out as soon as the adult had left.
The bookshelves are filled with an eclectic mix - some fiction, some poetry, some politics, history, the occult, all well-thumbed. Nearby, a large mirror and a scuffed mat show where she practices martial art forms. A desk has several notebooks; one left open reveals meticulous notes in a neat hand, and more than a few sketches and doodles, spreading from the margins into the page.
An easel stands by the window, with a well-stocked cupboard of art supplies beside it. Propped against every spare bit of wall space are paintings and drawings, showing talent and dedication; the potential to be a Master. Sunsets, sunrises, her brother, various members of the household, the tree house from Derren's Ford, her dead and missing family and friends, the boat she and Kito escaped in, the view across the estate - even the Scarlet Empress. Hidden in several is a small white mouse.
While living in the Realm, the twins stayed in other rooms while at school, and I believe they lived with the Empress for a bit, before being sent to join the army to keep them out of trouble.
The Soldier's Bedroom (Outpost North of the Bastion of Last Hope)
This austere bunkroom is buried beneath earth and snow, meaning it at least feels warm. The beds are hard; no special treatment for the youngest descendents of the head of House Cathak here. All the same, Taji's bunk can be detected by the pictures stuck to the wall above her head and the ink stains around the pillow. She hasn't brought any other luxury to her little bit of this space.
They were on the move a lot before and as soldiers, then were put under house arrest back at the Cathak Estate for being friends with Anathema before running away and moving around a lot (mostly staying with an Anathema friend in Nexus), finally drawing Second Breath and Exalting, when they were rescued by a group of First Age Solars living far beyond the Wild in a second Creation they'd been building when things went wrong, and where they have a replica of Meru, on a grander scale.
The Previous Incarnation's Bedroom (New Meru)
The room is hard to find, if you don't know the way. It commands an impressive view of the estate, rendered as close to her previous incarnation's original as the Solars could manage. The large, well-placed windows flood the room with sunlight, giving the occupant full exposure to all the phases of the Sun - and a clear view of the moon and stars at night.
The room isn't large, though the pale gold, almost white walls make it feel larger. There's bookshelves dominated by poetry and diplomacy (and the odd racy romance). A few pieces of simple, tasteful art appear to be original; other pieces bear Taji's mark. The room smells of paint and ink, more than any of the others because the house is so clean and unused. The dominant piece of furniture in here is the bed, larger than any Taji's seen before - large enough she prefers to curl in a small ball to sleep, as spread out she feels lost.
The space of the room comes from the roof garden. An easel stands out here, of course, but there's also an archery stand and space to practice martial arts. A bench looks over a small zen garden to the estate and New Meru. To the side are plants - herbs and flowers she has no idea how to care for.
And again, some skipping around and a couple of rooms we could discuss, but really it's all about...
The Young Leader's Bedroom (Denandsor)
The room is near the top of the tallest tower, again painted in a very pale gold (this paint is fresher than the previous incarnation's room), and again the large windows let in all the day's light (and as much of the night's as possible).
There are several easels in different sizes, holding pieces of work in varying stages of completion. These, and completed pieces along the walls, show landscapes and cityscapes from several locations across Creation, and portraits showing her allies. The newest pieces all show the same face, one conspicuously missing from previous collections.
There's a writing desk, complete with beautiful stationary. There's the start of a letter to her grandfather, and another to her mother - neither finished, as if she isn't sure how to say what she needs to. There are notebooks and sketchbooks. There are bookshelves, again with an eclectic mix of books. A second desk has been added recently.
The bed is large - not as large as her previous incarnations, but larger than the others. She seems more comfortable sleeping in this one.