The shops T'o'lz Lur Jena sailed through with Mera in her wake were very unlike the few Mera had patronized in Ples. Those had catered mainly to the ó-Housed workers of the city. A few offered tailoring for Heads of Houses, but Mera had never set foot in those. Her robes were all woven and fitted by House Teir Epor's sewing staff.
The stores of Roaninsh served Houses, un-Housed, and off-worlders alike. Mera had never seen such a variety of style and color. It was overwhelming. Turning away to search for the familiar neutral colors and simple cut she had worn all her life, she was stopped by T'o'lz Lur Jena's firm hand on her arm. "This way," the Ladye said, piloting Mera toward a rack of brightly hued garments.
Mera didn't argue. There was no point. T'o'lz Lur Jena was a force unto herself. Petite and pale, she nonetheless had a sense of presence even stronger than that of her husband. She was not easily forgotten or argued with.
She held up a close fitting off-worlders outfit of rich blue next to Mera. "This will look well," she said.
"Oh, but I couldn't." Mera's protest faded under the Ladye's stare.
"You don't like the color?"
"I do," stuttered Mera. It was a color her brother had worn often as head of House Teir Epor. One that she had never been allowed to wear. But it wasn't the color that was causing the blood to rush into her cheeks. "It would show my legs," she whispered.
"It will show that you have them, yes," said T'o'lz Lur. Her tone was tart but not unkind. "As well as a waist." She relented, adding, "Mera, you will find this style much more practical than your robes aboard the Casblan. Part of your duty will be to blend in. You must not draw attention to yourself. It will compromise your effectiveness as an agent of T'o'lz. Aboard the space station your robes would be far more distracting than an outfit such as this."
Mera nodded reluctantly. She had never considered changing her life would also mean changing her wardrobe.
Satisfied with Mera's acquiescence, T'o'lz Lur began piling outfits into the waiting clerk's arms. Mera followed meekly into the changing room.
Mera dropped her hand to her side at the House Ladye's command. She forced herself to stand motionless as T'o'lz Lur walked around her, examining her with a critical eye. Though the fabric of the suit was light, she felt constrained. The fitted pant legs were tight and heavy against her skin, and the matching jacket seemed far too short. All of them had seemed so this interminably long afternoon, but T'o'lz Lur said as she had many times already, "Perfect. We'll take it."
Mera had given up objecting to the Ladye's extravagance. She had been informed the one or two outfits she had thought were enough to serve the purpose were by no means so. As a result, several morning, afternoon, and evening ensembles had been set aside for purchase. Along with more intimate garments.
Mera felt her cheeks warm again as she remembered the items T'o'lz Lur had chosen and made her try on.