The manor is the home of Duke Alec and his family and all those who work for him with their families. Nissa is the daughter of the swordmaster and herbalist-healer.When the story opens, she's sitting on a bench in one of the many gardens watching her brothers and the other boys and young men in sword practice.
The halls of the manor are long and drafty. Nissa shares a bedroom with her younger sister, Morna. They each have a narrow bed and nightstand. A table holds a ewer of water. The toilet is down the hall.
Everyone eats in the dining hall. For the morning and mid-day meal, Tables along the wall hold platters of food, and each person selects their own food. At dinner, they are served by Cook and her girls.
Rather than study swordsmanship and science with the boys, Nissa and the others girls are relegated to the sewing room, where Jannet teaches the fine are of needlepoint, and the kitchens, where Cook teaches them all the different ways to make soup.
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