|A Lady's Security|
|Summary:||Stuck in Stonebridge for a few nights, Ceinlys muses as she works.|
|Related Logs:||The Aleister/Ceinlys/Cherise conspiracy|
|Tordane Tower - Stonebridge|
|March 14th 289 A.L.|
Such a rare thing, nowadays, that a moment of quiet and solitude might descend upon a weary Castellan and her chaperone. By the scant illumination of a single lamp that resides upon her desk - her desk for this evening anyway - Ceinlys pores over a few sheafs of parchment, the uppermost held delicately at the edge between a thumb and forefinger. Her other hand serves as a prop against her temple; much needed, too, judging by the heavy-lidded cast of her eyes.
Despite the late hour, the young lady has yet to even change into attire more comfortable or befitting - she's still in the bodice and skirts of her riding habit, though the jacket was discarded quite some time ago. Dark tresses remain loosed about her bare shoulders, windswept and rakishly tousled. The ride to Stonebridge was a hurried one. Alas, not even for particularly good reason. And now she's stuck here for another two days. None of this does much to improve the sombre mood of the noblewoman.. though, unlike her elder brother, she keeps her irritation firmly hidden beneath a practiced veil of indifference.
"My Lady..?" Long-suffering Brigid appears by her charge's elbow, a pitcher of warmed and spiced strongwine held before her in silent offer.
Glancing up, roused from her reverie with a start, Ceinlys blinks at her handmaiden, before simply nodding gently in assent, her gaze already averted once more as she sighs deeply. "Thank you.." Absently, having set down the thick vellum, she reaches for an aged locket that rests, rather out of place, on the surface of the table, opening it with a thumbnail. Wetting a fingertip with a swift dab of her tongue, she dips it into the fine-grained powder residing within the trinket, then brings a mere glittering of it to her lips, closing her cerulean eyes to better savor the fleeting sting and tingle of the potent medicine.
"..we should not be here, Brigid.." she murmurs, when the taste is done and the sweet, numbing sensation begins to warm through her aching form. Raising her lashes again, she reclines in her high backed chair, clasping both hands across her midsection. The chaperone, plainly well-used to these little quirks, simply nods in unapoken agreement. That's what good servants do. "..I should be back there, ensuring the progress continues as planned. Those laborers will be slowing, in my absence, I promise you that. And I want the hall at the very least complete before he returns."
Raising her palms, Ceinlys rubs them across her features slowly, before raking her fingers back through her raven locks. "..he must be satisfied. If he is displeased.."
"Not to worry, m'lady." Brigid interjects, in a rare moment of opinion. Moving toward her twilight years, the dour-faced crone has watched the woman before her grow from a wide-eyed, studious child, to a blue-eyed bride, to the graceful politician before her today. The she-wolf, as their new Lord puts it. "..he has a wealth of love for you, does he not? That you labor in his name, in his absence, trusted with his authority.. that says enough, I think, about his satisfaction."
The young lady, though, looks less convinced. "Does he?" A humorless chuckle escapes her, little more than an exhale. "Perhaps he does. This is the downside of meeting your match.. when you yourself are cunning and ambitious, how do you trust one who is equally so, regardless of your passion for one another?" A hand drifts to her nape, beneath the silky waces and spiralling tendrils of her mane, rubbing at fatigued muscles. Almost of their own accord, Ceinlys' vivid eyes are drifting back down to the parchments. "..and the one task he has gently set at my feet that I would most gladly see done.. I have not accomplished. Yet." That last is added with a ring of determination returning to her velvet tone. "A naming day celebration. Can you believe it? Sometimes I wonder about that woman, I truly do."
Drawing the uppermost sheafs toward herself, reaching to tug them into her lap with one hand, the dark-haired young woman smiles ever so faintly. "..do you think she shall enjoy her gift?"
The handmaiden offers an answering chuckle as she finishes pouring a fresh goblet of wine for her mistress, and hands it to her directly. Accepting without hesitation, the noblewoman doesn't shift her gaze from the script as she takes a long, slow sip. Only after a few beats does she offer further comment, somewhat languidly. The tension has certainly ebbed from her shoulders. "..I need to change the wording of this part.." The wine is set promptly down as she leans forward, apparently quite prepared to start the page over again. But Brigid gently reaches for her wrist, staying her hand.
"My Lady.. you need rest. These things can wait until the morrow. No.." She shakes her head firmly as Ceinlys parts her lips to protest. "Now. You will need your health, when his Lordship returns. You do want to please him, after all. That is, if you are not already.." The maid's dark, wizened eyes flit downward, leaving the question unvoiced.
"Don't be ridiculous." The Lady Erenford rarely snaps. But they are away from prying ears.. and that was an unfair assumption. "Do you really think I would be so foolish? My herbs are still in plentiful supply, thank you very much. And yes.." Even as she begins to rise from her seat, apparently willing to admit defeat for tonight, Ceinlys raises a palm to quiet any clever enquiries her attendant might have. "..I have taken them." Stepping away from the desk, taking her parchments with her and shuffling them absently as she moves, she strolls across the flagstones and rugs toward her bed. It's far from grand, certainly compared to Hollyholt. But it's comfortable enough. And, frankly, she could happily sleep in a hayloft, at this exact moment. Something occurs to the noblewoman, though, as she locks the letters away in a carved box and, kneeling, pushes it under the bedframe.
"Brigid, fetch my lo-.." By way of answer, the chaperone dangles the old locket by its chain from a fingertip, so that it sways before Ceinlys' nose as she rises back to her full height. The young lady can't help the upward curve of her lips into a smirk, snatching the necklace from the air. "Thank you. Oh, and my drawing. I should like to finish that, at least, before sleep takes me." Between meetings and messengers, and scribing and dictating, she has amused herself with a daydreaming sketch in charcoal; messy and far from skillful, but not without a certain charm. Though why would she choose to draw a snarling wolf, within a golden field..?