|A Treasonous Pork|
|Summary:||Evayne arrives at Rebecca's chambers with a late supper and sees herself confronted with dubious speculations about the origin of the smoked ham, and then with questions regarding 'entertaining details' about the Groves lords.|
|Related Logs:||A Kinsman's Grace|
|Rebecca's chambers, Braeburn House|
|Lady Rebecca Nayland's apartment within Braeburn House is a deliberate excrescence, festooned with faded, dusty hangings of Nayland green-and-orange, on principle. The chamber is not particularly large, which makes the four-poster bed of heavy, dark oak seem even more looming and oppressive. The room'a atmosphere is stiflingly perfumed; Rebecca burns incense there rarely, but very lavishly. Two generously ledged, arched windows appear at first glance to relieve the chamber's stuffiness, but closer examination proves one to be but a tall looking-glass of smoky crystal, the other - a suspiciously permanent view on dark woodland, capped with wan stars - undoubtedly a painting of Lady Rebecca's own design.|
|December 18th, 289|
The eternal dusk of Lady Rebecca's chambers finds a poorly twin at the lands outside the blurred glass of the antechamber windows. Silent shadows of several candles' dancing flames move silently over the walls, the smell of herbs and ashes lie in a heavy cloak upon the small room.
Six candles are already lit, Lady Rebecca's handmaiden Samphire gets ready to complete the number, so dear to her Lady with the last one, she holds in one of her small hands. Her mien seems to be quite peaceful today, but she seems to be sunk into her thoughts, as the last flame is reflected in her grey-green eyes.
Of late Lady Rebecca's appetite seems to be returning with something of a vengeance, and as she lies sprawled on her long, taut flank at the foot of her bed's great coverletted pallet, the light of the wicks reflects the green gleam of her anticipation, the feverish flash of her restive teeth. "A treat tonight, I hope, my dear? Something good and gamey?"
There is a knock on the door - a little hesitant and timid perhaps, before the kitchen maid enters with a tray. Before lowering her gaze as fits her station Evayne glances at Rebecca with a bit of cautious curiosity and offers a shy curtsey, clearly not as distinguished as that of a noble lady, yet with the casual effortlessness of a motion that has already been carried out several times today. The curtsey is followed by a short silence, while the young kitchen maid musters all her courage to address this lady, whose mental state and ambitious claims have been a regular topic in the servants' quarters. "You've sent for a meal, M'lady?" Evayne glances to Rebecca then to Samphire. Her gaze drops then to her tray, upon which a plate with cheese, bread and smoked ham and a cup with wine have been arranged - a light meal it is, but probably one that suits the late hour.
"Ah yes, m'lady. I ordered the guts of your foes down at the kitchen. The cook frowned as I said you prefer them raw, but he insisted on putting a bit of salt on them. And a potatoe.", Samphire chortles leisurely.
Then the sound of a light knocking, brings the more or less announced treat in. Samphire greets the maid with a warm, encouraging smile, as she hastily adjusts a fold of her lady's gown, so that she, as sprawled as she is, might look as proper as her birth demands -even in the presence of a servant girl.
"A charming conceit," the lady compliments her maid with easy cheer as her stare lingers instead on the plater; her glance hardly brushes over the second and lesser servant before she has impatiently breathed out, "Do lay it down there, girl. Evayne, isn't it? The chit's blood has long been in the service of my mother's line," she adds airily to her favoured, newer attendant, "long, and, I admit, well. I would have preferred a wilder viand, but if it is indeed what is left of my foes…it's most heartening to know I have so few…"
Evayne returns Samphire's greeting with a likewise warm smile before she obeys Rebecca's command and puts the tray down on a table. "Aye, M'lady. Evayne Potter." she offers, as she turns to the lady with a shy smile. The kitchen maid's light grey eyes rest for a moment on the noblewoman resting on the bed, Looking a bit lost at first as she tries to make sense Rebecca's words, Evayne turns a bit pale after a moment and shoots the ham on the plate a glance. "That's smoked ham, M'lady. Of a pork." she is quick to declare before she falls silent, biting her lip and looking slightly disturbed.
Samphire can't forbear a light laughter leaving her mouth. "Calling your foes pork, m'lady, my dear Evie seems to be both bold and loyal indeed. But the cook seems to have forgotten the potatoe. Such a pity. ", she muses, as the hint of a resigned frown conquers her mien, as she realizes the reassuring fact of her lady's rare foes on the plate won't leave much for herself, when she's done devouring them.
Slowly Samphire walks over to lay a hand softly on the maid's arm to assure her she isn't in danger -at least as far as she knows. And maybe help her adjust a few bits of the food already. A tiny piece of cheese might have found it's way to the handmaiden's mouth while performing her duty most assidously.
"A pork," Rebecca repeats sweet and soft through thinly smiling lips; peasants call swine pigs, nobles dine on their meat and call it pork, and it seems the servant has got confused by being over delicate, and in doing so amused her mistress appreciably. "A treasonous pork, I have no doubt. Very fine." Her eating knifelet sparkles as it rises to dissever the contents of the platter - which Samphire was wise to reconnoitre. Rebecca's hungers tend to be sudden, and when they come, unsparing.
Her mouth less than wholly evacuated, the noblewoman speculates casually on, "You met this girl already, my dear, I expect? Miz Potter…this place seems to have come alive with my kinsmen since I…went visiting. Can you tell me anything entertaining about my, ah, big boy cousins, I wonder…?" Laying down her knife a moment, she flicks a fiery strand of long hair out of her line of sight, looking fiercely on from hand-maid to kitchen-wench.
Again Samphire's assuring gesture does not fail to calm young Evie, but she frowns a little at the mention of the missing potato and starts to fumble at her braid that falls over her shoulder, an unconcious gesture of worry as her light grey eyes stare at the lady. "No potatos today, M'lady, I'm sorry. We had some prepared, and those left from the meal in the Great Hall… got snatched by a monstrous dog, M'lady." The maid shudders as she remembers the scene.
But as she is being addressed by Rebecca, Evayne blushes and shakes her head. "Nah, I'm just a simple kitchen maid, M'lady. I wouldn't know anything 'entertaining' about them." Although the blush remains on her cheeks for a moment. A little hesitatingly she adds: "Lady Dyonne is very kind though. She visits us often, down in the kitchens."
At her lady's muses about pork, Samphire furrows her brows and blinks a bit puzzled, but decides to let it peacefully face it's inevitable fate without any further words. "No, no worries. M'lady didn't send for a potato, it was just a jest.", the maid explains softly to the other girl. "And a monstrous dog down the kitchens? Seven help us!", she adds.
Evayne's next words are answered with a little nod and a curious inquiry, as she catches the sight of the blush on her cheeks "I heard she has a kind heart, that lady, but indeed I would have enjoyed a few 'entertaining' news about my lady's big boy cousins, since I travelled along with her and at least one of them, when I reached my new home here and still barely seem to know him. But maybe that's all for the best since it is known most nobles are neither as kind or as wise as our Lady Rebecca is."
"Lady Dyonne is very kind," Rebecca murmurs, continuing her disconcerting tendency to repeat Evayne's innocent words in her own husky, nuanced tone, in which it is so hard to be sure of either innocuous support or sly mockery. Perhaps a clue is given when the lady sighs in calm, harmonious contentment at her handmaiden's favourable comparison of her to all other nobles. But, laying soiled knife down upon bone-clean dish, Rebecca presses on with a hint of overt mischief, "Aye, dear Mistress Rivers here speaks of Ser Kerrigan. Perhaps he should be set upon this monstrous dog. If he did not slay it, he would surely befriend it, for it seems a twin to his own spirit…"
Her jibe seems to lower her own spirits rather than rally them, and her next sigh has some bitterness to it. She half rises from the bed, craning towards Evayne, her aspect attentive, piercingly so. "Kitchen-maid though you be, I am not one speck the less eager to hear about your existence, my dear little Evayne. My mother has taught me long since that worms know more of dirt than farmers' hands…"
Let this Lady Dyonne contend with charm like that.
Evayne nods with a smile of relief at Samphire's explanation about the potato, then shakes her head with a notable vehemence as the handmaiden speaks of the dog. "I… was so scared, I couldn't move. I am so happy someone called the guards, they came and took care of that monster. After it had devoured the potatoes…"
Turning to Rebecca, Evayne takes one step backwards as she sees the lady moving towards her first and remains standing where she is as the noblewoman passes her on the way to the table. "The guards took care of it, M'lady." she replies, arching a brow as she sees the soiled knife being put down on the clean table. "'Twas a horrible experience." The trembling in her voice subsides as the blush on her cheeks reappears, this time a little darker than before. "And I am glad Ser Kerrigan wasn't there, M'lady."
As the lady speaks about worms in the ground, Samphire bites her lips, throwing an expecting look at Evayne, hoping for her having been lead by a grandmother as wise as her own. But as the little comment seems to leave without any fatal impact, she sighs a tiny sigh of relief with her next breath out and inhales the urgent thought to have word with her brother before he might dive to deep into conversation with her Lady.
Evayne's respond about beeing glad about the knight's absence makes her blink another time, surprised.
Standing there, next to the large, oaken bed she seems to fit quite well with the furniture, as she observes the other two attentively and, more notably, silently again.
Her youth radiating a certain innocence that is deepened by her blushing, Evayne stands there and wipes her sweaty hands on the skirt of her attire, the usual garb of a kitchen maid, made of light cotton - most appropriate for the warm season - and dyed in an onubtrusive greyish brown - the colour being well suited to obscure the stains from her daily work in the kitchen as well as those from sweaty hands.
"If there's nothing else, M'lady?" she inquires, looking a bit anxiously in Rebecca's direction, while she already starts backing away towards the door.
But this eccentric lady has missed neither the serving girl's enigmatic…near-slight to a member of House Groves, nor her own handmaid's sharp if repressed surprise at it. She presses the topic, scenting cruelty and judging it as luscious as a sugar plum. "Are you so, sweetling? You see a tender heart in the knight that eludes me, then…perhaps you bring it out in him! Certainly, you make me feel ever so much kinder," she adjudges with haughty, chilly precision. "Yes, you can go now, but do come back. I do so like to feel you writhe, and you look so adorable as you do so. Almost as edible as your traitorous pork. Good night, little Evayne…"
And she motions Samphire to arise from her discreet trance and prepare her for bed, leaving Missy Potter to see her own way out of the eerie chamber.