|Am Not, Am Too!|
|Summary:||A battle of wills and wit occurs when Briallyn Haigh unexpectedly arrives to pay a visit to the Lady Cherise Charlton.|
|A modest room but with a large high bed that is set with four posts in rich mahogany. A blue rectangular rug is angled in the center of the room. A chest for storing the visitor's goods is at the foot of the bed and a grey blue cover settles over the bed. A hearth to the right of the windows which rests between it and the bed is done over with a iron screen meant to be removed when in use. A pair of chairs rest near the window and about a small circular table set with a candle. On the same wall as the door rests a low chest of drawers, a basin for water and a few wooden mugs rest there for use.|
|9 April, 289 A.L.|
In Cherise's chamber, one of the guest residences offered to many of the arriving noblewoman due to the men's migration toward the Isles, she was seated comfortably. Pillows piled against her back and rear, a fire crackling in the heart as her handmaidens and midwife busied themselves with more sewing, reading or their own regular tasks. The Lady Charlton was never alone, both a blessing and curse as she was practically sequestered to her chambers. Minimal movements. The midwife was careful. Any visitors had been permitted for the chambers were not under heavy guard. Embraced by hushed surroundings the blonde haired woman was unintentionally dozing off to sleep.
It's highly unusual that someone like Lady Briallyn Haigh would call on Lady Cherise, given Cherise's blatant disapproval of the young woman, but she does. For some reason. She doesn't divulge whatever that reason might be to the woman's maids or guards, but her presence and status is enough to get her into the room in relative privacy without too many prying eyes. Even if there are a few lady's maids on hand.
There's very little 'proper' about Briallyn, save for her state of dress, groomed and preened to perfection only to be ruined by her complete lack of decorum and the casual way in which she stands. Hand on her hip, fingers splayed against the dark green silk, as she glances about the chamber with unconcealed curiosity. "Lady Cherise," Briallyn echoes politely enough once her eyes fasten upon the rounded figure amongst the pillows, lingering inappropriately.
Thankfully the pregnant "cow" is not expected to rise simply for greetings due to her current state. However her close handmaids had, including the midwife awarded the young Haigh's arrival with a courteous gesture of greeting. Cherise simply nodded her head. "Lady Haigh." At least her tone was pleasant. A graceful hand gestured for one of the nearby seats, empty and close for conversational purposes. "To what do I owe the delight of your company?"
Cherise's tone causes a smile for some reason, one that is utterly vulpine and flashes pearly teeth. There is a hint of something lingering in the depths of those dark mossy green eyes, but it's difficult to discern what. "My own impulsivity, of course," Briallyn intones smoothly, still grinning, and inclines her head slightly towards the woman.
Finding a chair a simple enough thing, given that Cherise rarely has time to herself and company is unlikely to stand for very long. In spite of that, the young Lady Haigh takes a seat without awaiting Cherise's invitation to do so, smoothing the dark green skirt of her dress with slim fingers. "And because I've affection for damsels in distress locked away in tall towers. It seemed a good idea at the time."
"Not something I would fault you on." She retorts while folding both hands atop of her swollen abdomen, a blanket had covered her legs even though there was not a single chill to be felt within this chamber. "I suppose it may be in the damsel's best interest Lady Haigh. To be anywhere else but here well… it may not bode well for the babe." She followed the young woman's decent, a few years older by age and mentally… "How are you finding Stonebridge?"
"Are you truly so fragile?" There is a hint in that sultry voice that indicates a sense of disbelief, and the Lady Briallyn makes herself comfortable by leaning backward in the chair. "Somehow, I suspect it is more than that, but I shan't tell." That grin widens just a fraction, and she intertwines her fingers in her lap, a restless fidget, as she stretches her feet out before her from beneath the hem of her skirt. "Stonebridge? I haven't yet decided. There is good, there is bad. As is always the case in dealing with people. I had expected to be bored here, but I have found ways to prevent throwing myself into the river."
A polite chuckle escapes slightly parted lips, and the intensity of that stare has yet to diminish as she studies Cherise without any sense of propriety. "And you? I cannot imagine being in such a state all day, so restricted, could be very rewarding?"
Cherise spreads the warmth of amusement upon her features. "Exercising caution has no merit with my frailty, Lady Haigh. Women have been birthing children in fields in the dead of winter with no comforts such as this." Her hand gestures about the room. "It is what separates us from the common folk." The lady does give a glance to her wine goblet before reaching out to it, claiming the half filled cup for a small sip while Briallyn shares a little of her perceptions on Stonebridge. "There are some advantages here beyond the surface. It is a quiet place, not as lively as say Hollyholt or King's Landing. Very… quaint I can say." Certainly different than what she has become accustomed to. "It is rewarding, a blessing. One that is grown into."
"Is it? Strange. I thought it was the lack of starvation and good shoes," Briallyn chuckles wryly, the smile waning to something less obscene. "It is not so quiet as that, but then perhaps it is merely because we differ in natures, and nothing has ever been quiet for me." Why does she sound for a moment as if she wishes it was? The young Lady Haigh makes a flippant gesture with a flick of her fingers as if brushing away the conversation at hand. "Let me be frank, Lady Cherise, I'm here because I desire to be. I've other things I could be doing, certainly, but I have come to learn that you are Desmond's sister. And I have ever made it a point since coming to know him to make certain he is as uncomfortable as he can be."
The younger Lady's gaze slips away from Cherise, turning to the ceiling to observe it without truly making note of it, her expression becomes one lost in thought. "And because, with the animosity between yourself and the Lady Erenford, I have a care to know what sort of person you are."
As the Haigh woman speaks Cherise dutifully listens, unwavering in her gaze for to do so would be rude. One of her handmaidens does offer the young noblewoman a goblet of wine, should she care for a healthy dosage. "Certainly reasonable given the current state of things Lady Haigh. Trade is stalled due to the many high demands that war brings. Wealth is funneled into defense, weapons, training, food, practically the war effort. What luxuries we desire, such as food and attire comes last I am afraid." There was a touch of mourning in her retort, concealed by the raise of her pewter goblet, drawn to the lips for another sip. "I do not see how visiting me shall make my dear brother uncomfortable." She intentionally overlooks responding to the probe about she and the Erenford.
"So I am aware," Briallyn remarks evenly, waving away the woman who extends the goblet towards her, accepting nothing. "I've some to do with that, but we shall see. House Haigh has much to offer in the way of feeding hungry mouths, of which there are many." Her fingers fidget restlessly in her lap, fingertips tapping gently together to rid herself of some of that excessive energy that seems to tense the athletic frame beneath the dark green silk. "Everything involving myself makes Desmond uncomfortable. I needn't say what I told you, merely that I was here," the young Lady chuckles quietly, but there is no spite or malice lingering in her words. A strange girl, no doubt.
"But, let us not be coy. I've no time for anyone's machinations, nor do I have a care to be caught in the middle of some petty squabble between two women struggling over a wealthy man." The playful smile that ever seems present on her lips is vanquished by those words, and her expression is rapidly becoming nigh unreadable. "If you were anyone other than a Westerling, I'd likely give less than two figs about the situation." Her sharp tongue lacks for decorum, breaching the subject rather… bluntly.
Cherise's brows raise faintly, her lips concealed behind the pewter cup. "There are numerous houses that may also offer much as well." Haigh was not alone though not all would do the same. As Briallyn chose to be frank and blunt Cherise simply shook her head, "There is no struggle over a wealthy man nor are you seen as a tool in some grand scheme Lady Haigh." As for her brother she is blatantly lying, "My brother is his own man, such child games are not my concern any longer."
"No, your brother is a squire, whose first duty is to his Knight. Whatever hold you may think you have over him," Briallyn says sharply, and there is nothing kindly or playful about her expression. Her sculpted vulpine features are steely, and her dark green eyes stare flatly at Cherise. "Sell your song and dance elsewhere, Lady Cherise. I am not in the market for buying. On either score, truly. I do not care for whatever may occur between Lady Erenford and yourself, but I can see from your words that you are not so well aware of the situation as you may have been before."
The young woman lifts a hand, fingertips gently pinching the bridge of her nose, and that cool expression shifts to pained. "Certainly, the Lady Erenford senses strife enough between our two Houses, where naught existed before she found a place in your husband's household. Or perhaps there was, but I won't pretend to know what that might be. I am merely concerned about the impact that the two of you have on the people around you."
"You are presuming far too much Lady Haigh. I have not seen my brother in many years. He has his own life and I mine. So let me also be frank as to relay, if there is some goal you have in mind to annoy my brother do take it to him and not me." Cherise then begins to lift her blanket, too hot with the wine, the hearth and this layer of fur covering her. "If you do not care then let not this encounter hold any focus upon unpleasant topics." The midwife does approach, retrieving the fur quietly and visibly Cherise is relieved. Instantly beginning to fan herself with the opposite hand. "Distance will be kind you as you wish to make certain your involvement in, whatever you assume, is null."
The look upon her face is quite clear, a sense of yet more disbelief, as she stares quite openly in Cherise's direction. "Really? Not years, mm? I shall give you the chance to rescind that, but you needn't. It would change nothing." Briallyn looks away, nose elegantly wrinkled with disgust as her attention is directed to the nearest window to hold her attention. "We shall see about that. I'll not hold my breath on that count, I prefer to be prepared. It's easier to evade the knife at your back when you know it to be there. But, you desire something pleasanter? Very well." The young Lady Haigh's attention swings away from the window, listlessly drifting over the room. "I've no desire to see House Westerling suffer at the hands of politics. I would prefer to see it succeed, to improve."
Cherise sighs heavily, "Lady Haigh, if you come to spread your feathers in some bold attempt for recognition, I will acknowledge your placement as something with whatever it is you wish. Thus far you've been greeted pleasantly and your candor is none to appreciated. As for what your desires for House Westerling, while appreciated, such thoughtfulness is best directed to the Lord of the Crag himself are they not as my standing in House Charlton can attest very little to your words." She set her goblet down then, desiring no more of the drink. Still the lady was fanning her face with the opposite hand. "If you continue to condone yourself in this manner, you may be excused Lady Haigh for there are no favors in submitting yourself to situations you have no desire to be in."
"Bold attempt for recognition?" She arches a fine dark brow, and tilts her head with an amusedly perplexed look. "Lady Cherise, considering my manner, do you truly think I care for any sense of recognition? If I was eager to seize the low-hanging fruit, I would do so. It is easy enough to feign a smile and respect for the sake of garnering whatever it is you seek." The young woman draws herself to her feet gracefully, dark green eyes studying Cherise closely yet again in the usual scouring manner with which she regards others. It isn't unlike dissection.
"If you truly believe yourself that disconnected from the House to which you were born, I respect that, and shall do so in future considerations. However, not all are so convinced of it, and unfortunately, I feel we both know that whether you believe yourself solely a part of Charlton or not could very well be irrelevant." With an unusal amount of etiquette, Briallyn dips into a fluid curtsy, fingers primly lifting the hem of her skirt. Despite the show of respect, her gaze remains pinned upon Cherise, and the smile is all but gone from her full lips. "I've a care for your blood, Lady Cherise. Even if you ceased to. But, I shall tarry no longer, for you need to rest."
Darra, one of the handmaidens, rose on to her feet to open the door for Briallyn's departure. The others simply nodded their heads while keeping ever silent in these proceedings. "Good day Lady Haigh." The words are still pleasant even to include a nod of her head to counter her preformed curtsy. She makes no other effort to counter the woman's claims. Rest was all too tempting.