|Page 041: Another Time|
|Summary:||Anais finds Stragen finding Liliana. Irys' sketch is delivered. Stragen and Liliana have a brief talk about truth and fears.|
|Date:||22 Aug 288|
|Related Logs:||Whores for Breakfast, Not Just Any Whore, The Trouble With Whores|
|Reading Room - Four Eagles Tower|
|The room has a large glass window and seat that looks out partially over the cove, in daylight hours the sun provides illumination to the room. Other stools and chairs linger in small groups as shelves along the walls are littered with scrolls, books, letters and documents. The contents are a modest collection of local records, histories, and literature offered to both the family and guests of Four Eagles Tower.|
|22 Aug 288|
Trailing the requisite handmaid and guard, Anais has been searching the halls of Four Eagles Tower for most of the morning. After spending the majority of the previous day in bed with a headache, she seems to be mostly recovered from whatever ailed her. "Lady Liliana?" she asks, peeking her head into the reading room for a quick scan of the space.
Liliana, once again, seems to have taken up her place by the window, working away at her ledger, the pages of which seem to be filling at a prodigious rate. The sound of a familiar voice, and then the sight of the flaxen haired noblewoman, leaves her to set her quill down in it's well. "I am here, Lady Anais." Her tone is quiet and calm, easy and open. Elise sits not far from her, working still at the leather which seems slowly to be becoming a piece such as could be inlayed into armour, if that armour belonged to one of her House.
Not moments after Anais enters the study, a certain blonde barbarian sticks his head in, no doubt startling Anais' handmaiden and causing her guard to regard him with an annoyed glance. "Ah, I found you," Stragen declares, stepping into the room. He eyes the Banefort sworn with a growing frown, as if encouraging the man to do something stupid. "My ladies, sorry for the intrusion, but I was just looking for the Lady Camden to check up on her and see if she needed her bodyguard."
"I was wondering if you knew where Master Sto-" And then Master Stone himself is barreling into her people, and Anais turns with an arch of her brow. "Oh. Well. I suppose that answers that, doesn't it?" A faint smile touches one corner of her lips, as the Banefort guard pointedly makes space for more people in the doorway. "I had a message for Master Stone," she finishes for Liliana, producing a folded piece of parchment from one pocket.
Liliana's expression is curious, as she waits to hear what the Banefort Lady might want of her, hands holding the pages of her ledger open to allow the ink to dry without the use of sand, "It seems that you have found him, indeed, or he has found you. And no, Stragen, I do not think I will be leaving the hall today. If you wished for a day to spend as you will, you may certainly have it." A curious glance, at the parchment, as Anais explains her search for her sworn. "Of course."
"Oho! What's this, a lovenote from one of the Banefort ladies?" Stragen asks, regarding Anais with a bemused expression, her sworn forgotten. "I'll have to write the lass a thank-you note. Hmm. Now if I only could remember how to write…" He offers his hand so that Anais could pass the folded parchment off. "Oh, I figure I'll hang about the tower some more, my lady… it's safer in here. Less of my past shows up here."
"Well, she was blonde, and she was a Westerlander," Anais answers Stragen with a wry smile as she offers over the parchment. "But not one of my sisters, to my knowledge." Speaking of his past not showing up in the reading room. "A Miss Irys Hill, I believe. She said it was a memento of your time in King's Landing."
Liliana's expression show more amusement now, than curiosity, as the message is handed over, though it seems directed more towards Stragen and less at Anais. Tolerant, she's become, to Stragen's sense of humour, "The past catches up with us no matter how far we try to run, Stragen." Quiet, as Anais speaks, before she turns her attention back to Stragen, "I did not know that you had been to King's Landing."
Unfolding the parchment, Stragen gives it a once over. Then, oddly, turns it sideways and tilts his head the opposite direction, as if trying to read it, or judge what was on the page. "Not bad," he assents. "Although I'm not sure why she's dabbling in artwork. She's a much better whore, and thief." He offers the page towards Liliana, depicting a charcoal sketch of what appears to be Stragen and a shorter woman, side by side, the barbarian's arm around her shoulders, looking like best of chums. "King's Landing was… not a time I like to look back upon. It was the beginning of the end of my money, and the beginning of my dearth of work."
Anais steps back once Stragen has the parchment, smile lingering. "Anyhow, that was all," she says with a wave of her hand. "A good day to you, Lady Liliana, Master Stragen," she nods politely to each, then turns to slip out of the room, her train of people following her.
Liliana makes no attempt to see the the contents of the note until such time as Stragen offers it to her, a hand rising to take it, looking it over before she returns it, "Just because someone is good at one thing, does not mean that it is all that they aspire to be, Stragen. Perhaps King's Landing was a time of darkness for you. But this," here she tips her head at the sketch, "Seems a record of some small spot of light in it. Keep it, for the memory, if nothing else. But if this friend of yours is here at the Roost, perhaps you might wish to go and visit with her?" A smile offered in Anais' direction, "Thank you for delivering the message, Lady Anais."
"Aye, thank you, Lady Banefort," Stragen mumbles, looking distracted. Clearly he's gone back in time for a moment. "I'd… rather minimize my public association with unsavory sorts, my lady. I don't wish to drag you down with me. I am, after all, a common man. You were reminded of that most recently, that your actions cannot be common, or, really, perceived as common. You're my first and foremost concern." There's something in his voice that suggests he's saying this for Lili's benefit only.
"Certainly," Anais offers over her shoulder, leaving the discussion of Stragen's company to him and the lady.
"Stragen, do you think that visiting with whores is something that only common men do? Ser Jarod, so they say, is responsible for keeping most of the women at the Rockcliffe gainfully employed. My own Lord Uncle Dafydd makes his use of a fair share of the women who work at our own Inn. Men are men, and they will do as men are wont to do. I told you once, that I did not seek to control you, to bend you to my will. Sworn you are, to this House, but you are your own man. I will not tell you 'Do this' or 'Do that.' You have agreed to do your duty to me. So long as that is done, your life is your own."
Stragen regards her for a long moment, as if contemplating what to say next, or how to politely contradict her. "I understand. Thank you, my lady. You're most kind." He folds the parchment back up and places it inside his jerkin. It's as if there's more to be said, but he's either unwilling or unable to say it. "Shall I leave you be, my lady?"
Liliana Camden is not a woman given to pomp or show. Instead, she prefers the quiet; listening, rather than talking, seeing, rather than being seen. And her voice is gentle, "What is it that you wish to say to me, Stragen? Something has been bothering you for some time." The question of leaving her is easily set aside. For the time being.
Stragen's face darkens somewhat, as if forcing his emotions deep down behind a wall of stone, like his Vale bastard's namesake. Perhaps casting a shadow across his features as if he were standing at the foot of the Vale of the Moon mountains at sunrise. "Nothing, my lady. I'm just thinking of another time, is all." But which time? The time depicted in the parchment?
Liliana's own expression darkens, as she steps in towards her sworn, a hand rising to attempt to settle on his chest, the man tall enough that it's about the same as if she were putting a hand out in front of her face, "We promised that we would not lie to each other. Or, I promised you, that I would not do so." Elise perks up, eyes narrowing as only a handmaiden tasked with the Lady Camden can. "You have nothing to fear from me."
Stragen glances sidelong to notice Elise, and at first, his impulse is to step away. She might feel him jump slightly underneath her touch, as if instinct told him to leap away from her hand as if it were fire. Or, perhaps it's Elise's gaze that has him fearful. "You told me that once before, aye," he responds, voice lowering. "But you have plenty to fear from me." And that's when he steps back fully, giving a faint nod towards Elise. Louder, mainly for her benefit, he asks of Liliana, "May I be excused, my lady?"
"I would never have anything to fear from you, Stragen Stone." Liliana does not press that hand to his chest, but allows it only to linger lightly for a moment, before it falls as he steps back. Nor does she seem intent on forcing him to speak more than he already has. But the darkening of her features does not lighten. And there's a sadness in her face that lingers, before she schools her expression. Still gentle, her voice, "Of course, Stragen. If I have need of you later, I will send for you. But I spoke truly. Take the day to enjoy for yourself."
Stragen dips his head, shoulders following, in a respectful but slight bow. He casts another knowing nod towards Elise, and, after sparing another glance for his charge, turns to depart.