|Summary:||Lady Anais apologizes and Lady Evangeline says nice things.|
|Related Logs:||All of the logs about this.|
|Lady Evangeline's guest room.|
|A guest room within Riverrun.|
|6th day of Eleventhmonth, 288|
Not currently sewing or doing anything of the womanly sort, in the long sweep of the corridor of chambers given over to Terrick use, Evangeline has instead cornered a servant and is lowly discussing minute details of the room situation. "You will need to find another blanket for the Lady Lucienne for use tonight. Ask of Tully's staff for it, if you will. /Politely/," she emphasises, her gaze sliding around the hall slowly as she tries to remember what else she may have missed. "And be sure that you heat our own water for bathes, not just ask Tully servants to do that for us. We are more than capable of heating our own. But, take care to provide enough for every lord and lady that will attend the council."
It has been a long and not entirely pleasant trip from Terrick's Roost to Riverrun. A quiet strain has lingered. Anais has kept to herself as much as possible. But now, she makes her way toward the elder Lady Terrick. And when she approaches, she stops a polite distance away so as not to interrupt the flow of instructions, hands clasped quietly in front of herself.
It appears whatever length of the instruction, they are done for now as no more thoughts come immediately to Lady Evangeline's mind. At catching sight of her gooddaughter, she dismisses the servant formally, "You may see to your tasks." Does the man look a bit relieved at Anais's interruption? He is good at covering it. When she turns to Anais, it is with a polite question of "I hope you slept well, Lady Anais?"
"Poorly, I'm afraid, my lady," Anais shakes her head slightly, smile faint. "The air felt…close, and it seemed as though I heard every footstep through the hall. But I am used to having little sleep." She draws a careful breath, glancing down the hall, then looks back to the other woman. "My lady, might I have a few words in private?"
"Of course," Evangeline allows with a gathering of her skirts, only showing the slightest hesitation in want for directions to a more private place. Eventually, she turns and opens the door for her own room, inviting, "Here will do, I trust?"
"Of course, my lady," Anais dips her chin, stepping inside and waiting until the door is closed before she continues. "My lady, I am afraid I owe you an apology," she says quietly, hands still clasped gently in front of herself. "You made an effort to include me in an activity which you enjoy, and I reacted…very poorly. There were reasons for such, but you had no reason to know them. It was both unfair and unkind of me." If she's been forced into the apology, she must be a very good actress, because there is genuine regret in the words.
The door closes quietly, barely a noise to the gentle push of fingers that sees to it before Evangeline retreats to find a seat with a rustle of skirts. "Thank you for the apology, my lady. I did not realize this situation would be so poor for you." She pauses, studying Anais with a steady gaze, giving little away of her thoughts. "May I ask to the reasons, Lady Anais?"
Only once the other woman is seated does Anais sink gracefully into a seat as well. She sits straight, at the edge of her chair, and the only sign of uncertainty is the way her thumb brushes over the back of her hand. "Of course, my lady. I do not sew not because I have not been taught. I do not sew because I am not physically capable of it. I-" She draws a deep breath, pressing her lips together. "I can't see, close up, my lady. It's always been that way. I can see a hawk in the sky, but when something is close, everything gets blurry. My father calls it sea eyes, and- and never saw flaw in it. But I've come to find that the things that we value at the Banefort and the things that are valued here in the Riverlands can be very different. I was afraid if I told you, that you would think me unfit to be a mother. That you might be afraid that your grandchildren would be so…flawed as well."
"You are not the first that bad eyes have afflicted, my lady, nor even the first woman. Lord Ser Jerold's own mother's own eyesight lefther as she aged," Lady Evangeline assures politely, her own fingers lifting to her lips to brush at them gently, consideringly. "Sewing will have to be put aside, of course. Other tasks are not so easy to ignore, but it is not unknown to train a servant to help you with such. Reading ledgers for you, writing sums." Whatever else she may be, the revelation brings a thoughtful look to the lady's face, sharp almost where the corners of her gaze crinkles as her mind races ahead, always.
"I can read and do sums," Anais assures. "I use a book stand. That way it's far enough away that I can see it. Spending too long with them still gives me a headache, but I can do it." She rubs at the back of her hand once more, quiet. "My lady, I am not without the skills needed to run a household. It's only that I think those skills may be different where I am from than they are here. I can prepare a castle for siege. I can ration supplies. I can keep a running tally of goods, men, and needs in my head. I know the best ways to negotiate with merchants, and the most advantageous taxing arrangements. As an ornament to a court, I am very skilled at dance. I sing well, and play a few instruments passably. I can hawk, and make conversation, and be entertaining."
"I know this, Lady Anais, and I assure you that I do not think you unskilled," Evangeline answers in turn, shifting straighter where she starts speaking. "But the Roost is different, and my own duties are different. There is much and more you may learn from me, if you allow me to teach you. If you will not take offense and react badly at every suggestion that I have, my lady." She pauses, hands folding into her lap as she watches Anais, waiting, the weight of her gaze steady and unwavering.
"I am willing to learn, my lady," Anais replies quietly. "I ask only that, before you judge me, you consider that I have trained my entire life to marry into a house like my own. One where the lady of the house is expected to be willing and able to lead in her husband's often necessary absence. If I balk, it is only because I am afraid of failing in the duties I have been conditioned for since childhood."
"Is it that you think House Terrick is different, Lady Anais? That I am not capable of stepping in if Lord Ser Jerold is away?" Evangeline questions neutrally, her gaze never leaving Anais as she asks these questions. "I assure you, my lady, my lord husband often consults me for my advice, that he has every faith in me when he is pulled away. The Roost never faltered during Robert's Rebellion, despite being left in my hands." She pauses for a moment, taking a slow breath before she continues. "Our household is different, but your training isn't unvaluable. I have no time to deal with anymore balking, my lady. The choice is yours to learn from me or not as you wish."
There is a flicker of something across Anais' features, though she lowers her lashes in time to veil whatever moves through those sea-deep eyes. "I would ask, my lady, that you would not only teach me what you feel I must know, but why you feel it necessary as well," she says after a moment, features composed again when she looks back up. "I will be better at whatever you need me to learn if I can see it from every angle."
"If you will understand that not everything has a simple explanation, Lady Anais. Somethings you must learn simply because you /must/, as the former Lady of the Roost taught to me. If you can agree to that, I will try to explain to you what I can of the necessities," Lady Evangeline answers, slowly as the weight of her gaze slides over Anais. "And most will not require any explanation for you, as you already have training. You need only learn the intricacies of the Roost."
"Perhaps not a simple explanation," Anais agrees, a faint smile touching one corner of her lips. "But a purpose, yes?" She stands, only to kneel next to the other woman's chair, reaching to take her hands. "My lady, I want nothing more than to see the Roost prosper. I have fought for it, even before I married into this house. I tried to stand by Jaremy, and when he left, I stayed. And I will stand by Jacsen until the stars fall from the sky. He will have my everything. We have the same goals. Let us not quarrel."
Evangeline's fingers are cold, boney and white within Anais's grasp. They show the first signs of her age, veins marked brightly and the skin there becoming thin and taut. "I do not have any quarrel with you, Lady Anais. You have done well to our house, for all that you have been through," she replies gently, though her words do not end there. "If I made it seem as if I did, it is only because I was surprised by my gooddaughter's objection to my tutelage. Of course, you have explained the cause of that and I am sure we will have no further strife between us."
"I am sorry I reacted so poorly, my lady," Anais apologizes again. "I acted out of fear and insecurity." She looks up with a small smile, giving the other woman's hands a gentle squeeze. "They are not feelings I have been well familiar with in the past. I promise, I will handle them better in the future."
"Very good," Evangeline comments with a nod, her first smile in Anais's presence a brief thing before it disappears again. "Let us then turn our attention to the matter at hand and speak of what we expect of what will come when the Lord Paramount summons us back to his council." See, Anais? She doesn't just talk about sewing and household things. With the conversation turning towards the subject, perhaps they will be more at ease.
"The will was unexpected," Anais murmurs, moving to sit in her own chair once more. "An odd ploy, though. If everyone knows that Lord Tordane had no will, then why introduce one now? I leave everything to my daughter Isolde would be…transparent." She pauses, then quirks a brow. "Unless they decided to hedge their bets with a will that acknowledges illegitimacy, but promises to Stonebridge to whomever marries her. Because Lord Tordane would have expected it to be Jaremy. And then they've neatly turned the tables on us and taken the entire bottom out of our case."
"That would be rather conveniently packaged for them, and the worse case scenario for us. So you think there is no possibility that this will may be a genuine artifact?" Evangeline questions, nodding approval for Anais's theories. Look, approval. Totally there, she just didn't say it. Maybe there will be a kind word later in the conversation.
"It isn't impossible," Anais muses, brows furrowing slightly. "But it's too convenient for it to show up now. Why would they have held on to it for so long?" Her fingers tap on the arm of the chair, restless in thought. "Though a forgery seems transparent as well. And the whole thing brings up a question of if a lord's will can overrule the accepted law of the land, that it should pass to a legitimate heir. Which…" She presses her lips together once more. "Lord Tully might be inclined to accept even a patently false will if it would set a precedent for passing land to someone by choice rather than by blood."