Page 184: Choking the Chicken and Other Aspects of Love
Choking the Chicken and Other Aspects of Love
Summary: Anais, Belle, and Cordelya talk about love and marriage. No chickens were actually harmed in the making of this log.
Date: 17/01/2001
Related Logs: Probably more than a few, but I'm a lazy ass. Things regarding the Ironborn Invasion and Belle/Hardwicke lurve.
Anais Belle Cordelya 
The Kitchen — Terrick's Roost
Big room. Walk-in fireplaces (*not recommended for actual walking into, especially when lit). Food is prepared here.
Seventeenth Firstmonth, 289 AL

Anais's days since the army arrived have turned to a blur of two things: trying to figure out just how much supplies there are and how to manage them, and keeping Rickart Nayland happy. Early morning conveniently allows for the former while still maintaining the latter, and so she's in the kitchens, finishing up a conversation with the head cook. "If we can just get a few skiffs on the water, we can bring in plenty of fish. It's the convincing people to dare the shore that's a little tricky right now," she smiles ruefully. "I'll see about a word with the Flints."

With most of the wounded on the mend and her apothecarian skills no longer as necessary, Belle Beckett has been doing her best to make herself useful, willing enough to try whatever's placed before her. Thus she comes to the kitchen, trailing one of the cooks, a buxom woman with a fat chicken under each arm. "'Ere, now. 'Old this one," says the cook, handing one of the chickens to Belle. "Now watch close — s'all in the wrist — " and the cook, with one dazzlingly quick motion, breaks the bird's neck. "See? Now 'and me t'other."

Belle holds her chicken protectively. "I most certainly will not!" Eating them is one thing, clearly. Handing them over to be murdered is another.

It's less the cracking of the neck that draws Anais' eye than the sounds that come from the other chicken, oblivious to its fate. Brows rising, she turns toward the pair with a swift smile. "Oh, bless you, Beth, where did you find chickens? At least it won't be vegetable pies tonight in the hall." Chickens first, Belle second, apparently, as it takes another moment for Anais to register who's holding the second chicken. "Belle!" she exclaims cheerfully. "Perfect. I was hoping I'd get a chance to speak with you before your dear husband-to-be manages to run off with you."

Belle starts a little, looking acutely embarrassed to be caught in the midst of irrationally defending a chicken. Still, she doesn't look like she's about to hand it over, and bares her teeth at Beth as the cook reaches for the bird again. "Hello, my lady," she dips a low curtsy, chicken in her arms. She looks up, eyebrows lifting. "You wanted to speak with me?" She cuts a look at Beth again as the larger woman tries to creep up and pilfer the poultry. "I will bite. Your kneecap off," she promises the cook.

"That's probably unnecessary," Anais assures Belle in regard to biting off kneecaps, unflustered despite the threat. "Besides, chicken is usually better than kneecaps for lunch." Quirking a brow, she holds out her hands for the chicken, though she can't quite keep a straight face. "I wanted to talk about your wedding with Ser Hardwicke. I hope you'll forgive me for sticking my nose in matters, but I was hoping you wouldn't mind if we made a bit more of it than we might otherwise. I really do think the people of the Roost could use a reminder of the good things that life brings."

Belle blinks at Anais and blushes crimson. "Oh! Seven above, lady, I — I'm sorry. That wasn't meant for you." She rises from her curtsy and steps deftly away from the cook. "I'm… just going to hold onto him. For a moment. If you don't mind, my lady," she says to Anais, all contrition. Please, please don't make her hand over the chicken? She looks as though she may cry. "Oh!" she blinks. "Wedding! Right." And then, baffled but touched by the offer, she says, "That's terribly kind of you, my lady. I'd be more than glad if the day could bring happiness to more than just Hardwicke and I… You don't think it's too soon? Will it seem — insensitive to the people who are still recovering and grieving, to make a show of our joy?"

Anais quirks a brow as Belle defends the chicken, but is apparently willing to let it be for the moment, shrugging slightly to the cook. "Not if we do it tactfully, I hope," she answers the other woman's question. "Ideally in the village, I think. Some greenery and flowers for decorations. Simple food in reasonable measure, available to everyone. It's hard to take offense when it means you get to fill your belly," she notes, smile rueful. "People need something to work toward. If we can set them a goal, give them something to believe in…Well. They've a good deal to mourn right now, and little time in which they can afford to do so."

Belle smiles faintly, visibly moved by the idea of something so simple, including everyone. "That… would be ideal, my lady." She looks down at her friend the chicken, then up again. "If this… since this will be my new home, I think it would be a fine thing to have all my neighbors join me." She hesitates, then ventures, "Do you think… we might be able to cobble together something for me to wear?" She looks embarrassed to ask, but plows on — a wedding is a rare thing, after all. "I'm afraid my own — well, what little's mine is back at the Mire, and no one's sure the roads are safe…"

"Absolutely," Anais promises, then pauses, catching the inside of her cheek between her teeth as she tries not to grin. "Well. Correction. I will find something that can at least be altered to fit you and /someone else/ to try to do the altering, because you'd be better off wearing sailcloth than anything I tried to fix up." She looks the other woman over carefully, head tilting to one side. "I think we might have some of Elinor's things still packed away," she muses with a sad smile. "We'll have to take a ridiculous amount in at the hems, but it's better than letting them go to waste."

Belle looks blank for a moment. "Eli — oh!" She pales and shakes her head, looking pained. "Oh, my lady, I couldn't. Your sister…" Stricken and without words, she shakes her head. "I'm so sorry. Please don't trouble yourself. I'll find something else. I admit, I'm similarly hopeless with a needle and thread, but perhaps — " she's without a brilliant idea, just then. "I'll think of something."

"Nonsense," Anais declares, waving a hand dismissively. "She would have been happy to see someone wear one of her dresses for a wedding. She never had the chance herself." She pauses, a faint smile at one corner of her lips. "And it would make /me/ feel better about things as well. And we all know this is all about me." It's hard to tell whether the last is meant to be humor or self-recrimination, but there's a smile still as she looks to the chicken Belle still holds. "Could I ask what your plans for the chicken were?"

Cordelya arrives from the Entrance Hall.

There's a warm smile from Belle, Champion of Chickens, as Anais claims the center of the universe. "I can respect that," she says, dimples on her cheeks. Then, a touch more serious and quite gentle, "My lady, if you feel it will please Elinor, and it will please you… then how could I refuse? Thank you." A bit verklempt, the looks down at the chicken, grateful for the distraction, however absurd. "To be honest? I haven't the faintest idea." She sighs, abashed. "I killed Ironborn in cold blood and was glad of it, but I think — at least, for a moment, handing over this poor, stupid bird to also be slaughtered was the last straw."

Cordelya steps drowsily down into the kitchen, her hair still mussed from bed and a heavy night robe across her body, concealing anything that would be improper, but of course this is certainly not good courtly wear. She just didn't have the presence of mind to actually get dressed yet, having slept hard and probably not long enough, but at least she actually slept last night. She's still shuffling a touch wearily, probably not even half awake yet and coming from the servant's stairs, not the main ones. "…is there hot water…?" She asks throatily, the need for tea and something to jog her senses a dear one this morning. She's got a small metal flask in her hand as well. Her eyes then blearily blink, focusing a bit more on the fact their are actual -ladies- present. Well shite. "..Good morning, ladies…. you are looking most beautiful, awake and cheerful for an hour even the Gods curse." She half grins there.

Anais leans forward a bit to get a better look at the chicken. "I don't know, Belle," she muses. "He looks to me like he'd be pretty delicious. With his crispy little skin rubbed with some salt and pepper, and the fat running…" She trails off, then looks up with a mischievous grin. "Well. The sad truth is that he's not particularly useful. I could trade you for a hen, though?" she offers. "We do need meat for the pots, and I was truly hoping I could avoid using the hens that provide us with eggs." She looks up at Cordelya's arrival, smile crooked. "Hot water's at the hearth, Lady Flint. Beth, if you wouldn't mind?" she calls to one of the cooks.

Belle sighs and screws up a face, absolutely loath to betray the bird that's so quiescent and trusting against her bosom. "You had better be extra delicious," she tells the bird, gruffly emotional. Taking a breath, she says, "I'm naming it Rodrik. Just… so I won't feel as bad." Closing her eyes, she holds the chicken at arm's length. Someone take it from her before she changes her mind.

Cordelya blinks, her brows furrowing for a heartbeat or two as she hears the commentary about someone being pretty delicious. A man? Her ears perk a bit, interest and awakeness glimmering in her eyes. And then Anais goes on and it's not a man. It's a chicken. Oh. The women might not fully understand the brief blush that scores across Corrie's cheeks, but it's there never the less. She shuffles over to where the women rest, hugging her robe across her body just a touch more. She frowns a touch more at Belle, as it catches in her mind at the woman is genuinely upset over the poor chicken. "…The Gods will appreciate your sacrafice, lady… I am certain. It has been so hard for… so many here." Corrie's sleep-thick voice tries to offer in earnest reassurances.

"Perfect," Anais chuckles at Belle's choice of names, taking the bird and quickly handing it off to a cook, who wastes no time in snapping its neck. "Although instead of tarring and feathering him we'll pluck and honey him." Wiping her hands, she waits until the chicken is out of sight to tell Belle, "You can open your eyes now. He's gone." With dinner seen to, she then turns her attention to the sleepy-eyed Cordelya, some sympathy in her features. "I hope the room was all right, Lady Flint? If there's something that's keeping you up, I'm sure we can see to it."

Belle opens her eyes and sighs. Then, with an embarrassed laugh (though she still does seem a little tender), Belle dips a low curtsy for the newly arrived lady. "That's so kind of you. Truly, though, the bird and I just met. No one should let me hold living things, I suppose — at least, not ones that are meant for eating. Apparently I become rather quickly attached."

Cordelya shakes her head quietly towards Anais, a reassuring, soft smile on her small mouth. "No, no… the rooms are lovely. Nothing keeps me awake other than the odd surroundings and my husband's wonderful appetities." Corrie admits with a bit more of a grin, no blush on her cheeks to talk about it but a happy desire behind her eyes. It seems there are many things good in her marriage. And then she turns to Belle, head tilting a touch. "I am sorry, lady…I… do not believe we've met. Though I am in no real state for meeting, I still haven't enough care for the proprietes of the court, I suppose. So… let us make introductions. I am the Young Lady Cordelya Flint, but… Corrie is fine. Especially when we're standing in kitchens."

Anais laughs in surprise at Cordelya's admission, clapping a hand over her mouth when a few of the cooks look over with arched brows. "That is good to hear, Lady Flint," she says after a moment, though she can't help but smile at the other woman.

Rising from her curtsy, Belle can't help grinning at the Lady Flint's earthy honesty, agreeing with a flash of wicked dimples, "A hard man is good to find." Still smiling, she bows her head and demurs, "I'm not even close enough to noble-born, my lady, to call you with such familiarity. But the sentiment is appreciated. My name is Belle, however. Belle Beckett…" she glances at Anais, adding, "for a few days longer, I suppose."

Cordelya smiles back to Anais again at her amused and surprised laugh, accompanied by warm words. "Aye, it is good. The men march so soon… We must take advantage of our time together, no?" She winks teasingly, but there is certainly a happy warmth on her features. At the jest from Belle, Corrie's eyes widen but she does not blush. She simply grins. "…Good to find? Aye, though get yourself a young newly wed and I assure you he won't be a -hard- find either. If you know what to do with your hands, that is…" Oh yes, there is a sauciness from Corrie, especially for women who can take it. "Ah… Mistress, then… Belle. It's a pleasure." THen she looks between both of them and blinks. "A few days? The mistress -IS- soon to be a newly wed then? Oh, many congratulations. I am certain Anais and myself can give you… well, plenty good advice."

"Oh, good grief," Anais laughs again as the puns continue, grin spreading despite herself. "You're both terrible influences, and I'm blaming you for whatever comes of this." Not that she seems to think it's going to be anything awful. "Miss Beckett," she explains to Cordelya, "Is to wed Ser Hardwicke - gods, as if that helps the conversation - before the men take off for Seagard." Pressing her lips together against a giggle fit, she takes a moment before continuing. "We were thinking we'd have a ceremony in the town, and invite the people of the Roost and what we can of the host to remind everyone that while some things end, others begin."

Belle is just puerile enough to giggle helplessly over her beloved's given name, especially considering the context. Blushing merrily, she nods. "Thank you, my lady," she says to Cordelya. Then, to Anais, "The more I think about it, the more perfect it sounds. Even my darling Hardwicke will like it, though he may never admit it." She adds, "I pray you'll put me to work in helping make it happen, my lady. As long as there are no chickens involved in my part."

Cordelya keeps that wide, warm, slightly mischevious grin on her lips in Anais' direction as she says they are terrible influences. "Bad influences? You are a lady wed and she is soon to be! I think we are perfectly fine influences. You should read a few of my favourite books from the Dornish pleasure houses… though I've already loaned both of them already." Corrie smirks to herself, "Apparently, for these lands, I need multiple copies." It's somewhat deadpan, but dead true as well! She then full out laughs as she realizes the unfortunate name of Belle's soon to be husband, especially where as this conversation is concerned. "Gods, Belle! You are to marry -that- man? I think you will need the books more than Anais or I! And an open ceremony would be lovely. People do need something to give them heart, right now." She looks between them both, expression -slightly- sobering. "If you both would wish some assistance, I know I am not well known, but I would be happy to give it."

"I will take every bit of help I can get," Anais promises, straightening a bit as one of the servants peeks into the kitchen, searching. "Gods know, I certainly haven't the time to be bored anymore," she observes with a rueful smile. "If you'll both excuse me, though, it looks as though Lord Rickart must be up and about again, and I really must go and be charming. Belle, stop by my rooms later this evening and we'll see what you like out of Elinor's things, all right?" she asks, already backing toward the door.

Belle dips a quick curtsy to Anais as she's called away, once again looking conflicted but grateful at the mention of Elinor's things. "I will, my lady. Thank you again."

She blinks at Lady Flint's reaction to the identity of the groom, then laughs and shakes her head, smiling. "Ah, my lady, if only you knew. If only anyone knew, I'd be fighting off every woman, married or maid, in the Riverlands. I am jealously, churlishly glad that he's my secret."

Cordelya gives Anais a quiet wave, almost guilty that she possibly ran the woman off, but she doesn't press it. She smiles back to Belle, warm and gently amused, especially as she's handed her tea and relaxes a bit more leaning there against on of the kitchen's large counters. "Well… I am glad -you- know, in truth. I suspect my husband was much the same way, even to the point his parents were worried he would never find a wife. When the Gods bless a match, they give the couple eyes like no others have, and hearts open to love as strong as any bard's tale. I am… most happy for you, Mistress Belle. And I do hope you can melt that ice of a man. It would be good for him to smile. On occasion, at least."

Belle inclines her head. "Thank you, my lady. You've a generous spirit." She smiles faintly, sweetly, reflecting on the man. "I don't know that he'll ever smile for the world at large," she sighs, shrugging slightly. But, her smile warming and growing, she adds, "Though he smiles for me… and he'll smile for our children. That's enough."

Cordelya considers quietly, her eyes flickering behind to see that all the servants are gone, now that tea has been delivered, and she looks back to Belle. Her eyes trail from lovely features down to the woman's stomach, though of course things might not show quite yet. "…And… are there other reasons this wedding has been so rushed? I swear I shan't tell a soul, though I might be a touch envious of your -multiple- blessings, so fast… Two months now with my husband, and we've had no luck." It's a small glimmer of aching in her eyes, compared to all the other happiness.

The soon-to-be Mistress Blayne blinks, then ohs! and shakes her head, smiling gently and in sympathy. "No. At least, not that I'm aware. It's just… he's leaving," she says, taking a breath to quell the uneasiness that idea brings to her heart. "And…" she shrugs. "I'd rather be his widow than have never been his wife."

While there was mischief in her eyes, Corrie tends to be a touch too empathetic for her own good, and she well understands the woman's feelings about a lover going to war. The young Flint wife's expression sombers fully now and she sets her tea down, taking a few more steps in Belle's direction. "Aye… that may be the hardest thing about truly caring for a man. Is watching them ride off, not knowing when, or if, they will return. Some days…" She sighs quietly, "I wonder if it would be easier to have been married to someone for whom I had no heart."

"Quite a bit easier, I would imagine, my lady," says Belle, kindly. "But our hearts care nothing for tomorrow's tears, when there's such a banquet of joy before them today." Her tone, and smile, are rueful at that. "I certainly didn't imagine I'd marry again. And a fighting man?" She utters a short laugh and rolls her eyes, shaking her head. "Never in a thousand, thousand years. If I'd even thought myself capable of falling in love, I'd have prayed it be with a candle-maker, a baker — a woman, even. But… not another man I'd lose in war." Her smile is sad, but she shrugs again. "Love will have its way. We may choose where we do and don't marry, but never who holds our heart."

Cordelya reaches one hand over, squeezing the woman's shoulder bried but gently. She's scared to be more intimate with the woman she hardly knows, in truth, but is trying. "Well… all we can do is pray that our husbands will return, and wait readied for them when they do… Hopefully quickening heirs for them both." She smiles a bit wider and then pulls away. "SPeaking of.. now that I can half think, I should go attend to mine. I look forward to your wedding, Belle… and to learning about you further." She bows her head and moves for the servants stairs.

"Two months is not long, my lady," Belle assures, offering an encouraging smile. "It doesn't always happen right away. The moon's a tricky thing — the best thing you can do is relax and enjoy trying." She dips a curtsy as the Lady Flint departs. "You'll be most welcome there, my lady. Good day."