Page 360: Detente
Summary: Anais and Devra come to an understanding. In fewer words.
Date: 16/July/2012
Related Logs: None in particular
Anais Devra 
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.
July 16, 289

In one corner of the reading room sits a small desk of pale wood with plenty of little drawers. It's near a window, and has lamps burning nearby as well. There's also a stand at one end of it for holding larger books at a greater distance from whoever sits in the chair. At the moment, Anais occupies said chair, and the household ledgers are in the stand, rows of columns and figures in a hand not her own crowding the page. Meanwhile, the page in front of her bears neat columns of numbers…in a rather large font, though it's certainly clean and elegant enough. Interesting. The window is open to allow a gentle summer breeze in, and Anais rests her chin on one fist as she works through the figures.

The door opens and in sweeps Devra with the usual clipped, quick steps that harry her to and fro. Her handmaiden is just behind, listening with a neutral look on her face as Devra speaks in a low, hard voice. "What a relief it is to finally find a sanctuary in this…" Whatever 'this' means trails off as the lady sees Anais at the desk. Pale lips tighten in a thin line — then she rolls her shoulders as if to banish a bad thought and her expression relaxes. The smile she tries isn't exactly imbued with the warmth of friendship, but neither does it hide hostility. It's nervous, if anything else. "Oh, lady Anais. You're here."

"Pit of despair?" Anais offers as a potential completion to the complaint, looking up with a brief, wry smile. "Personally, I prefer the beach, but to each their own." She reaches out with her quill, wiggling it toward the brazier by another window. "There's tea on the brazier, if you're interested. Although I completely understand if you're sick of it already." In the privacy of the reading room, with no other visitors watching to impress, she certainly seems more at ease, and not the least bit offended by frustration with the current state of the Roost.

Well, Anais's frank response earns a huff of dry laugh from Devra. "Oh, I prefer tea to wine, at least, anyway. You know, it was father's idea to send me here," she notes as she does indeed follow that quill tea-wards. "Mother only agreed to it because, well, family ties and such. I don't think either of them were quite aware of how desperate the situation is here, though." Or perhaps the hardships were precisely why Devra's been chucked onto the Roost, if her spoiled attitude is any hint to the life lessons she has yet to learn. "I know… I know I haven't been very, um, appreciative, but I do prefer being here than to being back home." Not that she can meet the other woman's eye as she admits what might amount to an apology, though. Her back faces Anais while she fiddles with a cup.

"Honestly?" Anais sets the quill aside, checking her fingers before leaning back and rubbing at her temples. "I'm less bothered by what you're saying than the fact that I can't say it myself. I'm sorry if Muirenn was…Muirenn with you, by the way," she adds with a soft sigh. "She means well. As for the situation here, I think part of what gets so frustrating it that it isn't obviously desperate. We're not completely starving yet. We don't have reavers at the gates. We're not actively under siege. When things are that hard, it's easier to buckle down, easier to feel brave, and important, and as though there's no choice but to soldier on. But right now, it's not desperate. Not hugely. Not in a great sense. Instead it's just a constant barrage of reminders of how soon it could be desperate. And I think that's more exhausting than being under siege was."

That gets Devra to turn around and look directly at Anais. The reading room works wonders for holding sincere conversations: first Justin, now this. The mention of Muirenn only excites a simple rise and fall of dark, stern eyebrows. The rest of what Anais imparts garners more interest, and Devra inches closer with each observation. "Mm-hmm," she agrees by the end, "At least once you're scraping rock bottom, you've got that to build up from. Until then, though…" She's at the desk now, her eyes scanning the documents Anais has out. "Is this yours, here?" A finger taps the page with the larger writing.

"Mmmm. It's all my work," Anais answers with a slight raise of her brows, lowering her hands from her temples. "But I have someone transfer the numbers from here to the ledger proper once they're finished. I don't see very well close up," she explains with a flicker of a smile, lifting one shoulder in a shrug to that. "Since Lady Evangeline passed, though, I've been taking care of the ledgers. On the up side, there's no one nagging me about working on my needlework, so there's that to be said for near-desperate times." She glances to Devra, curious, then back to the papers. "I'm afraid for the most part it's just tracking disbursements right now."

There's another chair just on the side of the desk, so Devra takes it for her own, for the moment. She sits with a slouch when not pulled taut with the tension of mingling in mixed company, which makes her look more like the tomboy her plain features cast her as. "I could help," she offers in a tone that borders brightly, "I'm sure you've managed to find skilled assistants, of course, but I could really use something useful to do. My penmanship is most excellent. Here, look…" Her hands dive into the folds of her skirts and from them she produces a tiny bound journal, one that many maesters typically use for note-taking. She thumbs open a page and turns it towars Anais. It's not an offer to let the lady take it, though, as Devra keeps it close to her body—but it's enough that a glance can show tightly controlled, tiny, tidy lettering. All about birds, it seems, if the other woman's able to read the contents.

Anais does lean forward to take a look at the journal, then promptly leans back to see it better. "Sounds more than fair to me," she says after just a moment, looking up with a flicker of a smile that holds a little more genuine warmth than the politely friendly one she usually wears. "I'm done with these ones," she says, digging a few pages out of the bottom of the stack and pulling the ledger off the stand to pass it over. "If you want to start transferring." That smile quirks again, self-conscious. "It makes me crazy not to be useful wherever I am," she admits. "Lady Evangeline and I had a huge fight over it just after the wedding. She wanted me to sit in the solar and sew. I didn't have the words to explain to her that it would drive me off the roof in two days." Is that…an apology? Almost?

The little notebook is as quickly tucked away as it was brought out; a hand pats the pocket absentmindedly before Devra reaches over to take the pages Anais gives her. The tone Anais takes, and the feelings she then shares, coax an awkwardly smile of understanding from the young woman. "I… I think I rather know how that must have felt," Devra says, though her eyes drop with a hint of embarrassment. All of this friendly, open-heartedness has brought her fairly far beyond her comfort zone. With a clearing of her throat and a rustling of those pages, she stands up. "But I'm quite pleased to find some meaningful use of my time and skills. …Thank you, Anais, for giving me the opportunity. I shall let you return to your work while I," the papers flutter as she waves them, "…begin mine."

"I'm glad for the help," Anais says with a small smile, not pressing the sharing time too much. "With your help, I might even manage to get to sleep without a pounding in my head," she adds cheerfully, bending her head to her own work. She pauses, then looks up. "You're not going to…get all mothery and let me take this off your hands on me, are you?" she asks, though she doesn't sound as though she expects the answer to be yes.

A snort that's not quite laughter escapes Devra and she turns a look back on Anais, "Really, now. I think we both know that if I did, you'd call the maester to have me examined for a head injury." A smile hints again, but then the woman's off to sit at another table that, while not so large and well lit, suits her needs well enough.

And that seems just fine with Anais, who smiles crookedly to herself as she looks down to her papers and resumes working on her end of the numbers.