|Summary:||After a traumatic conversation with Josse, Amelia has a visit from Anais the following day.|
|Date:||07 AUG 2011|
|Related Logs:||Would be except that Microshaft's Automatic Update SUCKS.|
|Dungeon — Terricks Roost|
|The heavy iron door that opens, leading down to the dungeon is the first sign that this is not a welcoming location within the Eagles Tower. The stairs go deep underground to a hallway that extends out in a straight line, the depths enough to conceal cries and screams among the torchlit pathways of dirt and stone. Off the main hall are several rooms that lead to their own areas. One such offshoot has a pair of ten foot wells with flat walls for prisoner storage while two more have caged cells. The last area is one large room with shackle bars bolted to the walls and some hanging from the ceiling. In the center is an open area where prisoners can be flayed and punished as needed.|
After Josse left around lunchtime the previous day, Amelia had no visitors. She spent all day and night in silence except for a few hours near dusk where someone may or may not have been able to hear anguished singing coming from the dungeon door. But at entering the cell this time, Amelia looks much the same as when Anais left her last time except for the change of the bandage across her back. She lies with her head facing the wall.. but there is no greeting when the door opens. No attempt to stir. The woman looks like she is dead. The mice may believe it so because most of her dress in the corner has been eaten and shredded, the only real intact piece is the now-ruined leather bodice.
And on the third day, she came again. Once more, Anais carries the basket with food, the oversized water skin, and a few odds and ends should they be needed. "Amelia?" she calls quietly when the guard steps aside, setting the basket down to crouch closer and reach a hand for her shoulder. The touch is light as a butterfly's wings, careful of what damage may lie beneath. "Amelia?"
She doesn't even seem to respond to the touch at first. Her skin is cold to the touch, but not the kind of cold or color of someone who has died. The whore is probably freezing but her body just isn't reacting. After several, perhaps worrisome, seconds, her head finally turns to face Anais. Her eyes are closed but the grime has once again coated her face except for the clean streaks where tears have fallen unwiped. Her head and hair lay on the stone, the rest of her body unmoving. "Lady Banefort," she whispers. The expression on her face matches the tone of her voice.. flat and empty.
"Amelia…" Anais' brows furrow in confused concern, and the touch of her fingers lies just that much more heavily, betraying the tension that moves down her shoulders. "Didn't they send the maester, or the septon?" Her gaze flicks toward the other woman's back, and she brushes a hand lightly over her brow, and to her cheek. "Did they give you something?" She reaches for the waterskin, dampening a handkerchief once again to dab at Amelia's face, careful of any lingering bruises.
Its a bit like cleaning dead meat. Her flesh moves, but the muscles are slack in her face. There is no effort to keep her lips from dipping near the disgusting stone floor during the wiping. Amelia, for all intents and purposes, seems to have just quit on life. "Josse came. He treated my back. We talked. He left." Her voice is scratchy and dry again, but there isn't even an open eye to look towards the waterskin. "Lady Banefort, are you upset with me or Jaremy for what happened?" Its the same flat, distanced voice. There is no pain. No appreciation. No respect. No malice.
"A little," Anais admits, though she shrugs as she says it, still gently cleaning. "As I said the first time, Amelia, it was…terrible timing. And could all too easily backfire. But like everyone in these towers, you did it with the best of intentions," she observes, a note of dark humor in the words and the curve of her smile. "I may have let people think I was more upset than I am, though." She quirks a brow, a glimmer of surprise crossing her features. "Seven bless, don't tell me the septon heard I was having fits over it."
Another tear leaves her closed eyes, but she otherwise does not move. The woman lays in silence for another few long seconds. "The Septon told me that the house is in danger of becoming divided over it. That many are very upset with what has taken place. He accused me of attempting to sew such divisions.. without flat accusing me. I know what he meant, though." Her back twitches once, the humor and lightness of Anais' voice apparently wasted on her.
"If it is, no one's told me," Anais shakes her head, though she wrinkles her nose after. "Not that they would, I suppose. It is terribly poor form to talk to a man's betrothed about his relationships with other woman. But Amelia, I do think there's much more going on than /this/. Jaremy's been…Well, I haven't had a chance to see him since this happened, and apparently neither has Ser Rygar, which seems to be the biggest problem at the moment. And given the way everyone is here, I wouldn't discount the possibility that the septon was telling you that even if it wasn't /strictly/ true in hopes that it would result in something /he/ thought was for the best for everyone. You're all quite hopelessly self-sacrificing, you know. Chin /up/, Amelia," she murmurs firmly, under the guise of cleaning.
Her chin doesn't move despite the order from the noble. Amelia has quit. She lays in silence. A minute. Two pass. "Not that I've heard. No, Josse would not do such things." A few shallow breaths taken. "I'm leaving the Roost. For good. I've embarassed your betrothed and the future Lord of the House. I've violated very important trusts placed in me. I have no cause to stay, lest I cause more damage. It is time for me to leave."
There is a moment where Anais hesitates at those words, her hand stilling as she thinks over her response, carefully choosing her words. "If that is your choice, Amelia, then it would be wrong of me to stop you," she replies slowly. "Come this afternoon, you will once again be a free woman." She sets the handkerchief down then, reaching to tip the other woman's chin up and leaning down enough to try to catch her eye. "I think it's the coward's way out, though." For all of Anais' sunshine and cheer, it is sometimes easy to forget where she comes from. But she has her father's eyes.
As still as death. Her eyes remain closed until she hears the word 'coward', something very few would ever dare to use to describe her. But her eyes don't look at Anais. Like her body, they're empty and devoid of emotion. They stare into someplace in the distance, looking beyond the stone right in front of them. "Free. Right." A touch of sarcasm touches the words. Am looks like she might be ill for a moment but the faint expression passes. "Lady Banefort, there is too much embarassment. Too much shame. I have tainted the family with it. I dare not tell anyone else for fear that it will only cause far more stress. But if you are already displeased with me, perhaps this information will help you understand why I should leave. Josse knows. It is time I tell a Terrick. But do be careful with this information right now. I might well be executed for it." Her voice maintains its flat monotone, only pausing for a breath. "My last name was chosen after my mother's. My legal last name is Rivers." She is either a disowned full noble or a bastard. Oh hell.
Anais quirks a brow at the admission from Amelia. "Yes, well. You and half the Riverlands, it seems," she drawls, shifting to sit cross-legged, her hands in her lap. "I should have made sure they sent the maester and not the septon," she sighs. "Perhaps then you wouldn't be sitting here drowning in your imagined shame. Come, then. What is it that is so awful that you've gone and undone all of our good work yesterday?" she asks, leaning forward to tuck a loose strand of hair back into the braid.
"You told me you were upset, Lady Banefort. That you had been vocal about what happened. The rest of the house is forming opinions. I have brought trouble down upon Jaremy that he did not deserve. There is no 'imagined' to this." The ground side of her face tilts forward and she nearly kisses the muddy slop between the stones. The gesture seems like her effort, with wrenched eyes, to makethe information untrue. Maybe if she wished hard enough, it would all go away. All of it. Another breath and she relaxes her head again. "I am the bastard sister to Lord Ryker Nayland, unacknowledged daughter of Lord Rickart Nayland." Her eyes open once more to stare at nothing on the floor. "I must leave in every sense. I cannot walk these planes anymore. It is time I find a place of rest. ..You are joining a group of good people and the only family I have ever had. Do not let them down as I have, Lady Banefort."
"Amelia, my feelings are /not/ that delicate," Anais begins to protest as Amelia recites her sins once more. "If you had done something I found so terrible, do you think I would be-" And then Amelia makes her /true/ confession, and the Banefort lady pauses, brows furrowing with a blink as she leans back a bit. There are several moments of silence as she works it through in her mind, lips pursed in thought. And when she speaks again, it's with an arch of her brow, and a single word: "Unacknowledged?"
The dead life at Anais' feet remains so. Her lips barely move to speak. "He knows. He will not speak to me or see me. I am the daughter of a whore. I am as aptly named Millen as Rivers."
"Amelia, if you don't at least lift your head, I am going to make you sit up, and that's going to be far more unpleasant than looking me in the eye," Anais sighs, a touch of irritation in the words. "So your father was Rickart Nayland, but he's still the grasping, uncaring ass everyone here believes him to be. Are you going to tell me that you've been spying on the Terricks on his behalf? Or that you would if he asked you to, in exchange for acknowledging you?"
Amelia tilts her head at the threat of movement and finally moves her arm around. She has the strength. She just lacked the will. It rests beneath her head and is held so she can look at Anais. "I believe that is what Josse was attempting to accuse me of yesterday. I will say what I told him yesterday.. If I wanted to bring down the Terrick Home, I could. Why would I leave if I were spying on the family? I talk of dishonoring myself and this family and nobody, not even Jaremy, knows the things I have done to protect it." It hurts. It really hurts. Her eyes fall down to the floor once more. "You will be rid of me soon enough to answer your questions. There is no point in pressing them. I only hope that Jaremy is everything I have prayed he will be."
Anais sighs, looking up toward the ceiling as if for patience, then leans forward to flick a finger at Amelia's brow. "You are being ridiculous," she informs the other woman with a sort of exasperated fondness. "And you are seeing what you expect to see, and not what's in front of your eyes. Which is understandable, I suppose, seeing as how you've spent the last few days here in the darkness." A faint smile touches one corner of her lips, rueful, as she shakes her head. "Amelia, you are no more a Nayland than Rowan is. It's plain to see that your heart is here, with the Terricks. And with their /people/. If the septon tells the truth and people are upset with Jaremy for what he did in regards to you, do you think that it will be better if they see him as having driven you away?"
"I was okay with what needed to happen to me for Jaremy. But Jaremy being punished for giving an insolent whore what she deserved?" Amelia barely flinches to the flick of her brow. "It is not fair to him or to this family. You are new to them but I have seen the men of this home at their most tender and at their worst. Their worst is still light years from the best the Naylands can offer. For me to continue to dishonor them as I have with my omission as well as what I have done, uninvited, is shameful." She sheds another tear and lets it fall to the mud. "I do not think it will be better if I leave, but I know it will be worse if I stay. I am leaving, Lady Banefort. I've been accused. Twice. And I am bringing problems to a family that does not deserve them. I have worn out the welcome from my family."
Anais presses her lips together, eyes narrowing at Amelia. "Amelia, you made a mistake, in an attempt to sacrifice yourself for the good of someone else. Do you know anyone else in this area who does exactly that sort of thing on what is apparently a very regular basis?"
Amelia doesn't even look up. Her mind is just where it is. "Dead men and women." Its lain flat.
"Or Terricks." Anais' voice is dry, in stark contrast to the damp of the cell. "Who I would prefer did not become dead men and women, since it seems my fate is tied to theirs. I am going to do everything in my power to see this house strong. But I am constrained, Amelia. By birth. By position. By expectations and homeland. I am going to need your help, Amelia."
The whore keeps her eyes down and she eventually closes them. "After that day in the square when we were looking at cloth.. I wrote Jaremy a note. I told him to marry you. That you were the one for him. I would not have done that if I did not have faith in you. The Seven will be beside you. What you do not need is a whore without a leash who spouts off advice to the House when it is not wanted. When you see Jaremy, tell him how sorry I am. I'll be leaving for Stonebridge in the morning… It is Sunday, yes? It feels like Wednesday I think."
"You're right, Amelia," Anais agrees, her voice low. "I don't need a whore without a leash who spouts of advice to the House when it is not wanted. I need a woman with a sharp mind and a solid sense of self-preservation. I need a woman who can go the places I can't, speak honestly to people I must tread carefully with. I need someone who knows how to read people. And above all, I need someone who I can trust has the best interests of the house at heart."
Amelia just lies there listening with her eyes closed. "Then I wish you the best of luck finding that woman, Lady Banefort. If I run into her before I find my place, I will send her to you." Her voice is fading past a whisper. The whore with the sunniest disposition has fallen from the sky after flying too close to the son and crashed head-first into a rock. "I make one request.. If you are the one to tell them I have left, reassure them. Tell them I will take these secrets of theirs to my death. I gave my word and honor. I was never allowed to bend a knee but they may consider my bond as such." She swallows and turns her head back away from Anais.
"I believe I've already found her," Anais sighs, passing over the water skin. "Unfortunately, she can't see the forest for the trees right now. Drink, at least. If you're planning on leaving town, you'll want to be at a decent strength." She starts to unpack the bread and bacon as well, gone a little cooler while they spoke. "So it's Stonebridge you plan to leave for?" she asks, moving on.
The skin and food go ignored. The whore does not appear to even want to look at it or even yet show interest in it. Like it was just another piece of scenery shifted. Her face to the wall, tucked into her elbow, her eyes stay closed. "In youth it is easy to mistake identities. What we consider valuable changes as we grow older and wiser." That is whispered to the first. To the last, she only answers, "For a few days. I wish to see Lady Isolde one last time. To give her my best. Then I will move on."
"Amelia, at least eat," Anais says wearily. "Don't be a child. You're going to need your strength, and there's no sense in spending what coin you have on food when there's some right in front of you." She opens the waterskin, pressing it to Amelia's lips. "I never took very good care of my dolls, you know."
Amelia hears the words and takes a short drink before closing her mouth. "Give the food to one of the homeless children that live near the gates, please. I will not need it. I will find a way to repay your kindness in the next life, Anais." Not one for conversation much longer, her face turns down into her elbow as if hiding from the light and her buddy shudders. …No, she is done.
Anais presses her lips together for a moment, then shakes her head. "If you'd repay me in this life, Amelia, find a way to check Stonebridge's records regarding agreements about the bridge and the proceeds from it. Anything that can help us salvage its loss or bring up a way to make the Tullys see…other things. And know that I will hold you no ill will, Amelia," she adds, standing carefully and brushing a hand over the other woman's hair. "When you are ready to return, I will not turn you away."