|Faith in Confiding|
|Summary:||The newly arrived Septa has a guest.|
|Related Logs:||At My Side|
|Thurs August 4, 288|
There are some things a Septa can acquire from elsewhere. Food, and drink, generously given, wood and supplies cheerfully donated, coin and good work, when the need arises. But there one thing that no Septa, no matter how close to the Seven she might be, can acquire. And that is an extra pair of hands. And for this Septa, and on this morning, an extra set would certainly be to the good. The old Septon's house has been abandoned this last month, and the weather has not been kind to the place. The structure of course, is sound, but dust and grime and leaves are everywhere. For the time being, to preserve her sanity, the Septa is focusing on the fire and the hearth around it, singing cheerfully to herself as she works scrubs the stones and sweeps the ashes.
The early down be well, it is cold despite the usual humidity. Damara fled her own before even the morning light to let rest the Lord of Camden who had come to speak with her. It is from the direction of the Keep that she trails, newly dressed after having slid within, her own house occupied. The early cry of the robin is draw upon the smiths and cooks, tending their duties. Instead of the falcon's this morning, the Mistress have other needs to tend to, and most of them her worries. Slipping through the homes, she moves to the gentle cottage, being stocked slowly for the new religious of the Seven. About her neck, Damara touches a medallion and with her query she strides to the door.
A knock upon it sounds and she waits, bidding a look West in as silent thought to the Godswood she does not visit.
Up, down, up, pause. Ilya's head rises, turning towards the door, "Come. You are welcome." The door, as it always is, is unlocked, and she leaves it for her visitor to enter while she rinses off her hands and rises to her feet, smoothing her robes, and adjusting her head covering, eyes curious, before she moves towards the door to receive whomever it is who's come to see her.
At the bidding, Damara hesitates and then draws the door open to set a foot within. "Good Septa.." Starts the Mistress, her eyes adjusting quickly in the dark to rise and look towards the robe wearing female - quite the obvious from her own leather vest and pants. "Do you have time? I wish to speak a word with you this morning." Perhaps the Godswood is not one of responses. Another woman on the other hand.
"I am Ilya, I have never seen the need for such formality, Mistress Kells." Clearly the formality or lack there of doesn't go the same way for her. with her robs set to order, looking as tidy as a woman in the midst of 'spring cleaning' can look, she sweeps her hand towards the interior, "Please come in and be welcome. I am afraid I cannot offer tea immediately, unless you wish to wait for a fire to be lit, but I have clear water from the well and some fresh fruit, if you have not yet had your morning meal." A smile, as she nods to the question, "I have little besides time to offer, and what time I have is yours. What is it that I can do for you?"
Damara offers a hesitant smile at the lack of title and the patron of the Old Gods seems somewhat lost. "Thank you for the offer of the meal, but I shall pass." She gives a nod of her head and looks about the simple house. "It seems you are finding your way about, the Septon before was old but gentle and in his later days was unable to tend to things. If you have need, I am sure I can come to join you after my work this evening." She says in faint offering before she turns to look out one of the windows to see the light slowly spreading over the morning. "Damara, please." She finally states in after thought. "I have need of wisdom and though I pray beneath the Heart Wood..it is counsel I seek."
"The Seven did not give me hands to have them sit idle. If I cannot bring this house back to what it should be, then likely I do not deserve to live within it. And so, I thank you for the offer of your assistance, but I am looking forward to the labour." A smile, unfazed, as Damara refuses the offer of a meal, "Sit, then, and make yourself comfortable, and I will offer what wisdom I can." A second smile, offered, before she moves to tend to the hearth, pulling some wood from the hopper to set the fire, "I am looking forward to seeing the godswood."
"The Godswood welcomes all and the Heart Tree gave the last septon a start, but it carries a feminine face if ever I saw one. I think the wood be watched over by a motherly spirit. It is why we have gone unbothered as much as we have for generations." Damara moves to take a seat as bid and then expells a breath. "I am in conflict. For five years I have lived alone. My son and husband passed in the group that was to speak with the new King. My mother and father lost as well." She pauses, letting that settle but there is no bid for sympathy there, instead she adds, "My Lord Camden, he lost his wife three months prior to that date and his unborn child. And then, his parents passed in the attack of which I lost my family to. He too has sat alone but for his two children for five years. And for five years, he has sought my counsel as my father gave his father before."
Ilya takes care with the preparation of the fire, laying down the larger logs and then the kindling, seeming content in the labour, before she uses a flint to start the fire, settling on the ground beside it to fan the fire and allow it to catch, her attention less on the manual task and more on the woman, "The Seven did not make us to be one alone. To live in the world without human connection. It is a blessing that you both had each other to lean on and share the comfort of friendship."
Shifting, as if to rise to help the Septa, Damara stills herself. "It has been. And I have served his Lordship for many years. I will continue to do so with all my ability." There is a faint twitch of her lips and her gaze falls to her hands. "But my Lord has spoken to me. Has said he wishes more of me, something that may very well harm him more than it will help him. He values my words and he says I am of the people…he wishes me to rule at his side. To be wed to him." There is a long breath released. "I do not deny I would wish for this..not to rule but to be at his side. To attend him." There is a faint smile but her chin lifts. "But commoners are not nobles and marrying me would be a show of weakness in the eyes of the other houses and bring down such attention upon Tall Oaks that I would not want. So I refused him."
"So, to your mind, duty is more important than the gift of love that the gods have given all of us?" Ilya looks over from where she's tending the fire, no sound of reproof in her voice, only an easy curiosity, "Are the nobility so different from the common folk that we can marry for love, but they are forbidden it? And what is nobility? Certainly it is not in the blood. Or else a bastard would be noble, because the blood of a noble runs in them. And yet, they are no more noble than a baseborn peasant."
"Sept…Ilya." Damara says at that, "We are all worth something, but Tall Oaks has kept to its own and to the peace of its people for so long. We are lucky in that. When other Houses strive for power we rest untouched. Though I do not object to your words, the move would draw undue attention upon us. I will ever be his confidante and friend and love him as I can and that is within my place. But how do I convince him that it is best left as it is? I will not risk my people and land for the selfish want of my heart or his." She pauses and then rests a hand to her leg, "I have loved him for his kindness and patient hand. I will always do so. But in this..if he wishes to hear my words as he always asks..I shall tell him he is a foolish man, waiting to fall with such a wish."
"And what would you do, if he were to take a wife, one more suitable, in your eyes. Would you continue to advise him with a glad heart as you saw her bear his children, as you saw her take his confidences as you do now? And would he love her as she deserved, knowing that the woman he loved and lost was so close? How would you live in the same peace and friendship as you do now?" Ilya finishes with the fire, the flames now crackling merrily in the grate, "How would she live, if she knew that her husband's heart belonged to another? It is true that many noble marriages are not born of love, but of duty, but those that last, are those within which love plays as much a role as honour."
Perhaps her thoughts had not gotten so far as that and Damara's confidence wanes some. Her jade eyes regard Ilya for a long quiet moment as she turns her thoughts inward. "I would give him whatever he so wish…it is not my place to want of anything a Noble has. It is not my right." Her gaze narrows and clouds before she smoothes the edge of her jerkin. "But you speak of truth that I would bury. If he were to take a noble woman as I have advised many times to do…I would find it hard to offer the friendship we have had." She turns her hand in her lap, looking to her palm, all scarred and most morning stiff for it. She rubs right thumb into her left palm, loosening the muscles. "If my Lord chose another. I would do my duty and my best to not give his wife reason to worry."
"In the eyes of the law, those nobly born may marry as they please. It is only custom that weds one noble to another more often than not. Marrying a noble combines power, armies and secures lands and revenue. But you are right in your estimation of how this would appear, a nobleman marrying one of the smallfolk of his house. A great embarrassment, to him personally, and to the House in the eyes of the other noble Houses. So you are not wrong in warning him against it. But the cost of advising him to do what is necessary, rather than what is, to his mind, right, is what must be weighed and shouldered. You have been his friend and confidante. If he did what was necessary, he would lose you in that aspect that is most important to him, if you are speaking truly. A double blow. Is that what you wish to do to him?" Ilya rises from her seat by the fire, moving to pour cool water from pitcher into a small teapot.
The Heart Wood would have given no response to her prayers but the Septa is pointing out the faults of the human heart and how it will lay before her feet. Damara shifts, curling the fingers of her right hand around the left. "A double blow..that is not meant to be one. Had he simply not spoke his heart…" She would not be here. A resigned release of her breath is to follow and the Mistress looks to her. "Than what, Ilya, would be the best course of action? I seek to remain just as we have been, as friends and advisors to each other. It has brought me happiness and him too as much as I can guess. But have refused him in some ways…though I bid he talk to me of it today." Postponing the inevitable. "I dare say I love him, for all the man he is and will become." It is a final admittance.
"The heart does not stop beating, because we do not think of it in our breast. He would still have loved you, whether or no he had spoken plainly to you. Your situation certainly created an atmosphere where such strong emotions were apt to rise, two people, losing all, turning to all they had left to them in their grief. But do not say that you wish he had not spoken. Better, perhaps, that you know his mind…and his heart, so that you can better advise him as he requires and keep his feet along the path he must tread. If you are resolute in this refusal, then the best course is to hold to that course, and to accept the love that comes with it, to know that it strengthens your friendship, and deepens your service to each other. Your situation is not entirely unique. Imagine yourself nobly born. You find one who loves you, whom you love in return. But your hand is pledged to another, and, doing your duty, you are forced to set aside the one to whom you have given your heart." Given the current events and the current rumours, this is not a unheard of situation. "You grieve for what you have lost, but you do not forget. If you have an open heart, you open yourself to love expressed in other ways. That is what you must do. Clearly, the Lord Camden has grown to depend on you. If he cannot have your love as he would prefer, nor you his, allow that love to inform your decisions, to help you to strengthen his house, to provide him honest, wise counsel, and true friendship. That is a true gift for those of noble blood."
Damara can listen and observe and this she does as a path is offered to her by the Septa. The Mistress closes her eyes and idly her thumb presses into the scar tissue in the pad of her palm. The example is given and her keen eye lifts again to watch, countenance unreadable. A faint smile touches her lips. "It is wise advice. And yes, better to know a man's heart and mind instead of shadows. I can better serve him now that I know what he wishes." But it is no less difficult for it. "I am more than glad and able to be the strength he wishes me to be. I would never turn my back on my Lord. Should he call on me I would answer. And in wise counsel…this union he asks of me would weaken him. That is the last thing I want for him." Her lips press together in a thin line before she says, "Let him ask me again this day…and I shal refuse him again once more and for the last time. I will pledge myself to his side in honor and duty, but not in marriage. He has my love, though it may not be so …publicly noted."
Ilya sets the water on the fire to heat, seeming at ease in the house, even if it is only halfway through cleaning. Perhaps it is a Septa's gift, to be able to manage in many different situations, "Your path is not an easy one. Perhaps it will not be an easy one for many years to come, in the years when the embers hold more appeal than the flames. But the gods do not give us more than we can bear, and I have never found, at least in my personal experience, that they bring to us what we need, even though, often, we do not realize the need. If there is some small comfort you can take in all of this, it is the knowledge that neither of you have been so lost to grief and to the memories of those you have loved and lost, that there is not still the spark of love within you, waiting only for the proper spark to bring it to life."
"Comfort as it might bring, it does nothing to unwind us from our places in life." Their duties. Damara smiles faintly and says finally in a soft tone, "The God's gave me his company and I found comfort enough in that. Now they gave him strength to speak to me and perhaps it is a sign, that I must relent in some things that I call duty. But, in that duty I know…that though I have always wished to speak the same, it is best I not. Now is not the time…maybe, after his son rules, our care of one another may not be so noticed by others." Her hand lifts to brush her hair behind her ear, looking to the tea that is prepared. "I shall wait…and abide as I always have." A pause and she smiles, "If you would not mind, I would take tea with you."
"Comfort can often be cold, most often in the moments we wish it could be otherwise." Ilya remains as gentle as she has been sine they began. It it not an easy thing to give advise, or to hear it. "Perhaps, when his son rules. But the time for that is long, and long in coming, if the Gods are merciful and keep the Lord Camden in good health. Until that time, treasure what you have in the here and now. It does not do to dwell on dreams…and forget to live." But then her smile widens, and she nods, "I would enjoy the company. I came here with an open heart, but I fear there are many in the land who think I have come to burn their woods and decry their gods."
The advise is taken with a nod and Damara listens to the Septa's own concerns now. "And yet so many still are glad of you, we have been a month without our Septon, Gods watch over him. They will see to you gladly and for so kind a word and young of face, they will take heart. They will find you agreeable and as a patron of the Old Gods myself…I do not find fault of you being here. Perhaps the Lord will hold a celebration for your arrival and allow you to give thanks to the Seven. It would be a good way for the smallfolk to learn of you and give heart for the coming months." She suggests.
"The Sept has been good to me, and the Seven kind, but I have never found it within myself to find fault in those who do not follow their ways. The gods speak to each man and woman in the way which they can best understand. Who am I to say that my gods are not your gods, with a different face. That the Drowned God does not speak through me without my knowing it? It is not for me to tell someone how to believe or in what, only to guide them in right speech and right action. I have learned what others have been willing to teach me, of the other faiths, I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn more of your ways. I would not feel right in having a celebration for my arrival. I am only a Septa. Perhaps better to have a celebration to celebrate the people, and the bounty of your lands."
A slow knowing smile touches Damara's lips before she says, "I believe, Ilya, that you and I shall find ourself in accord on more than a few things." Her eyes lift to the window that marks the start of the day as others begin to stir. "Than let it be so, a celebration of Tall Oaks, but let you bless it. It would do those who have waited a month for such things shall find relief. I know the burden of an weighted soul. They need release and that is why you are here. To help them. I am not sure how you do it…to listen and guide others. It seems a great task…I admire you for it." She dips her head in reverence to the woman. "Perhaps you will take tea with me on several mornings…it is nice to speak with one enlightened enough to listen without judgement. I would offer the same to you for it."
Ilya keeps herself always busy, the woman, of an age with Damara, seemingly unable to simply sit idle, preparing the tea and the cups, sifting the leaves, before she pulls the pot, steaming hot, from the fire to pour, seting the cup, with its still swirling leaves, not far from Damara's hand, "I am told in equal measure that I am a wonderful sister and also a terrible one. I have not yet decided for myself which side of the battle is correct. But I am glad to minister to all those who might need counsel, and to offer a hand or a kind word to those who do not. I would ask that I be allowed to meet your maester, however. I know that often they are the ones who rule the realm of healing, and so I would be willing to offer my skill and my service to your House in that capacity." A quirk of her lips, and a nod, "It is not always easy, to give advise, as often as not because I have never been in many of the situations I give advise about. I came to the Sept when I was 16. Of life outside of the Sept I know very little. But I try to allow the Seven to speak through me, and pray that they will guide my words. I would be glad of the company and the conversation. Even a Septa does not want to give advise all of the time."
"The Maester of Tall Oaks is a quiet and quick witted man. He has been with us these past three years and I find comfort in his company. The people here, Ilya are of a simple make. All you need do is show patience and they will attend you as good people will. With the absence of quarreling nobles we have come to find peace in a usually unpeaceful realm." Damara intones watching the Septa tend her work, "I think you will find him agreeable and he does have a hand at healing, as do myself. It is a necessary thing here when the wild is so close and we are so welcoming of it." A shift of her foot and her ankles are crossing to slide beneath just a little. "But as for conversation, I will be glad of it. It is not often I have the time to speak to or find the need to confide in another but I do know of your discretion so I will trust to it. As I am my Lord's confidante, my ear is always offered to you as well. I took great joy in our last Septon, as humorous as he was till his last days. He was well loved, I am certain for you it will be no different."
"Then I will hope that we will work well together and with little friction." Which is not always the case with men of science and those of faith. "I am happy to live with simple things. I have never had a taste for noble intrigues, or the rigours of serving in courts such as we have arrayed among us. That is why I have spent most of my time in service working out of the Sept." Her eyes light, as Damara mentions that she too has the skill of healing, "Perhaps we can share our knowledge then, and bet both the better for it." There's a twinkle in her eye, "it will give us an excuse with which to explain our long conversations." She does bring a small selection of fruits, and such small bread as she has, in case Damara might have changed her mind, before she finally settles into a seat, "I will strive to honour his memory, and he as capable a representative of the Seven as he was."
"Then your taste will find Tall Oaks to your liking." Damara smiles and shifts forward as the food is brought. Green eyes flit to what is offered before she reaches forward to pluck a piece, a offerd thanks to the Septa in her kindness. Munching on the food for a moment, she then nods her head, "I know a little, what would be needed to take care of a field wound, but I can show you the forest roots and tubers that will aid you while you are here. Beyond, near the Godswood, there are a few more rare herbs that are hard to grow elsewhere. We shall see you restocked and ready to handle all things before the cooler months. I had given thought to try to grow a few indoors in case there is a need for it. Perhaps you can help me see to this task. The keep stays warmer near the kitchens and the windows there let in enough light. If the cooks see fit, we can make a small garden of sorts…but the question I have been unable to answer is what would be a proper vessel for them."
"I am glad to hear it. I do not think I would hear the end of it if your Lord sent me back to my Sept. I would not outlive the shame." But that's gently said, with her usual humour. She clearly seems to take herself less seriously than other take her. The tea she takes first, blowing on it to cool, before she takes a few berries, resting them in her hand to warm them, "I would be glad of anything that you can show me. I am certain their are techniques you have learned of which I am completely ignorant." Thoughtful, as she considers, "Do you have potters here? What of making large troughs, of porous clay? It would be as close to tracts of lnd as we could manage in doors."
"I fear most of us only have hands to see to such things as tanning, weaving and hunting. Bow making being key amongst most and timber as well. As for a potter, I do think we have the soil for it but I am not familiar with a one that has had a hand in it." She shakes her head and then looks thoughtful. Damara smiles, her lips parting as she does, "I think perhaps, we have a task at hand. To either trade for such things or attempt their creation. It would be a willful task that I am quite intrigued to try." She reaches for her own tea and in the quiet morning hours, the Mistress finds welcome solace in the Septa's house. "I do believe, Ilya, this shall be a grand friendship to last the time you stay with us and longer."
"I have no doubt that either my gods or yours will show us the way to success. Whatever we can do to provide for the people will not go awry." The berries and consumed, and then the tea is taken back up, the liquid cool enough not to drink, "I am glad to have met you, Damara, and to have been lead to serve your House." A brightness, in her smile, "I will say that this is a task I look forward to undertaking. It has been many years since I have had the freedom to play in the earth and the mud."