|Page 272: Greeting a Ghost|
|Summary:||Ladies chat over tea, about pregnancy, illness and ghostly husbands. Cameo by Anders.|
|Related Logs:||All the Iron Isles logs, more or less.|
|Crane's Crossing Inn|
|While Crane's Crossing is technically an Inn, it caters to the traveling nobility almost exclusively. The floors around the hearth are finely crafted stonework, as are the slate blocks that the firepit is constructed of. The rest of the floor is done in stained oak that matches the few long tables and the chairs. The rest of the main room is furnished with plush couches and seating to entice visitors to delay their leave. A full service kitchen provides food of all kinds as well as high quality ales and wines. Also available are several women to provide hospitality to the lonely or those in need, the quality of them to be beaten by but a few in the Riverlands. A hallway near the kitchen leads off to the rear of the building and several up-scale rooms.|
|April 16, 289|
Tiaryn is by now very familiar at the inn, as she's been staying there while waiting for the Flint men to finish up their part in the war. Some weeks now, in fact. Months? Well, perhaps not quite, since she did spend some time in Seagard, and was a guest at the Tower before. Upon her return, it seemed that there were a plethora of nobles and that the poor Tower was full to bursting, and so Tia and her small retinue have taken up rooms at the inn. They are not the only ones.
Tea time, late afternoon, and Tia is seated at a table, a full service of tea having been set for her. Her handmaids are there, at a table just beside hers, as they compare notes on embroidery. The harp that she has borrowed from the Tower is placed on the table, for use after tea. It's a lapharp, not full sized and has been cleaned, restrung and well taken care of. There is a guard also at the table with the handmaidens, but he's on duty and it shows, as he keeps watch on everything. Tia sips her tea, and then uses the cutlery to take a small pastry from the serving dish, placing it in her own bowl.
Valda enters the inn, followed by her young maid and pair of men-at-arms. The men find places along the wall to stand guard in silent vigilance, while the handmaiden immediately sees to procuring a beverage for the Castellan. Polite smiles, inclinations of her head, and brief verbal exchanges are offered as she makes her way through the inn, made busier with the return of the men from war.
At length, she reaches the table with the flint group and dips her head gently. "Good day, Lady Tiaryn. How fare you and yours?"
Tia glances up as the door opens, though not before Jacob does. That Flint guard is very good at what he does, and he's still here, even with the men home from the war. There are a few more Flint men around now, but he's not giving up the job. She inclines her head politely to the Castellan, rising to her feet as well. "Lady Valda, a pleasure to see you. I think there is room here if you would like to sit for a time. We are doing quite well, thank you. It has quieted down some at night, so that it is once again reasonable for those not joining in the parties." That last is said with amusement, not complaint.
"Thank you, my lady. I am sorry to hear you have lost sleep due to the celebrations, but I agree it seems a modicum of calm has settled over Stonebridge." Valda takes the offered seat, briefly smoothing her skirts. Light blue eyes study the sandy blonde woman for a moment. "I imagine you have had precious little time to speak with your lady good cousin, but I wish you to know she is doing well, all things considered. It seems she and my daughter are glad to share the joys and woes of their conditions."
Tia's smile lights up her face. "Lady Isolde has been nothing but gracious to me, and I am glad if she and Corrie are able to share their time together." She pauses a moment, and then she offers softly, "To lose a small bit of sleep was nothing, given the happiness and joy that was being expressed so exuberantly. I am glad that there was such opportunity." She gestures towards the pastries, there are several left in the serving dish. "Please do help yourself. They are cheese and quite tasty. Enough to tempt one to eat far too many. How are you doing, with all the challenges of the times as well as with your Lady daughter in such a delicate condition?"
Cordelya isn't seen much, in truth, though she's been a now-long-term guest of the Tordane Towers, her body and early pregnancy just simply hasn't agreed at all. But, with the men slowly trickling — and now flooding — into town, she was determined to be ready. She got up, had Orlagh primp and perfect everything. Her gown is a pale, flowing gray silk embroidered with the Flint palm over her left breast. It has an empire waist line carefully caught beneath small breasts and then otherwise flowing and elegant, to make her look not quite so bone-thin as she is. Her hair is down in artful, soft curls. Tint has been applied to her hollowed out cheeks and small mouth, trying to hide any lingering sickness, but it's not hard to see how small the Lady Flint has grown, or how tough these months have been on her fragile frame. She steps into the Inn, determined to get something to warm her and bring more heat to her limbs before she goes to meet the men. Her husband needn't see her until she feels as warm as she looks.
Valda holds her hand out, palm up, toward the cheese-filled goodies. "If I begin eating those, it will not be long before I appear to be in the same condition as my daughter and your goodcousin." Even as her mouth opens to say more, the familiar, if tiny, figure of Cordelya in her peripheral vision causes those cerulean eyes to shift toward the door. Her polite smile falls just a touch as that sharp gaze assesses the woman's state. "Lady Cordelya, how lovely to see you out and about."
Cordelya's head almost abruptly turns, not quite having expected to see Ladies in the inn, not with all the men returned, but she should know better. Tiaryn has been staying there the nights she doesn't keep Corrie company. Her smile doesn't look quite so pale as the last they met, though her skin hasn't really regained any colour. It's so nice the things that pigmants can do! She takes a few other steps forward and then dips in a respectful, delicate curstey to Valda. "Lady… it is an honour to see you. I should apologize for being so… scarce. It is improper of a true guest, but I have not been much myself…" She explains softly, her mezzo voice polite and clear in it's northern accent.
Tia is on her feet in a moment, as she spies Corrie. "Come sit with us," she says promptly, as she makes sure there's room for Corrie as well. "I have tea. Come have some." Jacob, Adara and Bethy are at a table right next to Tia's, and her borrowed harp is atop the table, as if Tia's planning to play after her tea. She smiles to Valda, chuckling softly. "I must admit I've had only one of these, so far, and this would be my second. But - " A glance over at Corrie, "Perhaps Corrie will have one?"
Valda waves a hand dismissively. "You have every reason not to dash about the Tower like a child, my lady," she assures Cordelya. An encouraging nod is added to Tia's attempt to get the sickly woman to eat. "You need your strength."
Food. Corrie takes a momentary breath, trying to decide if risking the food is an unwise idea or not, but the cheese filled pastry actually looks good. It smells good, filled with delicious fat and breading. Something calm and non-exotic for her less than happy stomach. She arches a brow, reaching a hand forward to steal the pastry and bring it to her nose for a second sniff. That's usually the best test if something is going to turn her stomach. "…What are they? It… it actually looks good." She mutters with an odd bit of relief to her voice. Food that she wants to eat! It's a miracle! "And still… hopefully this will pass soon. I would like to be a good guest. Or, at least, a useful one." Tia would know Corrie is not accustomed to being lazy at ALL. Previously, it would have driven her to madness. "..and I must find a way to thank you all properly for the use of her library." Ah, that's how she's kept sane.
Finally, the horses are seen to, his armour is off, and Young Lord Anders Flint is back to wearing something less martial. He's dressed in his own finery for the good of the men, and the pomp.. and now? Once again, the door to the inn opens then, and in strides Anders, his movement a touch tight and restricted, but on his feet and looking uninjured. He's got it in his mind to approach the bar; it's been too long.. but there's something that keeps him from doing so. His gaze moves along the downstairs, and alights on a small group of ladies.
Tia smiles, as Corrie checks out the pastry. "They're cheese pastries, just simple and easy to make. One of my favourite treats from when I was a child." And of course, quite gentle on the stomach. She gestures over and Bethy comes to help out, getting more tea for the ladies. "You have every excuse, Corrie. Don't worry. You will be back to yourself in no time." She settles back into her seat, her half-mourning garb still far better than the solid black she was wearing when Anders left for the Isles.
The Lady Valda might be worried about her weight, but Corrie certainly isn't! At least, not in that sense. So, the fact the pastries both smell and sound good means that Corrie happily scoops up two, completely oblivious to whom is at her back yet. She thought she had another few hours, at least. She hadn't heard of any more outriders when she came down out of the tower — but then she also wasn't nearly so observant as she used to be. Hell, she was lucky she was awake. So she takes an eager few bites of the first, finishing it off hungrily and nodding in approval. "Oh, Tia…these might have to stay…" She murmurs approvingly.
Anders watches the ladies in their group, and he tilts his head, watching Corrie take the pastries.. and grins, his eyes fully on her before they move towards Tia. He still hasn't been spotted, so perhaps he'll remain where he is for the moment. He does stop a passing barmaid to ask for a cup of ale before he goes back to watching, however. There is thirst to be slaked. This.. this is actually somewhat fun.. to watch his wife so animated.
Tia however does have a seat where she can see Anders, should she look up. Jacob notes him for sure, but he just smiles and looks back to his own ale. Tia smiles at Corrie though. "Really? Oh, that is a good thing. I'm glad if you like them. Perhaps Lady Valda's cook can make them as well." She looks up, to see where Bethy is with the additional tea and she does spy a certain fellow standing there watching. Blink.
Cordelya is oblivious. Sadly so, in truth. She's been waiting so eagerly for so long, and she put herself perfectly together for all this! There might only be a small window of time where energy, body and stomach all conspire happily to let her almost be her normal, old self. She takes a bite of the second one, not trying to gobble the things down, but she was hungry. They tasted good. She wasn't going to STOP eating while her tummy told her she could. "That… that'd be lovely. I'll eat them for a fortnight straight if it means I can eat. I… I should get tea.. Something warm. I… I don't want him worrying, when he gets here…" Oh, oblivious Corrie.
Anders nods at the being noticed, and puts a finger upon his lips before he takes the drink from the maid. It's emptied quickly, and placed on an open table before he turns to depart once again. He's got ideas, now, if the look on his face is any measure.. and he aims to get it done. The door opens, and the man clad in grey and black departs the Inn..
Valda sees the situation clearly, her own lips tightening. Finally, she decides to save the poor woman. With a warm smile, she dips her head to the knight. "Good day, my lord of Flint." Yes, she ignores his request for silence, her eyes sharpening upon his departing form.
Tia manages to not sputter on her tea, or to stare too long. But she definitely sees Anders there. It brings a bit of a sparkle to her that she can't help. They're home, they're really home! She ducks her head to the tea, as she's willing to let him get away with it, trusting the man to not do anything obnoxious. She does give Valda a quick look, and then sighs a bit. "Corrie, tea is coming. Bethy has some, and she'll be right back. I think it should be okay for you, but if you don't like it, you let me know and I'll get hot water and you can mix your own, okay?"
Cordelya's eyes shoot wide the moment she thinks she hears the Lady Valda mention her husband's name. Greet her husband. Corrie's heart leaps into her throat, whirling around probably too fast for her head and fragile body. She's ready to run, to toss herself into her husband's arms, to do anything… But he's not there. The door is shutting behind a booted foot, but he's not there. Just another figmant of her imagination. Did Valda even say anything? She catches herself on a chair, trying to drag in a deep breath to clear her head. She will not pass out in front of these women. "…Y-yes… yes… tea is.. is probably a wise idea…" She mutters. "…He's not there."
Valda gives Tia a far harsher look in return, not backing down in the least. "It is cruelty to make a lady wait even a moment longer than necessary, particularly when she is in such a condition." With a small shake of her head at the excited woman's words, she calmly replies, "He will be in your quarters tonight, my lady. Simply give him time to cleanse himself for you and get a good meal in."
Tia blinks as she watches Valda for a moment, not quite sure if the woman is serious or not. "I think it's better to have some tea, some food and to be ready at the same time, since you can be sure that Anders is doing the same thing, Corrie." There is definitely affection in her voice as she speaks with/about her family Flint, even if they haven't always been so close. "And if Anders is planning to surprise you, Corrie, it would be generous to allow him the chance, not so?"
Cordelya might almost need helped into a chair, but she gets down before her head puts her there. She manages not to pass out, which is a victory in her eyes. She stares back at both of them, the look of a crazy woman not certain if she's the one who is nuts, or the rest of the world. Sadly, it's the way Corrie feels too often some days. "…He…he'll be here when he is here. I… I'm just getting my hopes up too fast. I just hope I don't sleep through it." Or puke through it.
"You do realize that surprising an excitable woman with child who is malnourished and exhausted can easily cause her to faint, which can -very- easily cause her to lose…" Valda bites her tongue, but the sharp glance toward Tia finishes the thought easily enough as she sips her wine. Yes, wine. Tea is for little girls and pansies.
Tia arches a brow at Valda, as she's the only one who actually provided any surprise for Corrie at all so far. "Then perhaps we ought not surprise her," she says easily enough. "Easy Corrie, take it easy." Bethy arrives with the tea and Tia makes sure that Corrie has some in front of her. "Here, see if this tea works?" she suggests softly. "And don't get your hopes up just yet. You know he'll be here as soon as he can."
Cordelya frowns a bit more, staring hard between both of them, just taking another deep breath. "I am not… malnourished. If I was starving, my body would let me eat more, right?" That seems logical to her…"And not exciteable. I'm fine. Just… just fine. We've all just been waiting… So long…" SHe confesses, suddenly looking a bit more embarrassed as her head has mostly stopped spinning. Sitting helps. She reaches a slightly trembling hand into the hidden sewn pocket of her dress, pulling out her own herbs for the tea. She almost always keeps them on her, strange and bitterly smelling musky things, though her blend has more ginger in it now as well. "I am sorry, Lady Valda… Tia… sorry…"
Valda arches an eyebrow at Tia, but says no more on the issue. She offers a brief, reassuring smile for the pregnant lady. "Peace, Lady Cordelya. The men started arriving home two nights past. You will see yours soon. And yes, you are a bit malnourished, but it is not your fault. Find that which you -can- eat, like these pastries, and take in as much of it as you can. Your stomach should settle about the halfway point of your time."
"You have lost a little weight, Corrie, but I'm sure it will get better from here on," Tia says. She has a half apologetic smile for Valda, though what exactly that's for is another question. Tia lets it go as well, as she doesn't see any point. They've got Corrie calming down at any rate. There's hot water for steeping tea, and Tia has her own, to refill, so she's good with that. "Lady Valda is right, Corrie, if you can find something that your stomach will let you eat, then definitely enjoy it. And hopefully the worst is over now."
Maybe THIS is why Corrie never comes out of her rooms. She isn't fretted over nearly so much up there. Now she's even managing to actually blush a little bit under that paint, as both the women are so tender and reassuring. She's a touch embarrassed about the tricks her mind has played on her, so she sets about carefully preparing that herbal tea, her fingertips trained and precise. "I appreciate the thoughts… Ladies, I do. I am fine… and I will be better when he is back. But… how are you both holding up, in truth? It has not been an easy time for anyone."
Hey, that's what friends are for, right? Especially when they're near as close as sisters. She figures Anders will take good care of his wife, so that's not a problem there. "I am doing well. I watched the Nayland levies come marching home yesterday. It was quite a sight to see. They certainly do this place proud." She pauses before she says, "There were two knights with them, Ser Longbough and Lord Ser Rutger Nayland. They stopped to talk to us - well, to Lady Ilaria, I suppose." She pauses there, as it occurs to her she's made a mull of the story. "I'm doing well, Corrie, honest."
Cordelya studies Tia's features closely as the woman tells her all those things. For once, she doesn't actually seem to doubt her. SHe smiles a bit more, looking comforted and confident that Tia is finally settling into life here. Especially with the men coming back. "Well…that's good. And don't you -dare- sell yourself short, Tia… any man would be happy to stop and talk to you." Especially after coming back from war!
As the younger women chat, Valda finishes her winecup and rises. "My ladies, it has been a pleasure, as always. Do take care of yourselves. Lady Tiaryn, you are always welcome at Tordane Tower. Lady Cordelya, it is good to see you moving about, so long as you do not overdo it."
Tia chuckles softly at that, shrugging a bit. "I don't know, I was talking to Lord Desmond at the time, so I can't say what they were doing, other than for sure trying to catch the attention of the ladies. They were asking for directions to Tordane Tower, as if they couldn't see it." Yes, she's amused by the very idea, finding it a somewhat transparent ploy. But yes, there is life in the woman again, for the most part. She smiles as Valda finishes her drink, inclining her head. "You are most kind, Lady Valda. Thank you."
Cordelya stands as well, as Valda plans to leave. It's only polite. She bows her head tenderly to the older woman. "It was a honour to see you, Lady Valda… I do hope we can talk more soon, now that this is all over." She smiles, both warm and apologetic, still a bit embarrassed about earlier. She then looks back to Tia. "…Lord Desmond? And who is this Lord Desmond? goodness, I have missed everything."