|Summary:||Nine years ago, new hires Day and Dominick meet for the first time.|
|Date:||18/01/2012 (OOC Date)|
|Braeburn House, Kingsgrove|
|Sometime in mid-280|
It's a cool day, a swift breeze competing for attention with the sun's bright afternoon rays. Wind rustles along the trimmed greenery surrounding Braeburn House, ruffling skirts and trying to snatch scarves.
A little ways from the main grounds, down a few winding green-and-stone pathways, a handful of small structures stand dormant. Mostly for storage of large items that nobody wants cluttering the lovely manor, they're in a nice and quiet area rarely disturbed by people. Or at least, they were. Today one of the small stone hutlike things has a few whitish-gray curls of acrid smoke snaking out a hole in the side, caught by the wind and quickly spirited away.
Septa Day — midwife, apothecary, spiritual advisor, governess, girl-of-all-work — frequently roams the grounds of Braeburn far and wide, gathering things that grow wild, seeking nests and lovely stones and the discarded skins with which to engage and educate her young charge… or simply to clear her head. It's likely one of the former two that's brought her out today, basket over her arm and all, her sky-blue cloak blown about in the breeze along with tendrils of long, golden hair, like the streamers on castle spires. Down the green-and-stone path, Day's literally followed her nose, pausing to squint at the wisps of smoke, the scent of which was carried to her some distance away. She treads up to the structure — not sneaking, precisely… but neither does she call out to announce her presence. She peers inside.
Whatever happened to the aging carriage that used to be in here is anyone's guess. Inside the little shelter is a chaos of glass, paper, and wood — narrow tables are pushed up against the walls that hold a mismatched collection of glass bottles and vials filled with various colored liquids and powders. A few random pieces of iron lie in a heap by some equally broken-looking bits of wood, and there's a rectangular frame half-built on the floor. On the walls are pieces of parchment haphazardly stuck to the stone, mercilessly scribbled and drawn on. And by the window (or rather, the hole) someone sits with one of said bottles in front of him, holding up a stick to the light which appears to be glowing blue.
…and on closer look that's not a glow, it's a blue flame…
…and on closer look, that's not a stick, it's his finger.
There is a beat or two during which Day stands there, taking in the details, absolutely fascinated by the methodical madness — or mad method — of it all. Then, being a sensible young woman, she does what any sensible young woman would at the sight of a man with his finger on fire: she cries out in alarm. "Great brazen balls of the Smith!" And, just in case he was unaware, she tells the man, "Fire! You're on fire!" And it's deeply alarming, so — "Stop that!"
Dominick jumps out of his seat, his elbow nearly sending the bottle to the floor. Stumbling backwards on his heels, it's a wonder that burning bit of finger doesn't set one of the parchment posters on fire as he wheels for balance, bumping his hip against the edge of one of the long tables. "Oh my fucking God!" His candlelit finger shoots into the air, casually burning clear blue out front of his eyes. "Didn't anyone teach you to knock?"
"Knock?" echoes Day, leaning in through the hole in the wall. "On… what?" Affronted and vexed, she points out, "You're STILL on fire!"
She's got him there. You know, twice. Dominick's mouth opens and then shuts with a click, and he scowls at his afflicted appendage. He turns on his heel and flicks his hand down towards a small basin of water by his feet — and like a little meteor the blue ball of flame whips right off his finger and lands with a hissing splash in the cold liquid. Something clinks softly at the bottom. "There. And I just I haven't built the door yet, okay?" he explains, still sounding miffed.
Day stares at the basin, then the boy, then the — everything. She drops her basket and climbs inside, pushing her hood and her hair back. "What in the world are you doing in here?" she asks, approaching something she probably shouldn't touch. To, you know, touch it. Obviously.
"What's it look like I'm doing?" Dominick replies, as though he were under the impression that the stranger was being purposefully obtuse. He keeps an observant eye on the plainly-dressed woman as she moves, one blond brow raising that looks partly…singed. "What are you doing in here? You sure don't look like the gardener."
"And why," asks Day, turning from the gadget she was prodding to put her hands on her hips and fix the singed boy with a look, "don't I look like the gardener?" She steps up to him, miffed. "Don't I look accustomed to hard work? Intelligent enough to tell a weed from a shrub?" She folds her arms and glances about, eyes canny. "It looks like you're practicing alchemy."
Said gadget looks like a plumb-bob, albeit with a strange-looking few extra bits attached to the angle. "Sort of, I s'pose." Dominick's head draws back as she steps up to him, then his chin tilts down. "Intelligent? Yeah. Sure you could tell a good rose from not. Accustomed?" He glances her up and down and then quirks a one-sided grin. "Yeah, I'm sure you deal with your share of pricks."
"I certainly am today," the golden-haired girl retorts to that, then turns to study the parchment on the walls. She smiles as she does so, intrigued. "What's your name, boy?" she asks, still studying the diagrams.
"No, it's Dominick." The teenager smirks at the back of her head. He swipes the back of his hand by his nose, depositing a small black sootmark on his cheek. The parchment pieces are clustered in little constellations of different interests; the one she's at now looks like a series of drawings of Braeburn itself, with some highly technical and fanciful additions to the architecture. "What's yours?"
"Day," says the girl, smiling all the more for the drawings, the whimsical additions to the familiar building. "This is all… remarkable," she says, turning to look at the next grouping of papers. She laughs, but the sound is devoid of mockery — pure delight, instead. "How long have you been down here?"
"Two months." Dominick keeps a hawkish eye on his visitor as she takes a tour of the slightly smoky cave. "I don't really go in His Lordship's house unless I need to." This perhaps explains why they're strangers. He settles down on a rickety stool by a cluster of glass bottles, a dish of white powder sitting underneath a glass cover in front of them. "And you're still not the gardener, so…what are you?"
"And I'm still offended that you think I couldn't be the gardener!" exclaims Day. She's still smiling, though, so… that's good, right? She can't be a great deal older than he is, himself. "I haven't been here much longer than you." She glances at him over her shoulder. "Are you his natural son, perhaps? Recently taken in?"
"You first," Dominick insists, very gravely. A small spoon is shaken in her direction, a small droplet of clear liquid dripping to the floor. "I already answered your first question." He plops the metal back into the cup it came from and starts stirring it in earnest, looking at her with pointed expectation.
"I'm an exiled dornish princess," says Day, dramatically, sneaking (not very sneakily) over to see what he's stirring. "I make star charts and cast runes to predict the futures of Lord Groves' family."
"You're a damned crappy seer," Dominick replies, his face breaking into a triumphant smirk. "If you didn't see me coming. Hold out your hand." The sudden demand comes as she tries to peer into the cup, his palm covering up the mouth of it.
"I suppose you're very important, then, I suppose?" asks Princess Day. She obediently holds out her hand, however — either very brave or very trusting.
Dominick sets the spoon aside and searches the tabletop until he finds a thin paintbrush, the hairs stiff and crackly with some long-dried liquid. "Not yet. But…" He swishes the paintbrush around in the cup and lifts it up so she can see a dark sapphire-blue liquid dripping from the tip. "Not everything stays the same one moment…" The brush swipes over the back of her hand from the knob of her wrist to her first knuckle, leaving a leaflike trail that — instead of dark blue — is a deep reddish-purple. "…to the next."
Day keeps her hand held out, tilting her head and examining the swoop painted on her fair skin. "So am I to be your canvas, now?" she asks, curious and amused.
Dominick sweeps more feathers out from the sides of his 'leaf' with the brush, curling a winding spiral around her ring finger knuckle. "Won't be much fun; I'm running out of room already."
Day eyes the tinker/painter/boy-of-mystery, all merry mischief and canny squinting. "Uh-huh," she drawls. "Does that work to get many girls out of their clothes?" she wonders, gamely pulling up her sleeve nevertheless.
"Does acting all chaste get many boys to try?" Dominick's deep green eyes flicker up under his brows and he smirks, turning her arm over to see the skin. "Or maybe that's just how you all are. You know, in Dorne."
She squeaks in indignation, laughing. "'Acting all chaste'? How in the world have I been playing that card, other than refusing to take off my clothes for a boy I just met and know nothing of other than he likes to light himself on fire?"
"Not talking." Dominick wipes the paintbrush on a bit of parchment, a streak of red-purple following behind it. He dips the tip in some powder behind him, and back into the cup, looking back at her. "Still dodging answering what you even do here. Bet you're one of those types that's fully clothed even when you're not." A brow cocks as he smiles and looks back down, starting a new curlicue moving down her wrist.
She blushes rather prettily at that, easily out-innuendoed, cheeks and ears turning pink. "I'm Lady Rosanna's governess," she says, smirking wryly. Gooseflesh rises in the wake of his brush. "And you're a spoil-sport. I was rather enjoying being a princess."
"That's alright," Dominick says, sounding partly distracted by his focus on painting a fantasyland on her inner arm. "You're a canvas. So really you can have me paint you as anything you want. Princess Day." His brush makes a few quick little strokes like someone signing a parchment with an illegible but distinct stamp. "Your sigil, Your Highness."
Day smiles again, examining his work. "It's beautiful. Thank you." She glances at him through her lashes. "Maybe sometime when I've gone swimming and I'm already… less dressed I'll sit for you again. Make a better canvass." Because, apparently, the reason she's less-dressed in the first place matters. And he cannot be solely it. "You haven't told me who you are, yet."
"Me?" Dominick squinches up his nose, scooting his stool back and plunking the brush into some clear water. "I'm just the help. I build things." He jerks a dye-stained thumb at something vague in the room. Probably the half-built whatever-that-is on the floor. "Do you like being a governess?"
"I do," affirms Day. "I love Rosanna to distraction, already." She studies Dominick with a faint smile, then asks, "Where did you learn to do all this?"
Dominick glances at his piles of stuff and makes a shrug of his eyebrows and corners of his mouth. "It kind of does itself. I mean…" He makes another gesture with his hands that doesn't seem to have a specific meaning. "You try this, you try that, sometimes it works, sometimes it explodes." He waves the clean brush towards all the bottles and drawings. "It teaches you."
She looks around as he elaborates, smiling wider — in admiration, it seems. "You must be extraordinarily intelligent," says Day. "I've pestered many a Maester and apprentice to the ends of their patience and sanity to glean what little I know."
"Maybe you should ask the materials instead," Dominick replies, dead serious. "They'll tell you, you know. They might not be too nice about it, but they won't lie."
"Is something blowing up in your face an example of the materials not being nice?" Day asks, amused and intrigued.
"No," Dominick says, one-and-a-half brows hitting the ceiling. "Thinking you've found a new way to clean your clothes and then figuring out afterwards that the compound in water leaves a sulphur stink…that's not being nice."
Day snrrks mirthfully. "Oh, my. I hope you didn't commit too many articles of clothing to that particular experiment. She leans in and sniffs at him, experimentally. "So if I were clever enough to hear the wisdom of the materials — the dye you painted on my arm, for example… what would it say?"
Dominick does not smell like rotten eggs, thankfully. Though the smile that cracks on his face has a hint of a smirk in it. He looks at the painting on her arm, the color of which is slowly darkening from reddish-purple to a more mature cocoa-brown. "That you were doing something with your hands." He reaches forward, taking her fingers and holding up her hand, assuming she lets him. "See how it's lighter on your hand than on your arm? Your hand's got something on it…I'd say…" He squinches his face in a dramatic imitation of deep thought. "Pollen of some sort, pollen or sap. Your arm, meanwhile, was covered."
She does allow him her hand — it's certainly not a greater imposition than she's allowed so far — and bends her head to scrutinize it alongside him. "Hmm. Why pollen or sap?" she wonders, though she doesn't deny it. "Why not… flour, or cooking oil, or lanolin?"
Dominick opens his mouth as though to deliver a length explanation, then smirks instead. "Hell if I know. But you got so mad about not being the gardener that I figured you were out gardening. Right, wasn't I?" Triumph, look at it.
Day laughs, shaking her head. "Somewhat right. Very clever. I was gathering medicinal plants in the wood." She bumps his shoulder with hers, somewhat accidentally on purpose. "I wasn't all put out because of an especial love of plants, you know — but only because I thought you were implying I looked useless."
"Bullshit," Dominick says, unapologetic. "If I'd said you didn't look like the chamber-maid you'd have thought it a compliment."
Day tilts her head, wrinkling her nose and squinting at Dominick as she considers his point. "I don't think that's true," she argues, after turning the scenario over in her head. "Unless the chambermaid were very ill-favored, or something."
"Pfft." One can already see what arguing with Dominick Augusten is like. Both difficult and, like now, prone to derailment: "What kind of medicinal herbs? Do you make tinctures and stuff?"
"I do," Day affirms, "make tinctures and stuff. Unguents, balms, poultices, et cetera. I was mostly looking for witch hazel, today. You can never have too much astringent. And also to resupply my midwifery kit. The baker's wife is expecting any day, now."
"Yeah, she's got no trouble making buns." Dominick's hands have gotten restless. All of him has. It started in his feet bobbing around on the rung of his stool, and now has climbed to the upper limbs. He gets up, pulling a stack of papers towards him on the table. "What's in a midwifery kit?" This question is one he clearly isn't sure he really wants an answer to.
"Smelling salts, antiseptics, analgesics, coagulants, needles, thread, a very sharp knife, and half the clean towels in the world," Day answers, nevertheless. She watches him fidget, peers at his papers. "If I'm boring you or keeping you from exploding something, I can go."
"No, I was thinking about astringents. Tea leaves, hot water. You know." Dominick gestures with the sheaf of papers, punctuating his speech with rustles. "What's a coagulant?"
"Helps stop bleeding. Preferable to having to stitch or cauterize, in some cases." She squints. "You were thinking about making a tea from witch hazel?"
Dominick squints back at her. "You can do that?"
"Make a tea from witch hazel?" She tilts her head and considers. "Yes? But it would probably make you vomit. If not, you'd be stuck in the privy for a good, long time."
Dominick laughs brightly. "Only an astringent when it's on the outside." He breezes past Day, shuffling through his papers in hand. "How do you make a coagulant?"
Day opens her mouth to rattle off a list of ingredients, then shuts it again. She eyes the busy boy, then says sweetly, "I could teach you…" A beat. "If you'd teach me some alchemy."
"I already told you how to learn," Dominick says impatiently. Half the papers get shoved under another table and the other half are treated with a bit more care, all scribbled and drawn on until there's almost more ink on the sheets than parchment still showing. He fusses with those in his hands a moment, straightening corners. "Fine. Maybe. But don't mess anything up."
"I'll do my humble best," says Day, grinning, and goes to kiss his cheek. "I'll come back tomorrow with the things I'll need to teach you."
Dominick seems mollified — if temporarily — by the promise and the cheek peck. "Right. And go swimming sometime." Lest she forget that part.
"I'll do that," Day says, resting her chin on his shoulder from behind for a moment after kissing his cheek, then swiftly departing. "Don't combust!" she advises, slipping back out the way she came in.