|Interview with the Lady|
|Summary:||Alise is summoned by Lady Evangeline for an interview.|
|Related Logs:||Not Quite Family dinner|
|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.|
|30th of Tenthmonth, 288 AL|
The reading room only seats Lady Evangeline, gathered in the window seat with a ledger across her lap, figures neat and curved and written in her own precise hand in long columns. She holds a writing feather in hand, paused as she rereads over what is already written, sun streaming into the room to catch and lose itself into the dark curls of her hair. She makes quite a figure, as she likely knows, for anyone who may walk in the door, despite her thin frame and being only so tall.
It would be a lie to claim that Alise wasn't surprised by the summons, by the Lady of the House herself; arguably the only one more surprised is plump Beth, the senior maid Alise has been assisting for only two weeks. For her part, Alise is too busy adjusting her skirt and untying her hair to care about what Beth thinks, as she hurries to follow the Lady's servant.
Upon arriving at the reading room, the servant knocks before opening the door, stepping in to bow his head at Lady Evangeline, followed closely by Alise, who does the same. "Milady, Alise Callystan, as you requested."
"Milady." Alise echoes, dipping her head and keeping her gaze lowered respectfully.
"Thank you. Please leave us," Evangeline says, polite even in addressing the servant. She waits until the man has stepped backwards from the room, pulling the door shut behind him to leave Alise alone with the Lady of the Roost. Then, she closes the large ledger with a thud. "I have been told you are looking for work as a lady's maid."
Alise spares a half-turn over her shoulder as the door shuts, before fixing her attention on Lady Evangeline. "It is so, milady. You must hear many servants making similar bold claims, but I believe I am of more value as a Lady's maid than a scullery maid." Her hands clasp toether in front, as she steals a glance at the lady's face.
Age hasn't touched Evangeline's prettiness, turning it to steel instead of the softness it probably was in youth. "I do, Alise, so you must understand when I am doubtful," she says agreeably. "Especially when presented the claim by my young, handsome ward." Is there a slight stutter over the way she identifies Jarod? It is a very, very subtle one.
A slight tilt of her head, and a slight furrow of her brows indicate the girl's confusion. "You refer to Ser Jarod?" Alise is new to Four Eagles Keep, but she's a keen girl who's been keeping her ears open. "Oh. It was merely my immense good fortune that I crossed paths with Ser Jarod in the kitchens, and he was such a gentleman as to agree to relaying my request." She pauses and inclines her head here. "Maester Constantine himself assured me my name would be presented if the opportunity arises, but I hate to pass an opportunity by."
"I had heard something to that affect, but let me be blunt with you, Alise," Evangeline says, as if she's rarely anything else. She rises from her seat, ledger cradled in her arms as she draws closer to the younger woman with a swish of velvet skirts. It must be noted that she is shorter even than this girl. "I must be sure you are not a bedwarmer for anyone in my family, attempting to be foisted off into the company of myself or the other ladies of Terrick's Roost."
Alise quickly lifts a hand, replying just as hurriedly. "I swear in the name of the Seven, I am no one's bedwarmer in House Terrick!" The girl's innocent looks are used to good effect, looking flustered and all. "I have been here no more than two weeks, yet to see much more than the kitchens and certainly no one's bed other than my own." She pauses, and the hand is lowered. "Milady, if I may be so bold. I ask to be considered as a lady's maid not because some -man- decided I will be useful to his ambitions somehow, but because I see the character of the great Ladies of Four Eagles Keep. Graceful and beautiful, surely, but every bit as intelligent and capable as their Lords, only guiding the House in a more subtle way. I can play a small part in assisting House Terrick's ladies, in ways more than cleaning chambers and needlework."
If Alise's pretty words move Evangeline, it is quite hard to read, but the lady holds her peace as Alise makes hers, turning away to tuck her ledger away into its proper shelf. When the girl finishes, she turns back to ask flatly, "In House Terrick, only?"
"I meant House Terrick's domain." Alise is quick to correct herself. "I come by way of Tall Oaks. I was promised to a man there, but…" Her brows furrow slightly, head lowering. "…he is no longer a factor in my life. The only people in Four Eagles Keep I have spoken to more than once are Maester Constantine and the other maids in the kitchens."
"I am quite sorry, my dear," Evangeline offers in a murmur, those dark eyes unreadable where they watch Alise. "Do you have anyone to speak to your character or you skills other than Maester Constantine? How did he find you, how did you come to Terrick's Rooft?"
Despite Alise's young age, she's survived by her own wits and learned to read people. Therefore her inability to read Lady Evangline discomfits her, causing her to fidget ever so slightly. "My father perished in Tall Oaks not long before. With him gone, my only surviving relations are my aunt's family here in Terrick's Roost, so I was entrusted to their care. The Swiftwoods, milady, if you know them; they are tanners. Maester Constantine has many dealings with them on House Terrick business, that is how I was presented to him." She explains, and even as she finishes, Alise visibly contemplates. "I do not know if anyone else can speak to my character, but if you will afford me this opportunity, I shall prove my worth to the ladies of House Terrick."
"Would the Swiftwoods not speak to your character?" is questioning neutrally, Evangeline turning to find her seat again and fold herself precisely into the window seat in front of the streaming light. "What skills can you claim that would help you as a lady's maid?"
For the first time, Alise moves away from her spot and follows a few steps as Lady Evangeline takes her seat. "They would, I am sure." Of course they would; Bella Swiftwood would say anything to get rid of the niece she didn't want to be burdened with, but Alise doesn't say that. "I am proficient with the needle, and I can clean and cook." Alise ends up a short distance to the side of Evangeline's seat. "But I have better ears and eyes than most maids." She adds meaningfully. "When I go to places fine ladies cannot and will not, I know how to be unseen."
"Let me be clear, that is not the job of a lady's maid nor should it be made mention of. I doubt you would find someone without an appreciation for an observant maid, however," Evangeline answers swiftly, her fingers folding together in her lap. "I am willing to take you into my household to see how you would fare as my own maid, but I warn that this is not a life of luxury or freedom. Certainly, it will be less burdensome than a scullery maid, but you must needs sleep off of my chambers, remain chaste and above reproach. The other skills we will work on as need be." The warning comes softly, some warmth and motherly concern in the lady's words as she pauses to give Alise a moment to accept or reject based on her words.
Alise nods long and slow as Evangeline cautions against mentioning of her specific skills, but makes no more mention of it as the lady bade. As the expectations are laid out, Alise purses her lips, nodding each time a point is made. "I am not expecting a life of luxury and freedom, milady, just one of usefulness and value. I am most grateful for this opportunity you are willing to grant me; I will not disappoint you." Folding her hands at her waist, Alise takes a deep bow at Lady Evangeline.
"Very good. Then let us get you settled, Alise," Evangeline says, smile soft and warm on her lips where she rises and gestures Alise to the door. "We will see what of Lucienne's old clothes will fit you with alterations."
Alise is quick to pick up on her new duties. As Evangeline gestures, she is quick to move there and open the door for the Lady of the House. "If I may be forgiven for being new to Four Eagles Keep; but if milady will also let me know her daily routine, I will make sure her needs are always met."
"In due time, Alise. I will be certain to make you aware of what will be expected of you," is murmured by the Lady of the Roost reassuringly, though she does not make any more mention of it. Instead, the rest of the afternoon is given over to make sure that Alise fits the part of lady's maid in new (to her) gowns and getting settled into her room.