|Keep Calm and Act Natural|
|Summary:||Cordelya is having one of her better days while Cherise comes to visit, with food.|
|Guest Chambers, Highfield Keep|
|Fresh rushes cover the floor of this guest room. A large four post bed sits of centered in one corner. Heavy curtains are pulled back upon entrance to show a lush, light blue velvet coverlet over a feather down mattress. Golden wheat stalks are haphazardly embroidered on the fabric's soft surface. Small tables sit to each side of the bed, on the surfaces of which sit a candle stick and holder. Another table modest in size, is set to the center of the room with two small soft cushioned chairs seated at its left and right. A couple of shelves are set about the room to house the private book collection of whomever resides, a wardrobe sits in one corner for the guests belongings. A window who's heavy coverings are pulled back by day, let a warm sunny glow in.|
|September 11, 289|
An hour or so after first light the morning meal was usually delivered to each of the rooms. As most of the keep's inhabits were attending the wedding or off preparing for an oncomming war, a few still remained in the keep. Particularly the Lady of Highfield and the very pregnant Cordelya. As mothers, or soon to be, traveling was difficult and Cherise had a sick son to tend to. Instead of the normal chamber servant who delivered the Lady Flint's tray, it was the blonde Charlton herself attempting to carefully balance the filled dishes of flavorful aromas. A boal of soup, poached eggs, buttered toast and sliced hams. Completed with an herbal tea used particularly for those with child. With help from another servant who pressed the door open Cherise carefully stepped inside, both hands gripped tightly on the edges of the silver serving platter. "Corrie…" She said as both eyes dutifully focused on the swaying foods before her.
It's not entirely clear why this morning Cherise was permitted into Cordelya's company when other mornings she's been denied. Maybe the servants were finally just tired of caring for a crazy woman. Maybe she's having one of those rare, mostly lucid days. Maybe they're just scared that Corrie will have the baby in complete isolation and forget who she is all together. No matter what the reason, Cherise was actually handed over the tray and allowed to come into Corrie's room for the first time in weeks — no, probably, months. The Young Lady Flint has been a non-entity for most of her pregnancy.
As Cherise makes her way into the room and her voice piques the air, the woman in the bed slightly blinks and turns her head. "Orlagh?" She asks in raspy confusion, not immediately recognizing one of her servants. As Cherise gets closer, Corrie might not actually be all that recognizable either. Her hair has been cut short, to just above her chin, though there are some patches that seem they may have been ripped out. Her face is sickly thin and gaunt, making her look a handful of years older than she actually is. Her shoulders, limbs, everything is ragged. She's in a night dress that also has patches which have been ripped. The sheets are twisted, like she did not sleep well. And, of course, her stomach. She is so very, very pregnant. With the rest of her so small, she might look fit to burst right now, overwhelmed by her belly. Otherwise, she seems sadly very much the picture of the echoes of madness.
Finally lifting her eyes, confident in her tray carrying abilities that will only last for this moment she does land her gaze upon the pregnant woman who has not been seen for months. "I—my gods." The food dropped, hands instantly covering over her fallen jaw as she sees just how the lady has been doing. Too stunned to speak, she stares. Longer than may be comfortable and the food, the deliciously cooked food had been soiled by the stone floors. "What-what have you done to her?" The lady demands of a nearby chamber mistress, one of Corrie's own. "Why is she.." Cherise returns to Cordelya, drawing closer with some caution. From head to toe the mad woman is inspected, each flaw every bit of wrongness about her current state is rasing red flags in her mind. "Corrie… speak to me. How do you feel?"
Cordelya is at least lucid enough to wince as she hears the tray dropping and realize what happened. She must look that truly dreadful, in truth. She closes her eyes a moment, swallowing back embarrassment and pressing one free hand back through her shorter, ragged dark hair in attempts to make it look somewhat acceptable. She shoves her other hand into the bedding so she can push herself into sitting somewhat straighter, squaring her shoulders and trying to look the proper lady despite her state. This must be a lucid day, most likely why they let Cherise in at all. She then gestures to her chamber maid that it is fine, though the Lady Flint murmurs, "Clean the food, don't let her bother with it." And then those muddy green eyes are back to Cherise. "They… did not do this to me. I… I am fine, today. I am here. Aware. I did most of this to myself." She confesses quietly, a tight line coming to her paled lips.
"The seven hells you are fine." Cherise swears, not bothering another look at the ruined dish which was now being tended on with clean up from the Flint servants. "This… this will not do. No. Not one second longer." Her hair, the shrunken in state, the barely there health. "Are you eating?" It certainly didn't appear so. "Had I known Corrie you were doing this to yourself I would have sent for someone." Who specializes in crazy.
The thin woman turns her eyes away, trying not to meet Cherise's gaze entirely, some bitter shame on her ashen features. "I… I eat when I can. When they can convince me. It has just been a rough time. There is naught to be done about it… The herbs I take… have taken… To keep my mind settled, they are unhealthy for the babe. The midwife says they could poison the babe, make it sick, or even dead… there is naught to be done but get through it. I… I am sorry. I should not have told them to let you in. YOu cannot tell anyone, Cherise, please…" Corrie's eyes then flash back up to the woman, expression fierce, momentarily desperate, clinging to this moment for everything she is worth. Because if she cannot make Cherise understand this while she is in a few moments of lucidity, then all is lost. "This… this cannot leave this room. Please, Gods, Cherise."
One hand is placed upon her hip as the semi-lucid Lady Flint attempts to explain through the thick haze of madness. "The voices…" Striking a little familiar about the lady and her 'guests' Cherise stared a little longer before lowering eyes. Subtly shaking her head. Her tone carried was not meant to chide at the person but the situation and first thought goes to her keep's reputation. "We will agree on that. This cannot leave the room." The rumors alone would cause unrepairable damage. Just as precaution she glanced over the shoulder, ensuring that the door had indeed been closed.
Cordelya has spent most of her life hiding madness, though normally it is done with herbs. Now it's just done with very good, sealed lipped servants and the excuse of a difficult pregnancy to hide them. Which, clearly, it has been. There might be wonder that Corrie has managed to carry the babe this long, though being confined to bed has probably mostly helped things. She takes in a slow breath, as deep as her pressing belly will allow her, and forces a faint smile to her lips. "It…it's alright. The Greensight is quiet this morning… They are not voices, Cherise. They are… gifts from the gods. Promises… hints of things to come. But these southern lands, they do not understand the Greensight… That things are beyond earth in gifts, sometimes. So… I've had to hide it. But… the herbs…" She shakes her head and stretches her hand protectively across her so round belly.
Madness is no gift. Cherise stares and nods when appropriate. She too can be tight lipped when highly necessary. "What things to come hmm? That it is rendering you weak when carrying the most important thing in your life?" Wives tales, all of it. While the mention of Greensight had not swayed her thoughts the lady does exhale slowly, "Would not be good for the child." Quite the predictament and one she did not envy, "Your midwife, does she have first hand knowledge of this? How to manage this … thing."
"No… not… not truly. It's hard to… Manage. I've been managing it myself for.. for quite some time now. You know me, Cherise, I… I am not insane. Please, trust that I am not. I simply cannot… take the things that sometimes help. Please… I shouldn't have let you in. Please, do not worry of this… it will all be over soon, one way or another…" The faint smile on Corrie's lips is bittersweet, but a bit scared also. She's seen herself in the mirror. She knows quite how thin and ragged she looks. How she was delicate to carry a child even before, and now… Well, there isn't just worry for her mind there. But she's sane this morning, and she wants to get her words across. She reaches one cool hand out, trying to take Cherise's palm in her bony fingertips.
Without hesitation Cherise allows the touch of her hand, offering the other to embrace what small frail part of the creature she was confident enough to touch sans the fear of breaking her. "This is managing it?" She asked in a serious tone. "This is my keep Corrie you cannot truly keep me from entering. I blame myself for not visiting you more often, believing you should be awarded some privacy through out all this. Had I known…" She would have force fed the woman herself like some toddler. The thought almost made her smile as she had been reminded of attempting the same things with a fussy Aerick. Upon Cordelya's hand Cherise offered a small stroke along the thin flesh. "You cannot expect a friend not to worry."
The touch of those too thin fingertips is indeed icy cold, like the rest of her looks she might be. She was always pale, now she just looks like shards of ashen, dirty ice. Corrie holds on tightly to the woman's fingertips, savouring the soft and elegant warmth that always has been Cherise. "This is… doing what we can. I manage it with herbs… without those bloody herbs… I.. I am not… exactly stable, all the time." Corrie confesses, green eyes unable to meet Cherise's as she says it. She doesn't want to see the shame and pity in the woman's lovely face.
Pity yes but shame no. She wore the mein of empathy while in Cordelya's company. Conflicted on how to persue for whatever methods they were using seemed to drive these matters worse. At least the Flint was capable of holding a conversation. Perhaps not an indepth one but a conversation none the less. "I can imagine." A lie, maybe. She never saw the woman's worst moment and was almost thankful. Almost. "Then you shall do what you must and so will I. I do not care which god speaks to you Corrie, you will eat for the sake of your child. Is that understood? If you upheave it upon the floor you'll receive another serving until it may settle in your stomach. This will not do for the child and most certainly not for you." Cherise then raised her chin a touch, "You pressed me into following your instruction and I trust you'll agree to the same nuisance?" In the corner of her mouth the lady raised a curved lip.
The words are listened to, though even as Cherise speaks, there is something that draws Corrie's eyes to the side of the room. Shadows, and nothing more there, but she's staring for a few moments, only half hearing what Cherise is saying. Finally, though, she drags her gaze back and tries to blink through the distractions, even if her breath has gone just a bit more shallow now and there is a new tension in her frame. She's ignoring it. Whatever it is, she's ignoring it. "I…I am doing my best, Cherise, I am… but if you insist, it's best to get food now while I feel like eating… Send one of the servants for a tray… I can eat this morn…" Which implies she cannot eat other mornings.
Simply turning her mouth over the shoulder Cherise starts to order one of the servants but the woman returns to Cordelya. Speaking instead. "I do insist." Afterwards a new tray for breakfast is ordered and the lady soon sinks onto the edge of the bed, some where space was available and yet close by. "Aerick is trying to sit upright like a young man. He speaks but not clearly. But he tries, so very determined. He was taken with an illness that had passed just yesterday."
Cordelya sinks back just a bit deeper into the pillows of her bed, some fresh exhaustion touching her just from the struggle it is to keep focused on Cherise and nothing else in the room. Her eyes twitch here and there, looking back to the shadows, but she's very forcibly ignoring whatever she's hearing. She takes in a slow, forcibly calming breath, "That… that is very good, Cherise. I know he's strong… he can fight off whatever sickness children may get. I am glad to hear he is doing better… He and this little one must be friends, somehow… promise that, no matter what happens…"
Cherise's crown tilted a little to the right while Cordelya spoke. "I do promise. Of course Corrie, why wouldn't they?" Unless he too was prone to epsiodes of madness. "Whether it is a boy or girl our children will be well familiar with one another." Displaying an assuring smile, she issued a well guarded squeeze upon the Flint woman's hand. Still ever careful. "Have you thought of a name? Should it be either one?"
Corrie's free hand carefully comes to rest overtop of her very full belly, rubbing up and down slowly, protectively. As if she could will the child into strength she does not have. "I… I have not. Not much… Sometimes I write names that…" Then she cuts herself off. Not proper talk for polite company. She takes another breath and shuts her eyes. "..A name will come when the time is here, I am certain. The Gods are good like that. And… I know Anders wishes a boy… Everyone wants a boy, but I think she is a girl, so… it makes it hard to think of names."
"You'll have time. I had not thought of a name for Aerick until he arrived. I was settled on Jon, after Aleister's father for months." Cherise lifts a shoulder, shrugging a small one. "Plenty of time. Sometimes when you look at their face the name jumps at you." Maybe the wrong choice of words to the woman with carefully watching the talking shadows. "I am constructing a Sept, here. In the oaks. It should definately quell those talks of angered spirits and odd occurances taking place on our lands. Just talk and children's tales."
"That… that is good. I think I might like to visit, when things are a bit calmer. I'm certain the sept will be beautiful." Though it's no Godswood, but Corrie isn't quite so rude to say that. She gives Cherise her best attempt at a serene smile, then winces, just a bit. BUt the wince is genuine. Not overriding pain, but discomfort, as her fingertips shift onto her belly, off to the side, where the babe is probably kicking.
Dark blonde eyebrows raise at the sight of Cordelya in pain. "He or she may be telling you their hungry." She teases before issuing another soft pat of the woman's hand then starting to rise from the bed. "See that they are given what they need." Cherise tells the chamber servant. "Make sure at least two meals are consumed. Filling meals." Part of the joy of being with child was the enjoyment of food, it all tasted differently. "I will visit in a few days Corrie." Not a request either. "Do try to eat more than one meal today. Aerick needs a friend."
Cordelya bows her head gently to the woman, "I… I shall try, Cherise. I am always trying. I swear that to you…" Corrie murmurs softly, trying to keep happiness and strength behind her voice, but there is a part of her that falters. That knows she may not always be this strong or this lucid when the woman comes to visit. "Be safe, Cherise." Then the frail woman sinks back down to the pillows, laying her head back and turning her eyes to stare out the window.
Accepting her promise with a simple nod, Cherise stares at Cordelya a few moments longer before turning around to head out of the room. Before she could leave the chamber entirely she reaches out a hand, seeking the attention of one of the chamber maids standing close by. "See that she does by any means necessary. Or I will have all of your heads." For failure to keep the woman alive with their estranged methods of caregiving.