|Page 024: Late Night Light|
|Summary:||Lucienne visits Amelia in the dungeons with some water.|
|Dungeon - Four Eagles Tower|
|The heavy iron door that opens, leading down to the dungeon is the first sign that this is not a welcoming location within the Eagles Tower. The stairs go deep underground to a hallway that extends out in a straight line, the depths enough to conceal cries and screams among the torchlit pathways of dirt and stone. Off the main hall are several rooms that lead to their own areas. One such offshoot has a pair of ten foot wells with flat walls for prisoner storage while two more have caged cells. The last area is one large room with shackle bars bolted to the walls and some hanging from the ceiling. In the center is an open area where prisoners can be flayed and punished as needed.|
|05 August 288|
The evening stretches on and on, and whilst events continue to unfold around Terrick's Roost - or even further abroad - time is almost immeasurable down in the dungeons underneath. Almost, save for in one way; the comings and goings provide a count of some sort, perhaps. One such coming is light in step, a stark conrast to the heavy falls of the guards leading her on. Lady Lucienne keeps her head down to protect her delicate sensibilities as she traverses toward where Amelia is kept, her tidy braids woven with their violet ribbons just so a reminder of just how out-of-place she is.
"This's 'er," mutters the taller of the two guards, shoving his torch forward and scuffing his foot uncomfortably in the presence of the Lady. He doesn't seem sure what to do next, and the only response from Lucienne is to lift her head, and her eyes, to place the prisoner. In her hands, she has a skin, the liquid inside sloshing gently as she trembles.
Solitary confinement. No visitors except Terrick Family. She's to be completely deprived of light and limited to one meal a day. And she's already had that. The door to the cell opens with a wretched creak that echoes through the stone labrynth. When the light of the torch illuminates the interior, the prisoner isn't immediately visible. The woman's dress has been stripped of her and lain in the corner. Mice, working at taking it apart for bedding, scurry away at the light and disappear into cracks in the walls. A few more scurry from the sprawled shape on the filthy floor. Like her dress, Amelia is covered in the brown/green smudge that seems to coat most of the surfaces down here. She's been placed in the cheap burlap pants reserved for prisoners with the shirt under her stomach, which she lays on. Her back has had a simple, clean white sheet tossed over it to soak up the blood from her wounds but is otherwise naked above the waist. Her arms lain flat to her sides, her head is pointed away from the door and towards the dank wall. It stinks in here, but no more than any other cell. Sort of like stale urine, sweat, and dirt. "Jaremy?" she whispers weakly. The voice sounds dry and scratchy. A far cry from the sunny mezzo-soprano that won the singing contest just the week prior. But the word sounds hopeful.
"Seven have mercy," Lucienne gasps, barely audible, as the torchlight makes her privy to the condition of the cell, before she's even laid eyes upon the prisoner. One hand unwraps from the skin to dart sharply up to her face seeking to protect her wrinkling nose from the stench. She scuttles back a halfstep at the sight of the mice, prompting the guard to ask if she'd like to return to above; after a long hesitation, she valiantly refuses with a shake of her head. She looks again, seeking out Amelia, her mouth gaping open as she sights the other woman. It's shock, it's offense, it's a great deal of sympathy in her expression, and the lady stutters as she finds herself disappointed to have to corect: "N-no. L-… Lucienne."
Amelia doesn't really move at first. She just lays there in silence for a few long moments. "Apologies, my Lady." Her words do not come quickly. She's breathing shallow but its more likely so she can avoid the pain of moving her back than anything else. Her head rotates, nose and chin scraping the stone and coming up dirty as she turns to look back up, squinting in the dim light. The side of her face closest the floor looks red and a bit swollen. Her left arm comes sloooowly around to allow her to rest her head on it rather than the bruise to the floor. It hurts to move and it shows. But she does not complain vocally. "I wish I could be more presentable in your presence, Lady Lucienne. I am sorry." She's earnest with the words, but there is no expression for pity. Just an apology.
It's quite clear that Lucienne is… naive, sheltered. She breathes deeply out of shock, and fights hard the urge to turn her face away from the sight. As it is, her chin inches to the side whilst her eyes stay locked on Amelia and her plight. "N-n-nonsense," says the lady, attempting words far lighter than the mood permits. The sentiment falls flat, and after a deep breath she switches her gaze - with no small measure of relief - to the guard to request his permission to enter. It's a silent request, made only with a widening of her eyes and a rise of her brows, and it's met with a silent response… a single nod. As the lady wishes. And so, she surges forward in a quick commitment to enter and comes to a pause a step or two away from the half-naked woman. "Would that I had brought something better to attend you. As it is, I have only water - will you drink, Amelia?"
Amelia does not move at the quick approach of Lucienne. No shifting away. She may not be able to. Maybe she is just too spent. Or hurting too badly. The unbruised side of her face sort of quirks into a smile that looks a little twisted in the light. "You. You have no reason to apologize, my Lady. I have survived worse." She takes a few more breaths and looks to the flask of water. "Please. Throat is like sand." It sounds scratchy, too. The arm beneath her head moves a bit to place her hand out. "You are kind, my Lady. Thank you."
The water is extended gently, Lucienne dropping to a crouch slowly to avoid the billowing of her silken skirts. "I… think you are good to extend me your courtesies whilst I visit you in this… whilst you are so indisposed." Still affronted by the conditions, she wrinkles her nose again. "I had thought to seek some conversation with you, but… now is not the best time."
The flask is taken and Amelia uses her teeth to unscrew it. She takes a few short sips, letting the delicious liquid coat her throat. Gods, that is amazing. Lucienne can probably almost see some of the life returning. A few more slow sips and she sighs, eyes closing. There is a veerrrrry gentle, soft sound like a laugh. "Extend my courtesies. You need not flatter a whore, my Lady." She takes another sip and relaxes her head into her arm a touch more. "No. Nonsense, Lady Lucienne. We never really speak." She swallows, taking a breath. "Please do not go. I would beg but my knees will fail me." She even finds the strength to joke. "Besides. Polite conversation is all I can offer as thanks." She taps the flask to the stone before tilting it once more. Her voice seems much better and even a little stronger.
Lucienne winces as Amelia undoes the cap with her teeth. So unrefined. "Were I kept in a dungeon so, I might not find it in me to address the dungeon's owner as politely," she explains gently, gaze darting over to the dress as she catches sight of some movement there. The mice grow bold, perhaps. "Very well, then." Those remarkable eyes of hers flit back to Amelia, and Lucienne grants the wish of conversation. Perhaps not so polite, though. "Why did you strike my brother?"
Amelia sips at the flask and closes her eyes. "Mm. I am in here by my own choice. In the tower of Four Eagles, one must be polite to your hosts. This is not a tavern." That one side of her face smiles again and she stands the flask in her hand, resting the bottom against the stone. Her eyes open and she squints up to Lucienne. "Because Jaremy needed it, my Lady." She takes a breath. "He has made poor choices. He needed to make a correct one. He also needed to know that he needs to hit back." She swallows slowly. "I have counseled your brother for four years. I love him as I love your family. But there is a dance him and I do. This is a necessary step, my Lady Lucienne. I mean no direct affront to you family. I could not harm them." She speaks slowly but Amelia's words are sure. Bloody and beaten, the whore is resolute even in this state.
The lady arches a brow at the response. A skeptical arch. To match the skeptical twitch of her lips, marked before she probes further. "I am aware, no doubt, that you serve the men of my family." These words are spoken with some distaste, clearly for the other woman's profession. "The Lady Banefort has visited you." A statement, and yet… a question.
"I do, my Lady. I serve them with pride. As much as any woman as I could hope for." She takes another breath and swallows. "But I do not serve Jaremy in the way you may suspect, my Lady. We are confidants." That is probably as much as she can say on it. The water in the flask is dabbed to her hand and she tries to clean her face as much as she can. Its weak movements, but still an effort to clean herself. She will not be dirty if she can help it. Her eyes open a little more this time and she seems to find focus on the noble with her. "Yes. Lady Anais and I have spoken several times. I rode from the tournaments with her family at her request." Another swallow and she empties the flask. "I recommended to Jaremy that he marry her. He asked for me to speak with women presented. I have done my duty. I see the best of your family in her."
"I see," says Lucienne, and again, "I see." She nods a few times, buying herself some time to process these admissions. For a long moment, she's really got nothing else to add to the conversation, having drawn her own conclusions from the events having past and the words now exchanged. And right as the silence becomes the kind that should bear an excuse to leave at the end, she offers, "You… must be pleased, then."
Amelia makes another one of those weak smiles to her repeated observations. "My Lady, it is hard to understand from your position. I do not ask anything of you. But we are very different. Would it not shame your name, I would bend knee. Right now." The woman can barely move. But she might be able to find that honor in her. To the last, she sighs. "I plot nothing, my Lady. I believe she will make him happy and serve the people well. But your own judgments on her mean more than those of a baseborn whore, Lady Lucienne."
Lucienne draws in a long breath, which she uses to fuel an uncharacteristically long sigh. Perhaps it's the dungeon that wears down her mask, or perhaps it's Amelia's way - that which endears her to the Terrick men, even. The lady allows the smallest of tugs on the corners of her mouth. "I may have misjudged you, Miss Amelia." Suddenly uncomfortable again, she stiffens and bids, "You should drink, I cannot leave the flask behind."
The whore gives the smallest turn of her her as if she were shaking it. "Think nothing of it. I am what I am, my Lady. My kind is the bottom of the barrel. To judge me at all is expected." She swallows once more. "Perhaps in time I may be able to prove my worth to you. Until then and past, I serve with pride." So says the whore with forty-five lash marks across her back, the sheet dotted with blood on them, and a swollen cheek. Her hand then drops to the cap and she screws it back on. "I have finished it, my Lady. Thank you for the water. I was in dire need. I know you did not have to do this. I owe you a favor. If you ever need anything, please ask. I do not have much but I will try to help as you need."
The lashes are hard to ignore, especially for the sentitive little poppet that is Lucienne Terrick. She holds her hand out for the flask, the tugging smile returning once more, dulled by the bleakness of the surrounds. "Selfishly, perhaps, I may yet take you up on that, Miss Amelia." There's a certain edge of guilt in her tone. "I will ask if someone might see to your wounds, but I cannot promise it. There is much else to enroach upon my time and will at present, unfortunately."
"Please do. You will have confidence and discretion without worry of pay. Anything the Lady requires." The flask is handed up, her hand weak and she flops heavily back down. Its a wet sound in the filth of the floor. "I'm to understand the Septon will be by. It will be welcome. I'm fairly uncomfortable." An understatement to rule them all, the whore even gives another of her one-sided smiles with it. The comment of her time gets a blink and she lifts her head a touch. "All is well, I trust, my Lady?" Amelia is in no place to ask questions, but there is genuine concern in her voice.
With the flask secured once more, Lucienne pushes up from her crouch in a fluid movement, surprising given the frailty of her frame. She fixes a look down upon Amelia, something akin to pity. "That would be well," is her opinion of the Septon's impending visit. "If I can speed it, I will." Her tone sways to the reassuring, and she lies through her teeth, "Rest your head, Amelia, all is well. These are busy times, with the rapidly approaching nuptials, is all." Lady's business, of course.
"Think nothing of it, my Lady. Please. I have deserved what has been delivered. I have two more days to go. Feels like two already, though. Heh." She swallows and looks up to the woman, but her eyes turn when she see's pity coming back. But the lack of news seems to relax her. "Thank the seven. Lord Jaremy seemed distracted when I spoke to him. I was becoming worried." He eyes close. "Lady Lucienne, would you be kind enough to tell me the day? And about the time?" Thirty hours down here and she's already lost all sense of measurement.
"Of course he is distracted, Miss Amelia - he is to be married shortly," replies Lucienne with as much amusement as can be found in the dark. "It is the fifth day, today. Late in the evening, after the proper meal. I'm sure my absence has been noted back at the tower by now, though. Is there anything further you would wish of me?" Gracious in the reversal of roles, the lady cants her head enquiringly.
That half of Amelia's gives a short smile at the mention of the time. Her eyes stay closed. "My guess was close. Thank you. No, my Lady. I cannot ask anything. Seven protect you and your family, Lady Lucienne." She breathes the last few words. Its been a rough day. Maybe one of her worst on record. But her spirit will not quit, even when it wants to. She seems to be drifting towards rest, anyway. "Must've.. lied." The whispered, tired last words of a woman drifting to sleep, here in this hellish place.
Backing out of the cell, lest the mice grow bold enough to chase her should she turn, Lucienne draws the flask in close to her. The guard secures the lock, and the lady mumbles something to herself, perhaps having missed those whispered final words… "A candle loses nothing by lighting another." Her footsteps again are drowned out as she retreats from the grim dungeon, no doubt to more comfortable accommodations. She can only hope that sleep will take her as quickly tonight.