|Lesson, the First|
|Summary:||Liliana and Caytiv have their first reading lesson together.|
|Related Logs:||Lili and Cay decide to give it a go: The Lady and the Lad.|
|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.|
|10 Aug, 288 AL|
It's clear that Cayt didn't bother washing up after drills this morning, his hair sweaty, his clothes sweaty and smelling of much-worn training armour padding. But he had a bath yesterday, before the hanging, when people were trying to get him to look presentable in his squire's livery, and so that puts him well ahead of his usual state of hygiene, as the monthly bath is something he avoids if he can at all help it. And so he's been run, exercised, fed his lunch, and now is standing in his hide cropped riding trousers and his plain linen top, folding his arms across his chest as he eyes the battle lines of texts arrayed across the field of battle from him.
And just beyond the battle line stands Liliana, arms full of practice parchment. Old pieces which have been used, washed to remove most of the traces of old ink and then used again. There's something mischievous in her expression, as she looks over her student, taking in everything from his rumpled mess of hair to his well-used training attire, "You look well fed, watered, and ready for some activity less strenuous, Cay. Are you ready to begin, then?"
"Less, so? I reckon it takes more out a me t' pick of a book 'an t' take the brunt of a blunt," Cayt retorts. At least he sounds to have something of the rhetorician about him. Still, he squares off his shoulders, as though ready for his own execution, facing it with resolution, "I reckon so. Ready as it gets, ay?" He begins to turn, walking down the line of the books.
"That all depends on the book." Liliana remains where she is, moving only far enough to set the parchments down on the table, "There are some large books here, I could use one of them as a bludgeon, if it would put you in a better frame of mind." Still, that humour, as she watches him run the gauntlet, as it were, "How much did your former teacher manage to teach you? Can you read the basic letters? What can you write, if anything?"
"He showed me what they look like. I reckon I can remember most of 'em if I were t' see 'em," Cayt shrugs his shoulders in a little bit of an uncomfortable motion. "One at a time they're not bad. It's just as… all in a bunch, they start a-swimmin' all over one another. I don't know which of 'em I'd be able to draw if you asked me, though."
"What I believe, is that, when teaching someone, the best way for them to learn, is to teach them things which are relevant, which have some sort of meaning and value to their life. Start with the little, tangible things, and move on to the wider world." She indicates one of the books, "That one, is a ledger of shipping manifests between Seaguard and White Harbor, you probably wouldn't like that one."
"I can do up numbers," Cayt latches onto the notion of the shipping manifests, perhaps just needing to somehow show Liliana he's not really a hopeless idiot. "Numbers are well enough," he sort of insists, mumbling it as he goes. "What are we going to read first, then, ay?"
"Well, if you're certain." A flash of her smile, before Liliana reaches down to pick up the rather ponderous tome, "But we'll get to the book in a moment. First, we're going to practice writing. Just to see how much you remember." A hand reaches out, separating one of the parchments from the pile, and carrying it over to a free spot on the table, the other hand patting the bench beside her, "I'm going to write a few words, and I want to see how much you can puzzle out, alright?"
Caytiv is not his usual ball of adolescent energy, not by a long shot, even as he's invited to sit beside the fine-legged huntress, which would certainly otherwise be a call for celebration. If anything should make Liliana feel secure in her virtue, it's the way he slouches over there to be seated like a dog skulking into its kennel after being scolded. But he gives his head a shark jerk of a nod, accomapnied by a 'hm' noise of assent that Liliana should go on.
Cheerful, would be Liliana's own demeanour, not overly so, but, perhaps, hopeful, encouraging. The quill is picked up, dipped into the inkwell, before she begins to write. Her calligraphy is clear and precise, though she writes in block letters, rather than her usual cursive, but in a simple style, lacking superfluous embelishment. Only two words. Six letters and then four. C-A-Y-T-I-V H-I-L-L. "Can you tell me which letters you recognize?"
Caytiv keeps his shoulders slouched, back slumped as he angles his head forward, tipped to the side, watching the letters come into existence, hands down on his thighs with his elbows poking out to either side as if to put some brute force into the learning process. He is silent for a long while, putting it together, lips tightening into a terse frown a few times as if he were talking to himself. "A, t, i, c, v, h, l… l. Active… hell?"
Liliana's laughter is a light, merry thing, "Yes, my Cay, sometimes you are that. But that has not dimmed my enjoyment of your company." The quill is set back into the well, before she uses that hand, her left, her writing hand, to touch the parchment below each letter, speaking them as separate entities, before she puts them together, "C, A, Y, T, I, V. H, I, L, L. Caytiv Hill."
Lili is laughing, and, light and merry though it may be, it causes a rigid tension in the jaw of the lad whose befuddlement is the cause of her mirth. "What?" he leans forward into the word as she riddles him about being an active hell, unsure what her comments have to do with anything— until she reveals the nature of the written text, his cheeks and ears burning with a sudden irritated shame. He looks off toward the door, then halfway back, not quite making eye contact. "I have to take a piss," he mutters, scooting back up off of the seat.
That, at least, seems enough to dim the girl's cheerfulness, but not so much that she doesn't notice the look of shame on his face, and Liliana also rises, reaching out in an attempt to touch his shoulder, to step in front of him, but, indeed, not to block him completely. "Cay, wait. Just for a moment."
Caytiv swings his arm back, not aiming to hit her, just to push away her hand as it reaches his shoulder. "What do you want? I have to take a piss, y' want me to piss the middle of the floor?" he asks her, hands moving to unfasten the top of his riding trousers as if he may well just pull it out right here and let all his housebreaking go to waste. As it were.
"If you can't wait just for a few minutes, long enough for me to say what needs saying, then yes, go ahead and do it right here. Just give me time enough to lift my skirts. Or aim towards where the rushes are thickest." Liliana's not angry, persay, but neither is she willing to let the man just run out on her.
Caytiv lets the tops of his trousers hang open, but not far enough to show Lili anything she really oughtn't see. Finally, with his bluff having been called, he folds up his arms before his chest and aims a stare at Liliana which tries with all its heart to look mad at her, but which can't help but betray the hurt and frustration underlying.
To her credit, Liliana does not give Cay's trousers more than a passing glance, likely only to make certain that Eli, reading to herself near the window does not suddenly have need to spring on Cay like a wildcat and chew his face off in her lady's defense. Fierce redheads are fierce. But her hands do rise, lightly, soft, but with the telltale traces of callouses from long hours at knife, spear and bow, to cup the younger man's face, "Caytiv Hill, listen to me, and I mean really listen to me. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You are a good man; bright, intelligent, perceptive. I do not think less of you because you do not have this skill that I have. That is all it is. A skill, which can be learned. Like riding a horse, like wielding a sword, like throwing a spear, or gutting a kill. All skills which you have, but not skills you learned overnight. They took long hours of work and practice. So will this. But I believe in you."
Caytiv must have really had to take a pee, 'cause whatever fluid's being flooded up in him has crested so high as to begin to leak from behind his eyes, try though he might to stop it from doing so. The lad's form trembles a little bit with restraint when his cheek is touched, but he casts his eyes down, and listens, as he's bidden. Finally, he swallows, and, as if taking the acknowledgement and acceptance of her sentiments as said, he goes on from there, ".. only don't laugh at me, Lady. It's hurtful," he admits. And here's Cayt Hill, great bounder and fucker and hunter and squire, talking about his feelings.
Liliana's hands do not leave the younger man's face completely. But rather than all of her hands, now only her fingertips, exceedingly gentle, to brush the tears from his cheeks, her touch as gentle as her words, "I was not laughing at you, my Cay, though I am sorry if I gave you that impression. I would never wish to hurt you so. I only…I want us to enjoy learning this new skill together. I want you to not be afraid of making mistakes, to be willing to walk with me, to learn with me, to take enjoyment from this new skill, to grow confident in yourself and your ability."
Caytiv looks uncertainly back at the parchment on the table through watery eyes, the things swimming to and fro in his vision, and he emits a certain dubiousness of it ever being enjoyable, along with a healthy dose of being exhausted of it already, after such a short lesson. He keeps his arms folded, defensive, but lets a little bit of the tension in his shoulders go. "Can we have a break?" he asks again, this time rather less crudely. "I'll come back, I promise." Evidently he had not been planning to, before.
A nod, soft, accepting, as Liliana lowers her hands, after a light, final touch to Caytiv's face, "Of course we can. We will never go more quickly than you are ready for, more quickly than you are comfortable. I'll wait for you…there, by the window, when you're ready to try again. Come and find me when you are." And now she does move out of the younger man's way, allowing him to take his leave as it pleases him.