Page 332: Mother Dearest
Mother Dearest
Summary: Anais and Edith Banefort have a talk — daughter to mother.
Date: 17 June 2012
Related Logs: All the Terrick Nonsense
Anais Edith 
The Banefort Tents
Simple, elegant, expensive.
June 17, 289

The first day of the tournament was a busy one. Tents needed to be set up, camps arranged, greetings made. Then there was the first round of the joust, drawing everyone into the stands for their own joust of wits and grace. Anais was there, holding hands with her husband and looking in good spirits, though they were shuffled away quickly afterwards, in a hurry to congratulate Justin on his performance in his first tilt as a knight. It was only the next day when Anais had time to take an inventory of those houses gathered that she was able to find out that there was a contingent of Baneforts here. She was careful to dress appropriately, make sure her hair was braided and pinned neatly in place, and that everything was proper in appearance before she travelled to the Banefort tents, there to seek an audience with her mother.

The Banefort tents are the kind of simple only a house of refined nobility can afford. There is little glitz and even less glamor, despite that they sing fealty to the Lannisters. Already tea and seed cakes have been placed out on a clapboard table clothed in fire-trimmed grey, and two cups are seated in wait before two cushioned seats. The Lady Edith Banefort is never surprised — and even if a guest believes they have come upon her unexpectedly, she never reveals that. Even as her daughter is shown to where they will have tea, she begins to pour the rich and fragrant liquid into the cups. It appears it will be just the pair, as even the guards are left outside the tented room. When she enters, Edith looks up with a warming smile. "My dearest girl," she greets, stepping forward to kiss her daughter's cheek.

Even Anais doesn't approach her mother without trepidation, wiping her hands surreptitiously on her skirts before closing the distance to the older woman. "Good morning, Mother," she says with a small, child's smile, turning her cheek to the kiss and reaching out to take her mother's hands. "You look as lovely as ever," she says as she steps back, casting a wistful look at the elegant comfort of the tent. "I hope my message didn't reach you too early in the morning?"

Edith grips her daughter's hands, feeling out bone and knuckle. "You are too thin," she returns in a terse, motherly kind of voice. "We sent you along food to keep your hale and hearty, and this is what I am given." She clucks her tongue as she gestures for Anais to take a seat across from her. "Not at all, sweetling. Your message came when it was meant to." She captures her own seat, sinking into the cushions with a never-failing poise. She begins to put together the cups of already poured tea — she doesn't even ask how her daughter will take it, assuming that her taste for these things has not changed. "Now, you tell me how we play this… do I pretend ignornance or do we talk with the frankness of mother and daughter?"

"I eat, but the stress of things…" Anais settles into her own chair, careful to be as graceful as her mother, watching her to mimic her motions. "There has been a lot of stress." At her mother's words, a faint smile touches her lips, a slight tension in her shoulders easing. "I should have known you'd know," she murmurs, rueful laughter behind the words. "Sterling is an apt messenger. Things are…tense, Mama," she confesses. "Not so much with me and Jacsen right now. We've made some amends. Some progress. We're doing…better. But I'm afraid the rest of the family is wroth with me. I miscalculated."

Lady Banefort provides a noncommital noise as she sips at her tea. Each word her daughter shares if given careful consideration before she lifts her chin with a simple nod. "Yes, I did well in sending him along with your cousin. Its good to have an ear pressed to every door, and better still to have a knife in every boot." She may have not been born a Hooded Man, but Edith has sure taken up the cloak with great ease. She breathes in deep, flaring out her nostrils in the exhale. "Good. That should save me from commenting on the Nayland you've been running about with." And she arches a pale brow meaningfully. "Or at least, that's what the little birds tell me." She softens into a smile again. "Tell me of this wroth."

"Mama," Anais sighs, giving Lady Banefort a look suffered by all mothers when speaking to their daughters about boys. "I didn't do anything. But I should have been more careful with appearances," she sighs before her mother can say what she's bound to. It takes her a moment to answer the latter question, taking a sip of the tea to choose her words. "Lucienne was scheming against Jacsen. I thought I had support, but when I brought it up to Lord Jerold, he refused to believe it. Not just refused to believe it, refused to hear it spoken of. I…I threatened her," she admits, cheeks flushing. "I was just so angry, Mama."

"Yes, you should have," Edith says in turn. "All it takes is a wrong tilt of a shadow and a lady's reputation crumples." That done, the Banefort sips at her tea once more as she gives her daughter the needed space to speak. She shakes her head a bit then, setting down the cup onto its proper saucer. "And how did you bring it up with Lord Jerold?" She inquires in an investigative tone. There is a long enough pause to flare her nostrils once more at her daughter — her only tell of displeasure. "Such a Maiden's mistake," she chides gently. "Tell me, if one of your goodsisters came to your father and spoke sin against you, do you think he would be so abrupt to turn on you and take sides with a girl married… what… six months, seven… to his son?"

Anais sets her tea down, folding her hands in her lap. "I wanted to bring it to him privately. I did. But he wouldn't meet with me. He's been…not well since his wife passed. But he called the family together for a meeting, and I brought it up then." Quiet, she picks at the side of one nail without looking at her mother. "She threatened Jacsen, Mama. He was sick. We were trying to take him off the poppy, and she came while he was ill, while he was falling apart from withdrawal, and she offered him more of the drug if he'd give her his father's seal. What was I supposed to do? I couldn't just wait for her to try it again."

Lady Banefort allows a bit of patience in her eyes at her daughter's distraught. She taps her fingers idly against her seated tea cup, though her eyes never once drift from the whole of her daughter. "So, the girl is a harpy." There is a distinct lack of capitalization to the word, though perhaps she could be comparing this Lucienne to the Naylands. Its anyone's guess. What is for certain is the way in which her lips set into a frown. "I do not discredit your attempt to bring her sins to light, sweetling… but I must equally state that you are not at all playing this game how it is suppose to be played."

"I know, Mama." Anais starts to tug at a thread in her sleeve, then forces herself to still, instead reached for her tea once more. "I've been trying to hard to end this stupid feud with the Naylands. And just when I thought it was nearly finished…" She grimaces, shaking her head. "It's like trying to herd cats. They're there and then they're gone, and as soon as you think everything is as it should be, it's on its head. And I didn't think I'd have to play the game with my own family. I thought…" She trails off, sighing. "When Quentyn married, we all welcomed her into the family. We didn't treat her like she was dirt we tracked in on our shoes, or judge every little thing she did."

A small glance is afforded to the tent doors before Edith returns her gaze to her daughter. She lifts up the old pot to refill her cup before she dares to speak once more. "Yes, but Quentyn and Jacsen are not the same men, just as you and your goodsister are not the same women." She patiently adds a bit of sugar, some cream, and stirs it all up with the faintest clink of silver to porcelain. "And, most importantly… the Terricks are not the Baneforts." Edith allows a moment to gently set aside the spoon and test her tea before she continues. "The problem is, you are no longer playing on the Banefort game board, nor are you playing by the Banefort rules. You are a Terrick now; its their board, their rules."

Anais grimaces at her mother's conclusion. "Baneforts are better," she grumbles half-heartedly, adding a little more sugar and cream to her own tea. Neither of those are in abundance at the Roost right now. "I just…I don't know how to deal with it. You're right, Mama, the rules are different. But I don't know what they are and I don't know how to make them work." She sips at her tea, then reaches for a seedcake. "But I can't…I can't just let them push me aside. I know that. I know that if I let them start now, I'll never get a chance to push away from that. And I won't be just an ornament in the corner."

Edith weighs her daughter as she speaks — and perhaps there is a faint satisfaction as her daughter takes to the tea and cakes. At least she will see her daughter well-fed here at Seagard. "You are to be Lady Terrick, as the marriage saw fit. You can take some heart in that." She taps her forefingers gently against the cup thoughtfully, though a small smirk touches her lips. "Well, I would say you are uncovering some of the rules," Edith points out to her daughter. "Lord Jerold loves his daughter, and you will have no support if you move openly against her. There, one rule learned." There is a strange satisfaction in her voice. "And we have always known the Terricks are prideful. You cannot do anything that would tarnish that pride. Rule two. Certainly it hurt their pride that your Lord husband and goodfather both have fallen ill, and the new wife eagerly stepped up to help after the siege."

"I don't understand that," Anais admits, shaking her head. "I was trying to help. I've been trying to help. I've been doing everything." She nibbles at the cake, brows furrowing in a frown. "Jaremy — Jaremy wasn't exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he wanted my help. I don't know that I can say the same for the rest of his family. And every time I try to help Jacsen, there's a fifty-fifty chance he's going to see it as a judgement that he's weak." She picks another piece off the cake, anxious. "So how do I help them without helping them?"

"Now is the time for grace and shadows," Edith answers her daughter's question as she reaches to gently touch her hand, offering some physical comfort. "It is time to make yourself an asset, not a threat. No more harsh words against the Lady Lucienne before those who may judge you poorly for it. You must rescind your public threats and accusasions against her. It is time to grit your teeth and make amends." She offers her daughter's hand a squeeze. "As for your husband, you must earn his trust before he will ever be willing to accept your help. You may one day be Lady Terrick, but you must remember that he will be Lord Terrick. If he cannot trust his lady, he will never accept her help."

"I understand what you're saying, Mama," Anais says slowly, taking her mother's hand and holding it gratefully. "But how do I do that and protect against her? She's…a snake. And they all hang on her every word. How do I keep her from poisoning his mind and damaging the Roost?" She bites down on her lower lip, shaking her head. "I'm afraid it might already be too late. The maester tried to give me something, saying it would make it appear I was expecting. When I pointed out we'd have a lot of explaining to do once it was clear I wasn't expecting, he suggested having Jacsen beat me and blame losing the babe on that. This is the sort of thing I'm dealing with, Mama. How can I protect Jacsen and myself?"

"Then it is time to find a way to weed her out before she ruins the garden. She is of age, there are husbands to be had, find one that will do and have her go to begin fostering relationships with that family while her Lord father figures out a dowry. Have her be courted, wooed, and become someone else's problem." Then, there is a disquieting moment from the Lady Banefort at this news. She tightens her lips a bit, straining to keep her expression from faltering. "And I suppose you believe you cannot trust your Lord husband with this information?" She asks in a tempered tone.

"I told him," Anais shakes her head. "I don't…know if he believes me. They're all upset because I'm not pregnant yet." She picks at the cake again, though she doesn't actually eat any of it. "But I've never said no to him, Mama. And we- I mean. It was only two months before there were reavers at the gates, and we've been on short rations since then. And then he was ill for almost three months. But we're trying. Regularly. I mean." She looks down, picking at the table cloth. "Often, even, since he's been better. I shouldn't be worried, should I? I wasn't, but the more they keep sniping about it, the more I wonder."

Edith has little pleasure about her face, and she watches her daughter with careful eyes as she frets and worries. The question of fertility has certainly come up what with the notes and missives from Ser Sterling, but she now can see it wear on her daughter firsthand. "Stress does ill to the womb, sweetling. Your maester should know that. Your husband should as well." There is the softest tap-tapping of her fingers against the clothed table as she glances to the doors and back to her daughter once more. "I recall some hearsay about troubles with childbearing. Perhaps you and your husband need to take some time away from duty and requirement. Travel away from the Roost, find a place where there is little stress and better comforts. It needn't cost your household much, but if you can both find solace, perhaps a child will come."

"It's not trouble, though, is it?" Anais asks, looking to her mother for reassurance. "It's just…These things take time, and we haven't had much. You didn't have any trouble. There's no reason I should. And I'd like to take some time away with Jacsen, but there's so much to be done at the Roost right now. And he was so ill for so long, the Roost needs him there now, making decisions. Being strong."

"It is hard to say," Edith says softly to her daughter's concerns. "It has been hardly half a year yet… and some of that with your husband far beyond a proper state. I would give it more time, before we must begin to worry about that." She is kind enough at least not to say what it would mean if her daughter be found barren. None would want to hold onto seedless fruit. She once more offers her daughter a comforting squeeze to her hand. "I'm sure you have heard this before, my dearest… but let someone else take on the burden of the Roost. You cannot be its Lady without an heir, and you cannot have an heir if you are stressed."

"Who else, Mama? Lucienne? They already look too much to her." Anais sighs, turning her attention back to the cake and nibbling at a few crumbs. "I can do this. I can. I'm not just going to give up because it's not what I thought it would be." She looks up, every bit as stubborn, proud, and fierce as her father. "What should I do, Mama? How do I convince them that I'm on their side without letting them mess everything up?"

"I know you can, sweetling," Edith says in kind to her daughter. She is frowning however at the questions — it is hard for even her to admit when she does not have an easy answer. "I would say that your best course for now is to provide support, suggestions, and ultimately compromise. You must show some patience now, Anais. You must find a way to armor yourself well, and be able to… guide instead of lead."

"I'm not very good at that," Anais says glumly, falling back in her chair once more. "But I'll try. I don't have many other options, do I?" She reaches up, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. "I won't let her hurt them, though. I'll kill her first, Mama."

"It is time to learn new skills," Edith points out to her daughter, but then she sighs a bit to the last of her daughter's words. "And what good will you do them when you are hanged for murder, Anais?" There is a stern note in her tone. "Let her dig her own grave."

"She won't, though. They're too much in love with her." Anais falls silent, spinning her tea cup on its saucer with a scrape of china. "He wouldn't even hear it. How can-" But the cuts herself off, sighing. "It doesn't matter what should be. All that matters is what is. So you advise that I play nice with them for now."

Lady Banefort nods her head. "Play nice, make friends, and above all prove that you are an asset to the house." There is a small frown on her lips. "And find yourself a good Septa that can be more… helpful with the need for an heir. Obviously that maester is not even worth the metal about his throat." And she offers her daughter a quick, but sharp, smile.

Anais nods once, moving to stand. "I should get back to Jacsen," she says with a small smile, leaning forward to press a kiss to her mother's cheek. "Thank you, Mama. Tell Papa I said I love him, and I'm hoping to be able to bring him a grandson by the next time he sails the shore?" she asks, smile flickering.

Edith is on her feet in time with her daughter, stepping forward to take the kiss and return it with a gentle press. "I will tell him so, my dearest. We all look forward to that day." And she offers Anais's cheek a soft touch before she lifts the plate of seedcakes. "Take both you and Jacsen a cake." She's not all cold stone, after all…

Anais' smile quirks at the last, and she laughs, a ghost of the cheerful sound that once filled the halls of the Banefort. "Thank you, Mama," she says again, taking two cakes and wrapping them in a napkin. "I love you." And with that and with cake in her pocket, she slips from the tent to return back to the Terrick camp, with all that it entails.