|No Dishonour Nor Bastards|
|Summary:||Safely returned from her trip to Stonebridge, Evayne finds herself being put to the question by her worried mother.|
|Date:||22/02/2013 (OOC Date)|
|Related Logs:||Stranger's Masquerade and A Tree Unmasked|
|Servant's Quarters, Braeburn House|
|February 18th, 290|
Riding into the courtyard of Braeburn House, the strange pair on the huge destrier - a knight in a tattered dragon costume and the kitchen maid - had been welcomed by her mother. It had not been exactly a warm welcome, but a civil one – at least to some degree. But with Ser Leon leading the horse soon off into the stables and Evayne and her mother going inside the Main Building, the gathering had quickly dissolved.
Leading the way into the servant's quarters now is Gabryella Potter, a ripe woman in her mid-forties, a little plump perhaps from giving birth to numerous children, but with a face that some still might call pretty, framed with impressive chestnut brown locks. Clad in a dress of brown colour, the resolute spark in her brown eyes shows she is most eager to have a few words alone with her daughter and shoos most of the other servants present at this hour away by her mere presence. Casting a glance about the room, Gabryella takes a few steps over to the large table before she shrugs lightly and shakes her head. „It hasn't changed much since I worked here. Looks pretty much the same, actually.“
Upon entering behind her mother Evayne is greeted by her younger sister Carys, who rises from her seat beside the hearth and runs up to her for an affectionate hug. „I'm so glad you're back!“ The hug is returned as Evie offers a softly spoken reply into her sister's ear. „Of course I am.“ and a warm smile.
„Carys, dear? Would you go to the kitchens and see if you can get us something to eat and drink?“ Gabryella interjects before the joy of being reunited threatens to become overly long. Her gaze follows her red-haired younger daughter as she moves off to the kitchens, waiting until the door closes behind her.
„So, my dear Evie.“ she then says matter-of-factly, turning her attention to the elder daughter who is still holding little Rychard on her arm, her attentive eyes moving up and down her frame. „You look tired, and certainly wore your best to the dance, as I can see?“ Her gaze resting on the neatly tied laces of the bodice as Evie sets her little boy down onto the floor to get rid of that cloak. „Your clothes are not deranged, thank the Seven. I was a little worried after seeing his costume.“
„Mother.“ Evayne replies over her shoulder, straightening and smiling for a moment down at Rychard who sits at her feet, his arms outstretched to her with a merry look on his little face. „His costume looks deranged, because he couldn't take it off. His sister sewed him into it.“
„Now that was some pretty good thinking, wasn't it?“ Gabryella retorts. „I would not have liked the same thing happen to you again, Evie.“ She raises a brow. „It didn't, I hope? Aww, you know, that your careless personality and a dance aren't a good combination. Got you the little one the last time, remember?“
Evayne looks up and casts her mother a reproachful glance. „Mother, that's not fair. I was so much younger back then. I…“ she breaks off, and stares at her mother, shaking her head. „I don't believe you're bringing all of this up again. It all turned out well with Gedyon. He… accepted the consequences and all. But this time… As I said, nothing's happened. Ser Leon is a man of honour. I wouldn't have gone with him, if I didn't trust him.“
Listening to her daughter's words in silence, Gabryella's eyes are still intently studying her face. „But… you wouldn't have told him to stop if he'd tried to… 'dishonour' you, would you?“ she remarks sharply. „I can see it in your face. You are totally in love with him, no matter how hard you try to conceal it.“
Indeed. Evayne blushes a deep red as she feels herself seen through this easily. „Mother. Yes, I like him very much indeed. But would that be so wrong? He likes me, too. And he respects me. My honour. He's a knight, remember?“
Now Gabryella is silent for a moment, astonished by her daughter's naivete. „Is that what you think, Evie?“ she finally asks, looking at her daughter with a worried smile. „What do you think happens in times of war? That knights act all chivalrous all the time? There is violence and there is rape, Evie. And those 'honourable' fellows are often the first that forget their knightly vows.“ A hard look is shot towards her daughter. „I will neither have you violated, dear, nor your reputation.“
Evayne just shakes her head. „He wouldn't. And he didn't. Who knows, maybe he'll marry me…? Wouldn't that please you, mother? A true knight for a good-son?“ Obviously trying to placate her mother with this particular possibility.
„Sure it would.“ Gabryella replies looking not too convinced. „If he does though is another question. These Commoner knights are ambitious sometimes. They take whatever they can for their pleasure and then walk off marrying some minor noble lady, if they are permitted. Or some daughter of a rich merchant.“ She sighs and shakes her head. „I shouldn't have let you take up work here, after all.“
„But not Ser Leon.“ her daughter objects, a little feebly. Finally something seems to dawn on her though. „Has this happened to you, mother? Some knight dumped you for a rich girl?“
Gabryella's eyes narrow at that question. She tilts her head to the side as she folds her arms before her. „And if it did? What would it matter now? We're talking about you here at the moment. Not me. Let us not forget that I am the woman happily married, while you… are a widow in need of a husband. Now… need I worry about a new grandchild, that might grow there inside of you? Did you… let him have his way with you?“
„No.“ Evayne replies, looking suddenly very weary, her gaze belatedly flitting down to little Rychard pulling at her green skirt from where he sits on the floor. And with a sigh she bends over to pick him up again, the infant making cheerful noises as he is safely back on her arm. „He's getting heavier every day.“ the kitchen maid remarks in a casual tone, in the hope of turning the conversation into another direction.
„But you spent the night together, didn't you? I don't believe you have been dancing till the first light of morning.“ her mother continues ignoring Evayne's endeavours to change the subject, her voice sharp as a blade and her eyes keen as an eagle's as they watch her daughter's reactions very closely.
„We… stayed at the Common House, mother. An inn at Stonebridge. He had arranged a room for me,… but he slept in the stables.“ Evie answers, her gaze dropping to the floor before her. „And he wore that costume at all times, see? Couldn't take it off anyway.“
Gabryella snorts at the reply. „What an assuring fact, dear. What safety does a costume provide, I wonder, even if he's been sewn into it? A human being must answer to the calls of nature now and then. Don't tell me his sister hasn't arranged for certain parts of the costume to be removed, if he'd had to take a piss, or something? No, I'm sure his cock has been accessible during the entire trip, and I'm sure you have given many a thought to that fact…“
„Mother!“ Evie objects, deeply offended. All blood rushes into that face of hers, turning her cheeks a deep red. Not the usual blush, but one that is enhanced with anger. „How can you… speak so? And in front of him?“ She tilts her head in Rychard's direction. „I am your Evie, not a harlot from a brothel.“ And finally the pressure and the lack of sleep take their toll on the kitchen maid's composure, and she begins to sob. „Can't you be happy for my sake, that I had something good happening to me for the first time in almost two years? A dance, a day away from the daily tasks… An adventure, memories that I can draw new strength from?“
Somehow taken aback by her daughter's reaction, the mother takes her and Rychard into her arms in a long comforting embrace, the voice soft now and soothing. „Evie, forgive me. I didn't mean to be this harsh with you. I'm your mother, I am supposed to care about your happiness. Sometimes your emotions tend to get the upper hand. It is then that you shan't forget about your sense, dear.“
„You need to trust me mother. I… am not the girl I was back then…“ Evayne replies, passionately returning the hug as it is her mother's love she needs right now. „I'll make no mistakes. No dishonour or bastards, I promise.“
Her mother nods slowly and smiles. „Just make sure it stays that way. If he should get you with child, who knows if he would be man enough to accept the responsibility – knight or not.“ And so they stand, three generations of Potters united in a tight and comforting hug, Gabryella's head leaning against Evayne's, until Carys finally arrives, with bread and cheese and some ale.