|Not So Bad After All|
|Summary:||Cordelya and Anais make friendly.|
|Related Logs:||Yup. Most of the breaking the siege logs.|
|Rooftop Terrace — Four Eagles Tower|
|January 19, 289|
Last night's wedding was a success. Getting out of bed this morning, on the other hand, was not so much. Anais spent most of the morning recovering from her hangover in the reading room, but seems to have recovered well enough to take to the roof. She's looking a little paler than usual, and a little frailer, but is otherwise intact. Her guard and handmaid are chatting off to one side, while Anais herself looks down at the land directly beneath the walls, fingers tapping pensively on the stone.
Cordelya has actually gotten one of the best nights of sleep she's had in ages. They are few and far between, so Corrie was happy to take this. Then some time with her husband and, over all, it's been a pretty damned good day for the young Cordeyla Flint. She's now coming to get some fresh air to clear her throat and head. Her hair is still a bit wild from some activities that weren't bathing. She's in an elegant, very low waisted emerald dress secured by a silver sash around her lower hips. She's certainly not one expecting! She pauses as she sees Anais, uncertain to approach or not. "Do I bother, lady?"
Anais looks up at the sound of an approach, a smile curving when she recognizes the source. "Lady Cordelya," she greets warmly. "No, there's nothing to bother," she assures, waving a hand in dismissal of the concern. "I was just…taking a bit of fresh air. And thinking a few things over," she admits, looking to the walls once more. "I hope everything is well with you?"
"Corrie, please….please. Just Corrie." The slightly older woman reassures, still not all that used to being referred to in proper terms. The crannogwoman steps across the stone and to the closest place to sit, either on the floor or on a near by bench, muscles still liquid relaxed from enjoyments of the day. "Everything is… as well as one can at war. And yourself? What… what is wrong?" She's both a chiurgeon and rather empathetic. It's not hard to miss that something's wrong.
Anais laughs softly at the question, rueful. "What isn't?" she asks in turn, resting her elbows on the edge of the wall as she looks over. "I had a bit more to drink last night than I should have," she confesses, pressing one hand to her brow. "I wanted to forget all the numbers I'd worked on all day. And the tales. And the news. And what's to come. And…other things." Dropping the hand, she rolls one shoulder in a crooked shrug.
Cordelya remains settled in, skirts pooled all around her as she relaxes in an almost childish fashion. Older in years, but there are many things far more immature about Corrie than Anais. Still, her eyes are soft. Worried and gently intelligent, she studies the woman's face quietly before patting the stone next to her. "Come here… sit. Relax… talk to me. I will swear to the Gods I shan't let anything you tell past my lips. You… you seem surrounded by sharks in this place, Anais. Take a friend where you can."
Anais is hesitant, watching Cordelya for a long moment before she finally sighs, moving to join her on the stone. She's still silent for another long moment, occupying herself by carefully smoothing out her skirts. "Apparently," she finally says, "My goodmother is pregnant. And she thought the right place to announce that was at the party after the wedding last night. And the worst part is that it's really the /smallest/ of things, but it's just…adding insult to injury."
Cordelya blinks, just -staring- at the woman as she hears that information. She knows little about the Lady Terrick, but she's heard things and this revelation is a shock. "…Pregnant. At her age." Corrie breathes out, a slow, sad shake to her head. "…Even with the best of care, she will be lucky it is not a death sentence for her or child." The young woman seems almost speechless, perplexed at the risk, gutted and saddened by it. "And to announce this at another's -wedding-? She has no… care or kindness in her? Gods… I… I am sorry, Anais… sorry for your friends… and your family. Sorry for you…" She reaches out, and unless the woman pulls away, she takes Anais' hand gently between her fingertips. A light squeeze is given.
Anais smiles faintly at Cordelya, bemused at the other woman's concern. "It isn't all /that/ bad, Corrie," she notes, though she seems glad enough for the touch, giving her hand a squeeze. "It's just…like I said. Insult to injury. Mostly I'm afraid that with the news that his wife is pregnant, Lord Jerold might choose to send Jacsen to Seagard instead of going himself." There's a stillness about her at that. "And I spoke with the men Ser Aeric brought back with him. They really did manage to destroy the Golden Fleet. And because of that they've ravaged the coast. The Banefort is at least under siege. And far more heavily than we were, I'm sure."
The slightly older woman looks over Anais with still clearly worried eyes. Corrie doesn't speak quite yet, at least not to the subject at hand. "…Anais… you are quite… Tense. Ill at ease. There are points on a human's body, in hands…feet, and along the back, that can help release tension. I do not know if I have anything to say that might ease your mind, but I can at least ease your body… Let me help?" And, if Anais permits at all, Cordelya will shift to come sit directly behind her and reach up for her shoulders, smoothly Anais' hair aside. "The Ironborn are a plague of… insanity and viciousness. I do not think our men have ever fought a war against such men as these. It is… terrifying. I do understand the worry of sending one's husband to war… this is the first night I actually managed to sleep since they marched. I suspect it might be one of the last."
Tense is an understatement. Anais has never slept well, but between the siege and its aftermath, she's slept even less. And for all she intends to trust Cordelya, there's an instinctive tension - after all of that fear - to letting someone behind her. "We've fought them from the Banefort," she says quietly. "Just…never in these /numbers/. And the Banefort was built to resist them. Here…In a few weeks time, if the numbers I heard from Stonebridge are correct, I'm going to have fifteen hundred smallfolk looking to me. The town is destroyed. Our stores are nearly gone. The harvest is gone. And there isn't much in the way of coin, either."
Cordelya shifts fully back there, not totally missing the renewed tension in the woman's body. Hopefully she can help relieve that. She starts easy, just with the bare part of her shoulders and the back of her neck. For having such thin hands, they are long and strong. Corrie is quite good with them, remarkably so. She's the sort of tough mistress that will rub circles into the worst of knots, probably illiciting small whimpers of pain, even if it will feel better later. However! She's starting gentle. She allows one of her hands to work at the back of Annie's neck as her other reaches up and begins to undo her hair. Nothing to bring pain. All for relaxation. Her nails very gingerly work their way against Anais' skull beneath the layer soft hair. "There are thousands of men marching… they will defeat them. Then… then it is to worry about rebuilding. Yes, it will be hard. But there are lands that can be sewn… the sea will be fished until more harvest is made. This is a summer land, Anais. Fertile and rich. YOur people may want, but they will not starve."
"Fished with what?" Anais murmurs, letting her head droop at the pressure of Corrie's fingers. "The reavers took or burned everything bigger than a one-man skiff. And we can rebuild, but people can't rebuild on empty stomachs. And they'll need to plant as soon as possible. It's…" She sighs, eyes closing. "At this point, all I can hope is that our men manage to come back with some impressive loot after a victory. But that's just not very likely. We're not a big enough force to hold it even if we won it."
Cordelya continues those low and gentle motions, letting her fingertips massage down Anais' scalp now as her head drops forward. At least something seems to be helping. The bog woman truly has a gift. Maybe that's why her husband smiles so often to her? "Fish with sticks and poles, standing on the shore. Or if their are shallow areas, I can even teach your common folk how to fish with their hands. People make due, Anais… they always have and always will. This is not the first war they've ever seen."
"Well it's the first one where I've been responsible for them," Anais grumbles, though the heat behind it has been dissipated by the other woman's gentle touch. "And I can't put fifteen hundred people on the shore with sticks and lines. If they're going to live off of fish, we need to be able to take to the sea. Which has its own challenges, and likely will even if we defeat the Ironborn tomorrow." She draws a slow breath through her nose, letting it out on a sigh. "Is it- Sometimes I'm angry," she confesses quietly. "That we weren't better prepared for this."
Finally, having gone over Anais' scalp as much as she could, she reaches down to gingerly loosen the stays on the back of her dress. She's using her own body to block anything uncouthe from being seen. She peels back the layers of the dress and begins truly working her thumbs into the knots on either side of Annie's spine. "I don't blame you. I would be as well… though it isn't your fault, or your husband's… this is on the Lord Jerold's shoulders and his wife. You are to be learning from them, not yet replacing them. Learn from these mistakes they have made. You will be a letter Lady for it."
Anais starts to look over her shoulder when Cordelya reaches for her stays, but she doesn't protest. The rest of it felt good enough, after all. "I don't blame me, either," she shakes her head. "I just…I don't want to blame Lord Jerold and Lady Evangeline, either. It's not useful. It's not going to achieve anything or help anything to blame people and be angry." She pauses, folding her hands in her lap and wincing as Cordelya finds a knot just by her shoulderblade. "It's just easier to be angry than it is to be afraid."
Cordelya lingers at that knot, shifting her body up onto her knees so she can put a little (literal) elbow grease into it. She's focused, quite knowledgable about the play of muscles below skin. As good as most Maesters, truth be told, and with the understanding of a woman's body. "If… if you live off of fear, Anais, it will drive you to insanity." And that is also said with -too- much understanding. It's a topic close to her heart. "…So… yes. Let those who care about you take care of you, and you focus on rebuilding and taking care of your people."
"There's not-" Anais braces herself, then hisses softly as the knot dissolves under the other woman's touch. "That's just it, Corrie. There's no one to take care of me anymore. It's my turn to take care of everyone else." There's the faintest note of surprise in her voice, as though she's just come to this realization. "My father, my brothers…they're not here to protect me. My mother isn't here to cry to. And everyone else is looking to /me/ for strength and protection."
Cordelya eases, just a bit, on that wincing knot, but she doesn't back away. She just soothes it with gentle, small circles of her fingertips before digging in deep again. She tsks a bit. "We should have done this in your rooms. There is no way I will manage to fix all this sitting as you are in your shift…But we'll do what we can." And then she goes quiet for a few long heartbeats, her hands and soft breath the only sound between them, "…I… do not know how long I will be here, Anais… but for as long as I am, you will have me. I have spent most my life being a care taker… doing what I can to fix body and soul. Let… let me help you."
"Oh," Anais murmurs as Cordelya finds another knot, grimacing and shifting her shoulders. "Oh, that's been bothering me since the night the siege started." She closes her eyes, letting the offer sink in for a long moment. "Thank you, Corrie," she says softly. "I…Is it strange, that as soon as I know there's someone I /could/ panic at, that pressure in my chest is just…gone? As if I'd done it already?"
"Don't thank me… I was not always… as… strong as I am now." Corrie admits quietly. "I know what it is to need someone who is real. Someone's touch and their heart. Their mind. I managed through it all. The least I can do it is be that for another. Especially one whom…I… I do dearly understand." Another Young Lady. Another new wife. They really were similiar. Corrie finishes with that knot then lets her fingertips drop a bit lower, working against the small of the woman's spine. "And if you think this feels good, we should go find your rooms. Your whole body carries the weight of the ages." It's no wonder poor Annie hasn't conceived!
"It seems almost a waste, knowing what the weeks to come are likely to bring," Anais sighs, looking over her shoulder with a small smile. "And chances are someone would tell me it's terribly improper. But…" She reaches up to rub a hand over her face, then laughs softly. "Really, I think I've had enough of being told what's proper after the last few days." There's a pause, as she adjusts the shoulders of her dress, before she looks back again. "And maybe you can show me some of how you do it? Jacsen's leg…I'd like to be able to help."
Cordelya nods curtly, immediately fixing the stays again, at least enough that they will be proper to move down to the woman's rooms. What is wrong with ladies being companionable? There should, hopefully, be no issue. At the question of Jacsen's leg, Corrie nods as well, standing and offering Anais a gentle hand up. "Take it slow, the blood moves sluggish after such a sesson. You do no wish to swoon. And of course, I can show you several techniques to ease the worst of his leg. After years, it can even help reverse some damage by keeping the sinews limber."
"Swoon," Anais chuckles, though she does take Cordelya's hand and rise slowly. "I'm not sure I know how to swoon, but I'm reasonably certain it's something one does when there are attractive knights around that one wishes to keep one from falling with their strong arms."
Kincaid and Nina - guard and handmaid - also straighten, though the guard calls over. "Oi! I've got strong arms, Annie, and you never swooned at me."
"I figure you'd be distracted," Anais chuckles back to her guard, reaching out to link arms with Cordelya. "Anything I can do to ease his pain would be helpful," she continues in the vein of their conversation. "Thank you, Corrie. Maybe…things aren't quite so terrible after all."
Cordelya happily slips her arm through Anais', smile warm and relaxed now herself. It seems the young lady actually takes pleasure in caring for others as well. "Mm.. Swooning also happens when you have vital fluids moving to other parts of your body that are not your head. It's just best to be careful. Especailly if your sworn is so easily distracted." Corrie grins over to Kincaid and tosses a casual wink as they all take to the stairs to move inside. "And I will teach you techniques. I possibly might be able to figure a numbing salve for him as well… but I prefer to know a person's mind and form before I mix herbs for them."
"That makes sense," Anais agrees to the last as the little group starts back toward the noble rooms. She may still be a wee bit tender from the night before, but at least she seems to be in a much better mindset, carefully rebuilding the walls of her own self-confidence.