|Summary:||The young people of Terrick's Roost flock to the kitchen for late suppers.|
|Kitchens — Four Eagles Tower|
|The kitchen is usually alive with activity but for the latest hours of the night. Stone counters with wooden tops line the interior except nearest the large brick ovens. Open fire pits in the center have iron bars across them for grilling as well, the hot surfaces on the other side of the room from the tables in the center used for final food preperation. Huge cabinets have been carved out of the walls to store the dishes and utensils for serving the meals to the House Lords and Ladies. The few exits lead towards the Servant's Quarters as well as the Throne Room and Entrance Hall.|
|August 16, 288|
It's not so late that the kitchens are deserted. But the frenetic pace at which they operate for most of the day has abated. Enough for one of the small tables usually reserved for the servants to take their meals to be occupied by someone who should likely not be in the kitchens at all. But here Liliana is to be found, poking savagely at a small personal sized pie, one of her handmaidens off in the room whispering conversationally to one of the retainers still in attendance of the kitchen. A glass of fresh, chilled milk sits besides the pie. It would all look very appetizing, if she hadn't already reduced the pie to its constituent parts.
It's been a busy day for Anais. In the morning, the dressmaker came. And there was discussion about fabric, and cuts, and colors, and decoration, and cloaks, and hair, and timing, and every possible issue that could be involved with a wedding dress. And then the jeweler came, because once the dress decisions were made, the jewelry decisions had to come next. And then they had to be seen to rooms. And lunch didn't happen. And when it was time for dinner, there were discussions with the housing staff about the number of rooms, and who might be expected to come for the wedding, and where tents might be set up for the tournament. And dinner didn't happen. So now, Anais creeps to the kitchen, peeking inside for any activity.
"Oh, Seven," she sighs when she sees Liliana, moving toward the table. "Do you think there are any more of those left?"
Liliana looks up, her face puffy with what looks like the aftermath of a colossal crying jag, but her face is washed and clear of even the slightest trace of tears. She looks neither upset nor angry, despite the savagery with which she assaulted that pie, her expression as still as ice. Her voice, however, is polite enough, as if she doesn't know how not to sound so, "Cook is only just setting them out to cool. I'm certain she would offer you one, if you liked, or whatever else suited your fancy, Lady Anais."
Anais' brows furrow when Liliana looks up, smile fading to concern. "Liliana?" she asks, reaching a hand for the other woman's wrist. "Are you all right?" She takes in the decimated pie again, this time in a different light. Pie forgotten, she pulls a chair up next to Liliana, settling in. "What happened?"
"I am fine, Anais, I promise you. But you should eat if you are hungry. It hardly seems right to let such a delicious creation go to waste. Cook will be pleased if you sampled her wares." Of course, there are many cooks, so better, perhaps to give the older, slightly rounded at the edges woman a name, "Daria, would you prepare a pie for the Lady Anais as well, and some wine?" Liliana never seems to partake of anything alcoholic, but neither does she object when others do.
Anais looks up to flash a brief smile at the cook, though she's soon back at Liliana, setting an elbow on the table and leaning over to fix her with a steady gaze. "Liliana," she murmurs, keeping her voice low. "You are one of the most centered, capable, balanced women I know. But something has /clearly/ upset you. What's happened?"
It takes little more than a few minutes and two trips through the storage of the kitchens, to set a fresh bottle of wine and a glass at Anais' right, and in front of her, a small, still slightly steaming pie in front of her, in easy reach, knife and fork to follow. The two house retainers curtsey as appropriate, before they steps back to allow the two noblewomen their conversation. The pie itself is redolent with the scent of freshly roasted venison, thick gravy and earthy root vegetables. "I was summoned by Lord Ser Terrick." The name given is such a way that she must mean Jerold, and Jaremy, "And I have been informed that my family is departing for the Mire tomorrow, if all goes well."
"Thank you so much," Anais smiles warmly to the servants. "It looks and smells wonderful." Once they back away, she turns back to Liliana, digging into the pie with her fork as she listens. It serves well, as she has a few extra minutes to consider while she chews and swallows. "That's…interesting," she says afterwards. "Jaremy had mentioned that he hoped the Naylands and the Terricks could have a meeting on neutral Camden ground. Perhaps they're only going to deliver an invitation?"
Now that Liliana sees that Anais is eating, she turns herself to the destruction she's made of her own pie, beginning to eat despite what's been done to it, and the fact that it's likely stone cold, "I am not certain which was the worse. Being dressed down by the Lord Ser, or finding out they were leaving. They have been here barely a sevenday, and now I must say goodbye to them again." Apparently, the two events were not related. "I am certain that is why they travel there. But I wish they would not go yet." A shake of her head, "Would that Wren were here. He would know what to do."
"Dressed down?" Anais echoes, taking another bite of her pie and watching the other woman with some concern. "What in the world could he dress you down for? I can't imagine anyone less deserving." She tries to be polite about the eating. Really, she does. But it's clear that she hasn't eaten since breakfast, because each bite comes faster than the last, and she isn't pausing for very long in between them.
It cannot be said, that the retainers of House Terrick are not an observant lot. Indeed, another pie is soon delivered, as quickly and unobtrusively as can be managed, Liliana at least pausing until the second serving is delivered. Her own pie is diminishing, slowly but surely, but for all the woman seems to taste it, it might as well be being eaten by someone else. "He reminded me that it is unseemly for a woman of noble breeding to wander solely in the company of a man, and indicated that I should find myself new handmaidens, if the ones I have been assigned do not please me." Yes, Liliana, the great evader of her chaperones. "I do not know what the means, deserving. I am what I have been bred to be."
Anais wrinkles her nose at the word 'unseemly,' even if she blushes a bit at the delivery of the second pie, turning a brief smile on the servants. "Well. We do both know that," she allows, taking another bite of her pie. "And I will confess, more often than not I assume that my guards are sufficient. I know it would be /more/ appropriate to travel with another woman. But my sisters may drive me to insanity if I spend all of my time with them. And by deserving, I mean you have been simply /amazing/ with all of this, Liliana," she adds, glancing up from her pie. "With the guests, and the arrangements, and the meals. If you weren't here, I think I'd be pulling my hair out worrying over whether or not it would be appropriate for me to try to step in."
"Then perhaps you should prevail on Young Lord Terrick to avail you of a few handmaidens that you can have travel with you when you go about your duties. If one man is inappropriate, I do not see that his Lord Father will think that a fair number of them would be any better. He reminded me that it destructive to a woman's virtue and reputation. And as the future Lady Terrick, your reputation is of even more importance than mine, because the Young Lord's reputation will also be affected." Liliana finally just sets the fork aside, the pie barely half-finished, looking rather dreadfully abused, "I have been taught well. At home, here at the tower. I am certain my training will be finished soon enough. But if you are uncertain, seek permission from Lady Lucienne. She would be able to instruct you on how much freedom you are allowed to manage household affairs. Better, it might be, for you to begin now. In less than two months, this will be your household."
"That," Anais murmurs around a mouthful of pie, "Is a frightening thought." She chews and swallows before she continues, shaking her head slightly. "I'll still be in a careful sort of position as Jaremy's wife. It will still be his father's household. But if we both must be more cautious, why don't we simply accompany each other?" she suggests, looking over with a flicker of a smile. "I doubt that was entirely Lord Jerold's intention, but at least you know that I and I know that you will not be terribly scandalized if the other dares to dirty her hands."
Liliana's voice, or more to the point, her words, are gentle, as always, but she is still speaking from secondhand knowledge, for all that it's good advice, since she has neither husband, betrothed or household to call her own. "It is frightening, but you will have all of the Terrick women to assist you, and all of their able retainers. And more importantly, you will have Jaremy to guide you and manage things as you both see fit. "I would be glad to accompany you, Anais, as I have always done. But you will be more and more confined to the castle as the wedding approaches. And I am not a gentle woman, in that regard. I have no head for needlework, embroidery or decoration."
"It is not my preference," Anais confesses, setting an elbow onto the table and propping her chin up on the heel of her hand as she starts in on the second pie, her pace a little slower now. "I'm afraid I'm really terribly useless, when it comes down to it. The things I am good at…Well, I could be a sailor, were I not a Lady. And as a lady, I am best at dancing and singing. Which are lovely, ladylike skills, but not ones to be much admired in a grown woman. I can keep a book, I suppose," she muses. "I am very good at mathemathics."
"That is a wonderful skill for a woman of the House. Normally, the duty of keeping the records of the House's coin falls to the Lord and his steward. But perhaps the Young Lord could see to making you a part of that. On singing and dancing, I cannot help you, as I am not skilled in either. My sole ladylike skills tend to calligraphy and the playing of stringed instruments. Though I have some good skill at the study of heraldry. All of my skills are suited to field and forest. if I could be one of my Lord Uncle's rangers, I would be better used. But you have gone too far now to think on your preferences. As soon as the contract was inked and dried, you were committed to be a Lord's wife."
"I was committed to be a Lord's wife long before that," Anais laughs softly, shaking her head as she eats. "What other options do we really have? I can't say I would wish to join the Faith. I /like/ men. And I like the things that come with nobility. I like fine dresses, and good meals," she gestures to her pie with her fork. "I like security. The question was whether I would marry well or not. To be honest, this is one of the best matches I could hope for. At least Terrick's Roost isn't isolated, or falling apart."
"There is a difference between thinking it some future possibility and knowing that it will soon come to pass. I was also raised to be a Lord's wife, but I know that I never will be. I am nearly too old now, and soon enough I will be returning to Tall Oaks. So likely as not, everything I have learned all of my life is a useless thing. I have considered the Sept. I know nothing of men, have never given them enough thought to feel any affection for them. It never seemed there was a point in it. It is not our lot to have the freedom to marry for love. So why allow myself to feel it, only to have it be taken away from me? But I do not call the faith of the Seven my own, and I would not disgrace those who do by pretending otherwise," as would be required if she took the oaths. "This is a good match, the Terricks, and the Young Lord is a good choice, if you had one to make."
"It's not so hard to love them, I think," Anais smiles crookedly to Liliana. "Whoever they are." Anais and Liliana are seated at a small table set to one side of the kitchens, speaking quietly. There's one decimated pie near Liliana, and another at Anais' elbow as she works on a second. A full day of wedding preparations and discussions left no time for a meal after an early breakfast, and she seems to be making up for it now. "But you seem fond of your family, Liliana," she tips her head to one side, thoughtful. "Surely it's not so sad a thing, if you've no real desire for a family, to go home and be with your own?"
"Loving is never hard, Anais. It is letting go of the ones that you love that tears your heart out. Well did I learn that when my Uncle left me here two, no nearly three years ago now." Liliana finally takes up her milk, the liquid now much warmer than it should be, but she drinks it nonetheless, "I did, when I was a young girl." Liliana pauses, the fingers of her left hand turning the glass on the servant's table she and Anais are sitting at. Liliana's handmaiden is sitting off by some of the house retainers, speaking, probably gossiping but still in good view of Anais and Lili. The other retainers are preparing pies and other things for the morning's meal, some of which now sits at the table the ladies share, "I dreamed of a House of my own, a Lord Husband, enough children to fill it. But I am a child no longer. I long ago gave up childish dreams. Truth, it will not be so bad to return to my home, but I will be the youngest daughter of a large House."
The sound of soft footsteps approaching comes in the direction of the stairs that lead to the main hall. Carried on soft boots and wearing house-comfortable silks in white and breeches in browns and blacks, Jaremy steps into the kitchen. Entering at just the right lull in the conversation, he doesn't notice the two as he strides towards a few of the cupboards. Trying to find something left behind that the cats wouldn't steal, he starts by picking up an apple, polishing it against his silken shirt as he looks for more.
"Being the youngest daughter of a large house may mean little to noblemen," Anais allows. "Seven know, I know." A faint smile touches one corner of her lips as she shakes her head. "By rights, Shayla or Elinor should have had this match. But rights…Well. My father is the first to say that right can be what you make of it. I knew he'd not object if I proved myself." She doesn't seem to notice Jaremy just yet, still disappearing that second pie. "But I doubt one of your father's rangers would object to a match. And then the two of you could happily ride, and hunt, and hawk every day for the rest of your lives. And that, I think, would not be so terrible."
"I will not deny that you played the game well, and won yourself the Young Lord in the game. But as progressive as my Lord Uncle might be, yet I do not think that he would allow me to marry one of our smallfolk. And I am related by blood to all of our noble rangers. And we do not practice such abominations as the Targaryans believed in." It takes her a moment as well, before she notices the furtive movements in the storage areas, and whatever else she might hae said is cut off, as she rises to her feet, dipping a polite curtsey, "Young Lord Terrick."
The sudden announcement forces Jaremy to whip his head in their direction, apple trapped between his teeth and instinctively hiding what appears to be some sort of dry handful of crackers behind his back. Sure, he heard quiet talking, but it's usually the house's cook that addresses him by his full title, not quiet servant girls speaking at the corner table. Seeing that it's them, however, his eyebrows fall back to their normal position as he plucks the apple from his mouth. "My Ladies…" He says, relieved with a boyish smile, glancing around the room, looking for their chaperones, if any. "…I'm not interrupting am I? I was about to sneak up for bed, just thought I'd take a snack with me."
"Don't you have any sworn swords?" Anais arches a brow at Liliana. "It would likely have been a ship's captain for me, had I been less lucky. He might have been a knight as well, or a member of a lesser house, or an eleventh son as well." As she speaks to someone behind her, though, she twists, cheeks flushing with her smile when she sees Jaremy. And then she looks at the two empty pie pans at her side, and turns a deeper shade of red. "No, no interruption," she assures. "I was- Well, I spent all morning with the dressmaker, and then the jeweler, and then there was looking into arrangements for housing all of the guests and. I missed lunch. And dinner."
Liliana reclaims her seat, now that her duty has been seen to, though she makes no more attempt to finish the milk she had in hand just a few minutes ago, "Very few. None who would be suitable." But on the conversation she and Anais were having, she says no more, now that they have Jaremy's attention, "Daris would not begrudge you something to eat I think. If Lady Anais or I were to ask her nicely." It's always the girls that can get their way. The seat is reclaimed only for a moment, before she rises once again, "I will leave you two to your conversations. I will leave Elise with you, Lady Anais." Hands move to clear away her own dishes, her expression once again as distant as it was in the Lord Terrick's reading room.
Jaremy, after returning from escorting Ryker's entourage to Stonebridge and a late meeting with his father, has been busy all day. Though it would seem that between his mother and the rest of the ladies from his house, he's mostly been set to arrange the tourney. Hee. At least he gets to keep the apple. Taking a loud, crunching bite from it, he chews quickly and lifts himself to sit with his feet dangling on the wooden cooking table at the center of the kitchen. "The jeweler, aye? And the dressmaker? I've yet to be tailored, but I will admit it's a shame I'm not to see this dress until the day of. Are there any details you can give me on it, Anais? Maybe a slight one?" To keep the conversation light, he smiles in their direction, fingertips drumming against the table he sits on. "Oh, Liliana, no it's quite all right. I've got to go to bed in a few minutes as it is. I've Caytiv in the yard in the morning again. I just need my strength." He salutes them with the apple.
"It will be beautiful," Anais answers Jaremy simply, a small smile at one corner of her lips. "And beyond that, I am to tell you nothing. There is ever more to decide about it all. Cloaks, and hair, and jewelry, and shoes. It never ends. It's entirely possible you may not even recognize me, so I shall have to keep a close eye on my sisters." She reaches for her glass, half-full of wine, as she looks to Liliana. "Sleep well, Liliana," she offers softly. "I'm sure I'll see you in the morning. How is Cayt adjusting?" she asks Jaremy, a glimmer of concern in her eyes.
Liliana shakes her head, as she moves to set her dishes on the sideboard, seeming more than happy to escape the couple, though that shows more in the line of her shoulders than in her face. How well she's learned the arts required of a lady of the court. "A good night to you, Lord Terrick, Lady Anais." The farewell offered without looking at either of them, as her skirts are flicked into order and she takes her leave of the kitchens, going up the rear servant's stairs to the rooms above.
Jaremy watches Liliana's sudden escape in silence, frowning as she speeds away from their conversation. Apple in one hand, he brushes through his hair with the other, causing his long, brown hair to hang off of one half of his head. "Rough day…" he says, as if that will explain things. Knowing it's not much of an explanation, but at least one he can provide insight into, he looks back to Anais. "…I feel he's doing well. He's got a good head and a strong heart, though I've yet to talk to him since the happening at the marketplace. I'll be checking up to see how he's fared since then."
"Good," Anais nods to the last, taking a sip of her wine. "I wanted to see if he was all right, but…Well. I'm sure you're familiar with it by now. I don't know that he's used to quite that weight of responsibility. A sheep is one thing. A woman is another. He's not quite so thick as he makes himself seem sometimes." Tucking a piece of hair behind her ear, she watches him at the cooking table, smile quirking. "I can almost see you doing exactly that as a child of eight or ten, you know," she observes, amused.
Jaremy looks to the servants in the corner, making sure that the chaperone is still in place. "Oh really, can you now?" He asks, turning his gaze back to her. Leaning forward a little, he lets one leg swing idly while he plants his arms on either side of her and sends a broad, beaming smile in her direction that quickly disappears into a strong-jawed, quieted stare towards her. He's teasing. "I was never a child, My Lady, I went straight from cloth bundle to squire to knight to husband." He can hardly hide his smile behind the apple as he takes another bite.
"Lies," Anais declares cheerfully, flashing a grin over the rim of her glass. "For all I know, you were still wearing swaddling clothes until word reached the tournament that the Baneforts were on the way and your nurse quickly stuffed you into a man's things." Some rumors, it seems, have been kept from the Lady's ears. "Have you any word of the merchant?" she asks then, switching to a more serious topic. "Is he recovering well?"
"I heard he'll live, but he's in pain. It will be a while before he gets out of that bed, but it seems the merchants have come together to continue to sell his wares so that the honey will be sold. Which, that's really good of them. They've somewhat pulled together. Elden is well liked." Bobbing his head with a slight amount of positivity, he pauses for another crunching take from the apple, straigthening his back as he chews. "Is it just me or does it feel like this next month is going to pass so…so…slowly, and then the moment the tourney starts it will blink past? Speaking of which…after our conversation about being stuck, I want to know your thoughts on me partaking in the joust. Honestly. I'm on the fence about it, because technically I should see to the guests, but at the same time I may get another chance at Crakehall and any other knights from the Westerlands."
Anais presses her lips together at the question, brushing her thumb over them as she looks him over. "I am afraid I'm torn as well," she says slowly, pensive. "I know you want to. And I would love a chance to /see/ you. But I would also like you to be able to /stand/ at the wedding," she adds, smile flickering. "And…And there are other things. And I can't even think about what should happen if- If something should go wrong, Jaremy. Granted," she snorts softly. "Your father did set my mind at ease that I wouldn't be sent home."
"Well…let's sleep on it. After breakfast and after my morning with Caytiv, we'll talk over it again. I wouldn't be able to join my brother in the grand melee, either, and I've seen the point you just made as well." He shrugs, hopping down from the table to step over to her. Apple in hand, he reaches for her hand with his left to properly kiss her knuckles good night before he heads to bed. "We'll find the right of it. You'll see my joust sooner or later, I promise my lady." He grins up her arm towards her eyes. "Sleep well when you do."
Anais gives his hand a gentle squeeze as he lifts hers, smile faint. "It would be wisest if you didn't ride," she admits. "But I am not always wise. If you did…" She glances to the chaperone, then grins, lowering her voice. "You should enter as a mystery knight. That way if you fall, your father need never know. And if you win, then who could complain?" Her grip lingers just a moment before she loosens her fingers, leaning back in her chair. "Sleep well, Jaremy. Give my love to Cayt in the morning."
"I truly will. What love of yours I don't take with me into sleep tonight he'll surely get." He winks, letting her have her hand back. "Then I'm going to chase him around the yard with a sword. It should be a good time." Taking his apple with him, he quickly snaps back to the center table for the crackers. Grinning as he 'liberates' them from the kitchen, he lifts his eyebrows to Anais in a moment of comedy as he slinks off towards the stairs.