Page 031: Raspberry Tea
Raspberry Tea
Summary: Ser Gedeon looks in on the poorly Lady Igara Frey.
Date: 12/08/288
Related Logs: Not-So-Invited Guests
Gedeon Igara 
Guest Room — Four Eagles Tower (TP Room)
A tidy and welcoming guest room.
12 August 288

As the one who carried her to bed the day before, perhaps Gedeon Rivers feels a bit of duty, or simply a bit of compassion, for the frail and sickly Lady Frey. So it is that the following morning finds him, with an escort of two female Terrick retainers to protect all propriety, standing before the door of the guest room where Igara has been sequestered. He knocks gently, as if even too loud a rapping of knuckles on wood might unsettle her, and then he waits, hands clasped before him, the pair of young women standing quietly at his back.

Igara is still sore, but less sharply than yesterday. Her poor stiff back is propped up on a pile of pillows, her arms up over her head and hands up near the headboard, her chin in the air as her head drapes backward over the mound of pillow there for her. She's decent, in a day-dress that preserves her modesty, though the dress is spread around her, covering the bed atop of the blankets that cover her to the waist underneath, with towels layered on the bed beneath her in order to cleanly soak up the blood that began at moonset this morn. She sighs in relief at the knock on the door, hoping it to be some more hot raspberry tea, and sitting up sorely, grimacing at her back and making certain all is decent about her before she calls, "Come in."

It's not raspberry tea. Instead it's a bastard knight and two quiet women who step in and take up discreet spots against the wall. "My Lady Frey," Gedeon says, offering her a small bow, "forgive my intrusion as you recover. I simply wished to see how you were faring this morning. A bit improved, I hope?"

Igara lowers her eyes in modest acknowledgement of the knight's entrance, mouth opening just a little bit while her cheeks find their color. "Yes… thank you, good Ser. I do apologize for having been such a burden to you and those you serve. I am quite ashamed," she voices meekly, settling her hands down to fold on her lap.

"It was no burden, my lady. You can hardly be blamed for a delicate constitution. If anything, I would dare say that is your burden, more than anyone else's," Gedeon replies softly, offering a gentle smile. "I brought two attendants with me, so one might continue to chaperone, if there's anything you might wish the other to fetch for you."

Igara smiles timidly, but visibly, and though she lifts her eyes she still couldn't be strictly said to look upon the knight, chastely looking just aside of him in the manner that all but the most virtuous young girls soon drop after their interest in the masculine gender reaches their hearts. "That was very thoughtful of you. If there is any more raspberry tea… it does so well to ease the moon's pangs, and I should be most grateful to partake in a cup this morning."

Her glances to the two women. "A cup of raspberry tea, then, if any can be found." One of the girls nods and steps away and out into the hall to do as asked. "Would it impose upon you, were I to pull up a chair and sit near your bed for a brief spell, my lady?"

"It would not do so, good Ser," Igara gives her consent, although she lowers her eyes to her hands again, that the invitation may be offered in a manner properly chaste. While he gets himself settled, she goes on. "You've given me a terrible scare, now, twice, good Ser, though you have scarcely met me but in passing. But your kindness to me will not be forgotten."

Gedeon draws a chair over to the bed as quietly and tidily as can be managed before he sits and places his hands demurely in his lap. "I must beg your forgiveness, Lady, for the distress I've caused you at both encounters. I never wished to frighten you. As it seems you may one day be wed to a squire now in my care, I would be pleased to know you a little better than in passing, if you would be amenable of such a friendship."

"Aye, and 'tis well for you to beg, the first," Igara presses, more than a little woe in her voice. "To see you grasp my Lady Cousin's arm so roughly, and on her wedding day— I must admit I was very upset. But it seems to me that she has forgiven you, for how well she speaks of you, and has begged forgiveness of me on your behalf, so I do grant it. And for the second… it was not your fault that you and Rowan were attacked so, surely, though I did… grieve to hear of it. I don't guess it is wrong to say that I am fond of him. Though I can't expect that he is fond of me."

"Yes, it was not well done," Gedeon agrees humbly, his own gaze dropping so that he might examine his own hands, "but I am warmed to hear the Lady Isolde Nayland can still speak kindly of me, as I still think kindly of her." He glances up to smile softly at Igara. "Young Rowan is fond only of his dreams for his future, at the moment. It is a common thing, for a lad his age." There is the sound of gentle footsteps as the first attendant returns with a tray holding a cup and saucer of raspberry tea as well as a small jar of sugar and a tiny cup of cream. "My lady," she murmurs softly, moving to set the tray down across Igara's legs. It is of such a design that it was clearly made to hold food for those too sick or too disinclined to leave their bed for meals.

Igara looks to the maid with a kind look of aching gratitude, locking eyes with her in a manner she dares not do with a man. "My thanks, dear miss," she addresses even the staff with a certain humility of tone that befits a grateful guest. But her features stiffen slightly, her smile becomes thin and tight as she lowers her voice. "We may speak, I think, to some degree, plainly, good Ser," she posits in her meek, girlish tones. "Had this dream been in his heart all of this time, no engagement would have been proposed… we arrive and things are… haphazard, half-arranged… this is a new thing, and, I can't help but see, related to the presentation of the contract." Still soft and gentle, but words that indicate a keen wit and sharp insight. "I can only hope I am not so uncongenial to him as to drive him to such measures… I know I am not fair to look upon, nor a healthy woman, but this hardly seems cause to go to such great lengths. Will you speak frankly with me, good Ser?"

The servant offers Igara a soft smile and a demure, "Of course, my lady," before she drifts back to the wall to stand beside her companion. Gedeon observes the Lady Frey in silence, listening as she speaks. "I have only known the young Lord Rowan for a short while, so I am afraid that as of yet, I have no great insight into his deepest inner thoughts. When he came to my lord and I to speak on becoming my squire, he did seem very much impassioned by the idea of the Kingsguard, so it may be that news of a betrothal simply came at an unhappily coincidental time. Please, do not be wounded if I suggest that these unkindly things you say of yourself, if you believe them so, may have colored the situation to you in way that it was not, in truth."

Igara lifts the tea, leaving it undoctored, and lets the steam roll up toward her nose and mouth for a few short breaths, closing her eyes before she takes a sip. "Whatever the case," she begins again, "It's a written thing, now, is it not? I wish my Lord Rowan well, if this be true, his desire." She still sounds doubtful. "And if he should fulfill the conditions set forth for him, he will bring great glory to his house and to mine. Could I ask for more? I hardly think so. If he does not, I shall be allotted his consolation, and will console him as far as I am able."

"Life is rarely very kind," Gedeon says quietly as Igara lifts her tea. "But I do feel obliged to tell you, not as a knight, so much as a man, that you were incorrect to suggest you are not fair to look upon, Lady Frey. If it does come to pass that you and Rowan one day wed, he will be fortunate to have such a gentle and intelligent woman beside him."

"I don't suppose that it is," Igara assents to the diagnosis of Life, then hides a rich blush at his words about her personal appearance in a sip of tea, as far as she is able. The words about her intelligence and patience are easier to bear, for she sets the tea down again and swallows. "There are many things a woman is only able to do if she is wed. A woman with a ready mind but no taste for marriage will only ever serve the Seven, and that— that I have never wished. And yet the thought of… marriage has long been a terror to me. When I saw my Lord Rowan again after all these years, I had some hope. I believe that he would be a gentle husband. Does that make sense to you?"

"He does strike me as a gentle sort," Gedeon agrees of Rowan. "But, if I may ask, my lady, what frightens you so at the idea of being wed?"

"You may ask; I may not answer you," Igara sets forth a riddle by way of an answer, encoding the truth of it as tightly as fine embroidery along the weft and warp of the fabric of her words, for Gedeon to decode, be he clever.

Then, perhaps Gedeon is clever. Or, at least, he is clever enough to unravel this delicately spun riddle. "Ah," says the knight with a slow and knowing nod. "The most common fear of a maiden on her wedding night. That is understandable. Experiences, when they must be so privately kept, must appear frightening to those who do not yet know them."

Igara leaves her tea, leaning back on the veritable mountain of pillows there to keep her lower back in some sort of reasonably supported state, folding her hands low over her stomach where her womb is trying to murder her. "I have no notion what it is," she whispers, "But I fear it be an awfully dreadful thing," she admits with a meek peep, blushing deeply to even be hinting at it in conversations. "Ay, me, I should not say such things to a gentleman," she turns her head, tears springing to her eyes.

"Ah, please do not fret, my lady, I have heard far more frightful things in my time than a young woman's earnest confession of concern," Gedeon assures with another soft smile. "But, I had hoped to lift your distress rather than add to it. Forgive me, let me turn the conversation to a different topic. Will you tell me a little of Stonebridge?"

Igara sniffs, once, and lifts a finger to her cheek to collect a little tear and let it sit on her knuckle, looking at it for a moment. "Stonebridge is a pretty place. And very often quiet," she finally begins again. "When I first came I thought it had such hustle and bustle, but now that the tourney is over it is for the most at peace. My sweet cous Isolde has given to me the chamber of her girlhood, and it has a fine view from the window."

"I remember the grounds well, both from the tourney and my own childhood," Gedeon says with a small nod, "and I remember some of the views from the keep's windows. They are beautiful, especially in the early mornings when the sun comes up over the fields and trees. How long have you attended Lady Isolde? Is it only since the tourney?"

"Only since then, yes, Ser," Igara answers obediently. "And not even from the beginning, as I arrived in the middle. Daddy— my— Lord Father sent me to the Hag's Mire, first, but then, on hearing that many a Nayland were at Stonebridge at the tourney, and that my cousin would soon take the name Nayland, he sent me thither to wait on her for her wedding. We have become such good friends," she smiles tenderly. "I could not have wished for a better companion. She has asked me to stay at Stonebridge for as long as— as long as neither the Lord my Father nor any husband have need of me elsewhere."

"Then it's a pleasure to hear you are finding happiness there, my lady, and that your cousin treats you with kindness," Gedeon replies. "I am sorry you were called away from Stonebridge when you were already feeling poorly. But, I hope you may find some happiness in your visit, as well. It is quite diverse and fascinating company we all keep at the Terricks' generosity."

"Lord Ryker was… very insistent that we go," Igara whispers. "Though Lord Rygar told me that my Lord Rowan bid me have patience and wait on his correspondence. I fear Rowan finds me most undutiful in obeying his word to me. I only wish that my cousin was here with me. She is such a comfort. But the Lady Liliana is a creature made of kindness, and I am happy to be able to know her better."

"I am sure Lady Liliana would be happy to know you better, Lady Frey," Gedeon assures, "she was most concerned for your welfare, yesterday. I would not worry that the young Lord Nayland finds you undutiful. I think he, too, was only worried for your health, and you came all this way only to find to contract between your families put aside for his hopes of the Kingsguard."

"Do tell him…" Igara trails off with a twinge from below the covers, waiting for it to pass before she begins again, "Do tell him I am well… 'tis but a common complaint. And that I am humbly apologietic to have disobeyed him so," she adds in a whisper. "Would he consent to come and see me, I should be glad to sit with him a while. Is it true I've heard that the Young Lord is to wed soon?"

"I will tell him so, my lady," Gedeon promises, shifting in his seat a little as Igara twinges. "Young Lord Jaremy, do you mean? Yes, he's to wed the Lady Anais Banefort in several months time. I hope it will be a happy union, she seems a good and virtuous woman."

Igara thinks over the name for a moment, then, eyes lighting up, "Oh, yes," she whispers. "I know the Lady. I met her, indeed, in the company of the Young Lord, I think, on my way to send a letter to my father. How fortuitous a marriage," she sighs softly and reclines again, turning her eyes back to that vague space right off of Gedeon's shoulder. "Hopefully I will be able to get to know her better while I am visiting, as well. But she must be very busy in planning."

"In planning," the knight agrees, "and in seeing to her betrothed who is recovering from his own bout of illness. He improves quite splendidly, so there's no cause for concern, but still, with so many in the Roost, he has much to see to over the coming weeks. But I do think the Lady Banefort wishes to properly greet and converse with the guests here. I am sure she would be glad to receive you."

"When I am out of bed again I will write her a note and ask of her an audience," Igara decides. "Seven bless you, good Ser, for looking in upon me," she adds. "I may close my eyes and rest a while, by your leave."

'Of course, Lady Frey. Thank you for allowing me to sit with you a while. Shall I ask the ladies to stay here, should you need anything further?" Gedeon eases his chair back, slowly, beginning to rise. One of the girls steps forward to collect Igara's tray and set it aside.

"No— no, I will be well, thank you, good Ser. The tower's staff are so taxed already… I will only be asleep, and will have no need of aid," Igara murmurs with a fond smile for the lass who comes to take the tray, a mouthed 'thank you' that finds no voice behind it.

"As you wish, my lady. Rest well and the Seven speed along your recovery." Gedeon offers the bedbound Frey a courteous bow before walking back out of her chambers, the two Terrick retainers following politely after.