|Summary:||After a short absence Leon encounters once again the kitchen maid, and they engage in a conversation about vegetables of the South. With the arrival of his sister Samphire the conversation turns to a more serious topic.|
|Related Logs:||Dogs That Don't Bark is referenced; Evayne's first encounter with Leon: The Art of Blushing|
|Gardens, Braeburn House|
|A small kitchen garden by the kitchen entrance, with herbs and some vegetables, and sheltered from the rest of the courtyard by a tall hedge. Theres a long age-smoothened bench lining the wall. From a low window one can hear everything that goes on in the kitchen. The whole little garden smells strongly of herbs, and woe be anyone who raids it without the head cooks permission.|
|January 27th, 290|
A morning in the kitchen gardens, the first beams of the rising sun bathe the herbs and flowers in a beautiful shade of orange as a kitchen maid escapes the busy bustling of the kitchens for a little rest on the long bench. Her young and innocent face looks tired, her cheeks are remarkably less rosy than usual. Evayne Potter leans against the wall with her eyes half closed, the hands before her clasped in a grasp that appears to loosen slowly as a slumber begins to claim her.
Rumour may have it that Ser Leon Undyl has returned to Braeburn House once more. The early morning finds him in a surprisingly deserted kitchen. Stepping out into the garden to check for signs of life, he finds the dozy kitchen maid and grins. "Ah, Miss Evayne, rise and shine! People are wanting their breakfast!", he calls out to her.
Jumping to her feet almost immediately, Evayne casts a glance about to look who has roused her from her almost sleeping state, her posture suddenly upright and alert. But as soon as she realizes that it was Leon's voice that has stirred her she relaxes slightly, and the expression on her face softens into a pleasant smile. "Oh, it's you, Ser Leon. And breakfast is about to be served, alas, not by me today. A horrible night. Rychard has hardly slept, and so have I." She sighs wearily and yawns, raising her hand to hide her wide open mouth.
"Indeed? What is keeping you from your much deserved rest, Mistress? Is there any way I can help?", the young hedge knight asks, as he begins to wander about the garden, looking at the vegetables on offer.
Another sigh escapes Evayne as she shrugs her shoulders. "Noone can help me, I suppose? It's a mother's fate to share her baby's sleepless nights. I suspect, it's the teeth. They are bothering poor Rychard. He's safely asleep now, thank the Seven. In the kitchens. But who knows for how long?" Noticing a bit late perhaps, what Leon is up to, she approaches him and extends an arm to hold him back, with a worried frown. "Don't push your luck, Ser Leon. These vegetables belong to the cook. If she should find out you steal from this garden… I wouldn't like to be in your shoes… Boots, even." The kitchen maid falls silent as her gaze lingers for a bit on those boots and the well trained legs inside of them - or is she just about to fall asleep again?
"Ah, I see.", Leon replies, although his tone is still fairly clueless what with never having dealt with babies and such. "Well, he will stop when his teeth are all grown, will he not? I worried that sickness had been taking him - and you." At her warning, he looks at the vegetables, then at his boots and then at Evayne and chuckles. "Is she so scary then, the cook? But don't worry, I will be a good boy and go up for breakfast in a while. I was merely interested to see what kind are growing here. I encountered so many strange vegetables in the south… some with… interesting shapes.", he smiles.
"Oh…" Evayne says, and shakes her head as Leon's words reach her through her tired confusion. "No sickness, Ser. But thank you for worrying anyway. Not many do for such one as I." The hint of a smile appears on her face, her cheeks starting to redden slightly, and with the blood rushing to her head some of the weariness seems to finally let go of her. "The cook is the cook. She's the ruler over the kitchens and these gardens you see here. I suppose you're very brave, Ser, and fought in many battles. But you haven't encountered our cook when she is at her most ill temper." When the hedgeknight speaks of the vegetables from the south, Evie's gaze drops to her hands, as the red on her cheeks deepens slightly.
"Why should I not worry?", Leon smiles warmly, "You're my sister's friend and my sister's friends are my friends, too. If they allow it.", he adds, then looks at the vegetables again, pointing: "They had some such as these but not quite so…. and red ones.. like this… that made your throat burn like fire…" He describes the vegetables in question with his hands, pointing out some sort of hot chili or other… in a slightly questionable shape.
Evie's gaze stays were it is - on her two hands. Releasing their grasp she starts rubbing them against her skirt to remove some of the sweat on them. The smile, that had just been a hint a moment ago, broadens and brightens up her face like the sun that has already risen a bit. "Of course, I allow it, Ser." she mutters, her voice low and sounding a bit awkward as she raises her gaze - just in time to catch that questionable gesture. Her grey eyes grow wide for a moment as she holds her breath, but she takes it in good humour, obviously, as she breaks into a melodious laughter. "Oh dear, ser. By the Seven… that did look a bit… strange…?"
"It was delicious all the same.", Leon replies, rather innocently, then perhaps he realizes what he is seing. And in true style, when he's started to dig himself into a hole, he keeps digging. "Er, of course there were other vegetables as well… like these nice round ones… they called them eggplants because their shape looked a little bit like eggs, but I found them more … rounded." He indicates the shape of the eggplant, then decides he better stop talking about shapely vegetables and coughs, folding his hands behind his back. "Perhaps… I should go and… uh, see about breakfast."
Evayne's chuckle dies somewhat as she beholds the second vegetable describing gesture, and with her blush returning with its full force, she replies: "Oh, ser. This talk could prove dangerous…" A quick glance is cast about the area as to make sure they are not overheard or watched. "Although I am sure you meant no harm with your… descriptions. Let us just treat these with the same care and wariness as we would treat those vegetables over there…?" She points to the cook's property, the hidden treasure of the garden. "The cook would not like any of them, I am sure,… stolen or even described."
A shadow debouches from the door frame of the kitchen, dissolves behind an apple tree and peeks in as young Samphire, carefully catching the glimpse of everyone around her to make sure no inconvenient meeting awaits her around the corner. The sight she catches, though, speaks of a rather pleasant company. Immediatly her chin wanders up and the confident, mischievous hint of a smile sneaks about the bow of her lips.
Flowers of salt long have been washed out of the maroon linnen of her dress and are replaced by green embroideries of the seaweed, which gave her her name. Her flaxen hair lies in a neat braid at the middle of her back. "Leon! Evayne! Isn't it a fine morning. Oh, but I see you have taught my brother the arts of blushing, dear?", she mocks.
"Of course I meant no harm.", Leon assures her, "I was merely… thinking that… being a gardener yourself in some way, you might be interested in hearing about other kinds of vegetables. One could try and grow them here too, although I think there is not enough sun for them here…" And suddenly there is Samphire upon them. While Leon is not exactly blushing, he looks ever so slightly miffed at having his little private chat with Evayne interrupted. Yet, he manfully tries to hide it behind a warm smile. "Good morning, dear sister! I was just trying to find some early breakfast."
Although Evayne seems pleased to see her friend, Samphire's greeting does indeed have her push her lower lip slightly forward in a pout. "You're making fun of me, Samphire. It is me again who blushes, not your knightly brother over there." Turning to Leon she replies with a warm smile: "I understand, it might be something to consider. I'll tell the cook about it, maybe she'll approve of such a plan. Alas, speaking of breakfast. I am starving, and now that I'm safely awake I should definitely eat something…" A light curtsey is offered in Leon's direction, a warm smile in that of his sister, and Evayne disappears into the kitchen, soon to be distracted by the wailing of an awakening infant, that like his mother didn't get enough sleep the previous night.
"Oh, I'm sure with your experienced teaching, it would not have taken long for him to become quiet apt in this art. But farewell!", Samphire responds with a bit of a regretful expression, as the kitchenmaid departs.
A moment passes as Evayne leaves the reach of the siblings words, now the handmaid turns to her brother. "Isn't it a bit of a rude flattery to call the sight my friend over here a early breakfast, as delicate as it might be?", she muses. "Or were you charming her with your fairy tales about the Southern lands. There are no things as purple eggs, growing on bushes. I'm not stupid."
Leon looks a bit confused when Evayne departs rather abruptly, but then the sound of the wailing infant reaches his ear and he understands. Still, looking a little regretful, he turns to Samphire. "I did none of such thing.", he replies a bit huffily to her jest, "And of course there are no purple eggs, merely eggshaped vegetables that the southrons like to cut into slices and fry, making them a delicious snack." He waits a second longer until Evayne is safely out of sight, then mutters: "I Do not know why she blushes. I give her no reason to."
Samphire lays her head a bit to one side, watching her brother with furrowed brows. "Are you serious? You are a shiny knight, Leon. She's a fair kitchenmaid. It's kind of a law, that she has to blush, when you talk kindly to her wave your golden mane in a soft breeze every now and then. Now you shouldn't be stupid. And vegetables aren't purple unless it's very dangerous to eat them. But if you want some salmon and completely unperilous carrots there are leftovers at the servant's chambers."
Again peeking over her shoulders in all directions, the maids attention seems to stride off all over the gardens for a moment, before she continues more seriously. "But am I right? You would have blushed, wouldn't you?"
"What about those then?", Leon smirks, pointing towards a plum tree laden with juciy and very purple fruit. "If we can have purple fruit, we can have purple vegetables as well. And no, I don't like carrots, but I wouldn't mind some salmon and freshly baked bread." He starts moving, expecting his sister tofollow him. But he makes sure she can't see his face, when he adds: "She is a rather fair sight, this Evayne… I like her blushing."
Satisfied, Samphire nods at Leon's response and tries nevertheless to catch a glimpse of his expression. "I would have thought nothing else, brother." As expected, she follows his way through the gardens.
Before she begins to speak again, her words seem to have to surmount a certain wall of discomfort. "Have you heard about my last encounter with one of the Groves' noblemen by the way?", she asks leisurely.
"I have been in Stonebridge for some days.", Leon replies, slowing down, so he can face his sister again, now that the talk is no longer about him and Evayne. Her last words make him frown and one brow quirks upwards. "I do not think so, sister. What happened?"
"Oh, good, Stonebridge. Ah, nothing, nothing happened at all. Polite conversations, though, well, you know most of those nobles. Sometimes the are quite quirky.", a single nervous chuckle hops like a hickup out of Samphire's throat. "But tell me about Stonebridge. Is everything the way it was? Have you seen the old miller? I still have a donkey I found walking through the streets when I… ah." And again discomfort is reached and the handmaid feels the sudden urge to change the subject again, as clumsily forced as it might be. "How's your horse?"
Leon eyes Samfy and her nervousness. "Sister. Whatever happened, I will find out about anyway.", he says drily, "So you might want to tell me your version before I hear other people's versions, mhm? I don't think you are all that interested in the well-being of my horse to begin with…" He stares at her and she should know he won't let go until he has an answer.
"Alright." Samphire yields. "I wouldn't have mentioned it at all, if I wouldn't have wanted to tell you at all, but… So, I met one of the Groves nobles right at this very place. We had a little chatter about m'lady Rebecca and we disagreed about several aspects of her behaviour. At the end I might have tossed a bunch of dung at him and made him quite angry for some undefinable reasons. I haven't met him since, but m'lady assured me I will be fine. And yes, yes, I'm indeed quite interested in the well beeing of your horse. What's his name again?"
Leon gasps a little, then frowns darkly. "Samphire! You cannot behave in such a fashion!", the knight scolds, "Do you know what this kind of behaviour could bring about? Perhaps I… I should think about finding different employment for you. Spending so much time with Lady Rebecca is clearly not doing you any good. You -must- take better care of what you say and to know, you understand?!" The horse? Forgotten.
Samphire's mien darkens, her gaze falls down to the rich fertilizer at the patch to her feet. "I know, Leon. It has been a big mistake to react that… lively. It was just out of the moment, but… Well, there is no but, I have been imprudent. That's probably one of the reasons, why grandmother always insisted on me, staying as far away from nobles as possible." Even if he words end with a jest again, the undertone speaks of a certain concern. "But anyway, don't forget, that Lady Rebecca has been kind to me. More generous than every other noble, who could have offered me a position. I don't see any reasons why you should be concerned about my employment. I learned my lesson this time."
"Have you, Samphire?", Leon frowns, then looks around for potential listeners, before he speaks more quietly: "You know what other nobles think of Lady Rebecca and her… unique behaviour. It reflects on her maids too. You… behaving in this imprudent fashion will make them think they are right. Have you apologized to the nobleman in question?", he asks softly, his eyes more worried than angry.
"Of course I have!" Samphire exclaims. "Right in the moment after I have thrown it. He did not take it well, though, so I decided on the behalf of my health, it might be more wise to avoid him now. " Carefully she picks a fallen leave out of the hedgeknight's flood of golden locks. "And for the behaviour…" with a little shrug she drops the leave "Well, even if I'm said to be a handmaiden with unique behaviour, I'm a handmaiden. That's more than I would have expected, back when I was busy to burn my little fingers in pots of wax."
Leon hrmphs and simply asks: "Who was the knight? What is his name?" He eyes her for a moment then adds: "I will find out anyway, so save yourself the trouble of lying to me." Then he sighs softly at her last words. "Yes, Samphire, we've both come a long way. Which is why it matters even more that we do not cast this away lightly by foolish behaviour."