|Summary:||Lucienne has a few secrets to let Anais in on, since they're going to be 'sisters'. Annie's pretty well across the lot of it.|
|Related Logs:||Annie/Luci logs. Who knows.|
|Reading Room, Four Eagles Tower|
|Do I really need to find this desc again? A room. Books. Sofas. Chairs. A desk, now. A little more organization than it's seen in the past.|
|13 October, 288|
Things are busy, with a wedding so close, but the reading room in Four Eagles Tower remains a bastion of peace and quiet. The reorganization effort is making progress, if slowly, and many of the shelves are now neatly stacked with books in some sort of order; a large desk has made an appearance toward the back of the room, where one Lucienne Terrick is currently sequestered with a series of large and ominous looking tomes. These are books that are still being written, though not personal works of her own; the ledgers of the Roost, added to in many different calligraphies by those who've been tasked to record the outgoings and incomings. Though a quill sits to one side, and an ink-pot is uncorked, she is not writing at this very moment; instead, she waits, frowning down at the sanded page as she waits for the ink to blot and her guest to arrive.
"Good gracious, Luci." Anais is looking a little ragged as she enters the reading room, fine curls escaping from her hairdo at every angle. She's a little breathless, but seems to be holding up all right. For the moment. "I can hardly see you there." A faint smile curves, rueful, as she carefully edges around the desk to get a glimpse over Lucienne's shoulder. "What can I help you with?"
Lucienne looks up, indeed cutting a very small figure when compared to the large desk and those large books. She manages to muster a smile, though it's clearly just for show. "Annie," she greets, almost apologetic. "I didn't tear you from anything too important, did I?" She pauses a moment for the answer, then begins to swipe the sand from the page to reveal a lot of figures now inked in the outgoings column.
Anais waves a hand dismissively, looking over the numbers herself with a hand on the back of Lucienne's chair. "It's all very important to someone, but having spent the last few weeks trying to get everything done, I think we're at the point where…Well. If it hasn't been done, it won't be done, so there's no sense in worrying over it." She doesn't need to bend down to read the numbers - in fact she seems to have an easier time of it from her current distance. "Problem?"
Luci hums faintly, somewhere between an agreement with the sentiment about the state of the wedding and the state of the ledgers. Neither a positive sound nor a negative, it is mostly thoughtful, and a little flat. "You could say that," she supposes, shifting a little uncomfortably in her chair. The whole of the page is devoted to expenditures, save for one small entry in the income column. She clears her throat gently after a few moments given for Anais to study the figures.
Anais quirks a brow at the figures, then looks back to Lucienne. "Well. There's the dowry to consider, of course," she notes, shifting to lean against the edge of the desk, glancing over the numbers again. "Which Father will be bringing with him. That should defray some of this." There's a flicker of something across her features as she watches the other woman. "Luci…If you've something to say, please do."
"I don't mean to alarm you," begins Lucienne, still sounding apologetic. "It's just… well, I just…" She emits a long sigh, her shoulders falling visibly as she turns to look up at Anais again, her expression grave. "I should be frank with you, Annie. The Terricks… we're not so well off, lately. With the loss of Stonebridge's taxes and the wages still owed our retainers, our coffers are… low, to put it generously. And with the wedding, and the tourney, I just felt that someone should tell you, so you didn't feel… so that it wasn't a shock, come the day after your wedding." A beat. "That will be beautiful, and lovely, and have no expense spared, whatever it takes."
"Luci." For a moment there's something like irritation in Anais' eyes, though she's soon pushed it away. "Why now? Why would someone not say this /before/? And- And it isn't as though I've been planning all of this myself. I mean, I've been allowed to express an opinion here and there, but your mother and father have overseen everything. It hardly-" She slips from the edge of the desk, brows furrowing in a frown once more. "I'm not some foolish girl whose feelings were going to be hurt if the wedding wasn't fit for a king."
Feeling more than awkward still seated at the imposing desk, Lucienne scrapes the overlarge chair back and stands, planting her two hands palms down on the tabletop. "I didn't mean it like that, Anais," she assures, shaking her head, more out of sorts than ever she has looked before. "This wedding should be fit for a king, it's the wedding of the Terrick heir. I just… I know there's been such a fuss and a fray with Jaremy absconding, and I felt… if we're to be sisters, I thought I should tell you. The money's been spent now. And if my betrothal is to be to Anton Valentin, there'll be far more need be spent there."
"Which is why part of my dowry included stone for the construction of docks," Anais replies, pacing toward the window. "Because once there are docks here, we'll be bringing in more than came from Stonebridge by far. And the warship, to protect that from the Ironborn. And openings for trade. Seven bless, between Jacsen's connections to the Mallisters and the Banefort connections to the Westerlands, we should be pumping goods through these lands like a beating heart within a few years."
"That is the plan," agrees Lucienne, her tone pitched to pacify. "And hopefully it will all come to fruition as you say. Right now, though, our expenditure is through the roof even just on a daily basis. Coupled with the stress Jaremy's created regarding Oldstones, and with His Grace, and requesting Lord Jason's help with the Tordane letters, and being thrust into a marriage with barely weeks notice…" The Terrick girl slips from behind the desk, floating a few steps over to hover nearer Anais and the window. "Perhaps you might forgive my brother for any… lack in the welcome he should be extending you."
"I don't understand where you're trying to-" Anais starts to question, then stops at the last few words, turning with a faint frown toward Lucienne. "Is /that/ what this is about? Luci, I don't- I'm not-" She sighs, some of the tension leaving her shoulders as she drops down to sit against the windowsill. "I don't know what gave you that impression, Luci, but I'm not upset with your brother." A pause, and she smiles faintly. "I'm not upset with your brother /Jacsen/," she corrects herself ruefully.
"We're all upset with that one," Lucienne returns sympathetically. "And we all thought that you and he seemed to get along so well, and… I'm sorry, Annie. I feel that I'm well overstepping my bounds. Anyway, the ledgers are important, and I hope that maybe after the wedding you and I and Lady Evangeline might be able to discuss some revisions to the household to ease the pressure?"
"Of course," Anais says without hesitation, leaning forward to reach for Lucienne's hand. "I'm sorry for being short. I just…" She sighs, smile curving crooked, apologetic. "It just sounded for a moment like you were blaming me. I…I suppose I'm a little sensitive right now. No matter how many times someone else tells me, or how many times I go through it in my mind, or how many times I tell myself that Jaremy didn't leave because of me, it still feels a little bit like he did."
Lucienne lifts her hand to Anais', a familiar sort of a gesture, affectionate, perhaps. She echoes the other girl's smile. "You don't have to apologise, Annie. And I do very much doubt that Jaremy left because of you - he hoped so much that you'd grow to love him like -" She pauses, flushing faintly and frowning. "Issie." Her eyes dart guiltily away for the mention of Stonebridge's current lady. "Not a day goes by that I don't wish I'd spoken up, said something more, asked him about Miss Amelia. I've known him all my life, I should have seen what was going on."
"I don't know that there's anything you could have done, Luci," Anais shakes her head. "Or anyone, for that matter. As for Jacsen…" She draws in a deep breath, letting it out on a heavy sigh. "I almost feel like we were more friendly when I was betrothed to Jaremy than we are now. And Jaremy was- Jaremy at least was at peace with being married, even if it wasn't to the woman he wanted. At least I thought he was. I'm not sure Jacsen is. And I don't know- I don't know how to approach that."
"It's all done now, anyway," admits Lucienne resignedly. "And as for Jacsen," she says, almost keen to move away from that Other Topic, "He's just… spent a lifetime, you understand, with a measure of freedom that's just been stolen from him. He is just as unsure as you are, Annie. Just be patient with him, if you would. Jace is the best man I know, and he'll make you a fine husband, if you can only be patient."
"Luci." Anais pushes slowly away from the window, smile wry. "I managed not to throttle Jaremy through the entire Amelia debacle. I have plenty of patience." She reaches up to smooth a hand over her hair, letting out another soft breath. "Anyhow. I should get back to the last-minute things. Fittings and the like. If there's not anything else?"
"You do," agrees Lucienne with a deferent nod of her head. "That was all - I just wanted to inform you of the finances. After the wedding, we'll see about making those changes as we can. I'll see you at dinner?" She hesitates for the answer, leaning slightly in the direction of the desk that she intends to return to.
"Seven bless, I hope so," Anais laughs softly. "If you don't, send in a rescue party. The seamstresses will be holding me hostage. We'll figure it out, Luci," she adds, pausing at the doorway. "Between all of us. We'll make it work." And with those words, she's back in the hallway, and back to preparations.